Just Wanna Be Where the Sun Shines Down.

When I was 9, we moved to a place where we could be outside as long and as much as we wanted. I’ve written of that place before – and probably will do so again – but I can remember the giddiness of feeling free when we moved. Biking with friends until late into the evening, walking the sandy/rocky spit of land that jutted into the lake, and being deliciously surrounded by a natural world that had not been possible in the urban sprawl of my early childhood.

The sun was bright and hot in summer. It streamed through every window, highlighting the nooks and crannies of our house. It blinded me as I rode my bike down the neighborhood streets, dazzling me when it hit quartz in the sidewalks. It was weak but trying in the winter, still trying to highlight the corners of the house like it was searching for a secret. The sun bouncing of the snow caused snow glare every year but it was beautiful for that little while before snow turned to brown or yellow mush, filling the streets with grossness. I loved the sun.

Growing older, I hid from the sun. I moved my bedroom into the basement with two tiny windows that didn’t let in natural light. I wore dark clothes, hiding from the sun’s probing rays with sunglasses and long hair. I never went outside for long in summer, hating the heat that dark pavement trapped and released. The sun and I had a hate/hate relationship and the darkness I hid in only fed my depression. I preferred the dark and wanted to keep hidden from the sun in every way.

It’s funny how things have changed. The sun is with me every day. It shows me the wonder of the natural world and the wonder of my own home. Sometimes he speaks to me, telling me tales of beauty and heartache. And sometimes, he is merely silent as I wander around, lost and confused. But he is always there.

Make the Same Mistakes

The time change in March 2020 brought with it a seeming unreality. There was no way we were facing a pandemic like the flu of 1918. There was no way that this could be true, but the steady stream of the 24-hour news cycle seemed to say otherwise. Lockdown was on the horizon and all I could think was that Ra had shown back up at the worst possible time. How on earth could I honor him in any real way while being stuck inside all the time? He laughed when I asked him about it in a panic, as if to say the things we’ve been making together transcend location. He made me feel like a toddler and I pouted.

Eventually, I began going outside for extended periods of time. While I worked at my kitchen table, I would step onto the back porch and watch the sun slowly sail by me in the sky. I took calls outside and ran projects from the tiny, little deck behind my porch. I was working my job but I was also communing in a quiet, unobtrusive way with him. Sometimes, I swear he was calling out to me. Other times, it was like a deep ache that demanded I step outside.

The walks I started going on in the evenings added to the unreality of lockdown. No cars. One or two joggers socially distancing from me, or vice versa. A speed walker crossing the street to stay distant from me. But beneath all the surreal feelings of those evening walks was the heat of the sun in my hair and on my skin and the special playlist enticing me as I walked. I found so many places where Ra seemed to be staring back at me and I was happy to find him there. I needed that feeling of him nearby as the year continued to heap more bullshit down on everything and everyone.

I haven’t felt really hopeful in a long time. I feel like we’re all watching the end of the world with ennui. Maybe I’m not that wrong in that assessment. But when I stepped outside, earbuds in and music playing for Ra or whatever other god I was focused on via music, I could feel a certain dull flutter in my soul. It might have been the remnants of hope but it might have also been nothing more than the lies I sometimes tell myself; lies of a positive nature that cannot possibly be real.

Ra told me I should probably be focusing on myself. I told him that I was pretty self-focused at the moment. I had no idea what he meant and wouldn’t until Osiris showed back up.

Hard to Open Your Eyes

When you start to read about the afterlife, as a beginner, you get hyped up on the rebirth of the sun god. He heads to the underworld to be reborn from the body of Nut every night so that he may live again. But when you dig into it a little deeper, the rebirth cycle is couched a little bit more in terms of Ra needing to remerge with Wesir – who is encapsulated as the physical body of Ra in this instance – for that rebirth process to really take place.

I’ve joked over the years that when you find Ra, invariably you’ll find Wesir behind him and vice versa. It’s the underworld texts that really solidify that connection in a way that just writing or joking about it doesn’t adequately convey. The ties between them both are so apparent to me now that I don’t see one without feeling the other.

So, I wasn’t shocked when Osiris picked up the battle cry of the self and annoyed me into submission. It’s the only way my stubborn ass will do anything nowadays. He annoyed me so much and so completely that I was a shit and he was a shit back. But I eventually started to focus inward in a way that I hadn’t before. He was smug about it and I continued to be a shit about it.

When we got to the sticky parts, I ran away. I couldn’t look that deep anymore. I had taken a candle flame to the nooks and crannies of my soul and seen things I had always been happy to keep hidden. There was no prep for it either; it just happened. I broke down and felt like I was nothing more than a snowbank melting on the side of the road, falling in on myself a little more each day.

Today, I am a dirt streaked puddle at the corner of the road. Sticks and seeds and trash litter the puddle so completely now that I’m not sure where the waste ends and I begin.

Find a Place Where You Don’t Have to Hide

Wesir had warned me that the work I began for the Mysteries would continue beyond it. I knew that. I knew it going in and I knew it going out, but it was nice to know that he did not want me to stay as a half-formed snow/slush beast slowly melting on the side of the road. When I told him that, he laughed at the imagery but turned serious.

“You’re stubborn. You always have been. But you’re starting to see that, stubbornness be damned, it’s time to do what you have always put off. You have a very long road from here.”

Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night and cry a little. On those nights, I can feel him close by as if waiting for me to turn to him for comfort. I won’t until I’m ready for it at any rate. I’m not the kind of person that trusts or relies on others because just about everyone – god, human, whoever – has failed to meet me where I want them to. Part of that is my fault and I’ll admit it. But the fun thing about breaking yourself down is that you can see your faults finally; you just might not be able to figure out how to fix them yet.

I’ve often hidden myself from others. I don’t want anyone to know the real me because, deep down, I’m 98% sure the real me is a nightmare that should have been put down long ago. That 98% part of my surety is also pretty sure I have no redeeming qualities. That 98% of me is a fucking liar. And Wesir agrees she lies as easily as she can to keep the real me hidden and scared.

Baring your soul to the gods is a lot harder than most people would have people believe. The vulnerability that maybe was once common in the face of one’s gods seems to have been burned out of humanity by the constant fight and struggle of life. Or maybe that vulnerability has always been so hard to achieve and everyone who says otherwise is as much a fucking liar as the 98% of me that says I should have been put down years ago.

Mental health wise, I’m doing pretty shitty. But I’m not hiding behind a mask much anymore. Fuck it. This is me and yeah, I’m a jigsaw puzzle with a lot of pieces missing. I’m tired of wearing a customer service mask throughout my whole life because “some things are best kept hidden”. I’m not fucking hiding anymore.

Strip Away the Ugliness.

Ten moons ago, Osiris came to me as if in a dream. It felt so real as he stood before me, gloriously beautiful and full of rot. He said to me, “we need to speak upon the moon.” When I opened my mouth to give him my patented, what the fuck, he waved my protest away and said, “not now. Later; after the New Year. We’ll speak of the moon then. And nothing before then.”

This promise or threat proved a breaking point for others. They whispered the mysticism of the moon and asked me to join. But I declined and it was a fight. My promise or the longed-for threat was more important than the moment they wanted me to join in on their moon activities. Contrary to popular belief, my promises to the gods are more important to me than I may let on.

As the New Year came, the moon came into focus but nothing came of it and by then, eight months later, I had mostly forgotten about the moon and Osiris. I think he liked that; he murmured in my ear that it was nearly time to begin and I stared at him like a fucking idiot because I didn’t remember the threatened promise of lunar discussions or the fight with my friends that happened later. He laughed when I remembered.

I asked TTR about it. Who else to turn to when Osiris comes back around really? They told me that I should probably figure out what the moon means to me. I told them it’s a rock in the sky. I repeated this to Osiris who seemed unamused with this answer to the question. Almost guiltily, I googled about the moon and got way to many hits from Wiccans waxing poetic about the moon. I stopped googling it; full moon was coming anyway.

And then as I watched that globe in the sky start to get steadily larger, I was reminded of the almost erotic poetry that I would have cross my dash on Tumblr in the early days. The poems evoked so much raw emotion that I was often made breathless by it. But when I looked at the moon, I found nothing erotic or lovely. Merely a rock in the sky that was growing steadily larger.

It Doesn’t Mean Much

When I was very small, I thought the moon was an eye. It might have been God’s eye. It could have been the single eye of a Space Cyclops. Maybe it was just a Space Ogre who had his second eye stabbed out in battles past. I could picture the second eye covered by a matte black eyepatch with a scattering of stars across it. I liked this theory better than the science behind it. It was more to me than what the science teachers talked about anyway.

The Space Ogre or God took forever to wink down at me. A whole fucking month. I liked the idea of the creature whose eye the moon was living in a different wave of time. Where a wink down at me took 28 days to complete. It was just a second to them but a whole month for me. That image eventually disappeared but I can remember loving it for all it was worth when I was little.

Later on, during my first heady days of “fuck the patriarchy” without knowing that’s what that was, I decided it had never been a man in the moon. That didn’t make sense to me even then. The face in the moon seemed friendly and there was the kewpie doll mouth that seemed to suggest a smile if you looked at it long enough. Seemed more in keeping with a woman; they’re friendlier and less scary usually than men. Women would smile even just a hint of one while men made me uncomfortable.

No, I had decided back then; the person in the moon, the one who had its face peer down on me on full moon nights, was not a man at all. It was a woman and she could hide secrets like every other woman I knew. Maybe she was helping me to hide mine, or maybe they were someone else’s secrets. That’s why there was the hint of a smile when her face was full of pale white light. She was hinting at something that I’d never truly know the truth of.

It Doesn’t Mean Anything At All

With Osiris’s dour expression on my mind, I grabbed a book for about $10 that kept showing up everytime I would Google about the moon. When it came, I stared at the cover and kind of shook my head. I continued to shake my head when I read the introduction and skimmed a few pages ahead. This was probably not what we were looking for.

But Osiris seemed to disagree. I had the impression of someone shoving me towards the book, as though this new age drivel mixed with lunar science and magical practices was what was needed. But why? Simply because I refuse to do any real magical undertakings? Only because this has long since been a disappointment in every way to me so why fucking bother? He wasn’t saying and I was just annoyed.

I began compiling a list of lunar festivals for the new and full moons. I compared their names with the generally accepted beliefs that the new moon is for growth and the full moon is about realization. The festivals didn’t line up quite so well and I asked Osiris what the fuck was the point in this, but he didn’t answer because it’s still a little too early for him. So I’ve stewed on the answers and eventually lost the book in a mountain of other books that don’t interest my depression brain.

I refused to pick the book back up, but mostly found that the idea of reading didn’t interest me. (See above: depression brain.) Eventually I caved and pulled it back to the top of the TBR pile and then tossed it into my purse for reading in my off time. I was lying to myself. It’s been in my purse for the better part of a month, ignored. Osiris has been conspicuous only by his silence on the matter.

Sweet Surrender

I spent most of the first October moon cycle, staring up at the moon each night with a sort of confused wonder. When it didn’t speak to me as I kind of hoped it would, I would go back inside and ignore it. And as the next and final full moon of October rose high in the sky, I looked forward to my time with Osiris while simultaneously dreading it. The moon. The Mysteries. They were coming for me and I couldn’t hide from both for much longer.

When I had found courage, I pulled a deck of cards out for the first time since May and asked Osiris what he wanted me to focus on for The Mysteries. Was there an overarching theme, or a specific subset for me to be focused on? And he said, “you.” I didn’t throw the cards in a fit of rage, but I could have. Sometimes, I don’t actually give vent to my first impulses as much as I might want to.

And… oh. Didn’t that seem a little funny now? After the very personal conversation with TTR about matters directly related to, well, me? A conversation that ended with me picking up a book on their suggestion that both scares me and intrigues me to read? It could just be me projecting on Osiris, a misinterpretation of cards in conjunction with that conversation, but probably not.

I picked up that stupid moon book and read the next section. I had to stop when I got mid-chapter. It asked me a simple question that I had no answer for. My hands were shaking as I bookmarked the page and I threw the book back in my purse. That question was the heart of my conversation with TTR and Osiris’s direction for The Mysteries.  I could feel it pounding at me like a little moth’s wings when it’s been captured in a glass jar.

Be the One to Fall

I’ve approached The Mysteries in the past as a metaphor for Osiris. The days and festivals associated with it are, well, about him anyway. But as I turned the question of the moon book over in my mind and the book I bought over in my hands and replay my conversation with TTR over and over again, I began to see why I should take front and center.

I was told once that I am a house without much work put into it. That reading haunts me sometimes, but the Mambo wasn’t wrong. She knew what she was seeing with a surety that I could never have myself. And while I’ve come to realize the overall message – as harsh as it was to hear – has never really changed. A nice veneer is, well… nice. But the interior is where you live.

I don’t think my ideas for The Mysteries are wrong. Osiris hasn’t come swooping in to tell me to fuck off with my bullshit, so I’m pretty sure I’m on the right track here. The ideas are just recycled ones anyway. If it was important the first time, the second time means it’s no less important since it’s an establishment of tradition now. I’ll do it all with my usual “lol idfk what I’m doing” flare and it will either be exactly what he. Er. We need. Or it will be an abject failure that requires investigation and a deep post-mortem later.

In the interim, as I build up to the 14th of November for the start of The Mysteries, I’m looking at the answer Osiris gave me when I asked him what to focus on this year. And I’m trying to figure out how this will look beyond just The Mysteries. My ideas look, unsurprisingly, like self-care and shadow work. The comments from the peanut gallery are nonexistent, which I’m taking as tacit approval.

Here’s to a self-imposed exile of sorts, filled with joy and suffering, wonder and sorrow, pain and growth.

Sweet surrender is all that I have to give.

The Question.

 

One of the many little parts of my daily ritual includes the pulling of a daily card. I leave it out on the window sill beside my cupful of Ma’at to soak up the morning rays or the leaden skies that are forecast for the day. Sometimes, when I pull the card, I immediately understand it. It’s a reminder, a suggestion, and push in the right direction. Sometimes it begs me to slow down and to take care of myself. And sometimes it makes no sense whatsoever; it means nothing to me at the time. Whether it means something to me later is a matter of debate.

As part of this little ritual, I select a single deck to use for the month ahead. I prefer to use the same deck day-in and day-out for the full month because it helps me to understand decks that I may not use regularly and it also helps me to rotate my various decks. I have many, many types of oracle and Tarot cards and I can never use them all as much as I would like to.

This month of January I allowed my hands to float over my various decks until I pulled out a deck that I had been gifted with last year that I had side-eyed when I opened it but have found myself enjoying using: The Heart of the Faerie Oracle.

I know very little about the fae; it’s just not an area of interest to me. I love the posts about fae politics and culture and culture that go around Tumblr, but that’s about it. That’s why I didn’t understand why the deck was sent to me, but as I’ve used it over the last year, I’ve begun to understand the draw. Sometimes the cards are oblique, immaterial, confusing; sometimes it is like a punch in the gut.

Today’s pull was puzzling.

The candle is from CottageWicks and frigging amazing.

The guidebook had this to say about the card, The Question:

Intention / Dialogue / Answers

In Faerie, questions are very important. Questions, answers, and wishes, all of those things that help or hinder us on our journey are very much a part of our relationship with Faerie. “Who am I? What is your quest? Why have you come here, and what do you seek?” are questions often asked by the individuals you meet in Faerie. They don’t as often ask you who you are. It is more important for you to discover who they are.

It is important to know why you are traveling in Faerie and to be able to express that reason. You will be asked. When you cross the border into the otherworld, you should have a reason to be there. Are you a tourist, just looking around, hoping to send a postcard home? Are you on a quest, a journey of the spirit? Do you want knowledge? Experience of the otherworld? Are you looking for love? Are you searching for something that you have lost?

If you draw the Question in a reading, try to answer those questions for yourself. When you have answered, you can ask one of your own. What is that question, and of whom are you asking it? If you are clear about your quest (in Faerie and in life) and what you seek, you will then be able to ask the right questions and be ready to hear the answers.

This was all very nice and lovely, but it didn’t really explain why this card had come up this morning. I wrote in my Tarot Journal that I truly didn’t understand the purpose of all of this and figured that either I would eventually come to an understanding, or I wouldn’t. Sometimes I’m lucky and something pops up that allows me to connect the dots and other times, I’m left with a puzzled frown on my face, trying to understand what the cards are trying to say.

I was lucky that I was able to figure it out a bit after settling down to read through my WordPress Reader. I had a number of outstanding posts that I had been saving up for when I had a free moment and I had nothing to do for a bit while I waited for the world to wake up. The last post I had to read through was a post by someone I’ve known for years. I found myself at first uncomfortably interested and then visibly intrigued by what they had to say.

As I sat back, phone on my lap staring at the ceiling, I could understand what they had been going through. I, too, have watched as others have managed to bring to flesh their religious practice in a way that I cannot fathom. It is as if the language those people with fleshed out practices speak is so close to my own and yet, it is nothing like my language. I, too, have found myself envious and admiring of what those people have posted and wondered what that would look like for me.

I’ve known for a long time that the practice I’ve been kind-of dealing with hasn’t been enough. I knew it wasn’t enough four years ago, but I kept sticking to it because Kemeticism is what I knew and what I wanted. I can admit that it is still what I want; I want the relationships with the gods that I have and I suppose I’m amenable to exploring the relationships pushed upon me by such gods as Osiris and Ra. But I want flesh to cover the bones.

I want to be able to sink my hands into the dirt of my practice and feel it soak through my soul. I want to see it and smell it like a verdant garden, ripening eternally in spring-like splendor. I want to hear it and touch it. I want to know that it is there and it is made not only myself whole, but my life whole. I want to feel the ecstasy of release and the comfort of it all. I want.

I pulled my phone back up to my face and carefully typed a response to the post, “I’ve had similar issues myself. I can feel and see the bones but the flesh isn’t there. It’s been an ongoing issue for me for, well, a long time. Part of that is because I’ve felt very adrift lately.”

After leaving the comment, I put my phone down and stared at the ceiling some more. (This is actually something I do often when I’m lost in thought. I’m not sure that a ceiling has ever been able to answer questions, but it has been able to form the questions I was looking for.) The Question was there buried in the meat of my mind and it finally took form: “What would it feel like to have a fleshed out practice? What it would it look like to have something with tone and form and more than just tossing a dart at a dart board? How would I even do that?”

We don’t see this sort of stuff in Kemeticism; not really. The only person who really talked about it was TTR and they’re gone for the most part. I don’t doubt that there are Kemetics with something that is concrete and comfortable and livable, but if they’re out there, I haven’t seen them. Oh, I see people effect that persona and make it seem like that’s where they are, but I can see through the veneer. They’re no better off than I am.

When I compare what I do with what others have done, I see the difference. My practice and the practices of many other public Kemetics appear to be charcoal drawings. Others’ practices from other faiths look as if they have been shaded and painted and have a form that I can only marvel at. I want to know what that would be like for me, but alas.

Personally, I’m just cruising around, letting the flow of the world around me push and pull me wherever it decides I should go. That’s normal for me; I’m a go-with-the-flow kind of person and (contrary to popular misconceptions) I don’t like to cause a fuss. I just want things to be smooth, simple, easy, and ready for the taking. I’m just a little lazy that way.

But it doesn’t feel good. And as I’ve mentioned a time or six, it doesn’t seem to be working. As usual, I have to decide what’s best and where to go from here and I have to admit that fuck if I know. Fuck if I know.

So… well… This day started with a card pull; I should finish it with one.

The deck is the dual deck The Hidden Path & Well-Worn Path Deck which is a Raven Grimassi deck. I’ve had it since long before I learned how to better vet things and people in the pagan sphere.

I decided on this deck because it was always the one, back in those early 20-teens days that I could turn to and find a form to what I was looking for. It was the stop-gap when I felt like I was going off the rails. I needed to feel that foundation again; that feeling of knowing where I was going and what I was doing and using the very deck that steered me so well back then seemed to make the most sense.

I chose the ten-card spread called The Cauldron Spread from the book. The ten positions are listed below along with the cards I pulled for each:

  1. The Present Situation – Yule
  2. The Challenges Ahead – Ostara
  3. The Underlying Root – Tree in Summer
  4. The Querent’s Appearance in Relation to the Question – The Altar
  5. The Influencing Aspects – Faery Door
  6. Aspirations and Concerns – Wheel of the Year
  7. The Probable Course – Between the Worlds
  8. The Possible Alternative – Earth
  9. The Final Outcome – The Old Ones
  10. Transform the Outcome – Oath

I found it interesting that the card that represented my personification of this spread was The Altar. This card tends to mean a balance between the divine and yourself, which is the basis of one’s altar. The Altar is the direct interface, according to this deck anyway, between the divine and yourself. It is that physical connection that allows you to develop those relationships in many, many ways.

The reason I found this an interesting card for myself is that, no matter how many times I try to push it away, I keep coming back to that post from TTR, Ma’at Shines Through my Body and how it should relate to the utilization of one’s body as an altar-of-sorts for our gods, for our religion, and everything in between. Based on the card, I am a confluence of the physical and the divine.

The second most interesting card was the card, Between the Worlds. In effect, the card tells you that your vision isn’t clear and that in order to manifest what you want, you must have clarity of thought, clarity of vision, and cut out the distractions so that you can focus on that which you manifest.

The reason this was interesting is that it was low-key calling me out on my bullshit. I have a tendency of saying, “I will do this,” and then just not doing it. I did my Ritual365 last year, but I cut it back, cut it down, and didn’t bother to finish any of the entries I had originally intended on writing last year. Part of that is work and that nonsense, but I could have made more of an effort… which ties into that whole lazy thing I mentioned above.

And that is the crux of my issue, card reading or otherwise: I am a lazy creature. I do not want to do. I want it handed to me if it can be. That doesn’t mean that I won’t, it just means that I will put off until I cannot put it off any longer. Perhaps lazy isn’t the best word for it but that’s what I’ve always assumed it was. (That’s what all the adults told me when I was a kid. But it really goes hand-in-hand with the genetic heritage of sticking one’s head in the sand when big things happen, hoping that they will go away.)

To start, I suppose, I should solidify my vision. I should make a sort of vision board to give me clarity, to focus my desire in a specific arena that I want to flesh out first. But where? I’ve had so many ideas in the last year alone – reading subject matter that has little to do with Kemeticism but explores other avenues of religion so that I can try and figure out where I go from here – that I’m not quite sure which ideas make sense to include and which ones don’t.

I think I’ll just start with writing out the things that I want to include in my practice and see where that leads.

The River: Broken Pottery.

We descend upon the darkness and my breath is robbed. Before us, there is infinite blackness. It is inky and violent, soft and tender. The aching sweetness mingled with the heart-stopping fear is too much. I can feel a part of my shattering into the night and I am lost. I was lost the moment we came here, but he knew that would be the case. Without breath, without more than an instinctual need to move, I step forward. My steps are sure though I can see little beyond the brilliant pinpricks of star dust above us. It shimmers in my eyes and lights my veins on fire. The only way to make it quiet is to step ever forward into the gentle riverine whispers before me. I must quiet the storm in my body.

Weeks ago now, I began dreaming about Osiris. I was not pleased upon waking from that first dream to find imagery of that green-faced man in my head. I complained and whined about it. This was my fault, though, if the dreams had even a modicum of truth. I had decided it would be a good idea to break into Big O’s palace with some foolish intent on finding TTR, one of the few people whom I would like to meet in the unseen. My plan backfired, of course, because I was caught breaking and entering. I spent a few days having a staring contest with Big O, which seemed to only cause me more consternation. What the fuck had dream-me even been thinking?

A few days afterward, he brought me into the bowels of his palace. We passed through a door and into a landscape that I feel I have described poorly. The starkness of that landscape causes chills up and down my body. Just remembering the black sand beach, the barren rocks, and the scrub grass in shades of charcoal, brings me back to that moment. Before the two of us was a single swath of water, quiet in the stillness of this place. While my poetic endeavors would have people believe that I willingly and quietly went forward into this moment, anyone who actually knows me will understand that I was neither.

I was actually pretty pissed and made my feelings on the matter quite clear. I chose this moment for brashness but that was mostly because of my fear. Of course, I had read about a similar scene playing out so I knew what was coming and I knew what the end result would probably be. I also knew that I could go into the water willingly or I would get tossed in with a little less ceremony, a lot more hilarity (not mine, of course), and a lot more anger and sputtering (mine, of course).

I chose to do what I had been brought there to do willingly, but that hardly means that I was pleased with the overall idea.

With probing fingers, the darkness pushes me ever forward. I feel as though there is no choice in the moment, as though my will has been robbed of me. In a matter of course, it has been, but I also know that it will always come down to this. Eternity is a long time to play this game of cat and mouse; I am too tired to keep playing. The whispers of that river call out into my soul, whipping the storms in my veins into a frenzy. I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to yell. I want to not drown again. My fear is all around me, beating at my body like a bird’s wings but its intent is nothing more than harm and horror. I relive the moments of my death, that painful frightening death, as the water sucks greedily at my toes and feet. I don’t want to die.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t die.

Sometimes breaking something, even though it seems like the worst thing in the world, can be to our benefit. It’s a matter of discovering that benefit later. (Image by Joanna Bourne.)

I went down deep and let the water quiet the wildness within my veins. It seems to poke and prod at every hidden portion of myself, not just my physical body but the metaphysical body that houses the pieces of my soul. Water can be both healing and destructive, but healing and destruction can go hand-in-hand. Though the touch of the water was gentle in a way that I can’t fully describe, the end result I have to admit is that I came out of there broken.

Broken-er?

More broken?

I went in with my ib relatively intact. It was taped up, glued up, shot to hell with the mistakes of its fixing covered in white-wash. But the truth of the matter is that it was a mess. It wasn’t anything to be proud of. The river’s focus was to point that out to me.

As I lay in that water for what felt like an eternity, I ended up realizing that it was removing bits and pieces that had been added from other portions of myself, pieces of myself that had to be removed, cleaned, and destroyed in order to heal it. The removal of those pieces left me fractured and raging. I had been trying to build a tower out of pieces that didn’t actually fit together without any instructions. And now, I was being informed that I had to start all over.

It seems rather unfair.

I crawl from that watery embrace, coughing out the destruction in spades. The fire within my veins, the storm within my soul has softened its touch; it is a tender rain upon my insides. I fall onto my face and cry for it all. The destruction that had raged within my body had been destroyed or at least quieted. I could feel the tender bits of my heart quaking as it felt for the first time in centuries. I roll over and stare up at the brilliance of diamonds in the sky, wondering if it is possible to join them now. Though death has not taken me and I am nowhere near ready to be changed into stardust and memory sparkle, I am too defeated to do more than breathe.

I’m left wondering if I had a map to all of this and I somehow left it in my other pants. Or if not a map, then maybe I could get some form of instructions on where I’m supposed to go with this progression. I’ve been informed, more than once, that Big O speaks in wing dings though. This particular moment seems to more than qualify for that. Even looking at others’ experiences with their personal rivers and looking to the bits and pieces that I know about Big O, I keep coming back to that moment when the fire in my blood stirred to a boil before the heat was lowered to a simmer. I can remember feeling it as it lessened until I was left cold, alone, and gasping for breath. Everything points to a moment of rebirth.

The cost of rebirth is pretty high and no one asked if I was willing to pay the toll. I should be a little used to this turn of events; I seem to rarely get asked if I’m willing to pay for what’s being done. The problem with rebirth is that it means a bit of you – large bits or small bits – have to die. Death is a part of living; living is a part of dying. What I always expected was that death was a little more black-and-white, even though I constantly go on about shades of gray and even though I know consciously that this perception isn’t true. I thought death was the finality, not the beginning of eternity. This was just another way to die, if only a little calmer and maybe a little more relaxing than other ways.

The thing is that even though I’ve paid parts of the debt that the process has demanded, I don’t know if I can finish the payment plan. I’m being asked to craft my ib from start to finish. The parts that were removed were for me benefit, for the good of the entirety of me. This is about bigger picture, but the bigger picture isn’t community, isn’t interpersonal deity relationships, isn’t friendships, isn’t romances, but is about me. I was important enough as I blazed a trail of fire and brimstone behind me to be stopped, to be taken aside, and to be forced to look at the fact that what I had been doing to craft a representative ib was insufficient. Now I have to build a new one from scratch, using tried and tested pieces that haven’t been destroyed by my own inability.

The thing is… these hands look awfully weak to undertake such a task.

My demise was granted yesterday, I have returned today, I have gone forth in my own shape; I am tousled…; I am disheveled, having gone forth…– excerpts from Spell 179, The Book of Going Forth by Day translated by R.O. Faulkner

I think that if I keep telling myself what the end game is, then maybe I’ll be able to get through it. I tell myself, “I want to shine and sparkle, I want to roar with my power, and I want everyone to know who I am and not the person that they think I am supposed to be.” But I have to admit that there are some serious side effects to dying, even if it is only a little death. I haven’t quite mastered the side effects and I honestly don’t know if I care to try. I keep trying to point out why this is important, why I need to get going, and why it’s something that I need to do, but I’ll be honest: the gray cloud of my existence is kind of addicting. I’m not sure if I really want to remove myself from it at all.

But the real problem, the larger issue out of all of this is that I just don’t know how to build the ib, the soul, the person into reality and not the ephemeral dreams of smoke and mirrors. Without instructions or an idea, I don’t know if it’s even worth starting all that hard work.

The Astral is Balls.

I kind of feel like this is every experience I've ever had over there summed up in one 60s fabulous Spider Man meme.

I kind of feel like this is every experience I’ve ever had over there summed up in one 60s fabulous Spider Man meme.

Two years ago, I felt my mind start to shatter a little bit at a time. I couldn’t understand it at first – I didn’t recognize it for what it would inevitably turn into. The thing is that so few people actively talk about having their head cracked open. I mean, sure. I read TTR’s blog regularly and I’ve combed through almost every entry that has ever appeared about having a broke open head. But you know? I just figured I was the girl who sat on the sidelines and nodded at all the good parts, made commiserating noises at the bad parts, and made sarcastic remarks during the in between.

My head wasn’t supposed to crack open. I wanted to have a broke open head because, honestly, I didn’t recognize or realize what it would entail. Reading blog posts is fine and dandy, but it still doesn’t quite get across all the fucking bullshit, responsibility, and fuckery that comes along with having your head cracked open. It’s that whole “grass is always greener” syndrome. Just because the grass looks greener doesn’t mean it really is greener. Honestly, looking down, I have to say the grass looks decidedly dead and brown.

That’s the thing about perception though; the only one that matters right now is my own.

So you know, the months passed and the crack widened. I honestly thought it was a good thing and maybe, back then, it was a good thing. It started off as a steady trickle, you know? It’s kind of like how someone had turned on a faucet, but it was only just dribbling out. I would have random moments feeling like I was in two places at once or odd dreams that I couldn’t really explain away to subconscious mind bleed through. It all seemed cool.

As I began to realize what was happening to me, mostly through interacting with spirit workers and paying close attention to messages/dreams I was receiving from the netjeru, I worked hard on opening that little hole in my brain wider. The point was so that I could work appropriately and conscientiously on the things that needed to be done. For about three to six months, I did everything I was instructed to do as best I could – I mean, let’s face it, I’m no more for deadlines than Douglas Adams was – before I learned my first major lesson about having a broke open head:

The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.– Stephen King

What I learned as my head was broke open was that trust was a very precious gift and that it should never be willingly given, but earned. It doesn’t matter who it is that you trust, either. It doesn’t matter if it’s a best friend, a lover, a god, a demon, a spirit, a ghost, a transfigured family member, etc. It doesn’t matter who it is that you have provided that precious gift to unless they have proved themselves able and willing to protect your trust for the gift that it is.

You see, I went into the whole business of having a religion with the mindset that the gods can be trusted. I don’t really know where this mindset came from. It was just there one day when I was doing my thing. I trusted and I trusted foolishly, blindly.

But you know, now that I think about it, I have to admit that I am a blindly trusting fucking idiot. I always have been. I can look back down the years and see all of the little things that could have added up to me not getting hurt in relationships and friendships – things that I completely fucking ignored because I trusted the person not to hurt me – and I suppose you can guess what ended up happening. If not, I’ll give you a little hint: I got fucked over.

As if I hadn’t had it happen often enough with human relationships, I got to learn the lesson again with gods. I have to admit that it was pretty fucking jarring to get fucked over by a god. I mean, looking at the situation as objectively as I possibly can… I can admit that in the grand scheme of “you got fucked over,” this was pretty minor. But it opened my eyes enough to make things that much harder as the crack widened and yet more fuckery and woo came flowing on down the sluice way.

I can’t honestly say if the lesson stuck. Or maybe I just assumed that my gods wouldn’t fucking do that to me because, that god was just hanging around to get some shit done.

Sometimes, I really laugh at my own naïveté…

As the gates began to open more regularly and remain open for longer periods of time, I got more lessons. A lot of them were personal and painful. I don’t think I can fully explain to people how painful or even how personal. It isn’t just a matter of working on some things that have been sticking with me because of things from when I was a kid. Oh, no; it couldn’t be that easy in the slightest. The pain-filled lessons have had to span centuries and numerous lives until I was dizzy from it all. My second major lesson in all of this has been:

It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance. – Thomas Sowell

What I realized as I really started paying attention to the numerous lessons I was getting handed like some school child was that I didn’t know a fucking thing. Sure, I was well read and I could tease out tidbits and interpretations with the best of them. I could spend hours upon hours, combing through documents and books looking for the tiniest little thing that would help me leap forward a little further on this whole crazy fucking ride called life. But at the end of the day, with as much knowledge as I’ve gathered, I still don’t know shit.

I have realized that everything I had thought I had known about my religion, my path, my gods, my relationships, for fuck’s sake even my life was only a simple grain of sand in the desert of eternity. I had thought I had it figured out, mostly, but you know what? I didn’t have a damn thing figured out. I had blinders on and in order to really get to the nitty-gritty, I had to get those blinders ripped the hell off so I could truly see for the first time.

And what I saw was both beautiful and frightening.

I was transformed and remade and destroyed and put back together again. When that didn’t work out properly, I got to do it again. And when that way didn’t really work out, either, I had to do it again. When I got sick of doing that same old song and dance, I ended up being forced to do it against my fucking will because what I wanted didn’t have a damn thing to do with what that broke open head part of me needed. And I have had to keep transforming and changing everything I thought I had learned, everything I thought I knew and I have had to keep transforming myself with each new gush of that broke open head all just to incorporate yet more mind-boggling fuckery.

Sometimes, it’s almost like a euphoric, ecstatic moment where pain transcends into pleasure and then back again into pain. Sometimes, it’s almost like the darkest abyss filled with every frightening monster that hides in the dark, intent on destroying you utterly. In either case, you have to learn to deal with the shit going on around you while you feel like you’re ready to shatter for the millionth time into a thousand fucking pieces.

As that trickle turned into a steady gush, which in turn ended up as a waterfall with cascade effect like possibilities, I realized a lot of things about myself, my life, my path, my religion, my gods, my friendships, and everything in between. I’ve realized a million different details that were once thought impertinent really weren’t and the bits I thought were the most important have fallen to the wayside, completely forgotten. In the midst of that rubble, I learned the most important lesson of all:

Details create the bigger picture. – Sanford I. Weill

At the end of the day, all the harshness of this new reality has made me realize that the transience of the now is only outweighed by the “bigger picture.” I’ve talked about it, tagged it in posts, and commented on it here and there. The bigger picture is the end result of all of this. While I find it difficult to order myself and my life and my path and my personal relationships and the relationships I’ve begun with my gods in a manner that may, one day, benefit that bigger picture, I know that it is what all of this broke open head business is about.

Bigger picture.

Even just writing those two words can cause such a multitude of emotions within me that I cannot even begin to describe them all: horror, joy, terror, calm, pain, ecstasy, etc. Even just those six words cannot do justice to what it all is to describe it in any attempt at detail.

At the end of the day, even with all of that emotional capacity tapped out and felt in one form or another, I have to admit that I’m just bitter tits about it all. At the end of the day, I sit down and I have to admit to myself that while being a part of something bigger may be nice for some people, at the heart of it all, I’m a selfish fuckface and bigger picture can really piss me off.

It’s only been a little over a year though since I get hit face first with the brick wall of bigger picture and I hear tell from other people that the bitter tits might wear off. I don’t know if that’s true, but I can hope that’s the case. The bigger picture I see is viewed through a lens smeared with Vaseline, but I’m assured by the gods that it looks pretty nice. I guess so; I’ll just have to take their word for it.

Across the Universe

Across the Universe by onwatersedge via Flickr

I remember what it was like all those years ago, looking in upon what must have been a spectacular tea party when people talked about their godphones and their broke open heads. I can remember knowing that I just wanted to be like them. I guess the real lesson in all of this is that “looks can be deceiving.” Or maybe, better still, the real fucking lesson is “be careful what you wish for.” I got my wish and I honestly, truly have to wonder if it was all worth it.

Maybe one day I can look back at all of this fuckery and say, “it was totally worth it.” But I’ll admit to harboring a fear that when that “one day” comes a-knocking, I’ll never be able to say that it was worth it but that I’ve hated every fucking minute of it and I rue the day I asked for all of this. Sekhmet tells me I won’t hate on it forever. She says it’s a good thing, but I honestly can’t tell if she’s just trying to get me to stop bitching about it all or if she really means it.

Further Reading

  1. Astral Don’t Care by TTR
  2. I Am My Own Guide by TTR
  3. Devo Magix: Vision Questing by TTR
  4. Musings on Pain and Astral Travel by TTR
  5. A Good Horse by TTR
  6. For Everything There is a Learning Curve by TTR
  7. Before and After: A Comparison on Being God Bothered by TTR