Feather Files: of altars and offerings
3 posts in three days, are you shocked?
The role that I fulfill for my gods is the role of messenger. For example, I discover something nifty. I make a note of it in my weekly Daily Happenings post. But then I can’t get it out of my head. It keeps circling around, jumping up and down and generally making a nuisance of itself. Until. I . Pay. Attention. OH! So I need to this message out! I then get an emphatic yes and sometimes an about time or roll of the eyes feeling. I’ve decided to start calling these Feather Files. (Angelos means messenger, most mythological messengers had wings, feathers come from angel wings and are a symbol of Ma’at aka Truth) Take them as you will…
So last week I was bored at work, shelf reading. Shelf reading: An ugly necessity usually done by a librarian out of boredom; causes ordered shelves and headaches. I ran across a large book “Egypt: Gods. Myths and Religion” by Lucia Gahlin. The book kind of pulled me in, but believe it or not librarians are not allowed to read on the job. So I did some bibliomancy.
“What do I need to know?” I then flipped through the book and stopped when it felt right. I landed in the section titled “Temple Rites and Offerings”. I looked for that certain something…nothing at first, keep looking. Nothing in the text. So then I paid attention to the pictures. First chime was the picture of Ramesses III offering incense. The second chime was the picture of Pediu-Imenet offering incense in front of a table piled and surrounded with offerings. Ok… So I turn the page forward and heard a bong:
The Ancient Egyptian word for ‘offering’, hetep was also their word for ‘satisfaction’. The idea was that the gods and spirits of the dead were satisfied by the offerings of food and drink (and other things such as linen) that would be made to them.
The hieroglyphic sign for an offering, and an altar, was a mat (the forerunner to the more sophisticated offering table of stone) with a loaf of bread placed on it. In addition to the actual offerings that would have been placed on these tables, representations of them were carved on the stone surface — these were seen as magical substitutes for the real thing, thereby ensuring an eternal supply of symbolic sustenance for the gods.”
I then turn back two pages to see another picture of Nefretiabet (dressed in leopard print! loves me some leopard print) seated before an offering table with various offerings on, above and below it. Next to the table is a list of types of linen.
Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t be carving into the furniture…partially because I’m not a carver and partially because alot of our furniture is only a wood veneer. I’m not a painter either. But. I can stitch. I can craft.
My Isis shrine has been rather bare of late. If felt wrong, so I took almost everything off of it. I sold the picture that hung next to it but I had neither the ideas nor the money to fix it. I now have the idea, I just need to figure out the what and the how. I’m thinking a fine piece of linen evenweave, stitched with symbols that mean something to me to place on the altar. As for the empty frame, paper symbols.
For those that do sympathetic magic, one can place representations of what you want or what you are thankful for on altar/shrine in this manner.