It’s difficult to reconcile gods of a foreign country to the land that we live in. I find it hardest when I’m soaked with the knowledge of that foreign country, so thoroughly that it seems as if everything I have read is as magic. The sloping dunes, the black life-giving silt, the crocodiles in their laziness on shore, hippos crashing through papyrus thickets, and flocks of unknown birds scattering to the sky. All of these things are unknown and unknowable and seem as if magic lives side-by-side in a nation I worship so far removed by distance and by time.
And while the reconciliation may be difficult, it isn’t impossible.
This lesson was given to me by my lord, Sutekh*, this morning. Now, as anyone knows, I do not work with him and never have; I am a Sekhmet woman through and through. He and I, however, have done a few brief dances over the years but they have always left me confused and frightened and uncertain. Mayhap the dances were this lesson but it’s only now that I understand it. But prior, these moments left me shaking with the suddenness of them. I have the words of others’ SPG (shared personal gnosis) in my mind when Sutekh arrives therein. But their experiences are not mine and may never be. All I do know is that he has spoken to me and for once, I understand the meaning of it.
(* I prefer to call him Sutekh as opposed to the common Set. I’ve always been this way.)
This morning, I went outside to see how the world had changed from the cold, cloudy countenance that had been yesterday’s dour outlook. I had a plan, you see, for the mother-in-law’s birthday as well as my mother’s. I would take my son to a local park or to the cemetery where my father is buried to take pictures with my camera, which I would then have worked on via Wal-greens so that I could give them pictures of my lovely little man for their birthdays. (I have always had a complete disdain for professional studios. I can’t afford them and I can do just as much work with possibly better output on my own.) However, the wind was blowing and howling outside. I made a snark status on my FB about how the wind was “cramping my plans.” After explaining what I meant to a friend who had commented, I went outside again to smoke a cigarette to get my head in order.
I was glowering all about me, standing in the sunshine fore in the shade it is a good ten degrees cooler with the wind blowing as it is. And I was thinking angry, snotty thoughts about how cruel and mean and irritating the wind can be. And that’s when a wind tunnel came and hounded me. The wind blew only down on me, picking at my clothes and pricking my cheeks with pain. Quickly, I back tracked and I said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry! I take it back! I take it back!” And just as suddenly it stopped. And while the rational aspect of myself would normally go on about how where I was standing was perfect wind tunnel weather (though, to be honest, it really isn’t since I’m not in an alley or anything) that part of me was entirely and still is entirely missing from this little experience, which is a first. Instantly, my mind went straight to what this meant and who was speaking to me.
There weren’t any words in this wind, so I suppose “message” is a strong thing here; perchance “omen” is more fitting. But, I got the distinct impression that this was Sutekh in his capacity to control the chaotic winds, like those seen in the desert of Egypt, that had something to say to me. It wasn’t just that I was being less than charitable and that, honestly, I was being a snot. It wasn’t just that I was insulting him, either. There was more to it than all of that. It was a way for him to say, “Come off it.” But it was also a way for him to say, “You claim to find it difficult to connect with us over here. You say that you can’t see us. Can you see me now?” …in perfect parody of those Verizon commercials.
To be honest, this is a concept that has been plaguing me a lot recently. I read a post of someone’s blog about how she associates her gods with the land that she lives. (For the life of me, I cannot find this person’s post to link to. So, if anyone can think of who it might be: they were writing about Poseidon and Apollon and living in Alaska. I’m so sorry to whomever wrote this post; my mind is a complete blank!) And I mentioned that I’ve done it in little ways now and again where I had seen Sutekh in the more chaotic winds that can blow around here and that I can look to the sun in the sky to thank Re for another day. But, aside from that, I had always found it so hard to contemplate the gods that I worship and love and enjoy and think about with the world around me. It’s a far cry, as I’ve often said, of Egypt, both ancient and current, to the valley I live in. It’s a far cry to correlate the desert and the Nile with the mountains, the trees, and the snow of western Massachusetts.
But this is something that I’ve purposely blocked myself on. This is something that I’ve tried to contemplate and been so obsessed with seeing the gods of ancient Egypt in ancient Egypt that I haven’t been able to bring them to me, to here. As it is, whenever I try to connect with my lady, I end up walking with her in thick, cloying desert sands with a hazy sun in the sky or setting in the distance. To be honest, I think a lot of it has to do with the obsession with the nation and the time periods themselves more than anything else. I love my gods, but they are remote to me because I don’t just see them as being gods of a foreign nation, but also the gods of a foreign time and the gods of a foreign people.
The thing is that I have to see Geb as the world beneath me, at my feet, and not just the creation of the Nile River Valley. The thing is that I have to see his consort, Nut, as the sky vault laden with stars above me. The thing is that I have to see Shu as the very air that I breathe. The thing is that I have to Sutekh in the crazy winds that blow across my face and force me back ten paces when I go for a walk. The thing is that I have to see Sekhmet in the art of healing and not just destruction. The thing is that I have to see Tefnut as the rain that pounds down or sprinkle forth. I have to see them in all of these ways that are familiar because it is the way they were in ancient Egypt, but I also have to correlate them with the things that happen here that would not have anything to do either Egypt, either today or yesteryear.
Snow. Grass. Greenery. Coyotes. Moose. Bears. Deer. Rabbits. Snakes. Lady bugs. Cool wind. Spring rain. Daffodils. Iris. Lavender. Rosemary. Lilac bushes. Cherry blossom trees. Bamboo. Concrete. Cars.
It seems that I am always learning something new these days. It seems that the lessons are eternal and always. I don’t think I mind so much: I find myself getting smarter as the days go by. (And for a Leo who thinks she is the be-all, end-all to information then that’s just terrific.) But in reality, it seems that each day I wake up and a new lesson pours forth for me. Maybe it isn’t as daily as I’m making it out to be right now, but it certainly is far more frequent than back in the days when I would wax poetic and whine about my gods, at the beginning of this journey so many years ago. (Ha. I say “so many years” but it’s only been, like, three. Ha.) I think I’m coming more and more to face these realizations because more and more I am actually living the faith I have crafted for myself instead of merely talking about it. I think, too, the gods have finally decided to give me more leeway because I am not longer the sniveling wench who began this blog. I’m seeing more reason and I’m enjoying my time with my gods, with my magic, and with the lessons they keep giving me.