Dusk.

The Dream.

I was running through the woods. Sometimes I was running through an abandoned building, but mostly I was outside in a heavily wooded area. It would have been beautiful if I wasn’t so busy running and gasping for breath.

The arrow pierced through my coat. It didn’t hit me but it could have. I didn’t know where it came from except somewhere behind me. It flew through the coat and cracked against the tree in front of me. That’s when I realized I was being hunted, so I woke myself up.

When I went back to sleep some time later, I was back there again. But instead of arrows, the hunter was using a rifle of some kind. I’d hear it cock and the bullet go whizzing by when I zigged out of its way. The hunter wore all black, no camouflage, and stepped out ahead of me, gun aimed at my chest…

I woke up again and it was close enough to the time to get up that I didn’t go back to sleep this time. It was many hours later that I looked up hunting in my preferred Dream Dictionary. It’s not the only one I use because I have a personal one for repeated themes, but I had never been hunted in a dream before. I didn’t know what this meant.

To dream that you are being hunted indictates that you are being overwhelmed by life’s challenges.

Yeah. Yeah, that sounded about right. I couldn’t deny that.

The Dog.

My pet is a 14-year-old tweenie Dachshund. Her mom was a mini and her dad was a standard, so she’s in-between the two common sizes people see.

She’s had health issues with her back since she was 5 or 6, which is common. She has IVDD, the disease of all long-shaped dogs, and we manage it when she has a flare. If anyone knows Crusoe, the famous Dachshund, he had a flare some years back that left his back legs paralyzed. Wth medication and physical therapy, he came through. Jazz’s flares aren’t that bad, luckily, but they sure suck.

She also has very Bad Teeth. This is my fault for not getting her used to teeth brushing as a puppy, but we manage as well as we can now. She periodically gets an abscess that leaves her more crotchety and stubborn than the usual Dachshund crotchetiness and stubbornness.

In late September, she had an abscess that we dealt with via medication. She is old enough now where the vet has major concerns about putting her under to remove her teeth. The meds worked and she was back to her usual round of Dachshund stubborn in two days. That’s when she had an IVDD flare.

I had picked her up and then she was crying in pain. I brought her to the emergency vet room and we waited a very long time to see the dogtor. I went in knowing what we needed because of previous visits and the doc didn’t disagree. Since the pain was more in her neck than her back, the dogtor warned me that this might be a bigger flare than we were used to; evidently neck flares can sometimes only be treated with surgery.

Jazz was pretty pissed off with me for all the poking and prodding she went through. She snubbed me twice in the office and then again after we left. She was also quite high, which leaves her wanting to become one with my lap. It was an interesting ride home at ten o’clock that night.

After a few days on her anti-inflammatory and pain meds, she was moving around a lot better. She wasn’t running around just yet but she was able to move her head again. She was loopy, as she gets on gabapentin, and slept the entire day away while I was at work. I knew she was feeling better when she tried to walk up the stairs (a big no-no for Dachshunds) and jumping on the couch (another big no-no) when no one was around.

She finished off her meds last week and I did a placebo test to make sure she was 100%: I pretended to sprinkle her meds on her medication-laced-cookie-of-choice (cheese) and saw she was still ok. She’s back to being her usual self and I’m glad this flare is over.

The Dread.

I realized my mom was MIA on social media in early October. I checked her FB profile and saw her last posts were in late September. My mom’s only form of communication is social media so I texted her, but received no response. This isn’t weird because she is agoraphobic to a degree, has anxiety about talking on the phone or texting, and usually gets back to me when she’s ready.

I texted again last week, which is when my brother messaged to say something was wrong. After talking it over via messages, I managed to get him to take her to the ER because everything he said was a major RED FLAG that something was wrong. She wasn’t taking care of herself or her dog-daughter. She suffers from severe depression and while she may stop taking care of herself for a bit, she has never stopped taking care of a pet.

They took her to the ICU because she was Very Ill. They managed to stop the original symptoms of what sent her to the ICU and stabilized her enough to go to a regular room. But every day there is more Bad News and every day, I’m left kind of numb at the end of it. They think they may have finally figured out what caused the change in her behavior but we aren’t sure yet. They run test after test and ask question after question. I’m tired and worried.

I’m waiting for The Call the child gets when things go down. That Call. I honestly don’t see her leaving the hospital, healed and better. Based on al the positive vibes they tell me I suppose it’s possible. She could come out of this, but I don’t think so.

The Dilemma.

So when does the child pack a bag, hop on a plane, and fly 3000 miles to watch her mom in a hospital room? I could fly if I need to (I have a fear of heights) and my boss says she’ll give me time off if needed. But do I go down there to start wrapping things up now, or wait until a prognosis is given?

I don’t know what is to happen here. I’ve spoken with my brother about what we do if this ends the way I believe it does. We always had a plan in place because my mom has never been the healthiest person on the planet. But I can say that I thought this stuff was 10+ years away.

She’s only 63.

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

Raise Hell and Turn It Up.

It’s not unheard of for me to dream of my online friends. Over the years, I’ve cultivated a very good personal community and the bonds of those friendships have twisted enough to include an occasional visit via the dreamscape in some form or another. There are some people who seem less like dream visit friends than others, of course, but on the whole, it surprises me not one wit to wake up from a dream with one of my friends in it.

Last week, a Norse friend of mine showed up to take me to a bank to discuss getting a car loan. All very odd but not overly interesting. Two days later, they showed up again, but this time, to physically pull me from a dream about work which had no clear exit. (I have become adept at pulling myself from dreams I have no interest in continuing but this one was impossible until they showed up.)

Another friend of mine mentioned that these instances could be something Other. They mentioned that a certain, very well known Norse trickster was a fan of showing up in dreams wearing the skin of their followers. A little concerning, I suppose, but I didn’t start to worry until the friend who had appeared twice in dreams mentioned they don’t dream walk.

Damn.

The icing on the cake came when Seth fucking Rogan appeared in a dream to show me condominiums to buy. At one such place, the guest book had LOKI in very ornate calligraphy across a page. When I looked at Seth, he grinned and nodded. The game was over; I had figured it out (with help) and it appeared as though Mr. Trickster had something up his sleeve.

Rain

I wanna wake up; can’t even tell if this is a dream… – Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time by Panic! at the Disco

All of the people who have commented have been remarkably nice about my ambivalence. Every single person has remarked that, as it stands, Mr. Redhead is very well and good for initiating change. This actually only causes me to actually have concerns about his appearance. I definitely need a change, what with all of the inertia, but is it truly so bad that I need the assistance of Mr. Wears-People’s-Faces-for-Funsies?

The first reading I did when I had a chance to calm down seemed to indicate that I was relying more on hope than doing to get through the situation in question. The card wasn’t wrong; it just crystallized something I had been unable to verbalize to myself. The second card in this reading remarked that the existing traditions were broken and unusable. I swore a little bit and walked away.

As additional information comes trickling in piecemeal (mostly because I have made no time, on purpose, to look deeper here), it all relates back to the stagnation, to the inertia. It pops up when I least expect it and while I haven’t thrown a tantrum at my gods yet, who have been curiously silent in all of this, it’s rapidly coming down the pike.

I can’t help but feel a little betrayed: the very traditions that they have coached me in are somehow failing? The very message of hope that they have harped at me is now causing further damage? Well, for fuck’s sake, what the hell am I supposed to do here? Apparently, pay some tiny attention to Mr. Becomes-a-Mare-And-Has-a-Foal.

I don’t even know if my complete lack of interest is due to the fact that I feel this insurmountable mountain should, in fact, be surmounted with my Kemetic background or if it’s the fact that Mr. Has-a-Wolf-for-a-Kid has been steadily tossing “helpful, friendly” vibes in my direction. Hasn’t he figured out that the nicer you are to me the more distrustful I become?

Beyond the feelings of betrayal and irritation and distrust, I have to admit that I’m a little curious. I have followed and paid enough attention to Lokeans for long enough now to know that he’s really maligned by the wider community. I don’t doubt that he would prove useful in the fulfillment of getting out of the rut. I just have to wonder what the methods would be and how deep down the rabbit hole I would find myself at the end of all this.

Bad plastic surgery

Champagne, cocaine, gasoline… And most things in between – Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time by Panic! at the Disco

I did, eventually, sit down and pull a few cards to mull over the situation. I may not jump to the task immediately, but I recognize that sometimes I need more than dreams and arm flails. Unfortunately, the readings made complete sense and induced more arm flails. At least I have a better understanding though.

The gist seems to be that, while the work I’ve slowly been doing with Ptah is sufficient to meet the expectations there are, hm, fears that it won’t be enough. Ptah is stability and silence for me. Since I have an ability to ignore the work under the existing tradition and gods who I have relationships with, it’s been decided – not by me – that I need an outside assist in order to truly be successful.

To be clear, this decision was undertaken out of love for me even though it is without my knowledge or without my direct input. One of those, “I’m only doing what is in your best interests” things without talking to the person whose best interests are being taken into consideration.

I get… the need for it. During the moments that I am being rational about the whole situation, I can even agree that what’s being said is correct and that someone to push me off the cliff is probably warranted. I can also agree that a person from outside of my home base is more likely to get results if for no other reason than I don’t want them around and will work harder to make them go away sooner. That doesn’t mean I’m thrilled by any means.

It seems as though I will need to determine a contract between us. It was made quite clear that guidelines and rules need to be determined (I am not surprised) and that the “finite timeline” needs to be built into this. My one concern is that I’m going to not think this contract through clearly and wind up accidentally stuck with Mr. I-Turned-into-a-Fly for more time than I am willing to endure. I fucking hate contracts, man.

All in all, I have more concerns regarding how all of this is to come about: loss and isolation. I didn’t ask for clarification on this (mostly because I was already upset and forgot to ask) but the idea of both loss and isolation is concerning. He was quite clear that this is what would be needed to get me through the bullshit morass I’ve been doing through. Another concern was the hint that poverty was going to cause problems.

Not a horrible start, I suppose, but not exactly thrilling either.

I keep coming back to the nice old woman who read the cards for me in December though. The description that I was a house with a solid foundation and nothing going on inside because the work hadn’t been done. And the warning that not bothering would cause things to get worse.

I know that my choices are limited and it’s my own inaction that’s brought me to be here. But damn, man, why did it have to be him?

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.)

Ptah.

I’ve had an ongoing dance routine with Ptah. He’s always been a deity that I’ve had some minor interest in, but usually in how he relates back to Sekhmet. It was last summer that I began to really pay any attention to him whatsoever. We still danced though; he would appear as though at random and I would dance away with a laugh.

I don’t know if the routine has gone sour, but he’s been appearing more often recently.

It started off with just little snippets of dreams: he was just there. I would wake up from the dream where I was in a garden of his, staring at the purple flower that always holds my attention in those dreams. Sometimes there would be butterflies around the purple flower bush but always the purple flowers were the center of it all. I would wake and wonder what it was about him that seemed to bring him back into my life.

Finally, I figured it was a sort of escapism. Whenever I would wake from those dreams of the garden I’ve since begun calling the Purple Flower Place, I felt better and refreshed. I began to associate him with a sort of relaxation and peace that I couldn’t find anywhere else in my dreams.

Around Wep-Ronpet, the dreams changed. It was small things at first; nothing overt. He was just there. We weren’t in the Purple Flower Place anymore. He was wherever I happened to be. His presence reminds me a bit of the presence of Osiris, which isn’t surprising, but there’s an energetic component that Osiris lacks. In my dreams, Big O was more like a vacuum of energy. Ptah seemed to be overwhelming with it at times.

He never speaks to me in these dreams. He is always simply there. And I know that it is him either from the energy signature or because my dreaming mind fits in static iconography of his. He is unchanging: his combination djed, was, ankh scepter held in his hands, his blue cap on his head, a slight beatific smile upon his lips.

Shortly after Wep-Ronpet, I asked him to explain to me why he was around. It seemed strange that we had been doing this sort of tango together wherein I laughed and moved away and he appeared some time later. Why now? What was so important about right this moment that he needed to be everywhere? And why is it impossible for him to not say anything?

I started getting angry about all of this. I have rules you know. I have standards you know. I have a whole host of things that I put new netjeru through, rigorous things that not only include ignoring the hell out of them but also include getting pissy and miserable. I was getting upset because I couldn’t follow my usual routine: he was just there and he was just not saying anything.

I told him that if he wanted something, he needed to be clear because I can’t speak staring and silence. In a fit of pique, I looked through the entry on him on Henadology.

I got a hit when I was reading this bit on Henadology, “Hence in the ‘Memphite Theology’ itself, the ‘tongue’ (i.e., creative utterance) of Ptah is that through which “Horus had taken shape as Ptah, in which Thoth had taken shape as Ptah” (ibid., 54). That is, to the degree that Ptah’s creative utterance is prior to all the other Gods, it also renders Ptah’s identity relative, for it becomes the instrument by means of which Gods such as Horus and Thoth create themselves. The purpose of the ‘Memphite Theology’ therefore is not solely the glorification of Ptah, but rather the glorification of the all-pervading power of mind itself, through identification with which Ptah is perceived as supreme: “Thus heart and tongue rule over all the limbs in accordance with the teaching that it is in every body and it is in every mouth of all Gods, all men, all cattle, all creeping things, whatever lives, thinking whatever it wishes and commanding whatever it wishes,” (54).”

It felt to me like the important bits were about heka. And as someone who has semi-delved into the realm of becoming a hekau for Sekhmet, it made even more sense that he would be around. I felt like I could be comfortable with this, though perhaps with more direction and less staring from He of Beautiful Face. I was okay for a while.

But he kept appearing as though by random design in my dreams. I would sleep at night and he would be there. I would take a nap on the weekends and he would be there. He seemed to come up in conversation more. I would see images of him in my mind; think on things that had nothing to do with him and end up pondering the story of Ptah.

I was beginning to feel like I was being hunted.

I sit there numbly, trying to figure out what new hell my life has become. I turn to Heru-Wer and whisper, “But why Ptah?”

He sighs at me, as though I am very dense. Perhaps I am very dense. “He gets shit done, miw.”

I shelved the bit about heka. I couldn’t figure out why it would be at this moment that it would become an important part. I have been doing rites and services for Sekhmet for two years this November. My heka has undergone numerous changes during these and while I know that there is much more that I can learn, I feel like I am doing okay with it all. So why now?

I couldn’t get it out of my head though. It makes too much sense that Ptah would show up on so many levels though. I can admit that there is a certain sense here, even if I am at a loss for it.

I have long cultivated this relationship with Sekhmet. I have had moments where I have spoken with Ptah, about my relationship with Sekhmet and how it has made me feel. (He never has said anything then either.) I have had moments where I have felt very close to him because I was creating something with my two hands. And of course, I have an intense interest in how he relates back to Sekhmet in any way.

But I was comfortable with how things were. It was just this little dance. It was just me laughing and whirling away. And it was just him smiling in the background, watching as I moved away. This constant push of him in my dreams is enough to drive anyone up the wall. Or at least into a rage.

He stands there with his face made up. He is like the statuettes we see, the iconography distinctive and obvious. His shroud is tight, his hands clasping his scepter. His blue skullcap glitters in the rays of Ra’s early light.

“Why are you doing this to me? What is it about me, about now, that brings you here? I can’t handle all of this! I don’t have the spoons for anyone else. Please stop this. I am begging you to either name your costs or tell me why you are here.”

He smiles at me. It’s the smile of a teacher, amused by the student. It’s the soft lipped grin of a parent, indulging a child. It only ignites the fury in me anew and I scream, loud and piercing. I turn and the mirrors around me break into a thousand pieces, shards raining into the room. “Fuck this!”

I was very angry the other night.

I still am, in a way.

Being dream-stalked by deities is nothing new to me. It seems like every week there is a deity of some sort, or something deity related, that has come to me. During Wep-Ronpet, it was both Tutu and Ptah. Last year, it was Heru-Wer everywhere. This past January, it was Osiris who was followed by Nut. This isn’t anything new, but at least with the other deities, I had clues to jump off from.

I have no clues here.

I have nothing but his silence.

I think what makes this more frustrating is that it was his silence that I enjoyed the most. I could blather on for hours or minutes. His silence was like stepping into a cool well of water after a warm day. After the demands of my relationship with Sekhmet and the intensity of my relationships with both Heru-Wer and Hetheru, his silence was a reprieve. Now I find myself wishing he would say a single word.

In an attempt to stop worrying about it, I went through the entries of Ptah’s in The Complete Gods and Goddesses and Egyptian Mythology. I was hoping for something. A ping. A hint. A whisper. I found myself holding my breath as I went through each.

Pinch’s book was all but useless to me; a regurgitation of things I already knew. As I was going through Wilkinson though, I was reminded of the ear stela that are so often associated with Ptah. They aren’t just for Ptah, but he is always associated them in his aspect as mesedjer-sedjem. I, myself, have reached out to this particular function of Ptah, looking for assistance in the past.

As Wilkinson states, “On the perimeters of temples we also find shrines or chapels of the hearing ear which likewise served the purpose of transmitting the individual’s prayers to the deity within the temple. The god Ptah often figures in these shrines, as in the one constructed at the entrance to the great mortuary temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu.” I got a zing on this one, put the book down, and walked over to Sekhmet’s altar.

It started off as only a replica offering table. It morphed into a mix between an ear stela and an offering table replica.

It started off as only a replica offering table. It morphed into a mix between an ear stela and an offering table replica.

During last month’s services, I had an unbelievable need to attempt to recreate an offering table. It was very frustrating to me because I am not very good at recreating things. I finally managed something passable and while I was looking at the empty edging around the center piece, I decided to add bits that relate back to the ear stela. (My artistic skills are lacking clearly.)

When I was finished, I felt incredibly foolish about it all, but also simultaneously proud. It seemed to me that Sekhmet was more dismissive of the artistic representation. Someone mentioned that Ptah probably would have appreciated the hard work (literally hours because I am not very artistic) better. Funny; things just keep relating back to him.

This makes me wonder, based on what I read in Wilkinson, if perhaps he is around more and more because, unofficially, I invited him in. Ptah tended to relate back to these ear stela in many instances and perhaps simply by using the phrase “Hearer of Prayers” which I know I saw on a stela specific to Ptah in the past, I somehow managed to say, “hey, come on down, big boy.”

The thing is that I just don’t know. I feel like the more I delve into all of this, the more questions I come up with.

There are also his craftsman associations – I haven’t mentioned it but Khnum has been coming up more and more. And he also has craftsman associations. But this, in a way, relates back to the hit I received regarding heka and Ptah’s magnificence when it comes to creating what the hell he speaks.

I feel like I’m running around in circles.

Maybe one day I will understand it all.

The Lovers.

Alternate Title: Follow Your Ib

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

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

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

Well that made so much more sense!

In rapid succession, my thoughts went something like this:

My heart?

Their heart?

The SO’s heart?

The child’s heart?

A stranger’s heart?

The heart I ate?

The fractured heart that I have been working on?

The ring on my finger that is an anatomical heart?

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

I was quite confused.

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

The Lovers card from the Mary-El Tarot deck.

The Lovers card from the Mary-El Tarot deck.

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

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

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

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

The Tower from the Radiant Rider-Waite deck

The Tower from the Radiant Rider-Waite deck

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

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

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

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

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

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

The World from the Wild Unknown deck

The World from the Wild Unknown deck

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

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

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

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

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