The House of Netjer, a Kemetic Orthodox Temple

[PUBLIC] Kemetic Orthodoxy General Forums => [PUBLIC] All Things Egypt: Ancient & Modern History and Culture => Topic started by: Tarytenyinepu on March 22, 2018, 12:43:49 pm

Title: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Tarytenyinepu on March 22, 2018, 12:43:49 pm
Hello all. I've discovered that one of the reasons I [unfortunately] neglect my akhu shrine is that I'm seemingly afraid of death.  I know most people are afraid of dying, but I'm talking about being afraid of discussing death, dying, and the like. I imagine that must sound odd coming from the daughter of the Chief of the Embalming Tent, Yinepu.

Many of the members here who know me know that there have been a lot of sudden and unfortunate deaths in my family. I also had to face the possibility that my husband might die in surgery (he did not, thankfully, and has recovered). After all this, I've found the topic of death and losing someone almost panic inducing,  despite knowing that we all will one day travel West.

I've decided to read and meditate on the Book of Coming Forth by Day (book of the dead) in the hopes that it might make death a little less terrifying. I plan on writing out a section, then writing a journal piece on it. My question for you all on this: in my writing/journaling, would it be appropriate to change the text to modernize it since I'm contemplating my own this on death, or would it be more appropriate to read it in its absolute original context? Thanks!

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Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Sedjfaiemitui on March 22, 2018, 02:54:57 pm
Em hotep nefer, Taryt! <3

It's definitely important to read funerary texts with a mind toward their historical context.

A lot of the chapters deal with making it past specific demons, and with the blessing of essential amulets applied during the latter stages of the mummification process (i.e., during the bandaging of the pre-treated corpse of the individual). These chapters aren't about how to mourn, or how to come to terms with "going Westing." Rather, they're about "how to get to Paradise with one's spirit not simply intact, but magnified and justified in the presence of the Netjeru."

Wisdom texts and the "harpists' songs" genre of literature deal a lot more -- and a lot more directly -- with the prospect of "going Westing" and what we should do with our time on Earth before that happens than the Pyramid Texts, Coffin Texts, Books of the Dead, and the Books of the Sky and Books of the Earth, etc., do.

I hope this helps!

Senebty,
Sedjfai
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Sedjfaiemitui on March 22, 2018, 03:01:32 pm
Addendum: Mesopotamian wisdom literature has been IMMENSELY helpful for me in terms of how to intellectively process mortality. It's obviously not Egyptian, but the worldviews between those cultures are highly similar in many regards, and in any case, the epics and wisdom texts have many valuable things to say. You may wish to look at Mesopotamian literature for something more substantive on the issue (including the Gilgameš Epic -- that one deals a lot with mortality. The Epic of Erra and Išum also deals with mortality, namely death tied to war and disease).
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Tatuayinepu on March 22, 2018, 03:26:51 pm
Thank you for sharing this!

Senebty,

AKS
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Padememheru on March 22, 2018, 07:18:09 pm
I just wanted to add here, that I don't think it's weird at all that this topic makes you afraid.  Just because your Yinepu's daughter, that doesn't make you infallible to the fear of death.  It's human nature to be afraid of death and discussing death in general.  And I imagine Yinepu understands that.
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Taji on March 27, 2018, 05:48:02 pm
Death is scary af.  I hate it.
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Tawa'ubastmut on March 27, 2018, 06:29:22 pm
Death is scary af.  I hate it.

It terrifies me every day. It's because I'm afraid for those I leave behind and I don't want to hurt them. I fear losing my parents all the time.

Yikes I'm teary-eyed.
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Riley.rifle on March 27, 2018, 11:18:39 pm
Death is scary af.  I hate it.

I have never agreed with anything so quickly and so completely in my life.
Title: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Iwaat on March 28, 2018, 01:12:39 am
It terrifies me every day. It's because I'm afraid for those I leave behind and I don't want to hurt them. I fear losing my parents all the time.

Yikes I'm teary-eyed.


 This is a huge part of what scares me too.
I worry about my loved ones. Plus the idea of just being...gone absolutely terrifies me.






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Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Senuwierneheh on March 28, 2018, 08:58:53 am
Death is scary af.  I hate it.

It terrifies me every day.

Death scares me, too.  This is when I remember the old prayer to Set, as found in TeVelde's _Seth, God of Confusion_:

""Hail to you, O Seth, son of Nut, the great of strength in the barque of millions,
felling the enemy, the snake, at the prow of the barque of Re, great of battle-cry,
may you give me a good lifetime . . ." 2)."

(Page 99, quoting 2) Four Hundred Years-stela. Cf. K. Sethe, Der Denkstein mit dem Datum des Jahres
400 der Ära von Tanis, ZÄS 65 (1930))

Oh, Set, great of strength, who protects Ra, I thank you for the years you have already given me.  Protect me, that I live long to sing your praises!

(Meanwhile, I'm grateful I've made it this far.  May the DNA of my long-lived paternal grandmother come to the fore, as well! (Blessings to the Ka of Esther!))

Senebty, all!
Neheh...
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Tamiwi on March 28, 2018, 10:01:48 am
Em Hotep,

I often contemplate about Death during my shrine time. It could be because of my connection to my Akhu, or the moments I have witnessed it for myself both with my pets and with my family; having been there both within their final moments. It could be because my shrine is dedicated to the night-time journey of Ra through the Duat, where he vanquishes the serpent to bring renewal to a new day. Whatever the reason, I often have talks with Them about death, and I find it proper to share a message from Ra I received in 2010 during one of my meditations with Them about it.

"All of us deserve a little of the Gods in us (immortality), to see [Netjer] in the everday. None of us should concern ourselves with death. You will have your light-land, at the proper time."

Bast-Ra is not a soft speaker. They are blunt, candid, but kind. We have Netjer within us through the promise of the Field of Rushes, and they want us to focus on the life they have created for us; and be comforted by the knowledge that there is a place for us in the next life, just as they have created a place for us in this life. There are more passages I can share that have given me comfort, though they are not personal messages. Many of them I have written including my Akhu's names as prayer under a piece of paper that has their full name.

"May [Your Akhu] see [God] when they go forth, when the waterways are made for the bark of Ra. To their fields that lie in the Reeds, as they surge through them in peace."

"I am a star which illumines the sky, I mount up to [God] that I may be protected, For the sky will not be devoid of me, and this earth will not be devoid of me forever."

"May you rise up like the Bennu bird, may you go out in any form you wish; living forever among the stars."

"You have contented your [Gods] with their wishes, May they rescue you, may they protect you, may they grant you peace everlasting."

"Your Ba and your Ka are united, you rest in peace, you are in peace, Your form knows no bounds, living eternally as [my Akhu]"
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: A'Aqytsekhmet on March 28, 2018, 12:22:23 pm
I have been debating with myself on if I should contribute to this conversation. Mainly because I am not sure how easy it is to relate to my opinion or how comforting it is.

Some background: My mom has been an administrator for Hospice and those types of health care and end of life care programs since I was a child. She tells me that she took me to visit patients when i was an baby. So the culture of death and dying is one that I grew up experiencing. Because part of that culture is 'release' or 'letting go' I found that an easier concept than most to integrate into my life as I progressed. Looking back now I can easily see that evolution of personality.

I married a man that fears death. And that fear sometimes paralyzes him. It baffles me to no end. It just does not register in my head to fear something so much that it stops you from living. So that is where I start this reflection from. A lack of comprehension about how crippling the fear of death or risk of it can be. In times of frustration he points out some of the behaviors I have taken that seem really risky to him. Like flying to Portland to be around strangers for a week. That one baffles him, so we are about even there.

I think the thing that really gets me stumped however isn't the fact that fear cripples a person from acting, but the thought that 'what has changed?' Death has always been there. I was reflecting at Christmas time in a busy mall thinking, 'Wow, every person in the world was brought here through the body and process of birth in one way or another.' That is a pretty immense thing and something we don't really think about, it gets glazed over. In the same breath we can reflect that everyone of those people will pass in the same way. The variation differs, but the same effect occurs. Both of these are universal. Then, what has changed now (or maybe for some it was only a few months, or a few years ago) to make death suddenly special?

For me, it was falling in love with my husband and marrying him. That was when I was afraid to die. To leave him. So I guess I do understand a bit about that fear. My mind kept returning to the fears of me dying and then what? It kept circling back to it, 'what would happen after I passed away?' And I found myself answering. My husband would potentially find someone else. My fear of death wasn't about being dead, it was a fear of being forgotten or replaced by the person I loved most. I hated how my mind circled this thought, it haunted me, so I took it a step further.
'Can I accept that?' Yes. Because if i had died then, he would have no one and I needed him to have someone. It took awhile to really accept and make peace with it.  This is a very vulnerable topic but I thought it was important to illustrate. Your fear of death may have nothing to do with death. Its just the biggest, easiest thing to blame.

What comforts me is this...granted it might not comfort everyone.
Your first breath in this world is a beautiful gift. Your last breath can be too. The world does not allow itself to stop for us. There will be another full moon, another spring time, another rainstorm. There will be flowers and there will be snow. And there will be time for people to heal, to accept, and to live. The tides will ebb and flow, even if no one is there to watch them. And there will remain love.

Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Sobeqsenu on March 28, 2018, 12:29:04 pm
Those are absolutely beautiful passages, Tamiwi. Thank you for sharing them!

Death is something that frightens me regularly. I struggle with what my therapist described as "existential terror" - occasionally my mind will try to wrap itself around what it would feel like to be dead, and it frightens me so badly I get cold sweats and start shaking.

I've actually asked the gods about it in Saq, too. Sekhmet offered me comfort during Her healing ceremony: She said something to the effect of "Those who love life the most are the ones who are most afraid to leave it."

There was a private Saq-Nit for those attending Paganicon recently, and I asked Nit for help as well. She offered this: "You do not change shape, only location."

I am glad we are having this conversation. It's comforting to know that others struggle with the same fear too, even if we don't talk about it all the time.
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Taji on March 28, 2018, 01:37:34 pm
Yeah. Some really powerful thoughts here. 

I fear and hate death.  I have regrets.  I hate getting older.  I hate the wrinkles, the failing vision.  All of it. I hate that I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot.  I won’t have kids.  That’s pretty much a given now.  And I also hate how my feelings about getting older and having missed out on stuff cause me to miss out on stuff.

I will lose everyone I love.  Or they will lose me.  Non negotiable. I hate that too.  I’ve cried about it and then told myself I’m being ridiculous.  A lot of the things I’d hope to have experienced, I probably won’t.  Or at least not the way I wanted to.  The kids.  Will I ever live in a warm place by the beach?  And if I do, will I be too old to really take advantage of it?  I find myself resenting my job for the way it takes up my valuable time with [censored].

The only answer I’ve come to is that the moment is all we have.  And we have to seize it.  But how do we do that when the loved ones we want to seize it with aren’t on that page with you?  When you have to go work every day doing something you don’t love to keep a roof over your head, food on the table, and fund the stuff that does bring you joy?

It’s not [censored] fair.  I’m angry about it.  I’m sad about it.  And I find my feeling this way to be a ridiculous waste of time.
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Yinepuemsaes on March 28, 2018, 04:59:27 pm
I just wanted to add here, that I don't think it's weird at all that this topic makes you afraid.  Just because your Yinepu's daughter, that doesn't make you infallible to the fear of death.  It's human nature to be afraid of death and discussing death in general.  And I imagine Yinepu understands that.

Exactly.

Given my own (probably unique) situation, I do not fear death nearly as much as I do getting old, sick, and frail, or developing dementia.  (My "situation" is that I have been having a recurring dream since before I started kindergarten, a dream that repeats exactly every time, and ends with me being taken out to the middle of nowhere and murdered.  I've had several psychics confirm that it is a past life memory.  So even though the dream itself isn't pleasant, at least I knew even as a child that the spirit survives death.)
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Sauyinepu on March 29, 2018, 07:56:37 pm
Em Hotep

*Henu*


I am a son of Yinepu too
I have never been very scared of death, I almost went to the health studies and I anatomize corpses of animals and humans.

But last year I was invited to a shamanic ritual with ayuaska, it was very intense, and a little traumatic, my faith in life after death suffered was put in check.

I cried for several days, I collected my tears in a chalice and offered to Yinepu, even questioning their sacred duty (caring for the dead).

Actually reading and studying funeral rites, in this period, helped me heal, it was not immediate, I continued to question the need to perform them since to my mind the person no longer existed, but I caught myself admiring the beauty of the rites, and after a while my faith was restored.

I hope my story brings you some comfort or an aid.

Senebty and Hope
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Sehedjef on April 03, 2018, 10:05:32 am

<snip>
I will lose everyone I love.  Or they will lose me.  Non negotiable. I hate that too.  I’ve cried about it and then told myself I’m being ridiculous. 

Fear isn't ridiculous.  There is also something to think about that may help with the fear you note above.  You won't loose those you love and they won't loose you.  Yes, your relationship will change as you will be on the other side of the veil, but you will still be able to see them, and communicate with them.  While we don't know what's beyond (its meant to be a mystery to us in this life), not one akh who has addressed that question has responded with fear or terror or complained that it really sucks over there.  ^_^  They'll all tell you that they're OK and not to worry.

The unknown is frightening as we can't prepare for it, can't plan or run through scenarios for what to do or how to respond.  Death is the biggest unknown and all we can see of it is the physical remains when someone passes.  Netjer encourages us to focus on this life as our life in the next world will take care of itself when the time comes.  In addition if we spend a significant portion of our time thinking about our life to come in the Duat, we aren't living this one.  ^_^

Please note I am not taking your fear lightly, fear can be crippling if we let it.  If it helps you can reach out to Nebt-het, Hethert, Tasenetnofret or Yinepu, or Wesir if you prefer regarding the fear.  While They won't tell you what is to come, They can help you face the fear.  ^_^

Senebty,
Imti
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Taji on April 03, 2018, 11:01:34 am
Usually when I pray, I get crickets.  I can reach out, but if I get silence back it’s not terribly helpful.  I’ve asked for Akhu to visit in dreams.  Like not vague Akhu.  People I actually knew.  They don’t. So no, I can’t talk to Akhu and have them tell me it’s nothing to worry about because they don’t say anything. 

I find it frustrating when people who get the spiritual bells and whistles without much effort tell me to reach out and things will be better.  No offense to you, Imti.  It was kindly meant and accepted in that spirit.  I’m just not wired, seemingly, for that kind of connection.  And trying it and getting nothing or having people tell me to do it tends to make me feel worse.  :(

I don’t feel badly in the moment, I feel I should say.  I’m fine.

Honestly the only Spirit who ever offered that kind of consistent connection was the Mexican folk saint, Santa Muerte*.  A spirit who, while loving, provokes terror in every interaction.  And one who demands a vow of lifetime service from her devotees and kills them if they change their minds or otherwise fail her.  I passed on that.  Thanks, but no thanks.

I’m trying to be more consistent in meditation. And I agree that now is all we have.  And all we may ever have.  Better not to waste it in fear. Like I think I have the opposite response to A’aqyt’s husband.  Fear of death doesn’t make me want to hide where it’s safe.  It makes me want to do all the things.  And then I get frustrated when stuff gets in the way of that. 

Senebty,

Taji

*In a Dream, she did threaten to carry me off to “Heaven” one time.  What I did take from that terrifying experience was, “Huh.  Well, it’s nice to know that there is one.”

**There’s something about Aztec gods and Aztec flavored spirits and killing people that is just all kinds of nope.
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Taji on April 03, 2018, 11:40:25 am
If I’m really thinking about it, I honestly think the reason I don’t get bells and whistles is because they’d be too distracting. I’d spend this life in the Duat and that’s not what we’re here for.

My Mother is a goddess of Life and of Joy.  The certainty of death makes those things sweeter and more present.  Dwelling on death or even giving it too much attention is counter productive. 

It’s just hard finding balance sometimes.
Title: Re: Meditation on death and the Book of Going Forth By Day
Post by: Djedetmiwesir on April 04, 2018, 01:57:06 pm
Em hotep!

I am a person who is more afraid of the act of dying (particularly if it is a death where my mind goes first) and leaving some dependent family members behind than actual death itself.  I'm lucky in this respect that Wesir is my Father.  The idea of leaving this world and going to His kingdom comforts me.  There is a prayer from the coffin texts (330) that also gives me some comfort.

Whether I live or die I am osiris
I enter In and reapperar through you,
I decay in you, I grow in you,
I fall down in you, I fall upon my side.
The gods are living in me for I live and grow in the corn
That sustains the honored ones.
I cover the earth
Whether I live or die, I am barley
I am not destroyed
I have entered the Order
I rely upon the order
I become master of the Order
I make my Form distinct
I am the Lord of the Chennet
I have entered into the order
I have reached it’s limits…

And the beauty of it, is we all become a Wesir.  His endurance and everlastingness is our own when the time comes.

That said, I think (your mileage may vary) that what scares us about death, other than the separations from our loved ones, physically, is that it is the mother of all change, and it is a change that is irreversible. So those of you who fear death, be kind to yourselves in that fear.

Senebty
Djedet