Kemeticism

Kemetic mourning rituals

We preempt your normally scheduled Kemetic vs. Atheist post to bring you some information on Kemetic mourning rituals. Well, at least the ritual from my temple.

A few minutes ago, I got word that a friend of mine died yesterday. We weren’t especially close, but I took the news that she was dying with some shock, and I spent some time with her at her last SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) event. (The SCA has been part of my story for over 28 years, off and on. It’s how I got to meet real live pagans and come to accept them and their existence. But I’m getting off track.) And I did cry when I heard that she’d passed.

The ancient Egyptians mourned their dead for 70 days, primarily because it took 70 days to make a mummy. They believed that while the body was being prepared for mummification, the ka (roughly translated as “spirit”) was going through trials, aided by the prayers in the Book of the Dead, in preparation for entering the Field of Reeds.

So today, modern Kemetics also mourn for 70 days. Specifically, I take this part of Daily Rite (I say these words as I pour water into a small bowl):

I pour cool water for the akhu [blessed dead], shining like gold in the vault of Nut. May they be cooled. I pour cool water for my sebau [teachers, priests], who guide us on the Way. May they be cooled. I pour cool water for Wepwawet, Who opens the Way for us. May He be cooled. I pour cool water for Ma’at, Who IS the Way. May She be cooled.

And I add this to it:

I pour cool water for _________, may he/she join the akhu.

Now, in all honesty, I tend to do this, as the saying goes, more in the breach than the observance. In other words, I don’t do this literally for 70 days. I do rite whenever I’m moved to do it (maybe a few times a week), and stop pouring cool water for the particular deceased person on the 70th day after passing. But this time I’m moved to try something different – to actually do Daily Rite for 70 days, to pour cool water for my friend for the proper amount of time. I haven’t been especially eager to push myself to do rite daily because I’m afraid that it will become rote. I guess that’s a risk I’ll have to take this time.

Do you do anything special to mourn the dead? Please leave your comments below.

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9 thoughts on “Kemetic mourning rituals

  1. I really like that idea. I’ve been wondering what I should do when my current kitty dies, since I can’t shave my eyebrows (I doubt my employer would approve). Maybe I’ll try the daily rite. I do have a prayer to Bast for the protection of a cat’s soul, as well as one to Anubis for dogs, but it might be nice to have a ritual to go along with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only gave part of the Daily Rite in my post. I guess I should give you the rest of it.

      The first part is the ritual washing. You need natron and water (natron is a combination of baking soda and salt; I made my own batch of natron a few years ago and I’m still working on it, but I don’t have the recipe, but I can get you the recipe if you’re interested).

      Take the bowl of water and say over it: O Water, may you remove all impurities!

      Take the bowl of natron and say over it: It is Pure. It is Pure. It is Pure. It is Pure.
      My natron is the natron of Heru.
      My natron is the natron of Set.
      My natron is the natron of Dehuty.
      My natron is the natron of Geb.
      My mouth is the mouth of the milking calf on the day that my mother, Aset, gave birth to me.

      Mix the natron and water in the bowl (I take a pinch of natron, letting it fall into the water in four parts as I’m reciting the above). Gargle some of the natron and spit it out. Pour the rest of the natron in your bath (optional).

      Dress in loose white clothing. White symbolizes purity, and was the commonly used color of robe worn by priests.

      The next part is the actual Rite. For this you need:
      Incense or essential oil
      Incense burner or oil diffuser
      Pitcher of water
      Two bowls – one to receive water, one for offerings
      Candles
      Image or statue of your primary Netjer

      !. Greeting Netjer. Come! Come in peace and be renewed! For the flame shines like Ra on the double horizon.

      2. Lighting Fire and Incense. The fire burns, the fire shines, the incense burns, the incense shines. May this sweet smell come to You, O Netjer, as Your sweet smell comes to me. May I be with You, O Netjer, as You are with me. May I live with You, O Netjer, as You live with me. May You love me, O Netjer, as much as I love You.

      3. Libations.

      I pour cool water for the akhu, etc. as above.

      4. Offerings.

      Receive, O Netjer, this ________________, this Eye of Heru placed at Your feet. I return to You that which is Yours.

      5. Personal Prayer and Worship. Sit in silence, or sing a hymn, or chant a prayer, or all of these. Open your heart to Netjer, for you are in its intimate presence.

      6. Closing Prayer. May I shine in Your presence, O Netjer! May I shine like Ra, having put aside all that disrupts Ma’at. May I shine each day in Your presence, O Netjer, as Ra shines on the horizon. May I live each day so that Ma’at may ascend!

      7. Removing the Foot. Netjer has come, renewed through the Eye of Heru. No evil shall enter here. The rite is ended. I go forth to live and serve fully.

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  2. I never met a mourning tradition I didn’t like. But I do particularly like the modernized, non-Orthodox version of the Jewish shiva. You stay at home for seven days, with a prayer said daily, and friends and relatives visit as they please. They bring food and drink so you don’t have to plan meals for yourself, and you sit and talk with friends. There’s a lot of laughter as well as tears.

    Liked by 1 person

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