The Monday Quote

‘I am pure, pure, pure, pure! My purity is the purity of that great phoenix which is in Heracleopolis, because I am indeed the nose of the Lord of Wind who made all men live on that day of completing the Sacred Eye in Heliopolis in the second month of winter last day, in the presence of the lord of this land. I am he who saw the completion of the Sacred Eye in Heliopolis, and nothing evil shall come into being against me in this land in this Hall of Justice, because I know the names of these gods who are in it.’

– Book of the Dead, Spell 125, pg. 31, British Museum Press edition

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The Hawk and the Bumblebee

Hello my dear friends and readers!

I know many of you have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while. Thank you for your e-mails and messages.

I have been away for a couple of weeks (well, a bit longer than that actually) so I haven’t had a chance to write on here at all. I do have drafts ready for revision and posting so that will happen soon. I have been working on a couple of projects as well so we’ll see how those pan out, I’ll let you all know in due time.

Being out of the city and more into nature has helped recharge batteries immensely. The weather turning towards sunny and warm has done great thing to energy levels and improving the mood as well.

Being out, I’ve witnessed a rare sight: a hawk in full hunting action. He wasn’t even a fully grown adult hawk, by the looks of it he was still very young. But that didn’t stop him from swooping down over a pigeon. It all happened so fast it actually took me a few seconds to process what I had just witnessed. A very powerful reminder of how one act can have two very different meanings, depending on the perspective: what’s tragedy and death for the pigeon is nourishment and life for the hawk. It helps seeing the full picture and being reminded of the balance that must be in all things.

Also, I’ve tried to help a poor bumblebee get some energy and buzz on by feeding him some sugar water and honey but it was to no avail. The poor thing died and there was nothing I could do about it (I think the temperature going down up and down throughout the day wasn’t helping at all, they need warmth). If you know me at all then you know I have a very soft spot for bees and bumblebees. I plant bee-friendly flowers in pots and in the garden and always give at least sugar water to those who seem to be very weak. I personally believe it’s crucial to remember how important bees and bumblebees actually are!

I’ve also been reading a lot (thankful for the time I had to do it!) and I’ve been enjoying these particular posts very much:

Magic needs a curious mind

A very special gift, and other things

The Curse Collection

And of course, don’t forget there was a new KRT round  for March; find the responses here. As you will notice, I haven’t participated in it and I don’t think there will be a catch-up post as I don’t feel that I have anything interesting to contribute to this particular  topic. This doesn’t mean I am giving up contributing completely, mind you!

That’s it for now, I’m going back to catching up with my usual chores and errands!

Best wishes to you all!

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Important Update

Dear friends and readers,

As you may know, many of you were able to find me on that massive social media site which I won’t even bother to name.

I have tried to log in earlier but I was denied access due to the fact I am using my pen name rather than my ‘real’ name.

I will not put myself in harm’s way by giving any private information and I’m am sure those of you who have had nasty experiences with stalkers will fully understand.

That, of course, means I will not be on that social media site any more. To be honest, I thought I’d be more angry than I am right now. I’m slightly pissed off but it’s not a huge loss.

I will miss interacting with friends and the groups I was part of, but I always have this blog, tumblr. and e-mail.

I’ve revised the Publicize settings and this post will now be visible on my tumblr. I hope most of you get to see this update and know that I’m not on missing from that social media site out of my own volition.

Yes, it’s in their terms and conditions. Yes, I understand that. Not arguing with that. However I wish there was some understanding from their part for those of us who absolutely need the privacy.

I think it’s a good thing that I can focus more on my writing. Shame about the interaction, but with all the other options out there, I’m pretty sure I won’t miss my account on that particular social media site.

Best wishes to you all!

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Heka for the New Year. Part 2 – Bless, Protect and Appease

Now that your home has been given a good cleanse it is ready for blessings and protection. There’s a number of things which you can do (depending on preferences and circumstances) which you can do to bless your home and bring peace and harmony into it.

Sprinkle holy water around the house, using words of power if you wish.

Use a floor wash, sneak calming, soothing herbs under your pillow, burn a sweet incense like myrrh.

For protection, you can add protective charms at the doors or windows (or even sigils – either drawn in chalk or put onto paper and tucked under the floor mat, or even under the carpet).

You can also seal you doors and windows with specific powders or mixes; salt and rosemary is a personal favourite of mine – just mix equal parts with your mortar and pestle, or in a bowl with your hands, if you prefer it more coarse).

The words of power can be chants and the like you come up with on your own or you can look at ancient texts for inspiration, such as this one:

‘NN born of NN has conjured the window. He is a tomcat.

NN born of NN has conjured the chink. He is a female falcon.

NN born of NN has conjured the blots. He is Ptah.

NN born of NN has conjured the hole. He is Nehebkau.

NN born of NN has conjured the hiding-place. He is the one whose name is hidden.

NN born of NN has conjured the cross-timbers. He is the Master of secrets.

He has conjured his (own place), his room, his bed. He has conjured the four noble ladies in whose mouth is their flame and whose fire goes behind them to chase away any male enemy, any female enemy, any male dead, any female dead that is in the body of NN born of NN. They will not fall [upon] the four noble ladies [… …] their flame in [their] mouth [… …] rushes, colocynths […]’ *

Now you can move on to the Spirits and the Gods. This bit is up to personal preferences and circumstances, so the following is in no particular or mandatory order:

Make the appropriate offerings to the Land Spirits (Genii Loci) – if applicable – preferably outside, preferably items that can decay naturally (although certain votive offerings can be made), libations.

Make the appropriate offerings for Spirits you work with regularly (again, if applicable) – this depends of course on the Spirits’ preferences.

Make the appropriate offerings for the Gods – personally, I prefer more elaborate offerings after a big cleanse. Bread and beer, flowers and wine are always a good choice. Incense as well, of course, such as kyphi, frankincense and myrrh.

At this point your surroundings are cleansed, blessed and protected, and the Spirits are Gods are appeased and, hopefully, very pleased with your endeavours. You can carry on into the new year with a feeling of renewal.

However this doesn’t take care of you personally. Now it’s time for some spiritual TLC for yourself. You might want to cleanse and empower yourself. You might have a nice cleansing bath – I have a preferred formula for that (feel free to get inspired), you might anoint yourself with a specific oil and do some empowering work for yourself, a ‘magical boost’ if you will.

~~~

* A protection of the house in Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts, J.F. Borghouts, Reiden, 1978

 

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What’s always there

For this month’s Kemetic Round Table, we’re talking about working with heka – how we  work with it, how we can utilize it more in our day to day lives and what tips we may have for others to get started.

At first I wasn’t sure if my post would be somewhat redundant. If you read my blog, you already know heka plays a major part in my spiritual practice. However, I decided to contribute nonetheless, there’s always something to add, explain or clarify.

Working heka is ‘what’s always there’ in my practice and it has been so for over 10 years. It’s a constant, even if there are times when I have a break. Over 10 years of learning, practice, reading, occasional screw-ups and lessons learned.

For me, heka is inseparable from daily life, even if it’s in tiny measures – and the best example I can give is trying to constantly watch my words and be aware of the effects they might have. Maybe I can sum it up that way – being aware.

It’s not always the complex rituals, though I do love a good execration (perhaps many do, they’re quite effective) and a good lamp divination. Some times I tone it down because I find there is no need for a complex ritual when there are more handy alternatives: sigils, I’m looking at you! – and yes, you can argue sigil making is a ritual in itself, but that’s not the point here. To me, a complex ritual is going through multiple steps of ritual purity (at times including fasting and sexual abstinence – depending on the need), and undergoing ritual that can last hours and which calls for a number of ingredients, instruments, gestures, words of power, etc. These certainly have a place in my practice (usually at specific times of the year or whenever the situation calls for it) but they’re not the core of it. I perform a variety of workings which can some times include only a pen and a piece of paper or papyrus. Some times I only work with chalk. And these types of workings can be very effective, especially due to that ‘awareness’ I keep talking about.

I can say that after over 10 years (it’s actually closer to 12 if I think about it) my practice has become quite solid and it took a lot of trial and error and a lot of study. And I still study. I still experiment with words of power and new instruments. There’s always something to discover. I can’t say I’m someone who generally perseveres no matter what. There are things I have given up on. Heka isn’t one of them, however. My reaction to mistakes and screw-ups in this area are usually ‘hmmmm, that didn’t go so well, back to the drawing board’. And I have experimented with other systems too. There’s always been room for that. I have endless curiosity and interest when it comes to magic. It’s there waiting to be tapped into. And experiment. And some times to just dive in.

There is always an element of caution. When I decide to experiment, I try to be as informed as possible. There’s stuff I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole and there’s stuff that doesn’t even make sense to me and I steer away from it. Some stuff looks good in theory but I don’t bother because there’s either no need or it makes no sense to do it when there are other options available, some with which I have more experience. Don’t think I just try whatever takes my fancy, because that’s not the point.

Also – and this may be the unpopular opinion – there’s a considerable burden of responsibility. You don’t just play around. I think ultimately a magician has to be responsible. And keep a lot of things in check. And while some things can be light hearted, heka should be approached in a serious manner, because it’s not a game. I think this burden of responsibility increases when you work for someone else. Like I said, it may be the unpopular opinion, but that’s what I believe – simply because whether we realize it or not, whether we like it or not, there’s always an instance of something about the client’s life that wasn’t a factor in the heka working but it should have been. Of course, the fault isn’t necessarily with the magician – I’ve seen and heard of many situations where clients keep certain things hidden, some times on purpose. I’m not saying that this always happens, but it has happened and it can happen again. Also, if you work for yourself, there can be things you keep in denial. It can happen. So gain, you have to keep a lot of things in check.

This responsibility can also take the shape of keeping in check with the ritual requirements, not taking short cuts. For example, if sexual abstinence for ritual purity requirements is a factor, then you stick to it. You don’t go all ‘ah, it’ll be fine’. Or ‘I need dragon’s blood? I’ll just substitute with cumin!’. When you choose a certain ritual, as complex or simple it may be, stick to it. Ritual requirements are there for a reason. If there’s certain aspects of it you just can’t stick to for whatever reason, simply choose or create another, which you can stick to. Again, don’t read this as ‘don’t substitute’. Substitutes have their purpose. The point is don’t do it willy-nilly.

It takes responsibility and discernment. And you can always ask a fellow practitioner. I consult with fellow practitioners all the time. There’s nothing wrong with it, in fact I recommend it. It can be of great value – some times you just need a fresh pair of eyes to look at a certain situation.

It takes learning and studying. Even if you feel your practice is solid. There’s always something you can learn. My personal favourites are words of power – whether to be spoken or written. I’m always on the look out for a formula I can use – either as is, incorporated into the practice, or adapted.

It’s also a good idea to review all those boring basics from time to time. You may think ‘I know that stuff already, I want to go forward, not backward’, but I find it’s a good habit to review from time to time. Among other things, it can give you a good overlook on how your practice has grown and solidified, what things are not pertinent any more, and what remained constant.

For an absolute beginner I can say be excited and responsible. You can be excited about trying new things and you can be responsible and practice discernment. They don’t cancel each other out. Read as much as you can and as you keep reading, start doing as well. Know your base. Know your symbols. Know the Gods. Know the why and the what, learn the how. Read on other systems as well, be familiar with various ways of doing things, even if you don’t necessarily put it all into practice. It gives you a solid foundation of knowledge that you can ground your practice in. No two people are the same and so your working heka won’t be identical to mine or anyone else’s. Another unpopular opinion (perhaps): there are right ways and wrong ways to do certain things. We don’t generally like to be wrong, we don’t really like to be told we’re wrong. And ultimately, we some times only learn from experience. And what’s right for some may be really wrong for others and vice versa.

~~~

Find all the responses for this month’s KRT here.

~~~

For a glimpse of my personal practice, here’s a list of bits I’ve written in the past. It’s by no means a full list, just a few to give you an idea, especially if you’re new to this blog.

Heka – introduction

Can anyone work heka?

Heka – Magical Drawings: Part 1, 2 and 3

Lamp Divination

Ritual eye makeup

Reconstructing and adapting rituals

 

 

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The Monday Quote

This is a short one, and it comes from the Teachings for Merikare (Middle Kingdom). There’s actually two translated versions that I’ve got written down. The first one I could not tell you for the life of me where I found it – I noted it before I started writing down what translation it was, but the second one is a Faulkner translation.

‘He (the sun god) created for them magic as a weapon, to fend off the blows of the happenings.’

‘He has made for them magic to be weapons to ward off what may happen.’

He (the sun god) = Re

Them = humans

Now why I love this paragraph so much is that I like the idea of magic (heka) as a weapon. A defensive one at that. The interesting bit, to me, is that this defensive weapon can take an aggressive stance – such with execrations: defensive in nature, but with an aggressive attitude, a sort of protection through the destruction of evil (whatever the form that evil may take: A/pep or any agent of Isfet). You protect yourself from enemies by trampling them underfoot, you ward off A/pep by destroying it* (over and over) and so on.

This is one of the reasons I love heka so much. It’s not just ‘shield yourself from it and whatever may come’ but it’s actively destroying Isfet. [I have nothing against shielding, it’s very useful, do it!]

Or maybe ‘aggressive stance’ isn’t the best wording. ‘Pro-active’ may define it better. Thoughts?

~~~

*I think I’ll stick to using the pronoun ‘it’ for A/pep. I know that usually ‘he’ is used but I feel that personifies this evil force a bit too much for my liking. It’s just a personal choice so I’m just throwing it in here, in case I get questions as to why I use ‘it’.

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Heka for the New Year. Part 1 – Cleanse and Purify

A new year is upon us and it’s in the spirit of the season to look forward to new things, be more hopeful, make resolutions (and stick with them!) and begin new projects.

It’s a good time to lay the foundations for good things to come, both from a mundane perspective and a spiritual one.

Cleanse and Purify

Start by giving your home a thorough clean. Catch up on your laundry. Clean out your fridge and give it a good scrub. Wash those curtains and throws. De-clutter and be merciless about it. Hoover the place (or sweep it), wash the floors and give the place a good dusting. Even wash your windows if you need to. Change the bed(s).

Now that your home is nice and clean, you’re all set for a proper spiritual cleanse.

Light a white candle and anoint it with a white sage/cedar/sweetgrass oil – your choice (my personal choice was a ‘Heka’ oil).

With your mortar and pestle, grind up equal parts of frankincense and white sage.

Light a charcoal block and burn a third of that mix.

In the meantime, light a smoke cleansing stick (or ‘smudge stick’) – wormwood, white sage and juniper are excellent choices (I used a canarian wormwood one).

Open all your windows. Start cleansing your home with the smoke, front to back. If it’s on more than one level, start at the bottom and work your way up (and out). You have to work your way to the front door. And don’t forget those nooks and crannies!

Use Words of Power if you wish.

When reaching the front door, open it and smoke cleanse just outside it if you can too. If your stick hasn’t burned out by now (mine almost did), just place it in a fire-proof bowl, right next to the door (which you can now close).

Come back to your charcoal block and add another third of your frankincense and sage mix. When that burns out fully, add the last third.

Let the candle burn out by itself, don’t extinguish it. For practical reasons, you might want to use a small tea light.

This may sound like a lot of work and it can be, especially giving your home a thorough clean. You don’t have to do it all in one day (it took me a little over 3 days), especially if time and physical abilities are an issue. But it is necessary for your home to be physically clean before your perform your cleanse.

Some might feel that even this process isn’t enough, for whatever reason: it has been a particularly bad year, there’s been a horrible illness, perhaps even the death of a loved one, there’s a lot of negativity build-up, and so and so forth.

In such a case, the cleansing process can be extended to a full week.

The candle best for this is a white 7 day candle (and you’ll burn one knob off it each day, instead of letting it burn in one go, like with the tea light), but if that’s not possible, then 7 individual tea lights will do (fresh one each day, burn it fully). Magic must be practical, after all.

If you need to turn this into a 7 day affair, it’s sufficient to just keep your home clean, you don’t need to scrub it down every day, but keeping clutter to a minimum, not letting the dishes or laundry pile up are generally good ideas.

More often than not, I find a cleanse such as this can leave the place a bit ’empty’, it’s like a clean slate, if you will. As such, there’s a few other things which can be done, all will be discussed in the next posts.

Good luck!

Notes:

1. Basic fire safety obviously applies: be careful so you don’t get singed fingers, you don’t burn your eyebrows/nose hair/clothes. Never leave a candle unattended either!

2. I find that the best time to do this cleanse is either during dusk or dawn. Mine was performed at dusk.

3. Since in the past I have had questions about the sources of various supplies, bits and bobs which I use, I have decided to include links – where possible. I don’t receive money to endorse any of the products and I have no monetary affiliation with them. The owner of the Camino de Yara shop is a friend and I have purchased supplies from her, and I have no  contact with the owner of Phytognosis other than being a happy return customer.

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