I think doubt and uncertainty kind of follow people around like little dark gray clouds, sitting behind their shoulders, and whisper really nasty things in peoples’ ears. Whether or not the people are listening while the whispering is going on is an entirely different story. But I know that I get little snippets of whispers, sometimes, about things that I would really like to go well. The learning curve that I’ve been slipping and sliding on lately has been that, chances are, everything will fall apart in one area and be completely fine in another area with no issues whatsoever. I don’t know; this is kind of just a theory, but there are days where I’m pretty sure everything I touch will either be irrevocably destroyed or completely undone in a matter of seconds.
What always ends up surprising me the most is when neither thing end up happening. Like, what is that? Why the hell did the worries, fears, and anxieties not happen? How is it that what I was hoping would happen actually ended up happening for this thing when it hasn’t happened for all the other things going on in my life? In the realm of the spiritual, sometimes, I just assume that things are going well because the netjeru really are very interested in what sort of endeavors we get ourselves into so they make sure that what we are hoping will happen actually ends up happening.
That’s kind of how I’m feeling right now with my rites and services.
When I officially sent out the call early in the week, I thought that absolutely no one would be interested in reaching out, through me, to Sekhmet. I pretty much assumed that it was the beta testing I did for November and December that would go really well and then I wouldn’t hear another thing from anyone else. Then, someone sent me an E-mail request and I was like, “Okay, well this will be the only one.” And this feeling just kept following me around in a haze all week long until I felt wrung out with the amount of anxiety.
So, honestly, color me surprised when I started getting inundated with more requests.
I’m uncertain if I really learned a lesson with all of this. I don’t know if I can say that sometimes, things just really do work out and that’s it or if my thought that the netjeru really do watch over what we do in their name because they want to see it succeed. I also don’t know if I won’t have an anxiety-ridden week next month when it’s time for the next round of rites and services. What I did learn here, though, because I actually did learn something is that, yeah, there really is a need here, in the community, for things like this.
I wonder, sometimes, if the need is because of how dark the world looks around us. We’re still in the “Great Recession” and many peoples’ outlooks are as dark as they were at the start. I’m seeing a lot of posts asking for monetary assistance on Tumblr and I’m seeing a lot of depression, anxiety, and terror flooding the Internet, as well. I think that’s why the need is so great in our community. And honestly, I may not be doing as well as I would hope right now, but if my semi-stability is enough to give people just what they need in a time where uncertainty and anxiety flood them at every turn, then I’m more than willing to be the tool they need.
Besides, sometimes, it’s just really nice to feel needed and wanted by complete strangers.
I knew that this month was still a sort of start to the new year cycle. I wanted to kind of incorporate that when I began working on what my calendar would look like. Just as I did with Papa Legba on New Year’s Day, I decided I would use the fierce, destructive power that Sekhmet had behind her in an effort to better assist the people who needed some assistance out there. So, I put out the request that Sekhmet would feast on any and all blocks that the petitioner’s felt that were hindering them from moving forward.
Before even submitting the call to put in requests, I received an E-mailed request. I was pretty excited because, maybe, that meant that my fears would be unfounded. So, when I actually put out the request later this week, I was pleased with the amount of petitions that came through. What I failed to take into consideration was, per usual, how long it would take me to write them all down again. I thought I gave myself enough time – I wanted to get started at about 8:30 for the rest of the prep – but I ended up writing for about an hour. Either I was just taking more breaks than usual, which is possible, or there was just a lot more that people needed this month.In either case, I did manage to get every request down to paper. I also added someone who didn’t request anything. I am pretty good friends with the person in question and I’ve been speaking with them, personally, about a lot of things. I decided to add them based on our conversations and knowing that they would never actually ask for themselves. I also added myself in there. I’m not sure if she’ll answer my request because she really likes the idea of my doing things on my own without asking for assistance – something about making sure I can take care of myself and see to my own need or something – but sometimes, even those of us who are relatively stable need some added assistance.
I was able to buy flowers this round because my local grocery store was having a massive sale on some flowers. I found tulips for $4, which is a massively huge deal. It’s also the first time I’ve seen tulips in any context. Most of the flower bunches at the two stores I purchase flowers at have a standard selection of things like carnations, roses, lily, and asters. So, I was incredibly happy to finally get something new and different for one of my rites.
Someone sent me a private message last night, letting me know that some of their UPG indicates that Sekhmet really likes tulips. I’m uncertain if I can confirm that UPG at this time, but I found it pretty interesting that the tulips were opening pretty early on. They didn’t completely open but when I had placed them in the vase, they were tightly closed. After setting my altar properly and placing the flowers down, I found quite a few of them opening. Someone told me that it was probably because of the heat in my home – and I don’t deny that as a possibility because I know very little about how flowers react to temperatures in the home – but I also thought that, maybe, it just meant she really liked them. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more tulips and continue testing this until I can make a steady pronouncement on whether I should add tulips to my UPG.
I set up the plate of offerings next. I chose to go with only fruits for last night’s rite. Besides, the pepperoni bread that I had made for dinner didn’t come out as well as I had hoped, so I didn’t think it was up to her strict standards. I chose the fruits that I tend to associate with her the most.In my UPG, she really likes oranges. As an Eye of Re, the symbolism here is pretty obvious. There’s just something really sunny and cheerful about oranges, so I tend to just associate them with every solar deity that I can think of. I don’t even remember where I read this, though I know it was probably during my more eclectic days. However, the classification of oranges being a fruit grown in sunnier and warmer climates really kind of works with the general associations of Sekhmet, so she tends to get them fairly often in my house hold.
I also tend to associate apples with Sekhmet. I don’t associate the Red Delicious or any of the apples that are redder than the rest with her. I actually associate Macintosh apples with her. I think it’s because I absolutely fucking love these apples. Seriously, if they are on sale, I will put things back at the grocery store so that I can buy overwhelming amounts of them and eat nothing but apples for a week. It’s the taste, honestly, that adds to my UPG here. They’re tart. And as wonderful as Sekhmet can be when helping others, she can also be rather tart about things. So, it’s not the color or how they’re grown or even anything like that, but merely because of how they taste and how her personality can just be… well, sharp on occasion.
Finally, I added a whole bunch of green, seedless grapes. According to my limited knowledge of such things, grapes were reserves for the elite classes in Victorian England. They were too expensive for the rest of society to have, so they were most often associated with money, class, and royalty. It was this information, really, that made me add them to the offering plate. Another reason is because they are so damn expensive still. I mean, I’m looking at $4 per pound on these damn things. So, it’s a kind of sacrifice in providing them to her. While I’ll munch them down later, of course, it’s still a minor sacrifice to offer up those expensive green globes to her.
To round off all of it, I added chocolate. Since I had some of that orange chocolate leftover from Papa Legba’s services early this month, I added two pieces of that. Again, hearkening back to my UPG with oranges and because it has to do with general luck, it made sense. I also added her chili chocolate so that the feast would be sweetened for her. As it was, she had plenty of items to choose from. Finally, I gave her a glass of Coke and vodka and sprinkled the entire ensemble with rose petals.I chose to use a lot of red in this rite, which is definitely a deviation from the norm. I usually try to balance out the red on her altar with just as much white. However, since the point of this rite was for her to feast and destroy blocks in an effort to bring better circumstances to the petitioners, it seemed like a good idea to use a lot more red than usual. I wanted her to feel the fierce, passionate side that many of her devotees have come to know, love, and hate all at once. I also tend to associate the color red with power, whether it be the internal power of humans (blood) or the act of achieving power (walking down the red carpet) or the power behind Sekhmet herself. It seemed appropriate to provide her constant reminders in as many ways as I could as to how powerful she can be.
In my eyes, everything was a lot simpler with this particular service than the last two services combined. I wanted to continue the sedate piety that I had been providing to her all week, partially due to my own anxiety and also due to my personal petition to her. I also wanted to clearly delineate the differences between the festivals that I celebrate in honor of her – where I tend to be a bit silly, more often than not – and the rites and services that I am providing for others to her – where I tend to be a little more serious.
Another part of the reason why I was so quiet and sedate this time around was that I was thinking about lions in the savannah, honestly. When they hunt, they are using the developed senses they were provided in order to hunt their meals – sense of sight, sense of smell, and sense of hearing. By remaining more demure than the norm was because I didn’t want to distract her from the prey I was readily providing her in the forms of peoples’ requests. I wanted her to focus on that and less on the pomp that I can and will occasionally provide.
Per usual, I feel worn out after placing this before her. Again, I’m beginning to think that this really is the case. And I have to say that I don’t know how other spirit workers can do this on a more regular basis than I currently am. Perhaps that’s part of what this year is all about – another cross point on the balance I thought I had been learning properly last year. In either case, after each rite, I’ve noted that I will end up feeling just tired enough to lay down but not quite tired enough to need to fall asleep. This is rather interesting, honestly, and a little new. I’m used to being able to just close my eyes and passing the hell out. However, after rites like this, I usually end up feeling excited by the energy I’ve raised and the services I’m providing. I usually have to spend a good couple of hours relaxing with whatever distraction I have – no matter how tired my eyes may get – before I can get to sleep.
I don’t know if that means I’m doing a good job, but at least I feel like I am.