Script for Sirius Heliacal Rising Ritual

A winged representation of Isis between two icons of Anubis on the sarcophagi of Ramses III at the Louvre, Paris. Photo by Tangopaso.

Script for Sirius Heliacal Rising Ritual

Contents

Materials

Optional: Purification of the Space

Sirius Ritual: Opening

Sirius Ritual: First Movement

Sirius Ritual: Second Movement

Sirius Ritual: Third Movement

Sirius Ritual: Fourth Movement

Sirius Ritual: Fifth Movement

Sirius Ritual: Sixth Movement

Bibliography

 

Materials

 

4 dishes for the cardinal directions.

6 dishes for the deities.

Salt in a dish.

Water in a cup.

6 pieces of incense for each deity. 

6 incense holders.

6 candles for each deity.

6 wine glasses or cups for libations.

Possible libation offerings: water, mixed water and wine, mixed water and beer.

Possible food offerings: Vegetables like onions, radishes, cucumbers, and lettuce; fruit such as apples, figs, dates, and grapes; bread, grains, and barley; and lentils, eggs, and fish.

Sheet of paper with the Sopdet hieroglyphs written on it.

 

Optional: Purification of the Space

 

Standing, face east. 

 

“The space will be purified.”

 

Sit down in a meditative pose. 

 

“I now begin a ritual in this space. I will tell of the early days in the cosmos, and it’s creation.”

 

As you read the retelling of the ancient creation events, you will pause at certain spots. 

 

“Before there was sky, before there was earth, 

Before there was light, or heavenly pillars,

There was Chaos. 

A vast expanse of Primeval Water, 

one without a beginning or an end, 

Was all and everything.”

 

Visualize a vast, unending, bottomless body of water.

 

“The Primordial Water was unknowable, inert, infinite, and dark.”

 

Visualize the body of water and its properties.

 

“The water was home to the Eight. 

Four male deities with frog heads, and four female deities with snake heads.  

Nun and Nunet, the Gods of the Primordial Waters.

Heh and Hehet, the Gods of Unending Time.

Kek and Keket, the Gods of Primordial Darkness.

Tenem and Tenemet, the Gods of Endless Wandering.”

 

Visualize the four pairs of male frog- headed deities and female snake- headed deities in the Primordial Waters.

 

“The male and female gods joined, and a lotus flower

 rose from the Primordial Waters.

Beneath the lotus, a mound of earth slowly revealed 

Itself from the waters. 

The jutting land, called Benben, was sacred ground. 

It was a brown, earthen mound.

Above the Benben, a large bird with

Gold and red feathers soared. 

The phoenix landed on the Benben, and then something happened.

 

Ra, the sun- god, emerged from the Benben.” 

 

Visualize Ra standing upon a pyramid on the earthen mound.

 

“The sun was born, but it had existed.

 

Ra was Atum, Atum was Ra,

and Atum was self-engendered. 

Atum had always existed, though it was not apparent.”

 

Visualize Atum, existing even during the time of the Eight in the Primordial Waters.

 

“From Atum, the Nine were born. Atum sneezed and his offspring came out of him. 

Atum’s children were Shu, the god of dry air, and Tefnet, the goddess of moist air. 

Shu and Tefnet gave birth to Geb, the god of earth, and Nut, the goddess of sky. Geb and Nut gave birth to Osiris, the god of fertility and regeneration, and Isis, goddess of motherhood.  Seth, god of chaos, and Nepthys, his consort, were also born.”

 

Visualize the Nine deities of Heliopolis. They are Atum, Shu, Tefnet, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nepthys.

 

Get up and take the water to the east.

 

“The Primordial Waters gave birth to

The large earthen mound, the Benben

Atop the high-hill was the mighty Ra,

The creator and light and heat.

The Sun gave birth to Shu and Tefnut,

The gods of Air.

 

Atum became but had always been,

Atum expanded and released what

Had always been contained within.”

 

Leave a drop of water on the dish in the east.

 

“I am purified,

Atum is purified.”

 

Leave a drop of water on the dish in the east.

 

“This space is purified,

Atum is purified.”

 

Go to the south, west, and north and repeat the same steps. 

 

Take up the salt and do the same, again starting in the east. 

 

Take one of the incense sticks and light it. Then repeat the same steps with the incense.

 

Go to the east. 

 

“I have recounted the First Occasion. After recreation of the Zep Tepi, I purified the four cardinal points. The purification ceremony is over.”

 

Sirius Ritual: Opening

 

Facing the east, say: 

 

“I will invoke the Egyptian deities Maat, Nut, Osiris, the Nile river, Isis, and the star goddess Sopdet to mark, celebrate, and commemorate the flooding of the Nile, the ancient Egyptian new year, and the reappearance of Sirius this August 2020. I seek communion with the gods, to honor them, and to lavish praise on them. Please let me conduct myself with humility, seek truth, and improve my understanding of the divine.”

 

Sirius Ritual: First Movement

 

“First, I will call upon Maat.”

 

 

“Maat I call you.”

 

 

Lay prostrate on the ground. Kiss the ground. Stand upright. Hold your hands shoulder level, with your palms facing forward, but slightly downwards. 

 

Prayer to Maat

The Temple of Amun at el- Hibis

 

 

“Praise to you Maat, daughter of Ra,

Consort of god, whom Ptah loves,

The one who adorns the breast of Thoth

Who fashioned her own nature

Foremost of the souls of Heliopolis

Who pacified the two falcon gods

Through her goodwill

Filled the perwer shrine with life and dominion

Skilled one who brought forth the gods herself

And brought low the heads of enemies

Who herself provides for the house of the All- Lord

Brings daily offerings for those who are on duty

Magnificent her throne before the judges

And she consumes the enemies of Atum.”2

 

Light the candle for Maat. Light the special Maat incense. 

 

“Accept this incense and fire, Maat.”

 

Visualize Maat’s form. Maat has long black hair and a large ostrich feather on her head. She wears a red dress and holds an ankh in her left hand and a long green staff in her right hand.

 

“Maat, please stay for the rest of the ritual and give it your blessing. Now I will invoke Nut.” 

 

Sirius Ritual: Second Movement

 

Lay prostrate on the ground. Kiss the ground. Stand upright. Hold your hands shoulder level, with your palms facing forward, but slightly downwards. 

 

“Nut, I call you.”

 

Excerpts Related to Nut

Pyramid Text 350

 

“Hail, O Nut, far- striding goddess,

Who strews the greenstone, malachite, and turquoise of the stars.

As you flourish, make me flourish,

Just as the living reed-plant greens and flourishes.”3

 

Light the Nut candle. Light the special Nut incense.

 

“Accept this incense and fire, Nut.”

 

Visualize Nut, a woman with a black water pot on her head. Nut is nude yet modest. As you look at her, her body enlarges. Her head and arms stretch to the western horizon, and her feet lie on the eastern horizon still. She encompasses all of the sky. 

 

“Nut, please stay for the rest of the ritual and give it your blessing. Now I shall call upon other deities. Please stay here for the duration of the ritual and see to it that it is successful.” 

 

Sirius Ritual: Third Movement

 

Lay prostrate on the ground. Kiss the ground. Stand upright. Hold your hands shoulder level, with your palms facing forward, but slightly downwards.  

 

“Osiris, I call you.”

 

Introductory Hymn to Osiris Wennefer

CH XV Papyrus of Ani

 

“Praise of Osiris, Wennefer,

The great god, chief over Abydos,

King of eternity and lord of forever,

Attaining millions of years as his duration,

First son of the womb of Nut,

Whom Geb begat, the heir,

Lord of the double crown, ennobled by the White Crown,

Sovereign of gods and men,

He has received the crook and flail,

And the scepter of his fathers.

 

Glad is your heart in the holy Western ground,

Your son, Horus, is established on your throne.

While you shine forth as lord of Busiris,

As the ruler who is in Abdyos,

For you, the two lands flourish in vindication,

In the presence of the Lord of All,

 

 

He has ushered in the one who has not come to be,

In his name of Earth- is- Drawn- to- Him,

He has swept the two lands clean once more,

In this, his name of Sokar, he who cleanses,

Mighty and magnificent, inspiring awe, 

In this his Name, Osiris, Mighty One.

And he exists at the endpoints of eternity,

In his name of Wennefer, he who is Perfection.

 

Praises to you, king of kings, 

And lord of lords, and ruler of rulers,

Who took the two lands for his own in the womb of Nut,

And ruled the regions of the dead,

With fine-gold limbs, a head of lapis lazuli,

Turquoise upon his arms- the pillar of millions,

Broad-chested, with a handsome face

Now he is in the sacred kingdom of Ta-djeser.

 

Let me glorious in the sky, and mighty on Earth,

And vindicated in the world below,

Traveling downstream to Busiris as a living Ba,

Moving upstream to Abydos as a heron,

Coming and going without hindrance,

Through any gateway of the underworld,

Let me be given bread in the house,

Water and offerings in Heliopolis,

A burial enduring in the Field of Reeds,

With emmer and barley there,

For the soul of the osiris, the scribe Ani.”4

 

Light the Osiris candle. Light the special Osiris incense.

 

“Accept this incense and fire, Osiris.”

 

Visualize the form of Osiris, standing in front of you. He wears an Atef crown, which is long and white. His skin is green, and on his chin is the long and trimmed pharaoh’s beard. In his right hand is a striped crook, gold and blue. In his left hand is a golden flail. 

 

“Osiris, please stay for the rest of the ritual and give it your blessing. Now I will invoke the spirit of the Nile, which you were associated with.” 

 

Lay prostrate on the ground. Kiss the ground. Stand upright. Hold your hands shoulder level, with your palms facing forward, but slightly downwards.  

 

“Nile, I call you.” 

 

Hymn to the Nile

Papyrus Chester Beatty V

Note: portions of the original have been cut for brevity.

 

“Hail flood!

emerging from the earth, arriving to bring Egypt to life,

hidden of form, the darkness in the day,

the one whose followers sing to him, as he waters the plants,

created by Ra to make every herd live,

who satisfies the desert hills removed from the water,

for it is his due that descends from the sky

– he, the beloved of Geb, controller of Nepri,

the one who makes the crafts of Ptah verdant.

 

Lord of fish, who allows south marsh fowl,

without a bird falling from heat

Maker of barley, grower of emmer grain,

creator of festivals of the temples.

When he delays, then noses are blocked,

everyone is orphaned,

and if the offerings of the gods are distributed,

then a million men perish among mankind

 

Bringer of food, rich in provisions,

creator of all goodness,

lord of reverence, sweet of scent,

the one whose coming makes peace,

creator of plants for the herds,

provider of butchery for every god.

While he is in the underworld,

sky and earth are in his charge.

Filler of storerooms, enlarger of granaries,

the one who gives plenty to the orphan..

 

What is right is fixed in the hearts of men,

but falsehood is said after poverty

A man who mixes with the marsh water

is not one to master grain,

and even if you praise all gods,

there is no bird who will descend on desert lands.

There is no one who beats his hand with gold,

there is no man who is drunk on silver,

you cannot eat steadfast lapis lazuli:

barley is the foremost for strength.

 

All people raising the praise of the Ennead

Have fear for the awe made by his son the Lord of All to make the Two Riverbanks verdant

Verdant the spirit at your coming,

Verdant the spirit at your coming, O Flood

Verdant the spirit at your coming,

Come to Egypt,

make its happiness,

Make the Two Riverbanks verdant,

Verdant the spirit at your coming,

Verdant the spirit at your coming, O Flood

Verdant the spirit at your coming,

Men and herds are brought to life by your deliveries of the fields,

Verdant the spirit at your coming,

Verdant the spirit at your coming, O Flood

Verdant the spirit at your coming.”5

 

Light the Nile candle. Light the special Nile incense.

 

“Accept this incense and fire, Nile River.”

 

Visualize the Nile river. It’s blue water flows along, and is guided by the sandy riverbank. Some cranes walk in the shallow edges. A crocodile swims in the distance. You see other Nile animals, including fish, hippos, lions, and deer.

 

“Nile river, now I will call on Isis and Sopdet.”  

 

Sirius Ritual: Fourth Movement

 

Lay prostrate on the ground. Kiss the ground. Stand upright. Hold your hands shoulder level, with your palms facing forward, but slightly downwards. 

 

“Isis, I call you.”

 

Hor: Invocation to Isis

“Come to me, [mistress], lady of the chapel, lady of the uraeus, lady of the two lands, Isis the great, god’s mother, great goddess of the [wadi] of the [lake], lady of the Hand of Horus which was given to him by Osiris in Siut. 

Come to me, my [mistress], Isis, in my [presence] together with your [progenitor], Isis the great, god’s mother, great goddess of the whole land!”6

Light the Isis candle. Light the special Isis incense. 

 

Visualize Isis. She has long black hair and wears a red dress. She wears a throne on the top of her head. In her right hand she holds a green staff, and in her left hand is an ankh.

 

“Accept this incense and fire, Isis.”

 

“Isis, please stay for the rest of the ritual and give it your blessing. Now I will invoke Sopdet.” 

 

Sirius Ritual: Fifth Movement

 

Lay prostrate on the ground. Kiss the ground. Stand upright. Hold your hands shoulder level, with your palms facing forward, but slightly downwards. 

 

“Sopdet, I call you. Now is the occasion of your heliacal rising, the end of the Egyptian calendar year, and the flooding of the Nile. Now is the occasion of the Coming of Sopdet.” 

 

Sopdet Hymn

 

“Sopdet, the Great, Lady of Elephantine

Lady of the Bow, with Swift Arrows

With an angry heart and anger- ridden eyes

Who overthrows the enemy of her brother Osiris

Magnificent of the Sky

Powerful One, Princess

Of the Nome of the Two Meret Goddesses

Who dispels the enemies and Set’s comrades

Sopdet the Great.”7

 

Light the Sopdet candle. Light the special Sopdet incense.

 

“Accept this incense and fire, Sopdet.”

 

“Praise Sopdet, who’s heliacal rising announced the onset of the Nile flood.

 

Great Sopdet, the one who was identified with Isis,

 

The wife of Sah, the star deity that signified the constellation Orion,

 

Sah, the one identified with Osiris, Venus his offspring with Sopdet.”

 

“Sopdet, it is your annual star birth. In days of yore, your re-appearance coincided with the flooding of the Nile. Your watchful gaze as you re-emerged in the sky was extremely important in the early days to one of humanity’s great civilizations. Early Egyptians at Hierakonopolis and Abydos witnessed your flaming brilliance. You were there when Narmer was pharaoh, as well as other kings of the Old Kingdom’s First Dynasty such as Hor- aha, Djer, and Djet. The famous kings of the Fourth Dynasty such as Khafre, Khufu, and Menkaure and their royal courts and subjects also knew of your annual heliacal rising. Varied elements of Egyptian culture, religion, and its calendar are beholden to you.” 

 

“Sopdet, the annual flooding of the Nile is a time of renewal, rebirth, and fertility. Life- giving waters feed the animals, vegetation, and soil. You communicated the coming of the flood to the people of ancient Egypt.”

 

“Sopdet, the Egyptian calendars were timed to your heliacal rising. Your steady and predictable ascension gave people the means to create time measurements. The creation of the lunar and civil calendars helped Egyptians to follow schedules and form habits around divisions of time.”

 

“Sopdet, the festival of Sopdet is a glorious occasion. It is the Opening of the Year. It is a time of new beginnings and of cycles coming to completion.”

 

“Sopdet, a heliacal rising is a time of youth in traditional astrology. The powers of the star are acute and heightened. Claudius Ptolemy says you are of the nature of Jupiter and Mars. Vivian Robson said that you give “honour, renown, wealth, ardour, faithfulness, devotion, passion, and resentment, and makes natives custodians, curators and guardians.”8 On your heliacal rising today, I know that your powers are strong.” 

 

“Now, share in this moment of communion.”  

 

Visualize Sopdet’s form. She has long black hair and a red dress.  She wears a golden star on her head, and in her left hand is an ankh.

 

“Give your blessings as we begin the new year.” 

 

“Grant wisdom so that I may improve my understanding of your divine nature.” 

 

“Let me conduct myself with humility.”

 

“Help me to further understand the relationship between you and Egypt, and by extension, that of elements of the Western spiritual tradition.”

 

“Accept my gratitude, ancient spiritual forebear.”

 

Sirius Ritual: Sixth Movement

 

Offer to Sopdet some food and drink. 

 

“Sopdet, take this food and drink.” 

 

Offer some other food to the other deities.

 

“Maat, take this food and drink.”

 

“Osiris, take this food and drink. “ 

 

“Nut, take this food and drink.”

 

“Isis, take this food and drink.

 

Offer incense to each deity, using the same formula as above.

 

Afterwards, offer some salt and water to each deity. Place small pieces of salt and water on each plate. Use the same formula, such as, “Sopdet, take this salt.”

 

Now, stand and face the deities. They should be in the east, possibly northeast and southeast based on where you addressed them and placed their candles and offerings.

 

“Grant your blessings, mighty gods.”

 

“Maat.

 

Please return to the place you were before I called you.” 

 

“Osiris.

 

Please return to the place you were before I called you.” 

 

“Nut.

 

Please return to the place you were before I called you.” 

 

“Spirit of the Nile.

 

Please return to the place you were before I called you.”

 

“Isis.

 

Please return to the place you were before I called you.”

 

“Sopdet.

 

Please return to the place you were before I called you.” 

 

Face east.

 

“I have celebrated the Coming of Sopdet and the Opening of the Year in a modern context. I have honored the gods, had communion with them, and have improved my understanding of Sopdet. This ritual is now complete.”  

 

Blow out the candles and incense. Clean up the space. Leave the offerings overnight, and then dispose of them as well the next morning. 

This post was last edited on August 13th, 2020 to correctly reflect ancient Egyptian prayer and a few grammar errors. 

 

Bibliography

 

 

  1. Foster, John L. Hymns, Prayers, and Songs: An Anthology of Ancient Egyptian Literature and Lyric Poetry Atlanta, Georgia. Scholars Press. 1995. 13-77. The creation and purification ritual was inspired by materials from portions of a variety of translated ancient texts. The texts were Pyramid Text 486, Pyramid Text 261, The Hymn at Sunrise, The Primacy of Thebes, which can be found in John Foster’s Hymns, Prayers, and Songs: An Anthology of Ancient Egyptian Literature and Lyric Poetry.

 

  1. Foster, John L.143.

 

  1. Foster, John L. 21.

 

  1. Foster, John L. 98.

 

  1. Helck, Wolfgang. Der Text des “Nilhymnus”. Kleine Aegyptische Texte Publisher. Wiesbaden. 1972. 

 

  1. Kockelmann, H. Praising the Goddess. De Gruyter. 2008.

 

  1. Luellon Bolton, Chelsea. Flaming Lioness: Ancient Hymns for Egyptian Goddesses. Lulu Publishing, USA, 2019. 49.

 

  1. Robson, Vivian. The Fixed Stars and Constellations. Astrology Classics. 1923. 97.

 

 

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