1000 of Every Good Thing: Kemetic Practice & Exploration
A blog about Kemetic practices, myths, deities, and concepts, as well as the realities of worshiping the gods in the modern world.
My Mother in Dendera: Thoughts and Feelings on Hathor
Divine Mother of Mothers
Daughter of the Sun
Defender of her Father
Lady of Dendera
Lady of Drunkenness
Lady of Cheerfulness
Mistress of Life
Mistress of Love
Mistress of the West
May your praises be sung
May the sistrum be played
May it ever be so, Djet Neheh.
You fill the heart with love
Till it bursts from joy and pain
You call me to love shining Ra
Your self-born father, my Lord.
You call me to drink the red beer
To get drunk and let go,
To laugh and to love
But not the false sort
Which is only the pleasant
But rather,real love,
Sweetest ecstatic joy
Most bitter sorrow
Mixed like ochre and beer
Mixed like water and flour
Beer and bread for the souls.
The name (ren) was of great importance to the ancient Egyptians and still is to modern Kemetics. It's even a part of our spiritual anatomy, along with the ba, the ka, the ib, and the sheut/khaibit.
As long as I worship the gods, unless things change radically, I will continue to call myself Sihathor, meaning “Son of Hathor.” It's an ancient theophoric name. Amenhotep III employed a Sihathor to oversee the mines in the Sinai region that gave turquoise, a stone sacred to her, and part of one of her titles, Nebet Mefkat (Lady of Turquoise). I chose it because Hathor in a sense “birthed” me into worship of the gods. This is true both in a religious sense, and a metaphorical sense, since it was love that brought into my life the woman who showed me that the gods could be worshiped. Even if I wanted to, I could never change that fact, any more than I can change the fact I was born in by birthplace. Even when I die and go to the West, the fact will still remain.
Someone else could call it initiation, and minus the more formal connotations, it would be saying much the same thing, since it contains concepts of beginnings and re-birth. The candidate is reborn into one knowing the mysteries, and the boy is re-born as a man.
How I came to Hathor and Kemetism is something I have already written about in my introductory post, so I won't repeat it here. I will instead focus on what I have come to realize about Hathor, and what she means to me. Keep in mind that the gods are multifaceted and complex beings, presenting different sides to each person. So while this is what I've found about Hathor in my experience, your experience will likely be different in some ways or many.
I have a tendency to being cool and rationalistic and systematic. I tended towards being rather emotionally flat, to be honest. To borrow from Khalil Gibran in Chapter 2 “The Prophet”, I lived in the “... the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.” It was safe, but hollow. Not only is it hollow, but, taken too far, it can be the death of living religion and spontaneous spirituality, a fossilization into rote ritual or pointless philosophizing. It can, again, when taken too far, be the death of a fully lived life as well, by getting too locked in one's own head.
She also helped bring me to a deeper experience of piety by bringing me to her father Ra. With Ra, I learned and experienced piety, reverence and awe, and was able to more fully feel them towards the gods as a whole.
My experience with Hathor has also shown me one important thing that makes religious experiences of the gods so powerful: Spontaneity, the unpredictable, and unsystematized. It is also how the gods can make themselves felt to us. I'm sure many Kemetics (and other polytheists of whatever religion) can relate instances:
Where a deity pulls us in an unexpected direction,
Where a deity clearly chooses us to worship them
Where someone realized #2 only much later (which seems like this happened with me)
Where anything at all happens that we did not control.
She has helped me come to worship the gods, to make me more loving, more present in life, find reverence and piety, and to bring life to my religion through the spontaneous. And so may my name can be a repeated praise to the Divine Mother, that when I write and speak, I cannot do other but write and speak her name, and so give praise.
It is only right. Without her, I would not be.
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