This has come up because I have had more than one person who has lost those close to them lately. One is a friend from online whom I care for very much, another ditto and the other is a friend from childhood (we rode the school bus together for a long time, and I remember thinking she looked like Snow White whenever she wore her red dress with the white dots and lace).
This is something I am doing close to the times of two of the funeral services- the other I am not sure when that is happening as I only recently asked permission for this. (Asking permission is a good thing.)
I call this a pseudo-Egyptian rite primarily because I am rusty on my Egyptian magick, and it’s got some Greek influence in there though I hunted though the Egyptian Book of the Dead and other sources. I will probably do this once but it can be done for 3 days and then, if one has the energy (which I don’t right now), once a week through a moon cycle, starting around new moon. Feel free to use or modify this one as you see fit, especially if you are more Egyptian inclined than I am. I am sure this is flawed, as I wrote it throughout this week at my spare moments in-between other efforts. Any suggestions to improve it would be appreciated as long as they are kindly worded.
- Black candles for the deceased, green candles for the survivors. Green was the color of life and nourishment, and black was the color not just of death, but fertility and life out of death, since it resembled the fertile soil. Both colors were linked to Osiris.
- Pieces of Malachite for each. Keep them separate and make sure you know which piece goes with whom. “Green malachite was a symbol of joy and the land of the blessed dead was described as the “field of malachite.” In Chapter 77 of the Book of the Dead, it is said that the deceased will become a falcon “whose wings are of green stone”. Highly impractical of course, it is obvious that the color of new life and re-birth is what is important. The Eye of Horus amulet was commonly made of green stone as well.” (1)
- Pictures and/or names of the deceased, if available (I assume you have the names of the bereaved)
- Selected prayers from the Book of the Dead (my selections for both included below). Link 2 has some nice ones. You’ll want to focus on protection and guidance for the deceased as well as blessing, and blessing and nourishment for the survivors.
- If you’re musical at all, selected pieces of music might work.
- Images of Isis and Osiris. Osiris you will petition for the deceased and Isis for the survivors.
- Offerings of incense or oil for Isis and Osiris- I usually do cinnamon for Osiris and rose for Isis, though it’s up to you.
- Tissues. You’ll need them. Or I’m pretty damned emotional, so I know I might.
- Natron water. See #3 for a link to make some.
- Some libation-water and wine, or beer for the deceased, honey, milk and bread for the living. You will do different things for each.
1. Opening Necessities
Wash your hands and face with Natron, asking the gods to be made pure. Wipe down the area you will be setting Isis and Osiris if you don’t have a permanent shrine to them and spurge the area. (This is essentially Greek, but as I said, Egyptian is rusty. As the cultures interacted, I don’t feel TOO guilty.) Set Isis and Osiris side by side.
Carve the name of the deceased onto the black candles, 1 per candle, or set the candle over their picture. Set the candles next to Osiris with either a piece of malachite each, or just a piece of malachite for Osiris (since it’s expensive).
Carve the name of the primary survivor you are praying for, 1 per candle. Set the candles next to Isis with either a piece of malachite each, or just a piece of malachite for Isis and Osiris.
Have oils, tissues and music ready. I usually end up crying during my prayers for the dead, so yeah. Tissues.
2. Petitioning Osiris on behalf of the deceased: A prayer, an offering of perfume, a dedication of the candles and the stones.
Uncap your offering of essential oil or light your incense and present it to the god with the malachite. (I use oil since there are people in my place of living with asthma.) In your own words, ask Osiris to guide the recently deceased to where they belong in the afterlife and to safeguard them as they make their way to him through the Duat. Take the malachite in your hand and say something along the lines of, “may the N. (et al) become a falcon whose wings are of green stone, may they fly through all dangers and reach the lands of Osiris, the lands of joy, the fields of green malachite. May they be reborn in Amenti under the gaze of Osiris and snatched from the dangers of the Duat.”
Light the candle, “May light shine for N. in the dark places and lead them home.”
Hold the stone. You’re going to empower it with your prayers before giving it back to Osiris.
3. Prayers from the Book of the Dead
I have three versions of the Book of the Dead, and for those of us who are beginners (*raises hand*), I like the Normandi Ellis version. In that book ($10 on Kindle Cloud), I suggest Giving a Mouth to Osiris and Opening the Mouth of Osiris, as well as the others: Giving Heart to Osiris, Giving Breath to Osiris and Remembering his Name. (13-14, 16-18)
Next, I will definitely say the prayer about not dying a second time (#24), but the prayers 22-29 are still good. Their names are Not Letting His Heart Be Carried Off, Not Dying a Second Time (24), Not Scattering His Bones, Not Letting His Head Be Severed, Not Decaying in the Other World, Not Allowing a Man to Pass East and Not Losing His Mind. Do as you can, don’t overload yourself.
I will also read 29 and 30, Coming Forth and Passing Through and Bringing Home His Soul.
I will end with 51, Becoming the Light In Darkness.
The whole time you pray, hold and rub the stone, communicating your blessings to it, filling it with power, even with your breath. When you are finished, place the stone at Osiris’ feet. Make sure you keep this stone separate from the other, as they will meet different ends.
I’m choosing the shorter prayers, but also the prayers that represent what the deceased needs most in the afterlife.
4. Petitioning Isis on behalf of the survivors: A prayer, an offering of perfume, a dedication of the candles and the stones.
Uncap your offering of essential oil or light your incense and present it to the goddess with the other piece of malachite. In your own words, ask Isis to bless those who are mourning the deceased, especially those you have named. Take the malachite in your hand and say something along the lines of, “may the N. (et al) be sheltered in the wings of Isis, whose breath blesses the green stone. May they be carried safely through their grief into joy, may the fields of their lives be green. May they be reborn from their pain under the gaze of Isis and protected from life’s dangers.”
Light the candle. “May light shine for N. in the dark places and lead them safely through life.”
Hold the stone. You’re going to empower it with your prayers before giving it back to Isis.
5. Prayers (they don’t have to be from the Book of the Dead. They can be traditional Egyptian prayers or just from the heart).
65. A Field of Flowers.
4. The Speeches
The whole time you pray, hold and rub the stone, communicating your blessings to it, filling it with power, even with your breath. When you are finished, place the stone at Isis’ feet. Make sure you keep this stone separate from the other, as they will meet different ends.
These are long, but good, and applicable to strengthening the living.
6. Closing Necessities
Offer Isis and Osiris thanks from your heart, and spend a moment or two with them. When you close up, rub some of the oil you purchased on the respective god’s hands, feet and forehead (cut it with water if you need to, as oil can be sticky). Save the rest of the oil for the god’s later use. Unless you have a shrine set up to Isis and Osiris, put the gods representations away respectfully and wash again with Natron. Because it can’t hurt. Let the candles burn down and keep the pieces of malachite separate from each other- it would help if you had marked them in some way, or have bags of different colors for them. Once the candles burn down, clean up and take the malachite, following the last step.
7. Disposal of the Implements and Offerings for the Living and the Dead
This can be done the next day.
The ancient Egyptians ABHORRED waste, and the food offerings the Greeks made would probably not go over well with the Egyptian gods. An exception to this is offerings at the tomb, which were left for the deceased to eat. (5) Take the malachite along with some beer and some water, and go to a local cemetery if you can’t go to the gravesides of those in question. (Though the graveside is better, if you won’t disturb anyone.)
In any case, find a suitable spot. Bury the malachite in the grave dirt with a prayer to Osiris to convey his blessings to the deceased. Leave there the water and the beer, opened, saying, “May there be joy for him/she in Amenti and cool water to drink. May he/she receive every pure and good thing.” (A riff on 4.)
I’m not big on littering in general, or the cemetery in particular. If you can’t put it in a spot where it will be found and cleaned up, make a point to come back later and clean up yourself.
When you return home, wash in Natron water (again, Greek purity values are showing) and make a glass or bowl of milk and honey, and some bread or cake (it can be cake). Take the piece of malachite you said prayers for the living over and take it to a wild, green and vibrant place. The woods, a garden, etc. Bury the piece of malachite there with a prayer that the blessings you asked for be conveyed to the living, who will continue to grow and flourish. Offer the milk and honey and bread/cake to Isis and Osiris, saying something along the lines of, “May there be joy for us in living, may our needs never go unmet and may we receive every good thing.”
When you feel the gods have finished with the offering, consume it yourself and share in the blessings you have prayed for.
2. http://www.jbeilharz.de/ellis/egypt.html (Some prayers)
I’m still working on the “Sirens” and “Bees” posts, and I’ve written some other poetry. Some other things are just taking precedence right now.