And relating to Aset…
I play the sistra before your beautiful face,
Aset, Giver of Life, residing in the Sacred Mound,
Eye of Re who has no equal in Heaven and on earth.
-Hymn VII Temple of Philae
In many Mediterranean cultures there is an over abundance of superstitions or “ways to prevent bad luck, misfortune and the evil eye”.
I remember when my little sister was born my mom passed by a mirror holding her and my Grandmother flipped because a baby apparently can not see their reflection before they are Baptized. Here I will outline some of the more popular and interesting ways you too can protect yourself from the evil eye in the tradition of the Mediterranean.
So firstly… What is the Evil Eye?
The Evil Eye is basically a curse. Someone can give it to you just by looking at you with intent, envy, or jealousy. In Italian it is called malocchio and in Arabic it is ’ayn al-ḥasūd.
The most common charm against this Jinx is this:
We then have The Hand of Fatima:
Depicting the open right hand, an image recognized and used as a sign of protection in many societies throughout history, the hamsa is believed to provide defense against the evil eye. The symbol predates Christianity and Islam. In Islam, it is also known as the hand of Fatima, so named to commemorate Muhammad’s (PBUH) daughter Fatima Zahra (wiki)
Specific to Southern Italy and Sicily we have the cornetto. The gold horn for males and the red coral branch for women.
One of the tests my Great Grandmother used to see if we were jinxed was an olive oil test. If too many oil bubbles sank, we were cursed and must have it removed which meant more olive oil, in a bath with herbs and all the mirrors were covered.
Speaking of mirrors…. It is a good idea to keep a mirror on your front door, it will keep the spirits out as well as the Evil Eye and any Jinxes. Make sure the mirror is blue as well and not too obvious. There have been many times I would bring friends over and they would ask why we kept a mirror on our front door.
So, go out and live not in fear of jinxes and the Evil Eye! But remember this has a great cultural significance for all Mediterranean cultures… Keep that in mind when shopping for beauties like this…
What is Heka? (Kemet.org) “ is probably best translated as “authoritative speech”…words are powerful in Kemetic culture and religion; heka is the use of words with intent and meaning and the basis of our liturgies, invocations, and prayers. Kher-heb and Heri-sesheta priests are typically the speakers and writers of official liturgical heka.”
The God Heka
Heka can also be translated to mean: “Activating the Ka. Egyptians thought activating the power of the soul was how magic worked. “Heka” also implied great power and influence, particularly in the case of drawing upon the Ka of the gods.” (wiki)
So Heka is…Putting our words into action, OR our intent into action. Magic.
For example we have numerous examples of healing and protection spells from Kemet.
“Only a small percentage of Egyptians were fully literate, so written magic was the most prestigious kind of all. Private collections of spells were treasured possessions, handed down within families. Protective or healing spells written on papyrus were sometimes folded up and worn on the body.
A spell usually consisted of two parts: the words to be spoken and a description of the actions to be taken. To be effective all the words, especially the secret names of deities, had to be pronounced correctly. The words might be spoken to activate the power of an amulet, a figurine, or a potion. These potions might contain bizarre ingredients such as the blood of a black dog, or the milk of a woman who had born a male child. Music and dance, and gestures such as pointing and stamping, could also form part of a spell.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/egyptians/magic_01.shtml)
I have also come up with a couple of money spells that I will share in honor of this post with all of you…. enjoy!
Employment or Money juju
These are a few of the tricks I utilized when going out looking for a job. Depending on your own personal taste these may or may not work for you. All of these though I learned through either books or people I respect and are in the Hoodoo tradition.
Green bag (hand sewn is better)
Ingredients (always in even amounts)
Grains of Paradise
Loaded lode stones
Bank Dirt (gathered from outside an established bank, use the dirt of a bank that you find has a good reputation.)
After assembling the bag it is also a good idea to have a “feeding oil” I like anything from Conjured Cardea @ http://www.etsy.com/shop/ConjuredCardea
Then the last step is to give something that will identify it to you and you alone. This also acts as an offering. I usually give mine a bit of my hair.
If you look back in my posts at the picture of my shrine you will see this on the table now.
Take a clean jar (small) honey, a white piece of paper, green writing utensil, and 1 small green candle.
Fill the jar with honey and repeat some words over it, I was taught to say something that resonates with ‘honey’ such as, “I offer this honey to sweeten my will…” Say a few prayers as you are pouring and think of your intent.
Then take your white paper and green pen, write in all four corners symbols of currency like $$$ in threes. In the center write your wish three times vertical than three time horizontal on top of each other. (EG I want a job)
Fold the paper as much is as needed to fit inside the honey jar, then place the paper inside and close the jar.
Light the candle and place on top of the jar… Burn for all of the EVEN days.
Simple garden plant:
If you have plants outside or an indoor potted plant you can take bank dirt and mix it into the dirt… your money will grow as the plant grows.
Giving- It can be an act of offering to the Gods but for this post I am going to talk about giving to the community and each other.
A big part of Kemticism is giving- We give each other support, advice, books, money, food, friendship, and community. Community is a group of humans sharing either space or a common goal and imperative working together towards that common goal. We know that each tie that binds each other together is as important as the next one. Severing any of them does not make us stronger as a community or as individuals. Just like a rope, adding fiber upon fiber we become strong. We work together to make this little community of ours better and in turn it makes us as individuals better for it.
One big principal of Ma’at is community and to sever a tie of community one can say is not Ma’at. What exact that is is up to debate. Giving may not just be of ones physical items or ones time… it can also be giving up of some of ones ego.
To join a community, one that is larger than just a few people there will be disagreements in the details of how things are run, who will run it, and which kudos are given. To give to the community it has to be done selflessly, without expectation that you will ever get credit for it. To give to ones community you must assume that you might not agree with what the majority might agree with at all times without jumping ship, or throwing a tantrum, or the opposite senario one can disagree without being a “traitor” to the community, that is called constructive criticism. One must be able to give a little, it is like a relationship… it is give and take, and a lot of compromise.
The community’s needs come first before your own individual wants, all one wants and hopes in life is that those wants overlap those needs.
O the daily life of a Kemetic. The ways it seems to slip into the habits and thoughts, one day I just noticed how I wasn’t just grocery shopping anymore but grocery shopping with a purpose.
“Which bread would Aset like more? Whole grain or Italian pane? O! Aset would really like this chutney as an offering.”
Also I ask myself questions more of purity and Ma’at, is this action in line with Ma’at? Would this benefit my community? Community at large and then my Kemetic community which this blog hopes to serve. I make connections with other Kemetics to build that community into a beautiful web.
There is also a funny story in which I have shared with my Kemetics who got a good laugh but it is a good example of how one starts noticing different things around them.
I was driving on the highway with my significant other. A hawk flew over in front of us just as we slowed to a halt, stuck in traffic. Thoughts of Heru-wer and Aset came to mind… just then I watch it crash head first into a building and fall to the ground. I started freaking out, screaming, “It’s an omen!”. My SO looked over confused “What is your problem??” I replied “Something is going to happen we can’t go grocery shopping, must turn around.” He laughed and wouldn’t believe me so we went on with our shopping trip. Me… I made sure to look over my shoulder.
Everything in daily life is related back to Netjer for me…One day you just find yourself shopping for Senut, Heru-wer flying over your car… and Ra’s warm arms blessing you with the first signs of spring.
In Kemetic practice divinity and divine aspects are often attributed to the nose and to the sense of smell. The Gods are said to smell like Frankensense. There is even a God named Nefertum which means “the lotus blossom which is before the nose of Re”.
If you look at my banner, it depicts a banquet of ladies sitting around being fed, smelling lotus blossoms with cones of incense on top their wigs. To please the nose was one of the greatest pleasures.
So what smells would I recommend one use to please the nose of the Gods?
Blue lotus- Hard to get and very expensive but worth it.
Kyphi- Beautiful rich deep. I have spent hours sitting in shrine just wafting in this sent. This is a traditional Kemetic temple incense and was generally burned at night.
Frankincense- Good for any occasion, a true staple.
Jasmine- The ladies usually love this. A Staple for any devotee of Aset.
Normally, I would open a letter with the words, "Em Hotep", which most of us know means, "In Peace". What I am about to write today has absolutely nothing to do with 'peace'. It has nothing to do with giving lip service with a greeting that at times seems to have very little meaning to some of the people within its so-called Community of adherents.
The het-bird comes, the falcon comes; they are Aset and Neb-het, they come embracing their brother, Wesir. … Weep for thy brother, Aset! Weep for thy brother, Neb-het! Weep for thy brother.
I was already thinking about making this post on death and mourning when I read this post Honest Questions About Grief from a Pagan and after reading said post it just put the nail in the metaphorical coffin, no pun intended, or maybe it was intended.
As a Kemetic my faith is filled with festivals and traditions on death and mourning. I find this fortunate because a natural part of life is death. Not one person will ever go through life without death effecting them and being able to have tools to help deal with the mourning process can be beneficial.
As one mourns for a loved one we start with the prescribed 70 days of mourning where the soul goes through the Duat till the final weighing of the heart when finally on the 70th day we know our loved one (hopefully) has reached peace in the west. The west symbolically because the sun sets in the west, and 70 days because that is how long the star Sirius disappears for from the horizon.
During this 70 day period we build our Akhu Altar, meditate on them, and pray to Yinepu and Wepwawet for their safe travel. In Kemet it was customary to hire “Professional” Mourners who would come to the showing of the deceased before the body was mummified. The women including the mourners would be dressed in blue, throw dirt on themselves, wail, and tare at their hair.
Pilgrimages would be made during certain times of the year. The people would come with pots they had made and within which they had tucked notes written out to family members who had since passed on to the Horizon. For over four thousand years these pilgrimages were made, and to this day the area is covered with thousands upon thousands of pots. It has become known to the Egyptians who are the modern descendants of these pilgrims as “Umm al Gaab” or “Mother of Pots”. (Kemet.org)
For more Kemetic funerary objects and customs go to: http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/funerary_practices/funerary_objects.htm
My personal approach and experience:
A few years ago my father passed into the west. It was one of the worst times in my life.
I built my Ahku altar, prayed for my father, and mourned. But… I took comfort in the ritual, in the chaos of it all I had something that I knew I could do to deal with it. I went through the motions of grief and writing those letters to him, sending them. And you know what… all that wailing and letting go, helped me, well, let go. And after the 70 days, I could enjoy knowing he was in peace.
-This post and all that I do is dedicated to my father in his memory, may he live on.