My new year started with a phone call at 5:15 AM yesterday. The Boyfriend is on call this week and they always seem to enjoy calling at this exact time on a Wednesday. Having looked up the time for sunrise that morning (6:14 AM), I debated whether to sleep until 6 AM and risk missing it anyway, or staying up and waiting for the sunrise in an hour.
I ended up choosing the middle ground, dozing for awhile, as I was unable to go fully back to sleep.
Around 6, I sat up and began looking out the window, watching the dark grey sky slowly lightening as the sun rose. There is a very tall wood behind my building, so even though I’m on the 12th floor, I couldn’t see the sun as it rose above the horizon. Even so, I knew when Ra had made it and the new day was here. A new day, a new year.
And so my Wep Ronpet began.
Having watched the sun rise, I went back to sleep for a few hours and got up around 10 AM for my day. After doing some work for my boss, I planned out everything I needed to get done that day and went to work. Cooking and laundry came first and I am still surprised at how much I got done yesterday, and so quickly. Normally I have to fight with the dryer to get my clothes finished in time, but everything went smoothly yesterday. Chores done, I got my things set up in the kitchen to do something I have never done before: an execration.
Execrations are seemingly typical of Wep Ronpet, the Kemetic New Year. From what I have read, they are acts against evil or
Apep and work towards ma’at. Devo has a great write-up of execrations where you can read more and from someone much more knowledgeable about it than I.
I gathered my supplies and began to set up: my largest pot to burn my paper in; half a brown paper bag (we are, apparently, out of computer paper); red and black pens; and two books of matches.
Execrations have a learning curve, I discovered. First of all, do not get the paper wet. It will refuse to burn and you will go through both books of matches very quickly. Secondly, matches will burn you immediately if you are not careful. Thirdly, execrations are fun.
I am not kidding. At first, I was unsure if I was doing it properly but as I got further into the process, it became more and more enjoyable. Well…perhaps not enjoyable, but I found a rhythm and threw all my intent into the writing on the page. I drew a snake to represent
Apep and when it came time to destroy the paper, I beheaded the snake with my largest blade first. After that, I began to stab through all the words and phrases I had written, everything I wanted to get rid of in the coming year, before crumpling the paper, throwing it into the pot, and spitting on it. And then I began to light it.
As I said before, do not get that paper wet. At all. Even the tiniest bit of wet will make your process frustrating, but you do get to go through a ton of matches, so if lighting things on fire is your thing, do as you like, I suppose.
Regardless, once I got through both books of matches, I still had three quarter-sized pieces of unburned paper, where the wet had gotten in and refused to burn. As I sifted through the remains, I realized that all the words upon the paper had burned out. All but one: pain. As I stood there in the kitchen holding the scrap of paper that bore that word, I could not help but smile and agree: as much as I would prefer my pain to go away, pain is how we grow. Pain is what we must endure to find our strength and better ourselves, in many ways.
After chucking the remains of my execration in the bin, cleaning the silver pot, and a long shower, I lay in bed reviewing how I wanted to do my ritual. I had already decided nothing too formal but had reviewed the All-Purpose General Solitary Kemetic Ritual over at Per-Sebek many times to get a general idea of what to do. I lay in bed and murmured some words of purification before donning a white shirt and approaching my altar.
I won’t lie: I was afraid. Afraid that I was screwing up, that the Netjer would smack me down for daring to approach them this manner. But, as I stood before the altar and took a deep breath, I began to relax.
My ritual was very freeform. I told the Netjer who I was, the names I go by, and why I was coming to them. I thanked them for their roles in my life already and thanked Anubis for his guidance over the years, for our thirteen years together. It was quiet and I felt nervous, but I kept speaking and shared with them the offerings of cool water, a chocolate croissant (hey, it’s a holiday), the flowers, and the candles and incense I had lit. I admitted that I felt unsure about reverting offerings as it was something I haven’t really done before, but I did so anyway. And once I was finished, I thanked them again, and stepped away from the altar. A moment to pause, and then I blew out the candles and stamped out the incense before continuing with the rest of my day.