Happy New Year 2012 to all of you! My Kemetic Orthodox readers have already heard this from me; our religious new year started in August. At that time, during our Wep Ronpet (“Opening the Year,” the ancient name of the New Year festival) retreat, we shared a bit of heka with each other to usher in the new year belonging to the great god Ptah.
With Ptah’s gracious permission, I am sharing that heka here, for anyone who’d like to do it, as your own form of “new year magic” for secular 2012. Heka is an ancient Egyptian (Kemetic) word that literally means “to speak with authority,” but it is often translated “magic” in the sense of a magic spell or incantation. Real heka involves more than words: it is a collection of words, actions, and mindset to create a change in one’s life. If you’ve never heard the word before, think of it as a sort of meditation/affirmation designed to get you into a better place – a resolution with teeth.
Read on if you’re interested in performing a little New Year’s magic – I promise it’s easy!
PTAH’S BUILDING HEKA
by Tamara L. Siuda, August 2011
Please don’t copy this without permission. Thanks!
What you need:
1. a set of interlocking plastic blocks (six or more blocks per person performing the heka, any size/shape/color)
As for what kind of blocks: Lego brand works fine, but bigger blocks, like Duplo or Mega Blox brands for younger children work better; the photographs in this section use Mega Blox). All blocks should be the same size, though it’s all right if they are in different shapes or colors – in fact, more shapes/colors has its own interpretation, as you’ll read below. You need a minimum of six (6) blocks, but having more to choose from is encouraged, as is performing this heka with other people (as the sixth block description explains in more detail).
2. A permanent marker (or two, depending on if your blocks are opaque or transparent or dark colors) to write on the blocks with. We used one white paint marker and one black permanent marker. You want to be able to read what you wrote on these blocks in the future. For heka reasons, I recommend not using red marker (that’s reserved for negative hekau traditionally), but red blocks are OK to use.
Once you have your blocks and your marker(s), you’re ready to begin! This heka works best if you have more than one person doing it. At Wep Ronpet, we did it with about 40 people at once; afterward, some of our temple members got together and performed it in smaller groups, and another group organized a “block mailing” to send each other Block Six to finish the heka. You can do this any way you like, but be aware that the sixth block needs to have something written on it by someone else, and not you!
Constructing the Ptah Heka
Put the blocks into a pile, without any of them being connected. Remember that you need six blocks minimum to do this. If you have more than six that’s ideal, but six blocks are necessary for each person performing the heka. Here are the six blocks from the heka I made for myself, sitting on the floor in front of Ptah’s shrine:
From this pile of blocks, you choose one block at a time, randomly, to set up the heka. Don’t spend too much time choosing; just grab one block at a time. Also: try NOT to read ahead in this post, as when we do this in person, we don’t tell people what each block actually stands for until AFTER they choose it.
Choose the first block. Block One represents the one thing that you want most of all from this coming year. If you can make this a single word or a couple of words, that’s great. Take that word/phrase and write it on Block One, like this:
As you can see, what I want more than anything in Year 19/through August 2012 is a balanced life. I would like things in my life to be more balanced: even amounts of work and leisure, time to do the things I want with my life alongside time to do the things I need to get done. I need all the help I can get with this process, so asking the god of creation and building for help in restructuring my life sounded like a terrific thing to do.
Now it’s time to choose the second block.
The second block represents the thing(s) that you ALREADY possess or know that will help you achieve the goal that you wrote on Block One. Again, try to be concise and get that concept down to a word or two, then write it on the block, like this:
I have a lot of patience. This seems to be the most important thing I already have that will help me achieve my goal of a balanced life. I was amused when I realized I’d chosen a green block – green is Ptah’s color and is also the sacred color of this year – and that it’s really big compared to my goal. Does that mean I’ll have enough patience, or that I’ll need a lot of patience? I wonder….
Choose the third block, and then write on it what it represents. Block Three stands for what you will need to learn or achieve or acquire FOR YOURSELF to meet the goal on Block One. This is the block to write down the thing(s) you need, but you don’t have yet.
I need resources to achieve my balanced life: from money (financial security) to afford the bills so I don’t have to work several jobs, to tangible things that will make work easier, to time and patience and other intangibles that are also required. Most of these resources I either don’t have, or don’t have enough of, so this little white block represents everything I still need.
While this one is similar to the last one, it has a different origin, and thus it’s a different bock. Block Four stands for what you need to learn or achieve or acquire FROM OTHERS IN THE SEEN WORLD to meet the goal on Block One. This is like the last block, as it describes something you need to achieve your goal, but it’s specifically related to something that other people in your life will need to give you to make it happen. The “seen world” is our way to describe the world of the five senses, the everyday or outer world.
This block is a little blurry, because it is transparent and I had a hard time photographing it without a reflection, but what it says is “understanding.” In order to have a balanced life, I need others in my life to be understanding. They will have to respect my need for space or time, and help me keep my balance, as I’m not always good at doing that by myself. I really need their understanding as I give myself permission to change bad patterns and work toward a fuller, more balanced existence.
The fifth block is also like Block Three and Block Four, in that it represents something that needs to be acquired in order to achieve the goal on Block One. This one, however, talks about the resources/things/concepts that we need to get from the Unseen World: GIFTS FROM GODS, SPIRITS, AND ANCESTORS that help us achieve our goals. If you don’t happen to believe in spiritual beings or deities, consider this the building block representing things you need to get from your conscience, or from random sources that you haven’t considered in Block Three or Block Four. (Heka is nothing if not adapatable!) In my case, I need Opportunity, as I wrote on the block, below:
The Final Block
Now that you’ve got five blocks with things written on them:
Block One: Goal
Block Two: Something you already have to achieve the goal
Block Three: Something you need to get for yourself to achieve the goal
Block Four: Something others need to give you to achieve the goal (seen world)
Block Five: Something others need to give you to achieve the goal (unseen world)
…you need to choose your sixth block. Then you need to take this block and give it to someone else! (This is part of why it’s great to do this heka with other people). Make sure that the other person has NOT seen your existing five blocks. If you need to solicit a block from another person that isn’t doing the heka with you, you can tell them what you’re doing, but don’t let them see what you wrote on your blocks, so that what they write on that Block Six is not directly influenced by it.
Block Six represents a gift from the universe. It is a gift without preamble or strings attached – a random, thoughtful gift. This can be anything at all that the person decides to write on the block. In my case, Arieni was gracious enough to give me the very important gift of Time:
It fit pretty well, and she didn’t even know what I’d made my other five blocks for. Dua Netjer, Arieni!
Put your blocks together, and now you have Ptah’s New Year Building Heka in its final form! Dua Ptah!
The Final Construction
Once you have all six blocks and put them together, it becomes a meditation for Ptah’s year of building. Sizes, colors, how the blocks fit together (or don’t), which blocks work best in which order, etc. can be an amazing tangible focus point for thinking about your life and your goals. I’m not sure that this is easy to explain until you have your own blocks and can take them apart and put them together and ponder it for yourself. Try it – it will make more sense. Mine seems most stable in this rather Djed-pillar looking form, which seems appropriate too.
You don’t have to put your blocks on an altar or even anywhere that anyone else will see them. Mine usually sit on my desk near my computer, where I can look at them and think about them. I know a few people who wrote the words on the inside of their blocks, so that from the outside it simply looks like a toy, but they know what’s inside. You also don’t have to write words on them – you can make symbols or pictures, just as long as you remember what it all means in the future when you reconsider your construction. By the same token, when you make a Block Six for another person, make sure that if you don’t write words on it, that the person knows exactly what you mean by it.
I’d love to see your blocks, if you want to share! Consider posting here, or sending a photo of your heka to tamara at tamarasiuda dot com (put it together for a working email) if you’d like to. Additionally, if you can’t find anyone to give you a Block Six and you’d like one, email me and we can arrange a block swap! (I’ll have to know what size blocks you’re using, and will need to know where to send the block). I’ll post the images of block heka I receive (with permission of course) in a future post.
May the Master Builder help you complete all of your goals in His year. Happy new year!