Honoring Auset the Mother of the Celestial House, From “The Isian Book of Hours” By Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa, Pr.H/ Temple of Auset Nevada

Pectoral of the Sun-God

Homage to You O Mother Auset,
Isis, You wearer of the Diadem of
the Stars!

You have risen above us on this night to take
Your place amongst the stars, with Sepdet
Going ahead of You and the moon behind
You, with the sun at Your right eye and the
Moon at Your left.

Anointed One of the Primordial Gods,
Lady of the Lake of Eternity, You Queen
And Mother of my House.

When I was alone, You were the one who
Answered my call.

When I was in need, You were the friend
Of my heart.

When I was hungry, You fed my body
From Your hand and my Ka with Your
Magic.

When I was despondent, You soothed
My heart with Your good words, and
Clothed my ears in the Wisdom of the
Divine House.

You opened the door of Your house
Before me and said “enter, my child”,
And You made me Your child, even
Like the seed of Your body, and I was
Well cared for in Your embrace.

When I was attacked by false words, You
Were the lioness who raged against my
Enemies with Your magic, and championed
Ma’at in the Cause of the Gods.

You are the Shield of the Divine House,
The Handmaiden of the Immortal Ones,
Whose wishes have reopened the Shrines
Of the Gods, and caused the Eternal Flame
To burn bright again in the Presence of the
Temples of the West.

Songstress of the Two Lands, fair of face,
Mother of the Great Torch-Bearer, Whose
Light beckons the flood of the New Year,
And causes prosperity to reign throughout
The Houses of the Gods!

O our Mother of goodness and beauty,
Queen Isis, the Lady of the Two Lands,
You token of grace for the faithful, and water
Of everlasting life for those thirsty who
Drink from Your hand, bestow upon us
Your love and abundance.

Still our hearts, cure our ills, and let our
Hands be readied for service in Your
Divine House!

All text copyright © 2005-2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

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Oracle of Gaia/ “The Veil is Divided”

Oracle of Gaia

The celebrant enters the House of the Earth, clad in darkness…there being no above nor below.  For this is the “below”, and the fragrance of the outside world is but a dream.  The slumber of the night wraps itself around all creatures, and yet there is a stirring in that infernal house called Hades.  The Titans are ever restless, and the heroic Gods have lost their footing on the throat of time.  Enter the brave…the foolhardy, even, for there is always a place for the stout of heart and valiant of purpose.  We, the Gods, are waiting for her or him.

Now the Hearth contains nothing but embers…a spark here, a wisp of smoke there.  Incense still hangs above you, there in the blue-black veil that billows and gestures…come…come….

The Goddess Vesta stands ready to receive your homage.  Pale, white-clad, radiant and eternally vigilant, She is the Mother of Roma, which has ceased to be an empire and yet rises from its own ashes in service to the immortal Gods.  Vesta and Cybele Magna Mater remove the dust from your feet, and above their heads they offer up a single blue flame, an infant of what it once was.

These are the words of Cybele Magna Mater:  Creeping round doth time prevail, striking through his mortal shell.  Though flesh is rosy, dons Apollo’s fire, still doth flesh light its funeral pyre.  A flame once good becomes the object of power, seeking hungrily the last and final hour. When men rule blue and green from ambition, not even the grave shall remedy his condition.  O Gods You shall then turn away, when many become one, night scorches as day.  The sun shall consume what greed man hath carried, and Hades we fear shall his prize be married!

These are the words of Mother Vesta:  Still your hearts, you men of the sunlit world, for Cybele speaks only of what may be, not what shall be.  Even the Gods cannot predict the precise order of the Stars that have yet to be born, and as it has happened in the past, my Sacred Fire may yet come into the hands of wiser souls…though ignorance be rife and the sanctity of the Temples no longer honored.

Though the Fire of Vesta itself has been extinguished, there are embers in the Ether, spread out like fireflies on a Summer breeze…difficult to hold onto, and yet not impossible to see.  If but one hand takes up the Vows of the Vestals, and rekindles the holy embers, then the Gods shall turn their faces once more toward humankind, and what was once dead shall be brought back to life.

It is fear and doubt that destroys purity, not desire.  For desire is holy when it seeks to serve without being requited.  Discover a sliver of devotion in your heart, tend to it night and day, and let that desire burst into the flame of love.  Love, you are the boon of a starving man, alone and facing his own annihilation.  Only when a man has lost the seed of love has he earned his doom and assured that the house of Hades will continue.

The Fire of Vesta grows in you, O blessed of the Goddess, to whom is given the embers of Truth.  Even as Romulus and Remus were suckled by the great She-Wolf, so too does a single ember erupt into a fire…and even a small fire may lay low an empire!  Let your fire be love for its own sake, and devotion be your shield against laziness.  For it is laziness that breeds false contentment, and false contentment that gives way to decay.

May the Fire of Vesta surround your heart and make impenetrable your will!  May an eagle perch on your right hand, forging of it a faith that plants a tree in the bosom of the desert.  Do not linger in the darkness of despair or fall prey to self-pity.  I place upon your shoulders the mantle of Minerva, Who softens wounds and imparts magical potency!

The Mantle of Minerva cuts through the darkness and shows the veil for what it is, an illusion of separation caused by the birth of beings into a mortal skin.  The sword of Minerva alone cuts through the veil, which, when whole, gives the appearance of death and mortality…humanity apart from its Divine parentage.  This is all folly, of course, for the Gods gave birth to humankind from their own skins, even as the Titans fell from the loins of Gaia.  Gaia is the Mother of the Gods, and She is called the Forerunner of Heaven, for even Heaven erupted from Her parted thighs!

Do you, celebrant of the Gods, desire to come back into the ranks of the Immortals?  It is in one’s heart and determination that one discovers the secret of Immortality, which is that there is no death and the veil does not exist.  There is no separation between the Earth and Sky, between the Heavenly Gods and the Earthly Titans…and there is no passing away of the Sacred Fire from which all life came forth.  To see that one is truly composed of Spirit is to recognize that the veil of death, separation, mortality and the mundane does not exist, and cannot contain the miracle of the Soul.

Above the head of the celebrant appears the most radiant, starlit flame…a piece of the heavenly vault, which shines a pure violet light, casting a nimbus of solitude in its wake.  The Goddesses Vesta, Cybele and Minerva, clad in white, purple and gold, link arms and bestow the boons of Truth, Virtue and Wisdom to the heart of the celebrant.  Filled with peace and a hope for renewal, the celebrant speaks:

Hail Vesta, crowned with the olive leaf, hallowed of heart and gentle of will!  I grant unto you the offering of virtue, which pleases the Gods and brings peace to the nations of the world!

O blessed Cybele, O Magna Mater, clad in the wisdom of the ages, Whose children are the fruits of the Earth, Whose beauty outshines the noble sun!  I bring you the abundance of a generous heart, seeking only to give, and never to take without gratitude.  May the deeds of my body bring forth pleasure.  May my desire embrace all and shun no one!  For the gifts which You have given are the abilities of the heart, which knows joy and love, not only sorrow and anger.

O mighty Minerva, the victorious, the noble, the richly arrayed and sweet of speech!  Grant unto me a wise heart, that I might know the virtues of a sacred life overflowing with Truth.  May I know the Gods.  May I pass beyond a mortal form and gain the victory of Heaven.  May the deeds I leave behind uplift the Earth and enhance the creatures of the World.  For You are the guardian of all the sacred places, which draw the Earth and Heavens together, and mortal flesh into its Spirit!

Now we may depart the dark house called Hades, and enter into the House of the Vestals, which at night seems as a dream, and yet manifests anew with the rising of the golden sun in the east.  The Fire of Vesta is kindred to a heart filled with charity and virtue…a heart that embraces a path of clarity, unobstructed by ambition or mere worship of the worldly.

The promise of the Goddesses is that their children may in time overcome the solidity of the veil, which seems to stand against a knowledge of divinity and a clear perception of Spirit.  But the veil is only illusion, while a child clings desperately onto the fabric of a physical life.  Life without the inner Truth of the Muses is dry, and eventually collapses into the grave.  It is Spirit that survives, overcomes, and manifests its innate Divine purpose.

All text copyright © 2014-2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

Honoring Auset the Light of the World By the Rt. Rev. Lady Zarita M. Zook, Arch Priestess of Auset/ Temple of Auset Nevada

Auset Offering Sistrum of Light

Auset, Isis, O Brilliant One!  See before You the lights of Your children, shinning in the darkness to light the way for Ausir.

Auset, take the energy of our shining lights into Your body to light the way for Ausir!

Ausir, Osiris, great of love, Lord of beautiful desire, see before You the shining lights of Auset brightening the way!

Ausir, we have given the energy of our shining lights to brighten the way for Your return!

Auset, You are the light in the midst of darkness!  Your beloved Ausir comes from Amenti to embrace You.

Auset, Light of the World, go to embrace Ausir!

Ausir, beautiful being, Auset the light of the world comes to embrace You.

No one was ever born that has not been touched by the love of Auset and Ausir.

All text copyright © 2004-2015 Rt. Rev. Zarita M. Zook

Praising Queen Auset and Entering Her House By the Rt. Rev. Lady Zarita M. Zook, Arch Priestess of Auset/ Temple of Auset Nevada

Auset Pylons Philae

Come with me, children of the Gods, let us enter the Great Temple of Auset, Isis!  As we walk through its grand pylons, we hear the chanting of the ancient priesthood in the distance. The Temple is cool and refreshing, the torches flicker on the gleaming walls of electrum.  Let us sing the great hymns of praise, whose words are inscribed on beautiful columns. Let us dance with joy.  Let us join the never-ending prayers of thousands of years.

O Auset, Isis, Great One Who rises and dispels darkness!

O Mistress of Flame, Who slays Apep in an instant.

O Golden One, Who illumines the Two Lands with radiance, and Who fills the Earth with gold dust.

O Auset, Isis, come to Your House and join Your Image, Your Radiance, inundating the faces of Your children like Ra when He shows Himself in the morning.

Join with me daily in this prayer my children!

O Auset, Isis, Queen of the Universe!  Help us live our lives According to Your right laws.

Grant us the skill to build Your Great Temple upon a firm foundation.

Bless the edifice to be a vessel worthy of holding Your beacon of Light that will cover the Earth with radiance.

All text copyright © 2005-2015 Rt. Rev. Zarita M. Zook

The Prayer for Walking the Path of Auset, From “Prayers and Meditations of Auset” By Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa, Pr.H/ Temple of Auset Nevada

Auset of Philae

This prayer is one of my many favorites, a prayer I wrote to Auset- our dear Mother Isis- during a time of doubt and difficulty. It was one of those moments of angst when my heart and mind were simply screaming out “Ma! Ma! Ma! Will You please answer me!” Its words reflect the all-embracing Embodiment of the Divine Mother in Her role as Savioress of humankind, the eternally vigilant Parent of each of Her devotees.

Use this prayer anywhere, and any time you feel the need to call out to Isis as your personal Savior and Goddess. Although there is no need to use it in conjunction with fancy rites or rituals, lighting a candle and making an offering of incense before or during the recitation of this prayer will certainly heighten its impact and meaning in your personal worship.

Light a red candle, the color especially sacred to the Goddess, and make an offering of frankincense or myrrh to the Mother. Take several deep, cleansing breaths and center yourself. If you have an icon or statue or image of Isis that is precious to you, use it as an object of focus and reverence as you recite this prayer. Use this as an opportunity to express your innermost desires to the Divine Mother audibly.

Of course, the Mother is omniscient and omnipotent, knowing the innermost recesses of your heart and mind even before you do! However, there is tremendous power in actually announcing our fears, wishes and desires to the Divine. Especially when combined with the force of prayer and ritual, our spoken thoughts take on new power and meaning, often helping us to further connect with our emotions and find release in the solace of prayer.

The Ancients Themselves believed firmly in the efficacy of the spoken word, knowing very well that the vibration of sound merged with the motion of Sacred Rites held within it the ability to transform the human world through the resonance of the Divine. Therefore, as you use these prayers to the Divine Mother, visualize Her Power taking an active affect in your life. If you are using this prayer in conjunction with a particular request, visualize the outcome you desire, and see the Divine Mother as the fulfillment of your wishes. See Her as the compassionate Protectress, coming swiftly to the aid of your heart’s troubles and needs.

If you feel emotional during your prayer rite, let it come forth naturally. Cry if you need to cry. Sob if you need to sob. Shake your fists if you need to shake your fists! If you find, as I often do, that silent recitation of a prayer creates a more effective emotional outcome, do not hesitate to simply read these words to yourself, all the while visualizing the Power of the Goddess coming forth from your heart in response to your devotions.

Peace to You, O Auset, Isis, the Face of Universal Truth.  Homage to You, O Divine Mother of my heart, Isis, the eternal flame of the heart.

Manifest Your Face in Peace, O Auset, You reflection of peace, You face of the truth of peace through the Creation of the heart.

O Mother, the heart of greatness, let my path of greatness be that of the greatness of the heart; a heart that gives, not only receives; a heart that yearns to bestow love, not only accept love; a heart that shields others from sorrow, not only hides from sorrow; a heart that travels far for the welfare of others, not only asking others to make the journey; a heart that endures sacrifice, not only asking for the sacrifice of others; a heart that sees all life in creation as hallowed, not only this life, my life; a heart that serves Truth, not only desiring to be served; a heart that is humble in the presence of greatness, not only craving to be great; a heart that forgives the misdeeds of others, not only desiring to be forgiven; a heart of courage, even in the face of terror; a resilient heart, even in the face of defeat; a compassionate heart, even in the face of injustice; a heart overflowing with hope, even in the midst of the storm; a heart burning with the eternal flame of divine Wisdom, even in the face of doubt, persecution or suffering.

O Mother, You radiant flower of eternal wisdom, grant unto me, the pilgrim on the way, the luminosity of Your omnipresent heart, a heart knowing no limits to the reaches of its love.

You Who uplifted the Father Ausir, uplift me, Your Heart’s servant, from the vessel of darkness.

May I realize the Light through You.

May I restore the Light through You.

May I magnify the Light through You.

May I become a true pilgrim of the Light through You.

May I travel afar only to return to the Light through You.

May I create the Light through You.

May others see the Light in me through You.

May I heal the sick with the Light through You.

May I give release to the suffering with the Light through You.

May I sever the binds of the enslaved with the Light through You.

May I pave the road for liberty with the Light through You.

May I sound the chime of equality with the Light through You.

May I open the path to the light of justice through You.

May I purify all that is polluted through this pure Light that is You.

May I strengthen the aspirations of the just through this heart of justice that is You.

May I become a receptacle for the heart of selflessness, the motivations of altruism, the causes of righteousness and the mind of Illumination- through this radiance of the heart of Divine Light that is You.

May the desires of perfect peace, unconditional love, selfless service, non-persecution, and True Justice abound in me, and may my heart be truly liberated through the Light of this eternal flame that is You.

Gracious Divine Mother, the summation of the purest love, the countenance of Truth manifest over the four great directions, the Consort of Truth, the Bestower of Life, the breath of the faithful and the sustenance upon which their hearts prosper, put down suffering and the causes of suffering, paving the road to liberation for all living things, abolishing the forms of degeneration, uniting all women and men to the Ever-Present All of the Eternally-Manifest-Ones- This Great Ladder through which all paths are absorbed in the undiminished Divine bliss of the Undivided Supreme, the Infinitely Abiding Ones, beyond all forms of name, form and doctrine.

Help me Great Mother, to be one of those who serves without question, who works for the good that exists beyond self, who labors without desire for the reward, who bestows purely through the heart of love without grasping for pleasure, satisfaction or recompense.

May my misdeeds be cleansed through sight of You.

May my passions be calmed by the Grace of You.

May my desires be transmuted into the heartfelt wish for peace through You.

O Divine Mother Auset, the form of bliss in Heaven, the form of power over the Earth, the name of Truth in the hearts of the faithful, come near me in peace! Liberate my cares and sufferings through Your tenderness, and soothe my sufferings through the ever-manifest compassion beaming from the eternal flame of Your heart.

Draw near to the hearts of all those who serve You, liberate those who do not know You, and bestow the full grace of Your divine blessings upon the totality of creation.

This in blessedness I pray, dear Mother Auset, that all burdens might be lifted, that the Illumination of Your true love may create of my heart an eternal flame, whose light may dispel the veil of sorrow from before the eyes of all living beings in Creation.

Homage to You, O Auset, in peace!

All text copyright © 2001-2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa.

Auset, First of the Divine Amongst Women: A Simple Rite and Prayer for Honoring the Goddess Auset By Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa, Pr.H/ Temple of Auset Nevada

Divine Auset

At any time, day or night, the Goddess Auset, Isis is the hearer of our prayers.  Compassionately and without limitation, the Goddess manifests to those who need Her, regardless of their religious allegiances or spiritual inclinations.  When the heart is ready, Auset is ready.  When the child cries out, the Mother comes resolutely to the aid.  It is no matter that we may be faulty, angry or in doubt.  Our imperfections are absorbed by this indefatigable goddess, whose heart knows no prejudice nor displays favoritism.  All living creatures belong to Her, and all living beings are inside Her care.

This very simple rite and prayer have been of great service to me in times of doubt or despair, but most especially when my heart ached for love and kindness, but found none in the realm of humanity.  It’s purpose is to connect us with Isis no matter where we are or under what conditions we find our heart and mind.

Although a picture of the Goddess Auset is desirable, as are offerings such as candles, flowers and incense, if these are not present, simply close your eyes and visualize a space in which an image of the Goddess manifests, and beautiful offerings spontaneously arise.  For the Goddess Auset sees all things that take root in the mind, and She will know your heart when it is open and filled with love.

Love is the greatest gift of Mother Auset, and it is in Her loving embrace that we learn to cultivate, cherish, and offer this blessing to others.  Let us begin with Isis, and from there channel that love into every other place in our life.  So may it be.

  • A candle is lit in the presence of an icon or picture of the Goddess Auset.  Incense is offered, and its smoke wafted over the head of the celebrant in a blessing and token of receiving.  Stand silent for a few moments before saying the prayer out loud.  If for whatever reason the prayer cannot be said out loud, read it softly to one’s self.

Hail Auset, Isis, First of the Divine Amongst Women!  Your peace is with me, and I am with Your peace.

Hail Auset, Isis, First of the Divine Amongst Women! Your love abounds, Your kindness grows, and in me Your Spirit flourishes.

Hail Auset, Isis, First of the Divine Amongst Women!  Whatever I touch is touched by You, for there is no heart in all of creation that has not been touched by Your love.

Hail Auset, Isis, First of the Divine Amongst Women!  I am Your lighthouse, the beacon of Your justice, generosity and salvation.  Those who call on You cannot be lost.  Those who live in You shall live forever.

Hail Auset, Isis, First of the Divine Amongst Women!  Blessed are You amongst the Gods, for the fruit which came forth from Your womb was the Sun.

Hail Auset, Isis, First of the Divine Amongst Women!  May my hands be filled with Your purpose and my feet strengthened with Your divine power, for You are the shield of the weak and the arm of the oppressed.  Those who call upon You are not taken by darkness, but lifted into the embrace of everlasting life.

Hail Auset, Isis, First of the Divine Amongst Women!  May You walk with my heart and shape my life to Your purpose.  I receive Your mercy, tenderness, solace and light, and to all I bestow these virtues, for You, my Mother, are the Great Mother of all beings.

Dua Auset!

All text copyright © 2001-2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

A Prayer to Auset as Queen of the Holy Flood, From “Rites and Rituals of the House of Auset” By Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa, Pr.H/ Temple of Auset Nevada

Auset the Holy Flood

Joy and exaltation to You O Divine Mother, Maker of the Flood!
You Great Goddess Auset, the Mother of the Divinities,
The Mother of humankind!

Huw! There is this Face of Greatness arising in the
Presence of the Flood, and in the darkness of Your Lord
Sokar You raise Yourself to the accompaniment of
Shouts and the dancing of beautiful limbs!
See how the Gods come before You in Your Shrine
On this evening of the Festival of Tears, this night
When You as the Lady of Splendor come forth from
The flooding waters as the Lady of Life, the Mother
Of Her Son Heru, Who tears open the waters on
This Day of the Ascent of Ra into the Vault of the
Light Beings!

Homage is given to the Lady Auset, the Lady of Splendors
Who listens to Her Lord every day!
Now has Auset stretched out Her two hands and arms over this,
Causing Hapi the Flood to shine from His hidden place!

Praise to You, O Lady of the Holy Flood, Whose face has washed
Away the ill that clothed the World in despair.
You are the Lady of this hour, the Mother of the beings who
Fell from the tears of Atum, and You have opened up
The Channels of the Holy Father, causing Him to
Grow again, causing Him to be green again, causing
His seed-essence to come forth in the day as the
Sovereign of Abundance.

Now You are clad in joy in the Presences of the
Shrines of the North and South, Your milk issuing
The Seed of Geb, the arms of the Gods lifted
About You in praise.
For You are Their Lady, the Lady of Splendors,
And all fear, awe and joy have humankind in You
When at last You appear on the Lordly Horizon
Of Your best beloved!

All text copyright © 2001-2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

Coming to Tara, Mother of the Buddhas: A Meditation & Prayer for Spiritual and Ecological Wholeness By Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa, Pr.H/ Temple of Auset Nevada/ Iseum of Isis Savioress of the Universe

Tara

Our Purpose

In times of doubt and need, in times of crisis we reach for that which will bring us immediate relief from our suffering. When we cut a finger we look for a bandage. When we fracture a bone we place it in a cast. When our heart is broken we look for a way to put it back together again…we seek wholeness again…we find a way to close the wound and find our resilient emotional faculties.

All living things desire, above all, happiness, life and freedom, to exist without suffering and hindrances…to be permitted to thrive of their own accord. Each one of us travels in our own boat, gliding along the waters of experience according to our own inner guidance or knowledge. We eventually seek to land on the shore, however briefly, of a fulfilled and nourished life, a true meaning…gnosis…of our journey clearly inscribed upon our heart. So much of our suffering is self induced, self inflicted by our refusal to acknowledge the deeper, innermost workings of our hearts and minds. Gnosis emerges when we take the time to stop our furious travels on the waters, dig through the layers of the untamed mind, and return to the pure state of a consciousness that does not cling, grasp or fixate on our emotional baggage.

All that we call real in this transient world is a hologram”, Olivia Robertson reminds us (in “Isis is For All”, Isis-House Publishing, 2011), “deliberately created to teach us to become our true selves. Our souls are born of Deity, and we have within us an individual Divine Being”. In other words, we have created an alternate reality in our daily lives, and we hold fast onto this as if it were substantial, and yet it is but a fleeting moment of time in the life cycle of the soul, and it is this Soul, part of the Great Soul, Deity, Divine Consciousness, that is the true reality of which all things are composed. Our suffering? Suffering arises because of our obsession with our alternative reality…our physical and earthly existence. But it is our ethereal existence, born from the realm of Spirit, that holds the ultimate meaning of reality.

If we can, but for little moments at a time, take ourselves back into the womb of our beginning, into the realm of Spirit…the realm of the Infinite Soul, Deity…then we can bring back with us some of that consciousness and experience into our physical, terrestrial lives. We can enliven the here and now with the nurturing, healing, compassion and wholeness not fixed in time or space, nor bound by our mortality. Truly, we are immortal beings. Death, suffering, limitations and ignorance are illusions that can be overcome, but only through our sincere effort to peel away our own self imposed fetters. In order to do this, we reach out to Mother, to our place of beginnings in the liquid warmth of the Mother’s womb.

Târâ Drölma, Liberator

Tibetans have many names for Mother Tara, Who is ever and always the compassionate, all-embracing reality from which transcendence emerges, and ills subside. Within the milk of kindness Dölma, the Liberator, sublime Tara takes Her ethereal seat upon the lotus throne, and from Her hand springs the blue or white lotus, the hallmark of the mind of enlightenment.

Tibetans tell the story of the princess Sherab Drölma, whose determination to end the suffering of all beings transformed her into a Bodhisattva, a being whose compassion commits her or him to take rebirth until the liberation of all sentient beings from the cycle of suffering and perpetual birth. From Bodhisattva, Tara Dölma emerged, reaching out to answer the prayers of all who call upon Her. With the immediacy of a mother who hears the crying of her very own child, noble Tara responds swiftly to the call of all sentient beings, prepared to shower them with Her flowering mercy.

It is also said that Tara began as the emanation of Avalokiteshvara-Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion, being born from his tears as he looked upon the innumerable suffering beings under his care, and despaired of ever liberating them all. It was Tara who sprang forth in such unwavering compassion and determination, infused with a limitless and undaunted reservoir of altruism.

Although there are twenty-one manifestations of Tara Dölma, each with unique characteristics and iconography, it is the White and Green Taras who are especially venerated by the people of the Land of Snows (Tibet) as the liberators and protectors of all suffering beings. These are the Taras Who grant boons freely, defend against ecological crises (such as earthquakes and fires), and manifest to practitioners as the removers of obstacles to the mind of enlightenment. The White and Green Taras can diminish hatred, greed and pride, and urge the practitioner towards the complete development of compassion and altruism.

The Meditation & Prayer, Coming to Tara

What follows is my own inspired composition- meditation and prayer- while meditating upon the root mantra of Tara, and contemplating the great ecological suffering being experienced by our planet at this time. Not only ecological, but social suffering and want continues to urge action and demand higher consciousness. While we continue to consume our natural resources on a vast scale, our population explodes without regard to the gross taxation this imposes on our Earth, and our hunger grows. Each group fights for its own interests- personal and ideological- while denying the human rights and needs of “the other”. Governments impose measures that seem to restrict and hinder, instead of liberate or serve. Each heart seems possessed by personal desire and self preservation. How can we work with these tempestuous feelings as they arise within ourselves?

On Thursday June 29, 2000 I was first initiated into the practice of the White and Green Taras, with His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama of Tibet acting as Root Guru. The Dalai Lama guided us through an astonishing visualization to enter into the presence of the twenty-one emanations of Tara Drölma, ending in the White and Green Taras, with particular emphasis on generating the mind of enlightenment in order to bring liberation to all sentient beings.

Within a shower of rainbow colored light, noble Tara appeared as the radiant heart of compassion, which begins with the self but quickly expands to encompass all sentient beings. As the body of White Tara expands, emerging from the blast of a pure white conch shell, we see the Goddess erect on Her lotus throne, the embodiment of victory over obstacles, while Her hands gracefully raise the white and blue lotus. Her face shines with the luminescence of a lamp, golden and jewel-toned, which is the lamp of Dharma, the Truth, the Universal Law. Kindness, compassion and care for all beings is resident in the level of the third eye, making its application universal, not solely personal. For the suffering of one is the burden of all, Tara tells us. She causes us to awaken to the hunger of others, who starve for tenderness and mercy, not only material gain.

From the crown of Tara- ornamented with a bejeweled diadem and pristine black locks- a nimbus or halo of rainbow light pierces through the veil of blue-black darkness, and within the heart the sound OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA bursts again and again, as a seed taking root in consciousness and multiplying rapidly like a tree of great shade. In this moment we ourselves become a beautiful vessel of lustral water, pure and sweet nectar, pouring out for the thirst of all sentient beings. Selfishness dissolves, and concern for others becomes the focus of our condition.

We realize all at once that the garments of Tara shimmer with a rich panoply of green, red and gold threads, iridescent, and floating like clouds passing softly through an azure sky. Again the thunder of a pure white conch sounds from all around, and this time the syllables OM AH HUM proliferate within the heart, again and again. Body (OM) speech (AH) and mind (HUM) are purified of selfishness, greed and anger, and the altruistic mind is generated for the welfare of all sentient beings. The Earth and its ills are given over to the lap of Tara, who becomes the Liberator, the Savioress of invincible mercy…the Mother of the Buddhas.

Feeling the qualities of compassion, altruism and determination arise, the heart maintains the syllables OM AH HUM, while the mind generates the root mantra of noble Tara, saying OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA. With each recitation, the mind becomes saturated with the compassion that encompasses all sentient beings, beginning with the self and extending outwards. Having gathered courage, determination and wisdom from the emanation of Tara, one is firmly rooted in the desire to liberate all beings from the fetters of suffering. The boundless compassion of Mother Tara, Liberator of all creatures, becomes my compassion, our compassion…shared by one, shared by all.

In accomplishing this practice, we will begin with the lighting of two candles, one White, given over to the honor of White Tara (Dolma Karpo or Sitatara, Who embodies purification and protection), and the other green, committed to the care of Green Tara (Who removes obstacles to the path of spiritual awakening). We will also offer incense (sandalwood, if available) and a bowl of pure water to the deity. Our prayers should be spoken aloud and with conviction, for in conviction we are determined to receive and offer the great compassion of Mother Tara on behalf of all sentient beings. Our determination flowers from a heart yearning to relieve the suffering of each living creature…each plant, animal and human…but also the waters, which surround and nourish, and make all life possible.

Having gratitude for all my teachers and peers, I have placed a few verses at the beginning of this prayer to honor (and petition) His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, since it was he who initiated me into the White and Green Taras, and has so generously bestowed upon me his kindness and wisdom.

To Lady Olivia Robertson, co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis, I also pay my love and gratitude for her endless gifts, and gentle tutelage. May she be blessed and cherished, ever with us, ever within our love for the Goddess.

OM AH HUM
In the sacred land surrounded by snow mountains,
You are the source of all benefit and happiness,
O Powerful Chenrezig, Tenzin Gyatso,
Remain in this world until samsara ends!

OM AH HUM
(A green candle is lit in the presence of Green Tara. A white candle is lit in the presence of White Tara)
O garland of virtues, pristine body of all Dharma,
Your radiance shines as a lamp of undiminished,
Refined light, where no doubt can remain!
Enthused with compassion you light the way
For the weary, where the blessedness of hope
Dispels the demons- selfishness, anger and greed.
O blessed Tara of innumerable virtues,
Shine your light from within my heart,
And fashion from my mind a jewel of
Diamond-hard resilience!

OM AH HUM
(Incense is offered to the Goddess Tara)
I offer all virtues to the sky
Like the pure white smoke billowing forth
As the noble Wind-Horse,
Carrying the precious teachings of
The noble lineages,
Paying homage to the Buddhas and the
Indestructible Dharma that is perfect truth.

OM AH HUM
A conch shell, pure white,
Blasts from the Land of Snows,
Heralding virtue of mind, body and speech-
Known to the four directions as wisdom,
Compassion and skillful means.
The Gods appear in rainbow light,
Beaming from the pristine forehead of
Drölma, the Liberator, Mother of all
Buddhas, Whose perfections embrace
The earth and purify its ailments.
This is accomplished through the
Endless compassion of the Bodhisattvas!

O Drölma, Precious Mother,
Emanated from the tears of Chenrezig,
Your crown pierces the suffering of all
Realms with the Three Jewels, in which
We go for refuge.
To the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha we
Commit our prayers, purifying the ills of
The earth and its people.
(An offering of pure water is poured out for the Goddess Tara)

OM AH HUM
May the mercy of your heart prevail.
May the insurmountable wisdom of
The Dharma, the Supreme Truth,
Manifest awareness and generate
The Mind of Enlightenment.
O lamp of seven eyes, your vision
Pierces the heart like the thunder of
A conch shell, whose beauteous melody
Diminishes delusion and clarifies the
Mind for Enlightenment.

O Compassionate One,
We pray for the ills of the earth,
Seeking the compassion of the Buddhas
Of the four directions!
The ills I have cultivated I hand over
Into the care of merciful Drölma,
Beseeching wisdom and engendering
Loving kindness.

(water is flicked or sprinkled in the presence of the Goddess Tara)
OM AH HUM
To the waters I bestow the purity of my
Intention.
To the creatures of the land I bear the
Will of preservation, harming none
And seeking only to do good.
To all sentient beings I proffer the
Three virtues of charity, mercy and love.
From the sweet and light-emitting lotus
Of compassion do all aspirations rise,
And the Mind of Enlightenment, which
Flourishes with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,
Becomes the root of my life.
OM AH HUM

Recitation of the Mantra of White Tara
Om Tare Tuttare Ture Mama Ayuh Punya Jñana Pustim Kuru Svaha

Recitation of the Mantra of Green Tara
Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha

All text copyright © 2001-2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

Honoring Hwt-Her: Prayers & Invocations to Hathor

Hwt-Her_Mistress_of_the_Sky_1024x1024

“Hwt-Her-Mistress of the Sky”/ An original Kemetic icon by Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa. Extra fine watercolor, gold, semi-precious stones on 8″x10” archival panel. Genuine mineral pigments used as watercolor: Lapis lazuli (sourced from Chile), Amethyst (Soladad, Brazil), Bloodstone (Alaska, USA), Jadeite (Alaska, USA), Piemontite (Alaska, USA), Rhodonite (Bellahorizonte, Brazil), hydrated iron oxide (red and yellow ochre). 22 karat gold, turquoise (Tibet), Shattuckite with malachite (from the Shattuck Mine in Bisbee, Arizona). Austrian crystal elements by Swarovski®.

 

Homage to You, Hwt-Her, Lady of Life,
Enveloped in turquoise with the lotus
as your diadem!

O Golden Lady, how can men approach you?
How can the Gods behold your glory,
shining as electrum in the Eastern heaven.
To look upon You is to be blinded
by the fire of your body, casting the
shadow of the Sun as that Great Cobra Goddess.

The Sun’s light does not reveal your completeness,
Though your embodiment is the circuit of the
Wedjat Eye in its time;
it is unknowable, and the Gods cannot fathom
your strides across the Imperishable Stars.

O Goddess, the Mistress of the Sky,
how fair is your countenance,
how dazzling your lips,
your eyes of green malachite,
your eyebrows like the iridescent plumage
of the Sacred Falcon.

How He comes to you, erect upon His perch,
His lofty standard shining with your love.
He embraces you, the One of the Two Horizons,
His two wings not spanning the length of your
divine body.

Smitten, the Lord of Valor becomes yours,
as you, the long-legged Goddess, cause the
faces of the Gods to be turned away,
Ensnared by your beauty.

Homage to You, O Lady of Love
who bestows rapture by the very sight of Her,
whose body challenges the Sun for His light,
whose Father is born through Her,
whose brother becomes the Lord of the Earth
by way of Her thighs!

You, O Hwt-Her, are the sovereign Mistress
before whom the Gods submit their powers.
Mysterious One, who in secret gives birth
to the Sun in His moment of becoming.

Let me, too, come near to You in the hour
of your rising, when in shards of turquoise
your face becomes the illumination of the
Sun-God.

May my two eyes behold You,
may my ears hear the shaking of your papyrus reeds,
may my nose inhale the intoxication of your lotus-fragrance,
and may I be one of those in your entourage
who lives forever on account of You.

– From the Hymns of Hwt-Her Mistress of the Sky
By Master Iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

These are the words of the artisan Ptahmassu,
Beloved of Ptah, the master color artist,
Great Director of Craftsmen in the House of Ptah
Who has spent his life making images of the Gods,
Who propitiates the Gods through the works of
His hands, dynamic in the Soul-Mansion of Ptah,
Whom Ptah the Lord of Ma’at loves:

Rise, O Goddess, bedecked in the trappings of Ra,
Shining of face like the Disk at sunrise,
Acclaimed by the Vault as its mistress,
Heiress of the sky whose embodiment glitters
With fine gold!

Rise, O Hwt-Her, Hand of the Netjer!
Your body, young and perfectly appointed,
Causes Atum to rise in His season,
His passion becoming the verdant land,
His seed bearing the fruit of the Sacred Land.

Rise, O Hwt-Her, the Golden One,
Upon whose brow radiates the Eye of the Disk,
Whose radiation flares as the Cobra Goddess,
Her terror filling the hearts of gods and humankind.

O Beautiful One, the perfect countenance of
Her father in his sky, Ra has lifted you up,
Your body forming the domain of heaven,
Your navel becoming the great Mooring Post.
The Ark of the Day shines by your light!
The Ark of the Night follows your glistening
Thighs into the realm of the Blessed.

Rise, O Hwt-Her, Mansion of the Lofty,
The House of the Falcon, the Residence of the
Elevated One!

Your embodiment is the seat of the Eye,
Whose wholeness becomes you,
Whose powers shine through you,
Whose life is renewed at your coming home
From the south.

Djehuty the Lord of Eight-Town comes out
To hail you, acclaiming your powers, and
Leading you to your throne at the Filling of
The Wedjat Eye.

Rise, O Hwt-Her, Mistress of Turquoise,
Mistress of real Lapis-lazuli, upon whose
Limbs glitters indestructible gold,
That skin of the gods which brings joy
To the hearts of humankind, through whose
Magic the netjeru possess the entire circuit
Of the sun.

Rise, O Goddess, O Hwt-Her, O Mistress of Love,
Lady of Intoxication swimming through the
Thighs of men!

They see you, their hearts beat fast and their
Loins shudder in rapture.

They hear the music of your feet, the shaking
Of your breasts, the swaying of your hips.
All men make a dance for you, you who grant
The joys of lovemaking, the beauty of the flesh.

Rise, O Hwt-Her, the Daughter of Ptah, His beloved,
The ornament of Ra Whose brow dazzles as the
Eye of the Sun!

Come, O Goddess, in peace and in beauty!
Awaken in peace, O Hwt-Her, awaken in beauty.
Awaken in peace, O Golden One, awaken in beauty.
Awaken in peace, O Lady of Life, awaken in beauty.
Awaken in peace, O Lady of the Green, awaken in beauty.
Awaken in peace, O Eye of Ra, awaken in beauty.
Awaken in peace, O Mistress of the Sky, awaken in beauty.
Awaken in peace, O Mistress of the West, awaken in beauty.

O Goddess, your holy image is established on earth and
Outshines the circuit of the sun, the zenith of your powers
Becoming this image in the eyes of humankind.

Let all honor be yours in it, and the fruits that come forth
Be all things good and pure!

These are the words of Ptahmassu, having consecrated
This body, this ba of the Great Goddess Hwt-Her,
Calling it after Her “Hwt-Her Mistress of the Sky“.

-Consecration prayer for the icon Hwt-Her Mistress of the Sky
By Master Iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa 

O Goddess, Hwt-Her,
What light heaven has
Belongs to You.
O Divine Hand,
Mansion of the Falcon!

In the east, where You dazzle,
Giving birth to the beetle
Of scintillating armor;
In the west, where the tips
Of your golden horns
Welcome the spirits of
The Blessed Dead.

Homage to You, Hwt-Her!
Mistress of Turquoise,
From whose glittering limbs
Ra in the vault draws pleasure,
Between whose loins
The face of the sun emerges.

Dawn, beckoning, shining with joy,
Your face captivates the eyes of the Gods,
Whose heads are turned in your
Eastern direction.

Lapis lazuli, your hair,
A token of the Sun-God’s glory.
The curves of your muscles and sinews
Shifting beneath a gown woven of
Transparent illumination.

Your mandrake lips, your honey breath,
Leaving all gods breathless,
And bestowing the breath of life
To humankind.

O Goddess, Hwt-Her,
Enwrapped by the falcon wings
Of your beloved,
Whose name your womb enshrines;
Heru, His ardor finds fulfillment
Within your house of rosy flesh.

Homage to You, Hwt-Her!
Mistress of Heaven who renews
The foreign lands,
Whose deft fingers draw out
From the earth all that is precious.
Decorated with the turquoise light
Of the sun, its rays find You,
Its magnificence crowns You
Like a royal diadem,
Shooting forth the awesome terror
Of the Cobra Goddess.

O Hwt-Her, your music resounds
Throughout the expanse of the vault,
Awakening the sleepers,
Giving eternal life to the well-provisioned
Spirits, who find their home in your
Indestructible beauty.

May your light touch my face.
May it awaken the Gods.
May your grace adorn the earth,
Renewed by the power of your love.
May I find a home in your womb,
So that I, like the Ancestors,
May be birthed as the eternally shining
Sun, like Ra, to live forever in the
Ark of Millions.

O Hwt-Her, O Goddess,
Mistress of Turquoise!
Your feet stride softly,
Providing a mirror of golden light
To those twilight dwellers,
To those who abide in the outer darkness.
Ra Himself comes into being
Through your womanhood,
As do all living beings,
Who draw strength from your body
Like the earth from the sky.

– From the Hymns of Hwt-Her Mistress of the Sky
By Master Iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

What desolate voices have called me out
Beneath turquoise skies and wasted valleys?
To make love beneath Your embrace,
To empty my loins within Your intoxicating
Influence;
Hwt-Her, am I under Your Western sky?

Stars kiss the lapis vault without obstruction,
How far my eyes may behold Your grace.
O bovine gilt and wet with the Milky Way’s
Lust, never spent, ever ambitious in Your
Holy light.

O moon, fresh, painted only in naked white
Veil, I stroke Your tender thighs, I sweeten
My tongue with Your beauty!
Hwt-Her, am I under Your Western sky?

When I kiss, make love, taste the nectar of
My true love’s bud, I wonder at the
Passionate sweep of starlight, the horns of
The Celestial Cow prodding the noble Moon.

The desert, so ambitious, possesses my eyes
Relentlessly, and yet is Your favored cavern,
Where deep inside the miracle of life is
Renewed.
Hwt-Her, am I under Your Western sky?

O Golden One, the Hand of the God,
Hwt-Her, within Whose house the ardor
Of the Falcon arises!

Mountains in the West open their portals
Upon hearing the sweetness of Your voice,
The Sun coming home again, alighting
On the noble perch, swathed in the
Turquoise beams of Your sacred body.

O Hand, blushing cheek, honey lips,
Tresses of blue-black like real lapis lazuli;
Yours is the countenance that ensnares
The hearts of gods, Whom Ptah the
Beautiful of Face cherishes.

O Star, sweet bovine, the Ark of the Sky-Lord,
There is no remedy for a man who holds
Fast to Your scent, when breezes like the
Northern gust take heart and eyes with
Sudden delight.

Hwt-Her, the very body of the God, Whose
Dazzling plumage shines in Your Sun,
Whose eyes are ruled by Your eye,
Whose nobility is the power of Your loins,
Whose beauty is the mirror of Your love.

O Holy Lady, Mistress of the Western Mountain,
I call You to come in Your glory, bestowing the
Boon of love, the favors of Your Lord, Whose
House on high is the House of Your golden
Loins.

Hwt-Her, the sweet essence, the fire, the Eye of Ra,
Appear not in Your terror but in Your beauty, come,
Enchant the heart with goodness, and make of my
Flesh a vessel for the miracle of Your love!

– From the Hymns of Hwt-Her Mistress of the Sky
By Master Iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

All text and image copyright © 2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

Getting Personal With the Gods: How I Found Grace in the Religion of Ancient Egypt By Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa, Pr.H/ Temple of Auset Nevada

Roman statue of Isis Hadrian era.jpg

How I Found Grace in the Religion of Ancient Egypt

When I was six years old I had my first powerful brush with the gods of ancient Egypt. In the pages of Encyclopedia Britannica I found photographs of statues, bas-reliefs, amulets, coffins and paintings depicting super-human beings with animal heads…jackals, snakes, cats, crocodiles and a dung beetle. A glittering golden icon of the god Ptah with his characteristic skull cap, a treasure from the tomb of Tutankhamun, enticed me to keep looking, to dig deeper for more. For most people unfamiliar with the nuances of ancient Egyptian art and religious iconography, the goddesses and gods of the Nile Valley present a bewildering and incomprehensible spectacle. A fusion of human and animal, each bearing their own set of complex crowns, regalia and signs, the netjeru or gods embody the fantastical and magical, seemingly defying the mortal realm and anything we could recognize as logical. The gods of ancient Egypt appear to defy logic, and are infinitely locked within the framework of their strange myths.

I was bitten by the bug (or should I say Scarab?) of ancient Egypt at an age when other kids were discovering cowboys and Indians and J.I. Joe. Today this would be nothing unusual, as ancient Egypt is all the rage from grade school to high school, and the Internet has created an endless place for discovery and research geared towards young people who are fascinated by this ancient world of pyramids and mummies. “King Tut” is a household name even for kindergarteners, and the recent global exhibitions of the Tutankhamun treasures (among many other collections currently circulating) have perpetuated the continued legacy of Egyptomania like never before. However, I grew up in the era before personal computers, the Internet and the iphone (I’m kidding, right?).

I grew up before Border’s and Barnes & Noble, before you could walk into any bookstore and find countless books on ancient Egypt to satisfy the voracious appetite of any Egyptophile. I had to make due with the few and far between titles available in mall bookstores or school libraries. When I did find those rare books (like E.A. Wallis Budge’s The Egyptian Book of the Dead or Mildred Mastin Pace’s Wrapped for Eternity), I devoured them greedily, taking notes and poring over the pictures for countless hours on end. Yes, it was the mummies and monuments, the fabled riches of Tutankhamun’s tomb that drew me in, but even more than those was the religion and magic of a world with which I increasingly found myself identifying. More than anything else from that culture, it was the gods of ancient Egypt that spoke to my mind and seemed to tug incessantly on the strings of my heart.

My first personal experience with an Egyptian deity happened some time after my seventh birthday. I was hospitalized for a severe concussion after falling over a tricycle, and I remember a terrifying moment when nurses were attempting to draw blood, and I squirmed around trying to prevent them from doing their job. I remember my stomach heaving, vomiting, an intense fear coupled with the fierce desire to get out of that hospital. It was then that I prayed to Imhotep- that most famous of Egyptian architects and physicians who after his death was deified as the son of the god Ptah and worshiped as a miraculous healer. I called on him and asked him to make it all better, and that’s exactly what happened. Call it a fantasy or a concussion-induced hallucination if you must, but I will never forget the vision I saw above my hospital bed: A shaven-headed and wise-looking man with a scroll of papyrus unrolled on his lap, surrounded by a scintillating golden aura. He spoke words in a language I did not know in my intellect, and yet my heart seemed to resonate with the sound and meter. All at once I felt a peace and comfort settle over me, and from that day to this I have called upon Lord Imhotep whenever in pain or in need of healing.

“Great One, Son of Ptah, the creative god, made by Thenen,
begotten by him and beloved of him, the god of divine forms in the temples,
who giveth life to all men, the mighty one of wonders,
the maker of times, who cometh unto him that calleth upon him,
wheresoever he may be, who giveth sons to the childless,
the chief Kheri-heb, the image and likeness of Thoth the wise.”

-Address to Imhotep in the temple of Imhotep at Philae
Imhotep by Jamieson B. Murry, M.A., M.D. Oxford University Press, 1926, pp. 46.

While in grade school I attended St. Alban’s Perish Day School, a private Catholic school, where every Friday we were required to attend chapel, take part in Mass, and to observe the saying of the Lord’s Prayer together with those prayers reserved for the feast days of various saints. I had been raised in the Baptist Church, which for me was appallingly sterile and devoid of mystery or passion. It was my experience with the solemnity and ritual of Catholicism that was to change the way I viewed religion. In the Baptist Church of my upbringing there was little to endear a heart already absorbed in the study of ancient rites of a pagan culture; enduring hour-long sermons in stiff pews surrounded by stark white walls and a plain wooden altar.

This is as agonizingly boring as religion gets! However, Catholicism struck a chord with me, and in it I identified with something that seemed to originate in a time and place much older than the origins of Roman Catholicism. When attending Mass- hearing the chants in Latin, being imbued with incense clouding up from swinging censors, seeing gilded icons glowing mysteriously by candle light- I connected with the temple rituals of the ancient Egyptians, for something in my heart recognized the sound of chanting, the smell of incense, and the power of golden icons.

In chapel there was an especially beautiful marble statue of the Virgin Mary, before which always burned dozens of votive candles in blue glass holders. I remember the morning I made my first prayer to Mother Auset (Isis), seeing in the smiling face and outstretched arms of Christ’s mother the spirit of a much older goddess, whose son Heru (Horus) was the savior-god of the ancient Egyptians. At this time I did not yet have my own statues of the Goddess to adore, so I used the statue of the Virgin Mary as my “stand in” to reach Isis. How can I forget the day Father Treat found me lighting a candle in front of the Virgin and said with a smile, “You are praying to Our Lady?” “No”, I answered with an even bigger smile, “I am praying to Isis”.

“Praise to you, Isis, the Great-One,
God’s Mother, Lady of Heaven, queen of the gods.
You are the First Royal Spouse of Omnophris,
The supreme overseer of the Golden-Ones in
The temples, the eldest son, first(born) of Geb.
Praise to you, Isis, the Great-One,
God’s Mother, Lady of Heaven, queen of the gods.
You are the First Royal Spouse of Omnophris,
The Bull, the Lion who overthrows all his enemies,
The Lord and ruler of Eternity.”

-Hymn to the goddess Isis from the temple of Isis at Philae
Six Hymns to Isis in the Sanctuary of Her Temple at Philae and Their Theological  Significance. Part I . By L. V. Žabkar. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 69 (1983), pp. 115-137

Isis was the first goddess of the Egyptian religion to answer my prayers. I came to her at first very timidly, not quite sure how to address a goddess, as I had been raised in the Baptist Church of Christianity, which recognized no goddesses and had no concept of the divine feminine. But I was enchanted by her story, because Isis is no ordinary goddess. Queen of Heaven, yes. Great of Magic, but of course. Crowned and arrayed in the trappings of royalty, to be sure. However, Isis is no loller on the clouds of divine queenship. She is a goddess who knows the sufferings of widowhood, homelessness, imprisonment, forced manual labor, single parenthood, poverty…and the list goes on and on. Something that won the hearts of millions of the ancients was the truly humble story of this powerful goddess whose husband (Ausir or Osiris) was brutally murdered, who then had to flee for her life as a widowed and pregnant mother, to give birth in the marshes of Egypt in hiding and on the run from her husband’s murderer. Isis raised her son Horus in secret, ever aware that the chaotic Set (the murderer of Osiris) would destroy not only her but also her young son. The trials of single motherhood in this day and age included near death encounters with scorpions and crocodiles, and the added humility of begging for scraps and help from rich matrons who slammed their doors in the goddess’ face.

This was the story that captivated the ancients, and, when Christianity was struggling to overtake the East, made it difficult for evangelists to convert adherents of the Goddess to the doctrine of Christ. The faith of Isis, Osiris and Horus is the story of a divine family enduring and transforming through very human circumstances. It is also the story of resurrection from death that formed the foundation of the Egyptian belief in immortality and physical resurrection from the dead. Long before Christians formed their doctrine of a divine son crucified and resurrected from the dead as the path to salvation, the very ancient Egyptian religion asserted the death and resurrection of its god Ausir (Osiris), and the guarantee of his story to all Egyptians that they could follow in his footsteps and be risen from the dead into the paradise of the Blessed. Central to this belief was the magic of the goddess Isis, who had used the insurmountable skill of her magic to revive her murdered husband from the dead. Upon achieving her aim, she conceived a holy child, the falcon-headed god Heru (Horus), who became to the Egyptians the very embodiment of divine justice, truth, and righteousness.

The story of Heru’s struggle to overcome the obstacles of his tumultuous childhood and regain the throne of Egypt from the murderer of his father had a particular meaning to me as a young boy; for the story of Horus is essentially the story of history’s first underdog turned top dog. He is a child who experiences severe tragedy and darkness, then, as a young man, enters a vicious struggle against his uncle in order to regain his stolen throne.

The trials of Heru seem to know no bounds, but he is, in the end, rewarded with justice, and himself becomes the embodiment of truth overcoming brute force and immorality. Horus, once perceived as the outcast renegade of the Egyptian marshes, proves his valor to the gods of Egypt, and wins the kingship of his father as the god of strength and honor. To a young boy who was also a runt, often an outcast amongst other children his age and the butt of many a joke, the story of Heru made me believe in the probability of noble character to surpass mere brute strength, and the significance of maintaining one’s moral and spiritual integrity even in the face of the most violent opposition. My prayers to Isis and Osiris inevitably included earnest petitions to the holy son Horus, the valiant god whose power of truth could help me defeat the schoolyard bullies, and survive the heartache of a troubled domestic life.

“I am Horus the Behdetite, great god, lord of the sky,
Lord of the Upper Egyptian crown,
Prince of the Lower Egyptian crown,
King of the Kings of Upper Egypt,
King of the Kings of Lower Egypt,
Beneficent Prince, the Prince of princes.
I receive the crook and the whip,
For I am the lord of this land.
I take possession of the Two Lands
In assuming the Double Diadem.
I overthrow the for of my father Osiris
As King of Upper and Lower Egypt for ever!”

-The speech of the god Horus from his temple at Edfu
The Triumph of Horus: An Ancient Egyptian Sacred Drama. Translated and edited
By H.W. Fairman. University of California Press, 1974, pp. 106.

I was raised in a very religious family, and I have always been a very religious person. I was even religious as a kindergartener. My problem as a child was that I was drawn to the “wrong” religion. Something about monotheism stuck in my craw and seemed to chew up my insides. And something about church made me shake me head for want of something more. Where are the statues?, I remember asking myself while daydreaming during Sunday school about being anywhere but there. Where are the flowers, the chants…the Mysteries? They had these in ancient Egypt, I told myself, so why shouldn’t they be in the houses of God now? Somehow, it all seemed wrong to me, and I never felt very right sitting in those stiff wooden pews surrounded by black-tied and suited fathers beside their starchy looking wives. I couldn’t stand church, because to my little mind it felt completely separate from the Divine. It seemed more about who was wearing what, and showing off good Christian morale than about finding and serving God. And which God?, I always asked myself. Some distant and wrathful old man flying around out there, just waiting to send irredeemable souls to the lake of fire. Even at eight-years-old I said to myself that one god was just not enough, let alone a jealous and angry god that would condemn his “chosen people” to forty years of hard time in the wilderness. So, I opted for something else.

When I was entering puberty my father told me I needed to be baptized. He was close friends with the preacher, whose son was just about my age and was going to be baptized in a group ceremony for young adults. And how would it look if I decided not to be baptized too? How would it make my father look, my family? Church was, after all, a place where one’s status in society could be firmly established. It’s where you showed off your new car, your wife’s 24 karat gold rope chain, your son’s straight A report card. It was also about showing off your Christian do-goodness. My parents were ahead of the game in that department. They volunteered for everything they could, everything from Wednesday night youth group to Sunday picnics and fund raising bake sales. My father was a pillar of the church, so his son just had to be baptized with the other boys. Period.

So I went to baptism class with the preacher’s son, memorized bible verses and evangelical prattle, and generally hated myself because I didn’t believe in any of it, and felt impure at the thought of taking part in it. Why did I feel impure? It wasn’t because I felt I was tarnishing Christian values by taking part in something so sacred without being a believer. That thought never crossed my mind. I felt overwhelmed by a sense of slandering the gods I truly believed in, the gods I kept locked away in my heart so that my Christian parents couldn’t see them. I would betray anyone, anything but them. How could I go through with it?

I stood behind the baptismal tank with all the other boys, dressed in my pure white robe, looking up behind the altar at a blue-painted sky in which clouds beckoned the mind to dwell in Christ’s kingdom. But my mind was lower than low, consumed in guilt and conflict, because I was consecrating my body (and, supposedly my soul, too) to the Christian faith in front of the whole community. But then something happened. I felt a presence leading and guiding my heart into awareness of how this moment could be transformed into something sacred for my personal religion, for my gods and my true beliefs. Looking at the four corners of the baptismal tank, I saw in my mind’s eye the four tutelary goddesses of ancient Egypt: Auset (Isis), Nebet-het (Nephthys), Selket and Neith. Their kind expressions and outstretched arms surrounded the waters in a protective embrace, just as they had the fabulous golden canopic shrine of Tutankhamun.

And I saw the baptismal tank not as the waters in which John the Baptist had baptised Christ, but rather as the waters of the sacred Nile, the holiest of rivers to the ancient Egyptians. And I called on the gods of those people, just as I was summoned to take my turn in the waters. I offered to them the vessel of my heart in sacrifice, and gave over my soul, my mind, the entirety of my being, to them and only them. With my mouth I parroted the words the minister spoke, the words he and everyone else believed would make me a true and consecrated Christian- but in my heart I prayed fervently to my gods, and gave myself over into their sacred care. When I was dipped beneath the waters I experienced them as the same waters in which the god Osiris was drowned, the waters beneath which opened up the hidden passage to the Netherworld. And I entered, and from that moment on I belonged to the living gods of ancient Egypt. Like Osiris, I died and was born again, and my life was the vehicle for the glorious gods who still spoke and moved when they were listened to and called upon.

“I come unto thee, son of Nut, Osiris, ruler of eternity. I am a follower of Thoth, rejoicing in all that he has done. He brings for thee refreshing breath to thy nose, life and dominion to thy beautiful face, and the north wind that came forth from Atum to thy nostrils, lord of the sacred land. He lets the light shine on thy breast; he illumines for thee the way of darkness”.

-Excerpt from Spell 183 of the Book of the Dead
The Book of the Dead or Going Forth By Day: Ideas of the Ancient Egyptians
Concerning the Hereafter as Expressed in their Own Terms. Translated by
Thomas George Allen. The University of Chicago Press, 1974, pp. 200.

My Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) icons are my answer and my call to the gods of the Nile Valley. However, these gods are not just fixed in space and time, belonging only to the hazy mythos of a long-dead civilization, nor are they solely the gods of ancient Egypt as a historical culture or geographical location. The netjeru or gods are manifestations of the Eternal, beings who both embody and transcend the extraordinary culture that first recognized them as the components of all life. Nor can they be boiled down to mere archetypes, the play of the human intellect as it attempts to define the undefinable and bestow meaning to what is beyond comprehension. I must ask how an archetype is worthy of worship? Do Christians, for example, worship Christ as an archetype of resurrection or salvation? Do they view his power solely as that of some abstract symbol by which the human mind can label a thing hidden deeply within the recesses of its own mind? The answer is self-evident.

The passion of Christianity lies in the physical existence of Christ, in his historical passion of birth, death and resurrection, in the redemption literally passed down to humankind through the spilling of his blood. There is no Jungian symbolism or Freudian theory that can define for Christians the solid truth of Christ’s sacrifice and promise. So too did the ancient Egyptians view their gods as historical and tangible beings, incarnate in and through the created world. Their powers were very immediate, very real to the mind of the Egyptian, who did not bother with abstract universal thinking, but opted instead to experience the Divine in the here and now, in the flesh, and in the world beyond this one that was as earthy and tangible to the Egyptians as their beloved Egypt.

There are those who, in the spirit of New Age thought, assign the gods to the Jungian realm of abstract symbols inherent to emotional states of being, or simply define them as “nature”. The true gods laugh at such egoistic folly, as human beings strive to quantify, label, and explain away through tidy language the quintessence of the Mysteries. My experience of the gods is that just when you find a convenient label to slap on them, they are sure to change and transcend logic in all its secure forms. That is why the netjeru were served by the ancient Egyptians through the cultic rites they called shetau, “the mysteries”, from a word meaning to “make secret”, “make inaccessible”, “mysterious”, “confidential” (Raymond O. Faulkner, A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, pp. 248-249). The gods so enjoy the delicious complexity of form and symbol, name, color, texture and transformation.

To the ancient Egyptians, each deity was the composite of nearly limitless qualities and manifestations of form. Each assisted in lending the power of recognition to the whole; however, ultimately the gods were mysterious and hidden, experienced truly through the magic of ritual and iconographic forms.

So, I wish not only to connect with the netjeru personally as a devotee summoning up their images within the artistic medium, but also to bring these gods to humankind once more. The mission of my creativity is to literally give birth to the gods, for we are told in the so-called Memphite Theology of the Shabaka Stone that the creator-god Ptah determined the offerings and places of worship of the gods, that he made their body as they desired, and that because of this the gods entered into their bodies of all kinds of wood, minerals, clay, and all kinds of other things that grow thereon (Holmberg, The God Ptah, pp. 22). It is through the artistic medium, then, that the gods make contact with human beings, for the artistic medium is that process by which wood, stone, minerals, clay, and the substances that have sprung from the earth are transfigured into the shapes in which it pleases the gods to dwell.

All text and image copyright © 2011, 2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa