November 28, 2009

Mysteries of Wesir (Osiris), the Fifth Hour Vigil

"Your mouth is the mouth of a milking-calf..."

My students recognize those words as part of the Senut, or our daily ritual of prayers and offerings. They occur at the end of the personal purifications and indicate that what comes after is purely celebratory, purely stepping into the presence of Divinity.

Five hours into the vigil, we purify Wesir as He prepares to emerge with Ra.

I washed the statue, after I'd washed my hands a second time. They weren't dirty, but I'd gotten a bit of smudge on them from one of the altar candles and I didn't want to wipe soot on a clean icon. Even rituals with much preparation end up having little things go wrong, little mid-practice corrections. We're human. We make mistakes, and we fix them. Ritual purity is like this. It's not the end of the world or a moral dilemma if there's a little spot on your ka. Clean it up and get on with what you were doing. Vexing yourself about every little mistake, whether in ritual or in life, is a little like rubbing the stains in so they'll be harder to clean -- or worse yet, so they won't ever go away.

In another hour we will have completed the cycle, and then we rest, until it's time to rise and prepare the next portion of the day. We will visit with those who can't be with us, and then return for the traditional feast before we part ways until our next holiday brings us together. I'll check in again.

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