New Blog, New Store, New Website Look

First I’d like to thank all of you for your fierce support of my work since the launch of Icons of Kemet in 2011. You’ve helped me grow and to serve the Gods better, you’ve championed my brand and have stood by the values my work embodies and promotes. It’s because of supporters like you that I am able to continue my sacred service.

This week I launched a brand new blog and revamped website at, which I hope will do much better in communicating my work to all of you who are interested in sharing my journey with me. The new blog at is being evolved into an online archive of all my writing, prayers, and a portfolio of my icons in progress. This will include all material from my previous Icons of Kemet blogs, so that this material remains live for everyone to explore. Please subscribe and share my new blog as widely as possible. In a few weeks time I will be removing this WordPress blog. My new blog will be the only Icons of Kemet blog.

I have also launched a new online store at where we are offering museum quality framed prints, prints, tapestries, apparel, and home goods featuring all of my icons. I invite everyone to join me at the new store, and share it with all of your friends.

Once again, I want to thank all of you for your continued support and friendship. Let’s keep on serving our Gods together.

Yours in the Gods,

Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

Opening Up the Year: Thoughts For Wep-Ronpet


The sky is clear, Sopdet lives!
She comes clad in Her brilliance!
Radiantly, above Her Father’s forehead, the Golden One rises;
Her Mysterious Form occupies the bow of His solar boat.
Her light unites with the light of the brilliant Netjer,
On the beautiful day of the birth of the Sun Disk!
This New year’s Feast, Wep Ronpet!

– Adapted from the Dendera texts (Wisner 2004)

For Kemetics everywhere, this time of year brings Wep Ronpet, the “Opening of the Year” or New Year’s Day. We begin again, returning to what we call Zep Tepi, the “First Time”, “First Occasion”, which brings us back to alignment with the state of creation as it was when the Gods first handed it down to the human race. We have the opportunity to purify, renew, and begin again.

This past year has been a very difficult time for me, but has also been charged with powerful moments of insight, when my life and sacred work were brought into sharp, crystal clear focus. Where am I meant to be? Where is my work leading me? How can I get to the place I want to be? Most important of all, how do I give my Gods what They want? How can I be more pious and refine my level of service?

I get the impression sometimes that other Kemetics and polytheists see me as a spiritual armadillo, as some kind of pious freight train that never doubts or has moments of crisis in my walks with the Gods. If only! I am constantly second-guessing my devotion and my ability to serve my Gods with the piety They deserve. I have a galaxy of faults, and some very large road blocks that make me question how I can be of service to my Gods, and why I should try. I go through the same doubts as any individual struggling to be closer to their gods and worthy of the gifts the Gods give us. The tasks my Gods have given me seem to far outweigh my abilities and gifts.

But my life is geared towards sacred service, and I am deeply in love with my Gods. “You can’t love the Gods!”, I hear some people say. “Gods and humans don’t mix!” I know, I know, my ears have heard that a thousand times; but you know what? My heart just can’t hear those sentiments; neither can my Gods. The Gods have an amazing ability to reach Their devotees in the ways that will tug on their heart strings. Our Gods find the colors and textures, scents and sights that make us go “Wow!”, and then, when They have our attention, They pour Themselves into us. No matter how inadequate I feel in my service to Them, no matter how inadequate I sometimes feel as a priest, I get up in the morning and get on with my service, because I would rather serve the Gods I love than be a rock star or a millionaire. I’m THAT hopelessly in love with Them.

This year is a year to fulfill my vows to my Gods, and in particular the vows I made to Lord Ptah to renew His sacred guild so that the creation and awakening of holy images can continue for generations. This past year I have been working very hard in my research into the available historical record concerning the ritual protocols for divine images in ancient Egypt, which has included gathering hundreds (maybe thousands at this point?) of hieroglyphic texts for study and eventual translation by me. In this work I have been directed to those with ultra specialized knowledge and access, who also have special relationships with the Netjeru, so that I can refine my ritual program for my mission as a Kemetic iconographer, and fulfil my vow to restore the royal guild of the Temple of Ptah.

I could not have gotten this far without the help of so many fellow Kemetics and peers, and foremost of these is Rev. Tamara Siuda, who has been so very generous to me with her time and resources, and her spiritual guidance and insights. I realized quite a while ago that I would be unable to fulfil my vows without the help and fellowship of other Kemetics, who could also provide a great deal of strength as I move ahead in my spiritual journey.

The Royal Hemuwt Guild will be the fulfilment of my vows to my Netjer, which will be (with the blessings of Netjer) a group of specialized craftsmen, iconographers and priests/ priestesses, who will be trained in the creation and ritual awakening of cult images through the methods I have developed in harmony with ancient standards and practices. These sacred craftspeople will work closely with me in serving the Netjeru of Kemet by implementing the traditional ritual forms, prayers, liturgies, offerings and practices through which two and three dimensional divine images become living cult images.

Following this, it is equally a priority that members of the Royal Hemuwt Guild will be engaged in active daily service of the Gods by way of the Guild Shrine and their own sacred spaces. In these ways, the Royal Hemuwt Guild of the Temple of Ptah will be continuing the work of the Gods according to the rites and cultic traditions established in ancient times. It goes without saying that the Guild will operate on the premise of devotional polytheism, i.e., that the Gods are individual deities with Their own unique forms, identities, and spheres of influence, and are worthy of our worship and service.

Something I feel very strongly- after the past year or two of struggle- is that Kemetics need to consider the benefits of cooperation and inter-temple fellowship in the work we are striving to do for our Netjeru. Sharing and coming to the aid of other Kemetics does not mean we need compromise our own way of experiencing our Gods and what it means to live Kemeticism today. It does not mean we cannot agree to disagree on areas of research or scholarship, or that we waver in our own unique relationships with our Gods. Cooperation and inter-temple fellowship should be about building bridges between people who ultimately (despite differences in theological views or approaches to scholarship/ reconstruction, etc) are serving the same Gods; and if our Gods are the priority, if service to Them is truly our motivation, then we should be ready and willing to offer a helping hand, or to receive one, from our sisters and brothers in Netjer.

I know a lot of Kemetics from different walks of life and spiritual paths. I know Kemetic Wiccans, Kemetic Witches, New Age Kemetics, and Western Occult Kemetics. I known Kemetic Reconstructionists and Kemetic Orthodox. I know Kemetics who are solitary and Kemetics who belong to very mixed groups where many paths are represented together. My own view is that the most vital part of Kemeticism is that the Netjeru are being served, that the Gods are getting what They ask for, and that Ma’at is being accomplished. How individual devotees or groups go about this service will quite naturally be different, because people are different, and people experience the Gods differently. But at its core, Kemeticism is about honoring the Gods and maintaining Ma’at, and I know that I want to do my part in helping these goals be fulfilled every day, and for me this also means helping others and learning from others who are striving to serve the same Gods I love.

Because I love my Gods, I want to give my Gods the things They ask for. Obviously, I can’t give My Gods EVERYTHING, but then there are a lot of souls out there who are called to sacred service by the Netjeru, and I can help them to serve the Gods, too. Every time I help another Kemetic, every time I answer a question, send a prayer, or send research that fulfils an area of inquiry, I am serving my Gods by helping those who are serving Them, and THAT pleases the Gods. From where I’m sitting, pleasing the Netjeru is what makes Kemeticism what it is. Our Gods give us life, and in return we give back our life’s service to Them.

What I want from myself this next year is to see my service to my Gods expanded and enriched through fellowship with other Kemetics and inter-temple cooperation. I want the work I do as a Kemetic iconographer to touch the lives of other Kemetics in a way that helps them feel closer to their Gods. If I can inspire others with the living presences of the living Gods, then I will be fulfilling my vows to be the hands and feet of the Netjeru in this world They have given us.

Bringing the Shields of the Lords of Valor: A Journey in the Mysteries of Religious Engagement Comes to an End

Triptych Retouched Photo

The Lords of Valor Triptych– An Original Triptych of Kemetic Icons By Master Iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa / semi-precious genuine mineral pigments, semi-precious & precious stones, Austrian crystals, 22 kt gold, 23 kt gold, platinum on museum conservation panels, 5″ x “7


“Manifests the terror of Sutekh
in His Shield-image of sacred power!
I bring Your testicles O Sutekh
the Lord of Might and Great of Strength!

You have Your power O Set!
You ejaculate O Suty!
Your penis rises like the Cobra Goddess;
You tear the sky,
Your right arm is raised,
You traverse the sky as its Lord.

Manifests the terror of Sutekh
in His Shield-image of sacred power!
I bring Your testicles O Sutekh
the Lord of Might and Great of Strength!

You traverse the sky as its Lord,
the Great Green churns for You,
the desert rejoices for You;
its breath comes upon the storm for You,
Your arrows shoot straight
like the light-beams of Ra,
bringing down the rebel serpent
and exorcising Your enemies!

Manifests the terror of Sutekh
in His Shield-image of sacred power!
I bring Your testicles O Sutekh
the Lord of Might and Great of Strength!

For fear of Sutekh Who overlords the Red Land
the earth opens!
For fear of Sutekh Who overlords the sky
the sky opens!
For fear of Sutekh the Chosen One of Ra
the enemies of Ra fall!
For fear of Sutekh the Son of Geb
the mountains shake!
For fear of Sutekh the Son of Nut
the northern sky is cleaved!”

– Excerpt from The Rite of Bringing the Shields of the Lords of Valor in The Book of the Guild by Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa


Well over a year ago I entered into a period of intense initiation into the Mysteries of the Lords of Valor Triptych. I had just finished a nine month run with “Anpu Lord of the Sacred Land”, an icon demanding my highest level of skill as a craftsman, and a work emblematic of all that I had learned of my vocation up to that point. My intention had been to move on to the next and final panel of the Sacred West Triptych, but the Gods let me know- on no uncertain terms- that They had set a new and unlooked-for challenge for me that would alter the course of my work and life as a devotional polytheist.

The work I do as a Kemetic iconographer might seem at first glance to be strictly limited to the realm of cult and ritual, prayer and devotion, without being connected to the outer world of the human condition, to its evolution, needs, and catastrophes; and it may appear that my work is being created in a vacuum in which the profane and secular have no vital role to play; but this would be a quite mistaken view. For more than four-thousand years, the tradition to which I belong maintained the sacred craft of cult images as a means of engaging its Gods (the Netjeru) directly, and, through such continuous and intimate engagement, to perpetuate the human condition, and creation as a whole, by way of a co-creative relationship between Gods and humankind. The crux of life for the ancient Egyptians was the reality that creation was a continuous process in which both divine and human conditions played vital roles; neither being removed or exempt in any way from the fragile maintenance of creation as a living machine and process.

The Egyptians answered their part in this delicate system through the development of cultic actions (iri khet, iru) whose intention was to work directly with the Gods through Whom the processes of creation were manifest. Such actions were conducted in the temples, the Houses or Mansions of the Netjeru, where cult (iri khet) acted as the vital dialogue between the sacred and profane realms, and was experienced as the pulsing and living thread of divine power essential to the existence of all created things.

Cult in ancient Egypt was never empty or token worship, nor was it a religious system of slavish enactment of traditions solely for their own sake. Cult was dynamic action flowing from- and ultimately flowing back to- the Gods Themselves; it was a system of repeating (wehem) the actions of the Gods as these actions had been and were performed in the sacred time of mythic cycles, and then- via cultic actions mirroring the activities of the Gods- linking the earthly, profane time directly to this sacred time. The benefit of all cultic activity was that human beings and their communities could share in the life and dynamic expansion of the Gods, Who perpetuated creation through direct engagement with it and in it. The Netjeru (or Gods) are not removed from the mundane or terrestrial, nor are They distant Gods merely judging or punishing human beings for their actions. The Gods are as present and active as we are in the world They have created and continue to create, and it is a world whose very existence is a primary concern of the Gods, together with the wider components of creation entire.

At the center of cult in the Kemetic (Ancient Egyptian) experience is the vehicle of the cult image, which not only symbolizes the living power of the Netjer (or Deity) resident in the temple, but actually houses and contains a portion of that deity’s spiritual anatomy. The cult image itself becomes a piece of the deity’s body, an earthly manifestation of the larger numinous makeup of the divine presence. It is by way of such precious images that the terrestrial and mortal world comes face to face with- and interacts with- the dynamic spiritual reality of the living Gods. Cult images provide an immediate and direct access point to the realm of the sacred and to the Gods inhabiting that realm, together with serving as receptive vehicles for the cultic exchange of offerings (hotepuwt) and boons (hotepu) that embodies the Kemetic experience of religious life.


Aegis of Sutekh

The “Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength” / Panel #2 of the Lords of Valor Triptych~ An original Kemetic icon by Master Iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa / Extra fine watercolor, acrylic, precious metal, semi-precious stones on 5″ x 7″ museum conservation panel / Genuine mineral pigments used as watercolor:  lapis lazuli (sourced from Chile), amethyst (Soladad, Brazil), bloodstone (Alaska, USA), jadeite (Alaska, USA), piemontite (Alaska, USA), rhodonite (Bellahorizonte, Brazil), red fuchsite (Brazil), garnet (Brazil), hematite (Utah, USA) / 22kt yellow gold, 23kt rose gold, platinum / Cabochon gemstones:  fire opals (Mexico) & carnelian / Austrian lead crystal elements by Swarovski®


The Lords of Valor Triptych is the first “family” of Gods comprising the Aegis Series of icons I have been compelled to create. These aegis-shields form part of an arsenal of spiritual technology whose aim is to engage specific Netjeru in the work of defending, healing, and empowering the human condition, and in particular the human family committed to the service of the Netjeru in the current age. This work acts like a magnet to the spiritual bodies of the Gods, attracting Them to focus Their powers into objects that magnify and expand the presences of the Divine in the material world. As the focal point of the Daily Cult, offerings, and pilgrimage to sacred sites recognized throughout the natural world, the aegis-shields are *generators* fueling and enabling the work of the Kemetic community to push the constructive process of sacred creation forward. Such a process is a co-creative and interdependent endeavor taken up by Gods and humankind together, and the Aegis Series of icons are holy tools aiding the divine-human struggle in the accomplishment of cosmic justice or Ma’at.

My work began with the Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu, a cult image embodying the apogee of the strange and tempestuous relationship between the Gods Heru (Gr. Horus) and Set, Whose icons flank that of Djehuty (Gr. Thoth) in the triptych. In one of the more bizarre moments of the famous dynastic conflict between Heru and Set, the God Set is tricked into eating lettuce glazed with the semen of Heru, which is later- during one of the assemblies of the Gods to place judgment on the matter of this raging family quarrel- called forth from the forehead of Set as a manifestation of the lunar disk worn by the God Djehuty.(1) It may thus be said, in a manner of speaking, that the God Djehuty is the son of the God Heru via the body of Set.



Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu“:  an original Kemetic icon by master iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa / panel one of the Lords of Valor Triptych / natural semi-precious mineral watercolor, acrylic, semi-precious stone, Austrian lead crystal, 22 karat yellow gold, 23 karat red gold, platinum on 5″ x 7” archival wood and clay panel.
Natural mineral pigments used as watercolor:  lapis lazuli, amethyst, malachite, jadeite, garnet, red fuchsite, piemontite


But there is much more going on in these myth cycles than trickery or sexual dominance; the Gods Heru and Set are establishing the foundations of sacred kingship on earth and within the hierarchy of the Gods, and, by extension, over the fragile cosmic order through which creation is expanded and maintained. The emergence of the lunar disk from the forehead of Set (which appears from the force of Heru’s semen digested by Set) heralds the healing of the Wedjat Eye of the God Heru after its blinding or wounding by the anger of Set. It is the God Djehuty as Master of the lunar disk Who restores the fullness and potency of the Wedjat Eye as the incarnation of the Full Moon; thus the epithets of Djehuty appearing on the right side of the Aegis of Djehuty which declare Him as the One Who “brings the Wedjat Eye”.














The restoration of the Wedjat Eye by way of the wisdom of Djehuty is one of the principle themes expressed by the Aegis of Djehuty. Crowning the head of the Deity is the lunar disk, seen in both Full and Waxing aspects, in the center of which resides the God Djehuty in His form of the “dog-headed” baboon (Papio Cynocephalus). Here the God performs the act of offering back the completely healed or “Wedjat ” Eye after its period of injury or bleariness. In this instance the Wedjat Eye embodies not only the sight and potency of the God Heru as Lord of Justice, but also, and on an even greater cosmic scale, the wholeness (wedja, uwdja) of creation as a perfect manifestation of the Divine; a creation in alignment with the cosmic justice of Ma’at. It is Djehuty, the representative of the cosmic order, Who establishes (or reestablishes) the sound (uwdja) working of creation after periods of chaotic instability; it is He Who brings together the disparate forces of creation, weaving them together as the fabric of cosmic stability. Within the iconography spelled out by The Lords of Valor Triptych is the culmination of that cosmic disturbance caused by the conflict of the two Gods Heru and Set; that these “Two Combatants” are reconciled one with the other according to the fullness of Djehuty’s wisdom, and that They become the sovereigns over the two halves of creation.

When all three panels of The Lords of Valor Triptych are viewed together, one will notice that the Wedjat Eye at the bottom right of Djehuty’s epithets faces the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength. The intention here is at once cultic and magical; for it is the God Djehuty, Bringer of the Wedjat Eye, Who takes the injured Eye in His hands and restores It to Its fullness. This is the Eye Whose sight is diminished by the God Set (or Sutekh) during His great conflict with Heru, Who severs the testicles of Set in recompense. But the Wedjat Eye is the healed Eye of Heru, embodying the reconciliation of aspects and the wholeness of creation, and this wholeness embraces the wounds inflicted by the Two Combatants upon one another, and grants healing to them as part of the cosmic justice that is Ma’at ; the Eye of Heru is restored to Heru while the testicles of Sutekh are restored to Sutekh. The magic of the restored Eye of Heru (offered up by the God Djehuty) is enough to pacify the anger of Sutekh and channel His tempestuous actions into the struggle for cosmic harmony.


Triptych Retouched Photo


On Full Moon night (tep semdet) May 10, 2017 the Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu was taken on pilgrimage to the Bonneville Salt Flats in the northwestern Utah desert to receive the first in a series of sanctification rites. One of these is called the Khnem-Iah or “Union With the Moon”, during which the cult image is placed in the open air where it will receive full exposure to lunar (and stellar) light, and will thus absorb the vitality of the heavenly body. This rite is especially significant to the God Djehuty, Whose primary manifestation is that of the moon, also known as the “silver Aten”. It was during this rite that the Aegis of Djehuty was handed over to the possession of the God as a vehicle of the Netjer’s protection and healing. This image of Djehuty is a manifestation of the God not solely as scribe of the Gods, creator of language, and divine patron of all knowledge, but more unusually as the wrathful defender of cosmic justice (Ma’at) and healer of wrongs, the Divine Judge Who arbitrates between what is just and what is unjust. Here is Djehuty as the ultimate source of law and order, the One Who metes out punishment and reward, and the One Whose hands heal what has been wrongfully torn asunder.

“Manifests the justice of Djehuty
in His Shield-image of sacred power!
He Who brings the Wedjat Eye
the Thrice-Great Lord of Eight-Town!

You have Your justice O Djehuty!
You accomplish what the Nine Gods desire.
You bring back the distant Eye,
Giving sight to the bleary-eyed One,
Making whole the shining power of Ra!
You are the Silver Aten, the Moon of dazzling radiance,
the Maker of the Balance
Who exterminates the enemies of the great Wedjat Eye!

Manifests the justice of Djehuty
in His Shield-image of sacred power!
He Who brings the Wedjat Eye
the Thrice-Great Lord of Eight-Town!

You are great in power and great in strength,
the Lord Who establishes Ma’at and is great in fear
in every land.
You are the Messenger astute in speech
before all the Gods,
the Clean One Whose purity increases truth
and knows the mysteries of every heart.
You are the seer of all hearts,
the Master of every mystery,
the One foremost in the balance
Whose knowledge foretells the message
of the Scales of Truth!

Manifests the justice of Djehuty
in His Shield-image of sacred power!
He Who brings the Wedjat Eye
the Thrice-Great Lord of Eight-Town!

For love of Djehuty Who is clean of hands
the ills of the heart are washed!
For love of Djehuty Who increases His form
the radiance of the Moon increases!
For love of Djehuty Who is Great in Magic
the wounds of the Wedjat Eye are healed!
For love of Djehuty Who is Mighty in Words
the speech of the Netjeru is faultlessly heard!
For love of Djehuty Who is Judge of Truth
the truth of the heart is faultlessly declared!
For love of Djehuty Who is most excellent in counsel
the whispering of falsehood is silenced in the heart!
For love of Djehuty Who repels all that is evil
the enemies of Truth are fettered by their tongues!
For love of Djehuty Who knows all the secrets of heaven
the earth bows before its Lord and Truth before its Maker!

Manifests the justice of Djehuty
in His Shield-image of sacred power!
He Who brings the Wedjat Eye
the Thrice-Great Lord of Eight-Town!”

– Excerpt from The Rite of Bringing the Shields of the Lords of Valor in The Book of the Guild by Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa


The wind howls in the desert of northwestern Utah where our places of pilgrimage wait for us beneath dazzling azure sky and dominant amber peaks. We make a trek through winding desert roads to reach the holy site we have named Merit-Sager’s Womb, a place of deafening silence broken only by the trill of birds or chirping of crickets. This desert land was the birth place of the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength, where the Red One made His appearance in a vision now captured by my hands in precious minerals, gold, and semi-precious stones. Lord Set (or Sutekh, Setesh) led us to this harsh and haunting landscape as part of our journey to bring into this world an image that would be directly touched by the desert that acts as home to the God’s brazen power. He is a God Who speaks through the wind, sand, and rocks of the desert, Whose body burns through the sharp cliffs and red peaks stretching up from the desert floor, and Whose purifying hand is known by way of the salt flats meeting the edge of the tawny and burning sand. This is Set country, so we brought the Aegis of Sutekh here to empower it and honor it as the vehicle of the Red One’s mighty and indomitable hand.

June 7, 2017 witnessed the first of many sacred rites to bestow life and holiness to the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength. Beneath the yellow light of the near Full Moon, and in the presence of relics brought out into the desert from our Shrine (including part of a leg and backbone of an antelope), a liturgy of praising the names and epithets of Lord Sutekh was bestowed to His Aegis together with offerings of food and libations of wine. The Aegis soaked up the essence of these words and gestures and offerings, and indeed the power of the wind and desert that dominated the atmosphere around us. Our chanting and incense rose into the sky, and the light of our flames cast flickering shadows on the rocky earth as the sun died in the west, giving free reign to the expanding light of the moon above. Such events punctuate the work of a craftsman required of me to produce these cult images, for the craftsman must always give way to the Hem Netjer or Priest, which means that the artistic challenges of my vocation are equally married to the demands of cult, to the ritual fulfillment of giving the Gods the things They ask for.


The northwestern desert of Utah, the mountains where Merit-Sager’s Womb rises above the red desert land sacred to Lord Set



Merit-Sager’s Womb, where the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength was first blessed and handed over for habitation by Lord Set



Holding the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength at Merit-Sager’s Womb on the night of its first major blessing rite



The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength as it looked at the time of its first blessing in Merit-Sager’s Womb



The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength is fed and adored during the offering rite at Merit-Sager’s Womb on June 7, 2017




This is the aspect of my work- the aspect of cult, of ritual, worship, and sacred observances- that gives it its true function and power, and gives it its religious significance as the profession of bringing the earthly bodies of the Gods to life. It is also what differentiates my work from the merely decorative arts or of art for art’s sake. The world’s museums and fine art institutions are full of cult objects that were created by iconographers or sacred artisans for the purpose of being recipients of cult. These are objects whose creation was dictated by time honored traditions and governed by ritual, sacrifice, and ceremony. In the setting of museum or gallery, cult objects are rarely (if ever) allowed to speak for their ceremonial and ritual origins, and are, of course, divorced from the cultural and ritual settings that comprise the domain of cult or sacred worship. Within the museum or gallery, objects that were once the focal point of elaborate daily ceremonies, and the recipients of prayer and sacrifice, may be seen as tokens of history and culture, and accepted as works of art whose value is now strictly aesthetic and informational. This is the fate of so many masterpieces of cult and iconography, and it is a sad fate for any cult object to move from the realm of adoration and divine communion to the realm of the spectator sport that is the contemporary museum floor or art gallery.

What visitors to museums or galleries are missing when they view cult images in their contemporary secular settings is the direct encounter with the sacred through the lens of the rites and sacrifices that have always accompanied the use of cult images in the environments for which they were originally created. There is the mystery of religious engagement that is absent from the contemporary settings, except in very rare cases, and this separation of cult images from their sacred spaces is a grave detraction from the ultimate purpose of all cult objects, which is and must be to take part in the sacred activities of cult. Cult objects might look like works of art, and they might sit very well on the desk of the wealthy collector or on the wall of an important cultural institution, but they are not works of art, after all; they were not created to be merely looked at, appreciated as decorative objects representative of a culture’s style, nor critiqued or judged according to contemporary secular tastes. All cult images were or are born from the deepest desire to connect directly with the holy powers, to engage the Gods in a tangible and vital manner, and to assist the worshiper in making that contact through which human and divine share an immediate relationship in the same sacred space. Once you remove a cult object from access to these aims, once you make of it an object strictly for display, you have cut it off from its sacred source and lost the vital component that fashioned its relevance and gave it true life.

The work I am now engaged in with the creation of the Aegis Series of icons is that of providing concrete points of entry for the numinous powers of the Gods to take root in the sacred spaces handed over to Their worship. Of course, the Gods can enter and live in Their creation whenever and wherever They choose, using whatever methods suit Them at any given time; however, the Gods of each tradition have always found ways of indicating to Their worshipers Their preferred methods of entry and engagement, thus the diversity in cultic practices and iconography throughout the world. It has always been the manner of the Netjeru of Kemet (or Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt) to alight on specially prepared images- both three and two-dimensional- that have been installed in ritually pure spaces reserved for the celebration of the Daily Cult. These images must have been crafted by ritually qualified individuals from precious materials, and must be maintained on a daily basis through the observance of the correct ritual procedures and offerings. These are not works of art. They are not even objects for spiritual contemplation or inspiration. They are earthly vessels containing the vital power of the resident deity, which must be approached as one would approach the actual deity, for they are the actual deity, manifest within the material expression of the cult image established within sacred space.

The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength has been empowered by its Lord by way of constant pilgrimage to sacred sites in the desert, where the image has received sand and sky, fire and water, wind and smoke, moon and stars….and all of the elements embodying the work and powers of creation. This Aegis has been given the fruits of the earth through food and drink, and the essence of man via saliva and semen. It has ceased to be an inanimate object crafted by the hand of a man, and been awakened to a life of its own as the living skin of a living god. It has become the living image of Sutekh in our world, and an image that invites the dynamic force of the God to engage with those who walk in His holy footsteps.


“O Sutekh, Setekh, Setesh, Suty, Set!
All Your names are fashioned from the metal of the sky,
from the northern sky where Your image is renewed daily.
O Lord, Red One of the deshret,
come and fulfill this offering of my heart,
for it is the Eye of Ra set firm in its place;
its seat is the center of heaven where You rise.
Take the essence of the Sacred Eye;
take its red wine of the north
and its white milk of the south;
the Two Countries bound together before You!

O Bull of the Sky, thundering with red hair,
Your place is with the Seven Stars
and Your mansion is above the Netjeru of the earth!
Your Father Geb has prepared Your rightful place for You
and Your Mother Nut has torn open Her side for You,
O glorious God of fearsome strength!

O Sutekh Who causes the sky to shake!
All Your forms are opened from that metal of the sky,
from that northern sky where Your power is renewed daily.
O Lord, standing at the prow of the Ark of Ra,
come and fulfill this offering of the sky,
for it is the shield of the earth set firm in its place;
its protection is the seat of the Eye where You rest.
Take the power of the Sacred Eye;
take its green essence as Chieftain of the Black Land
and as Lord of the Red Land;
may the Two Countries bind themselves together at Your feet!

– Excerpt from The Rite of Bringing the Shields of the Lords of Valor in The Book of the Guild by Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa


















On Monday May 21, 2018, First Quarter Moon Day (denat), the Aegis of Heru Who Unites the Two Lands was completed, bringing an end to work on The Lords of Valor Triptych, or rather bringing an end to the hands-on work of crafting the individual panels of the three Gods. My work on the triptych as a priest and ritual technician will continue for the next three months in order to complete the required number of ritual activities to be offered towards the awakening and sanctification of the three panels. The correct number of lunar festivals must be observed for each image, and the appropriate quantities of offerings given in accordance with the wishes of each God; for these are the bodies of the Gods on earth, and each earthly body is linked with the heavens through the Festivals of the Sky established in ancient times. These festivals witness the heavenly revelation of the moon in its phases (New or pesedjentiu, First Quarter or denat, Full or tep semdet, and Last Quarter or denat), and it is these phases that govern the actions of the Houses of the Gods on earth, the Temples, which mirror the progression of the heavenly bodies with the progression of the earthly bodies of the Gods by way of processions and pilgrimages. The three panels of the Lords of Valor Triptych will be taken out into the desert beneath the moon during each of its principal phases, and the rites and liturgies that unite the heavens and earth will be given to the accompaniment of abundant offerings to feed the Gods. It is the essence of each offering that imbues the images with the life of the Gods, for the Gods enter Their images in order to receive the offerings and dispense the boons that are Theirs alone to give.


“Manifests the valor of Heru-sema-tawy
in His Shield-image of sacred power!
He Who Fights in the Horizon
the Beautiful Falcon of Gold!

You have Your valor O Heru-Who Unites-the Two Lands!
You are He Who Fights in the Horizon,
the Powerful of Face Whom the light-rays beget
as the Beautiful Falcon of Gold.
O Lord of the Sky Whose Wedjat Eye shines undiminished!
Your Throne is established forever in the seat of Your Eye;
this dazzling green Wedjat Eye of supreme fear
throughout the lands, offered by those You heal,
proffered by those who praise You as preeminent and above.

Manifests the valor of Heru-sema-tawy
in His Shield-image of sacred power!
He Who Fights in the Horizon
the Beautiful Falcon of Gold!

O Heru the Behdetite, Beloved of Hwt-Her, Beloved of Aset!
You are the Great God, Lord of the Sky, the Beautiful Falcon
and Potent Heir as the Son of Aset, the cherished of Hwt-Her
Who came forth from the Great One, the Eldest Son of Wennefer!
Terrible in Your greatness, dazzling in Your plumage of precious metal,
dominant in the sky with sharp talons, sharp beak, and sharp-sighted
Wedjat Eye; You are the Heir of Sunbeams begotten of the
light of Ra.

O Lord of the Sky and Keeper of Heaven, radiant of face and
powerful of countenance with Your Eye of lapis-lazuli
and feathers of electrum!
Receive the sight of Your Wedjat Eye in the moment of
its returning; may its renewal be the renewal of those who
praise You as the Great God among the Gods!

Manifests the valor of Heru-sema-tawy
in His Shield-image of sacred power!
He Who Fights in the Horizon
the Beautiful Falcon of Gold!

For adoration of Heru-Who Unites-the Two Lands
the sky hails Her Lord and the earth His Master!
For adoration of Heru-Who Unites-the Two Lands
the lily and papyrus are joined together beneath Him!
For adoration of Heru-Who Unites-the Two Lands
the Two Ladies crown His brow and flank His loins!
For adoration of Heru-Who Unites- the Two Lands
the Two Powerful Ones are woven on His vertex!
For adoration of Heru-Who Unites- the Two Lands
the Two Banks are united in proclaiming His forebears!
For adoration of Heru- Who Unites- the Two Lands
Wennefer receives Him on His seat, the Goddess Aset on Her throne!
For adoration of Heru- Who Unites- the Two Lands
the Cobra Goddess rises in the north, the Vulture Goddess in the south!
For adoration of Heru- Who Unites- the Two Lands
the Two Horizons open wide their arms to receive Him!
For adoration of Heru- Who Unites- the Two Lands
all the rekhyt-people salute Him when as king He rises high!

– Excerpt from The Rite of Bringing the Shields of the Lords of Valor in The Book of the Guild by Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa



The “Aegis of Heru Who Unites the Two Lands” / Panel #3 of the Lords of Valor Triptych~ An original Kemetic icon by Master Iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa / Extra fine watercolor, acrylic, precious metal, semi-precious stones on 5″ x 7″ museum conservation panel / Genuine mineral pigments used as watercolor:  lapis lazuli (sourced from Chile), amethyst (Soladad, Brazil), bloodstone (Alaska, USA), jadeite (Alaska, USA), piemontite (Alaska, USA), rhodonite (Bellahorizonte, Brazil), red fuchsite (Brazil), garnet (Brazil), hematite (Utah, USA) / 22kt yellow gold, 23kt rose gold, platinum / Cabochon gemstones:  lapis-lazuli (Afghanistan) fire opal (Mexico) & carnelian / Austrian lead crystal elements by Swarovski®





























  1.   See Dimitri Meeks, Christine Favard-Meeks. Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods. John Murray, Ltd, London, 1997, pp. 68.

Photo Essay: Adoring the Lord of Terror, Launching the Aegis of Sobek-Ra


The underdrawing in progress of Sobek-Ra Lord of Terror / Panel 1 of a currently unnamed tetraptych by Master Iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa


O Holy Crocodile,
O Sobek Lord of Terror in Your lake!
Protect me from all enemies;
From every violent man,
From every violent woman,
From every evil intention of every
Man, woman, or spirit of the dead;
On the earth or in the Duat,
From every direction,
From every weapon or evil word.
Protect me as Your adorer;
Surround me with Your power
Of sacred protection from the Mountain of Bakhu
In Your name of Sobek the Lord of Terror-
The Holy Crocodile
Stronger than all the Gods!

– Prayer for Invoking the Protection of Sobek through the Aegis of Sobek-Ra/
from the Book of the Guild by Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa


All praise to You, mighty Sobek,
Son of Neith Whose arrows are
with Him!

Beloved lord, the Great, the raging
and fearsome, hidden in His waters,
the flooding in His time of becoming.
Yours is the face of Ra in the
First Time;
Dazzling, the waters are parted before
You, all green things sprout from the
void, the vault shudders at the moment
of Your birth.
All praise to You!

O Lord of Green things, Your body
brings to life all that has passed
away, the Great River swells as You
swell, and Your ardor becomes the
rutting of the beasts in their seasons.
All praise to You!

Beneficence of the waters, the Earth
receives Your bounty.
Radiance of the Disk, humankind thrives
on account of You.
O Lord of Love, Sobek swollen between
His thighs, goddesses follow after You,
their hearts ensnared by Your potency.
Great Sobek, You fill the bodies of men
with strength, while women become the
bearers of Your seed.
All praise to You!

O Sobek, wandering between the waters,
cherished in the darkness, acclaimed by
His light, fearsome in His body,
turn Your terror towards my enemies
and Your bounty to my hands.
May Your glory reflect the glory of Ra
in my limbs, and Your invincible love
be the shield of my heart.
All praise to You!

– Giving Praise to Sobek Son of Neith by Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa


The sanctification of the Aegis of Sobek-Ra Lord of Terror began on Thursday October 19, 2017 on New Moon Day or pesedjentiu– the sacred time when the Gods are born, when the seeds of Their powers are planted, when the Gods visit one another in the heavens and fraternize on the earth. This is the time of sacred marriages and births, the ideal time for bringing ourselves and all our endeavors back to Zep Tepi, that “First Occasion” when the creation of the Gods was new and pristine.

The First Occasion begins with the rising of the benben or Primordial Mound (the Pyramidion or Mount of Creation) from the churning lake of chaos, and it is upon this holy mound that the creative Netjer ascends as Ra, revealing His luminous face from the unfurling petals of the sacred lotus. We have our own lake of chaos and creation every year on the Bonneville Salt Flats in the northwest desert of Utah- where the monsoon rains fill the salt flats with a few inches of water. As the waters recede, they leave a heavy deposit of salt in their wake; a salt with a mineral composition not unlike the natron salt prized by the ancient Egyptians and utilized in their religious rituals for its purifying qualities. These salts and the flat desert lands where they arise are used in the service of the Netjeru today as sources of intense sanctification and purification in the work my household accomplishes through the practice of Kemetic iconography. Our cult images are birthed and given sacred breath on these salt flats beneath the embrace of pyramidal amber mountains.

With Ursa Major glittering directly above our heads, we made a pilgrimage to the Bonneville Salt Flats with the virgin panel upon which the Aegis of Sobek-Ra would be birthed. A natural causeway of thick salt deposits stretched out into the monsoon lake from the edge of the main access road to the Flats, and we walked out on the salt as far as this “bridge” would allow, and there knelt down and offered prayers to Lord Sobek as His Aegis panel was sprinkled with salty water from the rippling lake that surrounded us.



The lake created by rainfall on the Bonneville Salt Flats in the northwest Utah desert.  This is where we make pilgrimage with the cult images of the Netjeru to sanctify and empower them.  (These photographs have not been edited or filtered in any way)









View of the natural causeway extending out into the lake on the Bonneville Salt Flats.  What looks like dirt is in fact a thick layer of highly compacted salt deposited over many seasons.



This is the salt causeway where the Aegis of Sobek-Ra was taken to receive the blessing of the waters.







Many people might be forgiven for thinking, and quite naturally so, that my work as an iconographer takes place in the studio- where I measure out sacred proportions, draw, apply precious gold and metals, and apply pigments and gemstones to cult objects in service to the living Gods; however, the technical, craftsman, studio-centric aspect of my work is but half the equation of the grueling work my vocation requires me to do. The most sensitive- and indeed time consuming- aspect of my craft lies in the priestly, cultic requirements of birthing holy images according to the traditional canon of religious observations handed down to me by the ancient masters of my craft. These are the prayers, ritual gestures, and rites of purification that empower and enliven virgin cult objects and make of them ritually appropriate vessels for the Powers of the Gods; but these images are living bodies for the Gods, too, which means that the Bas or spiritual forms of the Gods alight upon them and literally possess them. The images, then, cease to be inanimate man-made objects, and function on the spiritual dimension as open gateways through which the Netjer or Deity manifests its more tangible, physical forms.

In order for a man-made object to attract and maintain the Ba of a Netjer, that object must first be crafted according to conditions and traditions established during Zep Tepi, and must then be awakened via the authentic ritual channels ordained by the Gods and passed down to the Ancestors. Many of these ritual procedures have been preserved in the texts of the Daily Cult Ritual, in which the cult images of the Netjeru were served by the priestly class in every temple in Kemet, and are also found in the texts for Opening Up the Mouth. These are the primary examples of what constitutes a labyrinthine program of offerings, prayers, ritual gestures, and cultic acts that open and transmit the Divine Powers through the material intermediary of the cult image. It is at the moment of offering- when the essence of food, sacrifice, regalia, scent, sound, and visual stimulation are transferred to the Deity within sacred space- that the cult image ceases to function as a mere intermediary, and becomes instead the vital pulse of living power acting for the Deity in the human world. Cult images that have been properly enlivened through the right ritual channels become visible aspects (Kas) of the Gods, and become the sources of boons (hotepu) and blessings or favors (hessuwt).

Thus the most significant aspect of my craft is that of cult (iry khet), which is expressed through the ritual actions (iruw) of the Mysteries (shetauw). These are sometimes performed in the studio in the mediums of prayers and invocations, and in the Shrine of the Guild, where the icon in progress is fed with offerings during the Daily Ritual known as the House of the Morning. During the House of the Morning, the images of the Gods are granted fire, incense, libations, and food, and are enlivened with the Litany (Wehem) of the Netjer’s names and epithets. These and other holy recitations imbue the icons- especially those still being crafted- with the vital power (sekhem) of the Netjer, for the Netjer is provoked to come forward and receive the essence of the offerings that are placed before It; and this is precisely why the virgin icon panel is given over to the activities of the House of the Morning, during which the fundamental exchange of offerings (hotepuwt) between Netjer and humanity occurs.

But these ritual activities of the Guild Shrine are extended through the mandatory actions of pilgrimage to places in the natural world where the Deities have directly expressed Their presences, and where the vital link between man-made image and natural-cosmic Power can be made. From a Kemetic point of view, the deshret or desert (“Red Land”)- which in Egypt means the west bank of the Nile and the environs beyond- is one such place, albeit a hostile and dangerous one, where the Gods and Powers of the Duat (Otherworld) may be approached and engaged. The power of the desert is raw and unrestrained, and filled with that fire-like quality of burning, consuming, and purging. Desert mountains contain gaps or entrances to the Duat, and are places where the Akhu-spirits of the dead roam, together with the guardians and demons of the earth. I live in the middle of the desert, surrounded on all sides by unspoiled stretches of salt flats ringed by amber and ocher-colored mountains- very reminiscent of those on Egypt’s west bank and in its western desert. This place is a crucible where the various elements of my craft collide to give birth to living images of the living Gods. It is a landscape that harnesses and reflects the Powers of the Netjeru, Who receive pilgrimage and offerings at its pyramidal mountains and on its sandy and salty body.




The deshret of northwest Utah where the Bonneville Salt Flats and surrounding mountains have become places of pilgrimage and ritual for my work as a Kemetic iconographer.




All of the icons I co-create with the Gods experience the moment of pilgrimage, when the sanctity of the natural world is utilized as a tool for direct engagement with the Gods. Mountains become beacons of the Holy Powers, bringing down the heavens in a dance with the earth; salt flats become a purification ground, feeding the holiness of the earth into the terrestrial bodies of the Gods; and desert paths and valleys become meeting places between human and divine, where stillness predominates, provoking recognition of the Numinous. Throughout the high and low points of the lunar cycle, each cult image I craft is taken on a journey to a specific site in this sacral landscape, where prayers, chants, offerings, and ritual action are woven together as gifts to the Gods Whose presences will speak and act through the materials of the icon.

Two days prior to First Quarter Moon Day (denat), on October 25, 2017, the virgin panel that was to become the Aegis of Sobek-Ra was taken on a pilgrimage- together with the Aegis of Heru-sema-tawy in progress- to a sacred rock formation we have recognized in the West Wendover hiking system of Leppy Hills Trails. “Sokar Rock” is a natural outcrop jutting out from a large gathering of rocks facing the Leppy Hills Trails, and from a certain vantage this feature resembles the head of a falcon or sparrowhawk, which we have dedicated to the Netjer Who takes custodianship of the Blessed Dead. This is a place of regular pilgrimage for us, where we pour out libations and make petitions on behalf of those who need healing or special protection. It has also become a place for the blessing and sanctification of my icons.

The Aegis panels of Sobek-Ra and Heru-sema-tawy were placed side by side on the natural flat-topped “offering table” below Sokar Rock. A libation of wine was poured out for the two Netjeru as prayers were offered for the sanctification of the icons and the associated semi-precious stones that would eventually be set within the panels upon completion.


A spell of protection to be said over real carnelian

Red is the color of my Lord,
Sobek, Sobek-Ra the Holy Crocodile,
The Master of Bakhu Who watches in the horizon,
Who comes with the blood of sunrise.

He fights the rebels,
He punishes the enemies of Ra;
He spears them as serpents,
He devours them as fish!

Red is the color of my Lord,
Sobek, Sobek-Ra,
The Holy Crocodile,
The Dweller within the Mansion of Carnelian;
Real carnelian is His holy stone in His name of

O blood, O sunrise,
O Ra, O sunrise,
O carnelian, O sunrise,
O Sobek-Ra, O sunrise,
O blood of the Holy Crocodile Who brings an
End to the enemies of Ra!

– Recitation from the Book of the Guild by Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa




The head of Sokar Rock jutting out from the imposing formations that flank Leppy Hills Trails in West Wendover, Nevada.



The Aegis of Heru-sema-tawy beside the virgin panel of the Aegis of Sobek-Ra Lord of Terror beneath Sokar Rock.








The Aegis of Sobek-Ra Lord of Terror embodies the dichotomy that accompanies this powerful Netjer. On one hand He is a manifestation of the burning, punishing, and all-consuming fire of the Creator Ra, a warlike deity possessing a severe disposition; but on the other, He is a passionately procreative and protective deity aligned with the powers of sexual fecundity, fruitfulness of the earth and its vegetation, and abundance of the river. On the one hand He is fire and burning sky, and on the other He is water and riparian land. Sobek-Ra is a primordial deity linked with the dual natures of both fire and water: (of fire) warming, life-affirming, and life-sustaining, and yet wholly destructive when left unchecked or unattended; and (of water), the vital component of existence that feeds and nourishes all life upon the earth, and yet floods and rages, taking life in a violent instant. As Lord of the River (neb ateruw), Sobek manifests in its most dangerous predator, the crocodile (Crocodilus niloticus), taking sovereignty over all the denizens of the water, and controlling the very height and flow of the river itself. Such influence extends to all that the river touches, its flora and fauna, and human life when it enters the scope of the river. Lord Sobek, then, is the severe controller of life and death, choosing what grows and thrives, and what must perish as part of the cyclical nature of all material life.


Sobek the Lord of Terror,
The glittering crocodile….
Sobek-Ra the dazzling
Comes bringing the Wedjat Eye
Of terrible powers.
He brings the terror of Ra;
He brings the whole power
Of the Wedjat Eye, the Lord of Healing
In the turquoise-green sky.
Come O Sobek of green plumes,
Carnelian-eyed, Lord of Bakhu,
The Beloved of Ra!
O falcon, O crocodile, sharp-clawed,
Ptah-Tatenen of the Mound,
Master of His semen, the bull, the fecund!

– From the Litany of Sobek in the Book of the Guild by Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa


On Saturday November 18, 2017, on New Moon Day (pesedjentiu), we took the Aegis of Sobek-Ra on a pilgrimage to Parleys Creek in Salt Lake City, to the place where the creek joins Parleys Pond in Sugarhouse Park. Since we are one Nile River short in the United States, we Kemetics must make do with the rivers and streams we can get our hands and feet into; these, too, are sacred to Lord Sobek and fall beneath His auspices. It is also my direct experience as a Hem Netjer (or Priest, a “Servant of Netjer”) that the Netjeru come where They are invoked and honored through the activities of cultus- where offerings, libations, and prayers flow. In these moments, our sustenance becomes the Ba of the Netjer as It alights upon the cult image, which receives that which we give, and bestows boons in return. This is the crux of Iry khet or cult, that phenomenon of interrelationships through which the Gods and humankind- the Numinous and the physical- are engaged one with the other, and transmit the essence of sacred life.



The small “waterfalls” of Parleys Creek in Sugarhouse Park, Salt Lake City, Utah, which I ritually liken to the cataracts of the Nile where Lord Sobek is said to dwell in a mansion of carnelian



The Aegis of Sobek-Ra Lord of Terror beside the Aegis of Heru-sema-tawy, both in progress.  The Aegis of Sobek-Ra is here just a faint line drawing on the panel in the first stage of laying out the Deity.





For Whom the Sky Shakes


The “Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength” / Panel #2 of the Lords of Valor Triptych~ An original Kemetic icon by Master Iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa / Extra fine watercolor, acrylic, precious metal, semi-precious stones on 5″ x 7″ museum conservation panel / Genuine mineral pigments used as watercolor:  lapis lazuli (sourced from Chile), amethyst (Soladad, Brazil), bloodstone (Alaska, USA), jadeite (Alaska, USA), piemontite (Alaska, USA), rhodonite (Bellahorizonte, Brazil), red fuchsite (Brazil), garnet (Brazil), hematite (Utah, USA) / 22kt yellow gold, 23kt rose gold, platinum / Cabochon gemstones:  fire opals (Mexico) & carnelian / Austrian lead crystal elements by Swarovski®


Homage to You O Suty,
O Sutekh, O Setesh, O Set;
O Dread Lord for Whom the sky shakes,
Red-haired Lord of Terror
Whose countenance tears the sky,
And causes the vault to shudder.

O Lord of the Sky
Who approaches by thunder,
Who ejaculates by lightning,
Most terrible and beautiful of the Netjeru;
I praise Your terror and Your beauty,
For as the Son of Nuit
You are sublime of body
And glorious in Your deeds!

O Master of the Southland,
Wearer of the Diadem,
Keeper of the Cobra Goddess,
Upon Whose brow glitters
The inheritance of Shu;
Descendant of Geb Who claims
What is His by right;
May Your Shade go above me by day
And your Ba by night,
For I am one who has praised
Your name upon the earth,
Who has acclaimed the Son of Nuit
As the greatest of the Gods.

Homage to You
O Lord of the Red Land,
The One Who begets power
And sustains His subjects;
Your power is known within my essence,
And Your name is the arrow
Shot from the vessel of my heart.

– Homage to the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength by Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

Hands of the Gods



“When one takes initiation or ordination as an iconographer, one moves up from being an artist to being a direct channel for the Holy Powers. In this function we become the hands of the Gods in this world, not just in a metaphorical sense, but an actual, literal sense.

We become the Gods’ hands fashioning Their own bodies, so what we do ceases to be art in the decorative sense, and becomes the act of repeating the original creation when the Gods emerged from chaos as physical beings.

This is hugely profound and transformative to our mundane lives, because it infuses the act of shaping earthly substances and forms with the Numinous, with the vital and living powers of the living Gods. Being an iconographer is, in my opinion, the highest calling to which an artist can be called.” – Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

Photo Essay: Raising Heru


The completed reliefs of the Aegis of Heru Who Unites the Two Lands/ Panel Three of the Lords of Valor Triptych- a work in progress


The process of crafting and awakening a cult image is a long one; one that may take at shortest three months, and at longest the better part of a year.  There are always technical challenges that must be met along the way, and paired with these are the cultic requirements that will facilitate the transmutation of earthly substances into the numinous forms inhabited by the living Gods.  This is a process demanding immense reserves of patience on the part of the iconographer, and precise magical knowledge and execution by the priest, the facilitator of cult who must navigate and channel the waters of cultic precedent- the labyrinthine traditions of ritual acts that open up the hidden doors between the realm of the terrestrial and that of the numinous.  I must occupy both roles in my work, the stations of iconographer and priest, craftsman and ritual technician; for these are the warp and the weft through which a man-made material image is woven into the ethereal vessel of a deity, and is then literally possessed by the God or Goddess it represents.

The most difficult challenge I face on the technical side of the equation is the “sculpting” of the delicate, intricately detailed reliefs which provide the substrate for the application of gold leaf, silver, copper, and platinum.  These reliefs also provide a visual and magical dimension to the image of the deity, which must become a living God in the place of a static, inanimate image.  Living forms have dimension to them, they have mass and weight, and so too must the vessel of the Netjer if it is to serve the dynamic power of the Deity as a truly living body.  Relief is used to highlight or magnify the most vital portions of the Deity’s anatomy, where, when covered with real gold or other precious metals, these parts of the image grab light and cast shadows that travel as the play of light travels.  This is not only magical in a metaphorical sense (that is to say, magical in a sense of being wonderful or beautiful to behold), but magical in the sense that the play of light over a divine image, and the subsequent casting of shadows, is, in the terms of Kemetic Heka (Magic), a literal incarnation of a deity’s Ba or traveling Spiritual Essence, the projection of a deity’s most hidden power that becomes visible when it possesses material forms.  Thus my goal as an iconographer is to use material forms- and the effects given rise to by them- as instruments of transmission for the Bas of the Gods.

The use of raised relief or bas-relief has a very long history within the production of Kemetic religious images, and it is always used in these contexts as a means of communicating (and quite literally so, in the Kemetic perspective) the dynamism of a deity and the objects or texts by which a deity’s power becomes manifest in the material world.  There is also a presence within reliefs that tangibly pushes its way out from the substrate upon which the image rests; and this is part of what gives these images a certain sense of life and realism, instead of the divine image being a wholly flat two-dimensional presence on a flat surface.

I build my reliefs on what I refer to as the “naked” surface of the deity, that is, the completed line drawing (underdrawing) which will hold the Ba of the deity once the deity has chosen to enter it.  Liquid gesso is applied with a very fine, soft brush, and is very slowly built up in layers until it has achieved the desired thickness.  Sanding is required between each application of gesso once the previous layer has dried (a minimum of 24 hours).  The thickness of the reliefs is never arbitrary, but is governed by the magic qualities inherent to the various portions of a deity’s anatomy, crown, regalia, and surrounding names and epithets.  The eye, eyebrow, and cosmetic markings of a deity, for example, are always build up higher than the surrounding areas, since the eye and its accoutrements are the primary vessels of a deity’s power as it is revealed to the material world.  Upon completion of the final layer, intricate designs or details are applied to the topmost layer.



The “naked” image of Heru-sema-tawy prior to the first application of gesso for the execution of reliefs.


The first reliefs to be built are always the eye, eyebrow, and cosmetic markings.  Seen here are the eye and beak of Heru, which are being built up into very high relief since they are of primary importance to the magical composition of the Deity.



At each stage of the creation of a cult image, the appropriate offerings and prayers are bestowed to the Deity in order to sanctify the image with the dynamic presence of the Deity.  It is through the bestowal of offerings that the inanimate image is enlivened by the tangible power of the Deity, since the Deity is provoked to come forward and enter the image in order to partake of the holy essence of the offerings and their accompanying prayers.



I have placed below a collection of images taken from the very beginning of the process of building reliefs on the Aegis of Heru Who Unites the Two Lands through to the very end.  Many of these photographs were taken at an angle and in various light sources in order to show the depths being achieved by the reliefs, and how the differing heights of these surfaces reflect light and cast shadows.


Aegis of Heru Who Unites the Two Lands: The Path to Holiness


The completed underdrawing of the Aegis of Heru Who Unites the Two Lands/ Panel Three of the Lords of Valor Triptych- a work in progress


The protection of Heru is He-Who-is-in-His-Disk,

Who illuminates the Two Lands with His glorious eyes.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

The protection of Heru is the Eldest One in heaven,

Who gives orders about the government of everything.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

The protection of Heru is that Great Dwarf Who goes

about in the Two Lands at twilight.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

The protection of Heru is the Lion of the Night Who

travels in the Western Mountain.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

The protection of Heru is the Great Hidden Ram

Who travels about in his two eyes.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

The protection of Heru is the Great Falcon Who flies

about in the sky, on the earth and in the Underworld.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

The protection of Heru is the Noble Beetle,

the Great Winged One in heaven.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

The protection of Heru is the mysterious corpse in its

mummy form in its sarcophagus.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

The protection of Heru is the Underworld,

the lands where faces are reversed and things are mysterious.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

The protection of Heru is the Divine Heron

Who sits down in His Sound Eye.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

The protection of Heru is His own body.

The magic of His Mother Auset is His protection.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

The protection of Heru are the names of His Father in His

manifestations in the districts.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

The protection of Heru are the lamentations of

His mother and the cries of His brothers.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

The protection of Heru is His own name.

The Gods serve Him while protecting Him.

And such is the case with the protection of the sufferer.

– Words of the God Djehuty to the Goddess Auset concerning Her Son Heru(1)


The Aegis of Heru Who Unites the Two Lands (Heru-sema-tawy, Greek Harsomptus) is the third panel of the Lords of Valor Triptych, completing this “family” of gods Who are united through the magic of reconciliation and reunification. These are three Netjeru Who each function as powerful gods in Their own right, governing the terrestrial and stellar, solar and lunar domains; however, in the nearly earth-shattering Contendings of Heru and Set, the 80 year family war for the kingship of the Two Lands, we are told of the “birth” of the lunar orb (Iah, the orb of Djehuty’s headdress) from the forehead of Set (Sutekh) via the semen of Heru the God Set had ingested (2). This strange event links all three gods in an unlikely relationship; one in which the wise Djehuty is arbiter and pacifier of the two Combatants bent on gaining physical and moral ascendancy over the other. It is the God Djehuty Who steps between the two antagonistic deities to separate truth from falsehood- in the hopes of achieving an accord within an increasingly hostile situation that threatens to rend the harmony of creation.

The weaving of harmony from disparate elements is part of the Heka (or Magic) of this triptych, which gives us the healing radiation of the Moon (the Aegis of Djehuty), the searing fire of the desert (the Aegis of Sutekh), and finally the calm majesty of the infinite sky (the Aegis of Heru). The Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu is the residence of that Lord of the Divine Words (neb medu-netjer), Whose wisdom is so great as to encompass knowledge of every thing that has been created, and all that has yet to be created. Djehuty appears as the One “Who brings the Wedjat Eye” (Ani-Wedjat), as that Great Magician with the power to heal the Eye of Heru after it has been torn from Heru by Set. It is Djehuty Who comes forth to provide the healing that is vital to the continuance of the proper order and maintenance of creation (Ma’at). But in a certain sense, the healing orb of Djehuty, that is to say, the lunar disk, is the byproduct of a divine synthesis between the explosive energies of the Gods Set and Heru. This is a synthesis that is magically captured in the iconography and functions of the Aegis panels of Sutekh and Heru, which bring together these volatile gods not as combatants or adversaries, but as compliments within the dichotomy of creation. Here the Gods work together as the co-creators of wholeness (wedjauw), epitomized in the central panel of the triptych by the status of Djehuty as the One Who Brings Forth the Wedjat Eye. The other two panels in the triptych are each intended to stand in for part of the Wedjat Eye, which is eternally in the process of being reconciled or healed after injury.


The “Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength” / Panel #2 of the Lords of Valor Triptych~ An original Kemetic icon by Master Iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa / Extra fine watercolor, acrylic, precious metal, semi-precious stones on 5″ x 7″ museum conservation panel / Genuine mineral pigments used as watercolor:  lapis lazuli (sourced from Chile), amethyst (Soladad, Brazil), bloodstone (Alaska, USA), jadeite (Alaska, USA), piemontite (Alaska, USA), rhodonite (Bellahorizonte, Brazil), red fuchsite (Brazil), garnet (Brazil), hematite (Utah, USA) / 22kt yellow gold, 23kt rose gold, platinum / Cabochon gemstones:  fire opals (Mexico) & carnelian / Austrian lead crystal elements by Swarovski®



Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu“:  an original Kemetic icon by master iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa / panel one of the Lords of Valor Triptych / natural semi-precious mineral watercolor, acrylic, semi-precious stone, Austrian lead crystal, 22 karat yellow gold, 23 karat red gold, platinum on 5″ x 7” archival wood and clay panel.
Natural mineral pigments used as watercolor:  lapis lazuli, amethyst, malachite, jadeite, garnet, red fuchsite, piemontite / Austrian lead crystal elements by Swarovski®


September 6, 2017 was Tep Semdet or Full Moon Day, the day of the completion of the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength, and the ritually appointed time for bringing to fruition the new and renewed. My husband and I made a pilgrimage to Salt Lake City’s Sugarhouse Park to hold a prayer vigil and blessing for the newly completed Aegis of Sutekh beneath the tree we had adopted there on the Netjer’s behalf. In the spirit of reconciliation and healing, I placed the Aegis of Sutekh in His lockable travel shrine together with the virgin panel within which the Aegis of Heru-sema-tawy would become incarnate; thus could the Aegis of Sutekhthe beneficiary of so many powerful rites and blessings over the summer months- grant His sanctification to the untouched panel of Heru Who Unites the Two Lands.

The sanctification of a cult image is a long and drawn out process, and a vital part of that process is its participation in holy rites and “feeding” through the offerings of cultic service. It is the continuous participation in cultic servicebuilding up the reservoir of divine energy within a sacred image that makes it a fit vehicle for a deity’s possession. Without sustained veneration and exposure to sacred activities, it is impossible for the build up of divine energy to occur, which means that an image cannot function as a vehicle for the deity’s boons in the material world. Thus it is always a goal of the iconographer to begin the sanctification of a new icon as quickly as possible, and one of the ways this may be accomplished is the placing of a new icon within the vicinity of other cult images whose power and divine possession have already been confirmed. So the blank panel for the Aegis of Heru traveled on our pilgrimage to Sugarhouse Park directly beneath the Aegis of Sutekh, and was the recipient of the prayers for “Revealing the Face” of the Netjer to the sky.

Later that night, after the Full Moon had risen, we took the two icons to the center of the Bonneville Salt Flats in the northwestern Utah desert, and there performed the Khnem-Iah or “Union with the Moon” for the two gods. The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength and the virgin Aegis of Heru Who Unites the Two Lands were exposed to the holy radiation of the Full Moon, and were fed with litanies, prayers, and material offerings of flame, incense, bread and beer. On this night of Tep Semdet the Aegis of Heru was installed on the offering table of our Shrine of the Household Gods, where He will be placed at the end of each working session of His creation so that He may receive the offerings and veneration granted to the Netjeru the following day during the prayer rite known as the “House of the Morning”.


The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength & virgin panel of the Aegis of Heru Who Unites the Two Lands receive the full lunar radiation of the Khnem-I’ah Rite on September 6, 2017


The holiest cultic rite in which an icon may take part is the Khnem-Aten or “Union with the Sun”, which is traditionally performed by all temples once a year at sunrise on Wep Ronpet or New Year’s Day; however, the holy miracle of the “First Occasion” is technically repeated each dawn with the rising of the sun, and contains the same vital magic of renewal, though perhaps not to the extent experienced on Wep Ronpet morning. But Khnem-Aten may be offered to the Gods of a temple or shrine on any dawn of the year, which sees the most sacrosanct cult objects placed outdoors where they will receive the unobstructed first rays of sunrise, and will thus be charged and magically renewed. We performed the Khnem-Aten for the Aegis of Heru on the morning of September 13, 2017, which was Denat or Last Quarter Moon Day. Present also for this holy radiation blessing were the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength, the Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu, and the icons of Ptah-Sokar-Ausir Lord of the Secret Shrine and Anpu Lord of the Sacred Land.




The virgin panel of the Aegis of Heru receives the Khnem-Aten rite in front of the (from left to right) Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu, Ptah-Sokar-Ausir Lord of the Secret Shrine, Anpu Lord of the Sacred Land, and the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength

Heru-sema-tawy aha-ef em akhet Heru-nefer-en-nebu sekhem-her set(wt) nek / “Heru Who Unites the Two Lands, He Who fights in the horizon as the beautiful Heru of gold, the almighty of countenance Who begets illumination”. These are the names and epithets of the God Heru spelled out in the medu (hieroglyphs) on the Aegis of Heru, and they were first given to the Aegis in ceremony at dawn on New Moon Day (Pesedjentiu) on September 19, 2017. A permanent oil lamp was lighted for the Aegis of Heru on this morning, and the Netjer was asked to take possession of the icon panel during a rite for removing obstacles performed each day for the temple. This rite includes the use of a ceremonial iron dagger, which is used to dub or tap the corners and vital elements of the panel with magical names linked with the eradication of chaos. The Netjer is asked to use the Aegis (the akem or shield) as a vehicle for establishing order (Ma’at) and healing (saseneb), and for maintaining the sanctity of the temple as a palpable embodiment of the living Gods and Their powers.


The Aegis of Heru panel as He appeared in early September of 2017, having only the grid and register lines in place, and being the recipient of daily offerings on the Shrine of the Household Gods.  A knotted blessing cord consecrated to the Goddess Auset has been placed around the Aegis as an act of sanctification.

The following afternoon at 2:50 p.m. my husband and I took the Aegis of Heru on a pilgrimage to one of our local holy places we have established as a place for the bestowal of offerings and prayers to the Gods. Leppy Hills Trails is one of the natural beauties of West Wendover, Nevada, containing some unusual rock formations, pyramidal peaks, and high vantages for viewing the city and the glistening stretches of the Bonneville Salt Flats beyond. This is one of the places we have found closely linked with the desert Gods and the Blessed Dead, where it is possible to feel a tangible thinning of the veil between this world and that of the spiritual. The sky was filled with dark gray clouds that day, threatening rain as we hiked to the natural shrine we have dubbed Sokar Rock. Sokar Rock is named for the sparrowhawk or falcon-headed deity associated with the Gods Ptah and Ausir to form the triune deity Ptah-Sokar-Ausir. It is here that Brent and I pour out libations for Lord Sokar and the Netjeru of the Western Desert, and make petitions for healing on behalf of those who are in need of divine intervention.

As we arrived at Sokar Rock Brent pointed to the distant sky directly above our shrine, and we saw two large vultures circling continuously; these we took as an avian sign of blessing for our intentions to further sanctify the Aegis of Heru in this holy spot. And this we did by placing the icon panel in the center of the natural offering table standing directly beneath the bird-shaped formation of Lord Sokar jutting out from the rocks above. We poured out libations for Heru-sema-tawy and the avian Netjeru, and invited Lord Heru to receive, sanctify, and take up residence in the icon panel.

At approximately 3:07 p.m., as we were hiking down the trail from Sokar Rock concluding our blessing ceremony, a large, long snake crossed the trail directly in front of us, pausing for long enough to allow us to observe him/ her and offer our respects. A similar incident had occurred at the end of May when I began work on the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength, when a similarly impressive bull snake had crossed our path on Leppy Hills Trails following our request to Lord Set for a sign. These auspicious signs were completed upon our arrival back at the beginning of the trails when a burst of 10 to 12 quail shot straight up into the air from behind where I was standing, and flew into an east/ northeast direction.


The falcon-like head of Sokar Rock juts out into a dark sky threatening rain





The Aegis of Heru, wrapped in a red cord bearing the Holy Knot of Auset, is blessed on a natural stone offering table beneath the gaze of Sokar Rock





The large adult snake (type currently unknown) that crossed our path immediately following our blessing rite for the Aegis of Heru

The Aegis of Heru-sema-tawy, like the other two icons in the triptych, is an embodiment of healing and protection, and a magical weapon against the forces of chaos bent on dismantling the creation of the Gods. The aegis- or, to be more precisely Kemetic, the akem or “shield”- takes the form of the head, crown/ headdress and shoulders of the deity, which are covered by the broad collar known as the wesekh, and further ornamented in many instances by an elaborate pectoral suspended from multiple strands of drop-shaped beads. The aegis can be found in the form of amulets or the caps of military or temple standards carried in parades, but are most prominently seen as sacred ornaments on the prow and stern of the portable barque-shrines in which the cult images of the Gods are carried in religious processions. The aegis is, therefore, a device encompassing the dynamic power of a deity in action, and carries with it the apotropaic force of the god or goddess it represents. There is a defensive nature to the aegis, which at all times behaves as a repellent to the enemies of the Gods. This means that the presence of the aegis may be adopted by devotees of the Gods as a means of being surrounded (quite literally shielded) by the boons of the deity that repulse all beings or forces contrary to that deity’s presence. In terms of the healing graces emanated by a deity, the aegis is the most intimate manifestation of that power which preserves life and averts disaster.




A stunning gold aegis of the Goddess Sekhmet in the collection of the Walters Art Museum


A bronze cult image depicting the Goddess Bastet holding an aegis in the collection of the Walters Art Museum

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King Seti I burns pellets of incense over an offering table before the barque-shrine of the God Amun-Ra.  The prow of the holy ark is capped with the aegis of the Netjer in the form of a ram crowned with the solar disk.  From the chapel of Amun-Ra in the temple of Seti I at Abydos.

When I was given my first impulse for creating the Aegis Series of icons, some time in mid-late April of 2017, the feeling I had was that these special cult images would be given over almost wholly to healing and protection, and to the overall process of magical defense against the enemies of the Gods. These would be works intended to draw out the powers of the living Gods into the material, mortal world, and thereby establish active gateways through which the dynamic presences of the Gods could be approached directly by those in need. Hand in hand with these functions, these Aegis/ Akem panels would form a system of magical technology for invoking the Gods directly into sacred space and rooting Them there; and, once rooted in sacred space through the vehicle of the Aegis-body, the Gods would have the easiest and shortest route through which to work Their healing/ protective boons on behalf of Their devotees.

Each Aegis panel represents and contains the vital power of a specific deity, and encompasses specific aspects of a deity’s personality. The Gods are unique and individual holy powers, and Their various names, epithets and modes of iconographic representation are each linked to unique qualities of that deity’s manifestation through the substance of creation. The Aegis of Heru Who Unites the Two Lands, though consecrated as the body of Heru-sema-tawy, is more unique still because it is being utilized by multiple deities simultaneously, instead of by a single deity. The God Heru is generally acknowledged to share the same essence as a legion of deities known loosely as the “Heru Gods”, Who can appear in the myth cycles as “elder” or “younger”, as the father or forerunner of one deity here, and son of another pair of gods there. The Heru Gods and Their iconography appear to be greatly interchangeable, though this in no way means that They are not also distinctly Their own sacred personalities. Each temple or locale in ancient times appears to have had its own manifestation of this Netjer, which was doubtlessly understood to be both its own individual deity and linked with the powers of the other Heru Gods all at the same time.(3)

The Aegis of Heru is the dwelling ground of multiple Heru Gods, including Heru-sa-Auset (Gr. Harsiese, “Heru/ Horus the Son of Auset or Isis”), Heru-Behdety (“Heru the Behdetite”, that is, Heru of the town of Edfu), Heru-Wer (“Heru the Elder”), Heru-em-akhet (“Heru of the Horizon”),Heru-akhty (“Heru of the Two Horizons”) and Heru-pa-khrad (or Gr. Harpocrates, “Heru the Child”). The use of a cult image for multiple deities is not my usual modus operandi as an iconographer, however, flexibility is one of the requirements of my vocation as co-creator with deities Whose manifestations are vast, and Who, on occasion, may direct me to operate outside the strict rules of canon in order to accommodate Their desires for contact. The Heru Gods certainly fall into this category, for it seems to me that They are quite comfortable with the wearing of one another’s clothing, and that They all share an essential underlying nature we might call “Heru-ness”.

At the beginning of fall 2017 I was contacted by the Rt. Rev. Lady Zarita Zook (an Archpriestess of the Fellowship of Isis and foundress of Temple of Auset Nevada) and asked to conduct a healing ritual for her and her husband- who had been recently diagnosed with inoperable terminal cancer. Lady Zarita relayed to me how the Goddess Auset was guiding her to make the trip from Montana to West Wendover in order to be touched by the powerful magic of this place, and, more specifically, through the magic of taking part in a sacred rite performed by me in this landscape. The Goddess seemed very insistent that there was a special presence located in Wendover, an energy field, gateway or portal, an actual place where healing could be facilitated more easily. My husband and I have always felt that the desert surrounding Wendover holds a “thinning of the veil” between the worlds, and a number of natural sites where the spiritual dimension may be accessed easily. These are places where we conduct holy rites for the Gods, give offerings and cultic service, and invoke the Gods and Ancestors for intervention and guidance. These are also places that take a significant role in the sanctification and awakening of the icons I co-create with the Gods.

On September 27, 2017, First Quarter Moon Day (Denat), the four of us gathered for a private ritual in our household shrine, during which I offered Lady Zarita and Rev. Warren a healing rite taken from the texts of the magical healing of the child Heru from a lethal scorpion sting. Such texts were recorded on special stelae– like the renowned Metternich Stela known as the cippi of Horus, these being replete with images of apotropaic deities and dominated by figures of the young God Heru standing atop crocodiles while grasping the noxious denizens of the marshes. The magical texts recorded with these images give us an account of the trials and tribulations of the Goddess Auset and Her infant son Heru:

I am Auset, Who had been pregnant with Her fledgling,

Who had been expecting the Divine Heru.

I gave birth to Heru, the Son of Ausir

in the nest of Khebit (Khemmis).

I very much rejoiced at that because I saw the Avenger of His Father!

I concealed Him, I hid Him from That One!

I wandered to and fro about the land begging

for fear of the evildoer.

I spent the day gathering sustenance for the child

and taking care of His needs.

Having returned to embrace Heru, I found Him-

the Beautiful Heru of Gold, the innocent child,

the fatherless one-

while He had moistened the banks

with the water of His eyes,

with the saliva of his lips,

His body limp, His heart weak,

while the vessels of His body did not beat!

I uttered a cry, saying:

Heru has been bitten!

Oh Ra, Your Son has been bitten!

Heru has been bitten, the Heir of an Heir,

the Lord Who would set forth the Kingship of Shu!

Heru has been bitten, the child of Khebit,

the child in the House of the Magistrate!

Heru has been bitten, the Beautiful Child of Gold,

the innocent child, the fatherless one!

Heru has been bitten, the Son of Wen-Nefer

born of the wailing woman!

Heru has been bitten, the guiltless one,

the youthful boy among the Gods!

Heru has been bitten, the One to Whose needs I took due

care because I recognized the avenger of His Father!

Heru has been bitten, the One Who was anxiously cared

for in the womb, Who was already feared

in the belly of his mother!

Heru has been bitten, the One Whom I eagerly awaited

to see, and for Whose benefit I loved life!’(4)

These trials are then transferred from the mythic past to become the mythic present, during which the afflicted person takes the place of the God Heru, and the priest-magician performing the rite becomes the vehicle for the great magic of the Goddess Auset and other protective divinities.(5) The Aegis of Heru took part in our healing ritual through His presence at the front of our Shrine of the Household Gods for the duration of the ceremony; and, following the healing rite proper, was taken with us on a pilgrimage to the northwestern side of the Bonneville Salt Flats in the Utah desert. Here the Heru Gods received a libation of wine and loaf of bread via the Aegis of Heru, and were invoked to witness the ritual burial of the knotted threads of the Goddess Auset where the afflictions of Zarita and Warren had been ritually trapped. Concluding our ceremony, Lady Zarita held the Aegis of Heru in her hands and bestowed her blessing on Him, calling on the Lord Heru to be ever-present there, and a perpetual source of healing for all who would see Him. At the very moment Lady Zarita finished her blessing prayer a warm wind picked up over the salt flats and played through the scarf of glinting fabric covering Zarita’s head. Above us in the clear powder blue sky the First Quarter Moon was clearly visible, and within us was a sense of satisfaction that healing had been accomplished, and the Aegis of Heru had been sufficiently blessed.


The Rt. Rev. Lady Zarita M. Zook holding the Aegis of Heru Who Unites the Two Lands

October has seen two further occasions of sanctification for the Aegis of Heru; the first on the 3rd , when the Aegis was “shown the sky” in Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the second on the 5th, on Full Moon Day (Tep Semdet), when the Aegis received the Khnem-I’ah or “Union with the Moon” out on the Bonneville Salt Flats. By that time the annual monsoon rains had filled a large portion of the salt flats with a temporary lake, and we arrived precisely as the moon was rising to its zenith over the shimmering waters. I opened the lockable travel box containing the Aegis and presented Him to the full radiation of the moon, together with the cabochons of carnelian and lapis-lazuli that would eventually be set in gold on the Aegis upon completion. The air of the fall night was crisp around us as we stood there, bathed in the yellow alabaster radiance streaming from the moon, but somehow all we really felt was the warmth of the Heru Gods as Their earthly image gazed up at the sky.


“Revealing the Face” of the Netjer to the sky in Sugarhouse Park, Salt Lake City, Utah on October 3, 2017




The full moon as it appeared on the rainwater of the Bonneville Salt Flats on the night of our Khnem-I’ah rite for the Aegis of Heru on October 5, 2017


The underdrawing of the Aegis of Heru Who Unites the Two Lands was completed on Friday October 13, 2017, the day after Last Quarter Moon Day (Denat). Like His companion panels in the Lords of Valor Triptych (and all the icons I have birthed in service of my Netjeru), the Aegis of Heru is being filled with the essence of the living Gods, slowly taking steps down the path to holiness through the life-affirming and sanctifying feet of a living religious tradition. What I do is not the art of copying or mere imitation, nor is it the craft of intellectual satisfaction by dabbling in history or myth via the visual arts. What I do, what I have given my life over to with every breath of my being, is service to the very Gods Who gave humankind its breath and its soul; and what I do with my two hands is provide a meeting ground between Creators and created, between the Immortal and mortal worlds. Not art for art’s sake, nor even art for the sake of inspiration, the fruit of my labor is the tangible manifestation of the Gods in our world, which has been and always will be the pursuit of holiness.



1  Adapted from Borghouts, J.F. Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts. Brill, Leiden, 1978, pp. 65-67.

2  See Meeks, Dimitri & Christine Favard. Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods. John Murray, London, 1997, pp. 68.

3  See Edmund S. Meltzer in The Oxford Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology. Oxford University Press, New York 2002, pp. 164-165.  See also Watterson, Barbara. The House of Horus at Edfu: Ritual in an Ancient Egyptian Temple. Tempus Publishing Limited, Stroud, 1998, pp. 31-33.

4  Text from the ritual program I performed in West Wendover, Nevada on September 27, 2017 for the Rt. Rev. Lady Zarita Zook and the Rt. Rev. Warren Zook. Adapted from Borghouts, ibid, pp. 64.

5  For an authoritative and illustrated investigation of the magical texts of the Metternich Stela, and how these and the cippi of Heru were used in such healing rituals, see Nora E. Scott. The Metternich Stela, Volumes 8-9 of Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1951.


Photo Essay: Set United With Ra


The “Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength” / Panel #2 of the Lords of Valor Triptych~ An original Kemetic icon by Master Iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa / Extra fine watercolor, acrylic, precious metal, semi-precious stones on 5″ x 7″ museum conservation panel / Genuine mineral pigments used as watercolor:  lapis lazuli (sourced from Chile), amethyst (Soladad, Brazil), bloodstone (Alaska, USA), jadeite (Alaska, USA), piemontite (Alaska, USA), rhodonite (Bellahorizonte, Brazil), red fuchsite (Brazil), garnet (Brazil), hematite (Utah, USA) / 22kt yellow gold, 23kt rose gold, platinum / Cabochon gemstones:  fire opals (Mexico) & carnelian / Austrian lead crystal elements by Swarovski®


The Khnem-Aten or “Union with the Sun” is one of the holiest rites that can be performed for the Gods and Their cult images, and traditionally this is offered only once a year, on Wep-Ronpet or “New Year’s” Day.  This solar radiation of holy objects was, in ancient times, carried out on Wep-Ronpet morning with a procession of the primary cult image of each temple to the roof of the Sanctuary, where the holy light of the New Year sun would bless and reinvigorate the Gods for the following year.  This is a rite of divine renewal for the temple and humankind at large, and it is still being celebrated by adorers of the Netjeru today.

We observed Wep-Ronpet and the heliacal rising of Sopdet-Sirius on August 5th this year, and together with one of our principal kar-shrines containing the God Ptah, we brought out the Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu (which had been completed at the time of the Last Quarter Moon in May of 2017) and the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength, which was at that time only half way complete.



The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength as He appeared on Wep-Ronpet morning during our Union with the Sun ritual




The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength was completed on Full Moon Day (Tep semdet) on September 6, 2017, and it was our decision- since the icon had not been complete for the Khnem-Aten on Wep-Ronpet morning- to hold a second “Union with the Sun” for Lord Set on Last Quarter Moon Day (Denat) on September 13.  It also occurred to me that the four icons thus far created for our official Guild Shrine had never been sanctified together, nor received cultus at the same time.  Thus we gathered Ptah-Sokar-Ausir Lord of the Secret Shrine, Anpu Lord of the Sacred Land, the Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu, and the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength, and made a pilgrimage to our holy desert site on the northwestern Utah desert’s Bonneville Salt Flats.



Upon our arrival at the Bonneville Salt Flats, the Last Quarter Moon was still glowing visibly above us


Venus too was still visible in the dark violet sky, which had a faint ribbon of orange light heralding the sun’s imminent rise




This is Lord Set’s domain, the Deshret or “Red Land”



As the sky begins to glow with the first rays of sunlight, the four cult images of the Netjeru glint with bright gold, warm copper, Sterling silver and semi-precious stones







Ptah-Sokar-Ausir Lord of the Secret Shrine and Anpu Lord of the Sacred Land receive the blessing of the first rays of Ra’s holy light


The Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu kisses the sun



The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength meets the first light of Great Ra































Out of the distant cloudy sky a rainbow appears as the prayers to Lord Set are offered to the sky







A rainbow seen in the distance above Lords Ptah-Sokar-Ausir and Anpu





















Eye of the Storm: Braving the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength

Aegis of Sutekh

The “Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength” / Panel #2 of the Lords of Valor Triptych~ An original Kemetic icon by Master Iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa / Extra fine watercolor, acrylic, precious metal, semi-precious stones on 5″ x 7″ museum conservation panel / Genuine mineral pigments used as watercolor:  lapis lazuli (sourced from Chile), amethyst (Soladad, Brazil), bloodstone (Alaska, USA), jadeite (Alaska, USA), piemontite (Alaska, USA), rhodonite (Bellahorizonte, Brazil), red fuchsite (Brazil), garnet (Brazil), hematite (Utah, USA) / 22kt yellow gold, 23kt rose gold, platinum / Cabochon gemstones:  fire opals (Mexico) & carnelian / Austrian lead crystal elements by Swarovski®


(Note to my readers:  none of the photographs presented in this essay are professional, thus I ask that you please keep in mind that these images of the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength are not of high quality, nor do they represent the true color, detail or vitality of this work)


“…Set at all times, while not necessarily a “nice” divinity, performs a necessary service in the universe- that of the very masculine and sometimes violent force of change. In Kemetic myth, Ra acknowledges Set’s positive qualities as a destroyer of unnecessary things and isfet (the Kemetic concept of mindless, unforgivable evil) by appointing Set as the guardian of the Boat of Millions of Years. The reason given for Ra’s favor? Set is “the only one strong enough to do it.”
– Rev. Tamara L. Siuda in The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook, pages 49-50.
“Set is a murderer, absolutely, and that act was full of pain for everyone involved. However, the land of the dead would have no deities in it had it not been for Set’s willingness to step forward and use His mighty strength to tear down the barriers and kill an immortal god so He could be king there. He is the king slayer and the kingmaker, with all of the attendant cognitive dissonance, discomfort, and reality-facing that entails….If He was comfortable to confront He would not be who He is. He is not evil; He is the only one strong enough, and willing enough to take the blame, to stop evil.”
– Rev. Tamara L. Siuda, public discussion on Facebook on June 1, 2017.


We think we know Him. He is Set, Seth, Suty, Setekh, Setesh, Sutekh, that “Red One” of violent temperament and intemperate behavior. He is the God Whose very birth was announced by tearing open His mother’s body, and Whose deeds have been overshadowed by the gruesome murder and dismemberment of His own brother. The family drama that ensued is filled with unimaginable brutality, being the struggle of the murdered God’s wife (Auset, Isis) and son (Heru, Horus) to reclaim the throne of Kemet and restore the rightful order of creation, Ma’at. This is a drama that presents the God Set as the ultimate source of chaos and wrongdoing, as the bellicose adversary Who operates in a manner one can only describe as Machiavellian.

In the cycle of family myths that have come down to us in pieces, the God Set is the “black sheep” of the clan of Geb and Nut descended from Ra, and resorts to the murder of His favored brother Ausir (or Osiris) in order to claim the kingship of the Two Lands. Here begins a blood feud that occupies the realm of the Gods for nearly 100 years, and includes what have come to be known as the Contendings of Heru and Seth. These are the myth cycles in which Set (as the murderer of His brother Ausir) and Heru the Son of Auset and Ausir battle to gain ascendancy one over the other. Aside from using violence and cunning against His nephew, Set attempts to use His own brand of sexual prowess in order to subjugate the young Heru, and thus demonstrate the youngster’s inept ability to govern; thus Set becomes the embodiment of deviant sexuality together with all behaviors that operate outside the social norms.

But there is a different Set that emerges when one peels back the incomplete textual layers of this deeply controversial god, and lets go of the contemporary moralistic judgments so often leveled against this strikingly powerful deity. It is very difficult to discuss deities like Set without resulting to our contemporary ethical frameworks in order to arrive at the quick verdict that sees Set as wholly evil- a fratricide, a brawler, a sexually aggressive deity with tendencies towards homosexual rape, and a bloodthirsty creature possessing a propensity for total war. But these are- in my opinion- vast oversimplifications brought out by minds unwilling or incapable of comprehending the ancient African, Near Eastern and Mediterranean religious minds.

The Kemetic (or ancient Egyptian) world is inhabited by deities, demons, and spirits of bewildering and often terrifying appearances. Household gods like Bes and Taweret, for example, are venerated as fierce protectors of women, children and domestic life, and yet these same deities are known for Their wild and often violent demeanor. It is precisely because of Their underlying aggression that such deities were recognized as duly equipped sources of divine defense against potential threats experienced during childbirth or on the domestic front in the form of diseases. The God Bes can manifest as a comical bandy legged dwarf banging a tambourine, but He can just as easily appear as a ferocious creature- part dwarf part lion- Who eats or vomits snakes and brandishes massive knives.




The protective deity Bes in His magically defensive role brandishing a ritual knife, wand and writhing cobras, from my icon of “Bes the Magical Protector”


The Goddess Taweret appears as a raging hippopotamus in this cult image of faience in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art


The Goddess Sekhmet, the lioness-headed spouse of Creator God Ptah, is a closer match to the all-consuming violence expressed in the mythos of the God Set. Here is a goddess Who relishes the near annihilation of the human race in one cycle of myths in which the aging Ra calls out His “Eye” (sometimes Sekhmet, sometimes Hwt-Her or Hathor) to punish humankind for its rebellion against the Gods. Because of Her bloody exploits and punishing, warlike nature, Sekhmet was rightly feared as a goddess just as likely to harm humanity as to help it; and yet it was precisely because of Her explosive and destructive nature that She became known as a Protectress of truth and righteousness, and a goddess Who defended the worthy against injustice. Another aspect to the dichotomy of Sekhmet is Her reputation as a bringer of plague and disease, which could be unleashed upon humanity indiscriminately, and included desert storms. However, the Egyptians recognized that because the Goddess could manifest and control these terrors, She could also cure them, and because of this Sekhmet became the patroness of physicians and healers, and was invoked to guard against all forms of pestilence.


Detail of the Goddess Sekhmet from my icon “Sekhmet the Eye of Ra”, embodying the Goddess in Her destructive lioness aspect as the Daughter of Ra

Time and again one comes across such dichotomies in the myth cycles and hymns to Kemetic deities; these seemingly irreconcilable characteristics of deities who, on the one hand, come forth to help or serve humankind, and, on the other, to serve chastisement or outright destruction. The Netjeru or Deities of Kemet are vastly complex divine beings Whose legions of forms, names and epithets reveal the danger in placing simple moral labels like “right” and “wrong” or “good” and “evil” upon Them. Using such ethical terms places supernatural beings- who are not, after all, members of human society, and are not, therefore, subject to man-made laws or social norms- within subjective frameworks that will always change from culture to culture, place to place, and from epoch to epoch. It is human beings who are subject to the laws and ethics their various societies create and enforce, but always above such changeable constructs are the eternal Gods, Whose actions as expressed in Their cycles of myths often belie human tastes and conventions.

Lord Set is one such deity Who seems to go against the very grain of any form of social order recognizable to us. He violates the sacred bonds of family by murdering His own brother, Whom He drowns or dismembers (or both, depending on which version of the myth cycle one consults), and then makes war against His sister and Her son in a lengthy saga of hostility that disrupts the well-ordered machine of divine creation.

Extraordinarily, this same deity is also called upon to champion the cause of cosmic order as the defender of the Ark of Ra, which travels the Underworld nightly in order to face the serpent-demon Apep. Apep is the ultimate enemy, not only of the Gods, but of the earth, human race, and the cosmos entire. Apep’s sole purpose, it would seem, is the consummate dissolution of the Gods’ creation, and it is to this end that he works ceaselessly. It is the role of Set as the Defender of the Ark of Ra to deflect each attack of Apep in order to preserve the cosmic order established by the Creator Gods at the beginning of creation, and Set is the only god Whose violent powers are capable of accomplishing this.


The God Set bounds into action at the prow of the Ark of Ra to spear the serpent-demon Apep in His most significant role as the Defender of Cosmic Order (Ma’at)

In this truth we find one of the fascinating aspects of the ancient spiritual mind; and that is the truth that the same deity who is dangerous enough and powerful enough to upset the cosmic order by His exploits on the earth can also be the defense system and remedy to potential cosmic disorder by an equally violent enemy. Lord Set may have murdered His brother, and He may have made war on His sister and nephew, however, it is because of His terrible powers- capable of murdering another god and creating cosmic disturbances- that the God Set, when He chooses to, becomes the greatest force for protection and order our universe can know. In standing up against the cataclysmic actions of Apep, Set demonstrates His ultimate nature as an instrument of defense on the side of the Gods and Their fragile creation. Set’s other deeds, too, need to be seen in this same light.

Set’s victimization of His own family garners a great deal of press, and yet the outcome of these terrible events seems entirely lost on some minds. The demonization of Set might at first appear well deserved, for He drowns and dismembers His own brother out of apparent jealousy, and, not being content to wrest the throne of Kemet from His dead brother’s rightful keep, strives violently to prevent His nephew Heru from claiming His inheritance of divine kingship. But myth cycles are not one-sided affairs; they are the keepers of multiple truths simultaneously, and need not to be judged by the first impressions of moral outrage. The entire cycle of myths devoted to Set’s family epic are concerned on the one hand with the order of divine kingship in this world, and, perhaps more importantly, with the exercise of sacred kingship and custodianship in the Other World.

Before the induction of Ausir into the Duat (or Other World) after His death, the inhabitants of the land of the dead dwell in a state of confusion within a nigh-perpetual darkness. Their only relief from this terror comes during the brief spell of golden light cast off from the passage of Ra during His nightly journey through the Duat. From this cycle there seems to be no chance of respite, until the God Ausir is resurrected from the state of death into the Duat as its divine sovereign, Who forever after takes custodianship over the souls of the dead as judge and beneficent ruler. The Kingdom of Ausir in the Duat is the home of the Blessed Dead, those Righteous and worthy souls whose earthly lives merit a place among the Gods. All Egyptians strove to achieve resurrection after death and entrance into the Kingdom of Ausir, and these things were possible because of that unthinkable act of violence perpetrated by the God Set.

The catalyst of the entire cycle of myths of the family of Ausir, Auset and Heru is in fact the God Set, Who brings the God Ausir to His fate and purpose by consigning Him to the Duat. The means Set uses are not as significant as their effect, which is that Ausir is forced to relinquish His kingship in this material world in order to become divine sovereign of that Other World populated by the numberless souls of the dead in need; for kingship, that is, right rule and right conduct in governance, is needed not only in the realm of physical being, but, more significantly, is necessary in the spiritual state behind the terrestrial world.

The Duat embodies the entire state of creation within or behind the mortal sphere, and that sphere of existence far outlasts the limited span of life in the temporal world. In this spiritual condition, the force of Cosmic Order and Justice, Ma’at, holds sway above all, and is the prerogative of the God Ausir as Divine Judge and King of the Blessed Dead. It is Ausir Who looks into the hearts of all souls in order to determine their purity and Rightness (Ma’a), and He Who bestows the boons of resurrection and immortality to those who lived lives of moral worth upon the earth.

Without being cut down by the God Set, Ausir would have retained His earthly throne, leaving a continued vacancy for judge, guide, and caretaker of the dead in the Duat. Thus the role of Set in the fulfillment of a much larger, cosmic framework cannot be overlooked or underestimated. The question in approaching the mythos of this god and His family is not one of “right” and “wrong” or “good” and “evil” in a human social sense, but is instead a question of how each deity operates according to the higher purpose or harmony being emphasized in the myths. The actions of Set in His family drama are a means to an end, and that end becomes the proper establishment of the God Ausir as Judge and Sovereign in the Duat, and the passing down of His throne to the next generation of earthly kings. Though initially manifesting as pain and suffering and confusion, the cosmic result of Set’s actions is the new order of divine kingship for the living and the dead, and the development of the God Heru into a champion of Justice.

It was on May 25, 2017, on Pesedjentiu or New Moon Day, that I embarked on my mission to craft for Lord Set a cult image worthy of His awesome power; but equally as important to me was the creation of an earthly vessel whose form and qualities could serve as a manifestation of the Netjer’s noble attributes as a representative of the Royal Lineage of Ra. My complaint with many contemporary representations of Set is that they tend to fall prey to what I call the *dark lord syndrome*, portraying Lord Set as a brand of satanic bad boy or Kemetic devil. This type of image- equating the God Set with notions of the adversarial evil present in the Abrahamic religions- is, in my opinion, a carryover from monotheism, and represents the moral baggage we’ve inherited from the religions of the book. Whatever else He may be, the God Set is not Satan, and He is not evil.

On a par with other Kemetic deities of a martial or defensive nature (Sekhmet, Neith, Montu, Anhur, Maahes and Sobek come to mind here), Lord Set is ultimately the instigator of change or transformation, and this process is often a violent one, described in the mythos as a rending, tearing, or cutting down of life. Very similar to the Goddess Sekhmet, Set appears as a terrifying catalyst when change is not only called for, but mandatory for the next phase of life and creation to begin. In the short term, such action reads as outright destruction for its own sake, and is therefore morally objectionable from a human perspective. But change does not apologize or ask for permission; it manifests as part of the natural order of the created world, and is a natural part of the cycle of life; and many of the Netjeru embody these forces actively at work in the forms of Their cult images, epithets, and mythos. Set is certainly one of these, however, He, like all other Netjeru, performs other functions aside from those recognized as His primary roles.

We tend to think of Set as entirely violent, destructive, vengeful or bloodthirsty, and yet one of His most prominent roles in ancient times was as a Binder or Uniter of the Two Lands with the God Heru. These two Gods, Who elsewhere may be seen as adversaries, are in fact engaged in a sacred dance of weaving together the warp and the weft of Kemet’s halves; the lotus of Upper Kemet and papyrus of Lower Kemet, which create the activity of sema-tawy or “Union of the Two Lands”. By taking up a vital role in this cosmic action, Lord Set is in fact bringing together the disparate aspects of the created world and joining them together as a harmonious whole. The fact that it is Set in this position, and not some other deity(1), is an indication of just how significant His role in creation was understood to be by the ancients.


The Gods Heru and Set perform the holy act of sema-tawy, the “Union of the Two Lands”

Some may view Set’s inclusion in the sema-tawy motif as strictly one of representation of polar opposites, since Lord Set’s dominion is Southern or Upper Kemet, while Lord Heru’s is Northern or Lower Kemet; thus it would be natural for these two deities to appear together in the heraldic device signifying the reconciliation or unity of the Two Lands. But I believe that there is an even deeper significance to Lord Set’s appearance with Heru as a “Uniter of the Two Lands”. That significance is Cosmic Order and Rightness, Ma’at, which requires the operation of creation according to the principles established at the initiation of creation.

Set is sometimes said to be against Ma’at when He murders His brother Ausir, and in this instance we are seeing Ma’at on its micro level, which has to do with our view of what is just and humane on a social level. Murder is never acceptable, and its consequences can hardly be seen as “good”; however, there is the larger, macro view of Ma’at, which understands that the proper operation of creation includes death, dissolution and destruction as part of the natural process of creation. These things clear the way for the next stages of life, which result from the great change brought about by sudden violent action.

The sema-tawy motif, while symbolically representing the Two Countries of Upper and Lower Kemet, is also a device embodying the dichotomy of creation as seen through the lens of the two gods Whose very actions define this creative-destructive, life-death affirming dance in which all created things are engaged. We can no more deny the facts of birth and creation than we can the phenomena of death and decay, which are all woven together in the fabric of the created world; and it is Lord Set Who is the instigator, the catalyst, the propeller, and the protagonist of the change that compels the machine of life and creation forward. That is precisely why He stands with the God Heru as a “Binder of the Two Lands”.

The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength is the second panel in the Lords of Valor Triptych, and forms an important contribution to my Aegis Series of icons. After months of prayer, meditation, ritual activities and offerings to the Netjeru, I have come to the conclusion that these panels are part of a system of spiritual technology for the defense of those who are actively engaged in the work of the Gods. On this point I may not elaborate further, other than to say that out of all the Netjeru Who have stepped forward to take part in this project, it was Lord Set Who let it be known that His presence is most vital to the aims of the Aegis Panels, and that His quality of protection is what is needed in our world at this time.

Suty nakht aah pehty neb pet sety, “Set the Mighty is great of strength (as) Sky-Lord (Who) Begets” read the medu (hieroglyphs) on the left hand side of the God. These epithets were very carefully selected, as always, after an intense period of prayer and meditation on the vast array of epithets and descriptions given to Lord Set in the historical record(2). There are numerous ways to write Set’s name in the medu, thus numerous ways to pronounce His name(3); but the form I have used, Suty, a variant of Sutekh, is not too dissimilar from the words setu, “arrow”, and seti, “shoot”, which is identical in pronunciation- and similar in its writing in hieroglyphs- to the word seti, “to shoot seed”, “ejaculate”, “impregnate” or “beget”(4). As placed in this icon, the epithets of Set form a play on sound and symbolism or meaning; for the God Set or Suty is the God Who shoots (seti) arrows (setuw), Who stands behind kings to guide their arm in archery, and Who, as a Netjer of rampant male sexuality, is known for His aggressive and potent sexual appetite. The *Set animal*, which is seen in its complete form four times in the Aegis of Sutekh, bears its distinctive arrow-like tail, which hints at the martial nature of this god Who is known to give kings ferocious strength in battle against the enemies of Kemet.

Behind the head of Set I have placed a rebus forming an epithet saying Sutekh-pehty- shuwyt (or shuwt) or “Set is the shade (or shadow) of strength (or valor)”. The origin of this epithet- insofar as I know- is contemporary and local, having been given to me by Lord Set during a walking meditation in the northwestern desert of Utah. This is a landscape my husband and I frequent continuously, and in regards to communion with the God Set it could not be a more appropriate setting. Lord Set has always been associated with the desert, or “Red Land” (deshret) as the ancient Egyptians called it; and the northwestern desert of Utah is very red, dominated by deep amber and red ocher-colored peaks, which for miles loom above the famous Bonneville Salt Flats. This is a truly Setian landscape, startling in its stark beauty, which in summer scintillates with the hostile waves of heat rising up from the Salt Flats. It was here in the presence of one of the red pyramidal peaks that Lord Set gave me a vision of Him in His wild animal form standing on the heads of two leopards. From His back rose up the ostrich feather sunshade carried in religious processions by the ancients, and in my heart’s ears I heard the words “I am Sutekh-pehty-shuwyt.”

This epithet for me denotes a local form of the God Set resident in the mountains and salt flats of the northwestern Utah desert, and yet, like all epithets given to Kemetic deities, it can also reference more universal or cosmic associations. The form of the sunshade- with its tall ostrich plumes- is often used to denote the presence of a deity or divine king, but always embodies the auspicious power or presence of a great being. The sacred boat shrines used by Kemetic priests to carry the cult images of the Gods are shielded by long-handled sunshades of gold with multicolored plumes. These are badges of a god’s power and influence, and carry with them the understanding that the god’s spiritual presence is present. However, the sunshade or shuwt is also used in the medu (hieroglyphs) to denote the seryt or military standard(5), which of course would have special significance in relation to Set as a god of the military and martial prowess.

But the shuwt-sunshade most especially represents that aspect of Gods or mortals that may best be described as a form of spiritual influence or existence connected with the physical body, and yet capable of projecting itself from the body, just as any material body or object may cast its shadow on the ground. The casting of this shuwt or shadow- in deities- is a manifestation of the god’s tangible power which has the ability to cross thresholds and boundaries; thus the use of divine sunshades in religious processions during which the cult image of the god crosses over the threshold of the sanctuary and out into the wider world. Sunshades, portable cult objects, and even temple sanctuaries themselves may constitute forms of a deity’s shadow, which have the ability to affect people and the natural world with Their power(6).

In the case of the God Set, He may rightly be called a shuwyt or shuwt of Ra, that is, a shadow of the Sun-God that is projected ahead of Ra in order to defeat His enemies. It is Set Who stands at the prow of the Ark of Ra as the valiant knight poised with His spear against the serpent-demon Apep, and He Who preserves the sacred maintenance of creation embodied in the Family of Ra. The presence of Set denotes the presence of Ra as the Defender of Ma’at or Cosmic Order, thus He is the “sunshade” of the Gods, the “shadow” of protective power cast off from the body of the Creator. The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength houses the Shadow of the God Set as the Divine Protector and Representative of the Royal Family of Ra. It is a cult image which itself behaves as a shuwt of the Netjer, for its own physical shadow is the living presence of Set as it crosses the threshold of the material world. In its gold, gemstones, crystals and pigments it holds the spiritual potency of the God, which shines or casts from it a radiance that permeates the space around it. This affect, energetic, visual and physical, is the function of the shuwt as a metaphysical body.

I would further define the epithet Sutekh-pehty-shuwyt (pronounced soo-tech pek-tee shoo-yeet) with the following:

“It is Suty, Sutekh, Setesh Who stands as the Shadow, the Sacred Image, the Spirit of valor! Sutekh is the Shield, the Screen, the Safeguard of divine strength, and the very image of valor is Sutekh! Sutekh is the Shade of the powerful, the valiant, the Sacred, and His valor is the Shade of true power. With His strength the God Sutekh preserves, shields, and shades, and with His Shadow He becomes the protection of the Divine!”

On August 5, 2017 we celebrated the holy Wep-Ronpet or “Opening of the Year”, “New Year’s” Day festival, the heliacal rising of the star Sopdet (Sirius) and the official start of the Kemetic year. Before the New Year sun mounted our desert sky, my husband and I gathered some of our temple’s holiest treasures and made our pilgrimage to the center of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Along with our kar-shrine containing the God Ptah, we brought the completed Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu and the half-completed Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength.

All Kemetic temples celebrate the Khnem-Aten or “Union with the Sun” on New Year’s Day, which signifies the renewal of the earth and the powers of the Gods throughout creation. The central deity (or deities) of each temple is removed from Their secluded sanctuary and placed where the unobstructed rays of the rising New Year sun may fall upon Their living image. Other cult objects such as standards, wands, sacred stones, and all items especially venerated by the God of the temple are left out in the open air as the New Year sun rises and reveals the newly rejuvenated earth. We made our procession with the icons, and placed the faces of Lords Ptah, Djehuty and Set facing east to receive the Wep-Ronpet blessing of Ra.

The solar radiation ceremony at sunrise on New Year’s morning is considered the holiest blessing cult objects can receive, and for this reason I was anxious to bestow this momentous event to the first two icon panels of the Aegis Series. It was a marvelous moment when the lightening lapis sky was transformed by a burst of glowing pink streaks, which quickly erupted over the desert mountains and spilled onto the glistening white salt flakes blanketing the Bonneville Salt Flats. We watched while we intoned the Kemetic invocation of Ra as the golden-copper face and finely gilt reliefs of the Aegis of Sutekh leapt to life with fiery color, the platinum White Crown on Set’s head beaming silver-white in the sunrise.


We arrived at the Bonneville Salt Flats when our sacred desert mountains were still cloaked in pre-dawn shadow


Slowly the desert sky began to lighten with ribbons of deep pink light


The sacred mountains of the northwestern Utah desert frame the Bonneville Salt Flats where we celebrate all our high day and holy day ritual observances


Ra the Lord of Heaven manifests His face on Wep-Ronpet morning










The Kar-shrine of Lord Ptah from our Temple receives the first rays of the Wep-Ronpet sun together with the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength, the Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu and other holy objects





































People often ask me why my icons take so long to craft. We live in a society where instant gratification is taken for granted as a way of life. Everything in our modern consumer culture is governed by it; fast food, instant messaging, texting, dating, and entertainment. We expect everything we want to be delivered to us at the tap of a screen, and when it’s not, we move on to something that will. The sacred work I do as an iconographer is built on a foundation of painstaking craftsmanship using materials and techniques that take time; however, there is also another aspect of my work that requires patience, and that is its cultic requirements. These are ancient ritual standards for purity and empowerment that operate primarily according to a lunar calendar.

Each lunar month has its New (pesedjentiu), First Quarter (denat), Full (tep semdet) and Last Quarter (denat) observances, which are each marked by specific prayers and offering rites that bestow sanctification to the cult image as it progresses. Added to these primary lunar observances are the numerous feast days of the Netjeru of the Temple that occur throughout the year. These too must be punctuated by the appropriate prayers and offerings, which not only please the Gods, but also petition Them for Their acceptance of each cult image as a true cult image fit for divine habitation. These celestial events also govern when each phase of a cult image may begin and end.

Of course, it is not always possible for me to begin or end a particular phase of an icon on the actual lunar day ideal for it; there are technical challenges and setbacks, but in general I strive to align each phase of an icon’s creation with the ritually appropriate time specified by the lunar cycle. Through dreams and divination the Gods make clear Their intentions to the iconographer, and these can include *extra days* or *rites above the moon*, that is to say, ritual actions required by the deity on days or times that are beyond the typical. Each deity has its own unique requirements for establishing right relationship with it, and each cult image is a unique vessel tied to a specific aspect or aspects of a deity’s personality; and it is for these reasons that the time frame required to complete an icon may be extended beyond what is normal.

The Lunar Festival rites granted to each icon do not take place in my studio, but rather in locations out on the desert where the icons may be exposed to the spiritual powers of the local deities and land spirits; but also, and equally as important, where the icons may receive the direct influence of the lunar and stellar lights. I have given the name Khnem-I’ah, “Union with the Moon” to the Lunar Radiation Rite, which entails placing the cult image directly on the desert floor beneath the light of the Full Moon so that the deity is bathed in it and may “drink” it. The Khnem-I’ah is the most powerful lunar ritual, and is always performed beneath the auspices of the God Djehuty (Thoth) or Djehuty-I’ah, Djehuty as the lunar disk. The icon panel is circumambulated, “fed” with copious food offerings and libations of alcohol (beer or wine), and venerated with a chanted litany of the deity’s names and epithets. But there are other lunar observances, such as the Sennut or “Six-Day” Feast, which marks the beginning of I’ah Meh Wedjat, “Filling the Wedjat Eye”. On this day- continuing until Full Moon Day- the God Djehuty, together with His retinue of 14 Netjeru, replaces the missing portions of light to the Moon until it is whole (wedja) again, that is, until it becomes the restored Netjer of complete (wedja) power.

All of these observances- and many more besides- constitute a vast ritual program for each icon, through which two-dimensional images crafted from earthly materials are united with the vital powers of the living Gods, and are thus transformed from terrestrial into celestial manifestations. It is not enough for any artisan or craftsperson to simply make the form of a deity, because a thing that merely looks like a deity but has not been enlivened by the Divine Presence is not a deity, and has no internal power whatsoever. An image that has been made to resemble a certain deity’s iconography may inspire; it may please the eyes, and it may grant the observer a certain feeling of connection to the deity they believe it represents; however, without being “fed” the appropriate cultic rites, and crafted from its inception through the exacting and ancient standards of ritual purity and ritual identification with the deity, no image, however beautiful, will actually contain the living power of the deity, nor will it be able to function as a true cult image.

A true cult image must be literally enlivened or “made to live” through the activities (iruw) of the cult (iri khet), which do not begin after the image has already been crafted, but rather before the image has even materialized. A “working” or “awake” cult image is first established through a direct relationship with the deity in question, which always begins with prayers accompanied by offerings. The type and number of offerings is always directed by the deity through a process of dream incubation and divination, through which the deity makes known the conditions required by Them in order for the image to be crafted. Cult images cannot be made without the direct permission and participation of the deity, because the entire purpose of a cult image, and what gives it its holiness, is engagement with the vital power of the living Gods; and for engagement to occur, the deity must first desire to engage and be engaged, and Their cooperation must be given to the iconographer who will be making a material copy of that deity’s spiritual body. Once these fundamental conditions are met, the iconographer must still meet the legion of other cultic requirements established through what I refer to as cultic precedent.

Cultic precedent presupposes that there is a right way to engage the Gods and create an active relationship with Them through sacred space and the activities offered therein. How do we know what the right way is? As Kemetics we are the recipients of a vast legacy of temple documents, sacred texts, treatises and images that each contain valuable pieces of information concerning how our Gods were engaged for thousands of years, and the procedures by which our Ancestors achieved this. By studying such texts as the Daily Ritual, we have spelled out for us clearly the very words, ritual gestures and offerings that were utilized by our Ancestors. Such texts make it clear that specific ritual gestures, prayers, and rites of purification were long-established ceremonial forms for maintaining right relationship with the Gods. This religious legacy constitutes cultic precedent, giving us a very ancient and time-tested framework for engaging the living Gods and ensuring our right relationship with Them.

August 21, 2017 marked yet another auspicious stage in the creation and sanctification of the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength when the United States witnessed the first total eclipse visible across the entire contiguous US since June 8, 1918 (7). Symbolically, solar eclipses have special significance for the God Set, for He is the Defender of the Ark of Ra, the divine champion Who stands at the prow of the solar boat- javelin in hand- to repel the enemy Apep. A solar eclipse is indicative of the ascendancy of Apep over the sacred light of Ra, but it is also an opportunity for Lord Set to be recognized and invoked as the force of Cosmic Order (Ma’at) over Apep. Thus we made a pilgrimage to our favorite city, Salt Lake City, Utah, carrying the Aegis of Sutekh with us in His temporary lockable “shrine”. From the top of one of Sugarhouse Park’s many hills, surrounded by maples, spruce, fir and pines, we shared the Aegis of Sutekh with the sky at the height of the eclipse, and claimed Salt Lake City for the Lord Set. It may seem strange to some that we would do such a thing, being that Salt Lake City is the known administrative and devotional center for the LDS Church; but speaking from a vantage of geography, the Great Salt Lake, the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere, places the surrounding territory, including Salt Lake City, under the aegis of the God Set, Who is known to be associated with the sea, and, by extension, large bodies of salt water.


Holding the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength in His lock box “shrine” during the full solar eclipse at Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Salt Lake City did not experience true darkness during the eclipse, but rather the appearance of sunset




The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength during the eclipse shown as a negative image




As if to solidify His spiritual presence as Lord and Divine Patron of Salt Lake City, Set arranged through a series of synchronicities to have His Aegis blessed in that city by the hands of Her Holiness Rev. Tamara Siuda (AUS), the Nisut or Sacral King of the Kemetic Orthodox Faith. I have known Her Holiness for a number of years, and She has been a deeply influential peer, guide and friend to my sacred mission as a Kemetic iconographer. From the very beginning of my work on the Aegis of Sutekh, She was present as a source of blessing and guidance, often sharing Her insights with me concerning how Lord Set operates in the lives of His devotees, and how He could be making His presence known through my creation of this icon.

On the evening of May 31, the day before Denat or First Quarter Moon, my husband and I were hiking on the desert trails near the red mountains behind our home, when a large bullsnake crossed back and forth three times on the trail directly in front of us. Immediately before the bullsnake had appeared on the trail, Brent and I had offered prayers to Lord Set out loud, asking Him for a sign of His blessings. I immediately thought of contacting Her Holiness for Her interpretation of what this could mean if it was a sign sent by the Gods, so I texted Tamara and asked Her for a reading. Her answer was clear; that this bullsnake crossing our path was a sign of protection from the Gods Set and Wadjet- in Her manifestation as the Royal Cobra Who defends the Lineage of the Gods. It was also a powerful blessing for my Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength, indicating that it was a container of the apotropaic presence of Lord Set.



It was with some excitement and anticipation that my husband and I drove to Salt Lake City on First Quarter Moon Day on August 29th for our dinner meeting with Her Holiness. Lord Set had instructed me via a dream that we were to bring His Aegis with us to receive Her Holiness’ blessing, which He said was part of its awakening/ sanctification process. When the moment finally arrived, my heart leapt, not only because I was meeting a treasured friend and spiritual teacher in person after having known her online and by phone for so long, but also because of the reaction that happened when Tamara held and gave Her blessing to the Aegis. There was a palpable burst of heat or energy that rose up through the icon from Her hands. Was it the sekhem or “power” of Lord Set rushing in to meet Her Holiness, or was it Her Holiness rushing in to meet Him? Or both? It was certainly a powerful moment I was very grateful to be a part of, and one about which Tamara later texted me: “…when you set it in my hands something happened”.


Standing with Her Holiness Rev. Tamara Siuda (AUS) holding the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength

Full Moon Day (Tep semdet) on September 6, 2017 saw the completion of the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength after more than three months of intense work. These were months of trial and struggle (technically, spiritually, intellectually and emotionally), and it was very much a grateful iconographer who journeyed once again to Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City to offer the face of Lord Set to the sky. My husband and I took the Aegis of Sutekh to the park in His lock box, and there let the God drink in the rays of the afternoon sun as we recited Kemetic prayers, and then offered our own personal petitions to the God Great of Strength. Later that evening, at sundown, we returned to the park for a walk, and were given heavenly confirmation that Lord Set had received His image. That morning as we drove to Salt Lake City, the desert air was clouded by the smoke blowing over from the raging wildfires that were ravaging California and Montana, and by the time sunset fell over Salt Lake City, the sun had transformed into a vibrant red-orange globe descending in the smoky sky.






Unfortunately, these two pictures did not capture the full affect of the eerie red-orange mask worn by the sun on that day of our park ceremony for the newly completed Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength


Later that night we drove back to our home in the northwestern Utah desert, and there, beneath the startling radiance of a smoky yellow-orange moon, offered the Khnem-I’ah to the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength. The crash of our sistrum and chanting filled the otherwise still air of the desert night- with the dark amber peaks of our local holy mountains looming behind us. The Bonneville Salt Flats sparkled here and there as if scattered with diamonds, and directly above us the stars of Ursa Major (Meshketiu) shed their sacred lights.


The newly complete Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength receives the Khnem-I’ah or “Union with the Moon” on Full Moon Night on September 6, 2017

Lord Set is called the “Red One”, and fire is certainly His element, and wildfires a symbol of how His power operates in the natural world. The hand of Set clears out the old making way for the new, and this is His law as it is made manifest throughout creation. He is the force that burns, that separates the “wheat from the chaff”, that cuts down the mature tree and gives birth to the sapling, that prepares new life to explode from death. In many respects the God Set is the master of change and impermanence, for that which never changes never has the opportunity to grow, and Lord Set is the instigator of growth through the agency of change. This is often a difficult and painful process, because any form of change, be it “good” or “bad”, is still a shift in paradigms or of what one has known, and the immediate response can often be flight or terror. The terror of change is the work of Set, Who uses change as a tool to urge growth towards the fulfillment of a goal.

We see this in the mythos of the Family of Geb and Nut, where Set cuts down His own brother and sends Him to the Duat. The Duat is always the destiny of Ausir, Who is only ever allowed a brief time in the material world before He passes over into the realm of the Spirit. It is through the death and suffering of Ausir that He is challenged to renounce His throne in the world of light to become Sovereign of the shrouded world of the dead; but it is Ausir’s final passage into this place of darkness that fills it with a light of its own, and gives freedom to the souls, deities and demons sequestered there. The agency of Ausir’s kingship is none other than His brother Set, Who also plays an instrumental role (albeit a fractious one) in the development of Ausir’s son Heru into the adult king He becomes. These events are possible because of the tumultuous actions of Set, which provoke the entire pantheon of Gods to reexamine Their positions of power and Their loyalties. At the end of a nigh one-hundred year feud, kingship over the world of the living has been restructured, and kingship over the world of the dead established forever. The Gods Heru and Set have taken custodianship over the Black (cultivated) and Red (desert) Lands respectively, while the God Ausir reigns justly as the Divine Judge of men’s hearts and Sovereign of the Blessed Dead.

Having now reached the end of an extraordinary experience of creation and initiation, I can look back on the past three months with a new sense of insight and gratitude. No, Lord Set is not a “nice” deity or an “easy” one. His purpose is not to lull us into a false sense of security or to help us see our world and ourselves through rose-colored lenses. Lord Set’s purpose is to peel away the blinders, and replace the rose-colored lenses with an awareness of things as they truly are. This is an agonizing and ego-crushing process, because we so want to see the world through idealism and attachments that are, in the end, merely ephemeral constructs. These the God Set greedily devours, just as He cuts down the things we need to change in order to be transformed into who and what we really are.

Contrary to His blighted reputation, Set does not accomplish this without compassion, for His valor, His great strength is the strength of a heart roused by a love for the noble qualities of which humankind is fully capable; qualities that Set brings to the surface of the stagnating pond by throwing a rock into its center. His actions spur us into action that allows us to recognize our own inner strength, bravery, and fortitude. His love is a fierce love, a tough love, and a desire to accomplish what is good for the greater good. In the short term this might surface through pain or confusion, as the ego runs wild attempting to escape from the reality Set’s actions confront us with. In these regards, walking with Set can at times feel like we are walking through the eye of a storm; and just around the corner, just beyond our line of sight, the calm of the storm dissolves into frenetic chaos. This is the chaos brought about by radical change, by the sweeping hand of Set, Who is never without change, and never fixed in the world of our illusions.

It is in your pain that I am with you.
It is in your darkness that I am with you.
It is in your hopelessness that I am with you.
It is in your cries and your shouts that you hear
My voice, which shatters the sky as thunder,
Which cuts the tops of mountains
As lightning.
It is in your fear that my strong right arm draws Back the bow.
My aim is sure, and the Gods of the Sky
Acclaim me on account of it!

– From a Prayer of the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength by Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa, June 1, 2017


1  There are occasions when Set’s role in performing sema-tawy is given over to the God Djehuty or Thoth, which demonstrates how the fear or vilification of this deity is nothing new; however, it is recognized in studying the history of the sema-tawy device that its original two deities were Heru and Set, and that this was the standard visualization for the Union of the Two Lands.

2  Leitz, Christian. Lexikon der ägyptischen Götter und Götterbezeichnungen, Band VIII. Peeters Publishers, 2002, pp 667-670. See also Band VI, pp. 691- 698.

3  See teVelde, H. Seth, God of Confusion. Brill, Leiden 1967, pp. 1-12.

4  Faulkner, R.O. A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian. Griffith Institute, Oxford 2002, pp. 218, 252-255.

5  Faulkner, Ibid., 235.

6  For an excellent article on the Shadow or Shade see the entry written by James P. Allen in The Oxford Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology. Oxford University Press, New York 2002, pp. 334-335.

Photo Essay: Finding the Lord of the Red Land



The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength / Panel Two of the Lords of Valor Triptych- a work in progress


It is in your pain that I am with you.
It is in your darkness that I am with you.
It is in your hopelessness that I am with you.
It is in your cries and your shouts that you hear
My voice, which shatters the sky as thunder,
Which cuts the tops of mountains
As lightning.
It is in your fear that my strong right arm draws Back the bow.
My aim is sure, and the Gods of the Sky
Acclaim me on account of it!

– From the Prayer of the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength by Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa


The ancient Egyptians called their deserts the Red Land, deshret, and Lord Set is their benefactor.  He is the terrifying Presence on the periphery of the green and black cultivated land, the deity Who speaks through the tempestuous winds tearing through sand and rock, and over the mountain peaks.  His habitation exists in all the places *civilized* human beings fear to tread; in the searing heat of the desert, in the barren wastelands occupied by scorpions and snakes, and in the lonely spaces where the hot sky and wind predominate.  I happen to live in such a place, in the high desert of northwest Utah, where every day I am given the opportunity to see the natural world around me as the dwelling place of the living Gods of Kemet.

On June 7, 2017, in preparation for the Full Moon observances, my household conducted the first sanctification ritual for my current icon in progress, the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength.  Already, the face of the moon was shining full and brilliantly, like an alabaster lamp suspended in a dark sapphire sky; and we made our way through the northwestern desert of Utah to our own sacred places, where we have celebrated the Presences of our Gods as They manifest in the awe-inspiring forms of the natural world.



A barren road winds through a desert framed by dark red and amber peaks, these leading to the holy place we have named Merit-Sager’s Womb


Great red mountains loom like natural pyramids over the valley in northwestern Utah where Merit-Sager’s Womb waits to receive our veneration


Twilight falls on our lonely sacred valley, bringing with it a profound stillness and silence, broken only by the sound of birds, bats, and crickets


The moon began to rise as we arrived at Merit-Sager’s Womb, from whose vantage the glittering Bonneville Salt Flats may be seen


This lonely desert is the dwelling place of Lord Sutekh / Set, Whose sacred red color paints the ground, rocks, and mountains


Merit-Sager’s Womb as seen from the outside of its natural cave-like outcropping, which contains the crevices and holes in which bats and birds build their nests


Merit-Sager’s Womb is blessed in the name of the protective Cobra Goddess Whose own sacred peak in Egypt stands over the “Great and Noble Necropolis” we now call the Valley of the Kings.  In our landscape, Merit-Sager is the Protectress of the desert in which our little town of West Wendover sits.  We come to this place to give prayers and offerings to the Goddesses and Gods of the Red Land


The moon rose clearly and brilliantly as we approached Merit-Sager’s Womb for our lunar radiation ceremony.  Each of my icons is created according to the sacred lunar cycle, with each phase of creation coinciding with one of the main lunar events.  The Full Moon period always initiates a new stage in the creation of a cult-image, and is utilized for the charging of the divine image with direct exposure to lunar light


Before we begin our ceremony proper, procession of the Aegis of Sutekh is made from the edge of Merit-Sager’s Womb into the heart of Her natural Sanctuary




Inside the Sanctuary of Merit-Sager’s Womb, the Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength is given a blessing to the accompaniment of bats and desert birds


The mouth of Merit-Sager’s Womb embodies entry into the Duat, the Twilight Realm inhabited by the Gods and the Blessed Dead.  Her stony roof stretches out into the lonely desert where we establish a sacred space where Lord Sutekh may be invoked




The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength is surrounded by images of the deities associated with Him, including His sacred animals.  The bones of an antelope are present as embodiments of Lord Set’s wild nature



The Aegis of Sutekh Great of Strength bathed in the final rays of the dying sun just prior to our ceremony



The near-Full Moon beams down on the desert where distant town lights flicker




The Aegis of Sutekh receives the lunar radiation rite






I am very grateful to Michael Strojan for his consent for us to use the following litany during our lunar radiation rite for the Aegis of Sutekh, which assisted in the bestowal of sanctity to this powerful cult-image of Lord Set.

Aretaology of Seth

I am the Lord of the Heaven and the Northern Sky.
I am he who supports the sky for all the gods.
I am the self-born child of Nut and Geb.
I have torn myself from my mother’s womb.
I stretch forth in stride upon my father’s land.
I am in my power, coming with full wrath upon my brother.
I am of great repute, being mighty because of my brother.
I am the Bull in Ombos, having many shrines.
I am magnificent in my shrines of Upper Egypt.
I am in the midst of many magnificent temples.
I am the ruler of both lands.
I quicken the rapids of the Nile.
I am the red hippopotamus in full wrath.
I am the serpent raised to strike.
I am the falcon surveying armies.
I am he having many armies, triumphant over enemies.
I am at the front, defeating the armies of invaders.
I am within their encampments like scores of fleas.
I send them away and naming their best soldiers.
I have taken from them many beautiful wives.
I have crowned them and made them mine.
I am he before whom the sky trembles.
I am he with great power in the barque of millions.
I am the beautiful child of Re, standing at the bow.
I am mighty at the tip the barque, armed with spear.
I conquer Apep daily and rend him in twain.
I defeat all the enemies of Re, dispatching them with sword in my wrath.
I he who is magnanimous, bestowing many honors.
I have given seats of powers to kings outside of Egypt.
I have welcomed the foreigner into my lands.
I am great of power and magic.
I am he with hidden and secret forms.
I have taken the dawn with my power, and created darkness.
I have given light to the darkness and have caused the sun to return.
I heal any and every affliction with my saliva.
I am mighty of voice and cause demons to flee the four corners of the earth.
I am the pleasure of increase in antelope.
I am the phallus that causes increase in hares.
I make the fish to gather in pools and prosper.
I am the Lord of Heaven and Earth.
Mighty is my name, yesterday, today and tomorrow.


Smoke This!



“It’s all just stuff blowing around in the wind, and noise…so much noise. I wear the wind on my sleeve and have a halo of lightning surrounding my bare head. I eat the Gods in the morning, and there is no part of me without a God in it. All the other little things are just that, little things. I have already conquered death, and I am married to Eternity through the holy works of my lotus hands. Let my critics put that in their pipes and smoke it”

– Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

Polytheistic Voices With Galina Krasskova



I first became acquainted with Ptahmassu several years ago when I commissioned a series of icons for my prayer card series. His work was stunning and it was very clear immediately that his icons were living embodiments of divine energy. The Gods had blessed him as a craftsman and artist. He is a fierce polytheist and I am delighted that he was able to take the time for this interview.


GK:  Tell me a little bit about yourself and your work. Who are you and what do you do?

Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa:  My life as a servant of the Gods has taken me on a very windy road.  It feels like each stage of my life has witnessed the Gods calling me to another level or mode of service, and with each level has come a more wholesome understanding of who the Gods are and what They have to say to humankind.  I was legally ordained as a priest of the Temple of Isis California in 2001 by the Rt. Rev. Lady Loreon Vignè, and a priest of the Fellowship of Isis by Lady Olivia Robertson.  The spiritual visions of the TOI and FOI have played a significant role in the development of my spiritual work, which has become- more and more- the path of devotional service to the living Gods.

 I regard myself as a devotional Polytheist, primarily in the Kemetic tradition, though there are other pantheons I serve with cultus.  My direct experience has demonstrated to me that the Gods are unique and individual manifestations of the Divine.  They each have Their own powers and spheres of influence, material and spiritual forms, personalities and methods for revealing Their presences to devotees.  I reject entirely the rather New Age concept of the Gods as merely different faces of the same inscrutable god, and the ever popular neo-Pagan ideal that views all gods as one god, and all goddesses as one goddess.  In these regards you could call me something of a hard Polytheist. 

My calling to Kemetic Polytheism has found its most profound outlet in my work as a ritualist and an iconographer, both of which I see as two sides of the same coin.  For me, Kemeticism is bound to our immediate relationship with our Gods, the Netjeru, Who engage humankind through the actions of cultus, which revolve around the divine presences inherent in ritually awakened images.  It was through a very gradual process spanning a number of years that I was directed to use my priestly skills in conjunction with my skills as an artist and crafts-person.  The result of this process is my vocation as a Kemetic iconographer, which is my sole vocation, in the place of secular work.  My goal is to eventually establish a guild of Kemetic iconographers to carry out the continued revival of Kemetic ritual practices via the iconographic arts of the temple.  Innate to this goal is the philosophy of Kemetic polytheism as a body of religious practices to which the living Gods are central.  I want my work, more than anything, to be a voice for devotional Polytheism.

To read the entire interview please click here

Revisiting Anpu Lord of the Sacred Land


Anpu Lord of the Sacred Land
Panel #2 of the Sacred West Triptych
An original Kemetic icon by master iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa
Extra fine watercolor, precious metal, semi-precious stones on 8″x10″ archival panel
Genuine mineral pigments used as watercolor:
lapis lazuli (sourced from Chile), amethyst (Soladad, Brazil), bloodstone (Alaska, USA), jadeite (Alaska, USA), piemontite (Alaska, USA), rhodonite (Bellahorizonte, Brazil), red fuchsite (Brazil), garnet (Brazil), malachite.
22 karat gold, Sterling silver, copper
Cabochon gemstones: Chrysoprase (Brazil), Sugilite (South Africa), onyx
Austrian lead crystal elements by Swarovski®.


O Anpu, Lord of the Sacred West,
open the Doors of Heaven,
and open your mouth in the
presence of the West!

Homage to You, Lord of Natron,
whose scent is the scent of the
First Occasion, whose breath
brings life to the one who inhales it.

Make the giving of life, O Lord
for the one who sleeps,
make a path in the Sacred West
for the one who has journeyed forth.

Open your mouth, O Anpu,
and may my mouth be opened
by that tool of heavenly iron
by which Ptah opened up the
mouths of all the Gods.
May You in your leopard skin
place your powers upon my shoulders,
your breath in my nostrils,
your terror in my hands.

You breathe, O Anpu, and I breathe!
You take your seat in the Wedjat Eye, O Anpu,
and I too am seated in the Wedjat Eye
at the hour of its filling!
You sit upright, O Anpu, and I am erect,
never impotent, never weary like the

Homage to You, O Anpu the Lord of Natron!
Your purity is the purity of the Nine Gods,
whose sweat composes me, whose brows flare
with power over my flesh and my members!
I stand in the Sea of Reeds, rejuvenated
from the efflux of your body,
and what dwells in the Gods dwells
within me.

All praise to You, Anpu, Lord of the Sacred Land,
Dweller Upon His Mount and Foremost of the

-Prayer honoring Anpu Lord of Natron
by Master Iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa


Since I have not yet posted professional quality photographs of my icon “Anpu Lord of the Sacred Land“, it gives me great pleasure to present to you this collection of outstanding pictures taken by professional photographer Nick Sokolof of Salt Lake City, Utah.  It is with profound gratitude that I am able to share this work with those of you who continue to support and take an interest in my work, and I say thank you to Nick for the time and energy he has thus far invested in photographing my icons.  Please enjoy!

All photographs copyright© 2017 Nick Sokolof.  All rights reserved


Honoring Thrice-Great Djehuty


Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu“:  an original Kemetic icon by master iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa / panel one of the Lords of Valor Triptych / natural semi-precious mineral watercolor, acrylic, semi-precious stone, Austrian lead crystal, 22 karat yellow gold, 23 karat red gold, platinum on 5″ x 7” archival wood and clay panel.

Natural mineral pigments used as watercolor:  lapis lazuli, amethyst, malachite, jadeite, garnet, red fuchsite, piemontite


Full Moon night fell on the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah’s northwestern desert on May 10, 2017, and we gathered beneath the ruddy peaks that lined the valley to give praise to the Noble Ibis- the God Djehuty, called “Thrice-Great” in so many ancient texts.  My new series of small icon panels, the “Aegis Series”, began with the Aegis of Djehuty and the Souls of Khmennu, a work that petitions Lord Djehuty to safeguard the virtues of sacred Knowledge, Wisdom, and Magical learning.  Like all of the panels in the Aegis Series, this icon is a *shield* of divine protection aimed at drawing out the apotropaic qualities of the deity it houses. 

This holy work is not a symbol, though it displays symbols.  It is not a reminder, though it contains memory.  It is not inspirational art, though it was certainly divinely inspired and provokes inspiration.  Like all true cult images or God-images, the Aegis of Djehuty is a physical manifestation of the Netjer’s (the Deity’s) Ka or Vital Essence.  Referred to in the ancient tongue as sekhem, the cult-image is a literal container of the Netjer’s power, and is itself a tangible manifestation of that deity’s living presence.  Such works are taken through a number of complex rites and magical procedures, from the moment of their inception to the moment of their installation in temple or shrine.  Each of my icons is *birthed* through the pains and ecstasies of time-honored rites that directly link the physical image with the dynamic manifestation of the deity crafted upon it.

One such body of practices is the rite of lunar radiation, during which the icon is taken beneath the light of the Full Moon, and remains there for a period of time long enough to magically charge it with the essence of the lunar disk.  Solar radiations are also accomplished for deities linked directly with the sun; but for Lord Djehuty, Who is Himself the very embodiment of the Moon (Iah), the lunar radiation ritual is the most vital and powerful ritual, whose action grants the cult-image a living power all its own.

So, we took the Aegis of Djehuty- still in a state of being worked to completion- out into the desert salt flats where the intense glare of the Full Moon shone nearly as bright as early morning on the pristine salt.  Above us stretched a dark lapis sky ornamented with bright stars, and behind us the dark amber sentinels of pyramidal mountains.  These were the peaks we have recognized as sacred places of our Gods, and have even given them Kemetic names; Montu Mountain, the Peak of Sutekh Great of Strength, the Womb of Merit-Sager.  All of Them watched in utter silence as we created an appropriate ritual space on the desert floor, and then broke the silence with the crash of our sistrums and chanting in the Kemetic tongue. 

Offerings of round bread and beer were fed to the image through the recitation of offering formulas, and Lord Djehuty petitioned to receive the essence of the offerings by way of the *mouth* of His holy image.  It is the essence of cult that opens up the doorway between our human world and the world of the Gods.  It is the action of cult- its offerings, music, hymns, and ecstasy- that urges the Gods to return our petitions with the power of Their living Presences.  It is cult that brings human and Divine together in the same vital space, which becomes a living temple where the Gods and Their celebrants dance.

The most significant aspect of the cult of images is to provide a meeting place for the material and spiritual worlds, to bring these together in such a way as to make them inseparable.  This is accomplished through the feeding of the divine image, meaning the offering of taste (food sustenance), sight (via flames), sound (via music, instruments and chanting), and smell (incense) to the Deity.  These are the foundations of cultic action, and without them no God-image can hope to serve or to bridge the gap between humanity and the Gods.  It is the constant *feeding* of the God-image that establishes a firm link with the deity so embodied, and cult-images that receive constant and vigilant service become the most potent images of all.

I am very grateful to those generous souls who contributed prayers to be read out loud during our lunar radiation rite for Lord Djehuty.  Her Holiness Rev. Tamara Siuda (AUS), Nisut / Sacral King of the Kemetic Orthodox Faith, was kind enough to send us a special prayer she had adapted for our blessing of this icon, and she is sincerely thanked for providing that blessing.  Rev. Tatiana Matveena allowed us to use two of her beautiful and poetic prayers to Djehuty for His gratification.  All three of these prayers are posted below with permission from their authors, and all rights are reserved by them.



Prayer for Blessing the Aegis of Djehuty

By H.H. Rev. Tamara Siuda (AUS)

Dua Djehuty! I kiss the earth before Ra’s tjaty.
Very Great Lord, sacred bird, Lord of Ma’at, words, and knowledge:
Creator Who spoke the words of life,
You Who spoke into existence all that is and shall be,
Who played a game against the moon that Netjeru might be born,
Who aided Aset in Her flight, and judged in Heru’s favor;
You Who are mate of History and consort to Truth,
Lord of scribes, playwrights, and poets,
Grant that this icon communicate with Your grace.
Accept my words and bless Your image with iru,
that it might inspire and bring blessings to all who interact with it.
May You walk within it, and within each of us, today and every day.
Kheperu! Nekhtet!


Adoration of Thrice-Great Djehuty

By Rev. Tatiana Matveena

Djehuty thrice-great, lord of Khemennu
Uncreated, who made the world into being
As the word of Ptah and will of Atum
Who witnessed the birth of sun
On the top of the hill of the Ogdoad

My heart longs for you
Your city is in rejoice
When you come into it
Let me praise you
At day at night
You, master of the divine book
Who measured the sky and earth
Let me follow you
Wherever you go
Protect me and vindicate against my enemies

Make me justified
Before the tribunal of any god and goddess
Let them all say, she is without fault
So my water and bread will be pure
One that comes from your altar
Let me come to the beautiful west
To the abode of pure souls
To dwell with ones who love you

You, the well of the desert for those who thirst
Consolation of sorrows
Inventor of speech
Lord of many graces
Let me know all your holy names
Written in my heart
Let me know you and adore you in all your holy forms
So I may make the glorifications
Of the secrets of Thoth


Praising Djehuty Lord of Hermopolis

By Rev. Tatiana Matveena

Praise to you, Djehuty,
Lord of Hermopolis, Thrice Great,
Great One of the Five,
Lord of the divine Net in Kheseret,
Lord of Terror in Pselquet,
Lord of the Wine in Abaton.
Lord of the Divine Speech,
One who makes libations for the Ogdoad on Iat-Djamut,

Divine Avenger with knife
Sharp as the moon-crescent, blood-stained,
One, whose revenge is swift,
One, whose benevolence has no limits.

You, the most beautiful,
Silver Aten of the Night,
Lord of the Glory of Nut,
Thrice Great, Great.

My heart rejoices about you every day,
Your heart is pleased, when you see me,
My heart is full of joy when I see you.
You make me justified,
Before the tribunal of every God and Goddess,
You initiate me into the secrets of the Divine Book,
And let me know the difficult passages of the Divine Speech,
You let me know the number of Chambers-of-the-Sanctuary.
You are the Light I saw in the Chamber of Darkness.

Accept me to your suite
And let me follow you
Wherever you go,
And grant me safe passage
Through either of the Two Ways
To the Mansion of the Moon,
To the abode of Justified.

I live to serve Djehuty,
Now and in the eternity-everlasting, nhh-djt.