Sunday, September 30, 2007

Notes for Sunday 9/30

Unofficial Notes for Sunday, September 30, 6247

General Updates
  • Scheduled guest speaker next Sunday (10/7), but the Maafa commemoration is scheduled, and we'll need to reschedule. It would be good to go to the Maafa with a strong understanding of our rituals. Decided to cancel the class taught by Baba Manu next Sunday, since only 2 students would be willing to come to a 10:30 am class.

Review the Assignment (Shoebox Shrine)

  • Asked students to create a shoebox shrine; emphasizing you can make your own - there's no need to buy one, and you can create one from simple items around your home, or that are easy to obtain; it's also less expensive
  • One could later expand and place more items around the box; you can also put it away to avoid having to answer questions or avoiding persons who don't know how to respect your shrine
  • Showed an example of a shoebox shrine; mentioned adding incense, bells, natron, statues, food offerings (such as nuts, other items), distilled water, etc.
  • Students shared their boxes; one plans to completely cover the box with material
  • If you don't want an animal image or neter, you can create a knot with string to make an ankh
  • Sand was used for purifying - to walk on in a sanctuary, but it was removed after the ceremony or ritual
  • Will use incense pellets, and perhaps a small spoon to scoop them out with; the brass containers do get hot so need to be careful about what surface it's sitting on
  • Can use a small bowl with water to simulate the lake or even, as an example, a blue tile
Alignment of the Shrine
  • Want to line the temple up north/south - using Sirius Rising; based on magnetic poles; may want to align based on how the sunlight strikes your shrine
    • You can also do an east-west alignment (symbolic for birth and rebirth)
    • Try to align based on lines of energy
    • The alignment may also determine/influence what you decide to include in the altar
    • You may store it anywhere you want, and align it whenever you use it
What is the purpose of the Shrine?
  • Altar is usually a surface, where the ritual is conducted; a shrine is enclosed
  • The contents of the shrine are really determined by individual preference
  • Student suggests that your home could be a shrine
Other Notes on the Ritual
  • To purify a person, you pour over their head or sprinkle water on them
  • Use water to purify a space and to establish a sacred boundary
  • Using incense for an offering, as well as fruit, wine, etc.
    • Incense can be associated with divine breath and the presence of a neter
  • Reviews the "Episodes in the Ipet Sut Temple Liturgy"
    • Baba Ray discusses the details on how priests performed the ritual; included approach the shrine on your knees, covering ones eyes, placing sand on the ground, unclothes the neter (statue), wash the statue, perform libations and sacred oils, a gesture for opening the mouth and the sacred oil on the forehead, replace the clothing with fresh clothing, walk around the shrine 4 times, close the shrine, and walk backwards while sweeping
    • Doesn't expect everyone to remember the details of the ritual, but want each student to begin developing a ritual for their own shrine
Final Notes
  • ipet, which means "temple", may not be pronounced "e-pet", shows an image with further discussion about another way of viewing/reciting the word for temple
Next Assignment
  • Develop a libation text, using the handouts that Mama Zerita provided (see below)
    • You always drink first - to test the quality first
Libation Handout


I. Invoke the supreme deity, mentioning one of his/her positive

functions or qualities.

II. Invoke one (or more lesser deities), mentioning one of their qualities.

Note: Often an earth deity would be mentioned as the source of

water, game, harvests, etc. Tree, water, bush, rock and

other spirits are mentioned next (See animism).

III. Invoke one or more ancestors

Note: In matrilineal societies, the names of female ancestors at

the head of matrilineal lines would be mentioned.

IV. Invoke the person (or persons) on whose behalf libation is poured

(or sprinkled) mentioning a positive quality of that person, if this

aspect applies.

V. Invoke an evil or troublesome deity declaring that it has been made

ineffective because of some specific action that has been taken against

it (e.g., binding, cutting up, incineration, etc.) So that it, or its followers, cannot cause conflict or affliction.

VI. Explain the purpose of the libation and put forth a request

VII. Close the libation by expressing best wishes for the health and

wellbeing of the community, people (or person) on whose behalf

libation was poured.

Note: The deity invoked is asked to "come and drink" as the

libation liquid is sprinkled or poured in small portions on

or into the receiving surface. A chanted response follows

each evocation. A libation song may be sung to the accom-

paniment of rhythmic singing, handclapping and/or drum-



John H. Mcdowell, "A Glimpse of Ghana,"< ghana.htm>K.K. Amos Anti, "Libation in the Old Testament and Akan Life and Thought,"

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Unofficial Notes for Sunday, September 16, 6247 (2007)


Review of Previous Class
  • Is is better to refer to neters as masculine/femine vs. male/female? Discussion regarding compliments and duality, and the role of both in creation
  • Reviews the medu netcher for "Heka"; can not have practice without heka, such as libation or prayer
    • Heka is a divine power, which can be invoked
    • Does heka require utterance?
    • The essential components of heka include: (1) purpose, (2) motivation, (3) gesture; heka is everywhere; Creator called upon the power of heka at the time of Creation
    • There could be no maat without heka
  • Have healers or "specialists" who persons go to for guidance/counseling/healing, not because they have any special "magic" but because they've invested more time in the "study" and due to their own special nature
    • Persons reflect on persons who were divine and special in their lives - whose energies they could feel, or whose prayers were impacting
    • Must be careful about suggesting that many people may serve in a priestly role, because although many people may be trained in the ways of ritual, it does require specific training
    • Persons must be informed, they must study and practice; doing an invocation for example, is a serious practice, and not to be taken casually
    • Many of us can serve and help others, as "healers" but must know their limitations, to avoid causing any harm
  • From the reading, "The Role of Priests" from the "Temples and Priests"
  • There were a number of priests in Kemet; but
  • Discussing the "Opening of the Mouth Ritual" at Dr. Hilliard's memorial, which is to purify a space prior to calling the deceased
    • Asks, how does it work without having the remains, and instead substituting with an image? Does the tradition support the use of the image?
    • Describes a woman who came to the image after the ritual, and "spoke" to Dr. Hillard, thanking him for his work; another said it was like "being in the Valley of the Kings"
    • Doesn't suggest it works with everyone equally well, but certainly for those who are plugged in - and are touched by the heka
  • Reviewing our rituals
    • When pouring libation all of the ancestors are not know to all
  • Wants to make sure that we provide more time for discussion about the roles of women in the priestly class, since we didn't spend as much time as we would have liked, although it was included in the reading
Next Session
  • Providing handout for the next session from the "Complete Temples of Egypt", p. 52-79
    • Made a change due to our conversation about our move to the next facility, and what they place should look like given our theology; so will examine how they designed and laid out their temples
  • Persons should read the article and identify the important spaces in a temple described in the article; (1) such as the outside space leading to the temple, the series of spaces as you move into the main temple; (2) describe the function of the major parts of the temple - focusing on its practical function; (3) describe its symbolic meaning, such as the shapes of pillars
    • Thus we'll attempt to translate the ancient temples designs to our next place, recognizing that we're probably moving into a regular building with offices/classes

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Unofficial Notes, Sunday 9, 6247

General notes for Sunday, September 9, 6247
NOTE: I arrived late, so hopefully someone will provide better notes

  • Discussing the importance of the heka (power of the spoken word)
  • Importance of the "Opening of the Mouth" ritual
    • Speaks to the Ka of the person who is not deceased, where the Ka is the person's spiritual double; the Ka moves, speaks, and eats
    • Family would set aside a place where the Ka would come to visit
    • The ritual was only reserved for persons of the highest class, does this suggests that "lay persons" were ignored or less important?
      • Priests were available to all, and several levels of priests
  • Blood ritual and sacrifice
    • What is the role/replacement for blood in ritual
    • Discussed the practical aspect of so called animal sacrifice; food shared amongst the community
  • What is the significance of wearing in ankh or symbol
    • Often the symbol have been blessed; perhaps it serves as a reminder
    • To wear in ankh provides protection
    • Wearing an ankh is not heka - what makes it powerful? What has been said over it; what you believe, what you associate with it - the possibility that the power can be infused within the symbol
    • When we talk about the power of Heka, Talking about altars , Altars are places where we think a sacred places abides,
    • For each of us we need to find something that will allow us authentically connect with spirit

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Notes for Sunday, September 2, 6247 (2007)

Taught by MIT (Minister in Training) Mama Zerita Sharp and Baba Raymond Davis

Mama Zerita provides an overview for the class, and the course material. Today's agenda is shown below:
I. Introduction
a) Teachers
b) Course Description
c) Review of Syllabus

II. Presentation of Lesson
a) Distribution of Text
b) Discussion of Key Concepts
c) Questions/Comments

III. Closure
a) Distribution of Materials

Discussion of Text
  • Examines the African continent from the Atlas, making note of some boundaries
  • Reviews some images which underscore the pageantry and spirituality of indigenous African cultures

  • Share readings from "How the Old African Religions Were Structured", see the article at this link by Vincent Okungu (12/11/6240)
  • Discussion
    • Are the neteru "spirits" in the West African sense of that tradition? They are referred to as "nature spirits", since there are functions in nature, which contain the energy of the Most High
    • Was Asar the first ancestor that was deified? Suggests that it is symbolic and not a literal story.
      • Asar has divine birth; not to be confused with Christ, since Asar is born divine, and was not elevated t0 divinity; in this sense Christ is more like Imhotep, who was elevated to divinity
      • The goal in our tradition is to become Asar, where Asar and Aset are spiritual models
      • Must begin to know the divinity that is in each of us, and Asar as an example of that spirit that we draw from, since the issue of historical record is limiting
    • From the reading, "Divinities and ancestors, though came under the general nomenclature of spirits, they formed a separate homogeneity; they were domesticated spirits. But African religious recognised other spirits that inhabited natural objects and creatures such as spirits of rocks, sacred trees, rivers, forests."
    • Refers to "man's double" in west Africa (Akan, Igbo, and Yoruba), similar to an individual's Ka in Kemet. Emphasized the migration and exchange for years between Kemet and other parts of Africa before the Sahara's desert encroached further
      • Important to be mindful of the thrust to separate Kemet from Africa
    • Is the recognition of ancestors, a form of "worship"?
  • Nearly completed the reading
  • Final discussion
    • Important to "speak" to ancestors, and not in the 3rd person
    • Names are not given casually, but are statements of purpose
  • Reading "Popular Religion" pages 189-209 from the book, Egypt, Gods Myths, and Religion (ISBN: 0-7607-3644-8); also reference was made to "Soul of Africa: Magical Rites and Traditions" (ISBN: 3-8920-2716-8)