A year ago my family pilgrimaged and moved back to the small town that I grew up in. The vision that we had as we prepared for our move was a simplified life that included a lot of family, less work, and lot's of open country side.
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* To: A.K., E.H., P.N-U, M.M. – hmw-Ntr & my friends
If you’re not Kemetic but feeling “the call” of this religion, it can be said that any aspiring Kemetic is called for two simple and important tasks:
- Maintain Maat and oppose Isfet (help keep the Universe running by maintaining the Balance and All-Things-Proper – even on a small level of your simple things and daily life)—this is not simply our duty; this is also the duty the Netjeru undertake in far grander scale.
- Commune with the Netjeru – and from simple honor, veneration and worship, driven by love and attraction to their perfection and beauty, achieve the blessed afterlife (that may come in many various forms – there are a lot of things to do in the Duat besides watching your crops in the Aaru/Hetep fields grow!) Choices for eternity are indeed very important.
When planning a ritual involving children, I always have to remind myself to keep it short and simple! Just in time for Spring Equinox, I’d like to share the simple ritual of spring welcome that is perfect for family or a small group of friends. This ritual is designed to be done at night around a campfire and to be followed by a drum circle, but can easily be adapted to day time (perhaps with a fresh flower mandala to gather around instead of a fire). It can take place anytime between March 21 and May 1 and still feel seasonally appropriate.
Why use a gourd?
Gourds are natural musical instruments that have more than 10,000 years of history, spanning multiple continents and uncountable cultures. Evidence from the Smithsonian is that gourds were the first domesticated crop ever grown in the Americas, probably cultivated by women as water containers. The origination of the gourds still grown today is in Africa, where seeds were then transported to Asia and then from Asia to the Americas by Paleoindian peoples who crossed the Bering Strait and originally colonized the Americas. I was curious to know if gourds have any specific association with ancient goddess traditions in addition to their association with modern-day women’s spirituality, but I have not been able to find specific information on the subject. However, I was inspired to read this small paragraph, suggesting that gourds represent the womb of the Earth Mother herself and that using them to create rattles, creates “intentional womb prayer vessels.”
—Shekhinah Mountainwater, Ariadne’s Thread
Why pass the rattle at a women’s circle*?
Passing the rattle gives each woman in the circle an equal voice and an equal opportunity to be heard. The woman who has the rattle, has the “floor” and the other women in the circle give her their full attention. In spontaneous or non-organized groups of friends, we are all aware that not everyone experiences an equal opportunity to be heard. This can be due to personality type and preference as well as to simple logistics (such as presence of one’s children), but also due to people with larger voices or presences dominating the setting and the verbal landscape. In hierarchical and patriarchal settings, individual women’s voices may be actively silenced, oppressed, or dominated.