Upholding Ma'at

Journeying through the modern world with ancient ways.

The Epagomenoi: the Birth of Heru-Wr



The second epagomenal day marks the birth of Heru-Wr, the second eldest child of Nut and Geb. Most of this post is introductory and will focus on the practices of Edfu and Dendera temples during the Ptolemaic period. In that light the information will be more focused on the practices which are possibly more Hellenized than other periods. Despite this I tried to include some trivia and a bit of an explanation of the significance of the holiday. It is in no way complete.

The name for the birth of Heru-Wr is interesting. There are a few variants as to what this day was called. In the Leyden I papryus the day was called, ‘Who bails without His oar’. It’s called in Leyden II, ‘Who sails in the pool of the alty canal’ according to Anthony Spalinger. Spalinger notes the day is called, “it is the strong of heart” in the Cairo Calendar. Yet another manuscript about the epagomenal days calls it a “pure bull in his field”. There are a couple of ideas as to why there are so many different epithets for this day. One is the possibility of a scribal error like the aHA-fish in a pool attribution to Wesir. Spalding hypothesizes, on the other hand, the interchangeability may have more to do with later associations with Wesir as opposed to Heru-Wr.

The celebration of this holiday is fairly elaborate in the temples compared to information available of the other epagomenal days. The temple in Edfu focused on not only the robing ceremony like the birth of Wesir, but also notes how the daily rites are performed. Het-Hert also had a procession in Edfu where She’d stop in Her shrine, later resting in “the Palace” for the evening. There isn’t any record available to me about how this day was observed, if it was observed at all, in Dendera.

Modern Kemeticists like to say a prayer on this day while lighting a candle. While the translation provided from the Cairo Calendar is questionable, it provides some groundwork for anyone who’d like to practice it:

O Horus of Letopolis…The

name of this day is Powerful is

the Heart.


Brier, Bob. Ancient Egyptian Magic. New York: Quill, 1981. Print.

El-Sabban, Sherif. Temple Festival Calendars of Ancient Egypt. Google books.

Spalinger, Anthony. “Some Remarks on the Epagomenal Days in Ancient Egypt”. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 54.1(1995): 33-47. JSTOR.


2 thoughts on “The Epagomenoi: the Birth of Heru-Wr

  1. Pingback: The Epagomenal Days | Upholding Ma'at

  2. Pingback: The Epagomenoi: The Birth of Sutekh | Upholding Ma'at

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