I used the word “thwap” in my previous entry. This is not a real word in the sense that you can find it in a dictionary, but this is the word that is used by pagans to denote that a deity has asked for their service. Servitude isn’t like serfdom or slavery; a deity has merely asked for your attention. The attention could be for the long-term, short-term, or could be for a specific task. It is entirely up to the deity in question, but from what I’ve seen and heard from other pagans, primarily, deities are asking for a short-term servitude or a long haul.
I have been officially thwapped by two deities, Ma’at and Sekhmet. Seshat is a patron deity but not for thwapping reasons: I’ll get into that later.
Sekhmet was the original warrior goddess of ancient Egypt. She is commonly depicted as a lioness or a woman with a lioness’s head upon her shoulders. She is always seen wearing the solar disk with uraeus upon her head. She has always been seen as a protector of pharaoh. Her cult centers were in Leontopolis (also known as, Taremu) and Memphis (also known as, Men-Nefer). Sekhmet is often associated with healing, medicine, and disease. Her priests were the precursor to doctors. She was an Eye of Ra and she was charged with the protection of keeping everything in Ma’at (in line, more or less). Her body was represented as the hot, mid-day sun and it was contested that she had created the desert and her hot breath was the desert wind.
It is this deity who first entered my life. She came into my life around the same time that I grew intrigued with ancient Egyptian myths. She was already trying to get my attention, but one doesn’t always pay attention when they’re so young. So, for years, I ignored the calling until I was about nineteen or so. I had a story idea in my mind that Sekhmet played prominently. I was also, at this point, doing a good deal of research about ancient Egypt due to my obsession with The Renegade Pharaoh. When I learned that his father also had a bit of obsession with Sekhmet, having made hundreds of statues in her honor, I immediately fell back into researching the Lady of Enchantments, Sekhmet.
It was like a window or a door had opened and the sunlight was finally streaming in. For years, I had toyed with this goddess and she grew annoyed. Her growls and roars were in my head, but I wasn’t receptive to them. I didn’t understand the affinity between the goddess and myself. I mean, why in the world would a supreme being such as Sekhmet feel the need to take an interest in me? Later, she told me that there was something in my personality that she found reminiscent of herself. Though destruction is just as easily done at my hands as it is in hers, so can healing be wrought. This is something that has taken me a long time to learn, but I have finally learned that lesson.
Ma’at is the very personification of cosmic harmony. She is often represented as a woman with an ostrich feather in her hair, a woman whose head is an ostrich feather, or merely an ostrich feather. Ma’at was worshiped all throughout the kingdom of ancient Egypt, as it was through her that all things achieved an ordered balance. Without prayers to the goddess, then things fell into Chaos and soon, the unCreation of the world would happen. So, in reality, the worship of Ma’at was merely the worship of the concept of divine order. Any priests in the name of Ma’at were thought to be judges. However, as a divine power, she also carries the same weight in my life as Sekhmet does.
So, this other deity came a-knocking around the same time as I had my “ah-ha!” moment with Sekhmet. She had been watching me waste my life and move further and further out of Ma’at for years. No one wants to admit that they were busy wasting their life, but I was doing a pretty good job. I had fallen so far off of the course that it’s amazing that Ma’at even made the effort. However, I honestly think it was kind of a help for Sekhmet: Though I was beloved of Sekhmet, I was not living in Ma’at and with the power that flows through me, I could destroy a good deal of her hard word. It is through her that I hope to achieve a certain balance with my life. It is through her that I hope to be good enough, in my own eyes, to be able to move into the Western Lands when my life finally comes to an end.
When I say that these two deities have thwapped me, I mean that they have asked me to come into their service. What does that mean, exactly?
In the name of Sekhmet, I out-and-out worship her as the ancient Egyptians did, or at least to the best of my abilities. I give her offerings; I make prayers to her; I have visions of her; I speak with her; and I am secure in the knowledge that I have her love. One day, I hope to have a statue of her in my house so that I can make offerings to her on a regular basis, instead of only on the feast days of Sekhmet.
In the name of Ma’at, I merely listen to her advice. My service to her is merely as an apprentice on the long road of life. She is leading me back into the way that I should have been going from the beginning. To hear her speak is merely to have a mother counsel me thoroughly on the consequences of my actions. One day, I hope to have a statue of her in my home, as well, but for different reasons. I only wish to place it in a place of reverence so I can be eternally reminded that I have a mother-figure in the form of that which is Ma’at.
These two deities have called me into their service.
And I go, gladly.