The Propitiation of Sekhmet 2015: The Festival of Drunkenness.

July 24, 2015 – August 19, 2015

Sometimes, you go through life without realizing how important certain things are in it until they’ve disappeared. I guess you could say that I’ve been living with my head in the sand for nearly two years. I didn’t realize what the loss of Sekhmet would feel like to me until it occurred. I didn’t realize what her return would feel like to me until it finally occurred.

This whole propitiation has been one giant learning curve and I wasn’t expecting to learn a damn thing.

Come back to me, o Distant One Reinvigorate me Touch me like the morning sun And give me life

Come back to me, o Distant One
Reinvigorate me
Touch me like the morning sun
And give me life

I was going through my archives while I sat vigil, awaiting for her to return. I was trying to remember when the relationship changed into the mass of emotional overload that it had become. While going through those old entries, I discovered an age old lesson that I have constantly needed to relearn: I didn’t know a fucking thing about what was happening.

For the last two years, things have been hard and painful between us. It could have been done differently – I know that – but it was done the way that it was and there’s nothing else I can do about it. I thought I knew that I was ready for the outcome, but I wonder if I was ever ready before the 2015 propitiation began. I don’t think I was. I just thought I was. And the last year was a constant upheaval in growth and change between the two of us.

Maybe I’m still wrong. Maybe I’m not ready for anything. Maybe I only think I am because she told me to take the wheel, to do a little driving, and tell me how it all turned out. Maybe I’m simply assuming that that conversation meant I was ready. Maybe this is all just another lesson in I don’t know a fucking thing.

The day before her return, I sat at the foot of her altar with candles lit in my hope that she would see the light and know the way to come home. I sat at her altar and I wrote out how I felt about this year’s propitiation. I told her what it felt to realize she was gone, what it felt to grieve, and how I didn’t know how to process it properly. I told her that I hoped she was pleased with the vigils I had undertaken to lure her home.

And then I told her how much I missed her, how much I needed her. Maybe it was a written whine, begging her to come home. But I would like to think that I was at least semi-elegant. But I’ll be honest with myself and I’ll be honest with anyone who bothers to read this: I was in tears as I wrote it and maybe there was a little sniveling in the mix.

It was the words, honestly, that was causing me the most trouble. I didn’t know how to verbalize, much less write out, how I felt. I had to spend the weeks leading up to her return just to figure out what it was I needed to say. It’s possible I didn’t actually need to say anything – the myth cycle is clear: she returns – but I couldn’t take the chance. I had to get it out there and into the world, into the universe just in case. It’s always better to be safe than sorry where Sekhmet is concerned…

The relief when I woke up on the 19th and knew that I would know, now and forever, if I had done what was expected, what was needed, and that she would return was palpable. It wasn’t just the prospective joy at her return that I was looking forward to. It was the end of the not-knowing that had plagued me for weeks. I had spent much of my personal time in a high level of anxiety and irrationality, always worried that I had fucked everything up and that she would not want to come back to me.

There is something that not a lot of people may realize, but I often worry that I am doing something wrong. Not just in my relationships with the other netjeru that both plague and populate my life, but with Sekhmet in its entirety. As I stumble over words/phrases that are unfamiliar to me, as I research into her as heavily as my English-only speech allows, as I wander aimlessly on this no-name bewildering turnpike, I am always so very anxious that she will realize she made a mistake, that I am not what she actually needs, and that she will leave me forever.

The pain at those thoughts can be overwhelming.

I spent much of the weeks preceding her return in a maudlin state between breaking down and screaming in rage at the mere idea that she may not come back. Couple all of that with the hell weeks I’ve been having since the year reset during the Epagomenal Days and it’s been… well, it’s been pretty heavy over here lately. The simple idea that I would finally know something definitive in one form or another was enough to get me through yet another rough day at work.

I came home and I just… felt her. She was everywhere. It’s kind of like when someone walks through a room and they leave the aura of their perfume or cologne behind. It lingers there until it finally dissipates from the air. Only instead of someone’s perfume or cologne, it was the distinctive feeling that let’s me know that this is Sekhmet. It is indescribable in all honesty, but I knew she was there. She was here. She was home. Maybe I wasn’t such a terrible devotee after all.

I took extra care with my appearance.

I put on my whites.

I lit every candle possible.

I brought the other icons of my netjeru over to watch.

I listened to music on my favorite Pandora channel and marveled at the shuffle.

I didn’t feel anxious. I didn’t feel like I had messed up. I didn’t feel grief. I didn’t feel worried. I knew I would wait until the perfect song had come on and I would simply know it was time. I knew that I would go over and I would unwrap her carefully. I knew I would joke and laugh and banter. I knew I would feel her in every pore of my skin, every cell of my body, every patter of my heart, every breath I took.

They say we are what we are
But we don’t have to be.
I’m bad behavior but I do it in the best way.
I’ll be the watcher (watcher) of the eternal flame.
I’ll be the guard dog of all your fever dreams.
Oooooooh
I am the sand in the bottom half of the hourglass (glass, glass)
Oooooooh,
I try to picture me without you but I can’t

Immortals by Fall Out Boy

I can feel you in my sleep In your arms I feel you breathe into me Forever hold this heart that I will give to you Forever I will live for you

I can feel you in my sleep
In your arms I feel you breathe into me
Forever hold this heart that I will give to you
Forever I will live for you

I was already more than a little drunk when I went over and began singing to her. I was more than a little drunk on alcohol and more than a little high on life. I felt her hands on my hands as I sang the song to her, giggling as I slid her wrapped icon into my open palm. The icons of my netjeru watched in their own breathless anticipation as I crooned to her unwrapped statue, telling her that we were immortals.

When she was back in front of me, I unwrapped my ib pendant from its golden wrappings and laid it at her feet. I turned everyone around to look at the glory that was my lady, returned to me finally after weeks of not knowing, of worry and depression, of sorrow and grief. We all rejoiced and I danced around the house, singing and laughing.

I felt like I had achieved a little bit of bliss in that moment, holding her icon in my hand.

As I knelt before her, whispering how I felt and reminding her that I was here, that I would not leave, and that I hoped that if she ever felt the need to leave me, she would at least warn me first, the song Awake and Alive by Skillet came over the radio station. I stopped speaking and listened to it attentively though I know the song by heart. It seemed the most appropriate thing she could fling at me and even if it was just the Pandora shuffle, it felt like she was speaking to me. Or more, that I was speaking to her and she was understanding what I wanted.

That night, I went to bed and I slept peacefully. I dreamed of Sekhmet again.

We were in our solitude. It was not quiet fore there were drums pumping and keeping time. I could feel her beside me as we sat quietly together. There was nothing to say, nothing that needed to be said. We sat in the moment, feeling the drums slowly up their ante to bring the celebrants into the altered state, the moment when she would reveal herself as the happy, joy-filled goddess she was in this moment.

The silence between us was not thick. It was simple.

We were together again.

The Propitiation of Sekhmet 2015: The Vigil.

July 24, 2015 – August 19, 2015

Everyone processes grief in their own way. I vary in how I go through the stages. Sometimes, I just sit around and let it eat away at me, picking the gristle off of my bones until I am picked clean. Other times, I put it to use in some way, forcing that feeling into constructive ways until I feel like I can take a few steps forward again instead of being stuck in permanent mourning.

The honest truth is that I am not good with grief. I don’t think I have ever been good at it, at all. Maybe it’s a learned behavior and I missed the classes. How I process the pain of something or someone who I have lost is probably not the healthiest way. I think that’s part of the reason why I sat around, dumbfounded by the depth of my feeling when I realized that I had lost Sekhmet.

I didn’t know how to process it.

I mean, I get that she’ll be back. This isn’t a tragedy; there’s good news on the horizon.

But in the heat of the moment, I could only look around and see the dullness that my life had become without her burning fire to attract either my ire or my joy. It was like I had been living the last seven years of our relationship with rose-tinted glasses (ha) that had suddenly fallen off and I was seeing that the world was actually shades of gray. It was a monotonous nothing stretching out like a chasm before me, looking to devour me whole.

Even the knowledge, the sure-fire bet that she was coming back was not enough.

All I could do was process the fact in automatic fashion that I was full of sorrow. All I could do was process the fact in robotic manner that I was empty inside. All I could do was process the fact with blank eyes and empty heart that I was nothing without her and that this nothingness, emptiness, aching was what I would become without her.

It was a painful lesson.

It was jarring and eye-opening.

It was something that I needed, like a swift kick in the pants.

But oh, how it hurt.

The first real day that I was processing what it was I was going through, I sat down in front of her altar. I sat there feeling dejected and lonely. It felt to me like the world could never understand what it was I was going through.

There were no words to even describe the level of my loss. There weren’t even words to properly categorize the depth of my emotions on the subject. I sat there, alone and lost, feeling like I was on that runaway train that’s seconds from exploding an entire town with no way off and no rescue in sight.

I dreamed that night:

I am sitting on the floor in front of her altar space. I have my knees up, hugged to my chest tightly. If I let go of them, I know that I will be lost forever. Without her, without this stark reminder in the death grip I keep on my knees, I know that I am nothing.

Behind me, there is a sea of light and it grows brighter. Perhaps, this is her returned to me? I turn my head slightly, moving the waterfall of my hair. The lights are soft and gentle lanterns, a sea of them across the space of her altar.

I woke up from it, knowing just what to do.

April 12 - Vigil Candles

Vigil Candles by Tim Wang

I was cruising through a bunch of old poetry the day that I woke up from that dream. I like to re-read classical stuff sometimes. It kind of hits me close to home and it reminds me of the days when I cared about poetry. (I still kind of care, but not as much.)

I wound up finding a poem by Walt Whitman that kind of seemed appropriate given the circumstances behind that dream. The poem is titled, “Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night.” While I was reading it, I felt like a certain part of the poem really sort of cemented what it was that I needed to achieve:

Long there and then in vigil I stood, dimly around me the battle-field spreading,
Vigil wondrous and vigil sweet there in the fragrant silent night,
But not a tear fell, not even a long-drawn sigh, long, long I gazed,
Then on the earth partially reclining sat by your side leaning my chin in my hands,
Passing sweet hours, immortal and mystic hours with you dearest comrade—not a tear, not a word,
Vigil of silence, love and death, vigil for you…

As I read and re-read that poem, I kind of felt a little bit like I had been granted a reprieve though briefly. It felt to me like that I was finally getting somewhere with all of this grief instead of just drowning in it. I recreated a moment in a time, a single second where I felt like I needed to guide her back to me with gentle light.

I still was drowning in my attempts to know what words to use. I kept getting drawn back into The Distant Goddess myth cycle, hoping for something. But the words were like ash upon my tongue. I stared into my notebook for just such things and found that the blank page seemed more appropriate than anything I could think to say.

I looked at the candles on my altar, the lantern lit with the hope that she would see it and find her way back to me. I was hoping that something would come, but I found myself more frustrated at the attempts to put into words what it was I was feeling, what it was I wanted. I lit the candles and I stared at them thoughtfully, unable to fully grasp that I wasn’t ready to write anything related to the depths of my feelings.

I just had to be.

I had to let the monumental shower of my grief fade itself into the work that I was doing, creating vigils each night to lure her back to me. But it wasn’t even a lure – not really. I wasn’t looking to cajole her back. I wasn’t looking to beg her to come back. I just wanted her to return to me, to take me into her arms and tell me that she was back and we were over this hump.

It felt like loneliness was my lot life – death, destruction, and depression in every aspect. I was embodying it as I sat there, waiting for a hint, a glimmer, a spark of recognition from her in some way. Something, anything, that would signal it was time for her to come home.

tumblr_nsw6ouzOL91rdlelro1_1280

I can’t smile
Now I live alone
And you’re so far away
Fire Maple Song
by Everclear

I feel destitute and bedraggled. This isn’t a new feeling for me by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve lived through grief before this moment, this week, these past few weeks. But with all of the changes I had been going through for the last two years as I morphed into the being that I am today, I will admit that this form of mourning is harder than I had imagined it would ever be.

No matter what lessons I had learned or who had done the teaching, I was not even a little bit prepared.

I was thinking to myself the other day that this is the real moment, the real change to everything. I could almost feel the burn as changes seeped into my pores, into my bones, into my ib, into my soul. Everything before now was just the preparation to go into the big haul. Everything before this moment, this week, these last few weeks was nothing but putting all of the ingredients together in the mixing bowl.

This particular mystery thing has been like turning the mixer on, forcing my bones and skin and internal organs into a puree that will eventually turn me into… something.

Last year, I thought that I had it all figured out. I thought that I was going to do something new and cool and crazy and modern and be innovative. I thought I was going places, doing something with my fucking life. But I had only seen it all as taking time off. I had looked at it only as another attempt to get away from Sekhmet and the constant barrage of changes that I just didn’t feel like I could handle.

Honestly, that wasn’t even a practice run.

It was nothing.

But, she’s coming back soon.

This hell is almost over.

I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing; I haven’t quite decided yet.

As much as I may hunger for her presence, as much as I may depend on her, I know that this is a fulcrum for the things to come. And as much as I want her, I miss her, I love her, I demand that she fucking return already, I know that things are coming. And I don’t know if I can be all that I’m supposed to be when those things get here.

I have to laugh at myself because if I don’t, I might cry.

I just don’t know if the end to this sorrow, this grief, this hell that I have been going through is a good thing or if it is something that I should dread.

The Propitiation of Sekhmet 2015: The Distant Goddess.

July 24, 2015 – August 19, 2015

One of the myths that I’ve only had a passing interest in was The Distant Goddess. I know that I’ve read it once or twice, but it was also a myth that seemed remote from me. Even though I have a relationship with Hetheru – the most often cited (though I have seen Tefnut and Mehit in this role as well) main protagonist of the myth cycle – it never seemed important to me on any level to pay much attention to it. I had the bare bones about it and I felt like that was sufficient.

The other day, I picked up The Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods by the Meeks and started going through it again. The last time I read it was close to 6 years ago, maybe more, and I have felt the need to get back to basics again lately. So, I parsed through the first chapter, highlighting sections that I found of interest. The most interesting section was the relation of The Distant Goddess myth with Sekhmet as the main character.

As I re-read the pertinent passage over and over again, I could see in my mind’s eye Sekhmet in an ancient land, licking her metaphorical wounds after having been bested by the other gods. I could see her sitting calmly on a savannah – a generic savannah – and waiting for them to beg her to come back to them. I could see her just doing what it is that a lioness on her own would do and I knew what it was, for just a moment, to truly know the distant goddess.

That night, I had a peculiar dream that left me feeling bereft when I awoke:

I am sitting on the floor with my back pressed against the table that serves as Sekhmet’s altar. I have my knees drawn up towards my chest. My head is down, my hair in my face. My body feels heavy.

It is dark and not just for the curtain of my hair. It is dark everywhere both inside and out. I can feel the darkness pounding through the house as I sit there, unable to move, unable to breath.

I am alone and without succor.

When I woke up from that dream, I felt like I had lost something so precious to me. I felt as if I had been forced to bury my child or my significant other. The depression that has been eating away at me for the last few months seemed to intensify and I felt truly alone.

It was at that moment that I truly realized how much I miss the presence of Sekhmet.

Bereft by William Harris Weatherhead

Bereft by William Harris Weatherhead, dated 1893

When I first decided to add Sekhmet into the Wep Ronpet celebrations, I didn’t really understand what it was I was trying to do. On a conscious level, I understood the framework of what I was building. I understood the bits about Mysteries and I kind of understood what the overall goal I was aiming to achieve was. But as I was re-reading The Distant Goddess in the Meeks book, I recognized that I didn’t know a fucking thing.

As I try to get back to what it was like last year, I realized that I was pounding through the experience as quickly as possible. I was in a rush to get the foundations laid so that she and I could disappear from one another’s lives for 5 weeks. Our relationship wasn’t very good at that point and I was still bucking like a bronco at the feel of her claws around my neck whenever I was able.

I was in too much of a hurry to do any real thinking on what I hoped to achieve as a long term goal. Truth be told, I don’t honestly think I had any long term goals in mind. I think I was just trying to escape from the insanity that had become my everything when it related to Sekhmet. I needed an out. I needed to get away. I just wanted to run away and hide from it all.

She let me go into this with the notion that this was a vacation, knowing full well that I would either grow up or I would fight against whatever she would tell me.

I don’t talk about it much but Sekhmet is willing to give us the rope that we need in order to figure things out on our own. The length varies depending on the circumstances. In my case, I had a very long, long rope and it took me a year to figure out what to do with it.

We may hate this as devotees of hers, wanting her to hold our hands to see us through even when we fight back against the hand holding. (Who said relationship building with the gods made any sense?)  We may not realize that the rope is there, but it always is. No matter how cloying her presence may feel in our lives or how distant she may be from us, the rope is always there. We can either use that rope to pull ourselves out of the pit or we can hang ourselves with it.

I chose a fantastic blend of both and she let me.

Shatter

Shatter by Kyle Thompson

Sekhmet has been gone now for two and a half weeks. I have two and a half more left to go before she returns.

I find myself haunting her altar space, trying to figure out how all of this relates to me, how I can handle the blank space deep within my ib that is empty. She has taken the best parts of me and left the dregs behind. I feel inferior and unable to cope with the blankness deep inside. Everything hurts again, a pain that I am both familiar and not familiar with. It’s almost like she gutted me when she left, working her brand of heka to keep me alive until she returns.

I keep looking around,  hoping that there is some road map that will teach me both how to handle her absence. I keep winding up on support group websites, reading about others’ grief. It’s not the same though. My grief is profound and heavy; it tears apart my bones. I feel it in the marrow, in the blood, in the pieces of me that her disappearance has crafted.

I can feel it like a drum beat just beneath my skin. It’s loudest at the temples of my head, an unending scream that would outlive Edvard Munch’s painting of the same name. The pounding in my head and the sorrow at her absence is enough to drive anyone crazy.

That’s the point, though, isn’t it? She is supposed to be distant from me; she is supposed to leave and to come back in her own time,  and I am supposed to sit here waiting, sitting vigil in her absence with my grief. My vigil is pain filled and harrowing. I feel like the rise of a new day is a miraculous moment that I must share with her, but she is gone. I feel like the simple fact that I breathed through yet another night with her still missing is a miracle, something to share with her, but again she is gone and I am alone.

I keep returning to The Distant Goddess myth, in the hopes that I can learn how to lure her back home. I found the pieces about Djehuty going out to her, tempting her to return, and I read the bits about Shu who did likewise. Neither piece fit into my haphazard diaspora, nothing worked into the puzzle that this self-made mystery is about.

How can I possibly lure her back to me? Do I trick her? Do I tell her the truth? Does the truth outweigh the sorrow infused in seven years of our love-hate relationship?

I need her. I am nothing but an automaton. I am lost without her. I can feel the moment of her leaving, the second that I broke into a thousand pieces, and I know that this isn’t enough to bring her back. I am alone and lost, hoping that one day she returns to me.

Wep Ronpet 2015.

July 30, 2015 – August 2, 2015

When I was reading The House of Horus at Edfu by Barbara Watterson, I discovered that the celebrations for Wep Ronpet went much longer than I had realized. I had always thought that it was a six day long festivity: five days for the birth of the children of Nut and Geb and a single day for the actual new year celebrations. The day after the new year, the populace went back to work and the world was reset and everything was as hunky-dory as it could get.

Evidently, at Edfu, they celebrated WR for 9 days and there was reference to other places that continued the celebrations up to 11 days after the start of the epagomenal days. That kind of made the panic in my chest slow down to a crawl, which was nice. I always have a lot of ideas about what in the world I plan on doing during the celebration of Wep Ronpet, but I never feel as though I have enough time to see it through. The knowledge that these types of celebrations were a few days’ long made it possible for me to see to everything I wanted to see to.

The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.

– The Sun’s Wooing by Emily Dickinson

Dua RaI have a love-hate relationship with the sun. I’m not a morning person, although I’m not usually cranky after my first cup of coffee has been ingested. Some mornings, I sit and watch as it climbs above the trees outside the window, marveling at the majestic beauty. Other days, I wish it to be covered with gray cloud cover, a hint of rain on the breeze heading in my direction.

The morning of the 30th dawned bright, though, and I didn’t feel like the rejuvenating rays of Re needed to be covered. After I felt awake enough to see it through, I brought all of my icons, excepting Sekhmet of course, over to greet the dawn. I tried to imagine what it must be like to sit and feel the sun’s rays, feel it renewing me just as much as it must have been renewing my icons. This was something the priests did in antiquity – bringing the sacred icons out to greet the sun. But I have to wonder if, besides all of the pomp and circumstance, did they try to imagine what it was like to be renewed too?

When I went out to see to my dog that morning, I closed my eyes and turned my face to Re. I don’t know if he was inclined to give me a bit of his power, but it felt good. I felt like I could feel it working its way into the pores of my skin, giving me a little added boost for the days, the months, the year to come. Maybe he did give me a little added bonus. As I opened my eyes and turned toward the house, ready to get on with the day, I swear I saw the icon of Djehuty wink at me.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
“Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson
Last year, I created a sa for my car. I had decided to make it before I got rid of my rusty Oldsmobile so the original intent was because that bucket of bolts was in the middle of its final death cries and I needed it to last a little longer. But just before Wep Ronpet last year, I bought Karen who was in much better shape and didn’t need as much gas to fill her. I decided that just because I had bought a new car didn’t mean I couldn’t make myself a sa. One should always be mindful of the needs we have for keeping ourselves safe.
This year, I decided to create another sa which will go into the significant other’s car. I didn’t really tell him I was doing this until the day before the intercalary days began, “Oh, by the way, I’m making you an amulet of protection for your car because you clearly need it.” He asked me why and I just kind of stared blankly for a minute and said, “Well, it’s as demonstrative as I can be at the moment with my affections. Don’t ask questions. No, you don’t have to hang it from the rear view mirror like I do.”
Kemetic Arts and CraftsWhen I made my sa last year, I had chosen to use red felt (red being a major power color) to create it. I was looking more for durability than anything else. I found it difficult to force the felt into the shape that I wanted, but with slowly lost patience, I managed to get the shape I needed. I swore then I would never, ever do this with felt again but since I needed to retain durability and I knew (or vaguely remembered) how to make my fingers force the thing into the shape I needed, I figured I was okay.
The SO’s sa is a little thinner and a little smaller than the original. I had unmade the original amulet to follow its steps as well as to recreate the symbols I had drawn inside. I annointed each symbol with some crown of success oil. I then rolled them up, cursed quietly under my breath while I tried to get the silky cords to do my bidding with clumsy fingers, and then managed to tie the beasts together. Professor, in his Aspect as Maurice the Netjeri, has been looking over the amulets and helping me to charge them, to keep them filled with their purpose. (Guide to make one yourself.)
YOU cannot put a fire out
A thing that can ignite
Can go, itself, without a fan
Upon the slowest night.
You cannot put a fire out by Emily Dickinson

Over the months, I’ve managed to create a lot of heka for various reasons. Some of it is for myself, but most of it is for friends and family. A lot of the stuff in the pot is months old, waiting for the moment where it can be released and set free. I have a very large, old, and ornate jar that I keep my heka hut works in and every year, I try to burn it all. Last year, I found it difficult to do so because there was so much of it and because it was all folded paper. I decided to write out heka on strips of paper, hoping it would be easier to burn.

I chose to do this at my in laws’ house for a variety of reasons. With there being so much to burn, I’m finding that my little cast iron pot isn’t large enough. I also find it irritating to burn things while the bar across the street is hopping or my neighbors are home. I don’t really feel like answering questions. The in laws have a very private back yard with a burn pit anyway. So, I took the jar and Professor in his Aspect as Maurice the Netjeri on over to get everything settled in and burned.

This may be surprising, but I’m not very good at the fire bug thing. I actually had to have the SO light everything up for me. Once he managed to get it lit in multiple places, the flames took over and I just watched as everything that required destruction was destroyed. I got eaten alive by mosquitoes but it was pleasant just sitting in the heat and humidity of the evening, a slightly cooling breeze coming in off the pond in the back, while everything was burned asunder.

I not only fed the heka hut accumulation into the pot, but I tried to feed it my newly minted depression as well. I received some… not good news after work on Friday. I’ve been job hunting at a particular place, but I can’t start off with a full time position evidently. That’s not how the company works and I began to feel like a listless asshole, stuck in this hell hole that I’ve been working in for two and a half years. I can just see the months of hell stretching in front of me before I break down entirely, destroyed and defeated by this place.

My mental health, or so I’ve been informed, is important. And because I know that I could get into this place easily, I chose to throw all of my hopes into a single basket. Well, unfortunately, my hopes were shattered. I realized while I watched the flames dance in the night that I needed to stop doing that. I also recognized that I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself, but it can be really hard to do that when you’re primed for it.

I didn’t do anything on Saturday. I rarely feel like I can just take a day off and not bother with anything. There’s usually offerings to provide in the morning or cleaning to do in the afternoon/evening. But on top of feeling sorry for myself, I also somehow managed to wrench my knee in a very unpleasant way that I was feeling all the way into my bones Saturday afternoon. So, I chose to spend another day of the WR celebrations sitting around and reading Chapterhouse Dune.

With the final day of my celebrations (I can handle 9 days, but I think 11 is a little overboard personally), I decided to do a large execration against A/pep. I haven’t done one in a while and I was due for one. I had also indicated to Sekhmet before she closeted herself away that I would at least consider it and do something A/pep related while she was away. This is when owning Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts by J.F. Borghouts comes in handy because I didn’t have to figure out what to do on my own or make something up on the fly: I chose to utilize spell 144.

It’s a little weird to use some of the older spells. I’m not talking about the ones that call for crocodile dung or other seemingly weird ingredients. It’s mostly the wording of the spells. I gets the point across, though, and it actually has given me a seemingly better understanding as to what could be considered heka with a purpose, or heka hut shenanigans, versus merely paying attention to what words I’m using when I speak aloud and/or write something down.

But I stumbled and I mumbled. In the end, though, I felt like my representation A/pep was good and destroyed. I flushed the remnants into the abyss that is the public sewage system and reminded the pieces that they were destroyed; they were less than nothing; I had not only survived the battle but won.

I won the battle over this last year.

I know I will succeed and win the battles over the upcoming year.

Just watch me.

Intercalary Days 2015.

July 25, 2015 – July 29, 2015

Dua Wesir!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2The first day of the epagomenal days and we are celebrating the birth of Big O. The stoic green-faced guy who probably had too much LSD in the 70s. The backbone of ancient Egypt. The eldest child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Osiris.

I started off with a good, healthy meal of garlic tilapia filets, fresh baked Italian bread with butter, and sauteed zucchini. I hand picked all of the green peanut M&Ms out of the bag while simultaneously (no seriously, it was a simultaneous thing) setting up the bundle of flowers I purchased for this week.

I provided a glass of milk to finish off the healthier part of dinner and then added a healthy dose of rum into some diet Coke. (H-dubs seems very put out that I was cracking into “his” Cruzan for this. He’s going to be pretty upset when he realizes Big Red is getting some too.)

Now we’re all digesting our meal and O seems to be pointedly not talking to me – possibly because on top of embarrassingly and off-key singing the birthday song, I may have also sang (less off-key) to the tune of Eulogy by Tool, which he found not so amusing. (I found it fucking hilarious.) But it could also be because I bought fish for dinner.

Dua Heru-Wer!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2The second day of the epagomenal days and we are celebrating the birth of H-dubs. The quiet bird guy who everyone forgets about. The first Horus to fuck up Set’s day. The second child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Heru-Wer.

I started off with a good, healthy meal of Moroccan salad minus the chickpeas, cucumbers, and fresh bread with butter. Since I had planned ahead yesterday and sorted through all of the peanut M&Ms, I was able to toss all the blue ones into the bowl and then added 5 yellow ones.

I provided a glass of milk to finish off the healthier part of dinner and then added a healthy dose of rum into some diet Coke. He tried to get me to pour more than a single shot and seemed mildly put out that I have to work in the morning.

Now we’re having some quiet time, singing and dancing ridiculously to Timber by Pitbull featuring Kesha. I may have mentioned this once but this is like our song. He was harassing me while I was cooking dinner, demanding that I play it at least once while I celebrate the glory that is the Derpy Hawk Bird. I have played it twice now and there looks like a third time may be in the works (depending on my mood by that point).

Dua Set!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2Today is the third day of the epagomenal days [for me] and we are celebrating the birth of Big Red. The tackiest, gaudiest motherfucker ever to exist. The villain everyone loves to hate and hates to love (or vice versa). The third child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Set.

He got leftovers today because I didn’t have the necessary ingredients for tacos. He seems mildly irritated that I had cooked fresh meals for his brothers but he was getting H-dubs leftovers. I pointed out that his sisters were getting leftovers as well and he seemed mildly cheered by this fact. He got red M&Ms with a few brown ones mixed in and fresh bread with butter.

I provided a glass of milk to finish off the healthier part of dinner and then added some rum to some diet Coke. (The high pitched screaming coming from H-dubs, like he had been truly wounded or something, was amazing. I feel like this was almost as painful as the time Set ripped out his eye.)

When I went to revert dinner, Set was not having any of it. I had the distinct impression he was totally shoving the couscous in by the copious handful and told me, “nooooo,” with his disgusting mouth full. When I apologized for not having more cucumbers and for denying cooked zucchini, he pointed out that I had grapes in the fridge and I should get them.

Let me reiterate this: I had forgotten that I had bought grapes. He had scoped out my fridge and reminded me about the grapes. He got a kind of stingy clipping of grapes and Serious Look for combing through the contents of my refrigerator without permission.

He said the grapes are terrific.

Dua Aset!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2The epagomenal days [for me] and we are celebrating the birth of Big Ass…et. The mom who will hound your ass until you die if you don’t clean your room. The lady who turns into a bird to get it on with people whose bodies have been torn asunder. The fourth child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Aset.

She also received leftovers because I had absolutely no intention of putting myself out for her. We have had a lot of issues in the last year or something like that and I am not the forgive and forget type. But you know, neither is she. She got the bread and butter shtick and the yellow M&Ms. The only reason she got grapes was because I remembered I had them.

I provided a glass of milk and then added some vanilla vodka to diet Coke because the ladies get vanilla vodka. This seemed to be the only thing she was interested in from me and I left it out for as little as possible because I’m just as much an ass as she is.

Dua Nebthet!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2The fifth day of the epagomenal days [for me] and we are celebrating the birth of Nebthet. The one who lives in the shadow of her big sister. The woman who was married to Set and then helped her sister find her torn apart husband’s body parts. The fifth child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Nebthet.

I felt bad that she was getting leftovers like everyone else because I had actually intended on cooking. Well, that didn’t happen at all because it’s so bloody hot and I just couldn’t stomach the idea of having to turn on the oven (so I took my kid out for dinner). Nebthet just seemed happy she was getting some recognition for once. She also had bread and butter as well as grapes (why stop a good thing?)

We’re out of milk because I’m trash I didn’t stop for any on the way home so she only got  some vanilla vodka to diet Coke. She squealed with delight and I’m pretty sure she told me this is the best meal she’s had in a while. She gave me a sad boner to learn more about her.

The Propitiation of Sekhmet 2015.

July 24, 2015 – August 19, 2015

Last year, I created a holiday for myself in an effort to incorporate Sekhmet into the epagomenal days and the New Year. I had a real purpose to this: I wanted to add Sekhmet, who was the main reason I was on the path that I am, with the celebrations that I was undertaking in the name of netjeru that I don’t really have relationships with. It felt wrong to not include her, to be honest, so I made it my mission to do so.

I formed the basis and the actions that went with the celebration last year. I wasn’t thinking beyond the actual creation of this. I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like one day since I did, sort of, base it off of the mysteries that TTR celebrates for O every year. But I didn’t stop to think what that would mean in the future. I just needed to create some form of back bone and take it from there… at some point.

With a foundation created, I didn’t do anything further. Aside from wrapping her up in the black scarf I purchased specifically for this, I didn’t do any heka. I didn’t add any further rituals. I just left her closeted away for five weeks (yes, five weeks) and left it at that. At the time, I needed a break from everything and ended up running as far and as fast as I could after the wrapping of her icon was completed.

With all of the other things going on this year, I recognized that what I was aiming for last year wouldn’t be sufficient for me this year. Sekhmet had told me that I had things coming and that I would have rules to follow. I’m still parsing that bit out, but the gist is that I needed to focus more on the duties as her servant that she wants and less on the bare bones that I had crafted last year.

It’s a bit like that section in My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts. She discusses how Osiris is the foundation of all ancient Egypt. During a conversation with TTR on this subject, I mused about how our altars could be viewed as a continuation of this idea, as the backbone of O: each altar being a form of central focus, a foundation, if you will of our practices*. The actions of my ritual for Sekhmet prior to the epagomenal days and Wep Ronpet were another version of this backbone. I just needed to flesh it out.

* I’m not saying that altars are mandatory in order to practice Kemeticism. I was thinking more on the physical reminders of one’s practice, which an altar would be the largest in my opinion. There are many other things that can and do make up the backbone of one’s personal practice.

So, I decided that I needed to do more than just act: I needed to think and say, as well.

Since this was going to be messy, I had a crappy cloth to soak up as much excess oil as I could get. ... I still made a mess though.

Since this was going to be messy, I had a crappy cloth to soak up as much excess oil as I could get. … I still made a mess though.

I chose to use one of the spells I read in Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts by J.F. Borghouts. Much of the spells in here make me go, “what,” most especially since the ancient Egyptians really seemed fond of crocodile poop. But there are a few bits of heka that include items to prevent the netjeri of Sekhmet from inflicting harm on the person who is either performing the spell or the person who the spell is being done for during the End of the Year. There are 12 spells regarding the End of the Year in this book to choose from. I chose to work with spell number 13, which can be found on page 12.

As the book indicated:

“Words to be said over a piece of fine linen. These gods are to be drawn on it, and it is to be fitted with 12 knots. To offer to them bread, beer, and burning incense. To be applied to man’s throat. (A means0 to save a man [from] the plague (i3d.t) of the year; an enemy will have no power over him. A means to placate the gods in the retinue of Sekhmet and Thoth. Words to be said by a man from the last day the opening day of the year, the Wag-festival and at the daybreak of the Ernutet festival.”

I ended up choosing to use a silky nylon cord of which I have a large abundance of. I chose to use cordage in the color red. While the color red is associated with things like destruction and anger, it also has associations with strength, virility, and kingship. Since the color is most often associatied with Sekhmet, and being a devotee of hers, it occurred to me that choosing red cord would be an excellent way to utilize it’s negative aspects as well as its positive aspects against the netjeri that would be unleashed the next day. It would help to protect me when they are unleashed.

Since I didn’t know how much string I would need to include 12 knots, I decided to just try it out and see what happened. I had spare cords that I had cut for another purpose that I no longer recall. They were about 20″ long. I cut a third piece to the same length and tied the beast together.

It was still pretty covered in oil but it was no longer dripping everywhere at least.

It was still pretty covered in oil but it was no longer dripping everywhere at least.

I have three vials of various oils that someone made for me a long time ago. (I can’t even remember who or why, tbh.) One of them is a protective oil to keep evil away. So I figured that since I was using cordage, which doesn’t have space to create depictions of gods on it, I could use this oil as a replacement. I soaked the hell out of those three cords and then let it dry for a while.

I cut up a huge bowl of cucumbers and shared them with Sekhmet while I waited. When I felt like enough time had passed, I braided the three cords and found out that no matter how much time has passed, when it comes to oil being soaked into cordage, you’re still going to make a huge mess. I also discovered that one crappy white rag was insufficient and would up with oil all over my hands (again) and in small drips on the table.

When that was completed, I tied knots in the middle as evenly spaced as I could manage it and reformed the knots at the end so that they were evenly spaced as well. I only had enough space for 6 but I’m okay with that. I pulled over the book and whispered spell 13 from beginning to end over the cord. I plan on doing this every day through the epagomenal days and including on Wep Ronpet. I haven’t decided if I will keep this up through to the Wag-festival though.

The next step was to clean up the altar space and get Sekhmet situated.

It was a good afternoon and I felt like I had really accomplished things this time around.

It was a good afternoon and I felt like I had really accomplished things this time around.

I pulled everything off of the altar that I use to associate with her except for the bowlplace of truth, Professor in his aspect as Maurice the Netjeri, and a small bowl of offerings. This bowl of offerings included by ib pendant that I wear daily, the beautiful red bracelet that Stone Spiral made, and my personal devotion. I spoke words over that offering bowl regarding the depth of my devotion to my lady.

We spent a good portion of the rest of the day just resting. I had the blinds open to let in fresh sunlight and I napped as I watched the sun move across the sky. I listened to music that made me think of my relationship with Sekhmet. I also ended up finishing off the cucumbers with her, realizing that no matter how many you cut up, it’s probably never enough to fill you up.

Later that evening, I pulled out my little pile of offerings and set them together so that I could get started. I left them out for her to look over with the feather of ma’at amulet above them. This gesture was to remind myself that what I was always aiming to maintain ma’at and that what I did, by the virtue of all that I have read about the gods and how they were served in antiquity, was an extension of maintaining ma’at.

As I did last year, I bound them in a gold cloth that came with one of the amulets I have (I can’t recall if it was something that came with the feather or the ib pendant). I wrapped them up like a little package with some cord in a nice little bow. While I was doing this, I was doing my best heka on the fly. This may not have been very good because I stumbled a lot over my words, but spoken heka is not my best suit. (You want me to write it? I’m all over that, but if it’s spoken aloud and on the fly… Well.)

I pulled Sekhmet from her representative benben and carefully wrapped her in the black scarf. As I did so, I spoke yet more words discussing that process, the why and the how, and the reason that my power was as strong as any god’s. Once she was wrapped up, I wrapped the package that is Sekhmet in a white cord and murmured spell 13 back over the entire altar space.

As she went on her way with her package of my personalized offerings, I set up Professor in his aspect as Maurice the Netjeri to keep watch over her passage. I lit a cone of incense to bless the path that she walks with the sweet scents of sandalwood. I then placed my red cord of protection on the altar, a not-so-subtle reminder to the other netjeri that I am a hekau of Sekhmet and my demands will be obeyed.

Sekhmet is Pacified!

The French Defense.

When I hit my senior year in high school, I ended up taking a statistics class to fill in a block of time. I thought it wouldn’t be so bad if I tried it out; it wasn’t like I needed the credit or anything. While the class did talk about statistics and the proper methods to getting them and a whole bunch of other things that I’ve since forgotten, I will admit that the class spent a good portion of its time as a free period.

For the first few months, I mostly sat around and took studious notes when it was required, ignoring everyone else when the class went to free period. I spent much of my time either writing in my journal or watching the kids around me do amazing things with a chess board.

I can remember sitting on a desk while the teacher and one of his prized students in chess club did their brand of magic with the plastic pieces on the board. I had never bothered to learn how to play because I had never been introduced to it before then. But as I watched them move pieces, I realized that I wanted to learn.

Before too long, I found myself being taught to play.

It took two students about half of a class period (we had 85 minute class periods) to teach me the basics with the moves and what was allowed, what wasn’t allowed. And then we began to play.

Whenever we had free time, we would play. I’m not sure what it is about the game of chess that I find so mesmerizing or what it was that had me liking it so much. I do know that the first time I beat one of the chess club kids in my class, I felt like I was King Kong: I could take on the world.

Since high school, I have had very few moments to play chess. I did not own a chess board and had no reason to purchase one. My ex-husband thought he was a learned individual and I feel as though he played with some of his friends, but he never thought to ask me if I would like a game or six. It was probably for the best as he would have probably bested me and he was a bit of a sore winner.

My SO spent much time as a kid playing chess and was given a glass and crystal chess set one year. This is currently living in a dusty box on one of our bookcases. Once in a while, my SO, our son, and I will sit down and play rounds of chess. I always win against our son (who still doesn’t quite understand how the pieces move or why) and the SO almost always wins against me.

It’s fun.

I don’t truly know what I’m doing a lot of the time and I am mostly moving pieces based more on intuition than knowing how to beat somebody, but I enjoy myself.

Milner-Barry Gambit - Bletchley Park

The Milner-Barry Gambit (used against the French Defense) by Isofarro

I have often felt that my relationship with Sekhmet is best summed up in one of those complicated chess maneuvers that the big names use.

I was looking through random gambits the other day when I found the “French Defense.” I’ve heard it of it before and have probably employed it without realizing it. (I’m not huge on learning that stuff.) While I was watching videos of the French Defense at work, I couldn’t help but think of this in relation to how things have been with Sekhmet over the years…

The French Defense is employed by the black side of the board. There’s more to it than this, but this sum up is pretty sound, “The French Defense is a sharp counterattacking weapon against white’s first move [front and center]. From black’s first move, he looks to block the a2-g8 diagonal which is usually a big weakness for black and prepares to take control of the light squares in the center…”

The opening salvo is front and center with the white pieces. A single pawn is moved down, which is then answered by a counter pointed black pawn. This is done a second time. After the third move, the black pieces move to crowd the white in a diagonal pattern. Unless the appropriate gambit is employed, it is difficult to do much more than sit back and watch the inevitable check mate occur.

While I was watching videos of this pattern being employed, I couldn’t help but see myself in the white pieces of the chess board. I was young and naive once. I lived my relationship with Sekhmet like it was some grandiose, be-all, end-all to the world. I went blindly forward, right down the middle of the fucking board. Years later, I’ve looked up and I can’t help but notice that I’m surrounded on all sides by the black pieces and I can’t find a way out of the mess…

Obviously, I should have employed the Milner-Barry Gambit to get clear.

Instead, I chose to tread across the diagonal attacking front of black pieces, sneering up at her as she made her moves and then watching meekly as she took piece after piece.

There is little left to protect my king; this either ends in stalemate or in check: my decision either way.

Stars

Stars by M&M Studios

I have known for years what it was that Sekhmet has wanted from me. While I may not have been incredibly open regarding what those desires were, I have always known. I have also always fought against it; I was not pleased to discover that what I wanted and what she wanted were not the same. I did not like the idea that I had entered into a relationship with her under her preconceived notions. Seeming to sense this, she let it go and we danced our dance of not acknowledging the long game.

Last night, I sat down and did a full work up with everyone. I reached out to Heru-Wer; I sat with Hetheru; fuck, I even bothered to reach out to my akhu, which doesn’t occur very often anymore. It was all very informative (or not, as in the case of Heru-Wer who seems to passionately hate the idea of using divination in any context), but the most informative was my chat with Sekhmet. The message was simple, you drive the car now.

My initial response was, “the fuck is this,” followed quickly by maniacal laughter. For years, I’ve been pushing back against her in every possible way imaginable, hating the inevitability I sensed coming. It feels like the end game is finally upon us and in this, finally, she tells me that I can make the decisions. I can veer off the track or keep the race going.

It’s the inevitability I’ve been feeling regarding these changes that I have bucked against the hardest, but also the preconceived notions of others when added into the mix. I will admit that a large part of the reason I’ve been having so much angst regarding this is because of those notions from outsiders – I didn’t want to be what they think and see. I wanted to be me and I wanted my own spin on everything.

Well, I’ve done all of the bits about me.

I’ve put my own spin on everything.

As lazy and impious as things may seem over on this mystically bewildered turnpike, it gets results. It has managed to see me through a long, hard road of nothing but pain, blood, and fear. I’ve managed to come out of it with my sense of humor mostly intact, with my affinity towards the simple things, and I have still managed to formulate something that works. I know that things are changing and I know in what direction they are headed, but I can take a bit of pride in myself and the haul I’ve created in the interim.

The new journey is up to me, of course, because that’s how things are. They can lead you by the nose but when it comes to the big things, consent is more important, I think, than we realize. Sure, I’ve been led around and force-fed the answers up to now but it’s my turn to make an informed decision. The problem is that I’ve been led around so much and force-fed the answers for so long that I have to hesitate on whether or not the final result is based on what I actually want or is based on what she actually wants.

That’s the rub: I don’t know my own mind about it, or at least I didn’t last night.

I’ve slept on it and pondered on it a bit.

Last night, I thought that my instinct to just keep on keepin’ on was merely because I didn’t actually know what I wanted. But that’s not true. I do know what I want: even with that other stuff in the mix, what other people might see when I finally bother to discuss it openly, I can handle all of that. I’m a wiser, older person than I was when my head first got broke the fuck open and the shit began drowning me. I can be content with what she wants.

But that still doesn’t negate the idea that maybe, just maybe, I want to stay up late and eat candy for dinner… for just a little while before I buckle down to the tasks at hand.

Have You Ever Seen the Rain Coming Down on a Sunny Day?

The other day, it felt as though the world had been purified and renewed in the night, leaving a mist of newness across the land. It had rained in the night and the world around me had been soaked in the aftermath. I had smelled rain on the wind in the evening before, closing my eyes and sampling the gentle soft scent that I have always associated with gentle rains in this place where I was born. There is something about that smell, that precursor telling us that the rain is coming, that I have always associated with a form of renewal and purification. I can remember feeling that way as a child and it has not left me as I have aged.

It has only become a stronger association in my opinion.

While I walked the dog, I was giddy as I made footprints in the chill water left on the tips of the blades of grass. Both my shoes and the bottom of my jeans were soaked with that physical embodiment of purification and renewal. In my mind, I could feel it climbing up my legs and soaking me with its potency. I was walking the dog through the glitter of dew drops and rain drops, thinking about this.

The rays after rain

The Rays After Rain by Masahiro Noguchi

It seemed appropriate that after the Reunion the world would begin its ever steady march in its attempt at renewal. Not only have the lovers reunited for another year, but I am entering the final month before the new year. Renewal, purification… these things are understandably on my mind as the time ticks towards the new year celebrations.

It felt almost as if the very area in which I live wanted to join me as I work steadily and slowly on building myself back up, building a new dynamic in my practice as the year marches steadily towards its reset.

I’ve felt hollowed out and alone recently while I go through this, backing off from social media and online communities. I know that I am not capable of balancing the recreation of myself and the recreation of my practice with the work that communities entail. None of this is a bad thing – these changes I’ve felt and discussed finally in my last entry – but it’s a long heavy process and I think, during it all, I will need healthy doses of both purification and renewal.

You see, I don’t always realize when I need to back off or when I’ve actually made a serious indent into the work I’m doing. I think the aftermath of the rain was a subtle reminder of that issue I have.

A common question that we ask ourselves at my job is, “are you too in the middle to see the outside?” This question is typically asked when we are discussing steps that we could have undertaken and probably should have undertaken to facilitate a repair or project. However those steps were neglected usually because we are racing at break neck speed or being pounded with the need to get shit done as quickly as possible. It impairs our efficiencies and we’re left standing back after the ticket has been closed, discussing it with other people and realizing where we made mistakes and how we could have prevented them.

This kind of goes back to the “bigger picture” talk I complain about. I don’t necessarily realize that I’ve made a major break through (or even a minor break through) because I don’t take the time necessary to step back and go through every little detail. I’m racing forward on adrenaline when I should be taking my time. Due to the fact that much of this shit is shadow work and painful in the extreme, you can probably understand why I don’t want to do that. So, I end up actually getting through the mess but then take months afterward to analyze and absorb what it is that I have done.

Just like with my job, if I had been able to stop long enough to take a breath, I could have probably have prevented the inefficiencies, but I was too caught up in the moment to do so.

It felt to me that the rain soaked grass and the leaves dripping as the sun began pouring over the landscape were all a subtle reminder*. It felt in a very personal religious way as though the gods themselves were pushing this lesson (again – this isn’t the first time I’ve had this type of a reminder, but it is one of the more gentle reminders I’ve had).

* Of course, this could all be coincidence; I’m fully aware that when it comes to omens and portents in one’s personal religious path that we need to consider that always as a possibility. But why can’t the gods use the very things that we have associations and interactions with in order to get those omens and portents across? It’s all a matter of discernment, but sometimes it comes down to needing to feel like there is just a little bit more in the moment.

As I watched the sun break through the cloud cover and begin to poke around at the world around, as the birds began doing their morning dances and chatter, as the cars filled the road with traffic to get a start on the day, I marveled at the idea that all of this was a thing of which I am part of and if I just stop for a moment, I could see the picture from the outside as opposed to the inside.

As was recently voiced over in a dream of mine, one small step for Sat; one giant leap for Satsekhem! I don’t know how true that statement really will be in the months ahead, but I find myself just a little excited by it all.

Festival of the Beautiful Reunion: Week Two.

I stop a lot and marvel at my hands.

We use our hands for a lot of things and in the middle of the doing of those things, I will stop and look at them. In the middle of typing an email; in the middle of scrolling through a blog entry; in the middle of changing the channel on the radio; while I’m driving… I will be in the middle of something and look down at them with a sort of wide-eyed wonder at the two of them.

They seem awfully small to rebuild anything.

The nails are chipped and cracked. I paint them only to wait for the days when the polish is mostly damaged because I feel like that time best represents my hands. I wear rings every day and there are cuts around my cuticles. The lines in my palm grow deeper everyday. I have healing cuts on my fingers and on my thumbs. They are busted and probably ugly, but they are mine.

They seem like such pitiful things to be used to recreate a fucking thing.

Consciously, I understand that hands have the power to do many things. People create with them all the time. Am I not creating while I use them to drive me somewhere? Am I not creating while I type this? But it all seems a little more than miraculous that two hands, mine or yours or anyone’s hands really, can build anything.

My two hands are supposed to create the life I am to lead. My hands led me astray, I think, in a few arenas but I’m willing to learn how to build something better out of the ashes. My hands are supposed to create the religious life that I am to follow. My hands led me down a path that I did not see coming, but I am figuring it out as I go. My hands are supposed to create me in the forge of my own soul. They have no idea what the map of a human soul is supposed to look like and I hope that I don’t look too misshapen when I am done.

It amazes me that these two appendages are supposed to do all of these things. How, I ask myself as I marvel down at them.

There is no answer as yet.

Day 713 / 365 - I'm a dreamer. I have to dream and reach for the stars, and if I miss a star then I grab a handful of clouds

The rebuilding of one’s soul starts with the core components of who we are, but what if we do not know who we are? (Image by Jason Rogers.)

The first week of the Reunion was a constant lesson in balance and patience, of which I am pretty sure I have very little. It was like a field trip of sorts that I had semi-invited myself along on but it was okay because I had parental permission before we left. That first week was a stretched out eternity dedicated to the needs to the gods. I remembered how much I didn’t figure into things.

The second week of the Reunion was about how much I did figure into things. It had nothing to do with the gods, dedication or otherwise. It had to do with a reunion of sorts, but mostly of the endless climb into the reaches of the atmosphere as I slowly but surely lose my mind, bit by bit. I felt less like I suffered from exhaustion and more like I was being burned alive.

No one thought to mention that the brick and mortar I had to use to rebuild myself but also to build up to new levels of my personal religious shenanigans had to be crafted by me. I guess this is what I get for not reading the fine print. It occurred to me on the first Thursday of week two that the reunion I had just celebrated was a sort of blue print of sorts, but I had to get all the fixings together in order to recreate the objects I was trying to build back up.

That shit is hard.

I spent much of week two feeling very out of sorts while I shifted around and dithered about things. I made some hard decisions, which later felt wrong and I went back on them. I made some less difficult decisions, which I felt much better about having made them. I sat up and looked around, realized where the pieces were missing and what I had to do in order to vault over the deep chasm of my soul. I don’t have all of the pieces in place – I’m sorry, but building people doesn’t happen in a single day, much less a single week in this house hold – but I have enough to feel at least partially comfortable with the process.

I just wish I had figured there was more to the story than what I was seeing originally.

the night of the shooting stars

A few more pieces to give vague outline; but how does one build up and out when the destruction is wrought on the inside? (Image by Alessandro Villa.)

I came to my senses about a lot of things during that second week, but a lot of it was little things that, upon reflection, don’t seem like a whole lot. I guess you could say that they all add up to a lot but it doesn’t feel like that. It feels more like tiny little crevasses in the skin of my hands, growing deeper and thicker as time passes. They were always there, but time molds and changes them. It’s not noticeable daily, but it is if you stop and look hard enough.

Building a human being out of the soft clay like Khnum does at his potter’s wheel is a difficult process. As TTR pointed out over on Tumblr, Henadology’s entry on Khnum states: “Khnum’s role of fashioner of the bodily form was not completed once and for all before birth, but continued throughout life.” I’ve been thinking about that a lot, especially regarding the last week of the Reunion.

I am not complete, not by any stretch of the imagination. I honestly have to ask myself if I will ever be able to look at the processes that I have begun in an effort to both better myself and to work on past traumas and realize that I’m “done.” I don’t think so. I think I will always need to continue the fashioning, and like Khnum, I will be constantly working towards the goal of uniting the different aspects of myself.

In same vein, I have often assumed that I would get a “functional practice” together that would be something that I could, maybe, pass on to someone one day. I often thought that the overall goal I was aiming for was a tab-A in slot-A approach; very simplistic from a distanced point of view, but the point is really that I was hoping I could easily create and one day go, “Ah, yes, this is ready now to be born anew under someone else’s guidance.”

Well… I don’t think that’s possible either.

Just looking at the years that this blog has existed should have probably made the above obvious, but I can be fairly dense when I want to be.

In both cases, the fashioning of myself and of my practice, I’ve come to conclude that there are changes on the turnpike ahead of me. Those changes aren’t necessarily for the betterment of myself, but for the processes I’ve been going through. Like the souls that Nut swallows, I am being masticated, swallowed, and digested to be remade. The only thing is that I will be constantly going through this process. So, too, will the practice. There doesn’t seem to be a finish line in the distance just the overlong journey as I wander around, hoping that I’m not fucking things up completely.

Glitter of Sunlight Upon the Dew.

There is something about Hetheru, I think, that speaks out to the heart for many of us. She has this mysterious way about her that intrigues us, makes us fall a little in love maybe, and keeps us smitten as we delve ever deeper into our explorations of her. She can irritate and disgust us, of course, because that is part of what it is to be a living creature: it’s not all simply this or simply that, but shades of gray between the glittering points and the darkest night. But even the parts that can revolt me only add to the infatuation.

Maybe it’s a human thing to want to explore every facet of the gods or perhaps it is only my thing.

Inspiration

Inspiration (Image by DigiDi.)

When I see Hetheru crossing my dashboard in another one of those mythology meme posts, I am always struck by the use of gold and pretty things. The bodies that are chosen, the imagery that speaks out: it is all used perfectly to denote the feeling in my breast that whispers her name into the atmosphere.

To me, if I were to create one, I would use heady pinks and soft scents; I would choose glitter and diamonds to soak the landscape; I would choose the most regal images of women, both limber and graceful. She knows who she is and what she can be and there are no apologies for any of it. She is simply who she is and we can accept her for it or we can walk away.

I think that, above all else, inspires me. I want to be like that. I want to be able to explain to people looking at me that this is who I am and I have nothing to apologize for about who I may be. I am constantly thinking about how I should apologize for how I am not quite what other people expect of me and I want to stop feeling like I need to be what they see versus what I actually am.

Often, I will go to Google images and look at the various representations of Hetheru. Some of them are not part of the image I have of her in my mind, but others speak to me. When I see her carefully etched on a temple wall or see an artist’s depiction of her carefree wiles, I can be most overcome with my emotions. I view that static image of her for those moments and want to only embody what she is to me:

Unapologetic perfection.

soul on a sunbeam

An Offering of the Soul (Image by *sapa*.)

I often look to the arsenal of both historical and non-historically attested offerings, wondering what it was that I could dare to give her. She seems to require so much and I have so very little to give. The fruit and vegetables, the meats, the cool water, the red wine, the sweet smells, the mirror and makeup all seemed to be mocking me with their simplicity. Here were these things that I can provide and yet, they never seemed good enough.

I work under the assumption that if it worked well in antiquity then it should be good to go in this life. I have often decided that because it was done thousands upon thousands of times in the past, then it must still be good now. But I still feel as though it is not ever enough. I always feel like I am failing in some regard because there must be something more that I can give to her.

I wonder if this is why I add UPG offerings to the fold. Chocolate and soda and chips and newly minted scented oils and video games and television shows. I add all of these items in to what can be provided, maybe, hoping and wishing that this will feed the empty pit in my stomach that whispers that I am not good enough at this.

At the back of my mind is always a possibly strange thought, though:

Perhaps my simply being human is enough to offer in lieu of anything else.

My humanity is something that bothers me. Sometimes, I hate it. It is mortality and it is pain. It is horror and sorrow. It is love and joy. It is happiness and laughter. It is not static; it is ever-moving. It is this constant battle of tap dancing across the fine points of razor blades that I hate the most: how are humans expected to do this?

On other days, I am in love with the fact that I am human. It is the love I bear for the feel of my own skin and the whisper of wind across my cheek, the caress of sunshine on my face and the pounding lyrics of my music in my ears. It is watching my son learn something new and the smell of a new paperback mingling with all of the older paperbacks that grace my shelves.

The pounding hate of my existence is there – a sort of mercurial self-hate/poor self-esteem mixed in with the worry that I will never succeed at anything. The gentle love of my existence is there – a sort of hope that everything will work out in a way that will not cause too much pain.

The simplest offering and perhaps the greatest is giving to her the very thing that I despise and love most about myself: that I am here on this planet, a simple flailing human being who suffers from anxiety and depression, who finds both pain and joy in the minutiae of my existence.

Prayers

Prayers (Image by Xerones.)

I do not spend much of my time in prayer anymore. It’s almost as if I fear the idea of begging them to listen. I often think that whatever I may desire for myself or for my life will fall on deaf ears. What is the point in asking the gods for anything – no matter who the deity – if I cannot work to bring it into play, to assist their guiding hands in my life?

I could not bear the realization that I am nothing more than a tool for any of them.

I do not pray.

Prayers, to me, are the whispered hopes and dreams sent to the universe, tacked onto the name of a being who we feel should oversee our lives. But the thing about those prayers is that while they may require divine grease to get the wheels moving, we must also be seen to assist in the movement.

I am a being of inactivity. This is a byproduct of my depression and anxiety. I sit with my head in the sand and wait for the end of days before I do anything to see the reality I want realized. To send those hopes and dreams into the universe, knowing that I cannot do much more than that to help get movement, leads me to more inactivity. I cannot whisper into the universe, send out my requests to the gods – any god – and demand that they move things while I sit around in fear of the unknown.

Hetheru is unapologetic for who she is and one day, I would like to be this way. I would like to be able to look at someone and say that this is who I am, take it or leave it. If I could pray, if I could honestly send out what I desire into the world around me, I would wish to be that. I would wish to be like she. I would wish to be able to say to anyone looking at me that this is what they must have of me because this is all that I am.

I would pray to be the unapologetic perfection of my humanity and my divinity, painted across the sky in the shimmering colors of the universe.