Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Prayer to Osiris on His Epagomenal Day
Hail to you Osiris, Asar Neter A’a, in your day of birth won from A’ah by the Lord of Time, Tehuti, Who serves at your side. Great Sah, Sky God rising with the Dawn Who presages the rising of your sister/wife, Aset Sepdet. Your bright belt points the way to Sepdet, Her blue-white heart, and the coming of Aakhet, the Inundation that renews the Black Land of Khemet. Great is your care for us, oh Osiris, who came down to teach us the arts of civilization, law, and justice, who taught the first farmers to plant the wheat and the barley along the banks of the Nile. We greet you, whose office preserved Ma’at in the land with the benison of your sister/wife, Aset of the Throne!
Oh Green Lord, whose face shines forth in the wheat and the barley as they arise from the renewed soil, after the Inundation brings Per-t, the Season of Growth. In your temple of Abydos, your priests prepare the renewed soil to plant the first seeds that will show you risen once more in your vigor. Bless the Two Lands, and all who live upon the Earth with your seed and growing crops! Serapis, Bull of His Mother, may your seed be potent for us!
Asar Khentimentiu, Sokar-Asar, Lord of the Hall of the Two Ma’ati who waits for us at the end of our days, grant that we may live each day in Ma’at, that we may be true of voice and justified each day, and come before you with a clean heart. Asar-Re, Lord of the West, help us to attain rebirth in the Field of Reeds, in the Field of Flowers. Help us to raise the Djed pillar so we may climb to the Unchanging Stars and become an akh [star] among the akhu of Sah: an Orion in your own light. May we live in your peace, under your order, and with your guiding hand.
Welcome Asar, ankh djet!
So what do the Egyptian terms mean in this prayer?
Asar Neter A'a—The Great God Osiris
A'ah—Name of the Moon God, from whom Tehuti (Thoth) wins the Epagomenal days for Nut's children to be born.
Sah—The Egyptian name for the constellation Orion, and for Osiris as Orion. Those who become one with the stars (akhu) of Orion through Osiris after death become sahu, the plural for Orions.
Aset Sepdet—Isis of Sirius, called Sothis by the Greeks.
Aakhet—The first season of the Egyptian New Year, during which the Nile floods, also called the Season of Inundation. This four month season is sacred to Sekhmet, the Lady in Red.
The Black Land of Khemet—Egypt, known as Khemet, was also called the Two Lands, the Black and the Red. The Black Land lies along the Nile, and is fertilized and renewed each year by the Inundation. It was traditionally ruled over by Osiris. The Red Land is the surrounding desert lands, traditionally ruled over by Osiris' brother and rival, Set.
Ma'at—Goddess of Justice, Order, Balance, and Truth. Preserving Ma'at was a principal occupation of all good Egyptians.
Aset of the Throne—Aset is the Egyptian name of Isis, and means "throne." In the Old Kingdom, especially, the pharaoh gained his right of rule through the female lines, as the ownership of land was vested in the women. This is part of the reason why the pharaohs often married their sisters, because right to the throne came through their agency, not his.
Per-t—The second season of the Egyptian Year, after the Inundation had receded. It began when the priests of Osiris at Abydos saw wheat and barley sprout in a sarcophagus shaped bed they filled each year with the renewed black soil of the Nile. Once these seeds sprouted from the "body of Osiris," the pharaoh would perform the ritual of opening the land to new planting by plowing a sacred ritual furrow. Osiris is shown with a green face and skin typically to indicate his function as a "Green Man," or fertility god associated with the growth of the grain.
Serapis—Another form of Osiris symbolized in the cult of the Apis bulls, whose fertility renewed the land each year. Serapis is called "the Bull of His Mother" as fertilizing Isis as the Land of Egypt, Aset-Ta.
Asar Khentimentiu—Osiris of the Lands of the West, e.g., the Dwt or Otherworld. This is the land where the Sun (Re) went each evening to be reborn, and where the souls of the dead must pass to be reborn as described in the "Book of Coming Forth By Day," commonly known as the Book of the Dead.
Sokar-Asar—This is another name for Osiris as God of the Dead.
Lord of the Hall of the Two Ma'ati—This is the Hall of Judgment, where the heart of the deceased is weighed against the feather of Ma'at to see whether the individual has lived in Ma'at throughout his or her life. The two Ma'ati are Isis and Nephthys, who stand beside Osiris' throne during the judgment.
Asar-Re—This is the conflation of Osiris and Re, the Sun God, at midnight, e.g., Re in the Hall of Judgment before His daily rebirth.
Field of Reeds, Field of Flowers—Some of the blessed lands that the justified dead were said to inhabit after the Judgment. Different texts give different names.
Djed Pillar—Pillar representing Osiris' backbone set up each year to celebrate his resurrection, and to act as a ladder to the stars around the north pole in the sky, where individuals were said to be reborn.
Akh—Star, plural Akhu. Those who ascend to the stars around the north pole in the sky are said to become new stars in Orion (Sah), or sahu—Orions—as they are reborn as Osiris. One more of the different perspectives on what happens to us after death!
Asar, ankh djet—Osiris, living forever, part of the traditional funerary text used to indicate the individual had achieved eternal life.