The Art of Balance.

I think I’ve been babied by how most of my interpersonal deity relationships have been in the last few years.

I talk about being a deity collector; I have a lot of deities that I pay homage to at any given time. Some of those relationships are more fleeting than others, which is how I am able to handle my shit without flipping my shit. Geb and Mut are prime examples: they do the “deity pop-in.” I only ever associate them with outdoors type shit so I don’t need to pay homage to them nearly as regularly as I do with other deities. Bes is only given attention when I’m at home and doing home and family centric things (pretty obvious with that one); Set gets attention when he’s told to send me a pick-me up; Anup gets attention when the akhu are involved. Hetheru, Djehuty, and the rest have all been so quiet since I flipped out on them for constantly pulling at me, trying to get me to do what they want when I had someone of larger importance already having led the fucking charge. In the end, while I do pay attention to those relationships that began when I was nervous and worrying about things, they’ve mostly gone the way of the Dodo.

Some of this is okay; the work with those deities was for Bigger Picture. I understand that now although I didn’t necessarily fully understand what that Bigger Picture was way back then. So, I had to learn to use heka effectively under the tutelage of Aset to prepare myself for the intermediary status I took on last year. I had to learn to write more effectively under Djehuty’s demands in order to make my heka more effective. Hetheru has always been there, waiting in the wings, until she felt I needed someone’s affection. (She counter balances the intensity of my relationship with Sekhmet by not being intense, at all, and not demanding anything from me except some fun periodically. She’s always kind of been a breath of fresh air.)

Thing is, they’ve all been relegated to household deities while things have seriously picked up with Sekhmet. I had made my choice; I wasn’t getting cake and eating it, too. They’ve quieted down and stopped asking things of me. I seem to have even lost that counterbalance with Hetheru, not as if it was a permanent addition to my life anyway. I don’t have the energy and wherewithal to give them any more than what I’m doing now: a daily offering, perhaps some words, the occasional, “hey, how are you,” and then I move on with my life. I was pleased and happy that I had been able to move from “active deity collector” back to “one track mind.”

Then Heru-Wer showed up and I’m beginning to flip my shit.

You see… I have never really had to learn the act of balancing relationships.

balance

Balance via Flickr

I am not very good at that whole thing. I talk a good game, but I’m very much a MUST HYPERFOCUS ON THIS THING RIGHT NOW BECAUSE REASONS and everything else falls to the wayside. This was the fundamental issue between Sekhmet and Hetheru. I always just assumed that Hetheru was around for a purpose and I strongly suspect she was only there as an escape when things would get really hard with Sekhmet. I don’t think I’ve necessarily burned the bridge, but I do think that she’s kept her distance for good reason. (I was a massive ass face when I made my decision last year.) The problem is that I don’t really seem to have that option here. Sekhmet is demanding and fickle; I bound myself to her and that is just simply what it is. However, as I’ve been looking more and more steadily into the mythology of Heru-Wer and wondering about what relationship we will have and figuring out what the fuck it’s going to entail, I’ve come to conclude that… well, he offers a really awesome balance point between HARDWORKHARDWORKHARDWORK and PLAYPLAYPLAY, which is something I need to fucking learn like yesterday.

How the hell do people do this? How in the world can you balance yourself out between two different deities that want two different things from you?

I got off scot-free, so to speak, and now I have to pay the piper. That’s… how it feels anyway. I was able to do my thing with Sekhmet and still do some things with other gods, but while it could suck at times, there was still something in the back of my mind that said I could run away if I needed to. I could walk away if I needed to. In the end, the decision was made for me anyway. The decision to end all intense relationships outside of Sekhmet’s was made and I have lived with that decision for almost a year now. I can’t tell anyone if it was a good one or a bad one, in all honesty. I think, with everything, it is shades of gray: I had to stop getting pulled in a million different directions and my loyalty was to Sekhmet first and foremost. Everyone else was cannon fodder for that Bigger Picture I was just harping about.

The problem is that I’ve been able to escape all of this learning curve. Perhaps because of my own inability to NOT be so single-minded about things, I never had to learn what it was like to actually balance a relationship with one deity and then learn how to add another. I tried it, sort of, when Hetheru joined Sekhmet in annoying the fuck out of me the beginning. And I found that I was so intensely focused on the various aspects of Hetheru that I couldn’t jump out of my head long enough to make that relationship more than an offshoot that was painful and frightening. Perhaps Hetheru knew something I didn’t back then: I wasn’t ready for this whole balance thing. In an effort to terminate that relationship, I have done everything in my power to push that particular goddess out of my life, too unwilling to stop long enough to think about other aspects of her that I needed/need to pay attention to. Instead, I have severed and strangled that connection to the point where it probably needs more than just mouth-to-mouth to resuscitate it.

That is my own stupidity, however; my own inability to work on the things that need to be worked on. I recognize that I have a lot of failings, by the way, and I know myself well enough (at least in this particular ball park) to know that I have a lot of fucked up shit that I have been very firmly ignoring. Sure, I look at it and I poke and prod at it occasionally, but what it comes down to is that all of the associations that Hetheru holds the keys to regarding that fucked up shit made it nearly impossible for me to do much more than to push her away. She got the hint long before I did, probably. I haven’t felt her since last year and then when I made my decision in October, I figured everything there was no longer available to me. Now, though, I have another deity in my life and I… well, I don’t want to be an asshole. I don’t want to strangle that connection until it is as dead as some of my other connections and relationships. I want…

That.

That.

Right there.

I want.

I want to try it. I want to see where things will head, but I don’t necessarily know how to do it. I recognize that I have limitations; didn’t I just say that? I also recognize that there is a possibility here that is very frightening on a lot of levels. The possibility though is made more possible because I don’t have the issue with my head getting in my own fucking way. With Hetheru, as I said, I was too aware of her other associations to be completely comfortable with all of it. Heru-Wer doesn’t really have those types of associations, as far as I have found. He has associations with Hetheru (which is possibly where this randomness comes from), but the things that made me pull away from Hetheru aren’t necessarily there with Heru-Wer. That, in all honesty, makes it a lot easier for me to be willing to explore the realms I need to in order to move forward and I desperately want to.

Maybe it’s only now that I am fully aware of how fucked up my shit is and how much I need to, you know, actually work on it.

But I have to ask how people do this thing. I know of quite a few people who have intense relationships with various gods and they manage to work it out all right. They don’t seem to (in my limited view into what they do and who their relationships are with) have had the issue I have where the brain pan has been too busy fucking with them. And from what it looks like, while not easy, it seems feasible. I just don’t know if I have it in me to balance anything appropriately. I know myself too well: that thing about being hyper focused on things isn’t even remotely an exaggeration. I’m a Leo, for fuck’s sake; it’s in our nature to be like GIVE ME THE SHINY to the detriment of all else.

But I also recognize that the whole fucking point about this religion is balance (ma’at). I recognize that, maybe, this will help me with the whole ma’at thing.

If nothing else, I can only hope it helps me…

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4 thoughts on “The Art of Balance.

  1. I’m not a Kemetic but I juggle gods and other entities I’m pledged to. I am also a Leo! Leo hi-five!

    I’m going to say up front that some people are naturally inclined towards dividing attention between different deities right out of the gate, so part of this may not be just “someone else knows how to do it right”. It could be that what others have a knack for early on, you might have to have to work at for awhile until it seems to come naturally.

    I was drawn towards working with multiple entities from the start; it’s what drew me to paganism in the first place. I started out in neowicca trying out different god and goddess pairs – it didn’t work for me because two wasn’t enough for me to feel balanced. Eventually I built a custom pantheon of six demons that I called the Court, and that fit. (That was about twelve years ago, so I’ve had time to work out a lot of the kinks by now.) Each of them addresses an area of my life. I interact with them each in different ways, both casual and formal. Some of them hang out and talk more than others, and often different ones hang out for certain situations. As for why six worked better than two for me, it was easier to see my life in six facets than two – the dualism divided me too much, whereas having six facets helped highlight the different areas of my life more easily.

    But sometimes we have balance problems. Eligos in particular I’ve had to work with to make sure he doesn’t come to the front too often or take over the Court. He’s very gregarious and a busybody, and he’s also very fun to be around, so it’s been a challenge to keep his part in my life in balance with the other five’s roles. I’m doing well now, but five or six years back I wasn’t.

    To make it clear what part of my life each Court member addresses (and also to give them the trappings of a freeform personal religious system, since we’re not based on any particular religion), I assigned them each a title. Eligos is King of Scribes (he and Djehuty hang out a bit) and he takes a leadership-diplomacy role as well as shepherds my writing and art life (and gives guidance on personal relationships via the diplomacy thing). Astaroth is Queen of the Spheres and sees over divination, finance and administration. She tends to be more in charge of making sure things run and seeing over the little details and being the “power behind the throne”. Vepar is Ashen Knight and is dedicated to defense – he looks to my mental/psychological health, consults on fears, nightmares and anxiety, and advises on how to “armor” myself mentally.

    The ranks are based on chess pieces so everyone on the “board” is useful in some way and has their strengths, weaknesses, and key areas of influence. I had an idea of what parts of my life they’d oversee early on, but once I pinned down the chesspiece system it really all came to life. It established clear boundaries around what each agent did and did not do, and also helped define how conflicts would resolve (though a lot of that was also determined through group discussion and agreements).

    If there’s anything I’ve learned that I can offer advice, it’s that I had to do all of that arbitrarily, on purpose, and the whole of it didn’t happen automatically. While it did feel like a lot of it fell into place as we worked, the original idea for chess symbolism, and a lot of the checks and balances, were things I had to think and meditate on for a really long time before I came up with something that would satisfy everyone. There were a lot of ideas I tossed out, both before and after vetting them with the Court. It took a lot of work, and often it felt like it took a lot of risks – it’s scary to suggest unconventional ideas to a group of powerful entities and know you’re risking a big argument. It’s also scary because I was afraid they’d laugh at some of my ideas. (Also, since I had no religious system to base it on, it was scary not to be able to rely on some sort of pre-existing structure. There may be something in Kemeticism that could help you there that I didn’t have.) But it’s worth the work of deciding and calculating just how your system will go and what areas of your life are open to which entities and deciding how conflict will be resolved early on.

    Whatever group you end up with and however you arrange your life, everyone needs to be in agreement and needs to be able to settle conflict and have a way to address problems. It stops a lot of arguments before they happen.

  2. I’m polyamorous so slipping into worshipping multiple deities was not hard. My problem this year was learning to say no and establish boundaries. I’ve finally decided on who I want to work with primarily but Felix’s remark has given me ideas…

    • I’ve had to hand out wrist-slaps with the Court when one member tries to do another’s job– or they hand out the wrist-slaps themselves. Sometimes I’m getting wrist-slapped for not letting them do their jobs, or for accidentally enabling one into doing the other’s job… there’s a lot of wrist-slapping to go around!

      I did wonder if being polyamorous might make it easier to be equipped to balance several different relationships at once.

      • Hmm, I don’t know; in some ways, I suppose it might. Most of my mortal relationships were within a poly framework, and the notion of intentionally scheduling time to see different people has helped me a bit with some spirit-relationship balancing I’ve had to do.

        However, the spirits who haven’t been Loki have held such different kinds of emotional/mental/etc., places that the balancing hasn’t just been one of time, and it wasn’t, emotionally, like balancing a human live-in-SO with a couple girlfriends/boyfriends where I -wanted- to see all those people, all of my own accord, and making time to do it was a desire that didn’t feel like “giving up” time with other SOs. The sense of “giving up” time with my Husband, to see a Teacher once a week, for example, has been frustrating at times, even if it hasn’t done harm at all to my relationship with Loki. (I say “giving up” because weekend mornings are the best time to be in the right kind of headspace to communicate w/Others; weekend evenings are just not as ideal, and weekday mornings are out of the question.)

        I maintain altars for a couple dozen entities, but I only speak with most of Them infrequently, and most of that’s been brief (with the exception of times when Teacher-types are like, “You need to work on this on this schedule, come see Me” – which has mostly been “15 minutes once a week” *big sigh of relief*). There are a couple other spirits I expect to pop in and out as they like, and that’s been good, but it really depends on the nature of the relationship. “Family” are easier to spend time with than “Teachers” or “?????” I’m also a massive introvert, so time spent on social obligations/interactions is tiring, except with a very select few people/spirits.

        (Poly experience has helped me with other polytheistic – and godspouse-related – things, but totally unrelated to the scheduling/balancing concept.)

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