Pagan Paths

Out of the deeps rises the mysterious lotus. Stop in for refreshment, heka, and reflections from the sacred waters of ancient Egypt.

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Offering the Nu Pots

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b2ap3_thumbnail_2012-12-19_12-14-09_369.jpgThat’s me standing in a gallery full of pharaohs kneeling to offer nu, or water, pots to the gods. Why water pots? Why not gold or a rare incense or valuable livestock? Early scholars, no doubt working under the prevailing theory of the time that there had been an ancient universal cult of the “Great Mother” around the world, compared pot images to the womb. (Smith, G. Elliott, 1919) The holy grail, the witch’s cauldron, the baptismal font – all of these are nu pots, and all are capable of containing the formidable forces of emotion and inner sight. 

The nu glyph has always looked a little unsteady to me; how can you set down this globular vessel without spilling what is inside? If the nu pot is a type of me, as a woman, then I definitely spilled this week when I was set down awkwardly and lost my balance. All my emotion poured out in a torrent of quick tears, then my pot returned to balance, but not without some rocking back and forth to feel out my foundations. Had I been given a choice, I would have much preferred offerings of gold and property to exposing my vulnerabilities.

There are many images of pharaohs holding out nu pots as offerings. Those scenes strike me as revealing a softer person than the ruler holding the crook and flail. Who knew better than the Egyptians just how precious a gift was the water that transformed their desert into a life-giving oasis? For that matter, my own anatomy is carved into the land by the Nile. As I grow into wisdom, may I carry my nu pot gently, understanding the gifts contained within.

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Holli Emore is Executive Director of Cherry Hill Seminary, the premiere educational resource for Pagan and other nature-based religions (, founder of Osireion (, editor/writer for Wild Garden: Pagans in the Growing Interfaith Landscape at, and serves on the board of directors for Interfaith Partners of S.C. (  She is co-founder of the original Pagan Round Table,, and author of "Pool of Lotus," available in print, or for Kindle or Nook, at


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