Shrine Safety

Candles and burning incense are beautiful, but can be dangerous if left unattended. I have a cat so I’ve come up with safer alternatives to using traditional candles and a lighter during my rituals. Here are some safer options I use during my daily ritual.

Kemetic Round Table: My Daily Ritual

When I first came to Kemeticism I didn’t even know it was a religion being practiced by anyone. Isis called me and I answered in the only way I knew how. I created my own ritual without books and hardly any historical knowledge. I just built a ceremony that seemed right to me.

Coming from a previously Catholic background my earliest ritual was heavily influenced by the structure of the Mass. I would light the candles, say my prayers (in a very formal fashion) and then had my own “Communion.” Instead of the Eucharist I substituted a cup of milk to represent the life-giving milk of Isis. As I read about other people’s rituals in offering bread, milk and water to the gods, the Communion part felt a bit out of place, so I dropped it.

This is my current ritual I use:

Ring a bell

Light candles (LED electric ones)

Prayer: All hail to you Netjeru. Receive this light. May it shine upon You as you shine upon me. Praise to you Sekhmet (place a candle before the statue). Praise to you Djehuty (candle). Praise to you Isis (candle). Praise to you Osiris (candle). Praise to you Anubis. Praise to your Horus (candle).

With the LED candles burning, light some incense. I use an electric cigarette lighter which is flameless and lights up the incense beautifully.

Prayer: Receive this incense from me, most pure. 

Instead of putting the incense in the holder I tend to wave the incense stick gently before each statue almost like a wand. I discovered I could create a smoke ring with the incense which is very cool and beautiful with the lit candles. After I get enough scent, I extinguish the incense in the ashes as I don’t like too much incense in the room.

Now bring out your offerings. It varies depending on the time of day I pray. Most of my offerings are based on what I’m willing to eat or drink at that time as I don’t want it to go to waste. Of late I’ve been offering them my breakfast which often means a cup of milk and some cornflakes.

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I take the cup first and wave it once left to right before the Netjeru before raising it up in the middle above the Isis statue before setting it down.

Prayer: Take this milk. Drink and be refreshed.

Now I take the food offering. Often I’ll customize the prayer depending on what food item it is. If I baked it or made the offering I’ll add it to the prayer. Here are some examples.

Offerings:

Cake:

(Formal) Take this cake which I baked for you. May you enjoy its sweetness.

(Informal) Enjoy this cake I made tonight. It tastes great and I thought you’d like it.

Cereal

(Formal) Take this cereal. May it nourish and restore you.

(Informal) Yeah, I know it’s only breakfast cereal, but it’s pretty good. Enjoy.

Fruit:

(Formal) Enjoy this sweet, delicious banana. May it nourish and restore you.

(Informal) Okay, I know a banana is a strange offering, but it’s yummy. Give it a try.

So why the informal offering form? Because the Netjeru sometimes have a sense of weird humor and chuckle with some of my offerings – like breakfast cereal to Sekhmet. Set thinks the banana is hilarious.

Now once I give the offerings and they’re sitting in the shrine, it’s time for the active prayer. You can petition them. If you want to do divination (I use Egyptian style tarot) or heka this is a good time. Sometimes I’ll recite a litany to Isis if I have nothing to say or am not feeling like She’s present that night. Most of my prayers are more like a conversation. I mostly talk with Isis, telling Her about what is bothering me or what I must do to improve a situation.

Now this is the most important part …

You must remain silent after you’ve spoken. I’ve gotten some incredible insights from the Netjeru in that silence, but you must be willing to be quiet and wait for them to talk. Sometimes in the silence you can just enjoy each other’s company and feel Their presence. In my experience, the Netjeru’s arrival is often pretty strong and dramatic. You can be sitting there, sensing nothing and then all of a sudden They are there in the room with you. It’s an amazing experience.

For closing prayer:

(Standing up, I raise my arms, palms facing outward toward Them)

I thank You for Your time, wisdom and love. Help me to grow into a better person and live ever in Ma’at.

Ring the bell and the ritual is over.

I turn off the LED candles and take the food and beverage offerings down to the kitchen to eat.

This sounds like a very long ritual, but I’ve performed this in 5 minutes especially during a very busy day or when the god phone is silent. I try to have a daily ritual even if I’m busy. I notice I benefit more from the pause in my day to pray and communicate with the Netjeru. The insights and wisdom They have given me far exceeds any offerings and prayers I give them during my daily ritual.

Here are some of tips to a successful daily ritual:

  • Keep the ritual simple. A simple ritual is one you’re most likely to use
  • Don’t make it too long. A time-consuming ritual will discourage you from practicing often.
  • Miss a ritual? It’s okay, but make sure it doesn’t become a habit. The quickest way to kill a relationship is to never “call.”
  • Use plates and dishes you can run in the dishwasher. Okay, I know this is very unorthodox, but having easy to clean dishes for your rituals means you’ll do it more often.
  • Don’t get hung up on the little details. Again, very unorthodox, but don’t be afraid to change and modify the ritual to make it your own.
  • Getting stuck in a rut with your ritual? Change it up!
  • Give from the heart. Fancy offerings and elaborate rituals don’t make up for not giving from the heart.

As a new Kemetic I’m just starting to get involved in a community, mostly online. After 10 years in Catholicism I think one of the beauties of Kemeticism is how individual and unique it can be. You don’t have to practice a ritual a certain way just because of your ancestors. It’s like in Ancient Egypt where each city/region had its own patron god/goddess and creation myth. We now are following the same tradition by discovering unique ways to worship and creating a relationship with the Netjeru.

A Vision of the Blue Goddess

I normally don’t get mental images when I’m praying. But last night I saw a sudden, clear and beautiful vision. It also was completely unexpected. It’s left me puzzling about what I saw. Perhaps you can help clue me in, but I thought it best to give you an idea what’s going on my life. It might shed some light on what I saw.

It’s been a rough couple of days for me. I was sick shortly after Thanksgiving weekend. This meant I was pretty limited in my devotions and even lazier when it came to writing. I also started to tentatively test the waters of online dating again. Perhaps it was fueled by loneliness or a belief I should be with someone.

Regardless I struck up an e-mail conversation with someone on the online dating site. It went well, but then he became pushy and insistent on meeting up. I’ve been dragging my feet and feeling something is not quite right about this person. Granted, he isn’t creepy, but there’s some negative energy surrounding him.

I had a real heart-to-heart chat with Isis last night. I didn’t feel the presence of Isis coming from any my statues. It seemed to emanate from the beautiful papyrus painting of Isis with the throne glyph. I asked her about the person I considered giving a date to. After some silence of being in her presence I felt the emphatic reply, “No.”

I also felt this was the best decision somehow and thanked Isis for her advice. Even an hour after prayers I still felt her powerful peaceful and loving presence still in the room. When I went to close my eyes I saw a very clear and brilliant image. I saw a woman in brilliant, shining blue dress. Her hair was black but with a tint of blue and a blue light seemed to shine from around her head. She was floating near the clouds as the light reflected off of them. She also had a crescent moon crown on the top of her head.

At first I thought it was Isis, but somehow she felt different. I checked online and wondered if who I saw was Hekate.

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This looked a little like her, especially the crown which lacked the sun disk of Isis. This one statue of Hekate shows her wearing a bright blue gown although I believe this isn’t a traditional view of the goddess but more a modern interpretation.

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This was very odd as I didn’t pray to Hekate or ask for her help. She didn’t appear scary or forbidding as I think this statue makes her. The blue goddess looked more natural, brilliant and unnaturally beautiful and free as she floated below the clouds.

What are your thoughts? Was it Hekate or Isis in another form?

A Message from the Goddess

As a new Kemetic I frequent the forums searching for similar experiences to my own. Maybe I want to confirm I’m on the right path or perhaps my spiritual journey is unique to me. Some Kemetics describe their gods as being possessive or having all the subtlety of a hammer. I’m thinking this is a combination of 1. What god are you working with? 2. What kind of a person are you?

While a whisper might work for one devotee a shout does well for another. When I started considering Isis I didn’t have that bolt out of the blue Aha! moment. It would have been great to have an amazing vision or a voice from On High tell me I was chosen. But that’s not what happened.

Recently I visited southern Europe where I saw Catholic cathedrals everywhere. Needless to say statues and depictions of Mary and the Child Jesus were everywhere. The odd thing was I didn’t really see Mary and Jesus. Instead I saw the Goddess and her Son. I saw Isis and the Child Horus. I made the mistake of commenting to a friend (who is Catholic) that all the depictions of Mary were similar to many Mother Goddesses. My friend was offended I’d make the connection between Mary and a Goddess.

My fascination with Isis, however, grew over the trip. Finally it reached a point where you could say I received a sign. I was touring the Vatican Museum of all places. I’m sure the Vatican hoped pilgrims would receive a Christian religious experience. Instead I found myself staring back at an enormous statue of a Roman Isis.

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I’d seen this statue many times before so when I saw it in a room I nearly missed at the Vatican Museum it was a shock. I was transfixed. It was as if there was enormous magnet in the room creating an attraction, drawing me to the statue. I tried to remain calm and unfazed as there was a guard in the room.

After I left the Roman Isis statue I wandered into the Egyptian area where I found many oxidized bronze statues of Isis and sistrums. It was a reminder of how close I was to Isis and her worship in the Roman Empire. I didn’t tell my friend about my experience at the Vatican Museum, but I felt it was Isis’s invitation to me.

When I finally made up my mind to offer my first prayer to Isis I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if Isis still existed. Perhaps deities “die” after so long not being worshipped and remembered. During the prayer, I instantly felt her loving and warm presence. It was like a mother overjoyed to finally hear from her daughter after so many years.

What are your experiences with the gods? How do they connect with you?

Building a Kemetic Shrine to Isis

One of the daunting but fun tasks you first do as a new Kemetic is building your own shrine to your chosen deity or deities. Coming from a Catholic background this didn’t seem so taboo. Already I had a few Virgin Mary statues and Greek Orthodox icons of Jesus.

 Before I’d bought any Isis statues the Mary statue to right I used as my representation for Isis. I still use this statue when I want a more realistic looking, natural statue during my devotions.

Building a shrine can be daunting especially for a new Kemetic. You wonder, “Am I doing this right?” “Is there something that must or must not be placed in my shrine?”

When I first started buying items for my shrine I was hung up in what had to be in the shrine. I needed traditional, Egyptian-looking statues of my chosen goddess, Isis. I wanted a Sistrum, an Ancient Egyptian style rattle. Due to the expense of buying a sistrum I ended up purchasing a string of jingle bells which sounds just as pretty as a sistrum.

I also wanted to purchase something lotus related to place in my shrine as the lotus was the sacred flower of Ancient Egypt. I bought a pair of crystal lotus votive candle holders. Fire safety was a concern for me since the shrine was located in my bedroom. I decided LED candles were a safer option and I could light them for long periods unattended without risk of a possible fire.

Incense is another common offering Kemetics offer to their gods. Incense is a problem for me as I don’t want to keep anything burning in my bedroom. If I offer incense I usually burn it downstairs by the fireplace which is much safer and doesn’t draw too much attention. 

There really is no wrong way to build your shrine. It can large and complex or quite simple. As you can see I have a very minimal shrine with the focal point on my Isis statue. 

I also venerate a beautiful papyrus painting I bought from Egypt with the Goddess Isis having the traditional throne glyph on her head. This throne glyph is a precursor to Isis’s later crown with the horns and sun disk which later was incorporated into the goddess’s identity when Isis merged with the Goddess Hathor.

Another question is where should you put the shrine? I cleared off space on my dresser. It’s highly visible and a wonderful reminder to pray before I go to bed. It’s also comforting to know the goddess is with you in your everyday living space and is watching over you even in the most mundane tasks. Having a holy place within your own house is very different from the separate sanctuaries in the Judeo-Christian tradition. A house shrine, however, invites the gods to be apart of your life and your home.

Daughter of Isis

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog. I’ve worshipped the Goddess Isis for three months now and it’s been great. Contrary to what you might think I did not start out in Wicca and I’m not a witch. I don’t use magick or have an altar. Before my epiphany to follow Isis I actually was a Catholic convert. Ten years ago I converted to Catholicism. I had a need to follow the Truth and the Way in Jesus Christ. The problem is I never really felt comfortable and ultimately Christianity wasn’t a good fit for me.

I had problems with Christianity on many levels, but most of all what I hated was the Guilt Culture that is rampant in a sin/salvation-based religion. I felt no matter what I did I wasn’t perfect enough and could never measure up to a divine/legalistic Creator. Somewhere in Heaven there was a bookkeeper tallying how many sins I had on my soul. I became sick of always feeling inadequate and after five years since my conversion I really fell away from the Church. I no longer wanted to feel like an imperfect being with Original Sin who was incapable of ever completely pleasing God.

Goddess Isis Aset

 
Around this time I stopped praying to God and Jesus. I felt no connection to God and Jesus I felt too guilty to pray to. After all my sins was what put him on that cross. It’s hard to have a comfortable relationship with the divine when you feel perpetually guilty.

I don’t know when I felt my attraction grow for Isis. Perhaps it began when I started studying early Christianity and discovered the Cult of Isis in competition with the early Christian church. Maybe it was my fascination with Egypt that began in childhood. Regardless of the reason I wished the Isis Cult still existed.

There was no miraculous moment or breaking point when I officially left Catholicism. I’d long since drifted away from the Christianity. By the time I first called on Isis I’d been away from the Catholic Church for perhaps 4 years. My prayer was a simple one. I simply asked Isis to hear my prayer and to give me a sign she existed and was listening.

I felt an overwhelming sense of love, warmth and maternal care that I hadn’t felt except during my prayers to the Virgin Mary. Yet this sensation wasn’t quite the same as when I dealt with Mary. With Mary I always felt an incredible sense of peace. Isis, however, felt more like a mother who wants to guide her child on her first steps toward adulthood. Isis wanted me to grow and stand tall and proud based on my talents and abilities.

I’d yet to study Isis and her story in depth, but soon I’d come to realize what a powerful and loving ally I had in the Goddess Isis.