Articles, Aset Neferset, Auset Neferset, Isis Nepherses, Aset, Auset, Isis, Oracles, Poems, Poetry,, Rhodophoria

Aset with the Beautiful Throne

Aset was known through Egypt as a deity who healed or answered prayers in dreams or oracles. She would bestow blessings on those She favored or upon those who honored Her.

Aset or Isis Nepherses (Aset with the Beautiful Throne) from the Soknopaiou Nesos temple in the Fayyum is one such Goddess. Aset in Menouthis and Canope and Alexandria were also known for these feats.

For those who wish to honor Aset with the Beautiful Throne (Isis Nepherses) on Her feast days it is wonderful that we have this small glimpse of something that was specifically associated with Her in this particular form. I love this epithet (with the Beautiful Throne). It is one of my favorites. Besides being absolutely awesome, what can we do with it? What does it tell us about the Goddess in which we can honor Her with that particular aspect?

Mother of God is well, the Mother of Heru-sa-Aset or the King and everything associated with that. Fiercely Bright One has to do with Aset as a stellar or solar deity, among other things. Amenti has to do with Her as the Queen of the Ancestors and caretaker of the dead and is basically Lady of the West. Mourner is Aset as the mourning woman who is lamenting the death of Her husband. Widow is Her status as one who has lost a loved one. Queen of Heaven is Her as the Goddess of the star filled sky and the Star Goddess who rules over all the heavenly bodies.

With the Beautiful Throne, may be Her as a goddess of authority and beauty (and roses; there is 13 day Rhodophoria Festival mentioned in that Soknopaiou Nesos temple calendar). And now we have oracles and dream incubation to add to it. I just like that we have something specific for this particular aspect of Aset (Isis).

Festivals are as follows:

3rd Akhet/Hethara/October
17 to 20-Festival of Aset, with the Beautiful Throne (Isis Nepherses)

4th Akhet/Koiak/November
8 to 16-Festival of the Marriage of Aset, with the Beautiful Throne (Isis Nepherses), the Great Goddess

3 Shomu/Epiphi/June
26 of 3 Shomu to 15 of 4 Shomu-Festival of the Birth of Aset, with the Beautiful Throne (Isis Nepherses), the Great Goddess

The Festival of Aset, with the Beautiful Throne may have to do with Aset mourning for Wesir. Oracles or dreams may or may not be a peripheral part of this festival.

The Marriage festival is a marriage festival the lasted for 9 days. This of course honors the marriage of Aset and Wesir. Maybe you could do a divination with Their wedding cake? Seriously though, oracles and dreams may be a peripheral part of this festival as well.

The Birth of Aset Festival lasted 19 days. Lighting candles or lanterns and giving offerings to the Goddess are traditionally associated with Aset’s Birth Festivals in general. This would be a great time to do that and also ask for oracles and dreams from the Goddess.

These are just my suggestions. Everyone’s relationship with Her is different and as always, ask Aset.

Sources

Bricault, Laurent. Les Cultes Isiaques Dans Le Monde Greco-romain (La Roue a Livres / Documents Book 66). (Les Belles Lettres, 2013), 504.

Britcault, Laurent. “Isis Nepherses” in Egyptian Religion: The Last Thousand Years Part 1: Studies Dedicated to the Memory of Jan Quaegebeur. edited by Willy Clarysse, Antoon Schoors and Harco Willems. Peeters, 1998, pp. 522-527.

Capron, Laurent. “Déclarations fiscales du Temple de Soknopaiou Nêsos: éléments nouveaux,” in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik. Bd. 165, Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, Bonn (Germany). (2008), pp. 133-160.

J. Gwyn Griffiths, Apuleius of Madaurus: The Isis-Book: (Metamorphoses, Book XI) (Brill, 1975), pp 39; 159–161.

Perpillou-Thomas, Francoise. Fêtes d’Egypte ptolémaïque et romaine, d’après la documentation papyrologique grecque. (Studia Hellenistica Series 31). Peeters Publishers, 1993.

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Articles, Aset, Auset, Isis, Heru-sa-Aset, Horus son of Isis, Sobek, Sebek, Wesir, Asar, Ausar, Osiris

Aset in the Fayyum

Wesir and Aset were honored in the Fayyum as early as the Middle Kingdom and continued through the New Kingdom, Late Period, and Greco-Roman period. Wesir, Aset and Sobek-Heru were honored here as the “Osirian triad” of this region.

The Wilbour papyrus from the XX dynasty mentions a small chapel or temple to Aset called “Per Aset, Mut Netjer” or “House of Aset, Mother of God.” One of Her epithets here was “Aset, the Great, Mother of God.” She was honored here as the mother of Sobek/Heru-sa-Aset and the wife of Wesir.

Sobek was identified with Heru-sa-Aset (as Sobek-Heru or Heru-Sobek) since at least the XII dynasty. There is also evidence for a syncretic deity Sobek-Wesir (Sobek-Osiris) who took the form of a mummified crocodile. There is also a syncretic form of Sobek-Ra-Wesir.

Wesir here is associated with the willow for his regenerative powers via vegetation and for containing his body as his coffin. This may have been a part of the Aset’s mourning for Wesir festivals recorded here. In the Book of the Fayyum it mentions, “Wesir, Foremost of the Land of the Lake, Who comes from Herakleopolis, guided on his path by his sister Aset.”

Aset was also honored at the Soknopaiou Nesos Temple in the Fayyum with the epithets Aset Nepherses (with the Beautiful Throne) and Nephremmis (of the Beautiful Arms). Along with Sobek, She was honored with Heru-sa-Aset and Wesir. She has a couple festivals listed at this temple.

1st Akhet/Thoth/August
19-Procession and Purification of Aset, of the Beautiful Arms (Isis Nephremmis) and Heru-sa-Aset (Harpokrates)

3rd Akhet/Hethara/October
17 to 20-Festival of Aset, with the Beautiful Throne (Isis Nepherses)

4th Akhet/Koiak/November
8 to 17-Festival of the Marriage of Aset, with the Beautiful Throne (Isis Nepherses), the Great Goddess

1 Peret/Tybi/December
1-Festival of the Foundation of the Temple of the Goddess Aset, of the Beautiful Arms (Isis Nephremmis), the Great

2 Peret/Mechir/January
12 to 24-Festival of Roses/Rhodophoria

3 Shomu/Epiphi/June to 4 Shomu/Mesore/July
26 of 3 Shomu to 15 of 4 Shomu-Festival of the Birth of Aset, with the Beautiful Throne (Isis Nepherses), the Great Goddess

4 Shomu/Mesore/July
26 of 4 Shomu to 4 of Extra Days-Festival of the Foundation of the Temple

At Medinat Medi, Aset-Renenutet was honored alongside Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset. Within the Third Greek Hymn of Isidoros, there are two festivals mentioned: 20 of Pachons and Thoth. The hymn mentions to give the gods libations, offerings and sacrifices.

1st Akhet/Thoth/August
20-Feast of Aset-Renenutet, Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset

1 Shomu/Pachons/April
20-Feast of Aset-Renenutet, Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset

Sources

Britcault, Laurent. “Isis Nepherses” in Egyptian Religion: The Last Thousand Years Part 1: Studies Dedicated to the Memory of Jan Quaegebeur. edited by Willy Clarysse, Antoon Schoors and Harco Willems. (Peeters, 1998), 522-527.

Capron, Laurent. “Déclarations fiscales du Temple de Soknopaiou Nêsos: éléments nouveaux,” in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik. Bd. 165, Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, Bonn (Germany). (2008), pp. 133-160.

Vanderlip, Vera Frederika. The Four Greek Hymns of Isidorus and the Cult of Isis. Canada: A. K. Hakkert, 1972.

Zecchi, Marco. “Osiris in the Fayyum.” Fayyum Studies: Volume 2. Sergio Pernigotti and Marco Zecchi, ed. Ante Quem and Dipartimento di Archeologia dell’Università di Bologna, 2006.
pages 122-124; 126-127; 131; 132-133; 133-134; 136;

Articles, Aset-Serqet, Auset-Serqet, Isis-Selkis, Names and Epithets

Epithets of Serqet

Epithets of Serqet

Daughter of Ra (1)
Divine Mother (2)
Eye of Ra (3)
Great (4)
Lady of All the Gods (5)
Lady of Heaven (6)
Lady of the House of Life (7)
Lady of the Netherworld (8)
Lady of the Sacred Land (Necropolis) (9)
Lady of the Two Lands (10)
Mistress of the Beautiful House (11)

Sources

(1) Piankoff, Alexandre. Mythological Papyri: Bollingen III Series. (University of Princeton Press, 1957), 152. Papyrus of Ta-Shed-Khonsu.

(2) Wilkinson, Richard H. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2003) , 234. Piankoff, Mythological Papyri, 102. Papyrus of Nisti-Ta-Nebet-Taui.

(3) Piankoff, Mythological Papyri, 153. Papyrus of Ta-Shed-Khonsu.

(4) Piankoff, Mythological Papyri, 152. Papyrus of Ta-Shed-Khonsu.

(5) Piankoff, Mythological Papyri, 181. Papyrus of Gaut-Sushen A.

(6) Wilkinson, Complete, 234.

(7) Piankoff, Mythological Papyri, 138. Papyrus of Ta-Udja-Re.

(8) Piankoff, Mythological Papyri, 153. Papyrus of Ta-Shed-Khonsu.
(9) Wilkinson, Complete, 234.

(10) Piankoff, Mythological Papyri, 152. Papyrus of Ta-Shed-Khonsu.

(11) Wilkinson, Complete, 234.

Articles, Aset, Auset, Isis

Why I Honor Aset

Someone asked me a question a while ago: Why do you honor Aset?

I said protection. And I was a little flustered so I couldn’t think of other things to say. Love was another answer too. I’m not used to talking religion with people in person and with family members no less.

I thought this was a good answer, but it’s not all of it. It is so much more complicated.

I’ve been drawn to Aset since I was nine years old. My Dad went to Egypt that year and got me a pendant of Her. I wore it all the time. Then, that Christmas, I got a book on Egyptian Mythology. It was George Hart’s Egyptian Myths. Then came the love of all things Egypt. But Aset (Isis as I knew Her then) was always my focus. I read about Her for years. I read about the Fellowship of Isis and Olivia Durdin-Robertson. I read some of Budge’s works before I knew better. I read other books too.

After learning that Budge’s work wasn’t the best source, I cooled on Egypt for awhile. I read comic books and fantasy and science fiction novels. I read books about mythology. Japanese, Egyptian and Norse were my favorites to study.

I was enamored with mythology and religion. It’s no wonder I went for Religious Studies degrees in college. But I digress.

Why do I worship an Egyptian Goddess and Aset no less? She’s been there in my life since I was 9 and never left! 🙂 I do love Her as a child loves her mother. She created me so a part of me is like Her, like when DNA is passed down from one generation to the next or in this case, personality traits and existing within existence as an autonomous being. Entwined within the hum of my soul is MY NAME and She is there. She spoke my Name upon my creation. She is my Mother.

And this is one reason I honor Her.

Because She is my Mother, I do Her work in the world. For we are the Hands and Eyes of God. I write for Her. I record hymns and names and the history of Her worship. I honor Her with offerings on a nominally daily basis.

And so I honor this Egyptian Goddess. And that is part of why.

Articles, Athena, Devotional Practice, Polytheism, Shrine

My Meeting with Zeus

When I woke up today, I saw a white haired bearded man seated on my table as I walked into the room. I’ve never had this happen before. He sat on my table and I could see him placing cards on the table as if He were dealing out cards.

“Who are you?”

“Zeus.”

I have an Oracle deck for the Hellenic Pantheon so I pulled that out and started pulling cards. I got up at one point to shower and give offerings to the Hellenic deities in my Household. When I was done, I got the inclination that He still wanted me to pull cards.

I got some cards over and over again. Messages I wasn’t getting were beginning to weave together, reading after reading. During the last reading session, He called me a “mantis” (this apparently means diviner in Greek).

A few of the messages I got were:

*fill your life with joy
*fill your life with beauty
*do what you love
*know who you are and act on it; master yourself
*love yourself
*Know why you honor the Gods you do (Thinking they are cool isn’t enough of a good reason.)
*transformation of old habits into new ones
*creation of joy
*creativity and inspiration; new projects and new beginnings

One of the things He wanted to know was the reason why I was doing things. He wanted to know why I was honoring Athena. I told Him that I admired Her and I honored Her because She helped me with my home once. The first time I ever met Her, the Goddess Athena had me write a four (or 7; I can’t remember the exact number) page poem to Her. But I also remembered I was told (by Aset) that honoring the Hellenic deities would teach me how to treat my home like a temple. That I would learn to treat my home as a sacred and holy place. This is something sorely lacking within Kemetic religion.

Household worship is the staple to Hellenic religious practice and that foundation is largely missing within Kemetic religion. So I honored Hestia today and Hera and Zeus along with Athena. I libated to these Gods of Olympos. I always give Them libations as I don’t have a safe way to burn or a practical way to bury the food offerings.

And as I’m writing this I’m remembering something Athena told me to do that I haven’t been doing. So this is a good reminder. Ask Her for help with my home.

And that question of Why do you honor the Gods that you do? is harder to answer than I thought.

There are many reasons to honor certain deities over others:

*affinity with the occupation you have
*They created you and you are Their spiritual child
*They have work for you to do for Them
*They rule over the Household and you (hopefully) live in a house/apartment/condo, etc.
*They showed up since you honor their brother, mother, father, sister, wife, husband etc.
*Some other reason

So why do I honor some of the Olympic deities? Why do I honor Athena?

The obvious answer is that She’s a Goddess and what fool doesn’t give the deities their due?

Just because They deserve honor doesn’t mean we can honor every single god or goddess. Some deities will get along with certain devotees better than others. I tend to honor deities of knowledge, order, magic, death and healing. Someone else may have different threads of influences from their deities.

My other answer to this would be that I’m an independent scholar with a Masters degree, that I bead necklaces and may start to paint. Being an artisan and a scholar are under the domain of Athena.

But that doesn’t really answer the question. Why am I honoring Her?

Athena showed up unexpectedly in my life. I honestly did not see Her coming. But She came and I just started to respond. I honored Her when I could; I try to honor Her on Her monthly festivals on the 3rd, 13th and 23rd day of each month. Sometimes I forgot or I was too lazy or I was sick or on my period or some other reason I didn’t honor Her on that day.

But when I could I’d try to show up and give an offering. And sometimes I made mistakes and did things I know not to do now. And sometimes why you show up isn’t as important as that you took the effort to show up. And sometimes why are you here isn’t a reprimand, but a question. Do you know what you are doing? Do you know what you are building or making? Do you know what it means to become acquainted with a God?

Do you know what you are doing when you honor this God instead of that one? Or you honor this God from this pantheon and this other God from this other pantheon? Do you know the relationships you are building?

Do you understand that when you honor a God and invite Them into your home, then They are a permanent houseguest? And if you need to take down their shrines or altars, you need to ask Their permission? That is not your space anymore. It is Theirs.

Do you know, dear child, do you know that when you honor a God, you are building a relationship between two beings and both have agency? And both have power.

And both of them have the power of choice.

Do you build a shrine and a relationship with a foundation of kharis (holy blessings; reciprocity gift-giving) or do you build it on superficial manners and willful ignorance?

How you build the shrine to Them is what the foundation of your relationship is made of.

Blessings flow where offerings go.

Build it well.

Articles, Polytheism

Polytheist Practice

This blog post (linked here: There IS No “Pagan Umbrella”: Reframing the (Current) Pagan/Polytheist Debate) inspired my post below.

I think the polytheist community needs to be its own thing. We are not Pagans, using Outer Court Wicca practices and Hermetic Practices to conduct rituals. Not everyone calls quarters, casts circles, calls upon a God and Goddess, does a magical working and concludes the rite with cakes and ale.

In fact, most polytheists, I would argue, don’t do this. Most Polytheists that I’m familiar with (Kemetic, Hellenic Heathen/Germanic and possibly Canaanite) do things very differently.

1) Most of us honor ancestors and have ancestor altars in our homes to honor our departed loved ones.

2) We have shrines to Gods and Goddesses in our homes and They are treated as individual beings with their own personalities, attributes and affinities. They are given offerings, ritual and are worshiped at their shrines during certain times (daily, weekly, monthly and/or during festivals). Also, some people follow deities from one pantheon while others follow deities from more than one pantheon. And some follow more than one religious path. It varies.

3) Some of us honor House or Land spirits. Some honor other spirits.

4) Many of us honor the deities in rituals consisting of incense (or essential oils, flowers, scent of some kind, etc.), candles, offerings and libations as well as ancient or modern hymns. Gestures of adoration and praise can also be incorporated in this.

5) Many of us derive our religious practices from ancient sources such as those found in archaeology, anthropology and literature as well as temples where applicable. We also derive our practices from getting input from the deities Themselves. (Since we are dealing with incorporeal, sentient, distinct entities, we would ask for Their input on how They would like to be honored). So experiences with the deities would also help inform our practices.

6) We also adapt our religious practices to our time and place. We don’t live in the ancient world and we are not the ancients. So we offer fig newtons to Kemetic deities and chocolate to Hetharu and strawberries to Aset and cheese to Wepwawet and red wine to Sekhmet. We offer what we are able to given the deities historic (or modern) associations, our own budgets, our own abilities and our own religious taboos (if we have any; someone who has a taboo against eating pork may not offer it, etc.)

Articles, Aset, Auset, Isis, Bast, Bastet, Bast-Mut, Sekhmet, Sekhmet-Mut

Aset and Mut

Mut’s name means “Mother”. She is often portrayed as a lioness-headed woman, a woman with the Double Crown or a woman with the Horns and Sundisk Crown. She is the goddess of royalty, the King’s inheritance, renewal of the dead, motherhood, women and protection. She is an Eye of Ra goddess and is attested as Ra’s daughter. She’s the wife of Amun or Amun-Ra and the mother of Khonsu. In the Distant Goddess myth, Mut turns into Sekhmet, leaves and returns when her anger is appeased. She turns back into Mut at the shores of the lake Isheru. Mut has a few syncretizations mostly, Sekhmet-Mut, Bast-Mut, Hethert-Mut and Aset-Mut.

At the Temple of Medjed in Asyut, there is a composite deity called Aset-Mut-Hethert who is portrayed as a woman wearing the horns and sundisk crown (1). When Mut’s roles called for fertility or sexual functions they were given to Aset (2).

There is a hymn containing a reference to Aset-Mut.

In a hymn to Hethert, it says: Hail Great One of many names…
You from whom the divine entities come forth
In this Your name of Mut-Aset!(3)

Aset and Mut were worshiped together at the Temple of Shanhur. This Temple had theologies from both Coptos and Thebes. Aset’s renewal cycle within the Temple was via the Wesir Mythos (Wesir is associated with Min here) and Mut’s was the Distant Goddess myth cycle. Aset and Mut were also honored together as both celestial mothers and as bearing moon gods as sons. Both of them were solar goddesses who renewed the moon disk each month (4). And also both of their consorts/sons were Ka-mut-ef “Ka or Bull of His Mother” (5). There is a speculation due to Aset’s name being on both entrances (as opposed to Mut’s name being on one of them) that at this temple there is a blending or joining of Aset and Mut or Mut may be a manifestation of Aset, but this is not conclusive (6).

The “Great Goddess Aset” often appears alongside depictions of the goddess Mut. In the bandeau inscriptions, the same happens. Those on the east are dedicated to the “Great Goddess Aset”, those on the west to Mut. However, both the east and west bandeau inscriptions on the facade of the sanctuary contains dedications exclusively to forms of Aset. This suggests an existence of a certain fusion between Aset and Mut (7).

Mut is the matriarch. She is the mother goddess of the throne. She is the mother of the king and the establishment of the king’s royal power. Aset is the mother of the king as the goddess who places the rulers on their thrones. A king cannot rule without the blessings of the mother goddesses. Aset and Mut rule over royal inheritance, the renewal of the dead and goddesses of sovereignty. Both of them are goddesses of the ka as being passed down through the royal lineage and family lines.

Mut and Aset are both daughters of Ra and the cobra and lioness goddess as the Eye of Ra. Both of them are manifestations of the “Celestial Cow” who gave birth to the heavenly bodies.

Both of them are the beneficial power of the sun in both giving warmth and giving the plants sunlight. Both of them are goddesses of royal power, authority, inheritance of the throne, sovereignty, solar power, renewal of both the sun and land and the remembrance of the deceased.

Sources

1) DuQuesne, Terence. “The Great Goddess and her Companions in Middle Egypt”. Mythos und Ritual. Festschrift für Jan Assmann zum 70. Geburtstag. (2008), 23.

2) Wilkinson, Richard H. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2003), 155.

3) Baring, Anne and Jules Cashford. “Isis of Egypt: Queen of Heaven, Earth and the Underworld”. The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image. Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, ed. New York: Penguin, 1993, pp. 255.

4) Willems, Harco, and Filip Coppens, Marleen De Meyer and Peter Dils. The Temple of Shanhur: Volume 1. (Peeters, 2003), 26-29, and 47-48.

5) Willems, Harco, and Filip Coppens, Marleen De Meyer and Peter Dils. The Temple of Shanhur: Volume 1. (Peeters, 2003), 33-34.

6) Willems, Harco, and Filip Coppens, Marleen De Meyer and Peter Dils. The Temple of Shanhur: Volume 1. (Peeters, 2003), 28, 47-48 and 101.

7) Willems, Harco, and Filip Coppens, Marleen De Meyer and Peter Dils. The Temple of Shanhur: Volume 1. (Peeters, 2003), 48.