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An Egyptian Wheel of the Year
Article ID: 14499
Age Group: Adult
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Some Egyptian Pagans, whether they are Tameran Wiccans or Eclectics, follow the Wheel of the year. This is often because where they live, life is not dictated by the Nile Flood or occurrences in Egypt and is subject to a change in seasons and different Agricultural life. So it is natural that one should wish to follow a festival year that correlates to occurrences in their life and not thousands of miles away.
The Wheel of the Year was derived from old European festivals and so match the European life; so how can we make these festivals relevant to an Egyptian path? By relating to the Egyptian myths that helped the Egyptian explain their own natural phenomena. As it is circular and New Year amongst Pagans is deliberated it is hard to know where to start, so I will start at Yule.
Yule/Winter Solstice 21st December (Northern Hemisphere)
Yule is midwinter. A time when all is dead and passed. The old year has died and the new year begins. From this day forward the days will begin to grow in length again and the Sun has been 'reborn'. This is the basic idea of Yule. It is a time to celebrate the return of warmth and summer and thus life.
In Egyptian myth we know Horus (Heru-sa-aset) to be the Sun God born of the mother at a correlating time to December 25th. So who else to associate with Yule than Isis (Aset) and Horus? It just so happens to work perfectly with the previous and next Sabbat too.
Imbolc 2nd February (NH)
This is the festival of Brighid in Celtic Mythology and Wiccan Theology. It is a very Celtic festival (also called Candelmass and adopted by Christians) , so why should it be brought into a Kemetic calendar? For one, it already is. This date is estimated to be the date of the birth and festival of Nuit, the starry sky mother. So was a celebrated date in Egypt anyway. But linking back to what happened at Yule and keeping to the nature of the holiday it would be a time when Isis nurtures her new baby son, the young Sun God as he grows in strength, as the Sun does at this time. This festival of light shows the Sun God growing his first rays and maturing.
Ostara/Spring Equinox 22nd March (NH)
This festival is Germanic and was not celebrated in the British Isles, where many of the Sabbats in the Wheel are based. The Equinoxes were observed in Egypt though. There are many ideas you could use for this festival of Spring, resurrection, life and birth. It would be an ideal time to rise the Djed Pillar and bring Osiris (Wesir) back to life, to reign as God of the living once again and oversee the growth of Agriculture (as he did in his living reign) . Today the day is equal to night and so it makes sense for the Goddess of Balance and Order, Ma'at to bring back to life the God of Justice and Order, Osiris.
Beltane/May Day 1st May (NH)
Beltane is the fire festival of the beginning of summer, celebration love, warmth, life, sexuality and fertility. So what better Goddess to celebrate than Hathor (Het-Hert) ? The Egyptians celebrated the marriage of Hathor and Horus (Heru-Wer) and so this is the perfect date, where the mature Sun God unites with the Mother Goddess of Love. Together their union produced Ihy, a child God of joy and music. Their marriage truly captures the meaning of Beltane, especially as they are both solar deities; so let the Beltane fires burn for them!
Litha/Summer Solstice 21st June (NH)
Litha is the longest day of the year, midsummer. The Sun is at it's most powerful, yet after this day the year will begin to wane again. Two main myths may be put in place here, such as the Power and Fall of Ra and thus myth of Sekhmet or the contending of Horus and Set. Alternatively some may choose to celebrate Wep Ronpet here but I will leave that for next. Chronology would get confusing here as you will see later as the festivals can celebrate events as they happen but not necessarily in order with the story. If you celebrate the Contendings here then you need to appreciate that Set doesn't kill Osiris until Mabon, even though the two Gods are fighting now about just that... The choice is up to the Pagan, but the main point of the holiday, for whatever myth you use is celebrating the power of the Sun and life, but also acknowledging that death will come.
Lughnasadh/Lammas 1st August (NH)
This is the first of three harvest festivals. As aforementioned the could be a time to celebrate Wep Ronpet, Egyptian New Year and the birth of the Five of the Ennead. Some may prefer to do this at Litha or on the actual rise of Sirius. If so, then this would be a festival of the fertility God Min and being thankful for any bounty received in the year. This is the idea for Wep Ronpet: The first day is obviously the first of August and it is appropriate that the God of agriculture (in his living form) Osiris should be born. We can be grateful for his bounty, like we are for Min’s. For the 2nd day it is Horus' birthday (Heru-Wer) and so we celebrate the Sun, drunkenness, and power. 3rd day is the birth of Set and we celebrate the balance of chaos, sexual prowess and strength. 4th day is Isis and we celebrate magick, wisdom and motherhood. The fifth day we celebrate Nephthys (Nebet-Het) and the death, mystery and hidden knowledge of life. The sixth and final day can be a celebration of the new year once they are all born and celebrate the gift of life by the creator and also share some time with the mother Nuit, who birthed the Five.
Mabon/Autumn Equinox 22nd September (NH)
This is the day when again night is equal to day, however now the nights will become longer than daytime. It is the second harvest and so sacrifice is made. Now that Set and Osiris have been born their myth begins again. Today Set kills Osiris and dark conquers light. It is up to you, but now Set and Nephthys rule the remaining year (or Nephthys and Osiris depending on your interpretation of the myth) . In this last period of harvest before the final one in November Isis will frantically search for her husbands body, as we reap the last crops of his natural flesh and bring it to our homes.
Samhain 31st October - 1st November (NH)
This is the festival of the dead. Correlating to the actual timing of the Egyptians in their calendar, Osiris is mummified now. Anubis (Anpu) , Nephthys and Isis come together and reassemble his body. We pay respect for the dead this day. Isis will breathe life into Osiris and lay with him, placing Horus in her womb before Osiris departs with all other souls that visit earth that day back up to Nuit in heaven, where he becomes Lord of the Underworld. Isis is now pregnant with the Sun God, ready to give birth to the Sun again at Yule.
A Book of Egyptian Ritual by Jocelyn Almond and Keith Seddon
Location: South, Wales
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