When I agreed to do these things for Sekhmet, I thought of myself as just someone who interceded on behalf of others. I understood the reasoning behind it – Kemeticism, in and of itself, is changing and so, too, are the needs of the many who are Kemetic. By providing these services, I’m recreating something that was around in antiquity, sort of. While I’m sure my methodology differs drastically from what may have happened in ancient Egypt, I’m willing to act as the intermediary people need in order to get their messages to her. And when it was first thought of, first proposed, it made absolute sense. I’ve spoken with another Sekhmet kid, Fanny, who evidently used to do the same thing (perhaps a little differently from my own concept of it). And it made me wonder if I was just filling in until she was ready or if this would be something I would be doing years down the road, perhaps with fewer and fewer requests as the years went by. I still haven’t found out the answer on that one, but since Sekhmet appears fond of my flailing about, screeching unintelligibly, I doubt I’ll ever really know the answer.
Yesterday was a mish-mash kind of day, which left me feeling tired and cranky by the time I had to write petitions. I think that part of it was the anonymous ask someone dumped in my inbox on Thursday. I answered it yesterday and posted that response, which was apparently received well by others. However, the fact that I had to respond to that query bothered me, the second I received it all the way up to and including the moment I hit the publish button. I really just don’t understand people. I don’t know if, maybe, it’s the platform I use to get the word out there (mostly Tumblr) or if it’s just because I posted my reminder in the Tumblr-pagan tag. Whatever the case may be, this is the first time I have received a response like that and I’ve been doing this for fourfive months now. I should get used to these types of things, but the first time is probably always a little prickly.
I found that I kept thinking about that ask throughout the day and I’d get miffed all over again. I’m one of those people who harp on things a lot, in case you weren’t aware. I harp and harp and harp in my head until I explode unless I can use the power of my mind to shunt my thoughts elsewhere. I was successful in that a bit of the day and not-so-successful the rest of the day. Like I said, yesterday was a mish-mash. I found myself questioning my process and found myself questioning everything, which is fine and dandy. However, I shouldn’t have let some anonymous dickhead get to me. And that’s the crux of it, too. Some anonymous person disagreed with my methodology, my process, and my religious practice enough to think that they should place something anonymously in my inbox to state their opinion. I think the reason, really, that I got so het up about it the days prior to answering it and yesterday was because I don’t question anyone else’s religious practice just because I don’t know what the fuck is going through their heads, what leads them to what they do, or anything so I expect the same courtesy. Of course, when people write about things, I can draw conclusions, or not, but I still don’t bother with telling them how they shouldn’t do something because of X, Y, and Z. UPG is UPG, you know?
So, because my mind does whatever it wants and gets overactive regarding things, yesterday was a bit of an off day.
I lazed around the house after doing some cleaning and then watched terrible horror movies in the evening. In case no one was aware, this is something I do when I feel like I need to escape from the world – I enjoy really bad horror movies. I’m not talking about those obviously terrible science fiction movies that the SyFy network puts out every week, either. I’m talking pretty much most of the 80s horror movies with its bad hair, promotion of smoking, impromptu and over-the-top sex scenes, and really overwrought music choices. I chose Forbidden World (1982) last night and I honestly have no idea what the point in the movie was. It was just what I needed to get me back up to speed. But, of course, since I spent most of the day in a haze of my own thoughts, cleaning in between, and watched an entire terrible movie, I was late getting my start on.
It all felt so off.
I’ve thought about that feeling a lot. I don’t know why it was something I was feeling. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in a doubting period since Lent. Maybe it’s because of Lent. I’m not supposed to religion, really, and yet there I was, religion-ing. Even though Papa Legba reminded me that promises are promises and that I had to do what I said I would do, it still felt kind of weird. This is a time of reflection and introspection and moody thoughts and sitting around while I figure all of this shit out. Instead, I was going about and doing what I said I would, so maybe that’s it. I honestly don’t know. I just know that it felt so off.
I seriously considered putting off the rite. I mean, it doesn’t help anyone if I’m in an emotional state that isn’t exactly conducive to what in the world I’m trying to put out there. I thought about posting somewhere on Tumblr that I had put off the rite because of things and that it would happen… at some point in future. But, I only had a handful of petitions this month. And maybe that was another reason why I was feeling so off about the thing. I had apparently been used to the 40 or more petitions I normally got and I think I got about ten of them. Maybe it’s because I didn’t put the call out sooner – I forgot to put out the post on Facebook and didn’t do anything with Tumblr until Thursday, when I try to get things out the day before – or maybe it’s because people are tired of this shit already. I don’t know what the reason was, but I didn’t get as many as I usually did.
But as I thought about it, I realized that wasn’t such a bad thing. My emotional state was kind of bleh and since most of the people who had put in requests were mostly thanking Sekhmet for various things, I didn’t have to seriously consider how intent my heka was before I wrote out the petitions. Since I had so few petitions, I could get away with fewer offerings. And since I could get away with fewer offerings, I didn’t have to spend a whole hell of a lot of time actually doing what needed to be done. I figured I could be in and out within 15 minutes and back to watching really bad horror movies.
Here’s the thing – I wanted direction here. I wanted so much direction. I wanted someone to take my hand and tell me what to do. Do you ever just feel that way sometimes? Do you ever just want someone older, wiser, and more mature than you to tell you what to do? I’m supposed to be the adult and yet, a lot of times I end up feeling more like a child who needs her mother to instruct her on how to properly do anything or how to come to a logical conclusion. I don’t know if I chose a logical conclusion by moving forward with last night’s right. Mostly, I was being hammered by that commitment feeling that people have. You know the one where you said you were going to do something so your mind kills you slowly, second by second, until you actually do what you said you were going to do? Yeah, it was that one. So, instead of having someone hold my hand and instruct me properly, I stood up and went about my business.
I had bought flowers earlier. There wasn’t much to choose from at the store that I went to. Since my local store was out of my favorite apples, I had to go across town to another grocery store that I knew would have it (and my yogurt) stocked. I knew when I walked in that I would be kind of picking over some crappy choices for flower arrangements, but it was a sacrifice, in my opinion. (I’m technically dieting right now so I need apples and yogurt for breakfast.) I found a pretty decent bouquet with some sweetheart roses. It was the roses that did me in. I love roses. I think they’re the fucking greatest flower ever and I don’t even know why. There are millions of other flowers out there that can do me in – like lily of the valley – but it’s the damn roses that suckered me in to that bouquet. It was white and yellow, two colors I associate with Sekhmet often if no one has noticed, and I found one with just enough different flower types that appealed to me. But it was those sweetheart roses, man, which really dragged me in. Those damn flowers were so small and sculpted to just about tug my heart strings near in half.
I sacrificed one of my precious flowers in offering to her. I don’t buy a lot of apples all at once. Apples are one of those expensive foods that are almost like a luxury in my house. Well, not almost like, but very much a luxury. But I love apples. I love cutting them in half and slicing them into little chunks to eat. I love the skin that gets caught in my teeth if I don’t eat it just right. I love the juice that squirts all over my hands when I dig in. I love everything about Macintosh apples. My friend is in love with honey crisp apples, but I’m a Macintosh girl and always have been. (You should see my face when my stores stop carrying them.) I cut one of those bad boys in half and arranged it on the plate. I stared at the little star like center on both halves, feeling like I was getting better at this cutting them in half thing. You see, I try to cut them in half to show the star in the middle? But, I usually fail. I like cutting them that way because the star reminds me of the ancient Egyptian stars in their artwork and I like the symbolism there. I cut it in half and, for once, I was able to see the little star thing on both sides.
I added some orange-zest chocolate I had laying around. I don’t like oranges and I don’t like zest, but I like orange chocolate. This stuff is stronger than those chocolate orange things they start selling around now. You know the ones where you smash them into a table to open them? Since I have the Lindt stuff (sale, baby), its dark chocolate or cocoa 70% or some shit. So I don’t like it. But I nibble on it as the days go by, one square at a time, because even though I cannot abide by the things, I can’t waste that shit. (You should see the face TH gives me when I force him to eat the chili chocolate I have left over.)
I added a slice of bread because I wanted to kick it a little old school. I haven’t offered her real bread in a while. I usually offer the gods those little dollhouse foodstuffs that I bought a while ago. A friend of mine sent me some more dollhouse food things (yeah, baby! More choices!) and so now, I can give them fruit as well as bread. But I haven’t offered real, live, toast-it-in-the-toaster bread in a while. So, I figured I should probably do that since it’s a staple and I was looking for something to even out the offering thus far.
My final addition were grapes. In case no one has noticed – and I really don’t know how anybody hasn’t noticed this – I fucking love grapes. I hate red grapes, but I love green grapes. They were on sale for $2.49/pound and I knew that I was leaving the store with some fucking grapes. They’re normally like $4.99/pound and there was no way I was passing that up. Besides, I better get all my grape love in now. Since that drought has hit California, which feeds a lot of America, I’m sure the price of grapes will go up soon enough. I may as well give all of my favorite foods to the gods now, while I can still afford to do so. I wish grapes weren’t so expensive, though. I wish I had a green thumb because maybe I’d try to grow my own grapes. (But since I live in Massachusetts, which has really bad soil for growing certain things if I recall correctly, I’d probably fail anyway. Then again, maybe not because my neighbors used to have grape arbors all in their front yard until they took them down last year.) Man, I really love grapes.
I gave Sekhmet a glass of water, cooled with ice. I thought about giving her alcohol. I even thought about giving her diet Coke, even though I can’t drink it because of Lent. I thought about making her a mixed drink of diet Coke and vanilla vodka. I thought about just giving her a shot of vodka. I thought about lots of things, but I hearkened back to the “kicking it old school.” Cool water and bread were staple offerings in ancient Egypt. And this was a meal of thanksgiving, mostly. I figured I could go with a time tested libation and leave it at that. I placed it in her little star goblet that I love beyond belief.
I set up my altar just so. That actually takes me the most time because I’m incredibly anal retentive about this. I like having everything even. If no one has noticed when I leave my offerings on a plate, I make sure that they’re doubled so that it evens out. When it comes to leaving things on her altar, even after the petition is over, I like to have everything centered and make sure that there is evenness on either side of that center. I switched out my small heka jar for a big one. (The white thing in the middle.) I placed the prayer beads that my lovely Dodgy made for me on top of my heka jar. Then I placed the flowers and the goblet on either side of Sekhmet’s little ben-ben area. Down the center, I placed the offerings right in front of her and then added incense and the petitions in a little cup.
I finished everything off by lighting a red candle for her.
After leaving everything for her, while I munched the grapes that I had left for Sekhmet, I stopped in front of that altar and watched the candle flame for a while. I don’t know if I went into a trance state because I don’t think I really know what that is. But I watched that candle flame until there were blue-black afterimages in my eyes. I watched that flame pole-dance around the wick and generally do what a flame is supposed to do to a candle. I stared at it and thought about my feelings. I thought about what it was like to doubt. I thought about what everything I had gone through in the last few months. I thought about that ask that bothered me. I thought about what I was doing. I worried about all of it in those moments while I stared at that candle flame. I knew real and serious doubt. I knew real and serious worry. I knew it all and I slipped my petition, my request to her, in with the others. She probably won’t answer it – she seems to like the Kermit arm flail. It doesn’t matter, really. I think I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing even if I feel like a weirdo and a liar a lot of the time.
The candle flame spoke to me, I think, and it said that everything is okay.
I felt a little calmer after that, at least. If nothing else, I was able to sit down and veg out enough to fall asleep to 300.