Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Correctness" as applied to Magical Practice

Rhondda Francis brought up an interesting thought that has bothered me for years, which is the idea that there is some "correct" relationship between our magical practice and that of the ancient world that must be preserved inviolate—but adapted for the unique astronomical and astrological aspects of our times. It gets especially weird in regards to ancient Egypt, a land in which documented practice goes back almost 4000 years before the advent of Christianity/Roman reduction of the land to their rule/what have you. The likelihood that their practices go back even further is not in dispute; however, as these were passed down through symbolic imagery and mythic storytelling, it becomes particularly difficult for us to correctly associate "fact" with timing.

I've seen it occur in arguments over the correct pronunciation of As-t, Aset, Auset, Isis, Ismou, etc. etc. Many "purists" say that we must take the Coptic pronunciations as being most correct; however, I disagree with this, as these pronunciations are filtered through years of Greekification of the language as well as the natural migration languages go through over time. Anyone that believes languages are unvarying and "correct" versions last forever hasn't recently tried to read Shakespeare in the original, much less Chaucer or Beowulf, all of which are versions of English as it has shifted over 1200 years or so, much less time than that of ancient Egypt.

My reaction when someone tries to correct my pronunciation of something in ancient Egyptian is to stop talking to them. They have made it clear that they are obviously more interested in what is going on in their heads, and showing what they know by correcting me, than in the essence of what I'm trying to say. If we cannot concur on meaning over semantics, then there is little point in talking, now is there?

The thing about the rising of Sirius and the beginning of the season of Inundation in ancient Egypt depends on a coincidence—the observation of the rising before the Sun with the beginning of the Floods. Now, we know that the Floods actually depend on the timing of the monsoon rains in the highlands of Ethiopia and Sudan at the headwaters of the White and Blue Niles, well south of the First Cataract of Elephantine where the first Nilometer would detect the rise. If you look at a current map of the hydrology of the monsoons (http://www.utdallas.edu/geosciences/remsens/Nile/Hydromap.html), the rains in the highlands begin around Summer Solstice, peak in mid-July into August, and would normally taper off in September and October, if the Aswan Dam wasn't there.

Sirus rising before the Sun, July 14 2011 BCE Cairo
So a mid-July date for the first sign of the rising of the Nile is consistent with Sirius rising with the dawn in about 2011 BCE. This is how that would look from the location of Cairo, which is near the Giza plateau. Sirius is about 1 degree above the horizon at this point, and would be visible for maybe a minute or two before being lost in the glow of sunrise. This particular timing held as far back as I could trace it through mid-July into the 4000BCE era, so the idea of this being the "correct" timing signal for the Inundation is reasonable—according to the hydrology at Aswan/Elephantine. The season of Aakhet, which consists of 4 months of 30 days each would then track through mid-November, when the flood would taper off and the land would begin to dry out.

The following season of Per-t (Peret, Proyet, what have you) would only begin when the land was dry enough to plough, roughly late November, and would run through mid-February/early March in our calendar, 4 months of 30 days of growth. Egypt is still north of the Equator, and does experience Winter Solstice as a time of colder weather, which you can see by images of more substantial clothing in this season. Then, in mid-March, the ripening grain would be ready for harvest during the Season of Shomu, which would run through the beginning of July, and we have ourselves back to the Epagomenal Days.

Brier (1981) points out that the ancient Egyptians recognized that their civil calendar (the one we use to celebrate festivals) gradually went out of synch with the rising of Sirius and the Nile Floods, so they would correct it on the 52 year Sothic cycle. (This is a cycle in which the sidereal rising of Sirius coincides with the calendrical date on which it was supposed to rise on the civil calendar.) Unlike our Western desperate obsession with perfect time, the ancients in all cultures were more concerned about longer-range timing of events they needed to deal with in their environments, e.g., when to plant, when to reap, and when to get the heck out of the way of a big-ass flood! It's no surprise that much of the pharaonic civil projects such as temple and tomb building peaked during the season of Inundation—they are mostly on high ground above the flood plain, and would have provided the farmers and herders of the valley with a source of food and productive work for four months of the year. You don't have to coerce people, or use slaves for this—feeding people works really well, especially when the alternative is to sit down in the muddy, stinking, rotting land full of flies and disease with no food! It's no wonder the Inundation season was associated with Sekhmet, who both brings fevers and pestilence, and cures them.

Sirius rising at Cairo, August 1, 2011 CE
Currently, precession has shifted the date of the heliacal rising of Sirius at Cairo to the first of August in our current era. This is still within the peak flow of the Floods, based on the hydraulic process, but doesn't match what happens on the ground. So is it the "correct" timing for the civil calendar?

Remember that the Civil Calendar was adjusted periodically to account for the desynchronization between sky and ground, not to mention the fact that no one has really figured out a good way to deal with the 1/4 day piece that expands the 365-day year beyond whole numbers! Brier (1981) updated the Cairo calendar to reflect the current heliacal rising as an item of Egyptological interest, as he's primarily an archaeologist, not a magician. But it corresponds with the timing with Sirius, and if we value that particular connection to Aset-Sepdet, then perhaps that's the point where we shift our calendar.

But tying this festival to Lughnassadh is merely another coincidental connection. Remember that Lughnassadh is essential a Celtic/Northern European festival of the start of the harvest season, when the first fruits of the land are being brought to market at the latitude of Newfoundland and New Brunswick! The only reason that part of Europe is warm enough to have a harvest that *early* is due to the Gulf Stream, and I assure you that conditions on the other side of the Atlantic are less "fruitful" that far north. Moreover, there is a frantic rush to harvest everything as soon as possible and get it under cover, as winter does come early to these parts and you will lose anything not gathered first. This is likely why the festival of Sahmain has such a strong link with death; if your harvest isn't under cover by Sahmain, you're much more likely to die during the winter!

In any case, think of how this relates energetically to what is going on in ancient Egypt. They were preparing for a season in which their land renewed itself—a bit like winter up north, but much hotter. Their primary growing season would fall during the Northern winter, and their harvest season essentially when we Celts and Northmen would be celebrating Oestre and first planting. There is no relationship between the two cycles at all; they are completely out of synchronicity with one another. So if we are operating on an ancient Egyptian festival calendar and magical system, wishing someone a happy Lughnassadh is a courtesy between magical groups, not an acknowledgment we're doing the same things, at all.

Sirius Rising at Dunsmuir, August 14, 2011 CE
So, now to the question of how to tie this "Sirius rising" event "correctly" to our current location. I live in Dunsmuir, California, at 41N13, 122W16, and at 2200 feet above sea level, approximately. Yet, Sirius would still rise with the sun here about the 14th of August, much like Rhondda noted for her location in Kansas. However, since I live up against a hillside to my east, even though dawn occurs 6:17 AM PDT, the Sun doesn't even clear the hill until around 10:30 AM, so I would not be able to observe the rise of Sirius *at all* from my location! <shrug>

What to do? What to do?

If I obsess over what is going on in my locality versus what I wish to practice in ancient Egyptian festival magic, then I'm doomed to failure. Because the events that are occurring here in Dunsmuir, California, are totally different from anything going on in Egypt, with or without the interference of the Aswan Dam. For one thing, our seasons are very, very different even from similar locations in Northern Europe, much less near-Equitorial Egypt!

Our weather is dominated by the Pacific to our west—which at least preserves the Wiccan traditional association of West with water. But California is a desert, which means that it is generally very dry all year except during "the Rainy Season." This typically occurs from late November through February, as the summer high pressure ridge breaks down and we get lows off the Gulf of Alaska, but this is highly variable, especially with Climate Change messing things up. It rains down in the central Valley and on the Coast in California, but here in Dunsmuir, which is in the northern mountains near Mt. Shasta, we're right on the edge of rain, snow, slop, both, and whatever feels like happening. It isn't the nice fluffy stuff you see in Christmas post cards from back East, I assure you. And this year, it was still snowing and raining on May 31st, unusually late.

If I were to be realistically "correct" about my local magical system, I would have to move fire to the North, coincident with Mt. Shasta, and with weather systems that warm us up and melt the snow. These high pressure systems rotate winds clockwise around their centers, so we get warm winds from the North and Northeast—e.g., "fire." Mt. Shasta, of course, is a volcano.

East would have to be Earth, as most of the rest of the continent is that direction. That's a pretty strong magical pull, wouldn't you say? The Sierras and the Rockies lie between us and the Great Plains, so it's a different feel than you might get from the mid-west or east looking West. And very different from either Northern Europe or Egypt.

South right after the Spring Equinox snowstorm 2011.
South would have to be Air, as this is where our winds and storms come from. Weather rotates counter-clockwise around low pressure systems coming off the Pacific, driving south and southwest winds right up the Sacramento River valley into my backyard. I always end up with more snow on the south side of my house than on the north side, and there's usually a lot more snow on the south side of Mt. Shasta than on its north side, as well. It's a good thing, though, because that 14,000+ foot volcanic water filter is where a lot of the water for the rest of the state originates!

At Spring Equinox this year, we suffered a series of 4 snowstorms that dumped 2 1/2 feet of extremely wet snow on my property. It didn't melt for several more weeks, and by then we'd had more snow. So Oestre or not, it's still "Winter!" Or "the rainy season" if you use local terminology.

No one can really begin planting until after the rainy season ends, although the catchment dams that line the mountain rivers coming into the Central Valley help with the planning and release of the water captured during the "rainy season." In the mountains here, we begin getting our "first fruits" around mid-July—about the time of the old Sirius rising in Cairo, come to think of it. Our time of harvesting the land and waters around here would coincide with mid- to late-summer, and into the fall if we were living as the California Natives did, or as the first agriculturalists; the dams that allow the control of the water make it possible to harvest a wide range of crops throughout the year, completely out of synch with the seasons—other than "rainy." It may surprise you that California is the leading exporter of rice to China, since rice needs a lot of water to grow; it has to be one of the stupidest perversions of the natural order you can think of to flood the desert to grow rice!

Once the rainy season stops, California gets hot and dry, a side-effect of that ridge of high pressure. I mean, really hot and really dry—this is the start of our "fire season." We get some thunderstorms that move up from the summer Monsoons in the four corners states, but they don't produce much rain. What they do produce is lightning, and since the grasses and other native plants have dried out after the rainy season ended, lightning sparks fires. And so do things like lawnmowers, chain saws, and other things that throw sparks. And incredibly stupid, ignorant fools who throw cigarettes out of car windows, do not put out their campfires, or deliberately start fires to see it burn. AAAGHHH! It makes one begin to believe in the great nature spirit Smokey the Bear!

So in California, we really have two seasons: wet/cold and dry/hot. All of the natural energy, timing, and seasonal flows through the state reflect these two energies. Native celebrants were more concerned about achieving controlling access to rivers and lakes that remained year-round, and controlled whether they would have access to enough food of reasonable quality or not. Those tribes forced to the peripheries—and there were many—struggled to survive at the best of times, and died out in the worst. Three major rivers arise and flow off of Mt. Shasta: the McCloud, the Shasta, and the Sacramento. The latter flows down through the Central Valley and eventually into San Francisco Bay, where much of its flow is diverted southward to feed agriculture in the San Joachin valley and the southern cities. You become very aware of water when you live in this state!

So if I were to be absolutely correct, I would be working with a North/Fire, East/Earth, South/Air, and West/Water circle schema, and celebrating the starting and ending of rainy and fire seasons, as well as when crops could be planted, grown, and harvested, and when and what could be successfully hunted. I would need to construct a Native calendar, probably in consultation with the Shasta or Wintu tribes around here, who know the area. If they would even give me the time of day—as an excruciatingly White person, they may feel that I'm trying to hone in on their magic and should go away and do my own instead. There is some truth to this, and I accept it.

Moreover, we white-eyes have so altered the landscape that the traditional cycles are not "correct" either anymore. So what are we left with? Create new Gods that fit the actual scenario we live with, and incorporate those of the old willing to speak to us? (Shasta is a fairly loud voice, but then She would be.) Follow only those beliefs that fit our ancestral bodies—in my case, primarily Celtic and Norse, since my ancestors were Scots-Irish and English. Fine, that fits with Wicca or Asatru, but not with the environment I live in, and as an Archdruid, I'm sensitive to the land under my feet more than land from long ago.

Or should I go with my memories of other lifetimes, of which I have quite a few of living as a priest/priestess in Egypt? Those memories have taught me more about using my magical abilities than anything else I've had available to me this lifetime; I haven't had many teachers other than books. Even before I taught myself to read and write hieroglyphics, I could tell whether a piece was nonsense or not, which should say something about where I need to be working, right? But that's *not correct* with my ancestry, and the Khemetic purists could get me on stealing their magic just like the California native peoples. What to do? What to do?

I also remember lives in other times and places, and have studied religion, mythology, language, and magical systems from many lands. I tend to work as a shaman, and as a pragmatist—I use whatever works to send me on my journey to the Otherworld, and that brings me back. The longer I do this, the less I find I need cues, such as drumming or whatever. Simple meditation will usually do the trick, and I avoid sage smudge unless I *want* to go bye-bye in a hurry!

I'm also a scientist. I don't take things on faith well, I need to try them, see how the experiment works, and then repeat it to see whether it still works. I tend to do that with the magic that I do, even if sometimes it does mean waiting a year to try again. I find that many of the things from many of the systems work, if you do them through manipulation of the right symbols to connect with that set of energies, regardless of whether you call it High Magic, Low Magic, or shamanism. The point is distracting your logical, left-brained, Western-trained conscious mind with *something*, some set of symbols that gives it something to do, so that you open as space to hear what your subconscious, right-brained, mystically oriented side can access. And then you have to go through and edit out any of your own filters that still sit between you and what you hear, and we *ALL* have them.

So, what is "correct?" My answer is simple: What feels right to you? If working with the updated Brier (1981) Cairo calendar works, as it is still accurate for the heliacal rise of Sirius in Egypt currently, then do so. If you prefer working with the older calendar starting on July 13th that was current in 2000 BCE, then do so. But if you start to obsess on when Sirius rises with the dawn at your own location in your own time and place, which has nothing to do with ancient Egypt *at all*, then you're opening a can of worms that you may not want to wade through.

I thank Rev. Forrest for her application that lets you quickly calculate when Sirius rises with the Sun from your location. It is a fact that may have some interest to you, purely theoretically. But to reorient your entire practice around that fact begs the question of why you're using an ancient Egyptian seasonal system *at all*, when none of the rest of it corresponds to where and when and who you are now.

But that's *MY* opinion, for what it's worth. Plenty of people will likely argue with me, based on their own personally preferred systems of working. But that's what tolerance is about—not trying to *force* one another to do things the "One True Way," but comparing and arguing the merits of different systems to find what works best for you, as an individual spiritual seeker on your individual path, whatever that may be.

I spend enough time studying Buddhism for the satisfaction of the philosophy and psychology of it, and yet I'm a practitioner of shamanistic and Egyptian magic, among other things. The two would seem utterly incompatible, but like the ancient Egyptians, I'm quite able to hold multiple contradictory thoughts in mind at the same time. Maybe that's why my therapist and a number of friends believe I'm a Martian! <grin>


  1. Very provocative questions and as such produce more questions. I only read through it once so if you addressed this please forgive me.There is something to be said for everybody doing the same thing at the same time (within say 12 hrs.). I'll stick to the U.S. The calendar we all celebrate, as an example, we celebrate in common, no matter how many miles separate us. We feel others doing the same or similar or even radically different forms, the energies rise up together. Also, as far as the directions go,regardless of ones immediate environment have become ubiquitous and formalized and as such it almost doesn't matter how physically accurate they are. They have become, in away, talismatic. It avoids confusion and lends cohesion. Although Daniel and I have called the directions using the deities of the canoptic jars, because they are also deities with directions (lol). But, in fact the Egyptian priesthood did not call directions and we have for the most part eliminated this from our work, with the exception of Magical work. With that said your point is well taken concerning the proper Egyptian rite performed according to the Egyptian calendar. That we will definitely try. Please tell me the formula used to determine the rise of Sirius. Thanks for your questions and answers.

  2. I'm thinking about the convention of the Greeks and Romans to have separate calendars for the different aspects of life: civil, ceremonial, agricultural. They often were quite different, even with different numbers of days in the year. We can synchronize and connect our efforts through a shared calendar, yet engage our local landscape using a system based upon our own observations. I agree with Lady Maury that in America, and throughout the Western world, the US civil calendar and timescape are adequate for planning remote synchronized spirit-swimming (please forgive my horrible humor; it's just a convenient way to condense ideas). As for the directions, having been a navigator, I know that only three directions are necessary to define a three-dimensional space. That said, the four directions don't even use but two of those, really. I think the Egyptians were in possession of a multi-dimensional reference and mapping system. The two-dimensional images that we have preserved are flattened precisely so they can be layered. The architecture is exceptionally massive and full of enigmas because the structures and voids refer to directional realities unimaginable to Cartesian logic. So for correctness, I don't think we've even scratched the surface of the mysteries of which we strive to be the contemporary echo. Who cares if we "get it wrong"? Our eyes aren't open enough to see the whole truth yet anyway. I feel that it is important that we neither ignore evidence, nor invent it, to flesh out our own view of harmony with the ancient ways. Thank you both for opening my mind some more.

  3. I haven't been able to write much the last week, since I'm dealing with an oxygen problem and a weird medicinal side-effect, but I've been doing more research on the various calendrical systems both with the Egyptian hieroglyphics and with archaeoastronomers' research into the historical and mythological origins of calender systems around the world. I highly recommend Anthony Aveni's _Empires of Time: Calendars, clocks, and cultures_ (Rev. ed.) in this regard; he writes in a very sensitive multicultural way examining how and why various groups reached the sets of calendars they did.

    I know that the Egyptians had at least 3 calendrical systems running at different times in their history, and probably more that we don't know about. The one we're most familiar with, the Cairo calendar, is simply one that survived from later times more or less intact. It is intended primarily as a civil calendar to help regulate the various festivals and activities of the state; not an agricultural or seasonal calendar at all.

    The Sirian calendar, which is tied to the ancient heliacal rising of Sirius observed to occur just prior to the start of the Inundation, runs consistently out of synch with the civil calender, even in ancient Egypt. They would only come into accord with one another roughly every 52 years, and that only while Sirius remained a marker for the Inundation before being moved by precession. That's why I mentioned the hydrological cycle of the monsoon rains and the rising Nile—if we want to tag our festivals to the agricultural/seasonal calendar, then we need to stick to the mid-July date, when the first waters of the flood would arrive at Elephantine. In later mythic descriptions of the rising of the Nile, other "causes" or signs were put forward for the timing of the rise, based on activities of different "Distant Goddesses" who had to be lured back to Egypt, and is probably one of the reasons that the first of the major Nilometers was built at Elephantine. The rising of Sirius no longer coincides with the seasonal cycle—but the seasonal cycle still needs to run for planting and harvesting to occur properly.

    There is at least a 3rd calendar involved in cycles of the Moon, variously associated with Horus, Osiris, Thoth, Khonsu, and possibly Ptah, depending on who you consult, that may be older than any of the others. It is marked by festivals at points in the cycle, such as the Half-Moon festival roughly 7 days from 1st crescent, and a Full Moon festival at 14 days, along with other things I haven't quite teased out surrounding the waning of the moon. Essentially, it is tied up in a myth of restoring the Moon's light after some "evil" that has destroyed it (taken the light away), but which then recapitulates as the Full Moon's light is stolen off again. This lunar signal shows up in the Cairo calendar in spots, but I've found more references to it in Budge's hieroglyphic dictionary than anywhere else. (It's amazing what you can find when you read the dictionary.)

    In any case, I'm putting something together on the seasonal calendar when I get a few more brain cells working, and I thank you for your patience.

  4. Oh, one more thing.

    Maury mentioned that Khemetic practitioners don't usually call in the quarters, something I was unaware of. I do (well, actually I call in 7 directions), but it's primarily a shamanic thing I do for protection while journeying, and also to link to all times and all places when I do work through attunement. Given that there's at least 4 or 5 different systems of direction gods that I've found in ancient Egyptian myth so far, it could get a bit complicated, at that.

    Mostly, I just try to invite all beings of good will to be present in the circle (sphere), and then thank them afterward, if they want to leave. I think that this gives my own internal paranoia a sense of safety to do things without being in control more than anything; however, that being said, most magic involves messing with our heads at fairly deep levels and protecting ourselves from severe screwups is never a bad idea.

    I have enough trouble on days when I don't get enough oxygen! I don't want to wander around wondering where I left half my brain....:-)

  5. A fascinating and edifying post, Michael. And illuminating comments , as well. What a joy to have this discussion.

    Like you, I'm all for factual accuracy but "correctness" is always something that sits wrong with me, particularly when we're talking about interpretations of ancient languages/worldviews, etc. There's no Authority only more or less informed opinion.

    That said, Maury's and Amirghin's comments about the value of "doing it together" is one of the issues that comes to my mind whenever I ponder this topic…usually right before the Epagomenal Days. Even with a Kemetic spouse/partner, not doing it together with my peeps (few and far-flung as they are), not sharing with others makes me feel lonely. I do so wish we had more "community"--- as if I even know what I mean when I say that ;-)

    My husband and I have followed Bob Brier's epagomenal timing. I think his presentation on the Cairo Calendar and associations with other Western spiritual traditions is persuasive.

    We have done it this way for nearly a decade: We take time off and we "power down" and change our focus. We close the year on the 26th and then devote the ensuing 5 days to the traditional epagomenal netjers, respectively, Ausar/Osiris, Heru/Horus (the Elder or "heir"), Set/Setekh (as you will), Aset/Ast/Isis (myrionymos, it's all good!) and Nebet-het/Nepthys. Then on Aug 1st -- Opet. Like I say, we've done it this way for a long time. Until this year when we experimented with something different related to the rising of Sirius from the place where we were at. (In this case, the top of a mountain in Arkansas, see below.) It felt significantly different, this year. I think at least partly because we had passed the Dog Days -and for the past 1o years or so we've always done the e-days right in the middle of that hideous hot that swelters the midwest at the end of July. Which makes it extra nice to be calm and cool and meditative during that hot and oppressive time. It feels GOOD to "set outside the calendar" when the weather is like that. This time, just 10 days to 2 weeks later, it felt like the season had turned toward Fall. We were also in a different place -- on a cold, spring fed river. Funny how inured you become to how it feels. No wonder seasonal calendars have such longevity. So, perhaps it was good to try something else, but it felt even lonelier than usual..and, well, just not right ;-)

    But now -- I must say that I find your presentation re midsummer awfully persuasive, as well! I believe Kasey out in Utah does Egyptian New Year on July 13 or 16. I'll have to ask him the exact date (and ask him to come here and talk about has thinking on the subject.)

    As you say, "What to do?!" LOL.

    What I would like to see is a Khemetic Festival Calendar that we as a community would adopt voluntarily -- so that we could raise the energies together … without and within. Perhaps develop it as a community project so that we'd have lots of "buy-in".

    Perhaps many/most of the "community" is the best we could hope for -- we are an eclectic group! But I have heard others rue the lack of such a calendar. Linda Iles, my teacher, has expressed interest in such a project.

    A modern Kemetic/Kemetic (what have you) spiritual calendar. Perhaps give it a name that relates to the joining of disparate things, that reflects and embraces it's difficulties ;-). And perhaps by virtue of being true of voice, in accepting and even celebrating it's fraught nature, it would be/come truly y Magical, even if it's not "correct" ;-).

    P.S. Beg pardon for the tardiness of my reply. My husband and I went on a spiritual retreat in the Eureka Springs, Arkansas area right after I posted. It seemed appropriate to "do our days outside the calendar" with a mountain and a river and a spring and a mist and a moon -- and no electronic nuthin'.

  6. No need to "beg pardon," Rhondda. I have my own bits and pieces of tardiness, mostly because my brain has been turned to mush for the past two or three weeks of being sick. So much for Mercury Retrograde, huh?

    As to your idea re: the Khemetic calendar. I've actually been working on that idea for some time, and your comments spurred me on toward getting something finally put together. There are differences between the Cairo Calendar, which served a civil calendar function, and the Sirian/Sothic calendar that would have guided rituals within the fertility/seasonal cycles of Isis/Osiris. They do overlap, but only roughly once every 1460 years—the so-called "Sothic" cycle used in ancient Egypt.

    The ancient Egyptians were comfortable with allowing the civil and seasonal calendars to drift out of synch with one another. My sense of things is that the Sothic/Sirian calendar was an "occult" in the true sense of hidden, known only to the priesthood, who knew and used the timing of the heliacal rising of Sirius to announce the annual flooding. Further monitoring at Elephantine with the first of the Nilometers undoubtedly contributed to their mystical ability to say that the flood would be high, or low, or whether a drought might require more careful storage and release of grains for that season.

    The Sothic cycle links up with 1 Tekhi (the first day of Aakhet) every 1460 years. We know this occurred in 141 CE, when it was recorded by the Romans, and working backward, that it occurred in 1313 BCE, 2769 BCE, 4241 BCE, and forwards, in 1591 CE. So we are presently in the middle of a Sothic cycle, and should not expect the Cairo Calendar to accord with the Sirian one.

    That being said, we have to set a starting point somewhere. I suppose, if I was sufficiently insane to do so, I could calculate the current date for 1 Tekhi in the Civil Calendar, but since our own calendar has been through several reforms, intercalations, and other weird adjustments, I'm not sure that's worth the while. Especially since, as Khemetic practitioners, we would actually be more interested in the Sothic cycle rather than the Civil one.

    What I would propose is to set up a Sothic calendar based on Brier's Cairo Calendar and the months with their Gods and festivals as I've worked them back through the hieroglyphics. We could start the calendar based on the date of the peak of the flood at Aswan, which still accords with the mid-July date—or, since we're genuinely working with the mythic vibrations of Sepdet/Sah, Isis/Osiris, and the cycle of growth and harvest of spiritual energies through the year, start with the current heliacal rise at Cairo. That is the 1st of August, roughly.

    I plan to set up the calendar I'm working on from that perspective, since reality itself no longer accords with the ancient Flood, and we no longer live in that environment physically. Instead, we can use the heliacal rising of 1 August as a starting point for a spiritual journey of growth and change of perspective based on the older tools—which is what I believe the ancient priesthood would have done anyway.

    However, I am open to suggestions and counterarguments, and hope all will chime in.

  7. Maury, here is the link to approximately calculate ;-) the rising of Sirius. I found this on Isidora Forrest's blog.


    To use it you have to know (at minimum) your viewing latitude and elevation above sea level in meters, which you can fairly easily Google.