When things are hard, I constantly try to remind myself that it’s a cycle and that all cycles end. I’ve had a particularly harder time than usual telling myself this in the last couple of weeks. I think it’s because every aspect of my life has been really difficult. As I discussed in this entry, I feel like I’ve been beset on all sides. It’s not just the money and the family and the mundane life, but my religious and my astral lives as well. Everything is a struggle and I am just so tired. I can sleep all I want; I can escape in books all I want; I can pretend everything will get better… but in my quieter moments, in my more realistic and not-putting-on-a-front moments, I find myself whispering, I am just so tired of struggling. It feels like no matter how I do things or how I go about things, but everything always comes back to this monumental struggle that I am unable to escape. And that has made me so damn angry with everyone, from my gods, to my life, to my decisions, to myself, and everything in between. But more and more, I find myself taking it out on my gods.
As someone who, even a few months ago, still had the blind faith required to see me through a rough patch, this whole escapade has been an incredible learning experience. I’m not particularly pleased that I have to go through this learning experience and frankly, one has to ask if life/gods/whatever couldn’t have come up with a better way to teach their followers about the nature of struggling. As though this hasn’t been difficult enough, but most of the people who turn to me – me with my blind faith and my blind hope – are receiving paltry comments while they go through their struggles. This, above all else, really pisses me off. I always talk about how faith is a really awesome and neat thing and I talk about it in terms of the positives it can provide. Hell, most other Kemetics probably think I’m a dingbat for having faith, but it was my marker. It was my signature. It was what made me stand out and I really fucking hate the fact that it’s been missing while I go through all of this.
After I had my rant-and-rave conversation with Sekhmet, I knew I needed to do something drastic to fix some shit. She was angry with me and me with her. This went even further downhill when an impromptu and poorly advised intervention of sorts took place between myself and the other netjeru in my life. This just made things that much worse. And it didn’t help that they all looked at me with steely-eyed intensity, making me feel like some creature caught beneath their microscopes. I didn’t realize how easy it was to actually get even angrier with the netjeru in my life, but it was absolutely possible. That day of the intervention, I swore off everything. I decided that I could do without this faith thing and I could do without the gods and it would just be me and Papa Legba, hoofing it for eternity. I was done, done, and quadruple done.
But I can say that I’m done with something and not necessarily follow through with it.
I really fucking hate the feeling of being disillusioned. I also really hate the fact that I feel like I’m being manipulated by creatures beyond my ken. I can study the myths. I can go through my interactions with them. I can do everything in my power in an attempt to understand them, but I find it really fucking hard to understand them and their reasoning behind it. I can play the game or I can change the rules to the game. And I decided that I would play the game, but I’m going to change the rules. The rules suck, at least as little of those rules as I think I’ve been able to see and understand. I can see the “bigger picture” that all the netjeru harp on but it’s still fuzzy and out-of-focus. I can only hope that by changing the rules to something I would better prefer that I am not, in fact, doing the very thing that they want.
In all honesty, it was the disillusionment and the feeling as though I was cast adrift that the idea came to me earlier this week.
I was driving to work and Papa Legba was talking to me. We were talking about oracles. I had received one two weeks ago from Mademoiselle Cotton. I’ve always been a bit fascinated by how people go about doing oracular services. What do they do? How do they do it? Do they use cards, like I would? Or do they just know like when I know the netjeru and the lwa are speaking to me? How does that work? Her particular oracle was very, very timely and made me realize that I was doing a lot of things for everyone and everything else without taking care of myself. This seems to be an ongoing theme regarding myself this year. “You’re so busy taking care of others; when do you have time to take care of yourself?” What an appropriate question and one that I have never been able to satisfactorily answer.
Since PL and I had been discussing the oracle session she had given me the weekend before, we naturally moved into the petition session she had done for me the following week. She had put out the offer and I knew that I needed a bit of otherworldly help to get to the point where I can consider myself important enough to take care of. So, I asked for the petition of blessing on this particular endeavor – taking care of myself. I felt a sort of lighter burden on myself the night of the petition and PL and I were discussing me feeling regarding that. And at some point he said something like, “You should do that stuff more.”
I told him that I had petitioned him for myself a few times and got strange responses from those petitions. He just giggled, saying that just because I requested something didn’t mean I was liable to get the response I’ve been looking for. Well, that’s rather true and I was beginning to think that my last petition to him had been answered, but not in the way I had been hoping and looking for. His giggle and that response were enough to clue me in to a sort of epiphany: all along, the response to my last petition to him had been going on, but I just hadn’t really been paying too much attention to it. (This all ties in with that lave tet I did for myself on All Souls’ Day, which I still need to write up. Hm.) So, we started talking about what sort of petition I thought I should request for myself and my thoughts went to my broken heart, my broken faith. “Healing,” I said sadly.
He told me to get on it.
I began bending the rules, or at least thinking that I was, around then. I began to think about how I would write a petition and to whom. Since the source of my ire, specifically, was Sekhmet, I thought it was fitting that I would ask her for healing. “Hey there, I’m really angry with you and the whole situation. So, I think it’s only fair that because of your games, you heal me some, eh? Fair is fair.” I realized that this was a very sound idea and I could feel Papa Legba, beside me, just vibrating with good idea vibes. So, I began to mold what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it. I felt with each passing day as I began to think more clearly about the “bigger picture” and the rules that I’m pretty sure are still in play about how I could change those rules or manipulate them to what I wanted. A bunch of other things happened this week that began to make me wonder if the rules hadn’t already been changes or that possibly, just possibly I had misinterpreted the “bigger picture” I had been eyeballing. It’s possible, of course; I’m fallible, after all.
The petition began to grow in my mind to not just about me, but about anyone else who needed help. I’ve noticed a disturbing amount of people who need some healing lately. Some of those people I work with. Some of those people I know online. And some of those people are just random blogs that I stumble upon. I began to notice that as the time when the veil began to thicken again, people began to suffer more. I wasn’t alone here. And that was okay, a little, because it made me feel less angry, less disturbed by everything going on in my life. It was the logical conclusion to all of these thoughts and findings that I would offer those petition services to people who needed it.
I was rather surprised by the response.I received 16 separate requests for healing, on top of my own. I added a seventeenth on Friday when I offered it to the only co-worker I have who knows that my religion is “other” and who has, also, been going through a trying time lately. I added two more petitions – these not exactly related to healing – for a total of nineteen requests in Sekhmet’s name. As I sat at my kitchen table with Djehuti’s sacred pen in hand, writing down the names and utilizing my heka effectively to ask for Sekhmet’s favor on these, I realized just how completely alone I absolutely was not. There were scores of people I wanted to add to my petition, as well, but didn’t dare because they hadn’t requested for the assistance. I did add two more people – for a total of 21 – who I care about and I offer magical assistance to regularly (whether they are aware of it or not). I felt really, really good about what I was putting together and the reasons why. I also felt – I don’t know if the correct word here is fulfilled – but akin to that.
I felt like I was taking the hand I had been dealt and manipulating it so that I could win the pot.
I looked down at the pile of petitions in front of me, rubbing the cramp in my hand. I was using the one thing I feel that I am really good at – words – to effect change. The people putting in the requests, of course, would have to go about effecting the change to the best of their abilities as well. However, Sekhmet would at least lessen the burden, I hoped. And in that hoping, I was really requesting that she lessen my burden and forgive my impertinence. While I still don’t quite know what the “bigger picture” is all about, the original ideas that I had back in that white room are gone. I’m beginning to suspect that the ultimate purpose isn’t nearly as selfish as I had originally thought. Papa Legba isn’t saying, but he sure does have a smile on his face, which may also be the result of some coconut rum and chocolate this week. In either case, I feel… better.
I decided that I was important enough in all of these endeavors to pay attention to and I went about doing what the hell I needed to do in order to get shit going.
This week, while I was planning and plotting what I wanted to offer her, I began thinking in grandiose terms and then pulled back. I’m often this kind of person when it comes to rituals, which is ridiculous. I’ve always found that when I attempt to plan out in advance or even think excessively about what I’m hoping to achieve, things invariably end of failing. This is why I tend to think of my rituals as a “pulled out of the butt” affair. If I leave everything up to the last minute, in my practice, then it feels more legitimate and far more likely to work than anything else I pull off. So, I stopped worrying about buying the “proper” supplies and began worrying about how best to word a lot of these requests that were streaming in. I also began to wonder if I could do without the red wine that I wanted to offer, since I didn’t think I had any to hand. Lo and behold, a spare bottle of sweet red was hanging out in my booze cabinet, as though it had been waiting for this very moment to be used. I just grabbed a few extra things for her: jalapenos, rose petals, and some freshly baked bread.The other thing I wanted to do was lighting a candle to aid these requests on their way to her. I love candles and I love watching the light manipulate across the wall behind my altar. But, I know that I didn’t just want to offer a simple white candle and be done with it. I decided that, very much like the healing petition I had requested of the Guédé all those years ago for myself and my son, I would use herbs along with a candle to send those petitions to the netjer I was reaching out to. I chose both calming herbs, since some petitions were for emotional and mental healing, as well as other herbs that relate to physical healing. I sprinkled ginger, cinnamon, and allspice powder on the candle itself. (I don’t know why? It just felt good at the time.) And every other herb was sprinkled around the smaller pillar candle I bought for this specific occasion. Not all of the candle burned down, which I knew I didn’t need to have done in this case. (It wasn’t the candle and the powders that were going to make her want to do this, but a culmination of all possible offerings that would see this through.) I’ve decided to use it whenever I feel like I need an added dose of healing or if someone I know would like healing heka.
The herbs that I sprinkled around the candle will be going into a mojo bag or three. Something I haven’t mentioned here is that I’ve begun seriously considering to sell the things. People seem to think I’m good at it, or something? I don’t know. One of the people who owns one of my healing bags said it made her aching stomach feel better when she put it on there, so I mean, there’s something! I’ve decided that one person from this particular petition will receive a mojo bag with those herbs, though I haven’t decided who yet, and I will make one for myself as well. I will probably keep the rest of the herbs in supply for any mojo bags that I think other people need/want or if I ever decide to actually move forward and sell the things.After spending two hours prepping, which included a purifying shower and purifying teeth brush, I placed the offerings before Sekhmet. I set up the platter with all the food I had either purchased specifically for her, or things I had lying around. I cut up four slices of bread and had them encircling the center of the white platter plate. I cut up a giant seedless orange since I associate oranges with her. I then lay three jalapenos across the top of the sliced orange. I’m not particularly sure why she thought she deserved some jalapenos? I know I’ve said that spicy food and she is a particular UPG of mine, but I think she was just miffed that Bawon was getting attention yesterday. So, she received three and he received two in offering after her ritual. I added two pieces of gourmet dark chili chocolate I bought her a long time ago and haven’t had much need to use up. She got the last four pieces. I then sprinkled the petition papers I had hand written beneath the edge of the plate, splayed out. Every petition for everyone but myself and the two other people were placed there.
I placed my personal petition beneath Sekhmet’s feet.
The other two petitions are special cases. These are for two very kind people who, last week, offered me assistance after my “Disgusting” entry. They were both ready to jump in action and help me get through the week. Timely assistance from my mom and mother-in-law prevented me from using their services, but it meant a lot that these two people offered to help me out when I am a virtual stranger to both. I asked that Sekhmet watch over these two very kind people. I asked that she watch over them as people as well as the innate kindness in their souls. As one is a recent addition to Sekhmet’s growing family and the other is a Djehuti kid, I didn’t think she would mind the request so much. When I placed these two petitions under her wine goblet, I felt her smile. It was almost like, “See? Not all things are bad. Sometimes, good things come out of adversity.”Personally, I don’t feel any different. I don’t feel angry anymore or disillusioned. I do, however, still feel tired. Papa Legba told me last night as I was musing on this that just because I asked for something didn’t mean that a big ole white light was going to come down and suck my pain on out of me. I told him that the lwa and the netjeru needed to work better on the theatrical end of things. Whether or not I’ve effected any change in anyone else’s life or my own, I feel at least a little better than I did two weeks ago. I know that the end, at least in the financial sector, is in sight. I know that it’s only a matter of time before the rest of things begin to pick up, too. Sometimes, it’s just hard, when you are in the thick of shitty, awful fucking things, to see that there is an end to the cycle. It just feels like a really long journey at the moment because you’re still at a curve or too far away to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I’m uncertain, in all honesty, if this is the light at the end of the tunnel.
If nothing else, it’s a way station until I can get to the end.