My folk magic habits are showing here. When I start pondering what to do in the epagomenal days timeframe, my immediate thought – with the disordered and dangerous spiritual nature of this time – is ritual baths. Lots of ritual baths. Cleansing, purification, and protection in ritual baths.
So what I did was pull out my copy of Draja Mikaharic’s Spiritual Cleansing and look through the chapter about baths, trying to pick things out that were somewhat appropriate to the relevant birthday. I knew going in what I was doing for Wesir’s birthday, just out of basic symbological resonances: a beer bath.
The beer bath is a curative for the evil eye. Now, the evil eye is one of those things that many, many cultures have some form of belief in, and ancient Egypt was not an exception. According to Mikaharic, the best treatment for the evil eye is to take about half a tub of lukewarm water, add a quart of beer and a teaspoonful of table salt, and stir them clockwise until well-mixed. Fully immerse in the tub – and do it nekkid! – several times, rinsing with the water. Upon leaving the tub, it’s acceptable to towel-dry hair, but let the bath dry on the skin so that its effect remains rather than getting wiped off. Mikaharic suggests following this with an earnest prayer for cleansing; this is a common follow-on to any of these baths, and thus I think it appropriate to direct a prayer to the Power of the day.
But that leaves the other four days to consider: Heru-Wr, Set, Aset, and Nebet-Het. I had the notion of doing a bluing bath for Aset early (resonance with the heavenly colour; the bath is for revitalisation, I find when I look it up in Mikaharic, so that is also appropriate); if you go that route and can’t find proper bluing, apparently food colouring is almost as good.
My next notion: a basil bath for Set. Basil in this context is cleansing and protective, particularly against overaggressive people. Somehow, that seemed appropriate (and it doesn’t appear to offend Himself, so, hey). Which left me with Heru-Wr and Nebet-Het.
Mikaharic says that a simple baking soda bath is highly-regarded and reliable, so that seems entirely plausible as a possible way of honoring Heru. Heru strikes me as appropriately approached with the classics.
Nebet-Het was hardest; I have settled on a hazelnut bath, I think. Hazelnut is of course for wisdom, but this bath is also for alleviating depression, lack of focus, and difficulty with communication, which feels appropriate for Nebet-Het. I suspect I will make the house smell odd while doing the preparations for this one (nut baths require boiling the nuts for several hours in advance to prepare the bath additive).
I have no idea if I’m going to actually manage a full week of ritual bathing, but it seems like something worth trying.