I think one of the things that I always felt completely confused about having religion was how the hell it was supposed to mesh with my mundane life. I know people who are all, “praise be,” and down with God like 75% of the time. And that is really aspiring (sometimes) and I often wondered, when I first got started, how I could be like that even with my own religious persuasion.
But I had to admit, even way back then, that the process on how to get down and dirty, feeling as if my gods were a part of every aspect of my life and not just shoved into a particular niche, well that shit is fucking hard. And as I am often complaining about, no one thought that writing a manual on how to modernize a dead religion that you are attempting to recreate would be a good idea. So, I often found the whole experience that my friends and family members have remarked – making it clear, to me, in their terms that they were down with their deity of choice quite often – bewildering (mystically bewildering, even).
Over the years, I’ve stopped caring whether or not my religion was a niche aspect to my life. It mostly is. I don’t talk about it much with people outside of my community for a lot of reasons. (Most people don’t understand; some people are worried about what I’m doing and possibly believe I am consorting with “devils;” I realize that discussing some minute aspect of one of the netjeru with people outside of my community isn’t scintillating conversation with my significant other; etc.) I figure it would happen or it wouldn’t and I would share it, or I wouldn’t.
It occurred to me, though, that perhaps I have done this and I just didn’t realize it.
So, about a year and a half ago, I started seeing Geb in this field that I was driving by twice a day to get to and from work. I no longer drive by that particular field so regularly, but I think that’s when it really started. I was able to not just associate Geb with that particular field and the geese that were so often doing geese things on that field, but it opened my horizons to new and innovative ways to see the netjeru in the natural world around me.
Prior to this, for whatever reason, associating the netjeru within the natural world was a foreign concept. Sure, it’s fine and dandy to do so when you think they may be sending you a message with a particular bird species you don’t see often, but it didn’t really occur to me that doing this throughout the natural world was a good thing. Or even possible. Or something that should be considered. Yeah, I got it when I read that post by Dver about associating gods with local flora and fauna, but I still didn’t really get it I don’t think.
Maybe the thing I had issues with when it came to Dver’s post was that I was trying to force the relationship associations. I looked for particular things I might see locally and figured that was probably a good association as any. But the thing was that I neglected to actually look for things that I would see regularly. Or maybe I just didn’t see local fauna often enough to make the connection. This is, by and large, quite probable since I live in a very urban area where things like fauna are either mistaken as scenery, hidden very well, or just not see in the light of day.
However, when I took the job that I work now, the trip down to a more rural area made it more likely for me to see fauna that could be associated with various netjeru. A glaring example, of course, being the baseball field that I would drive by and the Canadian geese who take it over once the whether starts warming up again. It became easy for me to see Geb in that and feel his presence whenever I would drive by. (Seriously, note to self: drive by and see how things are going.)
The connection I didn’t start to realize until later was how this particular relationship would flavor other relationships that I would develop.
On that longer drive when I would go by Geb’s field, I would look for other animals that I wouldn’t necessarily see living in a big city. One day, I saw turkeys waddling around in the field by the local prison. I don’t know what it was about these wild creatures that made me start to think of Mut, but there you have it. I began to associate that little family of turkeys (there were usually three but later, they were joined by two more) with Mut.
That’s weird, though, right? She was associated with vultures, which were seen as mother-like creatures in ancient Egypt. So, what the fuck was it about the turkey and the family that made me scream, “THIS IS MUT,” in my head? It was because of the first time I saw them up close and personal (and then realized I was seeing turkeys): one of them was flying across the road, directly above my car with its wings outstretched. It looked beautiful and majestic and it reminded me of the iconography of ancient Egyptian vultures with their wings outstretched in a protective embrace.
As that shadow passed over my car that day, it was solidified for me: turkeys = Mut.
I kept looking around for things that I wouldn’t necessarily associate with any particular deity that I worked with, per se, but for wildlife that I found majestic and beautiful. I found it when I began seeing hawks and/or falcons all over the fucking place. I suppose that road that I used to drive down is a prime place for them because I saw them often. There they would be, floating on the wind currents while they searched beneath them for something to snack upon. Or there they would be, sitting on the light posts as I drove beneath them.
These hawks and/or falcons (I’m sorry but I don’t know what they are except that they have the tearing beak thing and they’re big but that’s all I know) made it easy for me to find parallels with other deities: Khonsu, Heru, Re, Montu, and the like. There are a whole swathe of ancient Egyptian deities depicted with hawk heads and it was easy to see them, depending on the circumstances from which I was seeing them, as any of those deities. I tended to associate the ones from that road with Khonsu in his hawk-headed aspect because of the turkeys I also saw on that road.
The eight hawks I saw the other day, on a different road, were all of the hawk-headed deities to me. The loner hawk deity who I saw the other day, on a completely different road as well, was Heru-Wer because his birthday was coming up (his birthday, according to my calendar, is today). I began almost having fun with it – what deity could I possibly see today?
This morning, I saw Wenut in the world around me.
Across the street, there is a small rabbit that has made its home out of the bushes my neighbors have across their front yard. This morning, the rabbit was sitting up straight in a small patch of grass, looking around as it munched on whatever it was that it had found. And as I watched that rabbit for a good fifteen minutes, snacking away, there was nothing else for me but to associate that tiny little bun-bun with the long-ear Wenut, the swift one. And I watched for a few minutes more until it paid credence to that interpretation of Wenut’s name as it took off across the driveway and beneath the fence that separates one neighbor’s yard from another.
This may be unorthodox and it may not necessarily mean that I actively find the netjeru everywhere. I still can’t find a single way to associate them, other than through the ma’at I conduct within myself, at work or in other places. But I think it’s enough. I think it’s a good way to find religion in the world around you even if only for a moment.