"This is the Eye of Heru. Take it, that You might be refreshed with it."
I read the words, as I always do, from a hand copy made in 2003, the first year I started celebrating the Mysteries with anyone in a formal temple setting and not in private homes. About a month before we'd purchased the temple building here in Joliet, and we'd barely finished unpacking everything let alone set up the temple for use, but here we were sitting around the Holy Family Shrine saying the words that have been said for thousands of years on this most quiet night, laying the great god to rest and enabling Him to enter the world of the dead.
It's not easy to read the words in the dark, lit only by a few candles and a single string of clear lights that Nehwen and Padjai brought one year to make the shrine more festive. But they always ring out, raw in the silence, and the icons watch as the prayers are said and the incense goes up and the water and natron sprinkling goes down. By the third hour I am expected to recite on my feet and not on my knees, but it feels strange, as if my legs don't want to leave the floor. It feels odd to rise up, yet appropriate, in this third of the six hours of the night, the hour when everything changes.
The danger of death has been passed. Life shines before us, renewal and daylight. The skies outside are not yet showing dawn, but we know it is coming, from the stirrings of the neighborhood and the occasional calls of birds. Daybreak is coming. A new day will be upon us soon. And in another hour, we will pray some more.