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Navigation of Aset-Take 2

The Romans celebrated Isis as the goddess of seafaring and the ocean. They honored Her on this day with boats filled with candles, flowers and offerings that they sent out to sea. She was the goddess of ships, the harbor and the sea.

For those who want to add more Kemetic things to this festival, Aset had navigation festivals (via the Nubian pilgrims during the Roman period and some Egyptian ones) who would make a procession of the Goddess to visit Her husband Wesir at His shrine on the island of Biggeh. Her statue in Her Barque would be taken to his shrine on a boat (with torches to help guide the way). Priests would give offerings of water and milk as libations for Wesir (I’m assuming Aset as well). Oracles would be given by the Goddess via the statue in Her Barque. It is believed by scholars that sistra and a situla, a curved libation jug were used during this festival. (1 and 2)

Within the Kemetic and Philae Calendar (Pilgrims left notes), this festival is called either:

*Festival of Entry (weekly by the Egyptians)
*Dedication Feast of Aset (4th Peret Day 29, by the Nubians)

And within the Greek or Roman calendars, this is:

*Navigation of Aset/Ploiphesia/Navigium Isidis (March 5-6)
*Navigation of Aset/Navigium Isidis (January 1-2) (3)

I can’t help shake the feeling that this festival in its Kemetic version was very much like the Aset Luminous celebration. They all have to do with Aset searching for Wesir (or going to His Temple), torches for guiding the way, boats traveling on water and giving offerings to the Goddess. Navigation Festivals sometimes had oracles.

So for today’s devotees of the Goddess, you could:

*Light candles or lamps or electric ones if open flame is an issue
*Offer water and/or milk
*Offer water libations (libating milk is not too feasible for most people)
*Offer food and drink to the Goddess (and also Her husband if you wish)
*Do divination or oracles for Aset
*Shake a sistrum for Aset


(1) Donalson, Malcolm. The Cult of Isis in the Roman Empire. Edwin Mellen Pr, 2003. Page 67-68.

(2) Rutherford, Ian. “Island of the Extremity: Space, Language and Power in the Pilgrimage Traditions of Philae.” In Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt, edited by David Frankfurter. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 1998, pp. 230.

Bumbaugh, Solange. “Meroitic Worship of Isis at Philae”. in Egypt in its African Context: Proceedings of the conference held at The Manchester Museum, University of Manchester, 2-4 October 2009. edited by Karen Exell. (Archaeopress, 2011), 67-69.

Griffith, F. Ll. Catalogue of the Demotic Graffiti of the Dodecaschoenus. (Oxford University Press, 1937), 75.

(3) Donalson, Malcolm Drew. The Cult of Isis in the Roman Empire: Isis Invicta. (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 2003), 73.


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