Devotional Jewelry

New Bracelet Style!

bast7

We’ve been selling the top style, with toggle clasps and pearl knotting, for a while now, but just this past weekend at NoVA Pagan Pride Day, we unveiled a new version, on stretchy cord!  They seemed pretty popular, probably due to the ease of wear, and maybe because of the slightly lower price point!

They won’t all be in the Etsy shop just yet, because we’ve only made a few so far, but if you’ve had your eye on a bracelet you think you’d prefer on stretchy cord, drop us a line!  We can either stick a custom listing in the shop or send you an invoice with Paypal.  We’re always happy to do custom orders, especially when we’re going to be rolling out the product later on anyway!

What do you think?  Which style do you prefer?  And what other types of devotional jewelry do you want to see in the future?  Necklaces?  Earrings?  Drop a comment below or send us an email; we’d love to hear from you!

 

Bright Moon, Kemetic, Paganism

Kemetic Bright Moon Omen 9/24

This Bright Moon I once again performed my solitary ritual, answered questions that were presented to me, and received the following omen from Bast and Sekhmet, whom I serve as an oracular priestess-initiate:

Disaster looms on the horizon, invited by those who crave the poison of isfet.  It is not yet a certainty, however – only one possibility out of many.  You can free yourself from the poisonous allure by sticking to truth, knowledge, and using your own intuition.  This uncertain time is part of a cycle of growth and change, and the Eyes of Ra fight beside you as you use whatever means are at your disposal to fight back.  You must protect yourself, but you must also fight, because the outcome will be our legacy, for good or ill.  Those who prevail will grow in power, and if they are not righteous it will be all the harder to resist them later.

This seems to echo themes I’ve been hearing from the Morrigna, and messages others are getting about this turbulent time.  Some believe that this turbulence is due to the turning of an Age, and that holds resonance for me, but my personal beliefs have always centered on the Here and Now, doing what work we can in our immediate communities, as soon as we can.

Blessings from Bast and Sekhmet, and I’ll see you all next Bright Moon.

Bright Moon, Kemetic

Kemetic Bright Moon 8/26

This moon’s message from Bast and Sekhmet:

“Things are in flux right now, turning, shifting, and you need to take rest where you can find it. You can manage your mundane life and household well if you stay organized, though, and don’t let things slide. There is time and energy enough. Time comes in fast cycles now, dark and light, night and day. Shadows grow long and frightening at night, but you can address them more shrewdly in the sunlight. Things are not as bad as they seem – you have them better in hand than you think.”

That’s encouraging! Happy Bright Moon, everyone!

Event, Holiday Celebration, Kemetic

Wep Ronpet: In Review

Well, it turned out that I mostly ended up doing a very short meditation on the deity in question on the day-of, after queuing most of the shrine images and the “about this deity” posts on my kemetic tumblr in advance.  Then I pulled a single card from my Lo Scarabeo Egyptian Tarot deck, as a message from the deity.  If you want to see those posts, check out this link.  The messages were overwhelmingly about hospitality and working together, so I think I’m going to be working a bit more with the Kemetic pantheon in the coming year.

I didn’t manage to see the star rise, unfortunately, because it was cloudy, but I was awake and I did my brief meditation at that time or a little after.  I did the execration on Wep Ronpet itself, because rain made our other plans for the afternoon and evening somewhat delayed, and by the time we had eaten and everyone had written on the pot, I was much too tired.  So the next morning I donned my whites (my casual whites – I decided a nice white tank top was a better idea for camping than my new white dress), took the pot, declared it to be isfet, and offered its destruction to Bast and Sekhmet, Eyes of Ra!  Then I handed it to a friend who has some serious things she needed gone, to smash because I was still not quite energized enough to really slam it.  But she slammed it.  Gods did she ever.  And then a bunch of us picked up the pieces and tossed them in the trash where it belongs.  Good fucking riddance, isfet.

Then Glasreo and I headed home from our lil druidy camping trip, and the next day I had a New Year’s bath in honor of Bast and Sekhmet.  I used a “yoga” Bath bomb from Lush – that’s in the posts from the link above, too.  I realized that my original oath of service to Bast has expired… I am due to re-oath myself, this time to both of them, and I did, briefly, but I need to write out a more formal contract sometime soon, to honor my role as an oracle-priestess-in-training.  And I may need to figure out an Egyptian phrase for that.

All in all, it was a very excellent first holiday, and you can expect more Kemetic holiday celebrations getting written up here in the future.

Event, Kemetic

Wep Ronpet – Kemetic New Year

I’m attempting a Kemetic New Year celebration for the first time this year!  I’ve been a devotee of Bast and Sekhmet for a while now, and I decided it’s finally time to really start doing holidays.  Previously I had not done much by way of Kemetic holiday celebrations in large part because the calendar is pretty complicated – the new year is calculated starting from the first day the star Sirius can be seen in the pre-dawn twilight, ahead of the sunrise.  That requires staring at a lot of star charts and comparing dates to find the first day… and then calculating how many days between Wep Ronpet and any given holiday in the calendar, and adding that many days to your calculated Wep Ronpet date… and honestly, it was bit overwhelming.  But this year, I bit the bullet, and I’m doing Wep Ronpet.  I’m using the date for DC even though I live a bit into Virginia – and that date is August 7th, at 5:42 am.  That means that the five Epagomenal Days start on August 2nd, with the Birthday of Wesir (Osiris), followed by Heru-Wer (Horus the Elder), Set, Aset (Isis), and Nebhet (Nepthys) being the final birthday on August 6th.  That evening I’m also planning on doing a red pot execration, similar to the one I described in a previous post.  With any luck I will also rise early enough to see the star herself rise, ushering in the new year.

Although I will be camping with druidy friends for Lughnasadh for most of that week, I am setting up a follow-along for the Epagomenal Days and Wep Ronpet on my Kemetic tumblog, so check that out if you’re interested.  I’ll also post a reflection once it’s all over.

I am very excited and I hope this will be the beginning of a year with many new holidays for me!  (Especially if the Egyptian Daybook is actually released soon.)  I have stuck a few into my calendar already: the Festival of Bast and Sekhmet (Nov 19), the Sailing of Bast, Sekhmet, and Anubis (Jan 3-5), and the Festival of Chewing Onions for Bast (Apr 16).  I don’t know what I’ll be doing for all of them, yet, but I think Bast and Sekhmet have big plans for me this coming year.

Event, Ritual

Sacred Space, Day 2

Gwdihŵ has sort of declined to write up his incomplete notes, so you’ll really just be getting my experience of the conference except where we attended an event together, I’m afraid.  But here was my Day 2!

Experiential Tree Ogham, by Raven Edgewalker

I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop.  I think this one, along with her second workshop on the last day, made up my favorite part of the entire weekend.  And also I now have ogham on the brain, so expect a little bit of that to filter through here eventually.  (Yes, I still have new tarot decks to learn, and yes, I’m beginning to learn runes, but really, a witch can never have too many forms of divination, can she?)

Raven started out with a little background and history of the ogham: it’s an alphabet, trees aren’t the only things associated with the letters (and some of those trees are vines or shrubs), it probably post-dates Christian contact, etc.  She emphasized that she likes that it’s newer, and likes that it seems to have been not fully developed by the time it was no longer used heavily, because that means there’s a lot of work that still could have been done, and that plus the fact that we don’t have complete sources means that it’s easier to create our own version, and to customize it to ourselves and our own practice.  She talked a bit about how she couldn’t get into ogham at first, couldn’t learn the symbols, not until she started actually working with plants and trees, and then from that work she ended up back at ogham.

Then she had us do a short meditation, where we were instructed to go find a tree and talk to it for a moment.  Many people found a tree from their childhood, or a tree that they interact with often now.  I ended up meeting the Black Spruce spirit I had been working with all winter.  One of the things Raven emphasized when we shared about our experiences was a thing I learned from Black Spruce previously – trees are not in a hurry.  They have time; they do not rush.  And neither should we, learning ogham.  She said we should start with getting to know the trees.  If you can identify 20 trees, learn their other properties, and then learn 20 more.  If you can only identify 2 trees, learn their properties and learn two more.  Double your knowledge.  Move slowly.  Feel your way through the trees and then the ogham as a system of divination will grow naturally in you.  A lot of the meanings she gets when she reads ogham hinge on her personal associations and personal relationships with the trees themselves.

There are 20 trees in the original ogham, but she said her personal set has grown to include about 70 plants, and she’s continued on the pattern of symbols and made her own staves, each out of the wood of the plant, and she encourages all of us to do the same – make our own version of the ogham.

Raven closed with another meditative exercise: this time we were supposed to become a tree, to start as a seedling and grow, trying to really feel and imagine branches and roots and the wind, and the other trees around us, a whole forest in the room.  That was a deeply grounding and beautiful exercise.

 

Tarot and Talking with the Dead, by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince

Ellen started the class by setting up a small altar piece: what appeared to be a Halloween decoration graveyard with little stones and a little doll representing Maman Brigitte.  As she set up, Ellen talked a bit about Maman Brigitte, her relationship to the goddess and saint Brigid, and her role in Vodou as the wife of Baron Samedi and the Queen of the Graveyard.  Then we did a small ground-center-focus meditation, and said an invocation of Maman Brigitte together.

The first tarot spread was a four-card spread in which we were supposed to talk to a specific ancestor or other dead person or spirit, with each card asking one of the following questions:

  1. What is the primary energy or power of this spirit?
  2. How can you participate in the manifestation of that power?
  3. What particular message does this spirit have for you?
  4. What do you have to offer this spirit in return?

I used my LOTR deck, and ended up talking to my great-grandfather, who died while I was in college.

The second spread was asking the dead in general for their advice and insight, and it was a three-card spread using the following questions:

  1. What is important for me to know about what is coming in my personal world?
  2. What is important for me to know about what is coming in my community?
  3. What is important for me to know about what is coming in the larger world?

Many of us got answers about a time of change and upheaval in the last two questions.

We ended with a short journey meditation, to go and talk to the dead directly.  I went to see my great-grandfather and also saw my great-grandmother, his wife, and their son, my great-uncle whom I never met.  I helped them some with healing, and it was a very powerful but very personal moment.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ellen’s workshop, and it is to my dismay that I did not make it to her other tarot workshop: Tarot with the Dark Goddess.  She also presented “Inside Out Magic” and “Writing Ancient Lives”, both of which Gwdihŵ attended and enjoyed.

 

 

The New Orleans Conjure Dance, presented by Caroline Kenner and Gryphon’s Grove School of Shamanism, with music by Firesong

As it says in the Sacred Space programme, the Conjure Dance is a “ritual dance of spirit possession and manifestation.  It is inspired by the dances performed by Marie Laveau on Sundays in Congo Square, New Orleans, before the Civil War.”  Many deities from many different pantheons are invoked through song, and many more are given representation on altars set up along the walls of the room.

As I did last year, I began by walking around the room to look at all the altars first.  My first sweep with Gwdihŵ was just to greet everyone, and to see who was represented.  On our second pass, we left offerings.  We had brought a few special offerings, a bag of multicolor jelly beans, and a bag of gold foil wrapped chocolate eggs.  We gave each table a chocolate egg, and the jelly beans we passed out to our particular friends in each pantheon, using color symbolism.  Gwdihŵ also brought a few origami cranes and shells to give to some of his gods, and I had brought a large dark chocolate bunny also wrapped in gold foil for Bast.  There was alcohol provided by Caroline Kenner & co, and we gave a little of that as well, before settling in to enjoy the music some and to listen for invocation songs of those we know.

After a little while I went back to the Egyptian altar and sat for a moment, to ask Bast if she might join me for the night.  I had thought that it would take a lot of preparation work to be able to tune out the noise and find my center in order to open and let her in, but the opposite was true – I needed no more than ask, and she was there.  Then the juggling act of having a headmate began.  Walking was difficult only for the first few steps – then we made our way over to the alcohol to have a shot of something.  She wanted something sweet, like chocolate liqueur or kahlua or frangelico, but we had to settle for a sweet dark rum, which we both enjoyed.  Speaking was a little difficult at times – Gwdihŵ asked me about the alcohol and to be careful (because alcohol frequently doesn’t agree with my chronic illness) but I (we?) assured him that we would not have much – just a taste.  Bast seemed to enjoy watching the spectacle, and she was proud of how many statues she had on the Egyptian altar (although she was tied with Anpu, whom she ribbed gently).  We also tried a violet liqueur, and she didn’t like it, or I didn’t like it – I’m still not exactly sure.  Either way, we decided not to drink the whole shot, and so a shot and a half was our total alcohol consumption for the night.  We did try the peeps, though – I like them, and she enjoyed biting off their heads, as they were intended as stand-ins for sacrificial chickens.  Mostly we just watched and moved and tried to keep our balance, with her enjoying embodiment, but staying politely in the passenger’s seat of the car, so to speak.

I did need a little bit of help from a friend to find the stickers we were supposed to use if we didn’t want to be touched or had allergies or something, because that was early on and I was having trouble looking for them and I wasn’t sure how well I was going to be able to have a real conversation, starting with “Hello, Are you one of the helpers?  I have a request…”etc.  So instead I (we) walked up to my friend and sort of blurted out, “Do you know where the stickers are?  I need one.”  She saw that I was possessed and if I’m not mistaken also had a pretty good idea who my headmate was, and she helped me find the stickers and checked in with me and I assured her that I was fine, but having a little bit of difficulty with words.  Once I had the stickers on, Bast and I danced around some, and had a few interactions with friends, though some of those are less clear than others.  Between the alcohol and the late night and the headmate, my memory is not as crisp as it could have been, but it’s not truly patchy, either, just a little out of focus.

There was one point where I noticed a friend in distress and Bast pulled back quite a bit more so that I could speak a bit more fluently and not have to be balancing her presence while I tried to find assistance.  Once I had found someone to help and had communicated the problem to both them and Gwdihŵ (who had no headmates), I felt comfortable relaxing again and she came back, unperturbed by the interruption.  I am not sure, but I think she even pulled back without me asking her to in the first place – I find she is very respectful of boundaries, provided she knows them already or can predict them.  She even reminded me to go get my water bottle at one point, because I’d had nothing to drink but the two shots of alcohol.

I didn’t expect her to give me any messages for anyone, as we were really just having a good time at a party for the most part, but there was a particular friend of mine there who also works with Bast, and every time he passed by, she sort of sighed in my head and said, “Isn’t he great?”  or “I really like him.” or something like that, so after probably a half hour of that or more, I did go and tell him that she appreciated him, etc, knowing that he likely already knew that, but it’s always nice to hear it again.

The other interaction of any note, is that while I was outside talking with Gwdihŵ and another attendee, someone else who was possessed came out with a helper in tow, and Bast (who had been mostly in the background so that I could talk), came forward and perked up her ears and said “Loki?”.  I just barely did not allow that to come out of my mouth, afraid that I/she was wrong, but it turns out that she was right, and I’m a bit sorry now that I didn’t say it and allow that interaction to play out.  Oh well.  He’s since told me that he knew I/we recognized him then, but that it’s possible his possessory host did not, intent as she was (they were) on having a cigarette.

The acquisition of Bast as a headmate seems to have been much easier than her departure.  She was still quite present, although no longer quite in the passenger’s seat, by the time I fell asleep.  She hadn’t really left.  But then again, she’s frequently very close by even when we’re not attempting something possessory, and I think the line between being able to hear her, and her being a headmate is a bit blurrier than I had originally thought.  In any case, she was gone in the morning.

I think it was a good exercise in boundaries and balancing.  I have known for some time that I was once her Oracle and she would like me to fill that role again, and I think we’ll need more practice before we get there, but the ease of our night together at the Conjure Dance bodes well.  Dua Bast!

 

~Réaltán~

[Day 1 Here]

[Day 3 Here]

[Day 4 Here]

 

Etsy Shop Update

Devotional Jewelry: Bast

Bast5

I have finally finished (and listed in the Etsy Shop) my first piece of devotional jewelry: a bracelet for devotees of Bast, the Lady Devourer, my Patroness.  The bracelet is about 8.5 inches in length, but as I have enough supplies to make several more, the length can be variable with the addition or removal of the golden glass accent beads.  The gemstone beads are rutilated quartz, golden tiger’s eye, picture jasper, and black onyx, all in 8mm rounds and pearl-knotted on durable nylon cord.

There are four of each bead, in four groups, split in half by the glass scarab bead.  The number four is important in Kemetic numerology, and of course the scarab is an important symbol as well, and protective amulets were often carved in the shape of this beetle.  The gemstones are ones that I personally associate with Bast, and the golden accents are evocative of the Netjeru generally, as they are sometimes said to have been made from gold itself!

Hopefully this bracelet will find its way home with someone who will appreciate both the design and the goddess for which it was made!

~Réaltán~

Event, Ritual

Kemetic Execration Ritual Outline

In the interest of keeping most of my more formal workings here on this blog, especially if they serve the folk, which is the end goal of Serendipities, I have decided to copy here a ritual outline I originally posted to my pagan tumblr.

About a month ago, I led a Kemetic revivalist styled (flavored?) public rite using the sanctuary of the ADF Grove where I a member.  It was done as a “moon rite” because Kemetic rituals aren’t ADF-kosher for the 8 yearly High Rites, and honestly, that suited me just fine – it was a more intimate rite and I got to use my own outline, instead of the ADF Core Order of Ritual.  I started with Per Sebek’s outline here, and then altered it to fit a group, and to more closely resemble the sort of ritual my attendees were used to (ie, ADF-style), and as we were holding this rite outside, after sunset, in October, I tried to make sure it would be short, too.

My general intention for the ritual was to help us let go of things that no longer served us, in preparation for Samhain (I led the rite the week before) and the introspection of winter months.

So here is the ritual outline, complete with prayers written by me:

Continue reading “Kemetic Execration Ritual Outline”