Seti I before Ra-Horakhti, Abydos

Over the years, I have discussed my combination of religious and political inclinations several times, both face to face and on-line. Sometimes, others, particularly those unfamiliar with Egyptian religion, society and government, are confused by a seeming contradiction between my allegiance to the religion, values and outlook of Ancient Egypt, and my somewhat left wing political views.

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The infamous “they” say that everyone has a moment in life when they become aware of their own mortality, and the transience of human life. Today, I had such a moment. Not  in a moment of panic or danger, not a mind-that-bus-what-bus-splat moment, but something else entirely.  Indeed, to say I became aware of the transience of life rather than mortality may  be a better description.

For the first time, the value of a memorial became clear to me. In all my time delving into the depths of Egyptian religious thought, in contrast to what most people think of the religion, my focus has been on my own earhtly life, and the celestial life of the gods. My own post morten existence hasn’t really factored into things.

Until today, that is. I realised a big chunk of my identity, for all intents and purposes, has become a part of that which does not exist. Before I moved to the UK, I had a whole life in South East Asia. Friends, family, partners, co-workers and comrades, hopes, dreams and fears. (more…)

This last month, I realise I’ve spent so much time studying my religion, I have barely had time to practice anything of it.

From next week. That will change, I hope. I feel neglectful of the rites, but on a personal and emotional level I miss being able to just relax and reflect after performing the rites.

I posted an info page addressing some questions about my beliefs. It’s basically in draft form and I will probably tidy it, and also hope to expand it. If anyone has any questions then please feel free to comment with them and I will incorporate them into the info page with an answer.

I’m in halls at the moment. I have a private room, but no areas I can really separate off for a dedicated shrine area as I had before. It raises the question of how best to accommodate formal cult space for a shrine.

My feeling have always been that the shrine area for modern day shrine for a formal/state cult  needs to have the nearest thing to dedicated, closed off, private and ritually pure/uncompromised as one can make it. To my mind, this would follow the basic principles strived for in the original formal cults, where the shrine itself was in the inner most part of the temple, physically and metaphyscially sealed off from impurities, shielded from casual contact with the profane world.

My current setup really doesn’t allow for this. Issues:

  • Shrine to Ra is aligned on a N-S axis rather than E-W. Clearly less than ideal.
  • Seperate cult shrines of Ra-Horakhti and Ahmose I have to be consolidated into one area due to space issues. This could be ideal but I’m not sure. Following the earthly death of Ahmose I, He is associated more directly with Ra than as a son, so this merged layout can be seen as highly appropriate and symbolic, but it is hardly a historically valid approach to either the Royal or Solar cults as far as we know.
  • The overall environment has issues with ritual purity as the shrine is essentially in the main room I live in. Essentially I eat, sleep and revive in the same room as shrine to state cults.

Not sure how to approach this one. Thankfully come January should be out of halls, but it’s an awkward issue, especially as the use of incense is prohibited as well.