Photo Essay: Finding the Lord of the Red Land
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
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.
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.