The Foundation. 

It’s been nearly a year since I was told that I had built myself a solid foundation but that I had stopped working when I reached the interior. During that conversation so many months ago now, I was told that the foundation for the metaphor building that I am was solid and strong. I just had to continue that trend when I continued building the rest of the house.

The kind woman who told me all this wasn’t the only one who remarked on the foundation. She was just the only one who said it to my face.

house foundation long abandoned

“Home can be anywhere, for it is a part of one’s self.” – quote from The Butlerian Jihad by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

During many divination interludes within the last year, my cards have mentioned “foundation” in some context or another. Every time my cards have brought it up, I assumed that the metaphor was in the same vein as the one used by the nice woman across the state. Too often though, the context didn’t make complete sense to me in relation to the overall reading.

What foundation was so strong? What truly made up this alleged foundation of mine? Why are we so heavily focused on this? Is it simply because someone mentioned it heavily in a private reading done almost a year ago? It seemed a little too odd for it come up this often and for it to not mean Something. It was just a matter of figuring out what that Something was.

Whenever “foundation” would come up in a reading, I usually focused on the traditional image of a foundation for a house, before the rest of the house has been built. Around where I live, they will typically use a concrete base and reinforced concrete blocks to form the base of a house in the shape the plans call for. We have basements here, which form part of the foundation as well, hiding away family mementos and washing machines when a family moves in. That was the image that came to mind when my readings would go off on these tangents.

As the cards came up more and more often, leaving me frustrated with the constant reoccurring yet seemingly oblique message, I couldn’t help but think of that phrase about strong foundations.

People will remark that a house may be in bad shape, but that so long as it has a solid foundation, everything will be okay. From what I’ve been told on the subject of house rehab, this basically means that while the house itself may need an extraordinary amount of work, the very base of the house won’t need work done at all. It’s still solid enough, no matter what was left undone upstairs, to withstand the test of time.

I couldn’t be sure if this was really what all of these readings were about, or even if that was the basis of the message from last December. Was it something as simple as a metaphor? Or was there more to it than all of that? Whenever I asked for clarification, the readings grew hazier than they had already been and I got frustrated more often than not.

What was the point in having this form of communication what the gods, the spirits, the universe, whatever, if it wasn’t going to explain what pet peeve it was on about?

Sometimes, you just want some straight answers when everything’s gone to hell.

A Firm Foundation

“Endurance. Belief. Patience. Hope. These are the key words of our existence.” – quote from The Machine Crusade by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Not that long ago, I pulled out one of my lesser used decks. This is a deck that I tend to use only for things related to a general spiritual check in. When I pulled out the deck, I was more focused on looking to see what my future would look like since things had, well, strayed a bit in the last few months.

In about August of this year, I felt like everything had just gone to complete shit. I still felt my gods, but because of all of the other things going on related to the stagnation, I was angry and frustrated. I told my gods that I couldn’t do this anymore, that I was running ragged with their needs and my needs and I couldn’t figure out a good way to work it all out.

So, I made up my mind for ill or good. I walked away from my daily offerings, from my altars, and kind of just spent my time winging it. In effect, I did nothing but sit quietly beneath altar spaces and stare moodily at my fingers. Then my gods disappeared and well. It occurred to me that this was probably all related in some form or another.

After nearly two months of doing nothing but languishing in a sort of dark haze, I finally pulled out that spiritual check in deck, thinking about what things are going to look like with my gods in the future. I’ve sort of come to a quasi-plan as to how to proceed in breaking through the lethargy. I wanted to at least get some good feedback as to what I could expect, if nothing else.

What an odd coincidence when one of the “foundation” cards of one’s spiritual practice appeared front and center.

In this particular deck, that card is heralded by an image of an altar. And in fact, that is exactly what the card is listed as, “Altar.” Looking at the image of the card, I glanced at the dusty altars that I had been neglecting for two months. I might have in fact felt some guilt. I didn’t have to read the accompanying text to know what this card meant. It all kind of clicked right then and I wouldn’t even remember the rest of the reading if I hadn’t written it all down for later review.

Here it was.

Here was my foundation.

This was probably what the nice lady across the state meant. And this was most likely what all of those little foundation pings that I had been frustrated with were talking about.

I had finally gotten my straight answer, at least.

DSC_3874

“When others place impossible expectations on a man, he must redefine his goals, and forge his own path. That way at least someone is satisfied.” – quote from The Battle of Corrin by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Looking back over the last year, I can see where this makes sense. In fact, I can even understand to an extent what I was told in December.

Even at the worst of it all, it wasn’t until I stopped tending my altars, until I stopped giving offerings, until I stopped thinking about them in some small way every day when everything felt completely insurmountable. It wasn’t until I stopped all of that with no intention of going back did my gods disappear. It wasn’t until I was spending all of my mornings in a sort of fog with no seeming routine because an integral aspect of my morning routine had been cut from the cloth did I start to feel as though I was truly losing a battle that I could never, ever win.

I don’t know what it is about the stability of tending the altar, about giving the offerings that really helped here. Maybe I’m just one of those physical kind of people who needs that physical reminder and the act of maintaining that physical reminder that keeps things balanced and stable. Or maybe it’s just one of those things that gets caught in your head, a feeling you can’t shake or whatever, and I believe it so heartily that it is in fact true.

Whatever the case, it is true. When I wasn’t tending to those things, I felt like everything was bullshit. When I started back up again, I began to feel a little less like everything was bullshit. Everything isn’t perfect and maybe things are still going to suck for a while yet, but it doesn’t feel like the battle is a lost cause anymore.

Hindsight is 20/20 of course and now, I feel a bit of a fool for not realizing all of this before now.

But maybe it was necessary for me to stop tending the foundations, ensuring that they are strong and maintaining them, for me to see it properly. There’s always the possibility that this isn’t about hindsight in so much as a necessary learning stemming from a necessary, but recoverable loss.

Light Up the Sky.

When I first started exploring Kemeticism, one of the first points on my list of Things Sat Must See To Immediately was to get a symbol of my faith to wear every day. I can remember sitting on the message board over at tC, responding to threads and reading all of the More Knowledgeable Kemetics’ posts while simultaneously surfing the Internet until I found a piece of jewelry that I felt was most appropriate a reflection of both who I am as a person and what my faith was probably going to look like… eventually.

I honestly don’t know why I felt that this was as important as it was. For years, I had been flummoxed by the phenomena as I came across it.

During the years that I was a professed Methodist, I wore no symbol. The closest “symbol” I had was a Bible that my daddy had gotten from the same Methodist church we were attending and that symbolized not the religion, but the love I bore him. Aside from that, I did not give much thought to physical representations of faith. The idea of needing something like that seemed, well, weird to me. Why did you need something on your person or in your hand to maintain your faith? Or to even remember what your faith was supposed to be about?

It just didn’t make sense to me.

I honestly think that my confusion over the desire of people to have crucifixes and medals and dirt from the Holy Land and tripartite moons and everything else stemmed merely from the fact that I had no belief. Or, perhaps not belief, but faith. It didn’t move me to tears to listen to sermons or to go to prayer sessions. I was moved more often by a personal anecdote relating to one’s faith than I was anything else. But the emotions those anecdotes created had little to do with my faith and more to do with the fact that I often find others’ expressions of faith beautiful. So, I think the bafflement I spent in those early years wasn’t anything I was doing wrong, just a mere inability to fully understand.

Besides, sometimes a lesson isn’t apparent until the plan is ready to unfold.

So, of course, as I sat there looking for the perfect symbol out there for me, I couldn’t help but note the irony of what I was doing. Had I not spent much of my life confused by the mere idea?

I think though that because I knew lots of people who had symbols of their faith on their person at any given time, it seemed like a good idea to mimic. They wore their symbols around their necks, on their fingers, around their wrists, and/or permanently affixed to the flesh of their bodies. Their symbols were this sort of lantern or beacon to other people of like faith that they were similar. And though I couldn’t have explained any of this at the time, I wanted the same thing.

As a newbie, I was starry-eyed at the prospect of buying supplies and it is possible that this also went into the idea of needing a symbol of my faith. Unfortunately, or otherwise, the decision making process for that symbol was not made easy. The typical Eye of Horus or Eye of Ra was boring to me. I didn’t want a pyramid and most of the ankhs I found were thin and did not interest me.

I needed something robust.

I needed something shiny.

I needed, well, something.

 

And I can see you starting to break. I’ll keep you alive if you show me the way forever – and ever. – Give Me a Sign by Breaking Benjamin

I wore the ankh every day after receiving it. The chains that held it changed out over time, but the one integral point that I made sure I never left the house without was the oversized ankh that comfortably fit in the palm of my hand. I’m sure people who saw it sitting around my neck, or later when the chain was oversized and left the ankh resting near my navel for heka purposes, assumed I was some emo/goth holdover who hadn’t quite given up on all the trappings. But I honestly didn’t care because that ankh was something that focused me.

With a certain sort of amusement, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was what other people felt about the symbols of their faith? Was it so integral a piece that to walk around without it was to feel like half a person? Was it so much a necessity for their peace of mind that they couldn’t go anywhere without it? Maybe that’s the case for some of the people who wear the symbols. It’s probably not the same for everyone.

I was devastated when my ankh broke the first time. I began to worry that I had done something to anger my gods, that I had done something to accidentally waltz off the path of ma’at. I pulled a hundred thousand cards and asked my friends for what they thought about it. I came to realize that I was overreacting. It was at that moment that I realized how integral the pendant had become in the time I had been wearing it.

I hadn’t realize how important the piece of jewelry was for a very long time prior to that point in my life. It was just something that I wore. I made sure that it was around my neck when I left the house. If I happened to step outside or maybe got down the street and forgot to put it on, I turned around. I couldn’t have explained it to anyone to be honest. I couldn’t live without that ankh on my person the second I stepped out of my inner sanctum, out of my home. Without it, I felt like I was only half a person.

When I wrote the KRT entry about living Kemeticism, it really crystallized how important that ankh was. I hadn’t ever been able to put into words why it was so necessary, but somehow I managed to finally get it just right when I wrote that post.

Over the years, the ankh had gone through a veritable metamorphosis itself, just like myself and my path. The starry-eyed child who had bought the oversized ankh had long since died at some point or another. In her stead was a woman who was doing what she possibly could to live in ma’at. Sometimes, living in ma’at just meant to take a step back and breathe. Sometimes, it meant conducting rituals, offering services to other people, or just being there when someone needed to vent. My path had changed; my ankh had changed.

So I wasn’t really surprised when, after nearly a decade of wear and tear, the chain that I had been using for my ankh for most of that time ripped in half in some odd confluence of events that left me more than a little staggered. I couldn’t wear it and I felt naked without it. I tried not to make such a big huge deal about it, but it threw me for a complete loop as I stared at the lost and lonely ankh in my hand, no longer attached to my body. I cried in my office for a few minutes, feeling stupid for being so upset about what this Maybe Meant for the Future and put on my I Don’t Give a Fuck face when I opened my office door again.

I kept the ankh in my purse, tossing out the chain, and wondered if I should finally put to rest the path I had walked with an ankh around my neck.

I could have simply gone out and bought a new chain. I had done that in the past when the robust ring that held the ankh had broken off. It snapped off clean about two years before the chain ripped itself in half. As I felt naked and as I tried to make sense regarding what was probably just a mundane reason, but what felt like a Very Important Religious Moment, I felt the change within me.

For ten years, I had worn the ankh in all its iterations as I moved through my religious experiences and changed into the person I am today.

Maybe a funeral for the ankh was [finally] necessary.

Take this life Empty inside I'm already dead I'll rise to fall again

Take this life, empty inside. I’m already dead. I’ll rise to fall again. – Give Me a Sign by Breaking Benjamin

It took me a few days to come to a decision about what to do, but I kind of had known the moment that the chain broke that I would be moving on from the ankh that had seen me through my shaky first steps into the weirdness that followed: the anger, the rage, the joy, the love, the adoration, the piety, the impetuousness, and everything else that had made up the last ten years of my religious life. The ankh itself was the signal post for those ten years; I wasn’t that person anymore and neither was my religion.

I had found a feather of ma’at pendant by a beautiful silversmith on Etsy months before the ankh pendant fiasco. I had liked the pendant and kept it in the back of my mind. Devotional jewelry is a Very Big Thing for me and I wear rings, necklaces, and earrings every day with some religious significance. I had assumed that I would eventually purchase the feather of ma’at pendant and wear it whenever I felt the need to do so. I hadn’t ever considered the possibility that this possible future necklace would become everyday wear. It was just something here and there that I could wear when I felt the need for it; maybe even it could take up as a representative of Sekhmet, as a defender of ma’at.

But as I added the new pendant to my cart, jettisoning the very lovely ankh that they also had available, I knew that this piece was going to become Very Important to Me. I knew that I would wear it every day with the same sort of religious devotion (ha) that I had worn the ankh.

It is important to me. Just as with the ankh, I cannot leave the house without it. I live and breathe by ma’at just as I once lived and breathed by the ankh. It is a reminder that ma’at is subjective and many things can and do make up ma’at, but it is also a reminder that I have changed very much in the last few years. My practice is less about the gods at this moment and more about me and what I can do to better live in ma’at and perpetuate it into the world around me.

I’m hoping that, eventually, when I have fulfilled those portions of this long arduous spiritual turnpike, I won’t need a change again. I don’t think I will – I think the physical representation of ma’at is here to stay – but one never knows what the future may hold, no matter how many times you pull cards from your favored deck.

I will be honest though… It feels strange to still leave the house without the giant ankh resting just above my naval. It’s been almost two months since the ankh left my neck for its current resting place, but I still go to reach for it. Most days, when I find that it isn’t there, I reach up to the feather of ma’at which lives just below my throat as a reminder that ma’at isn’t just in one’s heart or the inner workings of the body, but also in the words we speak and the actions that accompany those words.

The ankh fit in the palm of my hand; this feather is small and I can clutch it with only two fingers. I’m getting used to it now, but I miss having something large and reassuring in my hand. Something big and tangible in a way that the feather has yet to achieve. It probably will get there some day; I don’t know for sure. It’s just not there yet.

Two Roads Diverged…

Some days, I feel like my whole life is a famous poem just splashed out on paper to read. It sits there like a flashing neon sign to me when for everyone else, it’s just a bunch of fancy words on paper. Maybe everyone feels that way sometimes; maybe I’m alone in this.

After the nice woman on the other side of the state told me to get going or else, I came home and ranted for a while. It wasn’t really the message that angered me insomuch as the parting shot, the bit that left me pale and shaking. The bit that, upon seeing me after the reading, my friend asked me if I was okay. I’ve never talked about that part; I probably won’t.

When I was calm enough, I sat down with my gods and asked them what the hell I needed to do. They were all very nice about the situation but it was still a lot to take in. They let me bitch and moan and listened while I railed on about how I was a good fucking devotee who didn’t deserve this next round of horse shit. I guess they understood why I was so angry.

I laid all my cards on the table about how I was angry and how I didn’t know what the fuck I was supposed to be doing. I told them I thought about leaving, just packing it all up and burying myself away because it was all just too damn hard. I wasn’t serious, not really, but they talked me down.

At that ledge, looking down, I realized I was overwhelmed with all of this. I was at the point of being so overloaded that I couldn’t figure out what the hell I was supposed to be doing or why I was supposed to care. My gods told me that my tentative plan of taking a time out was a good one. We decided that I had until March to make a choice.

After that, they showed me two possibilities. Isn’t that always the way though? There are two doors to choose from with the frog that always tells the truth and the frog that always lies. No frogs this time, just two possibilities to choose from with a general idea of where both would lead.

I had three months to figure it all out.

Crossroads...

And sorry I could not travel both; And be one traveler, long I stood; And looked down one as far as I could – The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

I am the type of person to stick my head in the sand when things are too big. It’s actually a familial trait passed down from generation to generation. Eventually I will do something but when I get to the “I can’t actually form words” stage because there is too much going on, I get overloaded and hide.

My gods may have been kind to me because I was overwhelmed but they kept reminding me that I had a time limit. Arbitrary calendar dates are a thing for me and even though I knew I should probably look a little deeper into it, I chose not to. The partial glimpses of possibilities in December were enough.

The first path looked nice enough. It was calm and quiet with a sense of familiarity that sent shock waves through me. I looked at that possible future and saw that, while things would be dealt with efficiently and relatively quickly, things would change to a degree that I would wind up losing out on what I have established for myself thus far.

It wouldn’t go away, per se, but the dynamic would change. And that was a game changer. I could see my gods behind me, but crowded to the background.

I have worked very hard and gone through a hell of a lot of shit to get where I am today. I wasn’t saying good-bye to it, but I was, in effect, trudging up a mountain and away from my gods, my path, my life. As much as they annoy me, the possibility of that dynamic change was worrisome and confusing. I didn’t like what I saw.

The other way was more frightening. It made my heart stop with its deep, dark places eschewing light and cheer. It was filled with fear and with sorrow. There was nothing recognizable to me there. I looked at that possible future and saw an interim change in the dynamic, but at the end things would be much more manageable.

It would take longer to deal with things, though. Even with the picture drawn before me, the path was filled with unknown pitfalls and I would need to travel slowly and carefully, trudging through the slog and mud.

Knowing how hard I have worked to get to where I am, even if most people don’t recognize that hard work, I realized that while the happier seeming path would be simple, the darker seeming path was more in line with what the end game. I had to take time to look inside and figure out what was more important here.

But as my gods steadily pinged me, reminding me that we did in fact have a time limit, I was depressed for the decision process. Though they kept coming at me regularly with hits and reminders, I ignored them; that whole overwhelmed thing making its debut.

Besides, I had actually made a decision. I just hadn’t announced it yet.

Crossroads

Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. – The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

In the last few weeks, I’ve been dreaming about various modifications to myself. I think the one that took the cake was the dream where I got a tattoo of the ending stanza to the poem, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. I got the gist to a point, but I was still a little confused by the dream. (Not to mention that thinking on it over the last few days has only made me really want to get it tattooed on my forearm, just like in the dream.)

It’s actually a little amusing that the dream took that particular poem and that particular section. I’ve been saying from the get-go that my religious life, and by extension my mundane as well, oft resembles that poem. It’s not just my favorite famous poem of all time. It is me.

It’s taken a little bit of back and forth on my part to confirm what the fuck my mind was telling me, but I got it after a bit. (Still trying to decide if a tattoo is really warranted though.) I got the message; I understood what was happening finally. But of course, the emotional hits are never over with just one final nail on the coffin.

Last night, I stood between Papa Legba and Loki, looking from one to the other.

When I looked at Legba, I could see things so clearly and I wanted so much to walk beside him again. He was a rock in a time when I needed one even while he was teaching me important things. He held my hand and helped me through the worst of the bullshit after my head split further open and the Long Term was explained to me. I cried for months after his door shut on me and still sometimes cry, like I am now.

The sweet filled smell of him was there and I could see him in such a beautiful sun-filled place. Green fields and clear lit paths, birds chirping and the crossroads so clearly marked for the eye to see.

But I turned to look at Loki and the skies were gray. There were storm clouds in the distance. Everything was hard to see and I couldn’t tell what was slog and what was path. I wanted so much to turn away from this red-headed unknown in my life, contract be damned and knowing that the Old Man would get me out of it if I asked, and march the fuck away.

But three months ago, I saw what my life could and probably would look like with Papa. And I saw what my life could and probably would look like with Loki. And I decided then what I had to re-illustrate last night.

Did you know you can grieve for might-have-beens? It’s entirely possible. I wasn’t aware though maybe I should have been.

I had to finally say good-bye to someone who meant a lot to me. It’s not the first time I’ve done it, but that doesn’t make this any easier. Loki’s kindness after didn’t really help, though it distracted me at least. I will miss the might-have-beens, but I need my autocracy as it is now, not what it would become with Papa Legba and his brood. I will miss the relationship and the lessons he set before me, but what ice been working towards is more important than all that.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
– The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

What Thou Liv’st.

I have fears. It’s probably a symptom of the human condition, which only highlights that I am, in fact, human. But, be sure that I have fears and they can be all consuming.

I don’t reach out to my gods for help. I have this integral belief that I should be able to do it myself. But this is compounded by one of my fears: the fear that if I do, in fact, reach out and I get what I ask for, I will in turn be required to do something as payment.

I’m terrible at follow through and know myself enough to recognize that bribery isn’t my forté simply because I probably won’t be able to see to what I promised. This is concerning because, what if they hit me with a serious case of insanity or death for reneging on the deal? That would put a big crimp in any plans I might have and a larger one on the human condition thing.

This fear isn’t a byproduct of recent conversations or things I’ve been going through, things I’ve dreamed or read in the cards. It’s always been there. It’s been hatching like a snake in the back of my mind and slithered through all the lobes of my brain until it found the one it wanted to devour: the fear center.

I’m not telling you this because I want people to feel bad for me or anything. I’m sharing this because I am human and I am terrified, something people looking from the outside might not see. The false confidence of the Leo is misleading. I’m terrified I’ll ask for help and get it.

But I’m even more frightened of the idea that they won’t answer my request.

Dream Walk

The mind is its own place, and in itself; Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n. – Paradise Lost, Book I by John Milton

Recently, I woke from a dream that left me shaking and frightened. The place doesn’t matter; my actions do. I was screaming the name of a divinity that I had no business calling for. The deity doesn’t work that way – and I know this – but still I yelled their name. Perturbed by my dreaming shenanigans, I reached out to the one person I could turn to. We came up with a game plan.

I had ideas and thoughts about what this could all mean, of course. I’m the person who will sit and stew on something for a long time, parsing out the little bits. The location of the dream in which I screamed this name was not surprising. It’s a place I’ve always associated with that particular aspect of things. The name bothered me. It made me start to worry that I hadn’t in fact proceeded as far as I thought. All signs seemed to point to it, but I decided that I needed assistance in figuring it all out, just in case.

I made plans to meet with someone who could give me some direction.

In the intervening weeks since this dream, my dreams have only become more one dimensional but still that much more confusing.

The other day, I dreamed that I needed to feed my gods; either a Message of Significance or internalized guilt at having been slacking in that department lately. The day before the game plan was to take place, I dreamed of mountains. Cold, distant peaks colored as gray as dull stone and covered in thick blankets of snow. As if to reinforce the message, I pulled the Lenormand card, the Mountain, the day I woke up from my mountain dream.

It was like everything was pointing to what I thought, but I couldn’t be sure. I don’t trust my intuition probably as much as I should. It seemed more important to get an outsider’s point of view.

Dust demons of the divine nature

Long is the way; And hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light. – Paradise Lost, Book II by John Milton

I met with a very nice older woman who pulled out her deck and began looking around. She poked and prodded, pursing her lips as she looked. It all came down to stagnation though. She likened me to a house that had been built, solid foundations and people admire the facade for what it could be, but nothing is going on inside. She said I needed to do the Work and get going, or else things weren’t going to go well.

There were other things that I am still parsing out, things that have angered me and wounded me. I needed to hear them, but the overall message was a sort of refresher course: none of what she told me was shocking. None of what she told me was off the wall. None of what she told me was surprising in any way. I already knew everything she had to tell me.

It seemed almost like an exercise in futility on my way home. And on my way home, I was so angry. I was pissed off and wanted to scream. I cried a little after I got back onto the pike and saw the first sign saying that home was 72 miles away. I wanted to be home already, buried underneath a blanket and glaring. I stopped crying – I don’t emote very well – and just seethed inwardly.

Upon reflection, it seems as though I have erected myself – in the image of the house – and then went on walkabout, unable or unwilling to complete it. Looking back at the last three years of my life, I can see the hard work I did in the build. I can even see where I just said, “fuck this shit,” and noped the fuck out. Nothing said was untrue; it just hurt to hear the same things I already knew about myself coming from a complete stranger’s lips.

After a good long talk with TTR, I felt nominally calmer and much better about the whole situation. I had hatched a sort of plan, a maybe kind of plan, and would mull on how to proceed, or if I even bothered to proceed.

Klitsa Mountain

So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear – Paradise Lost, Book IV by John Milton

The outsider’s perspective matches up with my own interpretation completely: I am a being of stagnation. I wondered briefly if I had embodied the lesson of the Hermit card a little too closely. Suffice to say, neither of our viewpoints are wrong. I can even see where it began; when the cancerous growth of torpor became too big a cross to bear and I stopped trying to deal with it in any way.

One thing she emphasized while doing the reading was that I don’t reach out for help with my divinities. She asked me point blank: “How do you pray?” Startled, I looked at her and told her that I don’t. This hearkens back to the fears above. Why reach out to them and pay a price I may not be able to pay? Or, in turn, why reach out and get my requests ignored?

When I told her this, she nodded at me thoughtfully. It almost felt a little bit like pity.

But the point still stands. I must do the work in order to get out of the pit I’m currently in. I can reach out to the resources I have available to me, ignore the fear I have of being ignored, and go that route. Or I can ford across and delve onto new pathways that leave me leery and uncertain. Or I can do nothing whatsoever and reap the rewards that brings.

The thing I’ve been finding lately is that when it comes to stagnation, it only seems to breed more. For months I’ve wanted out of this hole, trying to get out of the “being stuck” feeling I’ve had, and ended up thwarted. It almost felt like the universe was forcing me back into the niche. I haven’t decided if this is just seeming coincidences lined up in a neat row or if there’s More than I want to consider.

In either case, I would prefer to not reap the benefits of doing nothing. That way leads to darkness, apparently. As dark and dreary as things may be, I would prefer to find the light and let it lead me out of the rut I’m in. I guess I’m lucky that I know someone who has a very close affinity with flames…

May she light my darkness and lead me to where I should be going.

(The title of this piece is taken from a quote from Book XI of Paradise Lost by John Milton. The full quote: Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou liv’st; Live well; how long or short permit to Heaven.)

Have You Ever Seen the Rain Coming Down on a Sunny Day?

The other day, it felt as though the world had been purified and renewed in the night, leaving a mist of newness across the land. It had rained in the night and the world around me had been soaked in the aftermath. I had smelled rain on the wind in the evening before, closing my eyes and sampling the gentle soft scent that I have always associated with gentle rains in this place where I was born. There is something about that smell, that precursor telling us that the rain is coming, that I have always associated with a form of renewal and purification. I can remember feeling that way as a child and it has not left me as I have aged.

It has only become a stronger association in my opinion.

While I walked the dog, I was giddy as I made footprints in the chill water left on the tips of the blades of grass. Both my shoes and the bottom of my jeans were soaked with that physical embodiment of purification and renewal. In my mind, I could feel it climbing up my legs and soaking me with its potency. I was walking the dog through the glitter of dew drops and rain drops, thinking about this.

The rays after rain

The Rays After Rain by Masahiro Noguchi

It seemed appropriate that after the Reunion the world would begin its ever steady march in its attempt at renewal. Not only have the lovers reunited for another year, but I am entering the final month before the new year. Renewal, purification… these things are understandably on my mind as the time ticks towards the new year celebrations.

It felt almost as if the very area in which I live wanted to join me as I work steadily and slowly on building myself back up, building a new dynamic in my practice as the year marches steadily towards its reset.

I’ve felt hollowed out and alone recently while I go through this, backing off from social media and online communities. I know that I am not capable of balancing the recreation of myself and the recreation of my practice with the work that communities entail. None of this is a bad thing – these changes I’ve felt and discussed finally in my last entry – but it’s a long heavy process and I think, during it all, I will need healthy doses of both purification and renewal.

You see, I don’t always realize when I need to back off or when I’ve actually made a serious indent into the work I’m doing. I think the aftermath of the rain was a subtle reminder of that issue I have.

A common question that we ask ourselves at my job is, “are you too in the middle to see the outside?” This question is typically asked when we are discussing steps that we could have undertaken and probably should have undertaken to facilitate a repair or project. However those steps were neglected usually because we are racing at break neck speed or being pounded with the need to get shit done as quickly as possible. It impairs our efficiencies and we’re left standing back after the ticket has been closed, discussing it with other people and realizing where we made mistakes and how we could have prevented them.

This kind of goes back to the “bigger picture” talk I complain about. I don’t necessarily realize that I’ve made a major break through (or even a minor break through) because I don’t take the time necessary to step back and go through every little detail. I’m racing forward on adrenaline when I should be taking my time. Due to the fact that much of this shit is shadow work and painful in the extreme, you can probably understand why I don’t want to do that. So, I end up actually getting through the mess but then take months afterward to analyze and absorb what it is that I have done.

Just like with my job, if I had been able to stop long enough to take a breath, I could have probably have prevented the inefficiencies, but I was too caught up in the moment to do so.

It felt to me that the rain soaked grass and the leaves dripping as the sun began pouring over the landscape were all a subtle reminder*. It felt in a very personal religious way as though the gods themselves were pushing this lesson (again – this isn’t the first time I’ve had this type of a reminder, but it is one of the more gentle reminders I’ve had).

* Of course, this could all be coincidence; I’m fully aware that when it comes to omens and portents in one’s personal religious path that we need to consider that always as a possibility. But why can’t the gods use the very things that we have associations and interactions with in order to get those omens and portents across? It’s all a matter of discernment, but sometimes it comes down to needing to feel like there is just a little bit more in the moment.

As I watched the sun break through the cloud cover and begin to poke around at the world around, as the birds began doing their morning dances and chatter, as the cars filled the road with traffic to get a start on the day, I marveled at the idea that all of this was a thing of which I am part of and if I just stop for a moment, I could see the picture from the outside as opposed to the inside.

As was recently voiced over in a dream of mine, one small step for Sat; one giant leap for Satsekhem! I don’t know how true that statement really will be in the months ahead, but I find myself just a little excited by it all.

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 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

A Bitter Pill.

Last year, quite a few netjeru and I went toe to toe over a ton of things that were, in my opinion, none of their fucking business and were seriously crossing the line. While that sentence may sound a little weird to some, that’s almost exactly what happened. I left the whole situation hanging like an elliptical sentence for the last eleven months. Having the blinders ripped from my eyes in a very not-nice way had left me shattered and angry. Having to deal with the ramifications of that shattering was not something I was capable of and I have suffered for my cowardice.

I found it easier to ignore the reality in front of me than to actively pursue it. While I don’t recommend this for anyone, honestly, it’s part of my modus operandi. I tend to do this for a lot of things and I can openly admit that it is very unhealthy. I’ve brought this bad habit, unfortunately, into my religious life and suffered for months because of my stupidity and cowardice.

The terrible thing (though, in all honesty, it wasn’t particularly terrible in relation to the world, but only in relation to me, myself, and I) that took place from September to November of last year was harrowing. I learned a lot of things that I didn’t particularly want to learn and it changed everything entirely about my practice. Even months later, thinking about that moment when it all boiled down and everything came up to slap me in the face, I want to clench my hands into fists and snarl with the best of them.

For all of that, I am much calmer now. While putting things off with no particular interest in picking them back up again to make a decision regarding them is unhealthy, it certainly allows for being able to make rational decisions later on. Part of the reason why I tend to push things off is because I tend to react hotly in the heat of the moment. It didn’t seem like a very good idea, at the time, to react in the heat of the moment since my initial reaction was to give everyone the finger and walk the fuck out on everything.

Eleven months is not as long as all of that, but it’s still enough to give me perspective and to give me a cool head. It helps, I think, that the scars from that episode are mostly healed and even though the flares of anger can still be palpable if I wallow too long, there is nothing I can do about that right now. It has happened and I must live with the decisions that I unconsciously made at the time. However, what that means is that I have to also come to terms with the subtle changes and the not-so-subtle changes in my religious life and the path I’ve been on.

I think we can all safely say that I can no longer count myself as a deity collector. That’s the gist of the moment, the culmination of it all, but it still wounds me to have to admit that to myself. It galls me to no end to have to say that out loud, to have to type it on this blog, to have to announce it to the wider world (or to anyone who cares about what the fuck I’m up to).

I always feel this way, though, when things change. I always like the idea that I can be a vocal voice for a minority that is discarded or looked down upon… and then it feels like once I am comfortable within that role, then I am cast off into the sea in order to determine what the next step is going to be. I really fucking hate how it seems like being comfortable with things after months of discomfort over it ends up, invariably, leading to changes that I’m not ready for.

Maybe that’s the point in having a religion, though. You aren’t supposed to remain static in a single place for an extended period of time. Perhaps that is why people become unhappy and unfulfilled with religion often enough: they have become so comfortable with the status quo that the idea of pushing off and looking for more is too much.

It doesn’t seem to me like I get the luxury of relaxing for an extended period of calm in the status quo, though. It feels very much like once I consciously have decided that I can be comfortable at this point, then I have to start looking elsewhere. I don’t know if that’s just my particular flavor for this particular path or if I’m reading too much into something. Whatever the case may be, I often feel that I achieve a comfort level and then end up being pushed off without an inkling of where I’m supposed to end up.

The thing about going toe to toe with the gods is that, sometimes, you’ll learn things that you weren’t expecting. I learned a lot of things and none of it was something I wasn’t to learn. I ended up realizing how drawn into that bigger picture fiasco I had been and that, when it came down to it all, the deity collecting would have to go. By that time, I had amassed a large following, so to speak, and I found myself frozen with the knowledge that I could choose Sekhmet or I could choose… anyone else. But in the end, I had to make a decision.

I went with the deity that I’ve known and felt the closest to for years… and lost everyone else.

That’s a bit of an overstatement, but that’s how it feels.

My decision was, mostly, acknowledged politely and the rest moved on. I still have passing relationships with some of those deities – Djehuty is always available for a laugh; I see Geb and Mut in the natural world as I always have; Hetheru periodically comes to me in dreams and we talk. Everyone else has disappeared. Sometimes, when I look for them around me, I realize how much I miss them. Other times, I recognize that I did the right thing and as nostalgic and lonely as it is now without them, I know that things have worked out better this way.

I think, in a way, this is why I have had some issues when I recognized that Heru-Wer had made an appearance. Hadn’t I just done this song and dance months before and ended up as [mostly] a one-deity marching girl parade? Evidently things are changing yet the fuck again, but that’s an entry for another day. Maybe.

For the last eleven months, I haven’t admitted that things have changed at all. I have refused to rename myself except for in quiet quarters amid friends or in the embrace of my netjeret. I haven’t wanted to openly admit that I was holding on to the last vestiges of hope with scrabbling fingers, praying that what I had learned in November of last year was wrong. The thing about growing in our own path is knowing when it is time to admit things to ourselves and to the wider public. Another thing is knowing when to admit that whatever you are hoping to achieve isn’t going to fucking happen and it’s time to stop hoping and give in to the reality.

Last weekend, I cleared off my household altar space. I had Aset, Djehuty, Heru-Wer, and Hetheru on it. I kept three out of the four, but placed the icon I had purchased for Aset away. It’s in a box, awaiting someone who needs it badly. Her icon was, in a way, the very physical representation of my attempts at keeping the old way alive and well. What it also signified was inertia: mine, hers, theirs… take your pick. I put her away and bid farewell to the old way of life, officially.

It only took me eleven months.

The Art of Balance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

balance

Balance via Flickr

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

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

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

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

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

That.

That.

Right there.

I want.

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

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

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

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

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