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.


One thought on “Photo Essay: Finding the Lord of the Red Land

  1. Pingback: Bringing the Shields of the Lords of Valor: A Journey in the Mysteries of Religious Engagement Comes to an End | Icons of Kemet

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