The current KRT topic is Heka. I will admit, I’ve really let these posts slip through the cracks, and this doesn’t really fall under the scope of the KRT…but despite my lack of punctuality and ability to follow basic directions, I hope to this KRT inspired post can help someone out!
Heka proceeds the gods, as we are told in the Coffin Texts: “…to me belonged the universe before you Gods had come into being. You have come afterwards because I am Heka.” Heka is the force which creates all things in the universe and allows them to continue to be. It is the link tying the spiritual and physical together, the means through which the spiritual becomes physical. That being said, it is helpful to reference the creation myth where words were the vehicle of creation (Ptah’s words, specifically). Heka is often thought of as “right speech”. It is one who knows the right words and has knowledge of their pronunciation who can change the world. Hieroglyphics could be used as a form of heka as well, the written word itself holding power and allowing things to become. However, heka also alludes to knowledge of truth in general, which allows one to manipulate reality.
Many times, heka also alluded to a myth from the Zep Tepi (First Time). It sought to harken back to this time (although, according to Naydler, there was no “going back”, the Zep Tepi was recreated on a daily basis and accessible at any moment under the right circumstances). It was as if one stepped into the Zep Tepi and recreated a myth in order to create change in the present. (At least, this is my understanding. I could be wrong, if I am, please correct me!!!)
Heka was used in medicine, along side observations and traditional remedies. Amulets and jewelry were used in heka, some of the popular symbols being the Eye of Heru and scarabs. The seat of one’s power was said to be the belly, and it was not uncommon to see spells where one eats gods or other critters to gain their power.
As I thought about all of this, I was not particularly inspired to do a post. Until I sat down for my daily devotion. Somewhere I had read that heka was the concept and manifestation of the divine power of creation. That night, I focused on Aset as a magician: the Great of Heka, Excellent of Speech. And then…it hit me.
For a long time, I had a hard time making the connecting to Aset as a goddess of life (it seemed “wrong” or off despite the Osirian myth cycle. I know, I’m nuts). I accepted Her as a goddess of magic and knowledge, though the magical aspect never intrigued me much (I don’t do too much magic). But in reflecting and researching for this post, I reflected on heka as the thread pulling creation from the spiritual realm into the physical…and it is Aset who commands heka! It is Aset with Her knowledge, skill, and eloquence who manipulates reality to restore life and maintain the cycles of succession and renewal (both in the Osirian myth and the myth where She learns the name of Ra). It is because of heka that Aset is the Lady of Green Crops and the Lady of Life. More so, Aset was, at some points, taught some aspects or forms of heka (by Djehuti or by gaining it from the knowledge of Ra’s true name). This implies that it is something that can be learned (hence, you and I can master it, as much as humans can).
And while words are not the only vehicles of heka, they certainly are strong ones. Aset knows the Words of Power. But there is something more mundane in this phrasing. Let’s talk about talk…self talk.
Words bring things into being. Naming something gives it power and makes it spring to life. The are the means through which something comes into existence.
For me, Aset is a Name of confidence, power, determination, will, and victory.
Self talk is how we talk to ourselves, in our heads, everyday.
What am I getting at? How we talk to ourselves literally allows us to manifest our reality.
Ugh, that was so stupid! I always embarass myself! I’m so awkward…why do I try?
Of course I forgot the presentation at home…things never work out anyway. Oh well.
These tryouts are only for the best of the best. I shouldn’t even bother.
When we tear ourselves down, we engage in self destructive heka. But, if we are observant, realistic, and more optimistic, our daily heka can build us up and enliven us. It can give us power and confidence and realism. Aset has helped me to watch my own self talk, to watch how I treat myself, and realize that the eloquence in my head is just as important as the eloquence in my rites, in my work, and with my friends. Of course, speech has the power to hinder or heal in these areas too, just as in magic. But self talk sets the stage for how we wag our tongues in all of these areas long before we open our mouths.
I know it sounds really new age. Honestly, I learned about negative self-talk in my Abnormal Psych class. And you know what the first thing I thought was? How ridiculous. As if how you talk to yourself in anyway influences your mood. And I proved my own point.
Naydler, Jeremy. (1996). Temple of the Cosmos. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions.
David, Rosalie.(2002). Religion and Magic in Ancient Egypt. London, England: Penguin books.
Dollinger, Andre. (2003). Heka: The magic of ancient egypt. Retrieved from http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/religion/magic.htm