Nephthys: Not so quiet
This post is going to be an inelegant thing, I suspect. (also sorry for any spelling errors. the spell check is going nuts on this one)
So, yes, my Name is Nephthys.
Now I’m going to tell you a little story.
Amentent Neferet posted something about Neith on their blog today. Normally if a Name turns up that I don’t feel much connection to, like Horus (sorry Horus) I’ll skim or skip. But this was different. “Read that” the little voice in my head said, and so I did. My practice is very UPG based–though I love the history too and do draw on it–so I’ve come to more or less trust these types of feelings.
Neith and Amente:
After reading the prayer and googling Nephthys + Neith for awhile, I realized that Neith and Nit are the same goddess. Or at the very least, they trade outfits a lot. (as an aside, the whole gods and goddess sometimes cosplay each other thing boggles my mind and I can’t get my thoughts around it, which I find frustrating because I’m usually a quite good abstract thinker). That of course brought me to Nebhet-Nit-Seshat. And then, I remembered the vision I had of the great cow goddess wallowing in the Nile (Neith, Bat, Hathor, a combo?). Recently, I also felt Nut’s presence for the first time, so much like my thought processes the goddesses are also appearing and connecting and speaking, a thousand words in a second, images, feelings, scents, in a great black flood.
Oh, and as to UPG and names (little n) it’s always felt very it is Nephthys you will address me by, it is not Nebethet. Yes, ma’am. What’s weird is the all of two times I have felt Aset, it is Aset, not Isis, which perhaps explains the disconnect between two goddess who otherwise are so close as to be in some ways interchangeable. I’m also not a huge fan of the whole Nephthys is the wife of Set stuff. Personally, I mean; it’s a perfectly valid interpretation for others. She’s just never come to me that way. If anything, she’s paired with Osiris to me. Anyway, I’m getting off topic.
So, I’ve read a lot of posts by other Kemetics where they identify either as 1). desert people, i.e. the people of Set and/or the other Names and spirits that dwell in the Red Land or 2) “Onion hoers” i.e. the regular people of Kemet, the peasants and the craftsmen. I, on the other hand, feel a great draw to be a priest. This is not better or worse than the other two things, but it’s where my calling is. When I stand at the altar I call myself Nephthys’ priest (though priestess slipped out once, because gender weirdness!) and the Morrigan’s warrior.
Given that calling, I began to ask Nephthys what She wanted from me specifically. I’m already totally in love with Her, and She comes to me often as the goddess of compassion, mourning, and mercy. I pour Her water and anoint Her image with oils and give Her gifts, all of those things, and that’s wonderful. Some priests do nothing beyond caring for their Names in such a manner. But did She want more?
I think what inspired me to make this post is the feeling that She wants to be heard. There’s a certain assumption that She is quiet and prefers to stay in the shadows, and that may very well be true for aspects of Her that don’t appear to me. I believe all the myth cycles are true in a sense, that the Names are so big that no one human could ever hope to comprehend all of Their forms and needs and desires. But whatever part of Her that I am in contact with? She misses prayers written to Her on papyrus, Her name on the mouths of those who love Her, prayers and songs.
For me, speaking Their names and prayers aloud, the actual act of speaking, is of immense importance. The speech of authority, right? The foundation of magic and power. (though if you can’t physically speak, there are other ways, so don’t think I’m being ableist here. Still if you can speak, I encourage you to do it). Once she had whole cities dedicated to Her. That sounds like a goddess who surely has some aspect that prefers the spotlight.
I wanted to put off making this post. I’ve struggled and struggled and finally She was getting impatient with me. She wants to be adored in the open, and me being jealous of Her is silly. She’s there to afford everyone Her gifts, should She so choose.
Prayers to Neith:
“You are the Primaeval Serpent-Goddess arisen before Them all,
She Who protects the whole land,
She Who began to be before the coming into being of Those Who had to be,
She Who . . . . under Her authority,
. . . . .
You are the One Who created the NetherWorld,
in Her form of the Goddess Who reaches everything, up to the limits of the cosmos,
in Her material form of the watery surface,
in Her name of boundless duration.
Lady of the anointing oil
and also of the making of clothing,
She Who shared out the mark of Her craft among the five . . . . that inhabit heaven and earth.
You are the watery expanse,
She Who created the God of the Primaeval Mound and Who created Nun,
the Lady of the childbirth from which everything arose.”