• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Osireion

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_isis-3.gifOnce upon a time in Egypt, back when the Nile was free to flood and recede, the harvest season (Shemu) was at its height about now. Planting would have happened in our late fall (Peret); the inundation would come again in mid- or late-summer (Akhet). Renenutet and Aset (Isis) were two of the goddesses who were honored during this season that most of us know as the vernal equinox.

Temple Osireion likes to celebrate this end of the season of Peret, the coming of spring, the flush of new life symbolized by eggs. Many ancients observed this week as the time that Aset gave birth to Horus. In fact, during our ceremony when we wave participants with a fan, it is in remembrance that Aset turned herself into a bird to stir Osiris back to life long enough for her to conceive.

Sham el Nessim is a very old Egyptian national holiday, but even in modern Egypt thousands of families, regardless of their religion, go to parks and the countryside to picnic, decorate eggs, take long walks, and, as the ancients said, “Sham el Nessim,” “sniff the breeze.” At our gathering, we decorate eggs with ancient Egyptian symbols like the ankh and eye of Horus. Everyone takes a sprig of spring onion after the ritual, breaks it open a little and smells it; this is to keep away the evil eye for the year to come - it’s especially important if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. And we also share lettuce and fish, more potent symbols of the land when it is rich, ripe and fertile.  

Sniff the breeze this week as the sun moves a bit higher in the sky. Although snow has fallen on much of the country, most of us are seeing beneath it the first bulbs and green shoots of spring. The air is indeed fresh with the scent of hope, new possibilities in the season ahead.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Nile_Delta_5.jpg

 

Last modified on
0

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_IsisCU.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_Nbt-HtLamentationCU.jpgCome to your house, Osiris!
Long, long have I not seen you
My heart mourns you.
Shall I not see you, Good King?
Come to your beloved
Gods and men look for you, weep for you together
While I can see I call to you . . .

In ancient Egypt, each person hoped to make the pilgrimage to Abydos at least once in their lifetime to attend the Osirian mysteries, observed in early November, near the end of the season of Akhet, the annual flooding of the Nile.

As the waters began to recede, they left behind rich black silt, leaving the land fertile for another year’s crops. Until the late 19th century, no one knew why the Ninle so dramatically flooded most of the country, or where all the excess water came from, and yet, the Nile, with its accompanying cycle of flooding, sowing, harvest and dry season, was the most powerful force in Egypt. With a reliable food source and a way to travel through the country, ancient Egypt became the richest and most powerful country in that part of the world.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Set1Crop.jpgThe ancients carried a memory of the great ones who came before them, the children of Ra named Osiris, Isis, Nephthys and Set (the Egyptians called them Asar, Aset, Nebt-Het and Sety). Firstborn and king Osiris, with his sister wife Isis, ruled the land with care, teaching the people to weave linen, make papyrus, brew beer and wine, and beautify (embalm) their dead.

But the most important lesson, the mystery of life, death and rebirth, came through the story of Osiris, which Temple Osireion presents annually as a ritual drama. It is a timeless story, with echoes in other mysteries throughout the classical world - Demeter and Persephone, Attis, Dionysus and Jesus.

b2ap3_thumbnail_AnubisEntry2.jpgThe festival opened with a procession in the streets led by a priest wearing the mask of Anubis (Anpu).  The soon-inebriated crowd re-enacted the murder of Osiris by his brother Set.  Inside the temple, priests conducted the sacred rituals in private.  Two priestesses played the parts of Isis and her sister Nephthys, each reciting a solemn lamentation.  The first day, the priests placed seeds in a coffin-like container with water and soil.  On the third day of the festival the priests opened the container to reveal that the buried seeds, like Osiris, had germinated and come to life.

Every one of us experiences pain, loss, grief, at some time in our lives. To experience that loss through the medium of a drama enables us to gain new insight about what we have gone through. By reliving the mysteries of Osiris we may, like Isis, find the power inside to conceive new life. We may, like Osiris, discover our own eternal, immortal nature, and rise to new life.

...
Last modified on
0

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

O King, the mouth of the earth is split open for you, Geb speaks to you.  May you be cleansed in the Jackal Lake, may you be purified in the Lake of the Duat.  Come in peace . . . (Utterance 697, Pyramid Texts, trans. Faulkner) 

We are approaching the time of year when many of the living things around us appear to die, when our spirits sag a little with the dwindling light and ebbing warmth. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_GebCropNienor.jpg

The Pyramid Texts urge the recently-deceased king along in his journey towards eternity.  Egypt’s risk for seismic activity is lower than many parts of the world, so the idea of the earth splitting open for the king may not carry memories of destruction as it would in many parts of the world.  Instead, it represents the welcome  of the earth deity, Geb, and the opportunity to be cleansed in the lakes of the Duat.  

...
Last modified on
0

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

All summer long it has rained in South Carolina, a state plagued with drought since I moved here in 1986. When it’s sunny, the humidity is smothering. At the beginning of August, Osireion held a public ceremony to mark Wep Renpet, the opening of the year and flooding of the Nile. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_WepRenpet2013.jpg

In the beautiful woodland park beside the river where we hold such occasions, a local news station joined us as part of a story about minority religions (at the anniversary of the Sikh gurdwara shootings in 2012). A number of non-Osireion friends joined us, despite the heat and humidity; we sang, danced (not too much in the heat) and visited an altar with a large bowl filled with rosewater. Someone had the inspiration this year to add some ice to the water, making it a delicious sensual experience. 

Some of the rain has eased up, though we continue to have a Gulf weather systema1sx2_Thumbnail1_Group1.jpg stalled over the Southeast. The nearby river is high, swollen and full of mud, though ours is red mud, while the life-giving silt of Kem was black. Even though here in my state the growing season has passed its peak, this is a time of new beginnings for many of us.

The respite, vacations, festivals and laziness of summer now lead to fall semesters, the end-of-year holidays, and many projects taken up with new or renewed zeal. It’s easy to relate to the time of flooding in ancient Egypt because we are also enriched and enlivened. Even the name of the season, Akhet, reminds us of fresh starts since it is also the word for the horizon where the rising sun appears.

...
Last modified on
0

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I am the incomprehensible silence
and the idea often brought to mind.
I am the voice sounding throughout the world
and the word appearing everywhere.
I am the sounding of my name,
For I am knowledge and ignorance.
I am shame and bravery.
I am without shame; I am full of shame.
I am power and I am trepidation.
I am conflict and peace.
Listen to me,
For I am the scandalous and magnificent one.

Excerpted from Thunder, Perfect Mind, trans. by George W. MacRae

b2ap3_thumbnail_isnefertari.jpgIn the silence of the night the waters were troubled.  We did not know that far to the south, in the headwaters of the great river, rains swelled the flow, sending the fertile black earth our way.  What we did know was that the star of Sopdet, whom we know as Aset (Isis), had disappeared from the sky for weeks now.  Each evening the priests watched for it to reappear at the horizon, the signal that Aset was weeping, mourning the loss of her husband Asar (Osiris).  After dark there is no way to see if a crocodile lies in wait or a hyena quietly stalks you coming home late.  Except in the cities, the silence here is vast, incomprehensible.  Against that quiet, the change in the water showed itself in little lappings higher up the bank, a swath of new green advancing up the shores on both sides.

The priests told us that Aset’s tears were flowing, rousing Hapy from his sleep among the rocks of the headwaters.  I do not understand these things.  Like the Lady, I had suffered loss, the death of my husband at the hands of an evildoer.  My grief was unabatable; like hers, my tears seemed a limitless flood.  Then I found myself carrying my own Heru, pregnant with my own shining Horus boy, and hope soothed my tears.  By the time of planting, I could hardly stoop to the water’s edge with my jar, and as the first harvest came in, my son saw the light of Ra.

The mother is so many things – fearful, yet brave, cunning, but also confused, wandering in search of Asar’s body.  I am not pharaoh in his House of a Million Years, nor am I a priest who can explain these things.  But I see that she is like me, or maybe I am like her.  Maybe we are the same, though she is eternal.  When I am cowed by shame or ignorance, I remember that she found her power, found a way to her heart’s desire.  When the waters rise each season of Akhet, I remember that even while she wept, Aset brought new life to the world.  I smile when I walk back to refill my jar, knowing it is her lovely tears, her life I’m bringing back home with me.

Last modified on
2
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Very nice.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_NutCosmicDream.jpgMut-i Nut, herak-a. My mother Nut, hail to you. You who hold a thousand starry souls in your lapis body, whose arms and legs are the pillars of the sky, who separates the earthly realm from the chaos of darkness. Mut-i Nut, you gave birth to the great ones in the barque of the Ennead, Asar, Aset, Nebt-Het, and mischievous Set. Mut-i Nut, you receive the blessed dead, the shining ones.

This weekend Temple Osireion will open our doors for our annual ceremony called Lights of Nut (pronounced “noot” like "boot"). During my recent weeks in Manhattan it was difficult to see Nut between the tall buildings of that great city. But walking at night, I was comforted to feel her dark presence embracing me from above, embracing all of us, in fact. The night of the winter solstice, walking back from supper in a nearby bistro, we looked up to Nut in time to see the beginning of a light snowfall.

Among the numerous Egyptian deities, Nut is an unobtrusive but pervasive presence. Rather than an active principle, she is a way, a path. If you follow the sun, you will nightly be swallowed by Nut and pass through her body to rebirth at dawn. She is the path of the duat, the solitary journey, the living house of our earthly akhet.

As we enter the temple space this weekend we will sing a lovely refrain (by Abbi Spinner McBride): O dark mother, lead me inward, down to the cave of my heart. Mut-i Nut, dua em hotep.

Last modified on
1

Additional information