Hekate Magick: Re-Use and Re-Purpose

Hekate image shrine made from repurposed wood.

 

Before our modern throw-away culture – people rarely threw or tossed things away simply because they had outgrown their use or were broken and battered.  What they did was re-purpose, re-use or recycle – not only to save cost – but to reduce waste.  Some places and people still maintain this kind of living and now more than ever, as our world is being suffocated by waste cluttering our seas and landfills, it’s only environmentally conscious to do the same.

I like to challenge myself to learn to make my own devotional items, especially since I prefer to tailor things for my own spiritual and magickal needs/wants.  I find all you need is a can-do attitude, patience and practice – which is essential in developing your crafting skills.

Making your own magickal items for your workings can also ensure the ingredients you use are environmentally and ethically sourced. Also you dont have to spend a fortune for commercially manufactured items which can always be on the pricey side, as you can make things from recycled materials, so not only are you cutting cost but waste.

When my aunt and mother were creating their magickal crafts, there wasnt a local occult shop they could just pop into.  What they did is made do with what they could use from around the house and also what they could wild harvest in nature.  I am so glad to have had this influence in my early years because quite frankly its taught me to be self-sufficient.

I have a thing for not throwing anything out which I might re-use at a later date.  I have a cupboard filled with old jars, containers, paper bags and the like which can be reused or repurposed.  I continuously find they come in handy when making my own craft items.  I also like to repurpose and take something which once served one purpose and use it for another.

Hekate incense from repurposed jar and herbs.

 

13 Re-Use and Re-purpose Tips for the Hekate devotee:

  1. Wash and store old glass jars, bottles and containers as they can come in handy to store various items in them, such as oil blends, herbs, resins, incense, waters, powders etc. You can also use jars as soy candle holders and for jar spells and bottles as candle holders or vases.
  2. Used charcoal blocks for recipes such as black salt, it can also be gathered and placed in a charcoal burner as a heat buffer between the container and lit charcoal as well as using it for devotional artwork.
  3. Old pieces of wood can be used to make a shrine box, portable shrine, tools or divination box.
  4. Perishable offerings can be thrown into a compost for use over a garden and some items can be used to regrow the vegetable or plant it came from by harvesting seeds or planting the roots/tops.  I have done this successfully with many vegetables and herbs.
  5. Offerings in the form of flowers, herbs, salt and even fruit can be reused in the making of incense, water, powders etc. Drying out in a slow burning oven or herb air dryer after you’ve cut up your ingredients is a great way to reuse fruit peels for incense.  Also grinding up egg shells or using ground up coffee beans can be used in powders.
  6. Broken plates, glasses, old pins, rusty nails etc can be used for protection magick such as witches bottles.
  7. The stubs of candles can be used similar to sealing wax in various spells and workings.
  8. Use the bees wax from honey comb to make cosmetics, candles and furniture polish.
  9. Take that old piece of clothing, sheets, towels, tablecloth you love but can use anymore due to damage and wear and cut and and reuse material for crystal and divination bag holders, coverings for magic mirrors or tools and in some instances new altar or shrine cloths.
  10. Use old egg carton to plant seeds for herbs, plants and trees.
  11. Use broken crystals, rusty scissors, old keys and cracked statues in specific magick and ritual work.
  12. Feed the local birds and animals with safe food offerings from your shrine.
  13. Don’t throw out expired culinary herbs from your pantry, reuse them for spells, mojo bags, incense and the like.

Hekate mugwort candles made from repurposed beeswax and oil made from dried out herb.

 

I like to make my own version of Hekate Black salt repurposing spent charcoal and expired herbs using the following recipe which I would like to share which is easy to make:

Hekate’s *Black Salt  (© T. Georgitsis 2014)

Ingredients

  1. 2 parts kosher rock salt
  2. 1 part ash from the herbs of: dandelion, lavender, mint, bay, mugwort and rue (or any herb you associate with Hekate which is safe to burn and turn into ash)

Method

  1. In a heat proof dish and preferably outside take some dried dandelion root, lavender, mint, mugwort and rue herbs and burn with a lighter** until they are reduced to ash.  Whilst doing this visualise what kind of things you want to remove or banish out of your life.
  2. Take the ash and in a mortar, crush and blend it with a pestle with half the amount of salt to your ash ratio.
  3. Once blended use or store in an air tight container for later.

Simple Use for Black Salt

Sprinkle around the perimeter of your home.  With a long handled broom sweep the perimeter containing the traces of black salt outwards and away from your home.

*Not to be confused with the Indian spice black salt which is pink in colour.

** I prefer the long handled turbo gas lighters for the reach and ability to stay lit with wind

Hekate khernips from flowing water wildcrafted and stored in a re-purposed jar.

 

I strongly urge devotees to go and try and re-use and re-purpose items in Hekate’s name.  Also if anyone has any other ideas they would like to share with me I would love to hear them.


(C) T. Georgitsis  2014, Updated 2020

Hekate Magick:Working from Home

In Victoria, Australia we are currently in Stage 4 lockdown due to the pandemic, which means we can’t leave the house (unless your are an essential worker or its for medical, caretaking or limited exercise) and therefore those of us who can – are working from home.

Hekate is well known as a Goddess of the hearth and home and many of her devotees have shrines dedicated to her in their homes.  Therefore it is quite appropriate to venerate and honour her moreso whilst you are working from home.

Personally I have felt many more benefits when it comes to honouring the Gods and working with them in plain sight whilst I am working from home.  Some of the added benefits I have discovered include active practice whilst being productive during working hours.  To help those of you who would like to increase your practice whilst at home when it comes to Hekate (or any other God/dess) I have come up with 13 things you can do which I have listed below.

13 Things for Hekate whilst working from home:

  1. Burn incense.
  2. Burn aromatherapy oils.
  3. Perform a midday devotional.
  4. Eat more holistically, actively putting mindful vibrational energies into your food whilst preparing it and then eating it slowly, savouring each bite as a blessing.
  5. Listen to witchy music and podcasts out loud.
  6. Use any breaks for magic or spiritual work such as reading a chapter from a Hekate book you have been wanting to read or giving yourself a quick reading or healing.
  7. Your working desk can be covered in crystals, tarot cards, Goddess statues, bones etc – things which resonate with the energies and remind you of Hekate.
  8. You can surround yourself with Hekate centric art which you can focus on when you need to give your eyes a break from computer work to prevent eye strain.
  9. Journaling or note taking for deeper development at a later time.  If something comes to you such as an idea for a devotional act in Hekate’s name such as a spell, chant, hymn, ritual or some volunteering or support work which can be done from home you have the freedom to pause and focus on that.
  10. Hekate’s gardening during breaks – use your breaks to maintain, admire or surround yourself with your herbs, flowers or trees.  You can also use this time to start to plant a Hekate garden which can be something as small as a herb on a windowsill.
  11. You can make herbal teas or juices in honour of Hekate to sip on whilst you work.
  12. Sing, chant, dance and sway as a way to move your body when you need to get up to prevent RSI, back-pain or workplace fatigue.
  13. If you havent done it already a Hekate shrine can be set up near or on your workspace or you can maintain the one you currently have.

I am sure there are other things you can do to honour Hekate whilst working from home, which doest take away from the work you need to complete, which can create a deeper connection to her and her devotion.  So my advice is – use this time wisely and don’t waste the opportunity.

With the above said, you can also simply chose to do nothing of the above except contemplate or think upon the nature of Hekate and how you feel about her or her role in your life and in the world generally.

Whatever you choose to do during this time be kind and gentle to yourself and those around you. This is a unique time for us, which is full of emotions and stress and which should be taken care of, instead of projected in unhealthy ways (whether it be towards yourself or others).


(C) T. Georgitsis  2020

Hekate Magick: Four Thieves Vinegar

Four Thieves Vinegar also known as Prophylactic Vinegar or Marseilles Vinegar/Remedy, is a health tonic made from vinegar, herbs, spices and garlic which was created in the middle ages to protect against the plague (black death).  Similar concoctions have been made as far back as the time of Hippocrates in Ancient Greece.

The basic recipe for the remedy is adding certain herbs to be placed and steeped in a vinegar solution for several days.

In the current climate of Corvid-19 it can be used as powerful disinfectant.  

I created an original recipe several years ago.  This recipe is based on a medieval recipe and has modern ingredients added which I personally found useful:

Setjataset’s Four Thieves Vinegar Recipe (© T. Georgitsis 2014)

Ingredients

  • Vinegar (rice wine or apple cider) – 2 litres
  • Wormwood (1 tablespoon)
  • Sage (1 tablespoon)
  • Marjoram (1 tablespoon)
  • Meadowsweet (1 tablespoon)
  • Campala Root (3 tablespoons)
  • Angelic Root (3 tablespoons)
  • Rosemary (3 tablespoons)
  • Horehound(3 tablespoons)
  • Champhor (3 tablespoons)
  • Thyme (2 tablespoons) – modern addition
  • Mint (2 tablespoons) – modern addition 
  • Lavender (2 tablespoons)
  • Cloves (25 cloves)
  • Rue (3 tablespoons) – optional
  • Garlic (3 cloves) – optional

Method

  1. Add dried herbs to vinegar solution.
  2. Before closing the lid put some cling wrap to stop metal lid from corroding.
  3. Steep for 3 weeks in a secure glass jar, in a cool dark place.
  4. Strain solution through cheesecloth and then bottle securely in smaller jars.

Simple Use for Four Thieves Vinegar

Use as a disinfectant or house cleaning agent.

Cautions
DO NOT TAKE INTERNALLY!
DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT OR LACTATING!
DO NOT USE/TAKE IF YOU HAVE ALLERGIES TO INGREDIENTS MENTIONED!

 

Recently I created an amended version of my Four Thieves Vinegar in dedication to Hekate which I made in conjunction with a prayer for plague protection I wrote in honour of her.

My suggestion is to repeat the prayer before you start making the vinegar, after you have created the vinegar and left it to steep and once again after you have decanted the final product, once it has been strained.

Here is my recipe for the Hekate’s Four Thieves Vinegar:

Setjataset’s Hekate Four Thieves Vinegar (© T. Georgitsis 2020)

  • Vinegar (apple cider) – 1 litre
  • Wormwood (1 tablespoon)
  • Sage (1 tablespoon)
  • Rosemary (2 tablespoons)
  • Thyme (2 tablespoons)
  • Mint (2 tablespoons)
  • Lavender (2 tablespoons) – culinary not aromatic
  • Cloves (5 cloves)
  • Garlic (3 bulbs) – optional
  • Bay Leaves (1 leaf) – optional

Method

  1. Add fresh herbs to a jar.
  2. Cover herbs with vinegar solution.
  3. Before closing the lid put some cling wrap to stop metal lid from corroding.
  4. Steep for 3 weeks in a secure glass jar in a cool dark place.
  5. Strain solution through cheesecloth and then bottle securely in smaller jars.

Simple Use for Hekate Four Thieves Vinegar 

  1. 1 teaspoon diluted in a room temperature glass of water to be drunk once a week.
  2. 1 tablespoon in a bath once a week.
  3. 1 tablespoon in a small spray bottle to use on surfaces as required/daily.

Cautions
DO NOT TAKE IF PREGNANT OR LACTATING!
DO NOT USE/TAKE IF YOU HAVE ALLERGIES TO INGREDIENTS MENTIONED!

Here is the prayer I wrote for Hekate to go with the creation of her vinegar:

Hekate Prayer for Plague Protection (© T. Georgitsis 2020)

Hekate Alexeatis

I call to you as Averter of Evil

Keep this virus away from me (and my loved ones)

Hekate Aregos

I call to you as Helper

Help me (and my loved ones) to keep safe from this pandemic

Hekate Episkopos

I call to you as Guardian

Guard me (and my loved ones) against Corona-18

Hekate Ekdotis

I call to you as Bestower

Bring to me (and my loved ones) health and vitality 

Hekate Propolos

I call to you as Guide

Assist me (and my loved ones) during this difficult time

Hekate Soteira

I call to you as Saviour

Be there for me (and my loved ones) 


 

(C) T. Georgitsis 2014, Updated 2020

Hekate Magick: Khernips (Sacred Water)

Circe by John William Waterhouse

 

Khernips which is also known as lustral water is blessed or sacred water which is employed in Hellenic rites and can be used in the devotional workings of Hekate.

Khernips is primarily used for libations, offerings and to purge oneself of miasma (environmental and energetic pollutants believed to cause illness by the Ancient Greeks and modern Hellenes).  It can also be used to heal body/mind/spirit/emotion and can be consumed for internal use or applied externally (depending on the properties).

Khernips can be employed to bless or consecrate anything from shrine/altar tools, jewellery and places of practice, to plants, people and pets.  Washing one’s hands with blessed water before entering into ritual was common practice for the Ancient Greeks as it was believed to keep miasma at bay.  Khernips can be also used to put out a ritual fire, to wash ritual clothing and for use in practical and ceremonial magic, such as where one creates objects for specific purposes like a talisman from clay and water.

The Ancient Greeks made their khernips simply by collecting it from a sacred spring or well and storing it in a jug or similar vessel for devotional use.  The same technique can be employed now, however if you are collecting from a spring, be sure to leave an appropriate offerings like coins, flowers or herbs.

Another way to make this sanctified water is as easy as colleting rain water and purifying it.  My favourite technique of making khernips is collecting sea water. This can be ritualistically done by placing the vessel just on the shore line and collecting the water through a wave as it comes towards you. Several other methods of khernips I have successfully used over the years includes: mixing kosher rock salt and purified water, herbal/flower water (orange blossom, lavender, rose and angelica for Hekate), aromatherapy water utilising cold pressed essential oil and another method is purified water mixed with wine (sweet pine wine or any robust wine).

The way you can use khernips is by placing it in a glass lidded container for storage and then pouring it into a bowl or jug for ritual use.  You can then dip your hands into the bowl or alternatively pour the khernips over your hands from a jug to purify yourself before rites.  Use a bundle of tied up herbs to asperge* with or alternatively use your hands to sprinkle it over things like offerings, tools and sacred space.  Also putting khernips in a spray bottle to be able to diffuse it within an area works very well, as does using a water bottle or a bottle with a dripper. Some khernips, especially those having plant materials, need to be refrigerated or alternatively a preservative needs to be added such as a dash of wheat germ oil, olive oil or pure alcohol to keep it from going rancid.

This is a simple khernips creation and blessing I created as part of my regular devotional use for Hekate which I would like to share:

Setjataset’s Khernips Blessing ((C)T. Georgitsis 2013)

Ingredients:

  • Dried Bay Leaf
  • Purified Water (filtered water)

Method:

Light the end of a dried bay laurel leaf and say:

I banish all that is unclean, corrupt and profane with the aid of Hekate!

Plunge the lit end into the water and say:

It is purified, upright and sanctified in Hekate’s name.

You can employ the same method by holding some rock salt over a bowl of water, sprinkling the rock salt over the water and finishing off by swivelling around the mixture in the bowl with both hands.

Suggested Use for Khernips:

    1. To purify yourself before and after ritual.
    2. To remove miasma* from people, animals, physical items or spaces.
    3. To be used for libations in ritual and magickal workings.
    4. To be used as offerings.
    5. To water sacred plants, herbs and trees.

*Asperge = to sprinkle with sacred water.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2014, Updated 2020

Hekate Magick: Witches Flying Oil

Witches Flying Oil is an agent used to assist witches reach the astral or trance states.  In the 1300’s witches flying ointments were made with heated animal fats and nightshade herbs which was claimed to help them fly to the Sabbath on their brooms.  I have created a Witches Flying Oil which is a vegetable based oil, infused with herbs which is a milder version of witches flying ointments.

witch_m_1728821a

I personally like to grow my own herbs as that way I know that they are organic and environmentally clean.  I know that not everyone can do that so if you need to source them I suggest you purchase organically grown or alternatively trade, barter or swap with friends or family who grow their own in a pesticide free environment. Also to note is to please be mindful when when wildcrafting herbs ensuring that the locations you are gathering them from are not sprayed with chemicals or polluted by traffic and negative human interference.

I like to speak or sing to the herbs I am utilising in my witches flying oil by respectfully calling them to action and setting their intentions.  I like to do this during the full moon, new moon or waxing moon – depending which herbs resonate with which moon phase with the aide of Hekate as her Pharmakia.  When my oil is complete I also like to charge it during new, dark or full moon.  I activate and charge my herbs and finished oil in a ritual dedicated to Hekate so I suggest you do something similar by creating sacred space and evoking Hekate, activating and charging the items as a form of offering, thanking and farewelling Hekate and closing sacred space.

The following herbs are the ones I like to use in my Witches Flying Oil, not only because they are used in Hekate’s practice but also for the following magical reasons:

Bay Laurel: Enhances psychic ability and prophecy whilst allowing healing energy and protecting against negative influences.

*Mandrake: Enhances imagination and psychic ability whilst encouraging hallucinations.  Also magnifies magickal workings energetically.

Mugwort: Enhances psychic projection/ability, prophecy, altered states of consciousness and divination whilst providing protection.

Wormwood: Enhances divination, visions and astral projection whilst also providing protection.

Poppy: Enhances success, dream work, calming and cleansing energies. Also used for its invisibility properties against those who want to see your magickal workings.

Olive Oil: Enhances protection, blessings and cleansing and great for working as an anointing base.


Medea photograph by Hulton Archive 

Here is my recipe for my Witches Flying Oil with details of how to make it and how to use it safely:

Setjataset’s Witches Flying Oil for Hekate (© T. Georgitsis 2014)

Ingredients

  • Bay Laurel Leaves – 2 tablespoon crushed herb
  • *Mandrake Root – 1/2 teaspoon cut up root
  • Mugwort Leaves – 2 tablespoons cut up herb
  • Wormwood Leaves – 1 tablespoon cut up herb
  • Poppy Seeds – 1/2 teaspoon seeds
  • 375 ml size glass jar with lid

Method

  1. Place clean dry ingredients in a glass jar and fill the rest of the jar with extra-virgin olive oil.
  2. Before closing the lid, put some cling wrap over the jar mouth if it has a metal lid to prevent it from from corroding.
  3. Succuss (shake) the herbs in the oil solution daily for a month.
  4. Steep for a month in a cool dark place remembering to success the bottle daily.
  5. Strain solution through cheesecloth (at least three times) and then bottle securely in smaller jars. Label jars to ensure you know what they are for future reference.

Suggested Use for Witches Flying Oil

  1. Make sure you patch test on your bottom part of your inner forearm to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction and ensure you do not ever take this oil internally.
  2. Ensure that you are in a safe and comfortable environment when first trialling the oil and that you are feeling well and that there is someone close by in case of a medical emergency.
  3. If no allergic reaction occurs after trialling some on your forearm, place a small amount on your palms, on the inside of your wrists or back of your knees, or the nape of your neck for inducement of trance and flying on the astral.
  4. You should feel the effects of the flying oil which include an altered state of consciousness when you enter a trance state on the astral plane.
  5. When your astral journey is over ensure to properly wash the areas you placed the oil on thoroughly so it doesn’t cross-contaminate other items you touch or brush against.
  6. Journal your findings for future reflection and insights.

*Can be toxic do not take internally and use carefully.

USE AT OWN DISCRETION AND RISK.

DO NOT use if pregnant, lactating or have a medical or mental/emotinal condition which can put you at risk.

 

© T. Georgitsis 2014, Updated 2020

Reality Sandwich: Interview on the Emergence of Sekhmet

It was a great honour to be included as part of the Tamra’s article of 12 devotees interviewed on the Emergence of Sekhmet.  Follow the link below to read a copy:

Emergence of Sekhmet Twelve Interviews

My Sekhmet Interview

I was interviewed recently for someone’s project on Sekhmet and I thought I would repost here…

1. What was your initial experience with Sekhmet?
Sekhmet first called me when I undertook studies in Natural Medicine back in the early 00’s and over the years she has played a significant role in my life through the healing arts. Despite the feared reputation she is known for I personally found I never approached her with trepidation but instead with awe and respect. In turn I found she bestowed many blessings on my magickal and healing path.

2. Is Sekhmet the only divinity you serve or one among others?
I am dedicated to the Goddesses Aset, Sekhmet and Hekate, therefore service is among others who have a similar nature of healing and magick.

3. Are you a solo devotee or part of a group?
I am both a solo devotee and part of a group. I predominately work alone with my Kemetic and Hellenic paths but I also work with, teach and guide through my Lyceum of Heka which is a teaching temple school connected through the Fellowship of Isis.

4. Have you been initiated formally or is your experience solitary?
It started off solitary but within a family environment. My mother was a magickal practitioner and was the one who taught and infused my life with Hermetic and Greek Folk Magick and was in turn taught by her aunt who studied in Alexandria under a Magus. At 21 I joined my first Wiccan coven and over the next several years went from being an initiated seeker to an initiated priestess. I joined the Fellowship of Isis around the same time I joined my first Wiccan coven but it wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I eventually found a Lyceum to join and after several years of study and practice was initiated to the level of Priestess Hierophant and opened up my own Fellowship of Isis Lyceum of Heka which I continue to run to this day. In 2015, I became a ArchPriest and was inducted in The ArchPriesthood Union of the FOI Union Triad: ArchPriesthood Union. The other temples/magickal groups I have joined and been a contributing member to over the years (other than the above mentioned) are: Shemsu at a Kemetic Orthodox Temple: House of Netjer; Member of Haitian Vodou house Sosyete Fos Fe Yo We; Master Mason in Lodge of The Southern Cross in Co-Masonry (Scottish Rite).

5. Do you have an altar, or an object or objects you consider sacred to Sekhmet?
Yes I have a permanent working shrine to her which I attend daily.

 

6. Do you have a ritual? In what ways do you communicate with Sekhmet?
I attend her shrine daily. I leave offerings in the forms of water, incense and hymns. On special occasions like her feast days I leave bread, beer, pomegranates and cooked meals specially prepared. Some rituals are elaborately researched written and performed whilst other times they just come from the heart in an ad lib kind of way.

7. How would you describe Sekhmet to a fresh arrival on earth?
I get this question often – how would you describe Sekhmet, so I crafted this response: Sekhmet is the Ancient Egyptian Goddess of pestilence, health/illness, destruction, war and wisdom. Associated with sunset and retribution, she uses arrows to pierce her enemies with fire, her breath being the hot desert wind as her body takes on the glare of the midday sun. Sekhmet represents the destructive force of the sun, is depicted as a lion-headed woman with the sun disk and uraeus serpent headdress and has eyes and hair which blaze orange or red.

8. How would you describe your role as a follower of Sekhmet in the world?
To me a connection and devotion to deity as well as nature is a gateway to higher forms of magick and spirituality, which not only transcends the physical but lives within it and with Sekhmet the focus is healing – healing the self and assisting with the self-healing in others. As I have grown and developed as her devotee new modalities of healing have opened up to me. At the time Sekhmet came to me I had just started studying alternative therapies and one of my personal focuses is Ancient Egyptian Medicine where Sekhmet and her healing priests are a dominant force. After this came Sekhmet Sekhem a vibrational healing modality which I became a master of and currently teach. So I describe my role as a follower of Sekhmet as a healer and facilitator of healing just like the priests of Sekhmet in Ancient Egypt.

9. What is your response to those who represent Sekhmet as a divinity for vampires?
Honestly I’ve never thought about it. Each to their own as long as its not hurting anyone.

10. Have you any experiences with a living statue of Sekhmet?
Yes with my personal statue various times over the years when in shrine or when conducting sekhem intunements and healings. Also many years ago there was an exhibition of Ancient Egyptian artefacts where a large black basalt statue of Sekhmet from Luxor was on display and I had an intense experience with two of her other devotees who were also there at the same time.

11. Has Sekhmet appeared in your dreams? Any you would care to share?
Yes, however they are incredibly personal.

12. How has Sekhmet’s influence in your life changed your relationship with the world?
Yes as healer and writer is has made my relationship with her more public. I now write and teach about Sekhmet and it also gave me a unique opportunity, in 2015 I was fortunate enough to edit my first book which I proposed to Bibliotheca Alexandrina (a small non for profit publishing house which publishes anthologies featuring contemporary Hellenic and Kemetic polytheist authors in honour of the Gods) on Sekhmet. I also personally contributed to this anthology and its called Sekhmet Daughter of the Sun: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Sekhmet.

13. Where and when do you feel closest to Sekhmet?
I feel closest to her in nature or when I am conducting intuinments or healings. In nature it could be sun’s light or her energy in various natural substances like semi precious stone or herbs dedicated to her. I also feel closest to her in shrine or when I am connecting to her energy for the elevation of my own spirit of those of others through the healing arts.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2018

Fragrance of the Gods: Ancient Egyptian Incense

Incense in Ancient Egypt was seen as something containing the properties of life which could evoke belief and stabilise faith. It was thought by the ancients that incense brings about reverence as well as the manifestation of the Netjer it is being offered to.  The Ancient Egyptians even had a god of incense – Nefertum, the lion headed son of Sekhmet who in the creation myth was the lotus rising from the primordial waters.  Nefertum’s connection to scent and healing makes him the perfect patron of incense, especially since his symbol – the lotus, dawns every morning like incense smoke wafting towards the rays of the sun.

Incense has been a highly valued and used in Egypt all through its history.  This was made evident by its worth and the lengths the Ancient Egyptians would go to, to source it. Incense had a major role in the magickal and spiritual practices of Kemet and many expeditions were sent down to the Land of Punt (modern day Ethiopia or Sudan but scholars are yet to determine its exact location) to source rare and expensive resins used in incense blends.  Many pharaohs, noblemen and priests of Ancient Egypt would cultivate and propagate trees to keep up with the demand needed by the temples, tombs and residences of the time.

Various ceremonies in antiquity revolved around fumigation practices and in Ancient Egypt this has been evident in many reliefs and papyri describing these in detail, which has highlighted what a vital function it played.  The most common type of fumigation using incense in Ancient Egypt was used in a devotional act before representations of Netjer as well as for the Akhu at ancestor shrines or tombs.

The ancients believed that Netjer embodied the smoke of burning incense, as a romantic manifestation in the omissions of the lit incense they were offered by the priests and populace alike.  Like “God” the smoke from incense can permeate all, at times even without being visibly detected.  Priests therefore would offer incense as one of the ways to animate and reinvigorate Nejter’s manifest representation on earth, in the form of a ritual called “Opening of the Mouth”.  A way the priests could do this was by blowing through the censor containing the lit incense which activated the Heka through the breath whilst directing it.  Using incense to fumigate not only cleaned the temple and its possessions but it bestowed Heka through to the priests themselves as the scent activates communion with Netjer through an altered state which is induced.

It’s surprising to know that many recipes and processes for making incense was shrouded in secrecy but it was very well known that they contained specific instructions on how to create them with specific allocated time, ingredients with symbolic connections and Heka.  The priests who were responsible for creating incense for their Netjer’s did so with complete respect and devotion as if they were tending to the physical manifestation of the gods themselves – which they were in part, since making incense was seen as creating the body of the Gods.  Frankincense and myrrh resin gathered was referred to as “sweat” or “tears” of the Nejters and as such the Ancient Egyptians treated their frankincense and myrrh as emblems of their Gods bodies. The trees themselves were seen as fruitful goddesses who’s resin was divine menstrual blood.  So as you can see this emphasizes what great importance incense was to the daily rites of the Ancient Egyptians from their homes, workplaces, palaces and temples.

Today Egypt’s love of incense survives through the perfumery industry, the fragrant filled swinging censer of Coptic orthodox priests as well as the burning braziers found in the common people’s home shrines.   Many practicing Kemetics like myself make their own incense blends and one which is used as a staple go to for all Netjers and Heka is a compounded incense called Kyphi. Here is a recipe I’d like to share with you which you can easily make yourself:


 Ingredients:

3/4 (of a part) Honey

3 (parts) Raisins

1/4 (of a part) Copal

1/4 (of a part) Myrrh

1/4 (of a part) Orris Root Powder

1 (part) Sandalwood

1/4 (of a part) Storax

1/2 (of a part) Frankincense

1/2 (of a part) Cinnamon Powder

1/2 (of a part) Finely Ground Benzoin

Wine (enough to moisten entire mixture)

 

Method:

  1. Thoroughly grind all ingredients separately, and then mix together all the ingredients except for the benzoin.
  1. Add the wine to moisten, then form the mixture into small marble sized balls and roll them in the benzoin.
  1. Place and cure (dry) on baking paper until firm (a moon phase is the best time frame from experience.)

 

(c) T. Georgitsis 2015

The Alternative Spirit (Issue 13): Regular Column – Ancient Medicine

In this issue of of The Alternative Spirit Magazine, I’m talking about one of my favorite subjects – medicine of the ancients!

You can purchase your copy here:

http://www.alternativespiritmagazine.com/

Axis Mundi: Ancient Egyptian Aromatherapy

I have an article about Ancient Egyptian “Aromatherapy” in this issue called Fragrance of the Gods – check it out, its free!

Axis Mundi Autumn Issue 2017