The Osiris Mysteries: Opening the House.

November 18, 2019/IV Akhet 16

Before the Opening the House rite, the day prior is known as Preparing the Coffin and Unguents. I initially had every intention of doing something, but the truth is that I didn’t feel a hard pull to do so. And I forgot. At quarter of nine, I realized I had dismissed my alarm and wasn’t sure what to do so late in the game. (My nighttime working is usually done between 8pm-9pm.)

I didn’t feel a particular need to do this because I’m not a fan of unguents or oils. I always end up making a mess, or accidentally destroy something when I use them. And since I plan on burying my corn doll in dirt that I will be growing something in, it didn’t seem like a wise idea to prep or utilize unguents of any sort. It may have been the norm for burials in antiquity and was no doubt done for the corn dolls, but considering my black thumb, I can’t take too many chances.

I also didn’t plan on making a coffin for use. I need the paperwhites to get as much soil nutrition as possible and even with a coffin made of something that could assist the plants with growing, I’m not going to try. I did draw a little modern day coffin in the dirt though.

The Opening the House rite doesn’t have any accompanying text or notes in the Daybook. I knew, after looking into Nephthys, that the reference to the house more than likely had something to do with the inner sanctum of the temple. As I mentioned in my entry on her, her name is often translated as Mistress of the House, but could also mean Mistress of the Temple Enclosure.

It made a certain kind of sense to me that this particular rite probably had something to do with the temple, or the inner sanctum of Osiris: the house, so to speak.

I am not a priest of Osiris, or frankly any of my gods. What I do regularly for them may make people think that I am a priest or priestess for my gods, but I can say concretely that at this juncture in my life I am not.

I know a bit about what more than likely took place within the temples in antiquity but it’s a guess on my part in some instances. Those guesses are mostly logical guesses based on what I’ve learned over the years. But I’m still a little uncertain.

I decided the best course of action was to go with something simple and easy. Nothing flowery; nothing overt.

I purified my kitchen work space with sandalwood incense, leaving it to burn over the window box I had filled with dirt two days before. I also lit the candle on my household altar in front of my two corn doll attempts.

I opened up the door to my ritual room, or spooky room, and thought about the meaning behind the phrase “opening the house.” The inner sanctum of all temples was kept private. The only ones allowed within were the priests and priestesses of the god. The holy of holies was never seen by the lay person, but that wasn’t the only place where the lay people would have been given access to if the priests and priestesses were “opening the house”.

It was probably a very magical moment to be able to go into the temple. There were public areas that people could access regularly but maybe this whole opening of the house meant that they could go into less common areas.

I lit the candles on my ancestor and Osiris altar, lighting incense to purify the space.

I am not a lay person, per se, but as I sat and watched the candles flicker in the darkness of my room, I could see why it would be important for the priests to “open the house”. It would give people the ability to feel close to a god who they might fear (considering his association with the netherworld) and to better understand, maybe, what it must have been like for his priesthood.

Maybe they opened the doors for the people who relied on Osiris’s associations with growth, and greenery, and vegetation, and fertility for their very lives so they could connect with him on a level beyond his death and rebirth.

Or maybe I’m making it all up. Maybe it was the flickering of the candlelight and the myrrh incense (I don’t know why he didn’t want sandalwood in my ritual room, but there you have it) combined to make me overthink and project what I thought the purpose of this particular day is.

The house is open.

The Osiris Mysteries: Forming the Earth.

November 16, 2019/IV Akhet 14

For the few days before the Forming the Earth ritual, I tried to figure out what that meant for me and what I was hoping to accomplish during the Osiris Mysteries. According to The Ancient Egyptian Daybook by Tamara Suida: “A statue of Sokar-Osiris was formed out of soft earth in a silver mold on this day, and prepared until IV Akhet 16.” I had a couple of options available to me but I wasn’t sure what made the most sense.

I knew that I wanted to have a container filled with earth of some sort, but I had to ask myself what earth made the most sense. I had a number of decorative sands that I could use and I was leaning towards the black and red decorative sand in a sort of swirled mix. I had a very for the aesthetic ideal when I thought up this idea, but I wasn’t 100% sure if it worked for me.

After talking it over with Devo, the main question they asked me to help me figure it out was, “Well, are you planning on growing anything?” I kind of wanted to. I’m not what you would call a green thumb (I can kill a cactus pretty easily) but eventually, I would like to try this whole gardening spiel. So I spent some time researching winter plants and what I would need in order to foster them to growth during the Osiris Mysteries.

Eventually, I decided that I could try my hand at this growing business. Osiris has deep ties to growth and greenery. It made sense for me to at least give it a shot. I may not be successful and I will have to come to terms with that if and when it happens. But I am hoping that I can at least get a few sprouts before everything goes to shit.

This meant that I knew what I needed: real dirt, some seeds from a winter-friendly plant, and a container to grow it all in.

I spent much of the morning at various stores where I could purchase the needed supplies. I found a rectangular bronze-and-black window box that I liked. I needed only about a 12″ long box, but wound up walking away with a 15″ long box. I poked through the plant kits readily available for purchase and decided to buy some paper whites for this experience. (I chose them over the amaryllis because they were white for purity and they kind of reminded me of snow drops.) My husband found me some good dirt to use for the type of flowers I was trying to go and I was ready to start.

After cleaning up my work space and the container I purchased, I ritually purified it with a stick of sandalwood incense. (This has been the incense choice for the Osiris Mysteries since I haven’t been asked to use any of my other incense blends yet.)

I actually had a lot of fun piling in the dirt I had chosen. The smell of opening the bag and just inhaling it was pleasurable. I can understand why people enjoy gardening. I also found it very nice to stick my hands deep into the dirt and swish it around in a swirl around the container. Maybe it’s the kid in me or maybe it’s the memory of helping my mom to plant morning glories in the front garden when I was a kid, but I liked it.

The dirt we had chosen wasn’t as dark as I would have liked it (I couldn’t get out the idea that I needed a very dark brown dirt), but I was the only one complaining about that. I poked around in it for a bit and then sloped the pile into a sort of mound shape to the best of my ability.

After inhaling the box of dirt a few more times, I opened the plant growing kit and was surprised to see a giant disc of dirt at the bottom. I don’t know what I was expecting? In my defense, the last time I tried to grow something from scratch, my seedlings ended up popping up in the middle of the container and not at the top like I had expected, so…

I pulled out the disc and after talking with my husband (whose mother is a horticulturist so he knows more about this stuff than I do), I decided I would use the disc. It technically is supposed to sit in the bottom of a round container that came with the growing kit (and if I didn’t intent on burying an 8″ tall corn doll I would have used it), but I thought I could use it in my long container since it comes with, probably, specifically good plant food for paper whites.

The Osiris Mysteries: Prepping the Corn Mummy.

November 14, 2019/IV Akhet 12

During the earlier part of this year when I was re-working my calendar, I got the ping to add the plethora of various holidays associated with the Osiris Mysteries to my calendar. I was horribly uncomfortable with the idea as I have never once paid any attention to this holiday and, by my last accounting of the myriad deities I have developed relationships with, Osiris wasn’t a part of the herd. This, of course, was a lie. When Ra showed up last year, he brought Osiris along and I’ve been slowly integrating more and more Osiris into my practice.

Eventually, I’ll compile my thoughts on Ra and Osiris into a single entry and how I relate them to the Wheel of the Year, but today, we’re going to talk about the first part of the Osiris Mysteries. It’s time to prepare the Corn Mummies.

Initially, I was hoping to not have to do this. I joked around and said I would buy the most over-the-top stuffed animal that was a piece of corn with eyes and a mouth. I even joked about it on my Tumblr. But I was told that this would not work out and that I needed to actually figure out how to make a corn doll.

I’ve never made a corn doll in my life, although I’ve seen people do it and have admired many of the results. I started looking through various how-tos and bookmarked the Martha Stewart guide on how to do it. I figured if there was anyone who knew what they were doing, Martha was the one.

I wasn’t sure where to even find corn husks locally. Would they be at my grocery store? Would they be at Wal-Mart and how big of a package would they have? So I bought the recommended type from Martha’s guide. I wasn’t sure how much 6oz of husks would be so I almost bought two, then thought better of it. (I have a habit of buying too much of a thing.) Good thing I didn’t buy two…

This picture is from after I had pulled 12 husks out of the package. I still have at least 2/3 of the husks left after my attempts. So a good thing my mental self reminded myself that I always end up with too much of stuff when I worry I won’t have enough.

I found out quickly that soaking them for 10 minutes was my least favorite part. I didn’t have a bowl big enough where the 12 husks I had pulled out could actually soak properly. So I found myself holding them down like this for the full 10 minutes. And of course, I had used cold ass water to soak them in.

My second to least favorite part was “blotting” away the excess water. Either I over soaked them because I held them down or Martha and I have vastly different definitions of “excess water”. The good thing was that the water beaded up on the husks and rolled off. The bad thing was that I used half a damn paper towel role to get rid of the water. And they still weren’t completely free of moisture when I started making the doll.

The first part was easy. I could tie some twine about an inch down and voila! I had the start. But the twine seemed a little thicker than what Martha was showing in the sketch of her how-to guide, so I was a bit worried. And I found that the twine I had chosen was no longer cute. The edges were coming undone and it hurt to tie it off.

I got lost at the next part. You’re supposed to fold the husks down so they cover the twine, but when I tried to do that, it looked nothing like the picture perfect sketch Martha had on her website. I was worried I had messed up somehow (were the husks too moist? Did I tie it off improperly?). I pulled up YT, found a video, and confirmed I was doing it right. I had to stop comparing my attempts to the Queen of Decor.

I was so busy following the video I found that I didn’t stop to take a picture until the head, arms, and waist were completed. I realized my mistake when I was contemplating how to do the legs.

I stared at it for a while and realized that what Martha said to do for legs meant that the husks could be evenly divided into halves. Since I didn’t consider that when I was pulling husks down, worried I was fucking everything up, my doll had a dress motif going. I had been advised clearly that the doll needed legs, so I cut the husks down the middle like the YT video indicated to start the legs.

The doll didn’t seem big enough to add knees like Martha’s guide indicated to do, so I tied off near the bottom so I had feet on the thing. I stared at it for a long time, trying to decide if this was The Doll or if I needed to start over.

I grabbed my scissors to start trimming down the twine and decided this was not working for me. I didn’t like how big it was. I didn’t like the twine. I didn’t like the arms or hands. I really didn’t like the look of it with twine and envisioning it with clothes on, I knew that my first attempt was only that: an attempt.

I grabbed my clear small rubber bands that I have used twice for my hair, grabbed 4 more husks, and started on my second [and final] attempt.

I liked this one much better. I didn’t have twine and I could easily trim down the feet or arms so that the doll didn’t look unwieldy. I also liked it because I knew what to do this time so it took me all of 5 minutes to finish once I figured out how many times I had to twist the clear rubber bands.

Even though I didn’t like how the first one came out and found myself frustrated at the beginning, I actually realized that I liked doing this. It felt very good to be able to make something that I’ll be using for the next two weeks or so in my festivities for the Mysteries. And now that I know what I know about corn dolls, I’ll feel comfortable when I need to do this again next year.

The final rite for this was to rest my dolls under the protective gaze of Bes until the one I like is ready to be presented and the other one is ready to be ritually burned.

Dusk.

The Dream.

I was running through the woods. Sometimes I was running through an abandoned building, but mostly I was outside in a heavily wooded area. It would have been beautiful if I wasn’t so busy running and gasping for breath.

The arrow pierced through my coat. It didn’t hit me but it could have. I didn’t know where it came from except somewhere behind me. It flew through the coat and cracked against the tree in front of me. That’s when I realized I was being hunted, so I woke myself up.

When I went back to sleep some time later, I was back there again. But instead of arrows, the hunter was using a rifle of some kind. I’d hear it cock and the bullet go whizzing by when I zigged out of its way. The hunter wore all black, no camouflage, and stepped out ahead of me, gun aimed at my chest…

I woke up again and it was close enough to the time to get up that I didn’t go back to sleep this time. It was many hours later that I looked up hunting in my preferred Dream Dictionary. It’s not the only one I use because I have a personal one for repeated themes, but I had never been hunted in a dream before. I didn’t know what this meant.

To dream that you are being hunted indictates that you are being overwhelmed by life’s challenges.

Yeah. Yeah, that sounded about right. I couldn’t deny that.

The Dog.

My pet is a 14-year-old tweenie Dachshund. Her mom was a mini and her dad was a standard, so she’s in-between the two common sizes people see.

She’s had health issues with her back since she was 5 or 6, which is common. She has IVDD, the disease of all long-shaped dogs, and we manage it when she has a flare. If anyone knows Crusoe, the famous Dachshund, he had a flare some years back that left his back legs paralyzed. Wth medication and physical therapy, he came through. Jazz’s flares aren’t that bad, luckily, but they sure suck.

She also has very Bad Teeth. This is my fault for not getting her used to teeth brushing as a puppy, but we manage as well as we can now. She periodically gets an abscess that leaves her more crotchety and stubborn than the usual Dachshund crotchetiness and stubbornness.

In late September, she had an abscess that we dealt with via medication. She is old enough now where the vet has major concerns about putting her under to remove her teeth. The meds worked and she was back to her usual round of Dachshund stubborn in two days. That’s when she had an IVDD flare.

I had picked her up and then she was crying in pain. I brought her to the emergency vet room and we waited a very long time to see the dogtor. I went in knowing what we needed because of previous visits and the doc didn’t disagree. Since the pain was more in her neck than her back, the dogtor warned me that this might be a bigger flare than we were used to; evidently neck flares can sometimes only be treated with surgery.

Jazz was pretty pissed off with me for all the poking and prodding she went through. She snubbed me twice in the office and then again after we left. She was also quite high, which leaves her wanting to become one with my lap. It was an interesting ride home at ten o’clock that night.

After a few days on her anti-inflammatory and pain meds, she was moving around a lot better. She wasn’t running around just yet but she was able to move her head again. She was loopy, as she gets on gabapentin, and slept the entire day away while I was at work. I knew she was feeling better when she tried to walk up the stairs (a big no-no for Dachshunds) and jumping on the couch (another big no-no) when no one was around.

She finished off her meds last week and I did a placebo test to make sure she was 100%: I pretended to sprinkle her meds on her medication-laced-cookie-of-choice (cheese) and saw she was still ok. She’s back to being her usual self and I’m glad this flare is over.

The Dread.

I realized my mom was MIA on social media in early October. I checked her FB profile and saw her last posts were in late September. My mom’s only form of communication is social media so I texted her, but received no response. This isn’t weird because she is agoraphobic to a degree, has anxiety about talking on the phone or texting, and usually gets back to me when she’s ready.

I texted again last week, which is when my brother messaged to say something was wrong. After talking it over via messages, I managed to get him to take her to the ER because everything he said was a major RED FLAG that something was wrong. She wasn’t taking care of herself or her dog-daughter. She suffers from severe depression and while she may stop taking care of herself for a bit, she has never stopped taking care of a pet.

They took her to the ICU because she was Very Ill. They managed to stop the original symptoms of what sent her to the ICU and stabilized her enough to go to a regular room. But every day there is more Bad News and every day, I’m left kind of numb at the end of it. They think they may have finally figured out what caused the change in her behavior but we aren’t sure yet. They run test after test and ask question after question. I’m tired and worried.

I’m waiting for The Call the child gets when things go down. That Call. I honestly don’t see her leaving the hospital, healed and better. Based on al the positive vibes they tell me I suppose it’s possible. She could come out of this, but I don’t think so.

The Dilemma.

So when does the child pack a bag, hop on a plane, and fly 3000 miles to watch her mom in a hospital room? I could fly if I need to (I have a fear of heights) and my boss says she’ll give me time off if needed. But do I go down there to start wrapping things up now, or wait until a prognosis is given?

I don’t know what is to happen here. I’ve spoken with my brother about what we do if this ends the way I believe it does. We always had a plan in place because my mom has never been the healthiest person on the planet. But I can say that I thought this stuff was 10+ years away.

She’s only 63.

You’re Toxic.

Alternate Title: The toxic a-holes of the Kemetic community won.

On the first day of the leadership conference, the second panel was a Q&A panel. They do these to break up the 30 – 50 minute talks along with the breaks. The Q&A panels are usually pretty good, but my team and I were especially looking forward to this one because the topic was toxic work environments. After a year of having to deal with just that very thing, we were very interested in what Bozoma Saint John had to say on the topic.

After the session, we could all agree that the panel would have been better if she had been able to speak freely. She would begin to go down a specific rabbit hole related to the topic and the host would gently nudge her back to the primary topic, or force her to go off into other directions when we were interested in what she had to say on what she had just been talking about.

I also really enjoyed her energy. She was… vivacious and she grabbed your attention. As I was taking notes and processing what she had to say, I kind of got the feeling that no matter what Bozoma was talking about, everyone would have been entranced by her subject matter.

The reason she was invited to speak on this particular subject was because Bozoma went to work as the Chief Brand Officer at Uber. She had heard some of the horror stories of what was going on in 2017 for the company, which was having a bit of a bad year. After hearing what was going on over there, she left her position as a marketing executive at Apple Music to go to Uber in the hopes of helping turn the company around.

While I don’t know much about Uber or its current state, it kind of sounds like she wasn’t as successful as she had hoped. It sounds like the toxic environment of the company was all pervasive and while she made some changes, there were more people stuck in their ways than there were people willing to make the change.

power plant

When we think about the culture of a workplace, we start to think that the overall dynamic is created by the HR department or the CEO’s office. But that is a misnomer. The culture of one’s work environment can be found first in your cubicle or work station, and next in the cubicle or work station beside you. The CEO and the people of the HR department are, of course, part of this but it isn’t their rules or regulations that necessarily create a toxic or not-toxic work culture: it is the attitudes of the people that make up the company as a whole.

The problem is that a toxic work environment typically is created because there are multiple people coming at things from a completely different point of view or basis of an idea. Instead of everyone being on the same page about X, Y, Z thing, they all come at it from different directions.

Just like a school of fish, everyone in a work place need to swim in the same direction and together. When you have multiple fish going in a million different directions, it causes chaos. And this in turn will cause issues across the whole school, or in reality, within the work environment.

While competition between coworkers can be healthy as it can promote new ideas and growth, this doesn’t mean that people should be pitted against one another. Worker 1 and Worker 2 who have the exact same title and position would work better together as opposed to working against each other in the hopes of being recognized for one reason or another. They would be able to go further and make the job better for themselves and by extension, for the other people at that work place, if they are allowed to bolster up one another and work together towards a common goal.

Another way to ensure that the work environment is not-toxic is to ensure that you are empowering those who need it. Bolster up coworkers on a bad day, on a good day. Whenever and wherever you see a need for empowerment, give it to them. Work is hard and tiring for everyone more often than not and we need to be willing to bolster up others to promote a healthy and happy work place for everyone.

As the Q&A panel progressed, the hosted asked Bozoma what were three things that can make a work environment better for everyone. Her answer was:

  1. Empathize.
  2. Diversity.
  3. Inclusion.

You have to be willing to empathize with others; not sympathize but to have empathy for your coworkers and the situations that they are in. If you look at a situation and fail to empathize with the person in that situation, you are cutting yourself off from them. This can and will cause work place issues in future, which will only snowball from there.

You have to have diversity within your work environment. Everyone must be invited to your workplace. Whether its an after-work get-together or the workplace itself, diversity helps to promote growth, positive change, and everything else you want to see in the place that you spend at least 40 hours of your life in every week.

You have to be inclusive for everyone. There can be no us vs. them, or me vs. the whole in a workplace. There must be inclusion for everyone. As Bozoma indicated, it’s like going to a school dance and standing on the sidelines, waiting for someone to ask you to dance. You’ll begin to feel badly if you continue to sit it out. You have to join and the other works have to allow you to join in order to make the work environment a good one for all parties.

The last thing that was discussed before the panel came to an end, albeit briefly, was branding. This is something that TTR has already discussed and I won’t be doing the post justice by either summarizing or rehashing it. But the point is that Bozoma indicated that branding is everything – just like TTR’s opening statement on their post – and that branding must also include the internal work culture of the company.

If the company is toxic, but you’re trying to brand it to look like it’s a good placed to work, you’re promoting dissatisfaction and lying to potential employees. Word will get out that this isn’t a good place, no matter what the branding online will tell you, and you’ll lose both potential and current workers. It’s better to ensure that the internal work environment has been cleaned of its toxic veneer in every way possible so that you can be the branding that you’ve put out into the world. This will attract the right type of people for the jobs available and promote growth of the company, which benefits everyone.

Brand

When I was listening to Bozoma discuss toxic culture in the work place, it is little wonder that I first thought of our Kemetic community. We have had a lot of problems in recent years. Some of it is simple growing pains – the more people who say they are a part of the community, the more problems are going to arise because of a variety of things. It’s a people thing. But beyond simple disagreements about how to do something or the way to go about introducing yourself to the gods, there have been Bigger Problems. Our community went toxic as hell and we never really recovered from it.

No matter how hard we try to make a welcoming community, there will always be people who get sucked into the racism problem that is prevalent within various pagan and polytheism communities. And as they slip down that rabbit hole, they change to fit the dynamic that their racist circle requires or desires to see in them. This will continue to happen as long as racism continues to be a problem within our communities.

Sometimes you can educate those people out of those circles, but as we’ve seen in our community with its issues, educating others tends to have them doubling down on their problematic rhetoric because “the loss of privilege often feels like oppression”. There will be people who can learn beyond what they’ve either been raised to believe about racism, or have been re-educated to believe about racism, and there are those who prefer their power and comfort over everything and everyone else.

We must be willing to understand that not everyone is going to be willing to examine themselves and their privilege. And if that is the way that they want to be, then we must do everything we can to police them, to make it difficult for them and their ideas to proliferate in the community. We must be willing to point out their wrong-doings, warn new people away from them, and everything else that we must do to ensure our community doesn’t turn toxic again. We must make it difficult for their shit to continue unabated; we must make them unwelcome and unwilling to continue to gain the foothold they are hoping to have.

The problem is that we all saw warning signs. I know that I did. I know that TTR did. I can remember having private discussions on what to do when we saw concerning behavior begin to manifest in various discussions. When we finally started pointing out the problematic behavior, it seemed to cause more headache than do much because there were so few of us willing to police it.

And I can understand why not everyone was willing to do anything about it. It can take a form of bravery that not everyone has, but part of the problem is that there were so few of us willing to speak up, to speak out. With so few of us willing to stand up and say, “no, this isn’t okay,” it became easy for the problematic people to simply block us. We couldn’t speak up unless we took the time to screenshot shitty behavior.

If a community is what is desired, then everyone has to be willing to think to the three points Bozoma made and do what needs to be done to see it happen:

  • Empathize.

One shouldn’t be capable of empathy for a racist piece of trash. I’m going to throw that gauntlet down now. You can pity them for their misinformation and just generally being wrong, but you should not be able to empathize with them. They have no legs to stand on and therefore, as far as we as a community should be concerned, we cannot and will not attempt to see things from their point of view in any context.

It is more important that the minority members of our community be safe than the privileged and racist few who demand the same sort of “respect” that they see us give others. It is the minority members of our communities who should have our empathy, not the assholes who preach hate either overtly or subversively.

And it is the privileged person’s job, through the empathy we should all have with our minority, to speak over the racist pieces of trash in our community and refuse them a platform to speak from. If that means we get blocked, then so be it. We must make the racists as uncomfortable and unwelcome as humanly possible to ensure that the people who we need and want in our community are safe from that shit.

  • Diversity.

We want to invite everyone – except racists – to the party. Everyone should be able to join us. Whether we agree with all of their ideas about what things are, or how things are defined, we want to extend an invitation to everyone that we want to see in our community. We cannot simply be a white, cisgendered person’s home away from home: everyone should be able to jump into the water and be able to stay. They should all feel comfortable and welcomed.

  • Inclusion.

And in the same vein, we want to ensure that everyone – except racists – feel as if they were invited to the dance. We don’t want anyone to feel like they don’t belong. A newcomer will already feel overwhelmed with all of the resources and 101s that we’ve put out there. We don’t want them to feel like they shouldn’t be willing to post in our tags and be able to get helpful, thoughtful, and kind responses in return.

Thursday - 042210 - Day 61

I know this is long, but for those of us who have stayed with me, thanks.

The community fractured because of the toxic environment it became and it has never recovered. We’ve all seen it.

The content creators are tired of the same old shit and tired of creating. The people who see shitty behavior going on openly in the tags aren’t willing to speak up about it. The new people who joined us after or during the toxic foothold in our community learned to keep quiet and to keep to the shadows, not posting in the shared tags, because it was too easy to get their content derailed by inter-community fighting or policing. The behaviors of the few continue to negatively impact a place that all of us are constantly looking for: a place to call home when it comes to our religious paths.

The toxic assholes won.

Our community broke down and we haven’t done a damn thing to fix it. Some of that is because we’re tired of fighting and policing. Some of that is because life gets in the way and we have things to do. Some of that is because people left, not willing to step a toe into our shitty environment considering the shit that was going on when shit was going down. Some of that is because people are scared to speak up. Some of that is because some people are just selfish.

Whatever the reason, we need to cut the shit and think critically when it comes to our community:

  1. Do you want to be a part of this community?
  2. Are you willing to speak up about concerns you have?
    1. Or. Are you willing to point out problematic behavior or call someone out if the need arises?
    2. Or. If you are worried about calling someone out, are you willing to say something to someone who isn’t worried about calling shit out?
  3. Will you be able to help out the prolific content creators and put things out there?

If you can answer yes to these questions, awesome. Welcome aboard. If you can’t, then maybe it’s better if you go before the going gets rough [again]. This may sound harsh, but if community is what is wanted, it means that you have to put the hard work in and continue to put it in. But everyone has to do their fair share. You can’t rely on the few to do it all; we all have to partake and be willing to do what needs to be done.

Otherwise, there is literally no point in trying.

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Note: While I am specifically addressing the racism that was prevalent from the toxic shitheads that made our community anathema to many, please note that they also partook in sexist, ableist, and other shitty behaviors. While I may not specifically state that, please know that it is true and that we also must ensure that shit doesn’t get a foothold in our community either.

The Propitiation of Sekhmet: The Return Ritual Rubric

This particular portion of the festival begins on I Akhet 18 and finishes on I Akhet 22.

Daily Morning Ritual

After completing your daily rite to wake the gods and/or greeting the morning sun, open the window so that the sunlight can peer through the room. Approach your icon of Sekhmet and say:

Hail to you, O Sekhmet.
I call to you: heed my voice.
Using your arms, beckon the goddess in your direction.
The sun has risen and the world has awoken with its touch.
May you rise and be awoken by the sun’s warming rays.
Awake from your slumber; awake from your darkness.
Hear these words:
Return to me, O Distant Goddess.
Return to us.

Evening Ritual: Fifth Day Only

O you NTRW of this temple, who sanctify the god in his shrine:
I come to you, your servant, your son, I come to you.
Your beautiful scent, it calls me forward.
I have made my way and I enter into your presence.
I am one of you.
I am one of you.
Do not repulse me on the god’s path.
My feet are not impeded.
I am not turned back from this place.
I have entered this place with ma’at in my heart.
I am pure.
I am purified.

Step Forward & Call Out to the Goddess

O, Sekhmet; O Distant Godess: I call to you.
Hear these words and come to me.
I call to you, my lady, to return to us.
We call out to you to return to this your haven, your home.
Do not hide your beautiful face from us.
Come forth and look down upon us.
Grant us your love and trust as you return to this, your temple.

Awake in peace, Sekhmet, The Great Returning Lioness, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, A’apekhty, Great of Strength, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Kheneb-ib, He Who Robs the Heart and Cuts the Thighs of Enemies, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Neb-kennu, Lord of the Uprising, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Herf-em-Sedjet, Whose Face is Flame, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Imwy-Ity-Hapy, Who is in the Middle of Flood Waters, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Shed-kheru-em-kenu-tjemsuf, Creator of Unrest, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Ka-Desher, the Red Bull, awake in peace.

Step Forward & Open Shrine

I open your temple, I come to you.
Your warmth and beauty surrounds me as I enter.
I am not repulsed.
The doors of the sky are open.
The doors of the earth are unlocked.
This house is open for its Master.
Let me come forth as she shall come forth.
Let me enter as she shall enter.
Behold, I have come to you to offer ma’at to make sound the Eye for its lord.

Light Incense in Censor

The incense is placed on the arms of the gods.
It transforms your heart through its perfection.
I bring the incense to make your temple festive; I appease your body.
*censing the four directions*
The temple is filled with the scent of incense.
Incense spreads throughout your sanctuary.
It sanctifies your throne, it purifies your ka from evil.
Your body is purified.
Your temple is purified.

Light the Candles

The purifying flame is placed in the hands of the gods.
It transforms your heart through its pacifying heat.
I bring the purifying flame to sanctify your temple; I appease your body.
*lift a candle and hold it in the four directions*
The temple is filled with the light of the gods.
The temple has been purified by the flame of ma’at.
It sanctifies your throne, it purifies your ka from evil.
Your body is purified.
Your temple is purified.

Take up the Water

The essential water is placed in the mouths of the gods.
It transforms your heart through its cleansing coolness.
I bring the Great Flood to sanctify your temple; I appease your body.
*flick the water in four directions on the Altar/Shrine*
Your altar is purified by the Flood of Nun.
You are cleansed by Horus.
You are purified by Thoth.
Water invigorates your body.
It is I, your servant, who comes to you in the place where you reside.

Presentation of Libation to the Gods

Greetings to you, primordial water.
Greetings to you, flood waters of Nun.
Greetings to you, o great flood.
You, the father of the gods.
*pour the water into offering cup*
I present to you, o you who are green of face, the cup filled with primordial water, which has come from the Two Caverns.
I pour the libation to water your face.
May your thirst be quenched.

Presentation of Offerings to the Gods

I come near you, o venerable gods.
I bring the food and provisions for you subsistence.
Your altars are piled high with offerings of all sorts and forms.
Every follower, every servant, every devotee has come to bring you the bounty of their hearts.
*pour the offerings into bowl and place on altar*
I am Hathor, Lady of Nourishment, who multiplies the cakes and gives life to the one who is faithful to her.
I have brought you nourishment so that you may thrive.
For as you live, I live.

Behold, I have come from the land of the living to be with you in this sacred place.
I am one of you.
My hatred is evil.
I have come on the good path of the upright in order to make whole all of our limbs.
So that we may live Glorious and Complete as the Eye.
For as you live, I live.
As I live, you live.

Unwrap the Icon

O Returning Lioness, we have come to you to grant you life anew.
We have freed your limbs from their imprisonment.
The wrappings of the goddess have been torn asunder.
We have give your eyes the ability to see.
Your eyes are the whole and complete Eyes of Horus.
We have given your lips the ability to speak.
Your mouth is filled with ma’at and you bestow your ma’at upon us.
We have freed the goddess from her slumber.
You have been rejuvenated, permeated with the will of ma’at.
You have returned to us, green-of-face.

Ma’at comes to you in all of her radiance.
Your heart is glad when she appears before you.
Ma’at has come so that she may be with you.
Ma’at
is in every place that is yours so that you may rest upon her.
So that you may rest upon her.
She comes to you.
You live off of her.
You renew your youth when you see her.
Ma’at rests upon your head.
She is seated on your brow.
Your right eye is ma’at.
Your left eye is ma’at.
Your mouth speaks ma’at.
Your hands are filled with ma’at.
Your limbs do ma’at.
She takes her seat within your ib.
You are rejuvenated at her sight.
Ma’at has taken her position within your hearts and within your shrine.
For as you live through ma’at, your people live through ma’at.
For ever and ever, a million times effective.

May your heart rejoice, O Lady of Contentment of the Two Hearts.
May your hearts rejoice, O Executioners of Sekhmet.
Glorious and excellent, NTRW.
You are green of face.
You are pacified.
Your bellies are full.
Your thirst is quenched.
Your hands are filled with vigor.

O, Sekhmet, Lady of Joy: you are green of face.
O A’apekhty, Great of Strength: you are green of face.
O Kheneb-ib, He Who Robs the Heart and Cuts the Thighs of Enemies: you are green of face.
O Neb-kennu, Lord of the Uprising: you are green of face.
O Herf-em-Sedjet, Whose Face is Flame: you are green of face.
O Imwy-Ity-Hapy, Who is in the Middle of Flood Waters: you are green of face.
O Shed-kheru-em-kenu-tjemsuf, Creator of Unrest: you are green of face.
O Ka-Desher, the Red Bull: you are green of face.

Revert Your Offerings

O Great NTRW, your enemies withdraw from you.
Heru has turned himself to his Eye in its name of Reversion-of-Offerings.
These your divine offerings revert.
They revert to your servant for life, stability, health, and joy.
So that you may flourish for eternity.

Be Kind; Please Rewind.

Alternate Title: The Kemetic community needs to re-embrace “don’t be a dick”.

One of the presenters during the leadership conference was Bear Grylls. My office just about lost it when they found out he was going to be presenting this year. I didn’t understand why everyone was so excited about it. To that point, my total knowledge of him was that he had a show about being outside (I have since learned he has had 3 shows about that subject). My coworkers kept going on about how excited they were to hear from him.

As his segment came up, I was mildly distracted by the sun glare on the snow behind him. He kept squinting at the camera and I had an urge to give him my sunglasses. But when he spoke, everyone quieted down to the point where you could hear a pin drop. I was finally beginning to understand why people gave this man a show. He evinced a sort of charisma that left you waiting for what he would say next.

Fear

The presentation that Bear gave was about what he called the Four Fs. These Four Fs were supposed to be in regard to leadership, but as I listened to him discuss them in detail and relate each word back to his own experiences, it was obvious that everyone has come into contact with these Four Fs throughout their lives. The Four Fs are:

  • Failure

Everyone experiences failure at some point in their lives. No one enters into something and immediately gets it on the first try, the eighth try, the one hundreds try. Failure is a part of the human condition, a part of being human at its most basic level. Sometimes the failure is a large one and leaves you wounded from it; sometimes the failure is something small and easily overcome. Failure is something that everyone has experienced and these failures have helped to forge people into the person that they are today.

As much as we may want to deny the moments where we have failed at something, especially the more dramatic flops in our life, we must come to the realization that more often than not, a failure is teaching us. It may teach us how to do something better the next time we come into contact with it, or it may be teaching us that what we thought we wanted isn’t actually right for us. Don’t deny the fact that you failed; embrace it because these failures will be more, often than not, a doorway leading you forward.

  • Fear

No matter what we have gone through in our lives, we have come across fear. It has found us in the dead of night; in the middle of a meeting; as you write a post on the Internet. It lurks around every corner and everyone has had some experience with this feeling. Life as a whole is scary; it is an unknown thing that we all experience and sometimes, we can experience it with other people. Sometimes, we can hold hands with someone beside us and let the feeling of fear wash over us. And sometimes, there is no one there to help you through it.

Everyone is fighting something; everyone is fearful of something. Sometimes we must embrace that fear and continue over the other side of it. There are moments where, no matter how much your instincts may be telling you to turn tail and run, you have to keep going through that moment with fear walking beside you. Face it; use it; embrace it. Take the energy of your fear and use it to keep moving forward. It isn’t a dark moment, not truly, when you stand beside your fear and have to keep going. As the Litany Against Fear says, “I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.”

  • Fire

Everyone has a furnace of fire burning deep within them; a steam engine that keeps them going; a wood-burning stove deep within. This is the drive, the push, the desire to move forward and keep going. This fire may be dampened or darkened because of illness, but it is still there. It pushes people forward and keeps them going even when they don’t want to keep going. Sometimes you have to stoke the flames and sometimes other must stoke it, but the furnace is lit and will continue to burn.

Some people claim that they have none, but that is not true. Everyone has a fire burning deep within; it may be tamped down or hidden, but it is there. You must find it and use it so that you can keep going. Don’t listen to the voices within or without that may be telling you it’s dead and gone; keep looking. As Bear Grylls said, “N.G.U. – never give up.” Or as Galaxy Quest has taught us all, “Never give up; never surrender.”

  • Faith

Everyone has faith. The faith may be in themselves; it may be for other people; it may be in what they’re doing; it may be for a higher power. It doesn’t matter what the cornerstone of that faith is but it is there, deep within. It can be used as the cornerstone or a slab of concrete to build up and outwards, but it is there. It isn’t simply a voice within telling you to keep going; it is a belief and trust that what you are doing is the right thing.

People may complain and say that people use it as a crutch, but it doesn’t matter. That blind trust, that faith, helps to stoke the fire, to face the fear, to admit and embrace the failure. It is the alpha and omega within everyone. It may start off as small and simple, but it can be built up to encompass the totality of the path ahead, a baseline to continue forward.

The one common thread between them all was the thread of kindness, a need for it. The kindness exhibited could be for others or yourself. But it is paramount to show kindness. Acts of kindness were woven through each story associated with each word and it became the overarching theme.

We all face these things, or have gone through these things, or are going through these things. It is imperative to understand that no one is alone in this. We have all experienced failures; we have all faced our fears; we have all stoked the flames of our inner fire; we have all kept going because of faith. Everyone has gone through this, no matter what the path ahead has looked like for each individual.

We must all understand that the path ahead is an individual path; no two are alike. But we have all experienced or are actively experiencing any one of these things at any given time. And it is with both humility and kindness that we can keep going and by extension, others can keep going.

Be kind to others; be kind to yourself. As we all go through failures and fears and fire and faith, it is kindness that helps to see us through. It is kindness to ourselves that reminds us that we are imperfect beings who are navigating through; it is kindness from others that can keep us going for one more hour, one more day, one more possible failure ahead.

The entire presentation was worth the watch, but it was the bit about kindness that stuck out for me because he was right. Kindness for yourself and kindness for others is paramount to success, paramount to continue on. If we cannot be kind to either ourselves or others, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

kindness.

Something I have found lacking in the community is simple kindness. After TTR announced their hiatus, I went through the conversations we had had about the issues they were finding and began scoping out popular posts in the tags. And something that I kept seeing over and over again was this seemingly brusque persona that everyone had crafted for themselves. I suspect that this is a result of a two-fold problem: the toxicity within our community from a few years back and the exhaustion the prolific content creators tend to fall into after a few years.

As I mentioned in my post about TTR taking a hiatus, it can be exhausting when it’s your name being thrown out there the most and people keep asking for the same types of content or more new content. If you’re the only one giving out the information, then it wears you down until you can’t be kind to anyone anymore. You get jaded from all of the wear-and-tear that being a content creator brings with it and no matter how hard you try, it’s hard to find the benefit of the doubt and therefore, hard to find kindness.

When the community broke down, we all began doing our best to embody a little bit of Squidward in our online life. We needed to protect ourselves from the eventual break down of what we had worked hard for. We needed to distance ourselves from the inevitable explosion because it hurt too much to keep caring otherwise.

So everyone who has been around for that long has kind of started to come across a bit brusque when they respond to things and I think it’s a problem. We need to pull back from those parts of ourselves, the parts that we created to save ourselves from burnout or the burn down, and get back to kindness. We need to try and find the benefit of the doubt and we need to think critically when we respond to one another, to new people asking the usual 101 questions, and to outsiders just trying to understand.

I talked a bit about this last year after the last leadership conference I went to: it’s difficult to read tone when your community doesn’t have the ability or desire to be anything more than an online forum-type. It means that you have to sit back and ask yourself if the words you are choosing come across as rude, as ill-tempered, or flat our dick-like.

This is something that comes up for me a lot at work. As I mentioned in that post last year, the majority of my communication is through email. We have calls and talk to people, too, but I would say about 95% of my day is spent in front of a computer. And I can’t tell you how many times I hear complaints from my team about someone “being rude” or “being a dick” when that person is simply responding to something we sent them.

And you know what? When someone says that they got a “rude” response, it is almost always bias. It is a fear that they are coming from a place where they are wrong or a place of anxiety. The tone that they’re reading into the response isn’t there most of the time. It comes across that way because the person responding is trying to be as quick as possible in their response, which means they’re cutting out the fluff to get to the heart of the matter.

It makes things go by quickly, but it doesn’t necessarily mean things are going smoothly.

We do this within our community, too. We try to be quick and efficient, but sometimes you need to add in the flowery, the little kindnesses so that you don’t come across as rude or a dick. It’s a fine line that we walk, but if this community is going to grow as I would like it to and as others seem to want it to, then we need to remember how to not be a dick.

Over five years ago, TTR wrote about this very concept too. It wasn’t framed in a need for kindness, but in the need to embody the phrase “don’t be a dick”. They gave some handy hints on how to not come across that way. We need to go back to that. We need to sit still and think critically before we hit publish or reply. We need to refer back to the “yardstick of dickery” and try to remember that a little kindness can go a long way.

If we don’t, we’re as good as dead. All the chatter and discussion about content and creating it goes out the window if we can’t be nice to each other, or even to ourselves. We need to be kind. We don’t need to take shit, but we at least need to be kind.

The Calendar Conundrum.

Seven years ago, I created my own religious calendar. At the time, I was not confident in my abilities to figure out when Wep Ronpet was and knew that I was getting into something that I felt uncomfortable with. I was terrified I was going to Fuck It Up.

Guess what?

I absolutely did.

I spent an hour comparing dates back and forth. I thought the heliacal rising of Sirius was at the end of July; it was actually in August. I had done all of that hard work to then only have the wrong day listed for my new year celebration. I figured out that I had screwed it up a few months after I had already entered my holidays into my Google calendar. I decided to just suck it up and celebrated my WR on the 30th of July.

My celebrations were earlier than most other Kemetics, but I was remarkably okay with all of it. Even though I had gotten the timeframe wrong, it didn’t negate the joy I felt when I thought I had figured it all out. It didn’t make the Intercalary Days any less chaotic (placebo effect maybe) and it didn’t negate my celebrations at all. It just meant that 7/30 was the date of Sat’s calendar renewal.

It was earlier this year that Ptah said to me, “you know… we could make some adjustments now. You’ve made the backbone of festivities that I wanted; why don’t we revisit your calendar?” Since I knew I would be moving and my religious path has long since changed from what it looked like seven years ago, I figured it couldn’t hurt.

I decided to revisit this under the assumption that I wanted the heliacal rising of Sirius out of Memphis. It made sense to me at the time. My primary gods are Ptah and Sekhmet; why not start there?

Ptah seemed pleased with the notion; or at least he made no overt request for me to cease and desist. I went out and purchased a cheap $1 calendar since I found it easier to write things out than to start updating my Google calendar and went to town.

After finding the new date of my Wep Ronpet, I filled the whole calendar with every possible festival I could dream of wanting in my religious calendar. I combed through every inch of the Daybook, notating festivals for my current gods, for gods I might one day care about, and everything in between. I figured that when I sat down to update my Google calendar, I could add notes and comments, questions about what I thought the holiday meant.

I was on fire and feeling particularly pleased with myself. For once in my life, I had finished doing something well and truly in advance. I was on such a high horse of positive sentiment about my success that I carefully tucked my $1 calendar away to update my Google calendar later. I had months to go before Wep Ronpet and I, for once, was ahead of the curve.

Until I forgot where I carefully tucked away that $1 calendar. The one, single place I had made my notes. The one I had accidentally spilled coffee on one fine morning and moved it to a much safer place than the end table. That calendar that had me feeling so very, very pleased with myself.

I honestly have no clue where it went.

The day I was packing up the last of my books before we moved, I realized it was missing. I tore apart the whole living room under the seeming idea that I was packing things away, but in fact I was searching for that damn $1 calendar. It was absolutely nowhere to be found. And I even lifted couches and ripped apart cushions in the hopes that it would appear, but I was disappointed all over again.

After the move, I griped to Ptah about it. I said clearly, “if that calendar was to be mine, help me find it now.”

And. It. Never. Appeared.

I decided that having to find a new Wep Ronpet date wouldn’t be so bad. I could spend time making sure that I got the Memphis date correct, but when I went to enter the coordinates for Memphis, the website wouldn’t load. I gave it a day and tried again, but met with the same type of error.

When I thought about it, I realized that using Memphis probably wasn’t the best idea. Ptah was mostly silent on the matter; I had to fly solo on it. While I did experience trouble putting in my new address, it was easy to bypass those issues to get what I needed. I problem solved until I has yet another new date for my new year celebration.

I asked Ptah about it later, worried anew that I had messed it up again. He told me to stop being a whiny brat and move on. I figured he was tired of me complaining about it, or maybe it was because I had already messed this up once without any major problems. What would it matter if I did it again?

This time, I chose two methods to catalogue my holidays. I used the same method as before, a simple $1 calendar for quickly scribbled notes, but I also wrote them down in a day planner. I wasn’t going to run into the same problems a second time and now, so close to the new year.

Ptah seems remarkably happy with what I’ve done so far, though I am sorely missing my Google calendar notifications. I have to actually look now to know what holiday (of many) is occurring on any given day. And I didn’t have room for all of the notes I was hoping to add eventually, which means I will probably jettison the planner idea after 2020 is over to go back to something that bugs me with alerts and has more space for notes on a day with 9 different holiday possibilities.

When I asked Ptah why I couldn’t use the Memphis calendar I had compiled, he was finally able to give me an answer. He said, “the old is gone; the old was forgotten. We’re forging ahead towards the future, or did you forget that part?”

I hadn’t, not really.

Still. It would have been nice to know that before I lost the calendar I had worked so hard on.

Further Reading

  1. The Calendar Project

Good Enough.

Alternative Title: The Kemetic Community needs to up its content game.

This past week, I attended a leadership conference through my job. This is the second year that I’ve gone and as a result, there will be a few posts based on things I learned about at the conference. As always, as I listened to the various leaders from various countries and background present, I took studious notes, not necessarily for myself, but because I wanted to take what I was learning and use that to help the wider community.

TTR is right – the community does need to do better. And if that means I can impart, perhaps, some form of wisdom to one person at the very right time because I spent two days wearing uncomfortable clothes watching people talk about leadership? Then, I’m fine with that. I’ll go next year and the year after until I finally can go no more because I have died or because I am no longer with this company.

Create

The first presenter talked to us about cost benefit analyses. For those of you who work in certain businesses, like I do, those three words make sense to you. You may have even had to do one or two at work or maybe at home to determine if the cost of something would benefit you or your job or a project in the long run. While the phrase tends to pop up more in investment circles, an analysis of this type can be utilized in many different environments and for many different things.

Recently, someone on my team had completed a review for a site to see if it made sense to make some technological changes for them. As it stood, we found that if we could make the changes we were recommending, we could actually bring back a total savings of about $2500 a year. That’s a really good savings we could bring them and we were all about it.

But as we went forward with this project, we soon learned that there were other factors beyond what we had already studied that put the project into jeopardy. In order to make the tech changes we were recommending, we found that the site would require close to $2000 worth of work to make it ready and capable of accepting our changes.

The cost of the work we needed done to get them to where we needed to make our changes would eat up almost an entire year’s worth of savings. The costs that we were asking for didn’t outweigh the benefit of making the changes we recommended. So, we pulled the plug on the project.

This happens at my job periodically. A client will have an idea that sounds excellent on paper, but we have to help them to see whether or not there is a benefit in proceeding. Sometimes there is a benefit and we don’t find any extraneous costs as we complete our analysis; sometimes we find that the costs are high but so too are the benefits so we move forward; and sometimes there isn’t a benefit and we scrap the project in its entirety.

Now, in the presentation, the presenter had a little graph and his example was the time he spent on one of his speeches or sermons (he’s a pastor). I did my best to recreate it above.

As you can see from the example, if he spends 3 hours of time on something, he can get a decent way up as far as quality is concerned on the graph. He indicated that at this time frame, maybe his sermon or speech was at 75% on the quality scale. He knows he can get it better if he spends a little more time on it, so he does so and gets to the second dot on the graph, which he indicated was probably about 90% or so. If he spends more time on it, the quality of his speech or sermon would more than likely significantly start to decrease and bring the quality back down to the third dot, or what he indicated was probably like 80%.

The point that he spent a decent amount of time talking about was that dot after 5 hours spent, or what he indicated was about 90%. This point was what he called the G.E.T.M.O. point. (I literally thought he said Gitmo the first time he said it out loud and was very happy when he explained what he was actually saying). The G.E.T.M.O. point is the Good Enough To Move On point. This is the highest point you will achieve as far as quality and time spent, so it’s time to put the speech or sermon down and move on with your life.

Too often, people get stuck in this idea that the more time you spend on something, the better the quality. Nine times out of ten that is not true. Much like the bell curve that teachers and professors grade students on, there is a declination point on a cost benefit analysis. The difference being that after a certain amount of cost, the quality of the product, the project, the whatever it is will start to decrease.

Let me tell you a story.

I have a ton of drafts in my blog’s draft bin. I have about 20 right now and some of them go as far back as 2013. I had ideas and I wanted to work on those ideas, to get things out there that I felt needed to be spoken on. My issue is that after 6 years of working on some of those drafts that started in 2013, I have found myself frustrated and irritated with the overall point. I’ve scrapped and re-scrapped the entries so many times over the years that they no longer look like what I had originally envisioned. And frankly, they’re still drafts because they’re just not good.

I should have gotten the drafts to the GETMO point and pressed publish. Instead, I hit save and kept going back to it over and over again until I hated everything that I typed, hated everything that I had said and re-said and re-phrased. Those posts will probably never see the light of day because now, years later, I can’t even remember what the fuck I really wanted to say so the GETMO point has long since disappeared.

I suspect that my story above may sound familiar to some people. Perhaps they had an idea that they wanted to get out and into the world, perhaps to have others comment on or perhaps just to get it seen for future content from someone who was bitten by the bug to write about it. But maybe they hit save instead of publish and now that post will never see the light of day because it doesn’t look good after hours, weeks, months, or years of trying.

If I do it as a person who has tried diligently to bring content to the wider community, then I have very little doubt that there are others out there who have done the same. Or maybe someone has toyed with the idea but assumed they would never even get it to the GETMO point and jettisoned the idea of writing it in the first place.

November-Blues 2

The Kemetic community suffers from a lack of content creators (oh, boy, finally at the point of this post, eh?). Part of this is because of the breakup of the wider community whenever that was: 2015? 2016? Content creators came down on both sides of the split and that meant that the people who were creating before had to create that much more to fill the void. The problem being that more content creators didn’t fill the void.

As someone who was one of those content creators, it is very tiring to sit down and right a post when you know that it more than likely won’t go anywhere. Sometimes your brain turns on you and asks why bother? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down at my laptop to write something and eventually deleted it because I talked myself out of it.

But even with that, I knew that there were ideas and thoughts that I needed to get out there. I would see TTR banging away at content and trying to get people to interact, to think, to come up with their own ideas and I did my best to emulate that with what I had available. But the interaction and follow up that we had once seen happen frequently seemed to dry up. Fewer and fewer were posting their own content or responses to our content and it began to feel very much like we were talking into the void (still does actually).

I can tell you that when I first started this blog nine years ago, I wasn’t writing for anyone but me. I didn’t care if people saw what I said. I didn’t care what the hell the wider community was doing. I needed a place to write down my thoughts and ideas, to figure out what worked and what didn’t while I explored my Kemetic path. When I started to network, I cared a bit more about putting out content because I was Having Ideas and I wanted to share those Ideas with People.

Whether those Ideas panned out or even went beyond a few conversations wasn’t the point necessarily. I wasn’t writing them down simply to write them down. I was hoping to have someone read it, get bitten by the Idea, and move it forward or rework it or maybe say it sucked from start to finish. The hope was that eventually another future content creator would see it and do with it what they would.

I have watched the community silently pack up shop seemingly on the idea of good content. Part of it is no doubt fear. “The thing I want to write is stupid.” Or maybe it’s a fear that assholes are going to do what they do best on the post in question and be assholes. Sure, those are valid fears. But you shouldn’t let them get in your way.

Write the post.

Write the ritual.

Write the rubric.

Write the hymn.

And then hit the word publish instead of save or delete.

Get it out there. Forge ahead on the path that you want to create for yourself, but let others see it.

If they see you making the posts that you want to see, I can assure you that someone, somewhere will see that and get an idea based on what you say. Or they’ll have a response post that they make to what you were originally saying. Or it will shove them into a niche area that they research and put out the content of what they found when they looked into it.

Yes, it’s a terrifying prospect. It is wholly possible that the thing you worked on to its GETMO point gets flipped and destroyed, no longer looking in any way like what you had hoped it would be. It is possible people will dogpile on it and try to shout you down. All of this is possible; absolutely. But that doesn’t mean that what you have in your mind doesn’t need to be said.

Look. We are all of us a long line of Dominoes ready to be pushed over, but only if that one finger pushes the first one over. And the only way to get shoved over is if you write the post and hit publish instead of talking yourself out of it. So go out there, get your idea to the GETMO point, and hit publish.

(Please note: the presenter referred to above is Craig Groeschel. I am in no way affiliated with him or his church. I just find some of what he says on leadership interesting.)

Loss of Faith: Polytheism Edition.

As a birthday present to myself, and after a recommendation from TTR, I picked up The Grief Recovery Handbook and immediately began reading through. Grief, as discussed in this book, is defined by the opening statement in the first chapter: “Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss of any kind.” The authors make no specific distinction about what caused the loss, pointing out the most common (death, divorce, financial change, etc), but they make the point that any major change can cause a loss of some type.

The overall point in the first part of the book is to illustrate that we have all been “socialized to believe that those feelings are abnormal and unnatural.” This should not be the case for anyone as it means that we have not been given the tools necessary to contend with the very real emotional reaction humans have when it comes to loss.

The authors go on to stress that it is no one’s fault that they were never given the necessary resources to recover from their grief. Society as a whole is responsible and the only way to overcome this is to educate ourselves and therefore, eventually, be able to educate others, on how to recover from this.

During my reading, I found a specific section on faith that I found particularly interesting:

In 1969 John’s younger brother died. John remembers being told, “You shouldn’t be angry with God.”

John knew he shouldn’t be angry with God, but he was anyway. No one knew to tell him that anger at God is a typical response to an untimely death. We’ve relied on intellect for years, so we search for understandable reasons for events. When we can’t find a reason, we assign blame to God.

As someone who experienced the loss of their father at a young age, this particular passage made a good deal of sense to me. At the time of his death, I was too young to understand the full cause that resulted in my father’s death. I now know things I couldn’t understand or be told at 7 years of age, so it no longer seems like a reasonless death. But as a child facing the seeming untimely death of their parent, I assigned blame to God.

But placing blame on God for an event that seemed to have no reason is frowned upon. We’re told contradictory things like “God has a plan” and “Don’t be angry with God” and are never really allowed to voice that anger because it is seen as taboo or wrong. To voice our displeasure at God can be downright threatening for some people to hear and in general, such sentiments are shushed into oblivion.

The authors continued this passage with the following:

This anger will pass if we’re allowed to express the feeling. We have to be allowed to tell someone that we’re angry with God and not be judged for it, or told that we’re bad because of it. If not, this anger may persist forever and block spiritual growth. We’ve known people who never returned to their religion because they weren’t allowed to express their true feelings. If this happens, the groover is cut off from one of the most powerful sources of support he or she might have.

To reiterate the point, if we bottle these feelings up because we are either taught to keep them quiet or talked over when we voice them, we may never experience spiritual growth again.

Reciprocity

While the above quotes did spark a series of thoughts relating to myself and my father’s death, it was not in fact his death that I first began exploring. I had already know about my anger with God at age seven and have managed to, for the most part, deal with it. My thoughts actually began rolling to when pagans lose their faith and my own experience with it.

For those who have only recently started reading this blog, I used to be an obnoxious “have faith” kind of person. By that, I mean that I loved my gods and my religion. I was here for it everyday and I worked hard to both maintain my faith and towards the common goals my gods had given me. I often thought of my faith as a shining gold blanket, thick and luxurious, and it made me feel comforted and happy. I suspect the reason I was this person is because my mother often told me that she cared not for what religion I followed, as long as I had faith. So, perhaps to overcompensate for the years where I had none, I was full of it.

But in 2016, I began to have a crisis of faith.

A crisis of faith is typically defined as when you seriously question whether what you believe/how you see/what you’re committed to is actually true. If you read editorials from pastors, reverends, and priests, many of them will say that a crisis of faith is a good thing. But while you are on the midst of one, and if your religion doesn’t have spiritual leaders to discuss these issues with, it certainly doesn’t feel like a good thing.

My issue was reciprocity. The word is commonly defined as “mutual exchange” and was a part of the ancient Egyptian religion. It was seemingly practiced by both the upper echelons of ancient Egyptian society and the laity. I felt like the gods were not holding up their end of the bargain.

I had made extensive strides in the areas I had been asked to, but the return I was expecting failed to materialize. It felt very much like the gods had welched on their part of the contract between us and no matter how many times I pointed out that their lack of fulfillment was both upsetting to me and concerning me on their behalf, I typically got the message equivalent of smashing the keys of a keyboard in answer.

When I spoke about my anger at being, seemingly, forsaken, I was told by many that I shouldn’t be angry. I shouldn’t rage and rant at the gods. I should effectively suck it up and keep on going about the work I was already doing because “the gods have a plan”.

Eventually, I brought it up less and less because the voices trying to drown out dissatisfaction and discontent grew steadily louder. Those who once commented on the things I said about being angry disappeared for fear of an eventual dog pile from those who seemed to be threatened by the idea that people could be angry with their gods. The discussions were eventually shushed into oblivion.

Sound familiar?

These statements and arguments kept cropping up whenever anyone mentioned feeling like I did on the matter and compounded an already stressful situation for me. I’ve come to the conclusion that many who say things similar to what the authors mentioned in the Handbook have taken the same point-of-view of many Christians: the deities are at a higher level than humans and we should simply be content with an occasional glance.

I suspect that people who shout down other polytheists with this negative rhetoric are still very much entrenched by the religious backgrounds they come from. While that is not necessarily their fault if they’ve not been given the means to recover from it, it makes it difficult for people who do not suffer from the same backgrounds or who have been successful in recovering from those previously held beliefs.

I also strongly believe that these same people are scared. They’re terrified of someone upsetting their status quo. And I understand that rocking the boat on the open ocean can be terrifying but sometimes you have to in order to grow.

Whatever the psychological or emotional reason behind this need to shout over the disaffected and grieving, they need to remember that they are speaking to real, living people going through some of their own shit. And they need to keep in mind that, more than likely, what they’re talking over or trying to shut down may in fact negate some of the basic tenets of their polytheistic religion. (Or in the words of Jake the Dog: they need to “go sit in the corner and think about your life.”)

Reciprocity in Christianity culminates in the Golden Rule more often than not. Reciprocity in the ancient Egyptian religion, at least, extends to include the gods and that means that I have a perfectly reasonable expectation to assume I will eventually be given what I have asked for especially after years of faithful service.

The idea that they could not or wouldn’t abide by what I expected threw me into a tailspin. This tailspin was further exacerbated by people who, perhaps thinking they were “helping,” voiced the same types of comments the Handbook authors specifically refer to as detrimental especially when someone is experiencing a loss.

And make no mistake: I was grieving for my loss of faith. I had blindly and lovingly followed for years and now, what I knew to be true about my gods and our relationships was thrown on its head. I could no longer view them with love or faith; I could only see them as capricious beings who were using me or figments of my imagination.

The situation never cleared up for me, not really. I just stopped talking about it, no longer willing to defend myself while I tried to work on my grief at the loss of my faith virtually alone.

2016 was a hard year.

abandoned churches

So how do you recover from grief when, seemingly, everyone wants to shut your natural reaction about said grief down? How do you come out the other side, feeling better about it all? I must have done something since I’m back at the religion table again, doing my due diligence and trying to forge ahead as always.

I can say that I’m not sure. In the last three years, I have truthfully spoken to one (1) person about this in an unedited fashion. TTR seemed to be the only one who understood what I was saying, but at the time, they didn’t have all the tools necessary to be much more than the vent hole I needed when I was angry or upset about it. And besides, they too had had their own similar experiences regarding reciprocity and understood things from a similar perspective to my own.

I can truthfully say that I am still grieving. I can often look back at those years where I felt secured in my golden, fluffy blanket of faith and grieve for it all over again. This isn’t always the case, not by a long shot, because sometimes I look back and I am so angry that I once so blindly believed as I did back then.

I was able to at least come to terms with it, which isn’t the same thing as recovering. I was able to come to a point where I still viewed the gods as capricious beings that played games with people like me, but I stopped worrying that I was making it all up, that the omens and signs were coincidental and that I was imagining things.

I’m hoping that my reading of this book may better help me. Thus far it’s taught me what not to say when someone experiences a loss of any kind. The next section appears to be given the steps to come through one’s grief, so perhaps I will eventually be able to say that I have recovered.

Things will, of course, never go back the way they once were. I knew that two years ago when I started to say that I missed having a religion and went back to the gods I knew already. You can’t fill the hole of one’s loss and assume it will be as good as new. The myriad of patch jobs a city does on its potholes is all the physical reminder of this that anyone needs. But like a fresh patch job done well, the hole can at least become functional again for a time before a new patch is needed.

I am hoping the book will give me more than a patch job; maybe stitches to knot the edges of the hole together. I suppose I’ll find out.