The Beautiful Feast of the Valley
A close-up of the outdoor altar space, with Amun and Hathor pictured at back.
On May 24, 2008, we got back together with our friends in the Crescent Circle Silver Witches to celebrate a second Egyptian holiday: the Beautiful Feast of the Valley, or Hab Nefer en Pa'inet in the Egyptian language. Traditionally observed in Thebes during early May, we held the Feast a bit later on Memorial Day Weekend because it shares the common theme of honoring those who have passed. The Beautiful Feast of the Valley honors the Theban god Amun and the goddess Hathor in Her role as Lady of the West.
Read more about the ancient holiday here.
As always, a big thank-you goes out to Crescent Circle for participating, and especially to Trixie for letting us invade her backyard! We love you!
While the Egyptians had a more somber festival of the dead closer to our Halloween, the Feast of the Valley was a time to celebrate. They believed getting drunk and enjoying yourself brought you closer to the gods and the blessed dead. We didn't break out any alcohol at this gathering, but in the photo at left, Mike seems to be having a good time regardless...!
At right is the offering of natron salt and water for Hapy, one of the Four Sons of Horus who guarded the North. Of course, in the original Egyptian observances they didn't start with invocations to the Quarters or Four Directions; but this ceremony was adapted for our Wiccan friends. We wanted everyone to be able to take part and feel at home.
Smashing pottery was another way the Egyptians honored the dead. Here we used a plate with blue accents, to honor Hathor, as one of Her titles is the Lady of Turquoise. We passed the plate around, each person drawing an eye for the Eye of Horus on it...
And after saying an offering prayer, we smashed it to the ground! (Unfortunately, we didn't get a really good shot of that part.) By smashing it, rendering it useless in this world, we sent the plate and all of the thoughts and prayers with it to the realm of the dead.
After the closing prayer, we all went inside for a big potluck dinner. It's just not a proper Egyptian holiday without plenty food and merriment! And as much as people enjoyed this one, we'll hopefully be able to host more in the future. See you then!
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