The Propitiation of Sekhmet: The Return Ritual Rubric

This particular portion of the festival begins on I Akhet 18 and finishes on I Akhet 22.

Daily Morning Ritual

After completing your daily rite to wake the gods and/or greeting the morning sun, open the window so that the sunlight can peer through the room. Approach your icon of Sekhmet and say:

Hail to you, O Sekhmet.
I call to you: heed my voice.
Using your arms, beckon the goddess in your direction.
The sun has risen and the world has awoken with its touch.
May you rise and be awoken by the sun’s warming rays.
Awake from your slumber; awake from your darkness.
Hear these words:
Return to me, O Distant Goddess.
Return to us.

Evening Ritual: Fifth Day Only

O you NTRW of this temple, who sanctify the god in his shrine:
I come to you, your servant, your son, I come to you.
Your beautiful scent, it calls me forward.
I have made my way and I enter into your presence.
I am one of you.
I am one of you.
Do not repulse me on the god’s path.
My feet are not impeded.
I am not turned back from this place.
I have entered this place with ma’at in my heart.
I am pure.
I am purified.

Step Forward & Call Out to the Goddess

O, Sekhmet; O Distant Godess: I call to you.
Hear these words and come to me.
I call to you, my lady, to return to us.
We call out to you to return to this your haven, your home.
Do not hide your beautiful face from us.
Come forth and look down upon us.
Grant us your love and trust as you return to this, your temple.

Awake in peace, Sekhmet, The Great Returning Lioness, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, A’apekhty, Great of Strength, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Kheneb-ib, He Who Robs the Heart and Cuts the Thighs of Enemies, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Neb-kennu, Lord of the Uprising, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Herf-em-Sedjet, Whose Face is Flame, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Imwy-Ity-Hapy, Who is in the Middle of Flood Waters, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Shed-kheru-em-kenu-tjemsuf, Creator of Unrest, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Ka-Desher, the Red Bull, awake in peace.

Step Forward & Open Shrine

I open your temple, I come to you.
Your warmth and beauty surrounds me as I enter.
I am not repulsed.
The doors of the sky are open.
The doors of the earth are unlocked.
This house is open for its Master.
Let me come forth as she shall come forth.
Let me enter as she shall enter.
Behold, I have come to you to offer ma’at to make sound the Eye for its lord.

Light Incense in Censor

The incense is placed on the arms of the gods.
It transforms your heart through its perfection.
I bring the incense to make your temple festive; I appease your body.
*censing the four directions*
The temple is filled with the scent of incense.
Incense spreads throughout your sanctuary.
It sanctifies your throne, it purifies your ka from evil.
Your body is purified.
Your temple is purified.

Light the Candles

The purifying flame is placed in the hands of the gods.
It transforms your heart through its pacifying heat.
I bring the purifying flame to sanctify your temple; I appease your body.
*lift a candle and hold it in the four directions*
The temple is filled with the light of the gods.
The temple has been purified by the flame of ma’at.
It sanctifies your throne, it purifies your ka from evil.
Your body is purified.
Your temple is purified.

Take up the Water

The essential water is placed in the mouths of the gods.
It transforms your heart through its cleansing coolness.
I bring the Great Flood to sanctify your temple; I appease your body.
*flick the water in four directions on the Altar/Shrine*
Your altar is purified by the Flood of Nun.
You are cleansed by Horus.
You are purified by Thoth.
Water invigorates your body.
It is I, your servant, who comes to you in the place where you reside.

Presentation of Libation to the Gods

Greetings to you, primordial water.
Greetings to you, flood waters of Nun.
Greetings to you, o great flood.
You, the father of the gods.
*pour the water into offering cup*
I present to you, o you who are green of face, the cup filled with primordial water, which has come from the Two Caverns.
I pour the libation to water your face.
May your thirst be quenched.

Presentation of Offerings to the Gods

I come near you, o venerable gods.
I bring the food and provisions for you subsistence.
Your altars are piled high with offerings of all sorts and forms.
Every follower, every servant, every devotee has come to bring you the bounty of their hearts.
*pour the offerings into bowl and place on altar*
I am Hathor, Lady of Nourishment, who multiplies the cakes and gives life to the one who is faithful to her.
I have brought you nourishment so that you may thrive.
For as you live, I live.

Behold, I have come from the land of the living to be with you in this sacred place.
I am one of you.
My hatred is evil.
I have come on the good path of the upright in order to make whole all of our limbs.
So that we may live Glorious and Complete as the Eye.
For as you live, I live.
As I live, you live.

Unwrap the Icon

O Returning Lioness, we have come to you to grant you life anew.
We have freed your limbs from their imprisonment.
The wrappings of the goddess have been torn asunder.
We have give your eyes the ability to see.
Your eyes are the whole and complete Eyes of Horus.
We have given your lips the ability to speak.
Your mouth is filled with ma’at and you bestow your ma’at upon us.
We have freed the goddess from her slumber.
You have been rejuvenated, permeated with the will of ma’at.
You have returned to us, green-of-face.

Ma’at comes to you in all of her radiance.
Your heart is glad when she appears before you.
Ma’at has come so that she may be with you.
Ma’at
is in every place that is yours so that you may rest upon her.
So that you may rest upon her.
She comes to you.
You live off of her.
You renew your youth when you see her.
Ma’at rests upon your head.
She is seated on your brow.
Your right eye is ma’at.
Your left eye is ma’at.
Your mouth speaks ma’at.
Your hands are filled with ma’at.
Your limbs do ma’at.
She takes her seat within your ib.
You are rejuvenated at her sight.
Ma’at has taken her position within your hearts and within your shrine.
For as you live through ma’at, your people live through ma’at.
For ever and ever, a million times effective.

May your heart rejoice, O Lady of Contentment of the Two Hearts.
May your hearts rejoice, O Executioners of Sekhmet.
Glorious and excellent, NTRW.
You are green of face.
You are pacified.
Your bellies are full.
Your thirst is quenched.
Your hands are filled with vigor.

O, Sekhmet, Lady of Joy: you are green of face.
O A’apekhty, Great of Strength: you are green of face.
O Kheneb-ib, He Who Robs the Heart and Cuts the Thighs of Enemies: you are green of face.
O Neb-kennu, Lord of the Uprising: you are green of face.
O Herf-em-Sedjet, Whose Face is Flame: you are green of face.
O Imwy-Ity-Hapy, Who is in the Middle of Flood Waters: you are green of face.
O Shed-kheru-em-kenu-tjemsuf, Creator of Unrest: you are green of face.
O Ka-Desher, the Red Bull: you are green of face.

Revert Your Offerings

O Great NTRW, your enemies withdraw from you.
Heru has turned himself to his Eye in its name of Reversion-of-Offerings.
These your divine offerings revert.
They revert to your servant for life, stability, health, and joy.
So that you may flourish for eternity.

Be Kind; Please Rewind.

Alternate Title: The Kemetic community needs to re-embrace “don’t be a dick”.

One of the presenters during the leadership conference was Bear Grylls. My office just about lost it when they found out he was going to be presenting this year. I didn’t understand why everyone was so excited about it. To that point, my total knowledge of him was that he had a show about being outside (I have since learned he has had 3 shows about that subject). My coworkers kept going on about how excited they were to hear from him.

As his segment came up, I was mildly distracted by the sun glare on the snow behind him. He kept squinting at the camera and I had an urge to give him my sunglasses. But when he spoke, everyone quieted down to the point where you could hear a pin drop. I was finally beginning to understand why people gave this man a show. He evinced a sort of charisma that left you waiting for what he would say next.

Fear

The presentation that Bear gave was about what he called the Four Fs. These Four Fs were supposed to be in regard to leadership, but as I listened to him discuss them in detail and relate each word back to his own experiences, it was obvious that everyone has come into contact with these Four Fs throughout their lives. The Four Fs are:

  • Failure

Everyone experiences failure at some point in their lives. No one enters into something and immediately gets it on the first try, the eighth try, the one hundreds try. Failure is a part of the human condition, a part of being human at its most basic level. Sometimes the failure is a large one and leaves you wounded from it; sometimes the failure is something small and easily overcome. Failure is something that everyone has experienced and these failures have helped to forge people into the person that they are today.

As much as we may want to deny the moments where we have failed at something, especially the more dramatic flops in our life, we must come to the realization that more often than not, a failure is teaching us. It may teach us how to do something better the next time we come into contact with it, or it may be teaching us that what we thought we wanted isn’t actually right for us. Don’t deny the fact that you failed; embrace it because these failures will be more, often than not, a doorway leading you forward.

  • Fear

No matter what we have gone through in our lives, we have come across fear. It has found us in the dead of night; in the middle of a meeting; as you write a post on the Internet. It lurks around every corner and everyone has had some experience with this feeling. Life as a whole is scary; it is an unknown thing that we all experience and sometimes, we can experience it with other people. Sometimes, we can hold hands with someone beside us and let the feeling of fear wash over us. And sometimes, there is no one there to help you through it.

Everyone is fighting something; everyone is fearful of something. Sometimes we must embrace that fear and continue over the other side of it. There are moments where, no matter how much your instincts may be telling you to turn tail and run, you have to keep going through that moment with fear walking beside you. Face it; use it; embrace it. Take the energy of your fear and use it to keep moving forward. It isn’t a dark moment, not truly, when you stand beside your fear and have to keep going. As the Litany Against Fear says, “I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.”

  • Fire

Everyone has a furnace of fire burning deep within them; a steam engine that keeps them going; a wood-burning stove deep within. This is the drive, the push, the desire to move forward and keep going. This fire may be dampened or darkened because of illness, but it is still there. It pushes people forward and keeps them going even when they don’t want to keep going. Sometimes you have to stoke the flames and sometimes other must stoke it, but the furnace is lit and will continue to burn.

Some people claim that they have none, but that is not true. Everyone has a fire burning deep within; it may be tamped down or hidden, but it is there. You must find it and use it so that you can keep going. Don’t listen to the voices within or without that may be telling you it’s dead and gone; keep looking. As Bear Grylls said, “N.G.U. – never give up.” Or as Galaxy Quest has taught us all, “Never give up; never surrender.”

  • Faith

Everyone has faith. The faith may be in themselves; it may be for other people; it may be in what they’re doing; it may be for a higher power. It doesn’t matter what the cornerstone of that faith is but it is there, deep within. It can be used as the cornerstone or a slab of concrete to build up and outwards, but it is there. It isn’t simply a voice within telling you to keep going; it is a belief and trust that what you are doing is the right thing.

People may complain and say that people use it as a crutch, but it doesn’t matter. That blind trust, that faith, helps to stoke the fire, to face the fear, to admit and embrace the failure. It is the alpha and omega within everyone. It may start off as small and simple, but it can be built up to encompass the totality of the path ahead, a baseline to continue forward.

The one common thread between them all was the thread of kindness, a need for it. The kindness exhibited could be for others or yourself. But it is paramount to show kindness. Acts of kindness were woven through each story associated with each word and it became the overarching theme.

We all face these things, or have gone through these things, or are going through these things. It is imperative to understand that no one is alone in this. We have all experienced failures; we have all faced our fears; we have all stoked the flames of our inner fire; we have all kept going because of faith. Everyone has gone through this, no matter what the path ahead has looked like for each individual.

We must all understand that the path ahead is an individual path; no two are alike. But we have all experienced or are actively experiencing any one of these things at any given time. And it is with both humility and kindness that we can keep going and by extension, others can keep going.

Be kind to others; be kind to yourself. As we all go through failures and fears and fire and faith, it is kindness that helps to see us through. It is kindness to ourselves that reminds us that we are imperfect beings who are navigating through; it is kindness from others that can keep us going for one more hour, one more day, one more possible failure ahead.

The entire presentation was worth the watch, but it was the bit about kindness that stuck out for me because he was right. Kindness for yourself and kindness for others is paramount to success, paramount to continue on. If we cannot be kind to either ourselves or others, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

kindness.

Something I have found lacking in the community is simple kindness. After TTR announced their hiatus, I went through the conversations we had had about the issues they were finding and began scoping out popular posts in the tags. And something that I kept seeing over and over again was this seemingly brusque persona that everyone had crafted for themselves. I suspect that this is a result of a two-fold problem: the toxicity within our community from a few years back and the exhaustion the prolific content creators tend to fall into after a few years.

As I mentioned in my post about TTR taking a hiatus, it can be exhausting when it’s your name being thrown out there the most and people keep asking for the same types of content or more new content. If you’re the only one giving out the information, then it wears you down until you can’t be kind to anyone anymore. You get jaded from all of the wear-and-tear that being a content creator brings with it and no matter how hard you try, it’s hard to find the benefit of the doubt and therefore, hard to find kindness.

When the community broke down, we all began doing our best to embody a little bit of Squidward in our online life. We needed to protect ourselves from the eventual break down of what we had worked hard for. We needed to distance ourselves from the inevitable explosion because it hurt too much to keep caring otherwise.

So everyone who has been around for that long has kind of started to come across a bit brusque when they respond to things and I think it’s a problem. We need to pull back from those parts of ourselves, the parts that we created to save ourselves from burnout or the burn down, and get back to kindness. We need to try and find the benefit of the doubt and we need to think critically when we respond to one another, to new people asking the usual 101 questions, and to outsiders just trying to understand.

I talked a bit about this last year after the last leadership conference I went to: it’s difficult to read tone when your community doesn’t have the ability or desire to be anything more than an online forum-type. It means that you have to sit back and ask yourself if the words you are choosing come across as rude, as ill-tempered, or flat our dick-like.

This is something that comes up for me a lot at work. As I mentioned in that post last year, the majority of my communication is through email. We have calls and talk to people, too, but I would say about 95% of my day is spent in front of a computer. And I can’t tell you how many times I hear complaints from my team about someone “being rude” or “being a dick” when that person is simply responding to something we sent them.

And you know what? When someone says that they got a “rude” response, it is almost always bias. It is a fear that they are coming from a place where they are wrong or a place of anxiety. The tone that they’re reading into the response isn’t there most of the time. It comes across that way because the person responding is trying to be as quick as possible in their response, which means they’re cutting out the fluff to get to the heart of the matter.

It makes things go by quickly, but it doesn’t necessarily mean things are going smoothly.

We do this within our community, too. We try to be quick and efficient, but sometimes you need to add in the flowery, the little kindnesses so that you don’t come across as rude or a dick. It’s a fine line that we walk, but if this community is going to grow as I would like it to and as others seem to want it to, then we need to remember how to not be a dick.

Over five years ago, TTR wrote about this very concept too. It wasn’t framed in a need for kindness, but in the need to embody the phrase “don’t be a dick”. They gave some handy hints on how to not come across that way. We need to go back to that. We need to sit still and think critically before we hit publish or reply. We need to refer back to the “yardstick of dickery” and try to remember that a little kindness can go a long way.

If we don’t, we’re as good as dead. All the chatter and discussion about content and creating it goes out the window if we can’t be nice to each other, or even to ourselves. We need to be kind. We don’t need to take shit, but we at least need to be kind.

The Calendar Conundrum.

Seven years ago, I created my own religious calendar. At the time, I was not confident in my abilities to figure out when Wep Ronpet was and knew that I was getting into something that I felt uncomfortable with. I was terrified I was going to Fuck It Up.

Guess what?

I absolutely did.

I spent an hour comparing dates back and forth. I thought the heliacal rising of Sirius was at the end of July; it was actually in August. I had done all of that hard work to then only have the wrong day listed for my new year celebration. I figured out that I had screwed it up a few months after I had already entered my holidays into my Google calendar. I decided to just suck it up and celebrated my WR on the 30th of July.

My celebrations were earlier than most other Kemetics, but I was remarkably okay with all of it. Even though I had gotten the timeframe wrong, it didn’t negate the joy I felt when I thought I had figured it all out. It didn’t make the Intercalary Days any less chaotic (placebo effect maybe) and it didn’t negate my celebrations at all. It just meant that 7/30 was the date of Sat’s calendar renewal.

It was earlier this year that Ptah said to me, “you know… we could make some adjustments now. You’ve made the backbone of festivities that I wanted; why don’t we revisit your calendar?” Since I knew I would be moving and my religious path has long since changed from what it looked like seven years ago, I figured it couldn’t hurt.

I decided to revisit this under the assumption that I wanted the heliacal rising of Sirius out of Memphis. It made sense to me at the time. My primary gods are Ptah and Sekhmet; why not start there?

Ptah seemed pleased with the notion; or at least he made no overt request for me to cease and desist. I went out and purchased a cheap $1 calendar since I found it easier to write things out than to start updating my Google calendar and went to town.

After finding the new date of my Wep Ronpet, I filled the whole calendar with every possible festival I could dream of wanting in my religious calendar. I combed through every inch of the Daybook, notating festivals for my current gods, for gods I might one day care about, and everything in between. I figured that when I sat down to update my Google calendar, I could add notes and comments, questions about what I thought the holiday meant.

I was on fire and feeling particularly pleased with myself. For once in my life, I had finished doing something well and truly in advance. I was on such a high horse of positive sentiment about my success that I carefully tucked my $1 calendar away to update my Google calendar later. I had months to go before Wep Ronpet and I, for once, was ahead of the curve.

Until I forgot where I carefully tucked away that $1 calendar. The one, single place I had made my notes. The one I had accidentally spilled coffee on one fine morning and moved it to a much safer place than the end table. That calendar that had me feeling so very, very pleased with myself.

I honestly have no clue where it went.

The day I was packing up the last of my books before we moved, I realized it was missing. I tore apart the whole living room under the seeming idea that I was packing things away, but in fact I was searching for that damn $1 calendar. It was absolutely nowhere to be found. And I even lifted couches and ripped apart cushions in the hopes that it would appear, but I was disappointed all over again.

After the move, I griped to Ptah about it. I said clearly, “if that calendar was to be mine, help me find it now.”

And. It. Never. Appeared.

I decided that having to find a new Wep Ronpet date wouldn’t be so bad. I could spend time making sure that I got the Memphis date correct, but when I went to enter the coordinates for Memphis, the website wouldn’t load. I gave it a day and tried again, but met with the same type of error.

When I thought about it, I realized that using Memphis probably wasn’t the best idea. Ptah was mostly silent on the matter; I had to fly solo on it. While I did experience trouble putting in my new address, it was easy to bypass those issues to get what I needed. I problem solved until I has yet another new date for my new year celebration.

I asked Ptah about it later, worried anew that I had messed it up again. He told me to stop being a whiny brat and move on. I figured he was tired of me complaining about it, or maybe it was because I had already messed this up once without any major problems. What would it matter if I did it again?

This time, I chose two methods to catalogue my holidays. I used the same method as before, a simple $1 calendar for quickly scribbled notes, but I also wrote them down in a day planner. I wasn’t going to run into the same problems a second time and now, so close to the new year.

Ptah seems remarkably happy with what I’ve done so far, though I am sorely missing my Google calendar notifications. I have to actually look now to know what holiday (of many) is occurring on any given day. And I didn’t have room for all of the notes I was hoping to add eventually, which means I will probably jettison the planner idea after 2020 is over to go back to something that bugs me with alerts and has more space for notes on a day with 9 different holiday possibilities.

When I asked Ptah why I couldn’t use the Memphis calendar I had compiled, he was finally able to give me an answer. He said, “the old is gone; the old was forgotten. We’re forging ahead towards the future, or did you forget that part?”

I hadn’t, not really.

Still. It would have been nice to know that before I lost the calendar I had worked so hard on.

Further Reading

  1. The Calendar Project

Good Enough.

Alternative Title: The Kemetic Community needs to up its content game.

This past week, I attended a leadership conference through my job. This is the second year that I’ve gone and as a result, there will be a few posts based on things I learned about at the conference. As always, as I listened to the various leaders from various countries and background present, I took studious notes, not necessarily for myself, but because I wanted to take what I was learning and use that to help the wider community.

TTR is right – the community does need to do better. And if that means I can impart, perhaps, some form of wisdom to one person at the very right time because I spent two days wearing uncomfortable clothes watching people talk about leadership? Then, I’m fine with that. I’ll go next year and the year after until I finally can go no more because I have died or because I am no longer with this company.

Create

The first presenter talked to us about cost benefit analyses. For those of you who work in certain businesses, like I do, those three words make sense to you. You may have even had to do one or two at work or maybe at home to determine if the cost of something would benefit you or your job or a project in the long run. While the phrase tends to pop up more in investment circles, an analysis of this type can be utilized in many different environments and for many different things.

Recently, someone on my team had completed a review for a site to see if it made sense to make some technological changes for them. As it stood, we found that if we could make the changes we were recommending, we could actually bring back a total savings of about $2500 a year. That’s a really good savings we could bring them and we were all about it.

But as we went forward with this project, we soon learned that there were other factors beyond what we had already studied that put the project into jeopardy. In order to make the tech changes we were recommending, we found that the site would require close to $2000 worth of work to make it ready and capable of accepting our changes.

The cost of the work we needed done to get them to where we needed to make our changes would eat up almost an entire year’s worth of savings. The costs that we were asking for didn’t outweigh the benefit of making the changes we recommended. So, we pulled the plug on the project.

This happens at my job periodically. A client will have an idea that sounds excellent on paper, but we have to help them to see whether or not there is a benefit in proceeding. Sometimes there is a benefit and we don’t find any extraneous costs as we complete our analysis; sometimes we find that the costs are high but so too are the benefits so we move forward; and sometimes there isn’t a benefit and we scrap the project in its entirety.

Now, in the presentation, the presenter had a little graph and his example was the time he spent on one of his speeches or sermons (he’s a pastor). I did my best to recreate it above.

As you can see from the example, if he spends 3 hours of time on something, he can get a decent way up as far as quality is concerned on the graph. He indicated that at this time frame, maybe his sermon or speech was at 75% on the quality scale. He knows he can get it better if he spends a little more time on it, so he does so and gets to the second dot on the graph, which he indicated was probably about 90% or so. If he spends more time on it, the quality of his speech or sermon would more than likely significantly start to decrease and bring the quality back down to the third dot, or what he indicated was probably like 80%.

The point that he spent a decent amount of time talking about was that dot after 5 hours spent, or what he indicated was about 90%. This point was what he called the G.E.T.M.O. point. (I literally thought he said Gitmo the first time he said it out loud and was very happy when he explained what he was actually saying). The G.E.T.M.O. point is the Good Enough To Move On point. This is the highest point you will achieve as far as quality and time spent, so it’s time to put the speech or sermon down and move on with your life.

Too often, people get stuck in this idea that the more time you spend on something, the better the quality. Nine times out of ten that is not true. Much like the bell curve that teachers and professors grade students on, there is a declination point on a cost benefit analysis. The difference being that after a certain amount of cost, the quality of the product, the project, the whatever it is will start to decrease.

Let me tell you a story.

I have a ton of drafts in my blog’s draft bin. I have about 20 right now and some of them go as far back as 2013. I had ideas and I wanted to work on those ideas, to get things out there that I felt needed to be spoken on. My issue is that after 6 years of working on some of those drafts that started in 2013, I have found myself frustrated and irritated with the overall point. I’ve scrapped and re-scrapped the entries so many times over the years that they no longer look like what I had originally envisioned. And frankly, they’re still drafts because they’re just not good.

I should have gotten the drafts to the GETMO point and pressed publish. Instead, I hit save and kept going back to it over and over again until I hated everything that I typed, hated everything that I had said and re-said and re-phrased. Those posts will probably never see the light of day because now, years later, I can’t even remember what the fuck I really wanted to say so the GETMO point has long since disappeared.

I suspect that my story above may sound familiar to some people. Perhaps they had an idea that they wanted to get out and into the world, perhaps to have others comment on or perhaps just to get it seen for future content from someone who was bitten by the bug to write about it. But maybe they hit save instead of publish and now that post will never see the light of day because it doesn’t look good after hours, weeks, months, or years of trying.

If I do it as a person who has tried diligently to bring content to the wider community, then I have very little doubt that there are others out there who have done the same. Or maybe someone has toyed with the idea but assumed they would never even get it to the GETMO point and jettisoned the idea of writing it in the first place.

November-Blues 2

The Kemetic community suffers from a lack of content creators (oh, boy, finally at the point of this post, eh?). Part of this is because of the breakup of the wider community whenever that was: 2015? 2016? Content creators came down on both sides of the split and that meant that the people who were creating before had to create that much more to fill the void. The problem being that more content creators didn’t fill the void.

As someone who was one of those content creators, it is very tiring to sit down and right a post when you know that it more than likely won’t go anywhere. Sometimes your brain turns on you and asks why bother? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down at my laptop to write something and eventually deleted it because I talked myself out of it.

But even with that, I knew that there were ideas and thoughts that I needed to get out there. I would see TTR banging away at content and trying to get people to interact, to think, to come up with their own ideas and I did my best to emulate that with what I had available. But the interaction and follow up that we had once seen happen frequently seemed to dry up. Fewer and fewer were posting their own content or responses to our content and it began to feel very much like we were talking into the void (still does actually).

I can tell you that when I first started this blog nine years ago, I wasn’t writing for anyone but me. I didn’t care if people saw what I said. I didn’t care what the hell the wider community was doing. I needed a place to write down my thoughts and ideas, to figure out what worked and what didn’t while I explored my Kemetic path. When I started to network, I cared a bit more about putting out content because I was Having Ideas and I wanted to share those Ideas with People.

Whether those Ideas panned out or even went beyond a few conversations wasn’t the point necessarily. I wasn’t writing them down simply to write them down. I was hoping to have someone read it, get bitten by the Idea, and move it forward or rework it or maybe say it sucked from start to finish. The hope was that eventually another future content creator would see it and do with it what they would.

I have watched the community silently pack up shop seemingly on the idea of good content. Part of it is no doubt fear. “The thing I want to write is stupid.” Or maybe it’s a fear that assholes are going to do what they do best on the post in question and be assholes. Sure, those are valid fears. But you shouldn’t let them get in your way.

Write the post.

Write the ritual.

Write the rubric.

Write the hymn.

And then hit the word publish instead of save or delete.

Get it out there. Forge ahead on the path that you want to create for yourself, but let others see it.

If they see you making the posts that you want to see, I can assure you that someone, somewhere will see that and get an idea based on what you say. Or they’ll have a response post that they make to what you were originally saying. Or it will shove them into a niche area that they research and put out the content of what they found when they looked into it.

Yes, it’s a terrifying prospect. It is wholly possible that the thing you worked on to its GETMO point gets flipped and destroyed, no longer looking in any way like what you had hoped it would be. It is possible people will dogpile on it and try to shout you down. All of this is possible; absolutely. But that doesn’t mean that what you have in your mind doesn’t need to be said.

Look. We are all of us a long line of Dominoes ready to be pushed over, but only if that one finger pushes the first one over. And the only way to get shoved over is if you write the post and hit publish instead of talking yourself out of it. So go out there, get your idea to the GETMO point, and hit publish.

(Please note: the presenter referred to above is Craig Groeschel. I am in no way affiliated with him or his church. I just find some of what he says on leadership interesting.)

Loss of Faith: Polytheism Edition.

As a birthday present to myself, and after a recommendation from TTR, I picked up The Grief Recovery Handbook and immediately began reading through. Grief, as discussed in this book, is defined by the opening statement in the first chapter: “Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss of any kind.” The authors make no specific distinction about what caused the loss, pointing out the most common (death, divorce, financial change, etc), but they make the point that any major change can cause a loss of some type.

The overall point in the first part of the book is to illustrate that we have all been “socialized to believe that those feelings are abnormal and unnatural.” This should not be the case for anyone as it means that we have not been given the tools necessary to contend with the very real emotional reaction humans have when it comes to loss.

The authors go on to stress that it is no one’s fault that they were never given the necessary resources to recover from their grief. Society as a whole is responsible and the only way to overcome this is to educate ourselves and therefore, eventually, be able to educate others, on how to recover from this.

During my reading, I found a specific section on faith that I found particularly interesting:

In 1969 John’s younger brother died. John remembers being told, “You shouldn’t be angry with God.”

John knew he shouldn’t be angry with God, but he was anyway. No one knew to tell him that anger at God is a typical response to an untimely death. We’ve relied on intellect for years, so we search for understandable reasons for events. When we can’t find a reason, we assign blame to God.

As someone who experienced the loss of their father at a young age, this particular passage made a good deal of sense to me. At the time of his death, I was too young to understand the full cause that resulted in my father’s death. I now know things I couldn’t understand or be told at 7 years of age, so it no longer seems like a reasonless death. But as a child facing the seeming untimely death of their parent, I assigned blame to God.

But placing blame on God for an event that seemed to have no reason is frowned upon. We’re told contradictory things like “God has a plan” and “Don’t be angry with God” and are never really allowed to voice that anger because it is seen as taboo or wrong. To voice our displeasure at God can be downright threatening for some people to hear and in general, such sentiments are shushed into oblivion.

The authors continued this passage with the following:

This anger will pass if we’re allowed to express the feeling. We have to be allowed to tell someone that we’re angry with God and not be judged for it, or told that we’re bad because of it. If not, this anger may persist forever and block spiritual growth. We’ve known people who never returned to their religion because they weren’t allowed to express their true feelings. If this happens, the groover is cut off from one of the most powerful sources of support he or she might have.

To reiterate the point, if we bottle these feelings up because we are either taught to keep them quiet or talked over when we voice them, we may never experience spiritual growth again.

Reciprocity

While the above quotes did spark a series of thoughts relating to myself and my father’s death, it was not in fact his death that I first began exploring. I had already know about my anger with God at age seven and have managed to, for the most part, deal with it. My thoughts actually began rolling to when pagans lose their faith and my own experience with it.

For those who have only recently started reading this blog, I used to be an obnoxious “have faith” kind of person. By that, I mean that I loved my gods and my religion. I was here for it everyday and I worked hard to both maintain my faith and towards the common goals my gods had given me. I often thought of my faith as a shining gold blanket, thick and luxurious, and it made me feel comforted and happy. I suspect the reason I was this person is because my mother often told me that she cared not for what religion I followed, as long as I had faith. So, perhaps to overcompensate for the years where I had none, I was full of it.

But in 2016, I began to have a crisis of faith.

A crisis of faith is typically defined as when you seriously question whether what you believe/how you see/what you’re committed to is actually true. If you read editorials from pastors, reverends, and priests, many of them will say that a crisis of faith is a good thing. But while you are on the midst of one, and if your religion doesn’t have spiritual leaders to discuss these issues with, it certainly doesn’t feel like a good thing.

My issue was reciprocity. The word is commonly defined as “mutual exchange” and was a part of the ancient Egyptian religion. It was seemingly practiced by both the upper echelons of ancient Egyptian society and the laity. I felt like the gods were not holding up their end of the bargain.

I had made extensive strides in the areas I had been asked to, but the return I was expecting failed to materialize. It felt very much like the gods had welched on their part of the contract between us and no matter how many times I pointed out that their lack of fulfillment was both upsetting to me and concerning me on their behalf, I typically got the message equivalent of smashing the keys of a keyboard in answer.

When I spoke about my anger at being, seemingly, forsaken, I was told by many that I shouldn’t be angry. I shouldn’t rage and rant at the gods. I should effectively suck it up and keep on going about the work I was already doing because “the gods have a plan”.

Eventually, I brought it up less and less because the voices trying to drown out dissatisfaction and discontent grew steadily louder. Those who once commented on the things I said about being angry disappeared for fear of an eventual dog pile from those who seemed to be threatened by the idea that people could be angry with their gods. The discussions were eventually shushed into oblivion.

Sound familiar?

These statements and arguments kept cropping up whenever anyone mentioned feeling like I did on the matter and compounded an already stressful situation for me. I’ve come to the conclusion that many who say things similar to what the authors mentioned in the Handbook have taken the same point-of-view of many Christians: the deities are at a higher level than humans and we should simply be content with an occasional glance.

I suspect that people who shout down other polytheists with this negative rhetoric are still very much entrenched by the religious backgrounds they come from. While that is not necessarily their fault if they’ve not been given the means to recover from it, it makes it difficult for people who do not suffer from the same backgrounds or who have been successful in recovering from those previously held beliefs.

I also strongly believe that these same people are scared. They’re terrified of someone upsetting their status quo. And I understand that rocking the boat on the open ocean can be terrifying but sometimes you have to in order to grow.

Whatever the psychological or emotional reason behind this need to shout over the disaffected and grieving, they need to remember that they are speaking to real, living people going through some of their own shit. And they need to keep in mind that, more than likely, what they’re talking over or trying to shut down may in fact negate some of the basic tenets of their polytheistic religion. (Or in the words of Jake the Dog: they need to “go sit in the corner and think about your life.”)

Reciprocity in Christianity culminates in the Golden Rule more often than not. Reciprocity in the ancient Egyptian religion, at least, extends to include the gods and that means that I have a perfectly reasonable expectation to assume I will eventually be given what I have asked for especially after years of faithful service.

The idea that they could not or wouldn’t abide by what I expected threw me into a tailspin. This tailspin was further exacerbated by people who, perhaps thinking they were “helping,” voiced the same types of comments the Handbook authors specifically refer to as detrimental especially when someone is experiencing a loss.

And make no mistake: I was grieving for my loss of faith. I had blindly and lovingly followed for years and now, what I knew to be true about my gods and our relationships was thrown on its head. I could no longer view them with love or faith; I could only see them as capricious beings who were using me or figments of my imagination.

The situation never cleared up for me, not really. I just stopped talking about it, no longer willing to defend myself while I tried to work on my grief at the loss of my faith virtually alone.

2016 was a hard year.

abandoned churches

So how do you recover from grief when, seemingly, everyone wants to shut your natural reaction about said grief down? How do you come out the other side, feeling better about it all? I must have done something since I’m back at the religion table again, doing my due diligence and trying to forge ahead as always.

I can say that I’m not sure. In the last three years, I have truthfully spoken to one (1) person about this in an unedited fashion. TTR seemed to be the only one who understood what I was saying, but at the time, they didn’t have all the tools necessary to be much more than the vent hole I needed when I was angry or upset about it. And besides, they too had had their own similar experiences regarding reciprocity and understood things from a similar perspective to my own.

I can truthfully say that I am still grieving. I can often look back at those years where I felt secured in my golden, fluffy blanket of faith and grieve for it all over again. This isn’t always the case, not by a long shot, because sometimes I look back and I am so angry that I once so blindly believed as I did back then.

I was able to at least come to terms with it, which isn’t the same thing as recovering. I was able to come to a point where I still viewed the gods as capricious beings that played games with people like me, but I stopped worrying that I was making it all up, that the omens and signs were coincidental and that I was imagining things.

I’m hoping that my reading of this book may better help me. Thus far it’s taught me what not to say when someone experiences a loss of any kind. The next section appears to be given the steps to come through one’s grief, so perhaps I will eventually be able to say that I have recovered.

Things will, of course, never go back the way they once were. I knew that two years ago when I started to say that I missed having a religion and went back to the gods I knew already. You can’t fill the hole of one’s loss and assume it will be as good as new. The myriad of patch jobs a city does on its potholes is all the physical reminder of this that anyone needs. But like a fresh patch job done well, the hole can at least become functional again for a time before a new patch is needed.

I am hoping the book will give me more than a patch job; maybe stitches to knot the edges of the hole together. I suppose I’ll find out.

The Propitiation of Sekhmet Ritual Rubric.

This particular festival begins on IV Shomu 30 continues through the Epagomenal Days and finishes on I Akhet 22.

Daily Morning Ritual

After completing your daily rite to wake the gods and/or greeting the morning sun, open the window so that the sunlight can peer through the room. Approach your icon of Sekhmet and say:

May you awake in beauty!
Hail to you, O Sekhmet.
Bring forth your icon of the goddess and place it within the sunlight.
The sun has risen and the world has awoken with its touch.
Ra endures another day and gives you life-giving sustenance.
Feel the rays of his beautiful light upon your face.
Feel the touch of the rays of his warmth upon your body.
Ra shines down upon you, his adoration filling you with good cheer.
O Lady of Joy, may you awake beautifully at the top of the morning.
Live, O Sekhmet, O Irt-Ra, live for all time and for eternity.
Leave the icon in the sunlight to rejuvenate.

Evening Ritual: First Day Only
Approaching the Shrine

Awake in peace, Sekhmet, Lady of Jubilation, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, A’apekhty, Great of Strength, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Kheneb-ib, He Who Robs the Heart and Cuts the Thighs of Enemies, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Neb-kennu, Lord of the Uprising, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Herf-em-Sedjet, Whose Face is Flame, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Imwy-Ity-Hapy, Who is in the Middle of Flood Waters, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Shed-kheru-em-kenu-tjemsuf, Creator of Unrest, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Ka-Desher, the Red Bull, awake in peace.

I come to you, your servant, your son, I come to you.
Your beautiful scent, it calls me forward.
I have made my way and I enter into your presence.
I am one of you.
Do not repulse me on the god’s path.
My feet are not impeded; I am not turned back from the god’s place.
I have entered this place with ma’at in my heart in order that you may create peace with beautiful ma’at upon this day.

Step Forward & Open Shrine

I open your temple, I come to you.
Your warmth and beauty surrounds me as I enter.
I am not repulsed.
The doors of the sky are open.
The doors of the earth are unlocked.
This house is open for its Master.
Let me come forth as she shall come forth.
Let me enter as she shall enter.
Behold, I have come to you to offer ma’at to make sound the Eye for its lord.

Light Incense in Censor

The incense is placed on the arms of the gods.
It transforms your heart through its perfection.
I bring the incense to make your temple festive; I appease your body.
*censing the four directions*
The temple is filled with the scent of incense.
Incense spreads throughout your sanctuary.
It sanctifies your throne, it purifies your ka from evil.
Your body is purified.
Your temple is purified.

Light the Candles

The purifying flame is placed in the hands of the gods.
It transforms your heart through its pacifying heat.
I bring the purifying flame to sanctify your temple; I appease your body.
*lift a candle and hold it in the four directions*
The temple is filled with the light of the gods.
The temple has been purified by the flame of ma’at.
It sanctifies your throne, it purifies your ka from evil.
Your body is purified.
Your temple is purified.

Take up the Water

The essential water is placed in the mouths of the gods.
It transforms your heart through its cleansing coolness.
I bring the Great Flood to sanctify your temple; I appease your body.
*flick the water in four directions on the Altar/Shrine*
Your altar is purified by the Flood of Nun.
You are cleansed by Horus.
You are purified by Thoth.
Water invigorates your body.
It is I, your servant, who comes to you in the place where you reside.

Presentation of Libation to the Gods

Greetings to you, primordial water.
Greetings to you, flood waters of Nun.
Greetings to you, o great flood.
You, the father of the gods.
*pour the water into offering cup*
I present to you, o you who are green of face, the cup filled with primordial water, which has come from the Two Caverns.
I pour the libation to water your face.
May your thirst be quenched.

Presentation of Offerings to the Gods

I come near you, o venerable gods.
I bring the food and provisions for you subsistence.
Your altars are piled high with offerings of all sorts and forms.
Every follower, every servant, every devotee has come to bring you the bounty of their hearts.
*pour the offerings into bowl and place on altar*
I am Hathor, Lady of Nourishment, who multiplies the cakes and gives life to the one who is faithful to her.
I have brought you nourishment so that you may thrive.
For as you live, I live.

Behold, I have come from the land of the living to be with you in this sacred place.
I am one of you.
My hatred is evil.
I have come on the good path of the upright in order to make whole all of our limbs.
So that we may live Glorious and Complete as the Eye.
For as you live, I live.
As I live, you live.

Ma’at comes to you in all of her radiance.
Your heart is glad when she appears before you.
Ma’at has come so that she may be with you.
Ma’at
is in every place that is yours so that you may rest upon her.
So that you may rest upon her.
She comes to you.
You live off of her.
You renew your youth when you see her.
Ma’at rests upon your head.
She is seated on your brow.
Your right eye is ma’at.
Your left eye is ma’at.
Your mouth speaks ma’at.
Your hands are filled with ma’at.
Your limbs do ma’at.
She takes her seat within your ib.
You are rejuvenated at her sight.
Ma’at has taken her position within your hearts and within your shrine.
For as you live through ma’at, your people live through ma’at.
For ever and ever, a million times effective.

May your heart rejoice, O Lady of the Flame.
May your hearts rejoice, O Executioners of Sekhmet.
Glorious and excellent, NTRW.
You are green of face.
You are pacified.
Your bellies are full.
Your thirst is quenched.
Your hands are filled with vigor.
O, Sekhmet, Lady of Joy: you are green of face.
O A’apekhty, Great of Strength: you are green of face.
O Kheneb-ib, He Who Robs the Heart and Cuts the Thighs of Enemies: you are green of face.
O Neb-kennu, Lord of the Uprising: you are green of face.
O Herf-em-Sedjet, Whose Face is Flame: you are green of face.
O Imwy-Ity-Hapy, Who is in the Middle of Flood Waters: you are green of face.
O Shed-kheru-em-kenu-tjemsuf, Creator of Unrest: you are green of face.
O Ka-Desher, the Red Bull: you are green of face.
Revert Your Offerings

O Great NTRW, your enemies withdraw from you.
Heru has turned himself to his Eye in its name of Reversion-of-Offerings.
These your divine offerings revert.
They revert to your servant for life, stability, health, and joy.
So that you may flourish for eternity.

 

The Propitiation of Sekhmet 2019.

Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind. – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Passing Time

July 30 – August 26

Five years ago, I had an idea that wouldn’t leave me. No matter how many times I tried to turn away from it, it would come back like some insidious bug hellbent on getting into my house. No matter what I tried, the thought would not pass me by and so thus, the Propitiation of Sekhmet was eventually born.

When I began pawing through my archives to see how long this idea has held sway in my life, I was truly astonished to see that it has been five years. I feel like it was only a year or two ago that I was sitting at my kitchen table trying to figure out what exactly this Propitiation business was to be about, experimenting with what did and did not work, or jettisoning what I felt was asking too much of me.

It took me a few months before I finally decided to make a stab at it, not quite encompassing what this would eventually entail. I was looking more for self-gratification at the time I wrote my first post on this mysterious and previously unknown thing. I had been working, so to speak, in the mines and I needed to come up for air. I viewed my first foray into this as more of a vacation, or stay-cation as it were, from my relationship with Sekhmet. It gave me time to think, to plan, to gain perspective.

But it was the second year that I truly began to contemplate more than just the trappings. I had written an outline of sorts in 2014 and I needed to flesh it out more before I could celebrate in 2015. I needed to give form and reason to the vague afterimage I had seen the year prior.

expiation by fire

To create a mythos from scratch could be seen as hubris, but I was only ensuring that my leonine goddess could celebrate the Kemetic New Year, while simultaneously paying homage to the fear of her chaos infesting and infecting the year to come. I had chosen the idea to closet her away to, originally, build a physical barrier between us. But in the second year, I looked to the myths for help on the flesh that was needed for the modern myth.

It was easy for me to view Sekhmet as the Distant Goddess because I had always seen her as such. Not simply because of the myth in the Book of the Celestial Cow, though that was part of it.

It was because she always seemed, well, distant to me. Or more like, a being of such higher magnitude than myself that I could only see her as if from a distance. Sometimes it felt like I was seeing her walking miles off and if I could only just get closer, I could truly see her for all that she truly was, but no matter how hard I tried, I could never get closer. Sometimes it felt like a game and sometimes it felt like a trial.

It was the Distant Goddess myth that eventually broke me. I had not considered the ramifications of how her disappearance from my life would impact me during all that time. I had been paying attention more to the trappings, the words, the gestures, and the heka than I was to myself. There was no warning either. One minute I was be-bopping on my way and the next, I knew an unending grief that stayed with me until the end of the Propitiation that year.

I hadn’t thought that I would be impacted by all of it. I had assumed that I could go on with my life, spiritual or otherwise, without a passing thought. But one of the things I learned in 2015 is that just because you think you understand something doesn’t mean that you really do. Just like ogres and onions, this kind of stuff has layers.

As I looked into the actual meaning behind the word I had chosen for the name of this holiday – eschewing pacification because I wanted to appease the goddess and her fiery wrath, not force her to my desires – I found it within a Judeo-Christian context that I hadn’t expected. While it was interesting to learn about how the suffering and death of Jesus could be viewed as a propitiation, I found myself more interested in the idea of the ordeal of Jesus after his baptism.

I had, of course, heard about ordeals in a roundabout way, but I had never actually given it consideration before. It didn’t seem like anything that I would have a need to learn about and while most of my Google searches tended to lead me down the road of a western culture or Christian reference for what an ordeal was, these weren’t the only places I read up on the subject.

When one thinks about the word, aside from the definition, a number of examples can come to mind: a thirty-six hour car ride to go to your grandmother’s funeral; a particularly long and grueling test that means you pass or fail an important class; a day-long surgery performed by a multitude of surgeons and nurses. All of these examples – and many more – qualify within the dynamic of the definition of an ordeal.

But within a pagan framework, the word tends to coincide within the realm of initiation. This is not the only association within pagan circles, but it’s the most common one.

As I read up on the subject with limited resources available online, I began to consider the Propitiation of Sekhmet less in a framework of how this impacts her and more in the framework of how it impacts me.

On the by and large, though I can’t be certain, she has it easy. She feasts like a glutton the day of the Propitiation before she closets herself away from me for about a month. I, on the other hand, must go through the many emotional upheavals that come about when your god abandons you… even if it is for their and your own good and for a period of time.

It is an ordeal, I have come to realize, that I put myself through each year. There are vigils and threats. There are moments of deepest sorrow and anger. There are times where I want to give up, to beg forgiveness and take it all back. It is a pain that I go through each year, willingly enough, so that my Distant Goddess may return to me.

Horse With No Name

This is something that five, four, three, and even two years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to voice aloud. For a long time after I had realized what was going on, I couldn’t bear the thought of being able to put this into written or spoken word. I thought that to do so would somehow cheapen the experience or lessen the depth of my feelings on the subject.

And it isn’t as if I have always felt… positive… about any of this. I have had my good days and my bad days just as everyone does. I have had moments where I have screamed myself hoarse, furious that a simple idea to incorporate my most revered, most beloved goddess in the Kemetic New Year would eventually take on the mantle of an initiatory rite each fucking year. It felt a little too much like the facts had been misrepresented or produced with a smudge on the fine print to keep the secret for a while longer.

I will no doubt have those feelings again in future.

But as I sit here, writing new rituals for this upcoming ordeal, I can admit that the Distant Goddess myth and its connotations had always formed a fundamental aspect to my practice. And maybe I was always headed in this direction, whether she nudged me or I nudged myself. And while I would not have wanted to formulate all of this into an ordeal, it may be that things were always headed this way.

I will no doubt never truly know the answer. There are moments in time where the gods are opaque to even the most ardent or most obnoxious queries. Sekhmet is no different than any other god in this. Sometimes she willingly answers the questions and other times she gives a roundabout answer that may or may not eventually be given context.

I have found that I want to know the answer less and less. Perhaps it’s fear that I will grow angry again at the unfairness of it all, of being given a quick nudge in a specific direction, which had me falling over an unseen cliff. Perhaps it’s that I have finally found contentment though in the realization that this is my path and I can be comfortable with it even if I can also be angry or disenfranchised with it.

And so on Tuesday, we begin the fifth year of the Propitiation. And for once, in a very long time, I’m interested to see what will come out of all of this anguish and mourning, appeasement and atonement.

Further Reading

The Day the Music Died.

Two days ago, TTR announced an indefinite hiatus for mental health reasons. I saw it coming before it happened. I speak with them semi-regularly and our conversations had started to have less and less content, more and more silence between our messages (to be clear, this is not just on TTR; I have also been less communicative). So, I knew that they were pulling themselves back within themselves and I knew that they would eventually make a post somewhere detailing why.

I was out dealing with boring things when it popped up on my feed as I was waiting for what seemed like forever for someone to help the husband and I with something. I saw the title and felt a little flip-flop in my stomach, in my heart. I had expected this to happen but I hadn’t expected it to happen so soon. I didn’t get to read it all right away because the person we had been waiting on finally showed up to help us out and I had to focus on that.

When I got home, while the SO was doing what I had asked him to do, I read through the post twice. I read it first quickly and made a quick comment. This is my usual protocol for deep entries or even posts people make about their religious lives. They make the post, I read it quick, and I’ll comment based on that first reading. But then I go back to it later or immediately after I comment and I start over again.

As I read through the post, I felt a plethora of things: guilt for being a terrible friend; annoyance with TTR for doing this without warning me; irritation with the wider “community”; worry that their mental health would go off the rails and I’d never know what happened to them (like another friend of mine from eons back); relief that I knew where to contact them should the need arise… But above all, as I read through the entry a second time and then a third, I felt a wave of complete and total sadness. It was so much that I felt tears in my eyes, which I blinked back because, I don’t know if you know this about me, but Strong People Do Not Cry and I am a Strong People.

It wasn’t sadness merely because of what they have been going through or because they would not signal boost my posts anymore (I always knew when a post was reblogged by them because I got a lot of fucking notes after that). It was sadness because it felt very much like what I assume the Day the Music Died must have felt like to Americans everywhere.

Maybe.

The Day The Music Died

A long, long time ago I can still remember how that music used to make me smile. And I knew if I had my chance that I could make those people dance… And maybe they’d be happy for a while… – American Pie by Don McLean

I have known TTR for a very long time. I think it’s been at least 8 years, although it could be closer to 9 for all I know. (My memory is not what it once was. It’s full of random facts and famous faces I saw once in a movie.) We haunted the same message board for pagans.

I remember reading their posts on that message board and marveling at how very together they seemed with their practice. I can remember reading through the posts of those Kemetics who were far more “advanced” than I on this whole roller coaster ride of religion and I can remember TTR holding their own against those people and their arguments or their statements of seeming fact. I remember how they made me nervous, made me fearful because I strongly suspected I would never get to the same point that they seemed to be at that moment in time.

When I left that message board in a flounce of all flounces, somehow TTR came with me. I honestly don’t remember why. They still posted there and sometimes we’d chat about the new goings-on when it came to the posts that were being made there, but I never went back. They began to tell me about their plans, the push from the Big Redhead about community. And I can remember thinking that while I couldn’t be sure I could really help in any of that, I was willing to give it a shot.

I was always under the impression that what I was to do was to be solitary, and to a point, it is. I’ve come very far since those early days where Kemetics were likened to being islands and the starter posts being published about boat paddling in an effort to connect those islands. But when those posts were coming out and TTR, along with other Kemetics who have long since passed out of our realm, were talking about connecting those islands to unify the wider Kemetic community, I could stand behind their desires and raise up those words.

The community, back then, was very different from what it is today. Most of the things going on were presented on the various message boards for different types of Kemeticism. There were the KO people, the people on tC, the ones pushing out into individual blogs on Blogger and WP, and of course, the FtS message board for the LaBordians. TTR haunted the spaces in between, trying to find a way to unify everyone in the way that Big Red told them to. It was a lot of hard work and it was completely thankless.

We started making forays into other blogging platforms, notably Tumblr. There were all of maybe 5 of us there, boosting up each other’s posts. The handful of existing Kemetics, or Kemetic curious, persons on Tumblr found us and began to haunt our posts. We talked about our blogs there, trying to push other Kemetics from other platforms to Tumblr, hoping to use that place for the visions of community that TTR and Helms had cooked up in their late night chat sessions.

We mostly spent our time in other established polytheists’ circles because we had no circles, at first. We were friends with Hellenics and Heathens and we all intermingled a good deal more than we do today. I suppose you could say it was the heyday of the Kemetic community; even though there were so few of us trying to make the kemetic tag popular, we felt like we were really doing the hard work of cutting back a swath of the wider polytheistic realm for ourselves. We spent our time joking and laughing, or running in circles around various concepts and ideas, agreeing and disagreeing with one another, in an effort to make something that really worked.

It wasn’t all fun and games. I could remember TTR growing worried about various things that were happening on the message boards, concerns they had always had but were beginning to bubble up more and more. They saw the shitty behavior of KO and FtS and tC members because they had the access to all of that. They explained the ins and outs of the different types of Kemetic message boards, carefully outlining the faults they had found and lifting up the good that they had seen too. They did their best to boat paddle and I lifted up their voice when I could, snapped at people when I lost my patience with this whole boat paddling stuff, and then came back to it to start again.

You see, I believed wholeheartedly in that vision. I worked hard to be a good little boat paddler. I sat back more often than not on posts that made me go, “eh what now”, and tried to emulate what TTR would do to the best of my ability. I still snapped. I still lashed out. But I tried very hard to be calmer, cooler, and more collected as I helped them foment the growth we both talked about seeing.

The vision was beautiful. In my head, it was all sparkling gold and silver with precious stones and gemstones winking in candle light. It reminded me of a dream I had had in 2013 and I wanted to see it come to fruition. So I helped as much as I could and for a while, things seemed okay.

But sometimes being the beacon of light in the darkness can gnaw at you. The posts are there. The sources are neatly gathered together in a good place for people to poke through, but they always asked the same questions. I don’t know if they tried to find the resources or if they just wanted it handed to them. How many times did TTR or myself get the same damn questions over and over? I don’t know if you realize this, but it kind of gets to you after a while. It makes you begin to feel like you are stuck in a maze and there is no exit because you keep rehashing the same things. But TTR kept doggedly going forward, putting themselves out there over and over again.

They had the vision that Big Red had given them in their head, the push from him to keep moving forward because it was within reach. And they followed that idea, that vision in the hopes of one day coming to the finish line.

But nothing is forever and we had problems. Slowly, we watched the hard work that TTR had mostly pioneered on their own, boosted up by the voices of others, start to fall apart. We watched as divisions within our community began to rise and we started to realize that the vision we had had may not ever be achievable. We could never get out of the rut of 101s, we could never get out of the rut of constantly having to explain why racism/sexism/transphobia/homophobia/etc had no place in our religion, we could never move beyond the establishment of the same old shit we had already twice, thrice, quadruple, etc established.

It can tire out anyone. I didn’t get involved nearly as much as TTR did, but I saw the toll it took. I saw what it all was doing and maybe that’s why people were so shitty to them or maybe it was just their own jealousy that TTR is a good and honest person who can form sentences better than most. I don’t know. But it ate at them and one day, I kind of sat back and thought that they might implode.

I don’t think anyone is aware of just how hard they took it when the division within the Tumblr community happened. To them, it felt like a personal failing. It wasn’t. There are always going to be shitty people and sometimes, they are going to gather together with other shitty people and snatch up the young and impressionable to be taught to be just as shitty as the first round of shitty people. I think it’s human nature, honestly, but TTR was greatly upset by the break up of the vision that they had so carefully cultivated with Big Red.

I had given up already, no longer willing to be a part of the whole. I couldn’t bring myself to become a part of it when the things I needed to discuss were either ignored or I was talked down to about it. While TTR kept holding my hand as I thrashed and grew disenfranchised with my whole religious life, I pulled myself away and away and away. I boosted up their words, jumped in if I felt that I could help or assist, but I kept to myself. Maybe I was TTR’s last bastion of sanity amid the chaos and I pulled out of it all, unable to go on publicly.

They kept going on, maybe seeing the vision of boat paddling within their mind as they kept trying to push forward. But it ate away at them and I could see when they began to stop believing in that vision. I wasn’t surprised when they began posting original content less and I was even less surprised when their queue was just full of other peoples’ posts. They tried again to push themselves on but with everything else going on in their life, they found it hard, harder, hardest.

Maybe they’re at the point of giving up, or maybe they’ll come back. All I know is that I’ve watched as my friend has slowly been eaten alive by one thing and another. They have their issues; they’re not perfect. I don’t want anyone to assume that is what this post is about. This isn’t me starting a cult of personality. This is me saying that I can understand why they needed to break.

And this is me saying that it also kind of feels a little bit like the death of a vision we had all once wholeheartedly shared.

rotten

I can’t remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride, but something touched me deep inside the day the music died… – American Pie by Don McLean

The vision of the community that TTR had wasn’t just a cool hangout for kids to get together. I know it sounds like that was what it was. But we were all trying to actually form a community: a place where people could belong together based on their similar religious leanings, but could also form friendships and relationships and work together towards the common good of the community. That means being sounding boards for weirdness and being there for someone who is going through Some Shit.

I’m sure there are people that have come together because of what TTR had begun and are good friends today. They are people that can get together once a year in person or maybe do group ritual online together. Maybe they can talk about their problems and not worry that it’ll get spread around to smear their name, or feel confident with the advice they are given. TTR doesn’t have that; I am part of that failing, a part of that problem.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s just because we’re too old Kemetic fossil types (it’s a joke) and that’s why we sit back and kind of stare at what’s been going on in the wider community, unable to even begin to become a part of it again. But I think the damage may have been done with the wider division happening a few years back, and I think it has continued to be done because maybe the whispers that we’re not smart enough, capable enough, too embittered, or what have you has been listened to one too many times.

I look in my shrine room and wonder if I can handle that. I think I can because as I said above, my path was never really supposed to be community oriented. I was always supposed to go solitary, which helps because I’m getting into things that are just not discussed (sadly) within the Kemetic community, things that have little to do with Kemeticism as a whole, and more to do with personal religious shenanigans. I’ve always kind of known that I would be on the wayside, watching shit go down and maybe wishing I could be a part of it, but mostly knowing that I could not, should not, will not.

TTR on the other hand had always looked to the vision of the community, looking to call the place home. And that home has, basically, kicked them out. They created it, put the foundations up, and started working on all of the design space of the interior and exterior. They even started to decorate before they got tossed out on their ass on a place they had very lovingly tended to for years.

It is my sincere hope that one day this community will reach the potential that I know it can. We must do better about letting people slip through the cracks. We must do better at fostering ma’at.

We must do better.

As quoted above, TTR said in their post of farewell that the wider community needs to do better. They are right. We all need to do better. We need to be able to create the vision of what the community needs to be, police ourselves much better, pointing out the faults of the hateful and wrong, and be there for each other.

We need to do better.

We must do better.

 

The Sixth Hour.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

We have finally come to the hour when Ra and Osiris can unite as we approach the hour of midnight. The sixth hour is known as the “waterhole of those of the netherworld” as the hour is filled with the primeval waters of the Nun. This is the hour where the ba-soul of the Sungod, of Ra, is joined together with the corpse of Osiris and the light of the sun is rekindled. It is here, too, that Ra is reunited with both of his eyes.

The upper register depicts Osiris in an aspect of a couchant lion, called “Bull with Roaring Voice.” Above the lion, we see a set of eyes that are named the divine eye of Re. The text reads: “The Bull with roaring voice rejoices when Re rests upon his divine eye.” Behind the lion and the pair of divine eyes, we see Isis in her form of Isis-Tayt sitting upon a throne.

When the Ba of Re rests upon his divine eyes above the divine lion-bull, which is Osiris, it is like a union of the two divinities. In this very moment of the union of Re and Osiris, the divine eye of the sungod appears for the first time as a part of eyes. This pair is still very small but already seeing; it will appear again larger in the 11th hour. The Amduat describes at different places the theme of the appearance, protection, and restoration of the eyesight, or in other words the creation of consciousness.

Within the middle register, we see Djehuty in his baboon-headed form, offering himself off in his ibis form to a goddess. Within the goddess’s hands, she holds the two eyes of Re.

The myriad kings of Upper and Lower Egypt are addressed within this hour, within this register. This is the only time that they are mentioned within the Duat. The kings are shown in mummiform and must face their predecessors. “Just before the creation of the new light at the end of the middle register of this 6th hour, the Sungod addresses his ancestors. They are nourished and strengthened by it: ‘you are those who are content with the offerings which divine utterance has given to you.’ And they in turn are those who render homage o the Sungod on earth, and have punished A/pep.” [p 83, Abt & Hornung, Knowledge of the Afterlife: The Egyptian Amduat.]

Towards the end of the middle register, the corpse of the sun with a beetle above its head is depicted. It is protected by a multi-headed serpent. This is “the mysterious image of the netherworld, unknown and unseen”. The image is described as the body and flesh of Osiris with the beetle depicting the ba-soul of the Sungod, Ra. It is this image that depicts the reunion of the soul and body within this hour so that new life can grow and rise again.

In the very bottom register, multiple beings are depicted. Most interestingly are the many serpents towards the edge of the scene wielding knives as though to protect the Sungod from some future enemy that will come upon him on his journey forward.

The Book of Gates

Preceding the Sixth Hour, there is a depiction of the judgment hall shown. This is “the only depiction of the Judgment of the Dead in the Books of the Netherworld, and it is also distinguished by the use of cryptographic writing. As judge, Osiris sits enthroned on a stepped dais while the personified scale in front of him, unlike that in the Book of the Dead, displays empty pans. An Ennead of blessed, justified dead stand on the steps, and the enemies lying invisibly under their feet are consigned to the Place of Annihilation.” [p 62, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

The sixth hour depiction within this book is not unlike that seen within the Amduat. It is here, within this hour, that the reunification of the body of the Sungod and the ba-soul commences. “So that this critical event is not interfered with, the archfiend A/pep must be kept at a distance, a feat being accomplished by the gods holding forked poles in the upper register; from the serpent’s body rise the heads of people A/pep has swallowed and is now obliged to set free again.” [p 62, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

The Book of Caverns

Prior to the opening of this section, there is a long text that contains thirteen litanies. “One more, the goal of the sun god is to gaze on his corpse and effect the resurrection of Osiris-Imenrenef, “he whose name is hidden.’.” [p 89, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

The first scene in this section shows Anubis taking care of various corpses, which lie within their sarcophagi. Anubis is shown within the next scene as well, as he tends to the sun god within the god’s sarcophagus. Behind the sun god’s sarcophagus rests two more. In the third scene, there are two goddesses watching over the various forms of the sun god. The final scene shows Osiris-Orion stopping over a mound that holds the body of a bound and decapitated enemy.

The middle register starts with the image of a scarab beetle, which is pushing the sun disk out from between the two mysterious caverns of the West. These caverns contain Osiris and Ra. The text accompanying this section references the rebirth of the sun god. The final scene of this register depicts a threat to this rebirth: “represented as the great serpent encircling the solar beetle; the ‘two old and great gods in the Duat,’ shown in the two ovals see to it that the serpent is placed under a spell and cut into pieces. By way of contrast, the serpent inside the mound in the third scene seems to be a regenerating one, for Re emerges from the mound in the form of a ram’s head and tarries on the mound of Tatenen, which contains the tomb of this god of the depths of the earth.” [p 90, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

On the continuing journey forward, Ra meets first with two sarcophagi that contain falcon-headed deities, while the next scene shows headless gods awaiting restoration of their heads by the ability to speak thus into being by Ra. The lower scene shows, yet again, those being punished in the Place of Annihilation:

In the first scene, goddesses arms with knives “take care of” four supine beheaded figures whose heads are set in front of their feet along with the hearts that have been torn from their bodies; according to the caption, their bas and shadows are also punished. The second scene contains four bound female enemies guarded by two goddesses with jackals’ heads; Re has condemned these enemies “to the Place of Annihilation, from which there is no escape.” In the third scene, a god and a goddess guard four kneeling bound enemies whose heads have been cut off. In the last scene, enemies plunge headfirst into the depths, while Osiris, surrounded by the great serpent, arises from these depths, which are again the Place of Annihilation.

The Book of Night

The gateway into the sixth hour is simply named, The Lady of Life, thus highlighting the life-giving function of the upcoming hour. The night barque is guided forward by Horus on the Tree, “the capacity to manifest power, not least sexual power and movement, has returned to the bodies of the ‘image’ realm.” [p 128, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother.] This hour appears to be associated with the lungs.

The lowest register shows a woman between two men. Each being hovers over a mummy, which is lying on top of a lion bed. The imagery evokes the idea of the ba hovering over its own body. The accompanying texts reads: “The living Bas are sailing, the corpses are sailing in their places.” This imagery gives the Cliff’s Notes version of what this hour is about: the ba is back.

For it is the ba which enables a person to manifest feeling and desire outwardly towards others. Likewise, it is the ba which facilitates movement between heaven and earth.

Moreover, reference to the ‘sailing bas‘ suggests that wind, the breath of life so necessary for human existence, has reached these regions. Now the ba is able to move between heaven and earth. No longer partially bound as in the fifth hour, the night travelers can travel freely with the sun.

With the return of the ba, the heart is fully functional.

Beside the images of the sailing Bas, we see a group of three known as the “Wandering Ones.” They are shown bent over with their hair covering their faces, hands reached up towards their faces in the symbolic imagery of one in the midst of mourning. In front of these three wandering ones, we are shown three furnaces that have flames shooting forth. Within some of the scenes of this hours, bound enemies can be seen being burned.

Across from this scene, three more people in the same position as The Wandering Ones are shown. These three people may be known as the “Seizers”. Next to these three, we see three more people lying on their back with their hands upraised. These ones are known as “Those at the Limits”. As Roberts states regarding these seemingly oddly places scenes: “For these night travelers are passing through the flames of new birth, encountering the fiery destruction and heat from which new life arises.” [p 135-6, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother.]
Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts

The Sixth Month & The Sixth Hour.

A part of the reason why the previous few hours of the afterlife are so filled with chaos and pandemonium is because they’re preparing one for the moment when their ba returns. The ba itself doesn’t control or help keep the chaos under control, but being able to get through that type of nonsense without the ba part of your soul aids you later. I kind of liken it to meaning that you are a survivor, which means you can probably survive anything.

When I pictured it earlier this month, I thought about a human cardboard cutout being filled with the chaos and power of Niagara Falls. Not all of it will get inside and soak the cardboard cutout, but the bits that do only bolster it up. Of course, in reality, the cardboard cutout would probably disintegrate under the force of the falls, but if you forget about that, you can kind of see my point.

This hour, this month is about getting your power back and it also means that you’ve grown, you’ve truly begun the process to live again. Or, to rephrase, you had to go through some shit in order to learn how to live through some other shit.

The word of the month is:

You have to learn to adapt to what came before and in so doing, you have to then learn to adapt to what will come later.

The Sixth Month

I don’t know how many people have been on a cruise, but I have. The first few hours, you spend all of your time trying to not think about how there is no land beneath your feet and that if the ship were to sink, you would die. (Or maybe that was just me?) During that time, you are also trying to figure out how to walk because, while you may not be able to feel the swells of the water, your center of balance is all off while it tries to figure out how to motor around. I believe the phrase is “getting your sea legs“.

I was not on an extended cruise but a twelve hour one and one of the most jarring things I found when I got back to land was that the land wasn’t moving the way my body expected to after being on a cruise liner for twelve hours. I actually found myself getting sick to my stomach as we headed back home. I was lucky at the time that it was so late at night because I was also exhausted and I was able to sleep through a lot of it. I figured my inner ear was just trying to tell me that I had fucked up and I shouldn’t go on cruises ever again.

June felt a little like that. I was so used to the chaos from the previous few hours and I had learned to handle it in a way that made me feel like it was one of those forever changes. Things would never quiet down, nothing would ever stop. But things had either settled down because the roller coaster ride from the previous few months was over or things had settled down because I had learned to navigate the chaos. I still haven’t figure out which one it is.

Work seemed to slow down or become more bearable. I mentioned in my last post at the conclusion of May that I began to feel as if I had learned to navigate the chaos and that’s exactly what I felt was the case with work. I had managed to get through the days of pure unadulterated hell and survived. Now I was continuing the forward progression through all of that frenzy and it felt almost like I was actually able to captain the boat instead of just letting it go through the flow.

It’s possible that things were just a little bit easier. I could finally see the forest through the trees, maybe. I had little bits of spare time to do what I, as a supervisor, am actually supposed to do. It almost felt like I was accomplished. And for a single moment, a single second in time, I could see myself going back to the way things were before January, before we fired two people in rapid succession, back when I was moving into a different position that made me feel good about myself, good about my work again, and actually seemed to make me happy.

I was beginning to feel myself, feel my capabilities again, and I was enjoying it. No one else in the office was, but I felt like I could actually do what needed to be done. I had all the time in the world and I was meeting deadlines, I was able to hold my own, and I could feel smug with that personal power manifesting itself within me again.

Home life was a little up in the air, though. We spent a four-day weekend moving into our new home, which mostly meant that we shoved boxes into various areas (which may or may not have been the places we wanted them to eventually go) and most of our large furniture in the garage. I spent that first weekend trying to figure out where things were going to go and then asking the SO to move the heavy boxes into the rooms I wanted them.

We also spent that weekend trying to figure out how to get furniture upstairs. Houses built before today tend to have narrow stairways. I think the crowning achievement was when we had to actually remove an awning from our house and four people had to physically lift a multi-hundred pound couch up the back steps to get it into the house. The SO and I decided that we will never, ever get new living room furniture because that was hell and a half.

But beyond that, it was good. The SO’s cousin (who my son calls “uncle”) came back from Japan for a visit with his new wife. We hadn’t seen them in a long time and it was nice to be able to see them and celebrate their wedding. (They had a joint theme: Disney and Legend of Zelda.) We talked about the differences between American weddings and Japanese weddings and both of them marveled at how large our new home was in comparison to the homes in Japan.

The month wasn’t just organizing. The month wasn’t just trying to make sure that our new address is on all of our mail or that all of the utility accounts from our old place were paid off and closed. Some of it was sad too.

The day that my husband and I went into sign the paperwork about what our mortgage payment would be, I got the message that my last living grandparent had died. Shortly after the news, I saw a vulture on the side of the road and I cried on my way to the bank to sign the paperwork. I was a little dazed, trying to maneuver adulthood while I tried not to feel too weird at the idea that I no longer had any grandparents.

His funeral was in June, actually the same day as the husband’s cousin’s wedding party, and it was a beautiful reminder. As I said recently, I am a Strong People and I have this mistaken idea that Strong People Don’t Cry, but I did. As I listened to a pastor I had never met at the church I went to as a child talk about the beautiful things my grandfather had done, including the things he did for my dad when he was dying of AIDS in a time when people were terrified of the disease, I cried for the life of a man I wouldn’t ever see again.

The last time I saw him, he was happy and thrilled because most of the family was with him for Christmas. He was still spry and he was still laughing. He was playing with his great-grandchildren and he listened as I talked to him about my life. It sounds like he was very happy just before he passed and he knew his time had come. As he told everyone shortly before he died, he was ready to go home.

It was fitting almost that at the beginning of the halfway point of this year, I went to a funeral, which was then juxtaposed with a truly happy celebration of a wedding. It seemed like it was a reminder of what I was putting myself through this year, but also a subtle dig that things were far from over.

The Sixth Hour

The sixth hour is about the return of personal power in the form of the ba. It is a rekindling of that power, a jump start moment to the heart and the soul. Roberts goes into detail about the hour being the start of the “life-giving” realm and whenever I read that particular phrase, I kept going back to the idea that the hour was green.

In preparation for the hour, I put out green imagery on my altar table. I would go outside in my backyard, which is very, very green and feel the breeze upon my face as the sun rolled across the sky. I tried to connect with myself, connect with the purpose behind the hour, connect with my ba again after six months of not being connected at all.

But it was hard. Everything in my life has been a constant move forward and I found it hard to remember what I was supposed to be doing. I felt disconnected and weightless, unable to remember what I was supposed to be doing this year. Part of that was because my books were all in boxes, my altars were all in disarray, and I couldn’t remember how to write a fucking thing anymore.

At the heart of it all was the constant phrase, “you have your ba back; stop fucking around.” This is something I mentioned to TTR a few times as the month progressed like I was on the precipice of fucking everything up. I constantly felt like I was doing something wrong whenever I heard the phrase rolling through my mind.

Eventually, I kind of used it as a push point to propel myself forward. I found my books and began going back to write out the previous entries I had started and never finished. I moved outside of my comfort zone and celebrated Midsummer for the first time in… well, a very long time. I moved even further outside of that comfort zone by recognizing and acting on something that I was pretty sure a land spirit told me to do but in the dark of night, I wonder if I am making it up.

At the height of all of this, the phrase “you have your ba back” kept popping up constantly. I heard it in my dreams. I heard it at work. I heard it on my drive home. I heard it while I was scrolling through Instagram and looking at altar porn. It kept popping up and it was loud, demanding, forceful.

 

Conclusion

Roberts goes into great detail for this hour about the requirement of flame to jump start the renewal of life, the connection with one’s ba. I didn’t feel much like I was jumping into the fire, maybe because I was already within the smelting furnace and have been for months, but I could feel the heat behind the connection with my ba.

In My Heart, My Mother, Roberts associates the Book of Night with the Ancestor Ritual for Amenhotep I, which was translated by Sir Alan Gardiner. Roberts posits that the sixth hour of the night is associated with the part of the Ancestor Ritual that reinvigorates the heart and I can understand the correlation.

It’s felt a bit like my heart has been jump started. It’s not complete. Not total. I can feel little parts of myself that haven’t gotten the memo that my ba is back and that power should be coursing through every fiber of my being. Those pieces of myself seem to be slow to wake up, but I didn’t think that I would be able to get through this once and be ready to get going.

As I mentioned in a comment thread with TTR lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that healing is never complete. Doctors say otherwise: you’ll be able to move your ankle the way you used to once the bone has knitted itself back together. The occasional pains in my right ankle from that one time I fractured it in high school remind me that the ankle isn’t as perfect and whole as it once was. The reminder of that semi-forgotten injury crops up more and more now that I am older (and yes, of course when the weather changes). It’s my bone’s version of a scar, I think.

It’s the reminder that even after all of the work one must put into healing yourself after a fracture, the injury site is still there and you will never go back to 100%. You may not necessarily know that in your late teens and early twenties, but once you get into your mid-thirties and the phantom of arthritis starts to crop up in your head, you begin to remember that the bones knitted themselves back together once but they’re not as strong as they once were.

It’s the same, I think, when it comes to healing yourself from a mental health and your soul injuries and everything else in between. You can heal yourself and work on yourself and do what you need to do, but I don’t know if you can ever get back to the way you once were. You can emulate it maybe, but I am beginning to seriously think that you can only ever live in with the aftermath of the injury and that may mean that there will be scars of some sort no matter how hard you try.

 

Further Reading