Despite the beginning of the holiday beginning on the new moon in the third month of Shomu preparations for The Festival of the Beautiful Union began in the second month of Shomu.
In Dendera there were two weeks of preparing for the ritual. During this time several rituals were performed, many of which repeat throughout the festival. The first of such festivals is the Offering of the First Fruits. Offerings from the fields were presented to Het-Hert. It seems there were some connections to the myth of Aset mourning the death of Wesir, as the offerings were presented by mourners before Aset and lamentations sung.
Another ritual practiced during this time is the Driving of Cattle ritual. Cattle are driven around the primordial hill four times while dragging ritual chests. Even though the main idea of the ritual is self-explanatory there are certain specifics. One source states cattle and donkeys are driven. Another source states that four cattle –one red, one spotted, one white, and one black, but all calves –are required. It is agreed, though, the cattle are driven around the primordial mound while pushing wheat into the ground. This is possibly a reference to Ka-her-Ka where Wesir’s effigy is made with sprouting wheat and clay. If so it serves to further the element of regeneration during the holiday.
After these rituals were performed the priests prepared a barque to sail towards Edfu. This journey had its own rituals and entourage, which will be covered in the next post.
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