Going Forth by Day: Hermopolis Begins in the Heart

Alchemical and spiritual journey together with Thoth-Djehuty – exploring Kemeticism, Hermeticism, spiritual alchemy, and following the path of devotion.

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Hermopolis Begins in the Heart

“If anyone wishes to be sure
in the road they tread,
they must close their eyes
and walk in the Dark”
--- st. Juan de la Cruz

The old man, wearing a long gray galabiyah and white turban on his head, one with a skin color of a dark coffee, the man with incredibly kind eyes, bright and full of knowledge and wisdom, looked at me and touched my hand again. “My daughter,” – he repeated with kind, but quite demanding voice, “follow me, let me show you how to pray. Many people come here for prayer. I see that you came for prayer. Let me show you what they do.”

He was a guardian in the temple of Medinet-Habu, working there for more than 30 years, and probably living there under the hot skies of Egypt, day by day seeing tourist groups and individual visitors in the temple, he gained the wisdom to tell, who is coming “as a tourist” just to glare at the magnificent ruins and take pictures, and who is coming for prayer and devotion.

I wondered if the words “I came here for prayer” were written right on my forehead. But I had been wearing my ceremonial garment, long white ancient Egyptian style dress and wide necklace. And while other people in the temple did not really care, probably thinking that I was just cosplaying Nefertari or Cleopatra or another Egyptian Queen, it was not a cosplay.

And I just had wonderful moment of prayer in the nearby temple of Qasr-el-Agouz – the temple of Thoth most of tourists usually know nothing about. This small temple just few minutes away from magnificent Medinet-Habu I call “Place of Endless Adoration”, as it’s filled by wonderful wall painting showing ibis-headed Djehuty in various beautiful headdresses, crowned with lunar crescent and solar disk and triple Atef, and the kings and queens of Ptolemaic dynasty making praises and offerings to him.

There was no one in the temple except the guard, me, and my friend with her small son; so I spent no less that a hour, reciting hymns from my favorite rituals and just praying from my heart and talking with Djehuty about everything.

And after the prayer in the temple of Thoth, I really thought that I will just wander around Medinet-Habu as a pilgrim-and-tourist, to make photos and just stare at the reliefs.

But the old guardian of the chapel of Amenirdis saw the things differently. He understood that I “came for prayer” and he led me around the chapel, letting me to touch the reliefs of this princess-priestess, the God’s wife of Amun. And he was softly guiding me around the chapel, telling again and again what to do: “Close the eyes. Raise your hands. Touch that image.”

He kept calling me daughter and smiling, and he prayed himself too, and I rarely was able to see someone praying so sincerely and with so much devotion.

It was clear to me that he is praying not to the “One God” of monotheistic faith, and he of course knew that people who come to pray in Egyptian temples, are seeking for communion with the Ancient Gods.

Even if their temples were partly destroyed and converted to museums and tourist attractions, the Netjeru are alive and still being honored: by people living in Egypt, who keep the connection with the Old Ways, and people all around the world, who feel drawn to worship of the Netjeru, Gods of Ancient Kemet.

I am just one of these people who felt drawn to the Gods of Egypt since my childhood. My spiritual journey was long and there were both thorns and roses; I tried to be Orthodox Christian, I’ve been Roman Catholic and for long time have been discerning joining one of congregations for the sisters; but my journey through many years was blessed by invisible presence of Djehuty, lord of the Divine Book, all the Knowledge and inventor of Hieroglyphics.

I felt drawn to him – more and more, and there was a moment of stepping “into the Dark”, into the Darkness and into the Chamber-of-Darkness, the moment of initiation, revelation and alchemical rebirth.

I told him “I will follow you, wherever you go” – with full and complete trust. I did not read any of these online guides about “choosing a Patron Deity” and “considering the dedication and promises to Deities, which is Serious Business”.

I just followed my heart – and the heart led me to his sanctuaries of Dakka and Hermopolis, to El-Kab and Qasr-el-Agouz.

I was a bit tired from the old man’s attention, actually. I was pleased that he spent his time showing me the chapel of Amenirdis and teaching me how to pray there. I was touched to see him praying together with me, but I also wanted to go and explore the temple further, to make the photos of Ptah chapel and big statues of Thoth and Sekhmet, and have some photos of myself taken in the temple as well…

I did not really know why the man brought me here. May be really these words “I came here for prayer” were written in the air above my head and he just felt it with his heart-eye. Maybe it just had to happen. May be Amenirdis herself actually wanted me to visit her chapel and walk around, making prayers in the “proper” way, because I’ve been certainly choosing the path similar to hers. The path of serving the Netjer.

The old man kept touching my sleeve, and I just looked up, saying to nowhere “What, ever, is happening? Why and where I’m being led right now?” and I stumbled upon the relief showing Amenirdis between Anubis and Thoth.

The princess followed Anubis, holding a sekhem-scepter of power in her hand, with dignity and determination; and Thoth was just behind her.

They were guiding her, and I felt the same thing in this moment: I don’t have to worry too much. They are with me, they guide me and will protect me, and they know the road I’m following on.

I felt their invisible, blissful Presence, in the temple, in the air around, and in my heart, filling me with feeling of bhakti-devotion and love.

And I did not regret that I made that step “into the Chamber of Darkness” many years ago, asking to be enlightened by the Mysteries of Djehuty.

***

Sometimes I’m alone and sometimes I feel like a member of big community. Sometimes I pray in silence and sometimes I spread the word, writing devotional poetry and translating hymns and prayers from English, to conduct the rituals in Russian.

Sometimes I try to reconcile “Christianity and the Netjeru”, as I believe that my 20+ year long journey through Russian Orthodoxy and Catholicism was not a waste of time.

In my life, one of the figures of great significance was St. Dominic – he has been my friend in Heaven for many years. And even if I’m not a Catholic in good standing anymore, I’m still following the Dominican ways of life.

And St. Dominic’s personal motto was “Contemplata aliis tradere” (“to contemplate and to hand on to others the fruits of contemplation”) – and this is what I do while living.

I hope to share the fruits of my spiritual path and learning, my studies and my contemplation.

To share the knowledge gathered from the books and to share the fruits of devotional work.

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Born in USSR and living in St. Petersburg, Russia; my spiritual journey started when I was a young teen. After more than 20 years of being practicing Russian Orthodox and later, Roman Catholic, I followed my heart always calling me to honor the Gods of Ancient Egypt. My devotion belongs to Thoth-Hermes-Djehuty, Thrice Greatest, Lord of Khemenu (Hermopolis), and I try to serve him as a priestess (hmt-Ntr). My path is independent, solitary and not hardcore reconstructionist, and I don’t belong to organized Kemetic temples.I studied biology in University, but after graduation, for many years have been working in telecommunications and computer networking. Now I work in international trade; but this is what I do “for a living”, as I’m poet and writer before all. I write poetry and prose since early childhood (of course, my writings are mostly in Russian) and I have some published books, science-fiction novels and poetry. I follow hermetic philosophy and viewpoints, and my interests, besides Ancient Egypt, include medieval history and art, Spiritual Alchemy, traveling around the world, translating books from English and studying more foreign languages (including Egyptian hieroglyphics). I am also president of the St. Petersburg chapter of the International Alchemy Guild.  

Comments

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Tuesday, 09 June 2015

    Before it went out of business I saw book entitled "Jesus: last of the Pharaohs" at Borders Books and Tapes. I didn't get a copy and I'm not sure it's still in print but it might have something in it to help you on your quest to integrate Christianity and the Netjeru. One of the Lawrence Gardner books; sorry I don't remember which one, claims there is a temple of Hathor on Mount Sinai. If your a fan of "The Hebrew Goddess" by Raphael Patai
    or read Biblical Archeology Review you could argue that Hathor is the Asherah of YHVH. The phrase YVHH and his Asherah is a common inscription in archeology sites around Israel before the Babylonian conquest.

  • Tatiana Matveeva
    Tatiana Matveeva Wednesday, 10 June 2015

    I have heard about Hathor sanctuary on Sinai, but never thought about Hathor as possible name of Asherah. But I don't think this approach would work for me...
    While I need to reconcile Christianity and the Netjeru on certain level for my personal religious journey, I focus on hermetic philosophy and doctrines and try to understand "the Nature of God and mission of Jesus". I need to build my personal workable theology, just for my own inner peace :)

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