The Nut Cycle: Introductory Thoughts

In the names of the days of the lunar month recorded in Parker’s The Calendars of Ancient Egypt, the twenty-eighth day of the month is named “Heb-Sed Nut”, Jubilee Festival of Nut. Thus, there are twelve Nut festivals, each falling at the end of the lunar month, in most years (great years have thirteen such festivals). The Egyptians thought of “thirty” as the number of years from one generation to the next, and marked the pharaonic jubilee at thirty years, more or less, in order to restore the king to might, and thus each month is a generation governed by the moon’s lifespan, and presided over by the regenerative power of Nut. On the twenty-eighth day of the lunar month, the last light of the moon falls, and perhaps there in the darkness of the mother Nut’s restoration rekindles its light so that Her grandson’s Eye may once again shine whole, twelve or so times a year.

There are also twelve hours of the night. Interestingly – and of course not coincidentally – the character of each of those twelve hours of the night has certain similarities to major festivals celebrated in the same-numbered month of the year. Each hour of the night concludes with a Gate, a passageway into the next hour, much as the gate into the next month might be thought to fall at Nut’s jubilee, such that each lunar month is a preparation for the challenge at the gate.

This is an obvious source for ritual devotion and dedication, to say the least. Here is a place where regular ordinary practice has a chance to go mystical, in the horizon realm of the body of Nut, the hours her months. The Nut cycle is a transformative one, a process of disintegration, reintegration, and rebirth.

It is interesting, of course, to draw the parallels between the Nut cycle and the solar cycle as recorded in the Amduat – that other initiation path, the descent and ascent, which might well be the same set of experiences framed in terms of the Father rather than the Mother. Considering the interlacing of the mysteries of the midnight sun and the generation and rebirth of the solar child is something I thought well worth the effort when I started to compile great heaps of notes, which are, as of yet, unfinished.

So this is one of my little projects: to put together work that marks the Nut cycle. Since I don’t have a functioning lunar calendar, I’ll be using the moons within the civil one that I designed. My personal goal is to have each month’s moon written up around the full moon, so there’s a week and a half or so before the actual Jubilee to work through the process. We’ll see how that turns out.

Next month, the first month of the year, we place ourselves in the hands of the Mother of the Manifest.

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