Recently I was traveling, and since I had a new portable shrine (a nice, handmade wooden box with a rose design on the cover), I thought I would take pictures and show you what I do when I’m on the road. (I couldn’t do this before, because what I was using before was an old cardboard box that I had gotten coffee in. It served its purpose as an emergency portable shrine, but I was happy to replace it with something nicer when the occasion arose.)
Why a rose? Because my alternatives with the box seller were an American flag and an eagle (I think those were on separate boxes). So why not a rose for the gods?
Also, a while back I had promised to unite the words and the pictures for Daily Rite so my readers wouldn’t have to bounce back and forth between pages to make sense of everything. So I am doing that now, finally.
I thought I’d start at the beginning, in the bathroom (which, for some reason, is where I end up mixing water and natron).
Take the bowl filled with water, and say over it:
O Water may you remove all impurities!
(I use whatever is handy to hold the water. In the hotel room I use the water cups provided. At home I use the same cup that I would use when brushing my teeth. I use a small Gladware cup to transport my natron.)
Take the bowl of natron, and say over it:
It is Pure. It is Pure. It is Pure. It is Pure.
My natron is the natron of Heru.
My natron is the natron of Set.
My natron is the natron of Dehuty.
My natron is the natron of Geb.
My mouth is the mouth of the milking calf on the day that my mother, Aset, gave birth to me.
Natron is a naturally-formed substance in Ancient Egypt. It is essentially sodium carbonate and sodium chloride (baking soda & salt).
You can create your own natron, or you can create the “lazy man’s natron” and simply mix baking soda and salt.
– Mix the natron and water in the bowl.
– Gargle some of the natron and spit it out.
– Pour the rest of the natron in your bath. Or if you don’t have a bathtub, but a shower, pour the bowl of water/natron
over you in the shower.
– Bathe as normal.
(What I do is take a pinch of natron and, as I release it into the water, I say the “It is Pure” line.)
(I have added a little something to this procedure; as I am pouring the water-natron mixture into my bathtub, I say something like, “May this water and natron purify me in body and ka, O Netjer.”)
After the natron rinse, I go from the bathroom to wherever my shrine is. In the hotel room, I put it in front of the television. Basically, wherever I have room for the shrine and wherever I have space to kneel down in front of it determines where I put it.
Dress in loose white clothing.
White symbolizes purity, and was the commonly used color of robe worn by priests.
(The white clothing is pretty much optional. I wear a white bathrobe at home, but when I’m traveling, unless I’m lucky enough to have booked a hotel that provides white bathrobes, I don’t worry about it. As my priestess says, “Butts doing Rite is better than butts not doing Rite.”)
The Rite consists of several parts.
You need several items for the Rite:
– Incense or essential oil.
– Incese burner or oil diffuser.
– Pitcher of water.
– Two bowls — one to receive water, one for offerings.
– Image or statue of your primary Netjer.
(When traveling, I do a bare-bones Rite: no offerings besides water, no incense or essential oil, and most hotels these days frown on you burning candles in your room. You can try getting a smoking room, as I did once, but the stench was awful and my spouse complained. So I never did that again.)
1. Greeting Netjer
Come! Come in peace and be renewed! For the flame shines like Ra on the double horizon.
(Before the next step, I turn on the flameless tea light.)
2. Lighting Fire and Incense
The fire burns, the fire shines.The Incense burns, the incense shines. May this sweet smell come to You, O Netjer,as Your sweet smell comes to me. May I be with You, O Netjer, as You are with me. May I live with You, O Netjer, as You live with me. May You love me, O Netjer, as much as I love You.
(I pour the water into the water bowl as I say the words for Step 3.)
I pour cool water for the akhu, shining like gold in the vault of Nut. May they be cooled. I pour cool water for my sebau, who guide us on the Way. May they be cooled. I pour cool water for Wepwawet, Who opens the Way for us. May He be cooled. I pour cool water for Ma’at, Who IS the Way. May She be cooled.
(I also pour cool water for any deceased person that I may be mourning.)
Receive, O Netjer, this ______________________________, this Eye of Heru placed at Your feet. I return to You that which is Yours.
( I skip Step 4 when I’m on the road since I’m not offering milk in addition to the water. Milk is just my choice; you have other options here.)
5. Say to the Netjer:
May these Offerings please You, O Netjer
May Your Ka be fed!
Perform full henu to the image of the Netjer.
Henu is where you hold your hands up to the Netjer. The hands are about head height, parallel to your shoulders, with palms forward.
Full henu is where you perform the henu gesture, drop down to your knees, and then touch your head to the ground.
(Technically, the instructions I was given say to do this before Step 5, but I’ve been doing it after and not getting yelled at, so it must be okay. I then stay kneeling, as long as my body will allow — I just turned 50 last week — for Step 7.)
7. Personal Prayer and Worship
Sit in silence, or sing a hymn, or chant a prayer, or all of these. Open your heart to Netjer, for you are in Its intimate presence.
(I stand up and do henu for Step 8.)
8. Closing Prayer
May I shine in Your presence, O Netjer! May I shine like Ra, having put aside all that disrupts Ma’at. May I shine each day in Your presence, O Netjer, as Ra shines on the horizon. May I live each day so that Ma’at may ascend!
7. Removing the Foot
When your prayer time is finished..offer full henu….thank Him or Her.
* Close the shrine.
* Blow out the candles.
* Back out of the temple. (Do not turn your back to the image of the Netjer.)
This is more commonly known as “Removing the Foot.”
(Here I turn off the tea light.)
Say: Netjer has come, renewed through the Eye of Heru. No evil shall enter here. The rite is ended. I go forth to live and serve fully.
Drink the water and put everything away.
You may have noticed the small stack of printed images. I try to get these from books I have in the house (scan and print), but if I don’t have an image of a particular Netjer, I hit the Internet.
So that’s what I do for Daily Rite in a hotel. I admit that when traveling, my Rite schedule gets a little dicey. When we flew to Oregon, for instance, I didn’t take my portable shrine with me because I haven’t figured out a safe way to pack it that will let it survive the handling of the baggage people in the airports. And then there are the times I take it and don’t use it. Life on the road can be so chaotic. I hope the Netjeru are patient with my efforts.
What do you do to try to pray/meditate/center yourself when you’re on the road? Please comment below.
One thought on “Daily Rite with a portable shrine”
Edited to include meditation and centering in my final question.