Openers of Doors

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Ptah-Sokar-Ausir Lord of the Secret Shrine

An original Kemetic icon by master iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa
Extra fine watercolor, gold, 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)
22 karat gold, Sterling silver, copper

sardonyx (India), fire opal (Mexico), moonstone, opal set in obsidian (Australia), onyx
Austrian crystal elements by Swarovski®.

 

“We iconographers are much more than painters; we are gate keepers, and openers of doors through which the Gods enter our world. There is an above, and there is a below; and what the iconographer does in bring the above and below together, weaving the warp and the weft of human and divine, sacred and profane, mortal and immortal. We shine a light from the mirror of the dark realm where Gods, spirits, demons and the dead travel; we shape for Them a vehicle of earthly substance which transmits their ethereal presence, and allows us to receive that presence like a tree struck by lightning. We do not paint; we work miracles with minerals, color, and gold. We are not simply artists; we are channels for the Holy Powers, giving these a voice, a form, a dialogue with the human race. Our calling is not to glorify art for art’s sake, but to elevate art to its highest form possible; that of divine manifestation and communion”.

 

On July 19, 2016, the night of the Full Moon, as we prepared for our Wep Renpet (Kemetic New Year) celebrations, we went out to the center of the Bonneville Salt Flats in the Utah desert to hold the first of several consecration and blessing rituals for my newly completed icon of Ptah-Sokar-Ausir Lord of the Secret Shrine.

It is hard for me to convey the immense relief and gratitude I feel to reach the completion of this holy work, which has now taken more than one year. Of course, I have been working on three icon panels simultaneously (as the panel of Ptah-Sokar-Ausir is the first icon in a triptych, the Sacred West Triptych); the other two are now half way complete.

This panel has also coincided with a very difficult series of initiations which have served to bring me ever closer to my Netjeru, my Gods, and in particular Lord Ptah-Sokar-Ausir, Who has taken me under His wings to give me not only this image of Him to act as a gateway for His living presence in our world, but also has transmitted spiritual realizations to me that are necessary for the fulfillment of my priesthood and life path. I am exhausted, inspired, grateful, and ever more in love with my Gods.

We arrived at the Salt Flats just after midnight, when the Full Moon had nearly risen to its zenith, and the miles of salt on the Salt Flats glistened like newly fallen snow. It was a silvery white almost like early morning sunlight.  Above our heads, the stars sparkled against the dark lapis veil of the sky. We set up an altar for the Netjer’s image between two green desert shrubs, the only living things growing in that hostile place, and we struck candles and incense, and began with a sound purification by sesheshet (sistrum), the crashing of which was clear and startling in the presence of the lapis sky and pyramidal mountain peaks soaring behind us.

We chanted Lord Ptah-Sokar-Ausir’s names and epithets in the meduw-netjer (hieroglyphs) as we circumambulated the Netjer’s icon, and then recited the offering prayer I had composed to formally hand over the God’s image to Him. Offerings followed, concluded by our personal prayers for the icon to be received by the Netjer and filled with His Holy Ba. This was only the first night of the Wep Ra or Opening of the Mouth rite for this image; it was a “soft” opening which we call a lunar radiation ritual; exposing the icon to the blessing of the Full Moon light in order to awaken and charge it for the many holy rites to follow.

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