I woke up at 5am due to my alarm setting off. This is part of my normal routine. I got up, shut the alarm off and went back to bed. Except that I couldn’t sleep! So I gazed out my window and watched as Zep Tepi was recreated across the sky. It is a beautiful path to watch.
Seeing as I couldn’t fall back asleep (partially due to Mab jumping on and off the bed repeatedly and nearly knocking over my poor small shrine that rests at the head of the bed), so I got up and made myself a cup of English Breakfast tea. Dad was awake and he kindly showed me where they keep the salt! I couldn’t find it anywhere that previous two days. In any case he asked what I was doing. And of course it was an awkward situation; me doing Pagan things and he being Christian and probably not understanding…So I said, “I’m making an Egyptian recipe.” And he asked a little more about it, so I informed him that it was a precursor to toothpaste in ancient Egypt. He thought that was pretty cool. Sometimes he surprises me.
In any case, I went to get measuring utensils but I had no idea how much I should make, so I did 1/2 a cup of each, producing WAY too much of the mixture. I dumped some out and then submerged it into water…and discovered that I had put TOO much water in it. So I poured some of it out. One thing it did that the book’s recipe didn’t mention, was that it bubbled a bit. I think that is common of baking soda…right? I actually know very little about cooking.
And voila! It is made and ready to sit for a week or two, until the mixture dries. You’re supposed to store it in a warm dry environment and the safest place I could come up with was the highest shelf of my bookshelf, right next to the heater vent. Its unlikely that one of my cats could get up there. It’s actually above my head.
Natron, in ancient Egypt anyway, was used for embalming the dead, but it was also used for toothpaste, as I mentioned abovet. And another use for it was purification, which is what motivated me to make it. I have an Isis necklace that need cleansing, and sage didn’t work. Isis wants it cleansed via natron and so I am following directions.
It was also, however, used as a body scrub (we use these today, bath salts…not the drug!), It can also be used as “an offering to the Gods and Ancestors. It was treated as a commodity used to make pigments and sprinkled on oil lamps to reduce smoke”
“Natron is an integral part of purifying and consecration rites. By extension, you can also use it to spiritually ‘cleanse’ items that need to be purified. When moving into a new house or apartment, sprinkle natron at the threshold or in doorways. You can also use natron to mark spiritual boundaries.”
Here is the recipe I used:
“Homemade natron, version 1: You will need roughly equal parts table salt and baking soda. Regular iodized salt will work fine, though you can also experiment with various sea salts. Rock salt does not work well, as the crystals are too large and resist dissolving. This dissolving is exactly what you need the mixture to do. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, preferably ceramic, and add water. You want enough to barely submerge the mixture, slightly less than if you were cooking rice. Stir it gently to make sure the water has saturated all parts of the mixture. Now comes the part that requires patience: place the bowl somewhere warm so that it can set undisturbed for several days. Depending on the size of your batch, it may take a week to dry completely. As it dries, some of the natron mixture will wick up the sides of the bowl, forming thin sheets. The rest will harden, so when it finishes drying your next step is to pulverize it. How fine a mixture you want is up to you. A stone or ceramic mortar and pestle would be ideal container in which to mix, dry and pound the natron. Short of that, however, a regular ceramic bowl and wooden spoon will suffice.”
Quotes and Excerpts from:
– LaBorde, Sharon. “Following the Sun: A Practical Guide to Egyptian Religion.” A Golden Age Publication, 2010, pgs. 208-211