It's been great meeting up with Kemetics from near and far, and different styles of practice! I was a bit bummed that there weren't more Kemetic presentations this year, but so far I've spoken to two people who had put in applications for Kemetic workshops which were denied- so perhaps the con staff feels that we've been a little over-represented of late. Still, there have been and will be three presentations from three different perspectives within the community.
On Saturday morning, Tamara Siuda gave a wonderful presentation on prayer from the Kemetic Orthodox tradition. This morning, Tony Mierzwicki gave a talk on Graeco-Egyptian magic which I was sadly unable to attend. I'm not at the convention today, but I have friends there who should be taking notes for me and I look forward to hearing from them. Tomorrow morning Richard Reidy will be giving a talk, as a Kemetic reconstructionist, on ancient Egyptian oracles and divination. I'd love to hear from anyone who went to any of these presentations- let's discuss!!!
However I must admit that the main reason I'm posting today is actually because I have had such uncommonly good luck in the vendor room this year. I have pictures to share!
First up are a couple of meteorites found at Campo del Cielo in Argentina! Iron- especially meteoric iron- is an important metal for Stkh!! Our temple group has an adze used for the Opening of the Mouth, and the tip of it is cast from meteoric iron. However, I actually picked these up for my roommate who was unable to come to the convention this year.
For myself, my first purchase was a pair of serpent wands. This is something for which I've been searching for years! Granted I don't really know how the wands were used, but I'm still researching leads on that- and anyway, I have an idea as to the symbolism invoked. I suspect it's quite similar to the way that some deities are shown grasping dangerous animals (like snakes) to show Their power over them. Perhaps the magician holds these in a similar way, either while identifying with a divine role or in order to invoke that kind of divine protection? There is definitely much to learn!!! But Robert Ritner's article at least seems to agree that the wands are protective in nature.
These are lovely examples. They're carved from ebony wood, which is nice not only because it makes for a fine looking work of art, but also because according to Robert Ritner's article on serpent wands the majority of the ones discovered have been made of wood- or gilded wood. Also, ebony is a wood which would have been available in the area, which is a nice touch. I bought two of them because I have seen drawings of magicians (or the god Hka) holding two serpents crossed over the chest. These are shorter than the ones usually depicted there (these are a little over a foot long), but they'll fit in my altar so I can keep them safe. I've also seen a delightful figurine- dating to about 1700 BCE- of a woman wearing a Beset mask (or perhaps it's Beset Herself!) and holding two serpent wands, those wands seem closer to these in size.
The next item I picked out was a sistrum, with Bast in cat form providing the handle. I've seen similar sistra before, on websites and in stores, but those particular ones just didn't have a very nice sound to them. They were way too tinny. This one is lovely- I think it may be because of the beads separating the pairs of tiny cymbals. I don't remember those beads in the others, and it's possible that spacing the disks apart in that way allows them to vibrate a little more so that the tone doesn't fall flat when they stack. The frame and bars of the upper part are made of copper- so I'm going to need to find some copper polish to keep it in good condition. My roommate's advising me to find some sort of sealant to keep it from corroding- I'm a little worried about discoloration or altering the resonance of the instrument, though. Anyone have any experience with this?
The last piece is possibly the one with which I am most pleased, though that's really a tough call. Flint seems to be the traditional material for ceremonial knives in ancient Egyptian magic (and embalming, but that's not really my area). I've been looking all over for someone willing to make a flint knife for me! Technically it really ought to be a single-sided blade, but with as many times as I've been laughed off by stone-workers when I asked if they've ever worked- or would ever be willing to work- on making a flint knife, I jumped on this one!
I was just walking down the line of ceremonial blade crafters and stone workers, as I do every year, asking the eternal question: "Do you have any flint knives? No? Do you? How about you?" when someone unexpectedly replied, "Yes- I have a couple right over here." I was so stunned I just stared at him for a moment, lol. Then I looked at the blades and my eyes fastened immediately on this gorgeous green flint, and the beautifully carved serpent handle... ah, bliss! Now I need something to execrate. (Just kidding!^_~)