AKA Why historical attestation isn’t always the holy grail.
I have something to admit. I’m addicted to finding anything rooted in history that may mention or give me insight into Bast-Mut. Once I get the itch, I’ll dig into the deepest parts of Google in order to see what I can find, even if just a brief mention of “Mut-Bastet.” I occasionally get jealous of those who have parent deities who have a long history and many records and myths. It’s the woe of somebody who worships an “odd-god.”
To be fair, Bast isn’t particularly unknown, and neither is Mut. The downside falls in the destruction of Per-Bast (Bubastis), so we don’t really have much to go on. Mut is very prominent, but Bast-Mut is NOT Mut, not completely. If there existed any record at all of Queen Bast of Bubastis, it’s gone now. We have small hints of Mut-Bast over in Waset (Thebes), but primarily that was Sekhmet-Mut town.
When I get into my heavy “research mood,” I really have to try to remind myself of one simple thing:
Trust in my own experiences.
What am I hoping to gain by finding my Mother in historical texts? Maybe an epithet here or there, but that is probably all I’ll possibly find. What this research won’t tell me is how the ancients perceived Bast-Mut, nor how they experienced her. You won’t find that stuff in any scientific material. You have to live it. Nothing I’ll find will replace any experience I’ve shared with Mom.
For those of you in the same shoes, it will do you well to remember this. This is your path, and you will not find that in any Oriental Institute Publication.
Every shrine has a story. Where we get our statues, where we get all the pieces that make up the entirety of the shrine and it’sessence. I would like to spend a moment to share the stories that make up my own senut shrine.
Starting with the bottom shelf, the shrine to my god family. The statue of my Mother was given to me at Wep Ronpet Retreat 2018 by a dear sibling, and I really treasure it. I decorated her with a beaded necklace I created at Pittsburgh Retreat 2017, as well as a linen cloth and a band I got last year at Retreat. She had some cracks on her but was repaired kindly by another sibling, and traveled with me in a brown paper bag delicately under the seat of a plane.
Mafdet’s statue is a ring holder I obtained many years ago and I don’t honestly know where or when I got her. Until I get a statue commissioned, this one seems to fit very well, especially with the color scheme I have going on. She wears a commissioned bracelet I had gotten for Mom done by an awesome and talented sibling.
The statue of Heru-sa-Aset was being sold by another sibling and I swooped in like a falcon to snag him. Djehuty’s statue was a gift from another sibling, hand sculpted, cast in resin, and painted with love. I truly treasure my Mr. Monkey! The ear on the far left was from the same sibling who fixed my statue of Bast-Mut, as a Retreat gift. It helps my prayers to be heard.
The candle holder in the middle was won at the Pittsburgh Retreat raffle, and I’ve been using it with an electric votive candle currently. The matching offering bowl and incense holder were custom commissioned for my shrine by DeBaun Ceramics over on Etsy. They match the colors of my shrine and of my AGI Bast!
The little libation cups at the front are paired with the pot on the far right. They are from Cario, Egypt, and I won them on an online Goodwill auction for use in the shrine.
Now that we are over on the right-hand side, we have a collection of perfumes and scents that Mom has claimed in the corner, including a fantastic blend created for me by a Bast-sister. There’s an incense blend that I won in a giveaway custom for Mom, as well as a couple of custom oils from another sibling made at the PIT Retreat. Above those hangs a necklace dedicated to Bast and Set, created by a priest of theirs at the PIT Retreat, and given to me as a gift after spending some time in the State Shrine. I treasure it dearly. There’s also a random fish keychain I discovered when I was moving house hanging above that… just because.
Sneaking over to the left side, we have a gorgeous painting made by one of our really talented Reverends (that I plan to frame and hang!) that I won at last year’s Retreat auction. To be honest, I’ve had my eye on it for some time before I discovered it was coming to Retreat to be sold.
Next to the painting, I have my first commissioned statue of Mom created by Shadow of the Sphinx on Etsy. She wears the ribbon bestowed to Bast-Mut on Wep Ronpet morning at the mini Retreat, as well as a bracelet I created at one point. In front of her is a cup for water and a small bowl of natron for my purifications.
Next to the statue, I have a wonderful poem about Mom given to me as a Moomas card, and the cutest Perler bead Mom from another sibling. It’s safe to say that I wouldn’t have such a beautiful shrine without my House of Netjer family!
I also have a little rattle I got at the airport for a noise maker, at least until I get my commissioned sistra!
The Akhu shrine is above and on the left of the top shelf. Related family on the left, and non-related Akhu on the right. I’m only going to cover the most pressing of questions about why I have those two on my shrine there. When I bought my little pouch that I’m using for my travel shrine, with it I received a photo of Edger Allen Poe and a pilot named Elizabeth L Gardner. I had this huge needing feeling of having to put them on my Akhu shrine. I felt like they wanted to be there, and that they were included with the purchase for that reason. I have personal connections to the poem, The Raven, especially, and it’s been a huge inspiration in my life. Elizabeth was an Air Force pilot, and as I’ve always wanted to be a pilot, and I have connections to the Air Force, I can see why there was an additional need for her to join me. I didn’t get into all the depth of it, but I wanted to share that little story.
I have additional incense and other goodies and gifts on the right side of the shelf.
Thank you all for listening to the stories of my shrine, and perhaps it has even inspired your own shrine-building endeavors! There’s no wrong way to make one, and you never know where you’ll find bits and pieces for it.
It’s been a little over three years since my Shemsu naming. This is a name with big shoes to fill, and I’m finally starting to grow into it and fully understand what it means to be a soldier of my Mother.
I’ve done a lot of thinking over the years regarding this name and how it reflects me and my duty to both Netjer and the community in which I took my vows. When I was first named, I was this meek little thing flanked by three powerful and protective Names. It is now that I’m realizing just what being a soldier of a Queen entails.
On occasion, I’ll find myself doing some research on the literal roles of soldiers in Ancient Egypt. I like to take in all the information available and see how it applies to me. Something I discovered kind of stuck with me; When there is no war, soldiers were often out helping the community, building, farming, and taking on other helpful tasks. They were always taking action for the betterment of the whole.
This is a word that is increasingly important to me.
Bast-Mut, as Queen, is one to direct. I am taking action on her behalf. Not only am I fighting in the name of ma’at, I am also expected to work with the community and help when necessary.
As I considered that, I also realized I had already been working on helping out the community. I was, and am, getting more involved, and it fits my role perfectly.
(In meme speak: I protecc and attacc, but most importantly I give bacc)
Now, Onion Day is one of the holidays that I can celebrate with my fiance. He loves onions! We had to celebrate early however, since I’ll be leaving to go back to work on the 6th. This is the first time we’ve really celebrated a festival together, and it was a ton of fun!
We started the day today by going out to a restaurant, where I got a breakfast skillet with onions included! This was the first part of the feast. Unfortunately we couldn’t celebrate earlier since I had a massive migraine that I carried from the night before, but with some tender loving care, I mostly got rid of it just in time for lunch and dinnertime fun.
Earlier in the week, we went to the store and gathered our supplies for making delicious foods. I also set up the shrine on the dining room table so that we could share our meals with Bast(-Mut). I decided that I finally wanted to make those Rose Puff Pastries and he was going to make a French Onion Soup. Today we spent much of the afternoon and evening in the kitchen in a cooking frenzy! (After I felt better, of course!)
The picture to the right shows his delicious soup made with sunny sweet onions, provolone cheese, and French bread. We also had a baked potato on the side and it was all SO good! Here I am sharing my meal with Bast, while we have the candle and incense lit for Her as well. On the left I have cut out some onion shapes for some heka we performed later on.
The picture on the left shows one of the delicious rose puff pastries that I baked and shared with Her! They turned out pretty good for a first try, but they were super messy to create. It was sure a learning experience, and I know I can do better next time.
While we ate, we took the onion shapes and some pens and considered what we wanted The Devouring Flame to consume. We wrote down things we wanted to be rid of, such as procrastination and similar things. We wrote as much as we could think of on our onion shapes, because we were going to take them outside and allow Her to devour them, to take them from us so that we could fill those gaps with better things.
After we ate our fill, we took our onions and allowed them to be consumed while I sang a song for Bast. The fire felt very good in the crisp northern air.
All in all, this was a very exciting festival for us and I’m glad we got to share it together. Hopefully this post will give everybody else some ideas for their own Onion Day festivities!