Today was a Feast of Khnum.
This same day I volunteered to lead the local CUUPS Mabon sabbat ritual. In the spirit of sharing I decided that this year our thanksgiving sabbat would be merged with a Khnum celebration! The weather was so beautiful that we even had it outside. With table set with food, drink, and heka supplies we went to it. I will explain it in detail so that others can do it if they would like.
Before coming into the space every participant was cleansed using water that was poured through the loop of an ankh. Which is supposed to make the water pure (so I have read). Once purified the group made a circle around the altar and fire. We were outside and the fire was a nice treat, not part of ritual. When everyone was cleansed we started with a little general info about Khnum. Who he is and what he was known for. We talked about creativity, conception, and the inundation. From there I got to say the Great Hymn to Khnum. If you do not know it, it is below. The bolded parts were removed to make it more usable in a public pagan ritual. If you read it you will see why.
The hymn went over well and we went into making offerings. There was bread, cider, and honey to be given to Khnum. We took a moment to hail to Khnum before passing around bread and cider. One of us went about and gave each piece of bread a dab of honey. While people ate we shared what we were grateful for. We even found out that someone had just gotten pregnant. A good time to celebrate it.
After everyone ate it was time for heka. In a clay bowl I had placed small baked clay pieces. They are a finger’s width wide and about half an inch tall. Each one has a small hole through it to be able to string it. Before ritual I had put in these clay tablets and covered them in sand. I had then poured water over it to represent the inundation and the Nile silt. The bowl was on the altar through the thanksgiving, receiving Khnum’s attention. When everyone had finished eating and saying their gratitude I took up the bowl to walk it around the circle. Each person reached into the wet sand mix to pull a clay tablet out. This represented a blessing from the inundation and Khnum, who is associated with this time. Someone came around behind me with clean water and a towel to let the people clean off the sand. With the tablets in hand the people were asked to thinking of something that they wanted to build up this year. To create for themselves with the support of Khnum. Markers were passed around and each person drew or wrote something associated with this creation. The tablets were held and prayed over and then the ritual was over. Everyone broke rank to go and eat.
While not the most organized or ceremonial, it went well. Many people really liked the heka and the break from traditional sabbat ritual. It was lovely to be able to celebrate a god who is becoming dear to my heart.
THE GREAT HYMN TO KHNUM
from the Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt/Latopolis
*edited for public ritual
“God of the Potter’s Wheel,
Who settled the land by His handiwork,
Who joins in secret,
Who builds soundly,
Who nourishes the nestlings by the breath of His mouth;
Who drenches this land with Nun,
While the Round Sea and the Great Ocean surround Him.
He has fashioned Gods and human beings,
He has formed flocks and herds,
He made birds as well as fishes,
He created bulls, engendered cows,
He knotted the flow of blood to the bones,
Formed in His workshop as His handiwork,
So the breath of life is within everything,
Blood bound with semen in the bones,
To knit the bones from the start.
He makes women give birth when the womb is ready,
So as to open …. as he wishes;
He soothes suffering by His will,
Relieves throats, lets everyone breathe,
To give life to the young in the womb.
He made hair sprout and tresses grow,
Fastened the skin over the limbs;
He built the skull, formed the cheeks.
To furnish shape to the image.
He opened the eyes, hollowed the ears,
He made the body inhale air;
He formed the mouth for eating,
Made the throat for swallowing.
He also formed the tongue to speak,
The jaws to open, the gullet to drink,
The throat to swallow and spit.
The spine to give support,
The testicles to move,
The arm to act with vigor,
The rear to perform its task.
The gullet to devour,
Hands and their fingers to do their work,
The heart to lead,
The loins to support the phallus
In the act of begetting.
The frontal organs to consume things,
The rear to aerate the entrails,
Likewise to sit at ease,
And sustain the entrails at night.
The male member to beget,
The womb to conceive,
And increase generations in Egypt.
The bladder to make water,
The virile member to eject
When it swells between the thighs.
The shins to step,
The legs to tread,
Their bones doing their task,
By the will of His heart.”