I breathe. Slowly. Deeply. Trying to shake off the work day.
Ritual helps, calming and focusing me. I purify the temple, I purify myself, with the pure water from the Well of Nephthys. I consecrate the temple, I consecrate myself, with the pure Flame from the Mouth of Nephthys. By Her magic, by Her grace, the temple and I are purified and consecrated.
I breathe and wait.
When I am ready, I Establish the Horizons: east, west, south, north. The Horizons, the Akhet—the Light Land—endures forever. With my serpentform wands, “Neheh” and “Djet,” I trace the boundaries, the limits, of Her temple. I am becoming focused and relaxed now. I breathe in. I breathe out. As I step through the Gateway I ask, “Let me enter Your temple, O Great Goddess Nephthys.” She allows me to cross the threshold into Her twilight garden once more.
Having used this rite a number of times now, it is beginning to flow a bit better and I believe it will continue to do so as I begin to memorize it. (Always learn the ritual, if possible. It frees the mind…as well as creativity and inspiration. A ritual script is not a prison, but rather a scaffolding upon which to build our connection with the Divine.)
Now, I raise my hands in the graceful Nebet gesture as I invoke Her, the Beautiful Sister, ta Senet Noferet.
Soon, She is present, but less emphatically than Her last Arrival. This time, I mostly hear-sense-intuit Her voice surrounding me. Yet I also know that Her Form is seated casually in the eastern part of the temple. I feel Her vibration in my body as She speaks in my mind.
“What should I know of You now?” I ask.
“I am come to break you free,” She says. And I understand immediately what She means because She is in my head and I am in Her heart.
“You will take on Forms, Kheperu” She says, changing the subject abruptly. “First, the Uraeus.”
And I am one long spine. She has turned me so fast that my mind has not had a chance to catch up with the magic that She has worked upon my ka (I think it is my ka She has changed). I try to feel my scales and the little flicking of the tip of my tail, which is not a tail at all, but my whole body. “Sink into the earth and feel Him (She means the Earth God Geb) rumbling, living,” She says. I lie on my back on the floor of my temple, Her temple. Now suddenly, I am rushing, fast, fast across the ground over sand, grasses, mud. “Where am I rushing, Goddess?” I think to Her. “Home,” She says.
“Now, rise up,” the Goddess instructs. I do. My serpent body is coiled in a figure eight beneath me, which works quite well with my human body sitting cross-legged on the floor. (Uraeus is the latinized form of the Greek ouraios, which comes from ancient Egyptian iaret, meaning “she who rises up,” by the way. And it is a feminine word. The cobra hieroglyph was often used as a determinative for Goddesses.) I run energy through the figure eight and up to my hooded head with its wide mouth.
I am a serpent of gold and lapis lazuli. My eyes are turquoise. My hood is spread and I sway side-to-side, watching. I see more this way. I feel the rhythms of Father Geb beneath me. It is late winter here and He shudders and stretches. I sense His great, green phallus rising, even as I have risen. I am strong, strong. I can balance my entire body upright with just a tail tip for anchor.
Since Nephthys had been so insistent upon my serpent self being in harmony with the earth and Geb, after the vision, I decided to look Him up a bit as I had never studied much about Him. The very first thing that Google throws my way is that He is often considered the Father of Snakes. I had never heard this before. (And that is how these things often work.) Now I understand Her insistence. In the Coffin Texts, Geb is specifically the father of the powerful, primordial snake Nehebkau (“He Who Yokes the Kas”) and one name for a serpent in general is sa-ta, “son of earth.”
“What have you eaten?” asks the Goddess, bringing my attention back to the vision. “I live on Magic,” I tell Her easily. “I am the red and the blue currents entwined, which is Hathor, Who is Nephthys.” “Yes. Now you see,” She says. “I am the Last One (She means She is the last-born of the Children of Nuet and Geb) and all Their powers exist in Me; like the element of Earth.” (Again, She is using the stuff in my head to teach me things. This connects to some other symbolism in my own magical training, but in a different system. What’s more, I learn after the fact, that in the Coffin Texts, the deceased, as the serpent Nehebkau, is told “there is no God Who has not His ka in You.” Thus, just as the power of the entire Ennead resides in Nephthys, so does the ka-power of all the Deities reside in the serpent son of Geb.)
But for now, I am still a uraeus serpent, risen up from my lapis lazuli coils. I breathe up the power from the Living Earth, draw it through each coil of my body, and breathe it out my mouth as fire. It does not burn me; it feels cool coming up from the earth. In the next moment, the temple is on fire and I dance a snake dance in the unburning flames. “Why is the world on fire, Goddess?” I ask.
“This is power. Take in the ka of Fire,” She says. In Her name, I ask Fire’s permission and, being granted it, I breathe in the fiery ka-power, circulating it in a figure eight/infinity symbol through my coiled body. Will I be part uraeus from now on I wonder? I roll out of my figure eight and onto my belly on the floor of the temple. I can feel His great, green phallus poking, rather playfully, at my stomach. It’s funny and it makes me laugh.
“What have you learned, Little Sister?” the Goddess asks. “Why and how You are the Uraeus and a clue about the nature of Your power. To know my own strength. To remember Geb and He will increase my power. To dance with His rhythm. To take in the ka of Fire,” I answer. I wonder if that’s enough. I wonder if I got the lesson right. She neither confirms nor denies.
“You must connect with My Beasts,” She declares, ending our session. “Come back next time and we will do another.” Hmm, I do believe I am being King Arthur-ed.
I stand. The serpent scales fall from my human body and my breath is, once more, simply air. (But my blood just might be infused with a bit of Divine Fire.) I thank Nephthys for Her presence and Her counsel. I acknowledge the Horizons, east, west, south, north. With Neheh and Djet, I take down the limits of Her temple that I have traced. They endure forever nonetheless. Everything flows back into the heart-breakingly beautiful brilliance of the Akhet.
I sit down again and breathe slowly and deeply.