Di Wep Ronpet nofret! (Happy New Year!)
Year 22 under Aset and the Epagomenal Days have passed. Year 23 for the Kemetic Orthodox Temple — with the Aset Webenut Oracle revealing Heru-sa-Aset as its God — has commenced.
Time is new again. All is green again. Yet, with its newness and greenness, Time Reborn is still vulnerable. The New Year is as precarious a time as the “unraveling of the year,” occurring just before the Days Outside of Time, the Days Outside of Time also being considered equally dangerous. This is on account of the regular, cyclical time referred to as neheh halting, and the entry of Creation into a period of linear time, called djet, between IV Shomu 30 and I Akhet 1. (Jauhiainen, 202) Even with the coming of the New Year, threats still abound, most typically in the form of plagues and “slaughterings.” According to Ancient Egyptian conceptions, ma’at had to be continually reasserted over isfet and Uncreation. Isfet is the default state of existence, and of the chaotic pre-existence Creation arose in the midst of. As such, it was considered very important by Ancient Egyptians to work heka against the potential dangers the Renewal of of the Year brings, to reestablish ma’at. It is just as important for us Modern Kemetics to perform such spells at this time.
My gift to you this Wep Ronpet, dear readers : a selection of spells adapted from J. F. Borghouts’ Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts to be performed on this day, to help safeguard you from the impurities and misfortunes that may arise in the year.
UTTERANCE FOR WARDING OFF
THE BREATH OF THE PLAGUE OF THE YEAR
O Flame-in-His-Face, Foremost One of the Horizon!
Do speak to the Foremost One of the House of the Hemsut:
Make Wesir flourish, the Foremost One of the Earth!
O Nekhbet, Who lifted up the Earth unto the Sky for Her Father,
Do come, that You may tie the two plumes closely around me!
Then I will live on and be sound.
For to me belongs the white crown on the head of the Great One Who is in Iunu,
the second one being Aset and the third one being Nebet-Het.*
I am under the authority of Him Who takes hold of the Great One, O Son of Sekhmet, Power of Powers, Son of a Khayty,* Raging One, Son of Hathor, the Mistress of the Stream Who makes the river rise.
May You fare on Nun, may You travel in the Day-Barque — Only when You have saved me from any deheret* and so on of this year, in the form of a breeze of any evil breath.
Heru, Sprout of Sekhmet, place Yourself behind my body,
that it may be kept whole for life!
Words to be said over a pair of vulture feathers, to stroke a person with them. To be applied as a protection for a person, for any place they go to. It is a protection against the effects of the year. It is something that drives the vexation away in a year of plague.
HEKA FOR WARDING OFF THE DEHERET OF THE KHAYTYU AND NEDJESTYU, THE EMISSARIES OF SEKHMET
Retreat, Khaytyu! No breeze will reach me
so that passers-by would pass on, to rage against my face.
I am Heru Who passes along the Shemayu of Sekhmet.
Heru, Sprout of Sekhmet!
I am the Unique One, the Son of Bast:
I will not die on account of You!
Words to be said by a person with a club of ds-wood* in their hand. Let them go outside and make the round of their house. They will not die from the plague of the year.
UTTERANCE FOR PROTECTION
AGAINST THE PLAGUE OF THE YEAR
I am That Horror come forth from Dep,
the Meskhenet that has come forth from Iunu.
Men, Gods, Akhu, male dead and female dead:
Keep away from Me! I am That Horror!
HEKA FOR PROTECTION
AGAINST THE SLAUGHTER OF THE YEAR
Rejoicing and jubilation!
Don’t You take this heart of mine away, this breast of mine for Sekhmet!
Don’t You take my liver away for Wesir!
Don’t even let the hidden things that are inside Pe come to an end,
on the morning of the counting of the Eye of Heru in the temple,
O every male spirit, every female spirit,
O every male dead and female dead —
an appearance of any animal, someone whom a crocodile has snatched,
whom a snake has bitten, who has died by a knife,
who has passed away on his bed —
O Khaytyu belonging to those Who are in the retinue of the year and its addendum.
Heru, Sprout of Sekhmet, place Yourself behind my flesh,
that it may be kept whole for life!
Words to be said over images of Sekhmet, Bast, Wesir, and Nehebkau drawn in myrrh on a bandage of fine linen, to be applied to a person’s throat for protection.
AN UTTERANCE FOR PURIFYING ANYTHING DURING THE PLAGUE*
May Your Wepwetyu be burned, Sekhmet!
Let Your Khaytyu retreat, Bast!
No year-demon passes along to rage against my face!
Your breeze will not reach me!
I am Heru, set over the Shemayu of Sekhmet.
I am Your Heru, Sekhmet! I am Your Unique One, Wadjet!
I will not die on account of You — I am the Rejoiced One.
I am the Jubilated One, O Son of Bast!
Do not fall upon me, Devourer!
Tousled-Ones*, do not fall upon me,
do not approach me — I am the King inside His shrine!
1.) Aset and Nebet-Het as manifest in the two plumes adorning either side of the Atef-crown.
2.) Khaytyu are a class of demons known as “Murderers”/”Slaughterers,” which are attendants of a number of prominent Goddesses, namely but not exclusively Bast and Sekhmet. Here, Nekhbet is the focal point, identified with Sekhmet, as the raging/protective Goddess capable of either inflicting or staving-off plague and slaughter. Other classes of demon attached to such Goddesses mentioned in these utterances are the Nedjestyu (Incendiaries), Wepwetyu (Messengers/Emissaries), and Shemayu (Wanderers).
3.) Borghouts translates deheret (dhr.t) very broadly as “vexation;” more appropriately translated, it is “sickness.” Here, it ostensibly refers to some manner of airborne or respiratory illness.
4.) I cannot as yet determine the appropriate translation of ds. Neither is Borghouts of any particular help here. It does not resemble the words I am familiar with for the usual luxury and/or sacred woods (acacia, ebony, cedar, sycamore, etc.).
5.) “Tousled-Ones” Borghouts guesses from spsp.w, which seems to be derived from the term sps, “tousled.”
6.) The directions for the final utterance included here are fragmentary to the point of being unclear, though it is at least relatively clear that the utterance is to be spoken over a “brush” made of particular though ill-defined types of wood (ds-wood again) and cloth (“h33-cloth”). This sacred “brush” is to be used to touch objects and purify them thereby. The scribe goes on to say it is “a means to scare away the plague, to ward off the passing of khaytyu along anything edible, as well as along a bedroom [wall?].”
Borghouts, J. F. Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts. NISABA 9. Lieden: Brill, 1978. pp 14 – 16.
Jauhiainen, Heidi. ‘DO NOT CELEBRATE YOUR FEAST WITHOUT YOUR NEIGHBOURS’ : A Study of References to Feasts and Festivals in Non-Literary Documents from Ramesside Period Deir el-Medina. Publications of the Institute for Asian and African Studies 10. Helsinki University Press : 2009.