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It’s the 8th day after the full moon, Ugraparbah night, a night of radiating terror? The hunger is immense and the knowledge is out there, just reach out and let it flow through you, download it and upgrade yourself. 

So, it’s a day after the last quarter of the moon and finally, the time felt right for the Renanuteth invocation, the Serpent head goddess, the mother of all serpents. We kept delaying it, as she demanded an offering of that intoxicating smoke, one needs to be very certain of time, space and mind to offer it. 

The temple space is ready,  Zar music is playing in the background and on the altar between the burning candles a silver plate with a bunch of dry leaves, our offering, Salvia divinorum.

It’s been a year since we last journeyed into the Salvia dimension and I was very nervous to cross the gates of these ancient strange worlds again.

Some of you know that I’m an experienced traveller in hyperspace and in some of the galaxies and constellations I travelled to, I feel at home, (ayahuasca, mushrooms, peyote, San Pedro, to name a few) but Salvia, is a whole different story. 

We opened the space and read the invocation:

Thōzo pithē etc  (Thermouthe Pythia)

Thermouthē

The doors are open

And seven virgins 

Shall arise from the deep earth

Their garments of purest linen

Their faces those of serpents

You are the fates of heaven

Wielding golden wands

Welcome

Hail thou seven fates of heaven

O noble and good virgins

O sacred ones 

Hail thou chrepsienthaēs?

Hail thou menescheēs

Hail thou mechran!

Hail thou ararmachēs

Hail thou echommiē

Hail thou tichnondaēs

Hail thou erou rombriesē

Hail thou seven

snake-headed goddesses

The fates of heaven

The goddesses who hold the pole in its place

Thozopithe formula

Hail thou bear goddess,

Great one

 ruling heaven. 

Reigning over the pole of the stars. 

Hail Highest one, 

beautiful-shining goddess. 

Whose element is Incorruptible. 

Hail thous Composite of the all, 

The all illuminating, 

bond of the universe

You who stand on the pole, you who the lord god appointed to turn the holy pole with a strong hand. 

The first offering 

As soon as the first offering is done, I’ve noticed a very subtle movement, like ripples of heat and colour emanating from the altar. I look around the room, there’s a strange glow all around the fireplace.

The colour-heat ripples around the altar are getting bigger and before I realise what is happening a wave of serpent-like fractal shapes and colours are flowing over me. I try to stay calm, letting the serpent aura engulf me. Yeah… stay calm, I keep hearing myself mumbling…

Something is moving along the altar, two serpents, one black the other one colourful.  Both glowing and moving (flowing?) down the altar along the wall towards the fireplace. The coloured serpent disappeared in the fire, the black serpent stopped at the left of the fireplace and erected itself. Beautiful, fearsome, awesome, terrifying. Her flaming eyes pierced mine with a hypnotic gaze.

I tried to shift my gaze, to move a little but I was frozen with awe and terror. She’s getting closer, her aura is so bright and huge I can nearly touch it (that if I wasn’t freaking out here, my heart is racing. I think I’m going to faint.) Wait, she’s communicating with me. I can hear a strange whisper echoing inside my head, an ancient serpentine language vibrating down my spine. She’s taking over me, crawling up and down inside my body.

I can’t take it anymore, I cry out and fall down to my knees, I can hear myself praying in her ancient language.

Praying for mercy

Crying my heart out for Her to spare my life.

She’s gone.

My Serpent queen. 

The Second Offering 

Still shaking, I place the second offering on the altar. The smoke is thick and white.

The music is rhythmic, hypnotic, wild and tribal. I can feel it in my bones like the rhythm is part of me. I hear the ‘mama song’ and I can feel them, my three beautiful mamas, dancing around me, opening the gates for me, making me see.  The Zar company are here, with their drums and songs. His holiness, the Nubian priest is there too. So majestic in his white robes. He stretches his arm out and invites me to approach. The music stopped and everything went quiet. 

Stillness, like we are all frozen between time and space.

The air is crackling with static electricity and energy, it feels like we are trapped in a teardrop that is gonna explode any moment now.

Cacophonia. 

An explosion of sounds, screams and shouts, crazy rhythms are turning slowly into music and songs, these ancient songs and hypnotic rhythms I’ve heard before. The music gets louder and louder it takes over me, it’s in me, it’s coming from inside me, I am the music.

The black mama took me by the hand and started to dance. We are dancing. Blue mama is to my right and red mama to my left. More people joining in and circling us, with their drums and bells, all-dancing the wild ecstatic dance. I can feel something behind me, not sure what, it sends shivers down my spine. Black mama holding my hands tight looking into my eyes and smiling, whispering in her ancient language, “keep dancing habibti”. I close my eyes and I dance and spin, I can’t feel my body, there is something on my back, I freak out but black mama’s hands are squeezing mine reassuring me to keep dancing, so I find my rhythm and let go, I  can fly. I can see the company from above in a dancing frenzy, the Nubian priest is on his knees praying and crying, the three mamas spinning like mad dervishes. 

All of these are orchestrated by the elder of the company. He is standing in the middle of all the maddens, a big grin on his face drumming his magickal drum and shouting mad order towards the sky.

I can feel he’s calling me, I can feel his drumming vibrates in my ears and heart, I hear shouting and wild screams. Black mana’s grip is tightening around mine and I can feel her pulling me down.

I crash back to the here and now.

The Third Offering 

At this point, I’m weary and tired, but there’s no way back, it has to be done.

I inhale the smoky essence of the offering and lean back into the fluffy white clouds.

There’s a huge wheel in the distance. The wheel rotates slowly as if spinning in a very slow motion. With each rotation of the wheel, it seems that I’m moving forward towards it like it’s pulling me nearer to it somehow. 

I look down at my feet and realize that I am attached to the wheel like Leonardo de Vinci ‘The Vitruvian Man.

As soon as I understand that I’m attached to the wheel, it starts to spin faster and faster. I can see myself spinning, turning, becoming an endless spiral of Fibonacci numbers,  fractals.

I close my eyes and thinking to myself “I can relax now”

Boom, I’m back in the room.

We closed the circle, taking extra care seeing the portal tightly shut, and making sure that no strange entities lurking in the shadows. 

I don’t know when I’ll go through this portal again.

Ipet Invocation

Awake and embrace the void 
Your heart strong enough for its joys 
and its worries Leave, 
and when you awake to life 
You will feel young again on the new day Rest, 
lie down assured of long good health.   
“Good night,  
the gods protect you, 
their protection is before you each day 
No bad thing approaches  
The demon (Apep) is repelled from your bed chamber  
Ipet the Great protects you in your long and powerful life.” 
The day and night illumined,
You shine forth  
For she guides your steps on the right path, 
And you know what is needed,
The god Ptah provisions you,  
filling your storeroom, 
With food and drink aplenty, 
and in good measure. 
Your diary and records all in order 
and well-composed. 
The mistakes of the past forgotten,  
The staff in your hand well made and sustaining. 
Break bread with the wise, 
Your cares all behind you. 
Only reason lies before you, 
The best is yet to come.
* 
Praise be to TAWERET, 
Bringing ‘perfection’ in her beautiful name.  
I praise her to the limits of the sky, 
I desire her Ka, calming day by day.  
Be merciful to me,  
May I behold your mercy, 
You, of perfect mercy! 
Extend your hand to me,  
Giving me life, 
And granting me offspring! 
Do not reproach me for my errors  
You, in perfect mercy!
Even if my helpers slip up, 
My peers still reward me. 
I desire your great strength, 
None knows you as I do; 
I will say to the children and children’s children: 
Thee as guardian before her!
Joy my heart should seize, 
Because on this day TAWERET is merciful, 
My house prospers with her blessings.  
May she give them day after day,  
And I never say ‘Oh I have regrets!’  
May she continue to give me health, 
And my womb bear children safely, 
[Or the future be secure]. 
My heart is glad every day, for sure 
The good ones expel the evil, 
And I am blessed.  
Behold her people will live forever, 
My enemies are fearful before you TAWARET! 
Since your rage oppresses them 
more than a mountain of iron, 
Her mercy gives us life! 

In NakedTantra, we documented the first ritual to Ipet the Hippo Goddess.

The insight we got was that Ipet helps one through the trauma of transitions. 

Set kills his brother Osiris, with whom he has a secret bond, but they are part of each other. Now he has to deal with the fallout. Ipet is there to hold Set, or you, in place, to help you check your emotions, if you break the ties that bind you to her, you will lose control. 

In Ritual year 2 ( work in progress) we had the insight that Set is not at all bind to Ipet but chose to stay contained within her center out of his own free will.

 

The Eye of The Storm

On the sandbanks of the river 
I am the Hippo out of the water 
Walking on dry soft-land.
Making patterns in the sand 
Four pillars around the eye 
One for the north, one for the west, 
One for the south, and one for the east 
The four guardians of the centre 
Of the goddess within
In the centre of her heart
An eye, like a black hole, a vortex
Spinning nearly out of control
Thunder roar 
The binds are gone
If you look into her eye
You will  see from all directions 
His reflection in her eye
Typhon spin with a mighty will
In the centre of our heart
Free

 

I wonder what insight will have after this year’s ritual…

 

Running on Empty

Horus & Set breathing together, their feet resting on hieroglyph representing the wind pipe and lungs

(From Mina to Miryam)

Running on empty 
Just fumes in the tank,
Better stop, Fill up,
with something from bank,
the well, of inspiration, 
that never runs dry,  
So they say, but there again, 
sometimes it just does.  
So we meet in your bedroom, 
And do it all again, 
Sharing the breath of life, 
As Horus & Seth shared it, 
As Thoth & Horus shared it, 
Their feet resting on the lungs, 
The windpipe stretched up between them, 
Papyrus and lotus fronds weaving, 
A mysterious pattern, 
Around their bodies. 
The in & the out-breath, 
Mouths devouring each, 
Tongues gripped and searching, 
All our body’s parts melding together. 
The heart, the stomach,  
The sexual centre, 
Full of elixir now, 
Lingam and Yoni touching, 
Then over and in each, 
Floating, in mysterious lands, 
A plateau through the hours of darkness, 
Coming forth at daybreak, 
Refreshed & inspired, 
Well within us now. 

 

Zar, Encounters with the Trance Dance Tradition of Egypt

 

 

Zar is the name of an exorcism dance tradition known most commonly from Egypt. The word is itself of obscure origin but most likely explanation is that it means a “visitation”. When western observers first encountered Zar in Egypt they described it as “black magic”:

“WITHIN only a comparatively short period of years,” says Professor Macdonald, “quite easily within thirty years, I should say — we have come to know that practically all through the Moslem world there is spread an observance exactly like the Black Mass in Christendom. That is to say, it is a profane parody of a sacred service. ..”

The heartland of Zar is modern Sudan, which was in the ancient world known as Nubia, the “land of gold”. The Nubians were famous as practitioners of sorcery. Sudanese people have in past been forcibly relocated all over the Middle East via the slave trade, thus there are different kinds of Zar, the most famous being Egypt Zar, but there are also branches all over the Mehreb, Morroccan (Gnawa), Libya, Algeria, and also Iran where they are known as the people of the air. Zar spirits can be Pagan, Muslim, Hindu, Christian or Jewish. 

Initiations into the cult could be be “demonic” – that is one becomes an initiate because of encounter with a specific disease-spirit . One instinctively recognizes the musical signature of your first spirit. Depression is one of the most common triggers for Zar possession, something that, for example, commonly afflicts Egyptian women. From the Iranian branch we learn that there are in fact 72 different kinds of Zar spirit. 

Masters of the Zar circle are known as Baba or Mama – father or a mother. They are experts in all the different Zar spirits, having been introduced to them by their first spirit initiator. These spirits are very similar to those from pharaonic Egypt – where they were known as the Akh or Akhw. These terms have been compared to Arabic Afarit, a kind of Djinn. Actually Djinn are fiery spirits whereas the Zar spirits often live under the earth in places such as caves or tombs.

A contact in Egypt, thinking I might help, told me about the problems experienced by his sister who would fall into a spontaneous possession trance that was catatonic. When her relatives spoke to her in this state and asked what she wanted, the spirit would reply “she wants a divorce.” The spirits are very practical and make a lot of sense in people’s lives. So the first question one should always put to such as spirit should be : “what do you want?”

Often part of the answer is a ceremony of some kind, which like much ancient folk ritual was ecstatic. The ceremony breaks many taboos and can involve alcohol, food, music and ecstatic dance in mixed company. It is important to have a blood sacrifice, usually a goat, whose blood will be offered to the spirits, while the human participants share the feast. 

Wadôh wadêh ‘eni wadôh – yâ mamma / or Al La (Mogg Morgan author of Supernatural Assault in Ancient Egypt) 

 

The Masters of Zar 

Around 7 pm we were ready to go out to see the Masters of Zar that was showing at the El Dammah Theater, we couldn’t find the theater on the map, and weren’t sure about the address so we got Essmat to write the address and the name of the theater in Arabic so we can show it to the Taxi driver. Thanks to Essmat’s note, the Taxi driver could find the place which was tucked away at the back of a tiny ally. Inside, a very small theater, maybe enough room for about 50 people. There were not many people, only us and 4 other British tourists and about 10 locals. 

At exactly eight o’clock three “mamas” enter. They are dressed in beautiful traditional dresses. The “crone” is dressed in royal blue, the “mother” dressed in black and the “younger” was dressed in red (the youngest probably in her fifties the oldest probably in her eighties). They started singing and chanting and one by one the other members of the group entered. They are drumming and chanting and building the rhythm into a very energetic trance beat which makes you want to get up and dance.

Four British guys are sitting in the front row and it doesn’t take long before one of them gets up and dances with the zar troops. The three mamas dance around him and it looks to me that they are guiding him into a deeper trance – they are circling and chanting around him dancing, hypnotising him, like they are putting a spell on him or maybe they are trying to break the spell that he’s been under…who knows?…

The atmosphere in the room is buzzing and I am sitting at the edge of my chair waiting for the right moment to get up and join in the magickal Zar circle. While thinking that, one of the Zar members approached me, he was a very handsome black man, very tall and looked like an Egyptian Pharaoh, all regal and beautiful in his white Galabia. He took my hand and lead me towards the dancers. As soon as we got into the circle the three mamas circled and danced around me, it felt like they are trying to show me something so I follow their moves which apparently was the right thing to do as the 2 older mamas moved on to dance with the 2 guys, and left me with the third one – The Black Mama, she showed me her moves which I followed and repeated. The rhythm and beat of the music grew faster and hypnotic, I could feel I’m going into trance. The eldest of the company, who I suspect was the leader, got closer and started to dance with me, while dancing together the rest of the company formed a dancing circle around us. The rhythm of the drums became faster and louder all smiling at me like they know something I don’t. I feel hypnotised, I dance the ancient dance with the company of wild Egyptian gypsies, the elder looked into my eyes, said something and smile and handed his drum over to me!

HE HANDED HIS DRUM TO ME!!!

I nearly fainted, this is the deepest shamanic initiation I know, holding THE DRUM in my hand I felt the buzz of its rhythm vibrating all over my body and in my heart. The three mamas are circling us and it feels to me that they are flying around us. I’m so excited and nervous at the same time, I can hear my drum completely out of tune, the “red mama” looked at me and with her eyes I can see her asking, “what are you doing woman? You are out of tune”! I gave her the drum back and thanked her of saving me from total embarrassment. From the corner of my eye I see the black prince leads Mina into the circle and before I knew it the “black mama” is taking me by the hand and Mina with her other hand and dances with both of us, everyone in the circle is cheering and dancing around us, the atmosphere is intoxicating, this is all a bit too much for me, I feel that I’m going to explode with joy, I need to sit down. I leave the circle feeling like I’m walking on clouds, feeling I am blessed.

The show’s going on for a little while longer, and once it’s finished I went to say goodbye to the three mamas. I get hugs and kisses from all of them, but it’s the Blue Mama, the eldest, she really got me. She gave me a big big hug, kissed both of my cheeks, looked into my eyes and said : “Habibty, Ya-Albi” ( “my darling, my beloved – my heart”), I was in tears. I kissed her back and thanked her.

For one long moment we were one, I was as one with her, I was a Zar.