Moon ritual – a modern interpretation

There is hardly any other culture that has been associated with sun cults so much like the Ancient Egyptian one. The moon, however, is of lesser importance yet not entirely meaningless. Its cycles formed the ryhtm for the lunar calendar that was still important for a long time even after the solar calendar has come into function in Ancient Egypt.

Animation der Mondphasen, Wikipedia

There was no actual moon cult so this ritual concept is to be understood as a suggestion to perform a modern Kemetic moon ritual and claims in no way to be historically evident.

The moon cycles have been important markers to many important cultic events or offered inspiration for mythological symbolism. The 14 pieces Osiris has been cut into after he was murdered by Seth also refer to one half of the moon cycle and the new moon was associated with new beginning and rebirth.


Der Mondgott Iah, Wikimedia Commons

There are quite a few deities which have been associated with the moon. Most of them are male like Thoth, Osiris, Khonsu, Min and of course Joh who was associated with the moon disc itself and served as a namesake of the moon. Only very few goddesses have been associated with the moon like a nameless female equivalent of Thoth and Isis in the new kingdom while Osiris was associated with the sun and Isis was regarded his lunar counterpart.

Symbol of rejuvenation and renewal

The moon itself was considered a small sun, like a sun of the night. So it is not surprising to find many characteristics of the sun being applied to the moon as well. Like the sun starts to travels through the underworld every evening to rise again rejuvenated the next morning the moon cycles, too, have been associated with the repetitive process of renewal and decay.

The force of the full moon was considered to be a “rutting bull who impregnates the women”. The full moon was said to be supportive to female fertility. Additionally there were quite some associations between the moon and bulls, which is why the feast of the “conjunction of the two bulls” (Sensen-kawy) was celebrated regularly during full moon. The name “bull of the sky” refers to the moon as a master and ruler and expresses the great power of the moon. The idea of two bulls being united is probably caused by the fact that very often the sun and the moon where visible at the sky at full moon.


Horusauge, ca. 600-400 v. Chr., Louvre/Paris, Foto: Marie-Lan Nguyen, Wikimedia Commons

The healing of the moon eye

A very important mythological event was the healing of the moon eye. Both the sun and the moon were considered eyes of the sky, the sun the right eye and the moon the left eye. Horus was particularly associated with this event but also Re. The waning moon was considered to be the slow  fading of the eye of Horus, which again would be renewed during waxing moon.

Another myth is the one of the battle between Horus and Seth. Seth knocks out Horus’ eye during the fight, which gets renewed later on. The moon therefore becomes a symbol of the everlasting battle between light and darkness, Horus as the personification of light and Seth as a personification of darkness. The moon eye is healed by Thoth’s touch. The healed eye is called the Udjat eye which becomes a symbol of health and healing of its own.

The ritual

The aforementiioned full moon festival Sensen-kawy is also called “days of purification”. Together with the aspect of rejuvenation and renewal I have chosen it as an inspiration for the following modern kemetic ritual. Similar to the Lamp Festival a lot of lamps and candles have been lit up so any kind of candles and lights go well with this ritual. The moon has been associated with the colors white and silver which is the perfect color for any kind of ritual items like altar cloths, candle holders, candles or even moon symbols. You can set up a temporary shrine or even a steady one if you wish to keep it. Later in time around the New Kingdom two mirrors have served as offerings during moon festivals so you could as well add mirrors to your altar decoration.

Of course you can also include the various moon deities and make offerings to them but in this ritual suggestion I would like to include the inner healing and purification of body and soul.

The best thing is to start the ceremony with a ritual purification which can be performed traditionally with natron and water  or if you do not have natron with salt or soda. It’s very important to purify your entire body carefully. After that you can perform a purification with incense. You can either use the traditional Kyphi or any kind of purifying herbs such as lavender, sage or whatever suits you best. In case you own some white ritual garement you can of course put it on after the purification.

Now you are ready to approach your altar, light up all the candles and if you like further incense and awaken the full moon power. Perhaps you can even set up the moon shrine at a place where you can see the natural monnlight. Basically anything from little prayers to long meditations is possible to focus on the rejuvenating power of the moon and let it fulfill you. Since Thoth has healed the moon eye by stroking over it you could use the same gesture and stroke bodyparts that need magical healing by the power of the moon. Or if you own an Udjat amulet you can simply place it on said body parts. You can do that just by yourself or mutually if you perform the ritual with others.


IMG_5759Enjoy your ritual! 🙂

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2 Responses to Moon ritual – a modern interpretation

  1. Thank you so much for translating this into English. The Full moon plays a part in my practice and I find it a powerful time every month. Djehuti, Khonsu and Iah are always on my mind and in my prayers then.

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