The Propitiation of Sekhmet 2015: The Vigil.

July 24, 2015 – August 19, 2015

Everyone processes grief in their own way. I vary in how I go through the stages. Sometimes, I just sit around and let it eat away at me, picking the gristle off of my bones until I am picked clean. Other times, I put it to use in some way, forcing that feeling into constructive ways until I feel like I can take a few steps forward again instead of being stuck in permanent mourning.

The honest truth is that I am not good with grief. I don’t think I have ever been good at it, at all. Maybe it’s a learned behavior and I missed the classes. How I process the pain of something or someone who I have lost is probably not the healthiest way. I think that’s part of the reason why I sat around, dumbfounded by the depth of my feeling when I realized that I had lost Sekhmet.

I didn’t know how to process it.

I mean, I get that she’ll be back. This isn’t a tragedy; there’s good news on the horizon.

But in the heat of the moment, I could only look around and see the dullness that my life had become without her burning fire to attract either my ire or my joy. It was like I had been living the last seven years of our relationship with rose-tinted glasses (ha) that had suddenly fallen off and I was seeing that the world was actually shades of gray. It was a monotonous nothing stretching out like a chasm before me, looking to devour me whole.

Even the knowledge, the sure-fire bet that she was coming back was not enough.

All I could do was process the fact in automatic fashion that I was full of sorrow. All I could do was process the fact in robotic manner that I was empty inside. All I could do was process the fact with blank eyes and empty heart that I was nothing without her and that this nothingness, emptiness, aching was what I would become without her.

It was a painful lesson.

It was jarring and eye-opening.

It was something that I needed, like a swift kick in the pants.

But oh, how it hurt.

The first real day that I was processing what it was I was going through, I sat down in front of her altar. I sat there feeling dejected and lonely. It felt to me like the world could never understand what it was I was going through.

There were no words to even describe the level of my loss. There weren’t even words to properly categorize the depth of my emotions on the subject. I sat there, alone and lost, feeling like I was on that runaway train that’s seconds from exploding an entire town with no way off and no rescue in sight.

I dreamed that night:

I am sitting on the floor in front of her altar space. I have my knees up, hugged to my chest tightly. If I let go of them, I know that I will be lost forever. Without her, without this stark reminder in the death grip I keep on my knees, I know that I am nothing.

Behind me, there is a sea of light and it grows brighter. Perhaps, this is her returned to me? I turn my head slightly, moving the waterfall of my hair. The lights are soft and gentle lanterns, a sea of them across the space of her altar.

I woke up from it, knowing just what to do.

April 12 - Vigil Candles

Vigil Candles by Tim Wang

I was cruising through a bunch of old poetry the day that I woke up from that dream. I like to re-read classical stuff sometimes. It kind of hits me close to home and it reminds me of the days when I cared about poetry. (I still kind of care, but not as much.)

I wound up finding a poem by Walt Whitman that kind of seemed appropriate given the circumstances behind that dream. The poem is titled, “Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night.” While I was reading it, I felt like a certain part of the poem really sort of cemented what it was that I needed to achieve:

Long there and then in vigil I stood, dimly around me the battle-field spreading,
Vigil wondrous and vigil sweet there in the fragrant silent night,
But not a tear fell, not even a long-drawn sigh, long, long I gazed,
Then on the earth partially reclining sat by your side leaning my chin in my hands,
Passing sweet hours, immortal and mystic hours with you dearest comrade—not a tear, not a word,
Vigil of silence, love and death, vigil for you…

As I read and re-read that poem, I kind of felt a little bit like I had been granted a reprieve though briefly. It felt to me like that I was finally getting somewhere with all of this grief instead of just drowning in it. I recreated a moment in a time, a single second where I felt like I needed to guide her back to me with gentle light.

I still was drowning in my attempts to know what words to use. I kept getting drawn back into The Distant Goddess myth cycle, hoping for something. But the words were like ash upon my tongue. I stared into my notebook for just such things and found that the blank page seemed more appropriate than anything I could think to say.

I looked at the candles on my altar, the lantern lit with the hope that she would see it and find her way back to me. I was hoping that something would come, but I found myself more frustrated at the attempts to put into words what it was I was feeling, what it was I wanted. I lit the candles and I stared at them thoughtfully, unable to fully grasp that I wasn’t ready to write anything related to the depths of my feelings.

I just had to be.

I had to let the monumental shower of my grief fade itself into the work that I was doing, creating vigils each night to lure her back to me. But it wasn’t even a lure – not really. I wasn’t looking to cajole her back. I wasn’t looking to beg her to come back. I just wanted her to return to me, to take me into her arms and tell me that she was back and we were over this hump.

It felt like loneliness was my lot life – death, destruction, and depression in every aspect. I was embodying it as I sat there, waiting for a hint, a glimmer, a spark of recognition from her in some way. Something, anything, that would signal it was time for her to come home.

tumblr_nsw6ouzOL91rdlelro1_1280

I can’t smile
Now I live alone
And you’re so far away
Fire Maple Song
by Everclear

I feel destitute and bedraggled. This isn’t a new feeling for me by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve lived through grief before this moment, this week, these past few weeks. But with all of the changes I had been going through for the last two years as I morphed into the being that I am today, I will admit that this form of mourning is harder than I had imagined it would ever be.

No matter what lessons I had learned or who had done the teaching, I was not even a little bit prepared.

I was thinking to myself the other day that this is the real moment, the real change to everything. I could almost feel the burn as changes seeped into my pores, into my bones, into my ib, into my soul. Everything before now was just the preparation to go into the big haul. Everything before this moment, this week, these last few weeks was nothing but putting all of the ingredients together in the mixing bowl.

This particular mystery thing has been like turning the mixer on, forcing my bones and skin and internal organs into a puree that will eventually turn me into… something.

Last year, I thought that I had it all figured out. I thought that I was going to do something new and cool and crazy and modern and be innovative. I thought I was going places, doing something with my fucking life. But I had only seen it all as taking time off. I had looked at it only as another attempt to get away from Sekhmet and the constant barrage of changes that I just didn’t feel like I could handle.

Honestly, that wasn’t even a practice run.

It was nothing.

But, she’s coming back soon.

This hell is almost over.

I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing; I haven’t quite decided yet.

As much as I may hunger for her presence, as much as I may depend on her, I know that this is a fulcrum for the things to come. And as much as I want her, I miss her, I love her, I demand that she fucking return already, I know that things are coming. And I don’t know if I can be all that I’m supposed to be when those things get here.

I have to laugh at myself because if I don’t, I might cry.

I just don’t know if the end to this sorrow, this grief, this hell that I have been going through is a good thing or if it is something that I should dread.

The Propitiation of Sekhmet 2015: The Distant Goddess.

July 24, 2015 – August 19, 2015

One of the myths that I’ve only had a passing interest in was The Distant Goddess. I know that I’ve read it once or twice, but it was also a myth that seemed remote from me. Even though I have a relationship with Hetheru – the most often cited (though I have seen Tefnut and Mehit in this role as well) main protagonist of the myth cycle – it never seemed important to me on any level to pay much attention to it. I had the bare bones about it and I felt like that was sufficient.

The other day, I picked up The Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods by the Meeks and started going through it again. The last time I read it was close to 6 years ago, maybe more, and I have felt the need to get back to basics again lately. So, I parsed through the first chapter, highlighting sections that I found of interest. The most interesting section was the relation of The Distant Goddess myth with Sekhmet as the main character.

As I re-read the pertinent passage over and over again, I could see in my mind’s eye Sekhmet in an ancient land, licking her metaphorical wounds after having been bested by the other gods. I could see her sitting calmly on a savannah – a generic savannah – and waiting for them to beg her to come back to them. I could see her just doing what it is that a lioness on her own would do and I knew what it was, for just a moment, to truly know the distant goddess.

That night, I had a peculiar dream that left me feeling bereft when I awoke:

I am sitting on the floor with my back pressed against the table that serves as Sekhmet’s altar. I have my knees drawn up towards my chest. My head is down, my hair in my face. My body feels heavy.

It is dark and not just for the curtain of my hair. It is dark everywhere both inside and out. I can feel the darkness pounding through the house as I sit there, unable to move, unable to breath.

I am alone and without succor.

When I woke up from that dream, I felt like I had lost something so precious to me. I felt as if I had been forced to bury my child or my significant other. The depression that has been eating away at me for the last few months seemed to intensify and I felt truly alone.

It was at that moment that I truly realized how much I miss the presence of Sekhmet.

Bereft by William Harris Weatherhead

Bereft by William Harris Weatherhead, dated 1893

When I first decided to add Sekhmet into the Wep Ronpet celebrations, I didn’t really understand what it was I was trying to do. On a conscious level, I understood the framework of what I was building. I understood the bits about Mysteries and I kind of understood what the overall goal I was aiming to achieve was. But as I was re-reading The Distant Goddess in the Meeks book, I recognized that I didn’t know a fucking thing.

As I try to get back to what it was like last year, I realized that I was pounding through the experience as quickly as possible. I was in a rush to get the foundations laid so that she and I could disappear from one another’s lives for 5 weeks. Our relationship wasn’t very good at that point and I was still bucking like a bronco at the feel of her claws around my neck whenever I was able.

I was in too much of a hurry to do any real thinking on what I hoped to achieve as a long term goal. Truth be told, I don’t honestly think I had any long term goals in mind. I think I was just trying to escape from the insanity that had become my everything when it related to Sekhmet. I needed an out. I needed to get away. I just wanted to run away and hide from it all.

She let me go into this with the notion that this was a vacation, knowing full well that I would either grow up or I would fight against whatever she would tell me.

I don’t talk about it much but Sekhmet is willing to give us the rope that we need in order to figure things out on our own. The length varies depending on the circumstances. In my case, I had a very long, long rope and it took me a year to figure out what to do with it.

We may hate this as devotees of hers, wanting her to hold our hands to see us through even when we fight back against the hand holding. (Who said relationship building with the gods made any sense?)  We may not realize that the rope is there, but it always is. No matter how cloying her presence may feel in our lives or how distant she may be from us, the rope is always there. We can either use that rope to pull ourselves out of the pit or we can hang ourselves with it.

I chose a fantastic blend of both and she let me.

Shatter

Shatter by Kyle Thompson

Sekhmet has been gone now for two and a half weeks. I have two and a half more left to go before she returns.

I find myself haunting her altar space, trying to figure out how all of this relates to me, how I can handle the blank space deep within my ib that is empty. She has taken the best parts of me and left the dregs behind. I feel inferior and unable to cope with the blankness deep inside. Everything hurts again, a pain that I am both familiar and not familiar with. It’s almost like she gutted me when she left, working her brand of heka to keep me alive until she returns.

I keep looking around,  hoping that there is some road map that will teach me both how to handle her absence. I keep winding up on support group websites, reading about others’ grief. It’s not the same though. My grief is profound and heavy; it tears apart my bones. I feel it in the marrow, in the blood, in the pieces of me that her disappearance has crafted.

I can feel it like a drum beat just beneath my skin. It’s loudest at the temples of my head, an unending scream that would outlive Edvard Munch’s painting of the same name. The pounding in my head and the sorrow at her absence is enough to drive anyone crazy.

That’s the point, though, isn’t it? She is supposed to be distant from me; she is supposed to leave and to come back in her own time,  and I am supposed to sit here waiting, sitting vigil in her absence with my grief. My vigil is pain filled and harrowing. I feel like the rise of a new day is a miraculous moment that I must share with her, but she is gone. I feel like the simple fact that I breathed through yet another night with her still missing is a miracle, something to share with her, but again she is gone and I am alone.

I keep returning to The Distant Goddess myth, in the hopes that I can learn how to lure her back home. I found the pieces about Djehuty going out to her, tempting her to return, and I read the bits about Shu who did likewise. Neither piece fit into my haphazard diaspora, nothing worked into the puzzle that this self-made mystery is about.

How can I possibly lure her back to me? Do I trick her? Do I tell her the truth? Does the truth outweigh the sorrow infused in seven years of our love-hate relationship?

I need her. I am nothing but an automaton. I am lost without her. I can feel the moment of her leaving, the second that I broke into a thousand pieces, and I know that this isn’t enough to bring her back. I am alone and lost, hoping that one day she returns to me.

Intercalary Days 2015.

July 25, 2015 – July 29, 2015

Dua Wesir!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2The first day of the epagomenal days and we are celebrating the birth of Big O. The stoic green-faced guy who probably had too much LSD in the 70s. The backbone of ancient Egypt. The eldest child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Osiris.

I started off with a good, healthy meal of garlic tilapia filets, fresh baked Italian bread with butter, and sauteed zucchini. I hand picked all of the green peanut M&Ms out of the bag while simultaneously (no seriously, it was a simultaneous thing) setting up the bundle of flowers I purchased for this week.

I provided a glass of milk to finish off the healthier part of dinner and then added a healthy dose of rum into some diet Coke. (H-dubs seems very put out that I was cracking into “his” Cruzan for this. He’s going to be pretty upset when he realizes Big Red is getting some too.)

Now we’re all digesting our meal and O seems to be pointedly not talking to me – possibly because on top of embarrassingly and off-key singing the birthday song, I may have also sang (less off-key) to the tune of Eulogy by Tool, which he found not so amusing. (I found it fucking hilarious.) But it could also be because I bought fish for dinner.

Dua Heru-Wer!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2The second day of the epagomenal days and we are celebrating the birth of H-dubs. The quiet bird guy who everyone forgets about. The first Horus to fuck up Set’s day. The second child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Heru-Wer.

I started off with a good, healthy meal of Moroccan salad minus the chickpeas, cucumbers, and fresh bread with butter. Since I had planned ahead yesterday and sorted through all of the peanut M&Ms, I was able to toss all the blue ones into the bowl and then added 5 yellow ones.

I provided a glass of milk to finish off the healthier part of dinner and then added a healthy dose of rum into some diet Coke. He tried to get me to pour more than a single shot and seemed mildly put out that I have to work in the morning.

Now we’re having some quiet time, singing and dancing ridiculously to Timber by Pitbull featuring Kesha. I may have mentioned this once but this is like our song. He was harassing me while I was cooking dinner, demanding that I play it at least once while I celebrate the glory that is the Derpy Hawk Bird. I have played it twice now and there looks like a third time may be in the works (depending on my mood by that point).

Dua Set!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2Today is the third day of the epagomenal days [for me] and we are celebrating the birth of Big Red. The tackiest, gaudiest motherfucker ever to exist. The villain everyone loves to hate and hates to love (or vice versa). The third child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Set.

He got leftovers today because I didn’t have the necessary ingredients for tacos. He seems mildly irritated that I had cooked fresh meals for his brothers but he was getting H-dubs leftovers. I pointed out that his sisters were getting leftovers as well and he seemed mildly cheered by this fact. He got red M&Ms with a few brown ones mixed in and fresh bread with butter.

I provided a glass of milk to finish off the healthier part of dinner and then added some rum to some diet Coke. (The high pitched screaming coming from H-dubs, like he had been truly wounded or something, was amazing. I feel like this was almost as painful as the time Set ripped out his eye.)

When I went to revert dinner, Set was not having any of it. I had the distinct impression he was totally shoving the couscous in by the copious handful and told me, “nooooo,” with his disgusting mouth full. When I apologized for not having more cucumbers and for denying cooked zucchini, he pointed out that I had grapes in the fridge and I should get them.

Let me reiterate this: I had forgotten that I had bought grapes. He had scoped out my fridge and reminded me about the grapes. He got a kind of stingy clipping of grapes and Serious Look for combing through the contents of my refrigerator without permission.

He said the grapes are terrific.

Dua Aset!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2The epagomenal days [for me] and we are celebrating the birth of Big Ass…et. The mom who will hound your ass until you die if you don’t clean your room. The lady who turns into a bird to get it on with people whose bodies have been torn asunder. The fourth child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Aset.

She also received leftovers because I had absolutely no intention of putting myself out for her. We have had a lot of issues in the last year or something like that and I am not the forgive and forget type. But you know, neither is she. She got the bread and butter shtick and the yellow M&Ms. The only reason she got grapes was because I remembered I had them.

I provided a glass of milk and then added some vanilla vodka to diet Coke because the ladies get vanilla vodka. This seemed to be the only thing she was interested in from me and I left it out for as little as possible because I’m just as much an ass as she is.

Dua Nebthet!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2The fifth day of the epagomenal days [for me] and we are celebrating the birth of Nebthet. The one who lives in the shadow of her big sister. The woman who was married to Set and then helped her sister find her torn apart husband’s body parts. The fifth child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Nebthet.

I felt bad that she was getting leftovers like everyone else because I had actually intended on cooking. Well, that didn’t happen at all because it’s so bloody hot and I just couldn’t stomach the idea of having to turn on the oven (so I took my kid out for dinner). Nebthet just seemed happy she was getting some recognition for once. She also had bread and butter as well as grapes (why stop a good thing?)

We’re out of milk because I’m trash I didn’t stop for any on the way home so she only got  some vanilla vodka to diet Coke. She squealed with delight and I’m pretty sure she told me this is the best meal she’s had in a while. She gave me a sad boner to learn more about her.

The Propitiation of Sekhmet 2015.

July 24, 2015 – August 19, 2015

Last year, I created a holiday for myself in an effort to incorporate Sekhmet into the epagomenal days and the New Year. I had a real purpose to this: I wanted to add Sekhmet, who was the main reason I was on the path that I am, with the celebrations that I was undertaking in the name of netjeru that I don’t really have relationships with. It felt wrong to not include her, to be honest, so I made it my mission to do so.

I formed the basis and the actions that went with the celebration last year. I wasn’t thinking beyond the actual creation of this. I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like one day since I did, sort of, base it off of the mysteries that TTR celebrates for O every year. But I didn’t stop to think what that would mean in the future. I just needed to create some form of back bone and take it from there… at some point.

With a foundation created, I didn’t do anything further. Aside from wrapping her up in the black scarf I purchased specifically for this, I didn’t do any heka. I didn’t add any further rituals. I just left her closeted away for five weeks (yes, five weeks) and left it at that. At the time, I needed a break from everything and ended up running as far and as fast as I could after the wrapping of her icon was completed.

With all of the other things going on this year, I recognized that what I was aiming for last year wouldn’t be sufficient for me this year. Sekhmet had told me that I had things coming and that I would have rules to follow. I’m still parsing that bit out, but the gist is that I needed to focus more on the duties as her servant that she wants and less on the bare bones that I had crafted last year.

It’s a bit like that section in My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts. She discusses how Osiris is the foundation of all ancient Egypt. During a conversation with TTR on this subject, I mused about how our altars could be viewed as a continuation of this idea, as the backbone of O: each altar being a form of central focus, a foundation, if you will of our practices*. The actions of my ritual for Sekhmet prior to the epagomenal days and Wep Ronpet were another version of this backbone. I just needed to flesh it out.

* I’m not saying that altars are mandatory in order to practice Kemeticism. I was thinking more on the physical reminders of one’s practice, which an altar would be the largest in my opinion. There are many other things that can and do make up the backbone of one’s personal practice.

So, I decided that I needed to do more than just act: I needed to think and say, as well.

Since this was going to be messy, I had a crappy cloth to soak up as much excess oil as I could get. ... I still made a mess though.

Since this was going to be messy, I had a crappy cloth to soak up as much excess oil as I could get. … I still made a mess though.

I chose to use one of the spells I read in Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts by J.F. Borghouts. Much of the spells in here make me go, “what,” most especially since the ancient Egyptians really seemed fond of crocodile poop. But there are a few bits of heka that include items to prevent the netjeri of Sekhmet from inflicting harm on the person who is either performing the spell or the person who the spell is being done for during the End of the Year. There are 12 spells regarding the End of the Year in this book to choose from. I chose to work with spell number 13, which can be found on page 12.

As the book indicated:

“Words to be said over a piece of fine linen. These gods are to be drawn on it, and it is to be fitted with 12 knots. To offer to them bread, beer, and burning incense. To be applied to man’s throat. (A means0 to save a man [from] the plague (i3d.t) of the year; an enemy will have no power over him. A means to placate the gods in the retinue of Sekhmet and Thoth. Words to be said by a man from the last day the opening day of the year, the Wag-festival and at the daybreak of the Ernutet festival.”

I ended up choosing to use a silky nylon cord of which I have a large abundance of. I chose to use cordage in the color red. While the color red is associated with things like destruction and anger, it also has associations with strength, virility, and kingship. Since the color is most often associatied with Sekhmet, and being a devotee of hers, it occurred to me that choosing red cord would be an excellent way to utilize it’s negative aspects as well as its positive aspects against the netjeri that would be unleashed the next day. It would help to protect me when they are unleashed.

Since I didn’t know how much string I would need to include 12 knots, I decided to just try it out and see what happened. I had spare cords that I had cut for another purpose that I no longer recall. They were about 20″ long. I cut a third piece to the same length and tied the beast together.

It was still pretty covered in oil but it was no longer dripping everywhere at least.

It was still pretty covered in oil but it was no longer dripping everywhere at least.

I have three vials of various oils that someone made for me a long time ago. (I can’t even remember who or why, tbh.) One of them is a protective oil to keep evil away. So I figured that since I was using cordage, which doesn’t have space to create depictions of gods on it, I could use this oil as a replacement. I soaked the hell out of those three cords and then let it dry for a while.

I cut up a huge bowl of cucumbers and shared them with Sekhmet while I waited. When I felt like enough time had passed, I braided the three cords and found out that no matter how much time has passed, when it comes to oil being soaked into cordage, you’re still going to make a huge mess. I also discovered that one crappy white rag was insufficient and would up with oil all over my hands (again) and in small drips on the table.

When that was completed, I tied knots in the middle as evenly spaced as I could manage it and reformed the knots at the end so that they were evenly spaced as well. I only had enough space for 6 but I’m okay with that. I pulled over the book and whispered spell 13 from beginning to end over the cord. I plan on doing this every day through the epagomenal days and including on Wep Ronpet. I haven’t decided if I will keep this up through to the Wag-festival though.

The next step was to clean up the altar space and get Sekhmet situated.

It was a good afternoon and I felt like I had really accomplished things this time around.

It was a good afternoon and I felt like I had really accomplished things this time around.

I pulled everything off of the altar that I use to associate with her except for the bowlplace of truth, Professor in his aspect as Maurice the Netjeri, and a small bowl of offerings. This bowl of offerings included by ib pendant that I wear daily, the beautiful red bracelet that Stone Spiral made, and my personal devotion. I spoke words over that offering bowl regarding the depth of my devotion to my lady.

We spent a good portion of the rest of the day just resting. I had the blinds open to let in fresh sunlight and I napped as I watched the sun move across the sky. I listened to music that made me think of my relationship with Sekhmet. I also ended up finishing off the cucumbers with her, realizing that no matter how many you cut up, it’s probably never enough to fill you up.

Later that evening, I pulled out my little pile of offerings and set them together so that I could get started. I left them out for her to look over with the feather of ma’at amulet above them. This gesture was to remind myself that what I was always aiming to maintain ma’at and that what I did, by the virtue of all that I have read about the gods and how they were served in antiquity, was an extension of maintaining ma’at.

As I did last year, I bound them in a gold cloth that came with one of the amulets I have (I can’t recall if it was something that came with the feather or the ib pendant). I wrapped them up like a little package with some cord in a nice little bow. While I was doing this, I was doing my best heka on the fly. This may not have been very good because I stumbled a lot over my words, but spoken heka is not my best suit. (You want me to write it? I’m all over that, but if it’s spoken aloud and on the fly… Well.)

I pulled Sekhmet from her representative benben and carefully wrapped her in the black scarf. As I did so, I spoke yet more words discussing that process, the why and the how, and the reason that my power was as strong as any god’s. Once she was wrapped up, I wrapped the package that is Sekhmet in a white cord and murmured spell 13 back over the entire altar space.

As she went on her way with her package of my personalized offerings, I set up Professor in his aspect as Maurice the Netjeri to keep watch over her passage. I lit a cone of incense to bless the path that she walks with the sweet scents of sandalwood. I then placed my red cord of protection on the altar, a not-so-subtle reminder to the other netjeri that I am a hekau of Sekhmet and my demands will be obeyed.

Sekhmet is Pacified!

The French Defense.

When I hit my senior year in high school, I ended up taking a statistics class to fill in a block of time. I thought it wouldn’t be so bad if I tried it out; it wasn’t like I needed the credit or anything. While the class did talk about statistics and the proper methods to getting them and a whole bunch of other things that I’ve since forgotten, I will admit that the class spent a good portion of its time as a free period.

For the first few months, I mostly sat around and took studious notes when it was required, ignoring everyone else when the class went to free period. I spent much of my time either writing in my journal or watching the kids around me do amazing things with a chess board.

I can remember sitting on a desk while the teacher and one of his prized students in chess club did their brand of magic with the plastic pieces on the board. I had never bothered to learn how to play because I had never been introduced to it before then. But as I watched them move pieces, I realized that I wanted to learn.

Before too long, I found myself being taught to play.

It took two students about half of a class period (we had 85 minute class periods) to teach me the basics with the moves and what was allowed, what wasn’t allowed. And then we began to play.

Whenever we had free time, we would play. I’m not sure what it is about the game of chess that I find so mesmerizing or what it was that had me liking it so much. I do know that the first time I beat one of the chess club kids in my class, I felt like I was King Kong: I could take on the world.

Since high school, I have had very few moments to play chess. I did not own a chess board and had no reason to purchase one. My ex-husband thought he was a learned individual and I feel as though he played with some of his friends, but he never thought to ask me if I would like a game or six. It was probably for the best as he would have probably bested me and he was a bit of a sore winner.

My SO spent much time as a kid playing chess and was given a glass and crystal chess set one year. This is currently living in a dusty box on one of our bookcases. Once in a while, my SO, our son, and I will sit down and play rounds of chess. I always win against our son (who still doesn’t quite understand how the pieces move or why) and the SO almost always wins against me.

It’s fun.

I don’t truly know what I’m doing a lot of the time and I am mostly moving pieces based more on intuition than knowing how to beat somebody, but I enjoy myself.

Milner-Barry Gambit - Bletchley Park

The Milner-Barry Gambit (used against the French Defense) by Isofarro

I have often felt that my relationship with Sekhmet is best summed up in one of those complicated chess maneuvers that the big names use.

I was looking through random gambits the other day when I found the “French Defense.” I’ve heard it of it before and have probably employed it without realizing it. (I’m not huge on learning that stuff.) While I was watching videos of the French Defense at work, I couldn’t help but think of this in relation to how things have been with Sekhmet over the years…

The French Defense is employed by the black side of the board. There’s more to it than this, but this sum up is pretty sound, “The French Defense is a sharp counterattacking weapon against white’s first move [front and center]. From black’s first move, he looks to block the a2-g8 diagonal which is usually a big weakness for black and prepares to take control of the light squares in the center…”

The opening salvo is front and center with the white pieces. A single pawn is moved down, which is then answered by a counter pointed black pawn. This is done a second time. After the third move, the black pieces move to crowd the white in a diagonal pattern. Unless the appropriate gambit is employed, it is difficult to do much more than sit back and watch the inevitable check mate occur.

While I was watching videos of this pattern being employed, I couldn’t help but see myself in the white pieces of the chess board. I was young and naive once. I lived my relationship with Sekhmet like it was some grandiose, be-all, end-all to the world. I went blindly forward, right down the middle of the fucking board. Years later, I’ve looked up and I can’t help but notice that I’m surrounded on all sides by the black pieces and I can’t find a way out of the mess…

Obviously, I should have employed the Milner-Barry Gambit to get clear.

Instead, I chose to tread across the diagonal attacking front of black pieces, sneering up at her as she made her moves and then watching meekly as she took piece after piece.

There is little left to protect my king; this either ends in stalemate or in check: my decision either way.

Stars

Stars by M&M Studios

I have known for years what it was that Sekhmet has wanted from me. While I may not have been incredibly open regarding what those desires were, I have always known. I have also always fought against it; I was not pleased to discover that what I wanted and what she wanted were not the same. I did not like the idea that I had entered into a relationship with her under her preconceived notions. Seeming to sense this, she let it go and we danced our dance of not acknowledging the long game.

Last night, I sat down and did a full work up with everyone. I reached out to Heru-Wer; I sat with Hetheru; fuck, I even bothered to reach out to my akhu, which doesn’t occur very often anymore. It was all very informative (or not, as in the case of Heru-Wer who seems to passionately hate the idea of using divination in any context), but the most informative was my chat with Sekhmet. The message was simple, you drive the car now.

My initial response was, “the fuck is this,” followed quickly by maniacal laughter. For years, I’ve been pushing back against her in every possible way imaginable, hating the inevitability I sensed coming. It feels like the end game is finally upon us and in this, finally, she tells me that I can make the decisions. I can veer off the track or keep the race going.

It’s the inevitability I’ve been feeling regarding these changes that I have bucked against the hardest, but also the preconceived notions of others when added into the mix. I will admit that a large part of the reason I’ve been having so much angst regarding this is because of those notions from outsiders – I didn’t want to be what they think and see. I wanted to be me and I wanted my own spin on everything.

Well, I’ve done all of the bits about me.

I’ve put my own spin on everything.

As lazy and impious as things may seem over on this mystically bewildered turnpike, it gets results. It has managed to see me through a long, hard road of nothing but pain, blood, and fear. I’ve managed to come out of it with my sense of humor mostly intact, with my affinity towards the simple things, and I have still managed to formulate something that works. I know that things are changing and I know in what direction they are headed, but I can take a bit of pride in myself and the haul I’ve created in the interim.

The new journey is up to me, of course, because that’s how things are. They can lead you by the nose but when it comes to the big things, consent is more important, I think, than we realize. Sure, I’ve been led around and force-fed the answers up to now but it’s my turn to make an informed decision. The problem is that I’ve been led around so much and force-fed the answers for so long that I have to hesitate on whether or not the final result is based on what I actually want or is based on what she actually wants.

That’s the rub: I don’t know my own mind about it, or at least I didn’t last night.

I’ve slept on it and pondered on it a bit.

Last night, I thought that my instinct to just keep on keepin’ on was merely because I didn’t actually know what I wanted. But that’s not true. I do know what I want: even with that other stuff in the mix, what other people might see when I finally bother to discuss it openly, I can handle all of that. I’m a wiser, older person than I was when my head first got broke the fuck open and the shit began drowning me. I can be content with what she wants.

But that still doesn’t negate the idea that maybe, just maybe, I want to stay up late and eat candy for dinner… for just a little while before I buckle down to the tasks at hand.

Glitter of Sunlight Upon the Dew.

There is something about Hetheru, I think, that speaks out to the heart for many of us. She has this mysterious way about her that intrigues us, makes us fall a little in love maybe, and keeps us smitten as we delve ever deeper into our explorations of her. She can irritate and disgust us, of course, because that is part of what it is to be a living creature: it’s not all simply this or simply that, but shades of gray between the glittering points and the darkest night. But even the parts that can revolt me only add to the infatuation.

Maybe it’s a human thing to want to explore every facet of the gods or perhaps it is only my thing.

Inspiration

Inspiration (Image by DigiDi.)

When I see Hetheru crossing my dashboard in another one of those mythology meme posts, I am always struck by the use of gold and pretty things. The bodies that are chosen, the imagery that speaks out: it is all used perfectly to denote the feeling in my breast that whispers her name into the atmosphere.

To me, if I were to create one, I would use heady pinks and soft scents; I would choose glitter and diamonds to soak the landscape; I would choose the most regal images of women, both limber and graceful. She knows who she is and what she can be and there are no apologies for any of it. She is simply who she is and we can accept her for it or we can walk away.

I think that, above all else, inspires me. I want to be like that. I want to be able to explain to people looking at me that this is who I am and I have nothing to apologize for about who I may be. I am constantly thinking about how I should apologize for how I am not quite what other people expect of me and I want to stop feeling like I need to be what they see versus what I actually am.

Often, I will go to Google images and look at the various representations of Hetheru. Some of them are not part of the image I have of her in my mind, but others speak to me. When I see her carefully etched on a temple wall or see an artist’s depiction of her carefree wiles, I can be most overcome with my emotions. I view that static image of her for those moments and want to only embody what she is to me:

Unapologetic perfection.

soul on a sunbeam

An Offering of the Soul (Image by *sapa*.)

I often look to the arsenal of both historical and non-historically attested offerings, wondering what it was that I could dare to give her. She seems to require so much and I have so very little to give. The fruit and vegetables, the meats, the cool water, the red wine, the sweet smells, the mirror and makeup all seemed to be mocking me with their simplicity. Here were these things that I can provide and yet, they never seemed good enough.

I work under the assumption that if it worked well in antiquity then it should be good to go in this life. I have often decided that because it was done thousands upon thousands of times in the past, then it must still be good now. But I still feel as though it is not ever enough. I always feel like I am failing in some regard because there must be something more that I can give to her.

I wonder if this is why I add UPG offerings to the fold. Chocolate and soda and chips and newly minted scented oils and video games and television shows. I add all of these items in to what can be provided, maybe, hoping and wishing that this will feed the empty pit in my stomach that whispers that I am not good enough at this.

At the back of my mind is always a possibly strange thought, though:

Perhaps my simply being human is enough to offer in lieu of anything else.

My humanity is something that bothers me. Sometimes, I hate it. It is mortality and it is pain. It is horror and sorrow. It is love and joy. It is happiness and laughter. It is not static; it is ever-moving. It is this constant battle of tap dancing across the fine points of razor blades that I hate the most: how are humans expected to do this?

On other days, I am in love with the fact that I am human. It is the love I bear for the feel of my own skin and the whisper of wind across my cheek, the caress of sunshine on my face and the pounding lyrics of my music in my ears. It is watching my son learn something new and the smell of a new paperback mingling with all of the older paperbacks that grace my shelves.

The pounding hate of my existence is there – a sort of mercurial self-hate/poor self-esteem mixed in with the worry that I will never succeed at anything. The gentle love of my existence is there – a sort of hope that everything will work out in a way that will not cause too much pain.

The simplest offering and perhaps the greatest is giving to her the very thing that I despise and love most about myself: that I am here on this planet, a simple flailing human being who suffers from anxiety and depression, who finds both pain and joy in the minutiae of my existence.

Prayers

Prayers (Image by Xerones.)

I do not spend much of my time in prayer anymore. It’s almost as if I fear the idea of begging them to listen. I often think that whatever I may desire for myself or for my life will fall on deaf ears. What is the point in asking the gods for anything – no matter who the deity – if I cannot work to bring it into play, to assist their guiding hands in my life?

I could not bear the realization that I am nothing more than a tool for any of them.

I do not pray.

Prayers, to me, are the whispered hopes and dreams sent to the universe, tacked onto the name of a being who we feel should oversee our lives. But the thing about those prayers is that while they may require divine grease to get the wheels moving, we must also be seen to assist in the movement.

I am a being of inactivity. This is a byproduct of my depression and anxiety. I sit with my head in the sand and wait for the end of days before I do anything to see the reality I want realized. To send those hopes and dreams into the universe, knowing that I cannot do much more than that to help get movement, leads me to more inactivity. I cannot whisper into the universe, send out my requests to the gods – any god – and demand that they move things while I sit around in fear of the unknown.

Hetheru is unapologetic for who she is and one day, I would like to be this way. I would like to be able to look at someone and say that this is who I am, take it or leave it. If I could pray, if I could honestly send out what I desire into the world around me, I would wish to be that. I would wish to be like she. I would wish to be able to say to anyone looking at me that this is what they must have of me because this is all that I am.

I would pray to be the unapologetic perfection of my humanity and my divinity, painted across the sky in the shimmering colors of the universe.

On the Periphery.

My relationships with my gods used to fit in neatly confined spaces. I used to have a box for Sekhmet and a box for Hetheru. I added a box last year to include my relationship with Heru-Wer. They were all separate and unique things. While looking deeply into the history of Heru-Wer, I began to catch glimpses of both Sekhmet and Hetheru. It was like those moments when you see something in your peripheral vision. It’s there for a second and you’re so sure that it’s there that your heart starts pounding in double time, but when you look for real, it isn’t there.

Day 188: Gleaming Peripheral Glimpse

Like whispers ringing in one’s ears, it was never really there. It was only a split second occurrence. (Image by Snugg LePup.)

Consciously, I recognized that the gods probably had interactions outside of whatever bits and pieces of our relationships were there. I mean, they had been around a lot longer and there are so many myth cycles out there, detailing all of the things they have done before I came onto the scene. There are probably myth cycles lost to us, too, which detail further shenanigans between them all. I’ve found this within most of the epithets listed for my main deities in their LAGG entries: tantalizing glimpses of things that make me go, “what is this? why is this?” And of course, I am left knowing that I will probably have nothing concrete to say except to add some UPG to my lexicon of unverified personal gnosis.

However, I am one of those people who must define something concretely and it must be defined as its own thing. Suffice to say that I was quite comfortable with leaving the relationships of my gods within their own little niches in my life. Perhaps this was a byproduct of being such a devout hard polytheist for so long. I honestly cannot say, but when I found that glimpses and pokes from the sidelines were coming, seeming to herald a more soft polytheism than I had previously been comfortable with, I kind of shut it down for a while.

I didn’t want to see Hetheru and Heru-Wer together, or Sekhmet and Hetheru together, or Heru-Wer and Sekhmet together. I didn’t want to see the invisible webs that kept them bound by some indefinable force that worried me. Part of the reason I stayed as far away from the hawk-headed Heru deities is because of all of the squishiness going on with them: they’re all the same and yet all different; puzzling out their differences can be a career unto itself.

As I explored Heru-Wer more and more, I found bits and pieces of Sekhmet, which in turn, of course, led me back to bits and pieces of Hetheru. It’s not surprising: Hetheru’s very name means “mansion of Heru.” We know that just be speaking her name, either aloud or in our minds, we are paying homage to the connection between Hetheru and [one of the] Heru. In my brain, this is Heru-Wer – not as the seeming forgotten child of Nut and Geb, but as the child of Ra and Hetheru, and as with Heru-sa-Aset in later myth cycles, overtaking the realm and place of his father, Ra, to become the husband-son of Hetheru.

The longer that I spent time with that derpy hawk brain, I found Hetheru in the little places. It was like she was the cracks of gold between his broken pieces. She fitted together with him in a fluid sort of reality that I cannot even begin to say it or write. The Japanese practice of kintsugi comes to mind as a perfect visual representation. Hetheru was there in the in-between, healing the cracked parcels of Heru-Wer so that he could be the derpy hawk bird the Kemetic fandom knows and loves.

Cleaned up seams

To me, she was like kintsugi: the golden aura used to fix the pieces of this veteran back together. (Image by Pomax.)

I found that the bits of my relationship that were specifically about Heru-Wer began to envelop Hetheru without my asking. It was like, one moment, Heru-Wer and I were in a relationship and there we were, two meteors crossing the sky of my own inner rebirth. Then, in the distance, a third meteor streaks along with us and joins our group. Before I could even map it out in my mind, it was the three of us, like a triad of sorts, just hanging out and poking fun. Sekhmet was there, in the background, but less like the streaks of meteors and more like the golden sun that creates the gravity that we need to complete our path.

Their relationship affects me on so many levels. I see it as one of those like epic love stories that overwhelms the consciousness and creates a longing in the heart. Maybe their relationship isn’t necessarily like that, but I think it is. If you look at the Festival of the Beautiful Reunion and the journey that Hetheru undertakes to get back to Heru, then you can kind of see it as an epic love story. Just knowing that after 300-plus days of being apart that a four-day journey is all they need to be back together again for 2 weeks or thereabouts… yeah, maybe you can see what I’m talking about. A love story beyond the piece of Romeo and Juliet; that puts Lancelot and Guinevere to shame; something beyond the mere word “epic.”

I can feel it like the pulse point at my throat, wrapping itself around me and threading itself through my veins. It overwhelms me a lot of the time, to the point where I can only scream internally from the feels of it all. For someone who is not used to that much emotion in a single day, having it thrust upon me and unable to properly speak on it can be hell. But I muddle through with all of my rants and raves and internal screams, hoping that someday someone will understand what it feels like to have your veins on fire because of someone else’s love.

I have come to find that my relationship with Heru-Wer is nothing without Hetheru. Sure, we have our bits together where it is just the two of us. But there is always the overwhelming knowledge that the Lady of Dendera is there as well, a sort of background hum if she isn’t in the middle of us and then another limb to our conglomerate body when it is the three of us.

You know, there’s an epithet in the LAGG entry for Hetheru that I found amusing, “Who Brings Along Her Heru.” Only in my case, or I should say in our case, I think it’s a bit backwards. It wasn’t Hetheru who came to me and brought along her Heru. It was Heru-Wer who came to me and forged a bridge to renew the relationship that I had let fizzle to near nothingness with Hetheru. Really, the epithet should be: “Who Brings Along His Hetheru.”

Head Covering.

Years ago, I found out that there is an entire movement within various pagan hemispheres regarding head covering. I find the whole thing kind of fascinating and I spent a good deal of my time back then, reading through various pagan blogs about the phenomena. There were a lot of different reasons that pagans chose to cover their head and while I found it interesting, I knew it wasn’t for me. In my mind, I kind of associate covering one’s head with priest roles and since I am clearly of the laity brand of Kemeticism, it obviously wasn’t for me.

Flash forward to a few months ago and I got this overwhelming urge to just take a “peek” at what other Kemetics are doing as far as head covering. I wouldn’t say that there is a movement, per se, but there are a few who have taken on covering their heads. In some instances, it is a daily thing. In other instances, it is on festivals and holidays to a particular god. In still other cases, there are occasions of priestly duties being fulfilled that require [on the part of the personal practice of the devotee] the act of covering one’s head.

All very fascinating, of course, but what the fuck did this have to do with me?

After perusing through the blogs of people who do this sort of thing, I got a sort of like mini-whisper at the back of my mind: like wouldn’t it be kind of neat if you did this? I said very surely and very emphatically, “no.” I then took it upon myself to take a bandana into the bathroom with me and tied it over my head so that the ends were covered by my [very long] hair. I stared at myself and was completely freaked out by the fact that this was getting too close to that line in the sand, the one that said this stuff was a priesthood kind of thing and I’m not interested. I consequently ripped the damn bandana off, threw it across the room and yelled, “no.”

I know this sounds like me being a prat and to some extent, I am being one. The thing about it is that, to me, covering one’s head is more emphatically “priesthood” than I am willing to delve. I do a lot of things and fulfill a number of roles that can easily be perceived as priesthood – and I admit that – but the fact that I was taking head covering seriously was yet another step in the direction that frightens the hell out of me.

There does seem to have been some hair restrictions within the priesthood of ancient Egypt – shaving one’s body hair seems to have been a thing – and I’ve remarked that times have changed often enough. It stands to reason that instead of shaving one’s head in a Kemetic context, a devotee would have the push to cover their hair instead. For the most part, we don’t live in a place where having excess hair could cause overheating and we don’t live in a time when hygiene is a huge problem.

I got the push a few times to cover my head and each time, I very forcefully refused. “I am not interested in this. Please let’s come up with a level of compromise that both sides can be comfortable with.” Since my hair is so long, there are actually very few hair styles that work on a daily basis… but braiding helps to keep it out of my face. It also prevents the pain at the crown of my head if I wear my hair up too high for too long. (You may not realize it, but hair can get fairly heavy.)

I quailed and dithered about this for a while. Again, I was being put in a position to do something that seemed far more devotional than I am willing to commit to. Again, I recognize that I’m probably coming off as an ass and a whining baby. But you know what? I went into Kemeticism not with the idea of priesthood, but with the idea of creating a functional practice that I could hand down to others.

To me, being a priest is a sort of calling and there is a limit to who can and cannot become a priest. By jumping into a quasi-priesthood role, I felt as though I was moving away from what I had originally intended and into an area of dark, unexplored territory that I had firmly informed myself that I would never go into.

Never say never, I guess.

In the end, I decided to just bite the bullet. Braiding one’s hair isn’t so bad. So, I ended up moving forward with braiding my hair on a regular basis. “Okay,” I said to whomever was pushing me, “I will braid my hair 90% of the time when I leave the house. Is that acceptable?” The push to cover my head faded and I relaxed about it.

During my last services to Sekhmet, I got another kind of little push in the head covering department. I told her she could take a long leap off of a short pier. Actually, my phrasing was that I would go ahead and do that if she could scratch my back first. The feeling faded quickly enough and I went back to ignoring that whole shtick and everything it entailed. Until I got the hit this morning while I was getting ready for work.

constellations (or a childish imagination)

Like indelible ink, it is written upon my face and I cannot escape it. (Image by Ana Luìsa Pinto.)

All right, all right. I figured I could just give it a shot.

Aside from all of the remarks I got from various coworkers about the bandana wrapped around my head, I felt absolutely nothing different. Oh, that’s not true. I was annoyed that I was doing this. I was annoyed that I got a ton of comments from my coworkers (which range from being informed that I am channeling my inner Lucille Ball to reminding another about weekends spent cleaning the attic). I was annoyed that the damn bandana kept slipping back and I had to retie it repeatedly. But above all else, the most annoying bit was that I felt more relaxed and clear-headed than I have for weeks while at work.

Shit.

I am not comfortable with this, at all. The idea of wearing bandanas every day is kind of bothersome, never mind the comments or the fact that I don’t know how to prevent it from sliding back on my head. But even with the knowledge that I was quite comfortable and felt rather more relaxed than I have been lately, I have to ask myself if this is something that I can commit to. It’s all a jumbled mass in my mind but at the top of it all is the frantic high-pitched screams at the back of my mind because this isn’t how things were supposed to work out. I recognize that things may ease up considerably, stress wise, but I have to ask myself, am I really ready for this?

Logically, I should just go for it and get it over with.

Illogically, I am a gibbering idiot, screeching about how this isn’t fair.

The Beginning.

About a week ago, I was told that I needed to go back to the beginning in order to get some clarity on everything that has been going on lately. Mostly that divination was talking about more mundane matters, but it actually makes a lot of sense when looking through the lens of one’s personal religious shenanigans. Sometimes, looking back across the span of time is a good way in order to get a whole lot of perspective on what is currently infesting your life. So, I went back to the beginning…

Not that long after I gave in and officially embraced the idea of developing a relationship with Sekhmet, I began getting “Hetheru feels.” It was a little daunting and very worrisome for me. I wanted to be a one deity kind of gal; I didn’t want to have a multitude to be at the constant beck and call of. While one new deity doesn’t exactly equal to a “multitude,” it felt like if I added even one more to the mix, I was opening a door that wouldn’t be shut again. I wasn’t quite wrong but that is neither here nor there.

I was not interested in working with Hetheru.

Another part of the problem was that, to me, she embodied everything that I knew, deep down, I would never be. She is a deity about beauty, womanhood, sexuality, coquetry, sensuality, drinking, etc. All of the inherent qualities that we can think of when we hear the name “Hetheru” would come bouncing into my face, slapping me with my own inadequacies, and it worried me greatly that a deity like that would be interested in me.

You see, it made complete sense that Sekhmet was interested, but not Hetheru. Sekhmet’s interest wasn’t simply because I knew that we had done this song and dance before, but because I was a destructive, slow-burn kind of person. I felt like that was something that Sekhmet could both understood and respect having been in that place before. I didn’t see how this could possibly relate to Hetheru, at all. It didn’t make sense that Hetheru would be interested. My hard polytheism was showing, maybe, but the constant fear and worry I had at the idea of adding Hetheru into my personal practice was something that began eating me alive.

I quailed about this issue for a while before I gave in to temptation. There was just something about Hetheru that made me go, “okay. All right.” So, I purchased a statue and went looking around for things about Hetheru that would help us get jump started. And everything that I ended up finding about her only made my worries on the matter seem even more valid. All of the sex stuff was just getting in the way of everything else. I’m gray-ace though I didn’t realize that back then. (I hadn’t even heard of asexuality yet.) And I just kept wondering what in the world a sex goddess would want with someone with severe sexual hang ups?

Let me explain something: I thought I was broken back then. I just thought that I was severely wired backwards and incorrectly when it came to sex. I didn’t understand that there were people, like me, in the world who did not experience sexual attraction or, if they did, it was rarely. While that’s something that I recognize about myself today, it wasn’t an option then. As far as I was concerned, it just seemed incredibly strange that this sexual and sensual netjer would say, “yes, you are someone that I would like to have devoted to me.” I couldn’t understand it at all.

What was it about me that spoke to her in some indefinable way?

What was it about me that made her come to me in dreams and in divination and in random occurrences both on and off the Internet?

I began to suspect that, since I was “obviously” broken, then maybe that was the reason? At that time, it freaked me out and I thought perhaps that my freaking out was a good thing. So, I tried diligently to throw myself into a sort of loop where I worked on the things that were “broken.” The problem being that I wasn’t interested in working on those things and I had no business working on those things. Ace or not, I have had sex repulsion and that is due to sexual abuse. I thought that those elements to my sex repulsion were what I needed to work on in order to “not” be broken anymore and that was the point in Hetheru showing up.

This didn’t work out because, frankly, I wasn’t ready to look into all of that shadow work. I was not ready to even consider it. So, I ignored the sex stuff (possibly to my own detriment and possibly longer than I should have) and thought about what else Hetheru could embody. Well, she was a mom. She was a woman. She liked pretty things. She liked make up things. She liked feeling like a woman. Like, everything that makes you go, “yes, that’s a woman and she is beautiful and she loves who she is and what she looks like and that is fucking awesome” was everything that I associated with Hetheru.

So, I thought maybe I should try to be more like that?

But the thing that I have to admit to myself is that I’m not that kind of person. Make up is nice and clothes that make you feel good about yourself is okay, but I’m not really into it as much as other girls. I’ve never been that type of person. I hate putting on make up to go out somewhere and try to keep what I do wear, if I wear any, very basic. Clothes that are fitted don’t seem to fit me correctly. What it comes down to is that, basically, I am a T-shirt and jeans kind of gal. Give me a pair of sneakers over heels; give me a good book over watching You Tube videos about how to properly apply eyeliner.

It didn’t work out.

It made the things that I thought I should do that much worse.

And in the attemps to be what I thought she wanted me to be, I was causing serious issues in my relationship with her. I began to dread having her show up in dreams. I began to dread the idea of having her in my life. I began to hate her and everything about her. I just wanted her to go away and leave me alone. I packed up shop – I kept her statue and I gave her daily offerings when I finally got back into all of that, but to be perfectly frank, placing these sorts of “she wants you to be a better person; she wants you to be more like her” restrictions on our relationship wreaked not just havoc with my personal practice, but my relationship with Sekhmet as well.

It was wrong to do that.

I was looking through a very narrow lens and I wasn’t even remotely thinking that there could be a bigger picture to look for.

I was wrong.

I was very, very wrong.

I’ve gone back to the beginning and I’ve come to recognize a very real pattern here. I went into things with a preconceived notion, something that I’ve remarked previously is very dangerous and is generally not a good idea. But it’s something that I have only just realized, after being informed that I should go back to the beginning, just how dangerous it can be. My relationship with Hetheru has suffered because of those preconceived notions and it has only been in the last year, with all of the moving parts oil slicked and creaking forward, that I recognize the “bigger picture” bullshit that I’m tired of hearing about.

But there that bullshit is: bigger picture.

Looking back to the beginning, that rocky escarpment that I found myself perched upon when I tried what I thought was the point in our relationship… I have to say that it’s been a really long road. I don’t want to sound all “fate” about this, but I honestly have to ask myself if the rocky road I took on the path of our interactions wasn’t necessary in order to get me here. I went running towards Sekhmet, fleeing from the inescapable truths that I was not “good enough” for Hetheru, but kept Hetheru around anyway.

And in all the years since I first remember Hetheru appearing to me in a dream, I can see the little twists and turns that have brought me to today.

Look to the beginning, I was told, and I looked.

I found a scared newbie Kemetic, fighting through the brushes with uncertainty, poor self-esteem, and misunderstanding. That person was the person that Hetheru chose, maybe because she knew what I would end up being like one day. Or maybe it was all some predestined bunch of bullshit. In either case, I find myself awash in “Hetheru feels” again and you know what?

I’m ready for it.

 

The Lovers.

Alternate Title: Follow Your Ib

Three days ago, I had yet another in a long line of strange dreams. It’s practically par for the course. I think about 75% of my week is filled with strange dreams that don’t seem to fit with the standard dream lexicon I’ve built for myself. Deciphering these little shits has become almost a major focus in my life. It’s like, I feel as if I could succeed mightily if I could just figure out what one of the damn dreams meant or is supposed to mean. Ha.

For the most part, I try to parse out whatever meaning I possibly can during my ride into work. My mind is still fresh enough but not hyper focused enough on something else to present me with about 40 minutes of almost down time. So, I try to figure out anything I can and that’s where most of my “ah-ha” moments occur… though I will be honest that I have had a surprising limited number of “ah-ha” moments in recent months. In either case, the drive to work is both a relaxing pastime and a spurt of frustration, but no matter how much I assure myself that I will not think about what I dreamed about the night before, I invariably end up thinking about it.

While thinking about the self-cannibalism dream and trying like hell to remember what the fuck the ouroboros is supposed to stand for (still haven’t remembered and I can’t be bothered to look to be honest), I had a vision of an anatomical heart. Damn. I don’t even want to say “vision.” It wasn’t really a vision. It felt like more than that. There was a black space, which I’ve been in or seen before, and then in the center was a giant-as-fuck anatomical heart. It was just spinning slowly, like it was a coin that was slowing down after being spun really fast. It just kept rotating around and around until I finally heard a whisper, “Follow the heart.”

Well that made so much more sense!

In rapid succession, my thoughts went something like this:

My heart?

Their heart?

The SO’s heart?

The child’s heart?

A stranger’s heart?

The heart I ate?

The fractured heart that I have been working on?

The ring on my finger that is an anatomical heart?

If you’ve been paying any attention to my religious life lately, then you know that hearts are pretty important. Most of my relationship with Sekhmet can best be summed up with a picture of an ib. It seems to be a very big part of what’s been going on between us, never mind all of the recent shenanigans. But just because it’s a large part of my practice that doesn’t necessarily mean I fully understand the point behind seeing one in a dark head space and hearing the phrase, “follow the heart.”

I was quite confused.

I forgot about it because as much as I would like some damn answers, things have happened that required my attention. I went to work. I had things to do there. And then I came home and seethed inwardly for a while. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

The Lovers card from the Mary-El Tarot deck.

The Lovers card from the Mary-El Tarot deck.

This morning, I pulled my daily card because, eh why not. I honestly don’t know why I bother anymore because nine times out of ten, it just causes more arm flailing and makes it that much harder to figure out what the fuck is happening. I was totally unprepared for what I pulled because mostly I have been getting cards like Strength and Death. This morning, I got the Lovers.

I’m not a huge fan of this card, mostly because it’s telling me that a choice that I need to make and I need to make that choice based on my heart. I liked the card even less this morning since it only made me recall that moment in the car, when I could see darkness all around and there was a giant swirling fucking anatomical heart and the whispered words, “Follow the heart.”

Maybe not quite a “clue-by-four” but kind of appropriate all things considered.

The problem is that I don’t know what I’m supposed to be listening to or even what specifically in regards to.

The Tower from the Radiant Rider-Waite deck

The Tower from the Radiant Rider-Waite deck

There is just so much going on in my life recently. I have honestly felt beset on every side. I think I spend hours upon hours at a time, wishing and hoping that I could just run away. I feel less like I’m stuck between Scylla and Charybdis and more like I’ve been crushed flat by a thousand tons of rocks, wondering if someone will come over with a fireplace bellows and push me back into shape.

I think I’m more at the Tower than at the point where I need to follow my heart.

I know that there are a ton of things that I’ve been sitting on that I should do in order to benefit both myself and my family. However, I’m actually at a moment of complete stasis. I can’t move in one direction or another. I keep weighing the consequences of each. I know what my heart is telling me – I’ve always at least been able to hear it – but the idea of actually following through frightens me more than anything else.

What I see in my heart frightens the shit out of me because there are so many unknown possibilities and I just… I feel as though I cannot take that chance.

I understand, to a degree, why the need to follow one’s heart is important. I also understand, to a degree, why some people have made the best choices in this way. But I’m too on the hedge. I need to ensure that I truly am seeing all of the options from every angle. This has been a huge problem for me for a very long time, but after 32 years, I honestly don’t know if I could possibly quit now.

But perhaps that is the point in all of this: kick my ass into gear and get me paying attention to the deep part of myself that is talking, the part that needs to be heard and listened to. And if that is the case, then maybe more than “follow the heart” would be useful here. Perhaps something that tells me how to get over the heart-crushing, body-paralyzing anxiety would be a good idea.

The World from the Wild Unknown deck

The World from the Wild Unknown deck

I think what worries me the most about all of this is the same old shtick: I know the end result or at least what the end result is supposed to be. The thing is that I just don’t know how in the fuck I’m supposed to go about it because it’s not just walking through the jungle without a map, but also how to break through my own personal failings or, maybe not failings, but like the programming I’ve been built with.

If I fail at this, it’s not just me that pays the price. I’ve always gone into things under the impression that others would pay for my mistakes. But now, it’s actually true. I have a family to consider. I have to take care of them and their needs throughout all of this. In some instances, I know full well what my heart, my ib, is telling me but I just don’t see how I can take that chance with two people who trust me the way that they do in the mix.

“But Sat, just trust in the gods! Have faith!”

The problem there is that I’ve done that. I have absolutely been there and done that; I got shot with the T-shirt cannon for fuck’s sake. And I’m sorry, but I can’t just blindly follow. I need more than just, “do the thing,” to get my ass in gear. I need a huge neon sign with flashing lights and hymns praising my beauty. I need to my smashed in the face with a piece of luggage falling from the sky before I can even consider the idea of trusting them to that level again.

I think I get the point but I just can’t get with the program on a faint glimmer of possibilities.