The first day that I met Sepa was also the first day that I made tortilla soup. I was a highschooler, currently enthralled with articles that essentially taught one how to be an adult. One of the articles talked about how great a slow cooker is for saving time and energy. Before leaving for work or college classes, you’d prepare all of the ingredients for dinner and throw them in the slow cooker. When you got home, boom! A nice, warm meal is there waiting for you. Me, being the dumbass that I am, scrounged up the birthday money that I had and bought a slow cooker so that years in the future when I get an apartment, I’d also have a slow cooker. (I still don’t have an apartment and they don’t let you use slow cookers in the college dorms.)
This slow cooker was an enchanted object to me. Before I even took it out of the box I was already in love. Of course I wanted to get started using it right away and so my parents gave me the meat that they wanted to eat and told me to find a recipe for that. They wanted chicken and I ended up finding a recipe for chicken tortilla soup.
While I waited for them to go out and buy the ingredients, I scoured the internet once more, this time for information on bug gods. I like bugs, I like bug spirits, so why not bug gods? I mostly just wanted to see who was out there but there still was a slight interest in working with one.
I had already converted to Kemeticism years before this and so I already knew about Khepera. Bugs, the Sun, and rebirth, pretty much all of his associations fitted the overarching motifs of my practice. You’d think with so much in common that we’d be the perfect match for each other, but I’ve never felt a connection to him. My only explanation, without asking him, is that because I’m so invested in those topics already, he doesn’t feel the need to teach me.
And so I moved past Khepera and looked to others. Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of resources out there on bug gods. In fact, it was on the forum board for a video game that I first saw the words “Sepa, the Egyptian Centipede God.” A centipede god and an Egyptian god? Interesting…
I searched his name and found information on how he’s a god of protection. He protects not only the dead from detrivores but also the living from venomous creatures. In a sense, he rules over all venomous creatures, not just centipedes. Now I’m a sucker for “unloved” entities (I work with fucking bugs after all) and the fact that he was part of my religion already made me immediately consider working with him. Now whims are very dangerous when dealing with the noncorporeal but the door slams that signaled my parents’ return from the grocery store gave me the idea of dedicating the first meal of my enchanted slow cooker to Sepa.
(Fun fact: Centipedes aren’t bugs, they’re actually in a completely different subphylum than insects!)
Now I have a feeling that they didn’t have chicken tortilla soup in ancient Egypt but they probably didn’t have double fudge chocolate cupcakes either and Tefnut loves those. I dedicated the meal to him as I prepared it and then waited for the slow cooker to work its magic. Fast forward a few hours, I spooned out a bowl of the soup and placed it with a glass of water on my altar. “Sepa, the centipede god of protection, I have prepared this offering of soup and water for you. May you never starve!”
May you never starve…
I can’t remember if those were my exact words but whatever I said had a lasting impact. Tortilla soup went on to become our “thing”. I would begin to make it and feel Sepa almost as if he was standing over my shoulder saying “Hey buddy, you making that for me? :D” Then he took my enchanted slow cooker for himself. I couldn’t make anything in there without getting the urge to dedicate it to him. Cooking in general was next but not because he wanted everything that I made. Instead, whenever I’m indulging in my culinary side, I feel him there as if he’s subtly trying to cheer me on.
I can’t help but wonder if he knows about my old eating disorder? Years before I converted I was starving myself and sticking my fingers down my throat til I puked up blood and bile. I’ve mostly recovered but in times of stress or when I’m subjected to the same verbal abuse that made me begin in the first place, I find it very easy to lapse back into that poisonous mindset. But now my stomach can’t even growl without me suddenly getting thoughts of Sepa and how he wants me to make/get food.
We rarely even talk. The only way we really communicate is through food and us eating food. It feels almost as if me just eating and not feeling bad about how much or what I’m eating is a devotional act to him. As long as I’m eating and am happy, there’s not much to say. You could say that he protects me from the venomous creature that is my old disorder.
Dua Sepa! May you never starve!
[Tortilla Soup Recipes: