Photo Essay: Lunar Wep Ronpet 2022
The first new moon after the heliacal rising of Sopdet (Sothis, Sirius, the Dog-Star) marks the beginning of the lunar new year and the first lunar month of Tekhi, arriving this year on Saturday August 27. Since our local temple is primarily a lunar temple, lunar Wep Ronpet is a significant event marked by special offerings and outings for the primary temple Gods. Neb (Lord) Djehuty takes His place as Master and Initiator of the day and the new year, as Lord of Time and Lord of the Moon; this year His dazzling silver shrine being set up beside the fire altar outside and circumambulated five times. Four torches- emblematic of the Four Sky Pillars rooted in the cardinal directions- were lit following the circumambulation of the altar, and the Fire of the New Year struck in the act of revivifying the temple for the following year.
The rejuvenation of the temple, and, by extension the temple community and creation entire, is the primary goal at Wep Ronpet time, which acknowledges time and all its events as being cyclical, thus assured of repetition or renewal. The beginning of each cycle is manifest from Zep Tepi, the "First Occasion" when the divine creation is new and unsullied. Technically every ritual event repeats the divine actions or myth cycles of the Gods, and removes the temple and its celebrants back to Zep Tepi when everything in creation begins again. Temples and other holy places are manifestations of divine time, never linear but cyclical in nature, and endlessly repeated, from sunrise to sunset (and through the nocturnal hours) daily. But at festival times, on high and holy days, and most especially at Wep Ronpet, the apparent division between human linear time and divine cyclical time is thinned as to become non-existent, and human beings have the opportunity to participate directly in the progression of divine time back to Zep Tepi.
I think we need these sacred events now more than ever, and by "we" I'm not only referring to my household or even strictly to Kemetics, but even more so all polytheists and Pagans, all adorers of the Gods living in these times. For so many of us striving to live our ancient traditions in a world often hostile to anything outside mainstream monotheism, it takes substantial energy and courage to invest ourselves in our practices, to feel close to our unique traditions and find ways to express these meaningfully as we're navigating the pressures of contemporary life. There is a loneliness in this that can feel burdensome, and distract us from the joy we should be feeling in our sacred service to our gods. Empowerment in our practice comes in those moments we reserve for our gods in sacred space, the space we have handed over to the moment of meeting the Numinous directly. Our sacred spaces can be humble or majestic; to the Gods there is no difference where there is true love and devotion present, where awe and humility in the presence of the deities takes the devotee into the inmost place that becomes a catalyst for a robust engagement and relationship with the Gods.
On festival days or holy days we have the opportunity to reaffirm our values as walkers with the
Gods; that the Gods are present with us at all times and in all spaces; that the Gods, far from being separate from human lives and the human world, are invested in the ongoing work of creation and in the daily lives of Their creations; that the Gods can and do establish bonds with human beings that are the basis for a sustained two-way relationship between human and Numinous; that the Gods create and participate in human life, death, and what is beyond; that human beings can choose to engage the Gods and enter into intimate relationships with Them; that the Gods exist and have Their own agency, will, powers, and spheres of influence. We also have the experience- however temporary- of removing ourselves from workaday life and entering the divine time or myth cycles in which the Gods operate creation and construct the endless cycles of life, death, and rebirth. All of these values can be ours to reaffirm when we take a respite from our normal way of living and reserve space for the recognition and veneration of the Gods.