(This is an entry that I woke up with in my head untold times in the middle of the night. So, obviously, putting it off is not something I can do any longer. Also, in said twilight state, I was also shown that this will be a three-part series, so to speak.)
Being a solitary Kemetic is a pretty difficult path to walk down. It’s really no wonder that Kemetic Orthodoxy has picked up so much speed when it comes to other Kemetics. It’s easier to follow someone else who has done all of the hard work for you. Time and time again, I’ve considered joining the House of Netjer. I want to follow a Kemetic path in my pagan life, but it’s so hard and confusing to figure out just how to begin and just do what needs to be done. I’m not saying that all followers of Kemetic Orthodoxy chose it because they couldn’t come up with a Kemetic path all on their own, but I can definitely see why the house has gained so much momentum and I can definitely understand the desire behind joining. Unfortunately, or fortunately, that’s not the way that I’m supposed to go. Kemetism has a large part to what I will be planning and what my pagan lifestyle will entail, but it’s not the entirety. It’s just the biggest.
I’ve been calling myself god-bothered lately. I’m not sure what other people use this term for, but I’m saying it’s what I’ve got. I have a patron, sure. She hangs out and tells me when I’m being dumb. She hangs out and tells me when I’m being smart. She hangs out and says that things are going this way whether I like it or not. She bothers me when I hide behind my anxiety. She bothers me when I stop listening. She pokes and prods at me to get my ass in gear. She bothers the hell out of me to get me going. So, that’s what I mean when I say that I’m god-bothered. But, I’m also a servant here. I’m not just something for her to poke and prod at. I’m also someone who gives her some things that she wants at a given moment: incense, water, food, attention. It’s this more watered down relationship that I have with the second OTHER™ in my life. Servitude. On the one hand, I have a god who wants the world for me and is a mother-type figure. On the other hand, I have a god who wants me to tap in to who I really am on the inside. These two are together in their fight because the end results are just the same: a forged path of Kemetic origin.
I’ve had visions lately (or day dreams, maybe) about myself. I see myself kneeling out in front of my altar, with Sekhmet at its center. There she is, giving me a smile and a nod. She’s telling me in her own, quiet way that what I’m doing is right. And there I am… laying down in front of her on my knees with my arms out in front of me and my face on a pillow since my floor is not comfortable. And I’m just jabbering away. I’m talking about whatever is in my head and the words come spewing out. And there she is, smiling and nodding. Smiling and nodding. I know what these visions or daydreams or thoughts are telling me: this is important and it’s something that I need to get into the habit of. The last time I spoke of prostrating myself at my altar to the Sister, she mentioned that as ridiculous as it may seem, sometimes that’s what you have to do. Maybe it was that conversation that got all of this started; I don’t know. But in recent weeks as I live with constant uncertainty and doubts, it’s the soothing feel of these… whatevers… that makes it so that I can breathe again.
I think that may be the start of this. I think that may be the beginning of what I need to do.
But, how often do I do this? Do I only need to do this when the anxiety or depression is difficult to clamber through? Do I do this daily because each day is hit or miss? Do I just do it once a week? I know that those in the KO will pick a day and do it, or they’ll do it daily. For a while, I was doing my own version of senut on a daily basis and this left me feeling hollow and tired. It seemed like a good idea at that time, but it didn’t have the true feeling I was looking for. So, in the context of that, if I start doing this daily… will the same thing happen? I honestly don’t know. I guess all I can say is that I won’t know until I try. But it’s worrisome and frightening but sometimes, you just have an OTHER™ bothering the hell out of you, poking and prodding and toeing at you until you get your butt off of the couch or out of the kitchen to do what’s necessary.
You know, one of the reasons I have a hard time with this whole creating thing is because I tend to look around and realize, startled, that I haven’t a fucking clue what the hell I’m doing. I’ve been reading a lot of books lately about how we don’t know a damn thing about the daily lives of the ancient Egyptian. While I don’t want to base everything that I want to practice on what they may or may not have done, sometimes I’d like to have a little bit of a feel about what they may or may not have done. I want to base something on what they had going. I know there were amulets and household shrines and that they worshiped their akhu, but we know little else: were there daily prayers? Did they each meet at shrine in the morning before going about their day? Did they have fables to be told to teach the children how to behave properly? Did they do anything akin to what we do nowadays? Nobody knows because it was the priesthood and their data that survived. (It’s kind of hard for a populace that’s illiterate to leave behind a record.) And I’ve long since realized that being a priest in any context is not what I want or need. It’s too much, too fast. At this point, at this juncture, it’s the simple love and attention of my goddess that I crave and desire.
And besides, maybe, UPG is more important than what was said and done in the past.
I’ve let this cloud the issue.
On top of the prostrations, I think… I think more focus on the akhu is more than just slightly in order. My attention span is minimal; I find my mind taken up with much that has little to do with religion more often than not. This bothers me because not only are my gods and Lwa relegated to a background role, but it also means that so are the akhu. I only pay attention to them when it suits me; I go over to their little home in my entertainment center and dust once a week. The amounts of dust, just in a week, is legendary. I pay attention and maybe I comment on the way that the strips of paper have moved in the winds created by an active child. I do little else in their name. There are no offerings and there are no thoughts of them. They’re supposed to be important and not just because the path I’m walking says that it is so. They’re who I came from and they’re what helped to shape me into what I am today. Honoring them with more than a simple dusting and a few comments is important. If the children of the ancient Egyptians didn’t leave offerings for their akhu, then untold horrible things would happen to said akhu. Ignorance of the way is one thing; outright denial is yet another. And I’m at the denial stage: “Oh, they’re there; they can wait. They have eternity.” This is no longer valid and it’s no longer the way things should be.
Yet another issue… offerings. What are offerings? I’ve always thought of them in the realm of food and drinks. It was something that you gave to them to eat, right? Something that was given to them to slake their thirst? These were the thoughts I had in relation to offerings. They were tangible items that I put together to make them grow or to keep them here or something. I’m not sure what the pathology behind these thoughts were. But, this isn’t the case.
An offering is a stick of incense and a tea light in remembrance; an offering is a flower or blades of grass to place in front of them; an offering is intention and merit. While I was shaped to think otherwise, I’m beginning to see that it’s not just things that we would ingest that can be found as typical offerings. And besides, what gods don’t appreciate the smell of a scent of incense? It was one of the most important parts of celebration in the temple in ancient Egypt and while I’ve mentioned being rabidly against doing the priest thing (it was mentioned to me that things constantly change on these paths and so, I will say that maybe the whole priesthood thing and my reaction to it will change, but in the mean time…), I’m not a mother of a brood of illiterate children, hoping that one or all will become scribes. I am the mother of an active child and I have access to incense that, chances are, the ancient Egyptian populace did not have. And so, offerings aren’t just water and bread, but incense and candles and a nod in their direction.
I find myself exhausted after having written all of this. I find myself feeling like a nap is in order. I have things to get done, but in the mean time, I think the start of all of this is valid. I think it works and I think that it’s a good start. Maybe I can continue in the same vein in the other two parts of these posts. In the mean time, I think, I need a time out, a shot of vodka, and an added boost of energy. And maybe, just maybe, a prostration in front of my Lady.