Dust coats the flat surfaces of my altars. In passing, I can see the fingerprints and smudges from passersby. I keep asking myself if I should clean it; I don’t have an answer.

The battery candles pop on at the same time every night. I think about the batteries and ask myself if I should shut them off; I don’t have an answer.

The sun rises and it sets, the moon follows suit. I used to think there was some poetry in all of it and maybe a hint of the divine. I ask myself if it even matters anymore; I don’t have an answer.

Tomorrow is the first day of a brand new year. I keep asking myself if this means I should pay more attention to my gods; I don’t have an answer.

When the year was a little over half over, I was ready to write it off. I was tired of fighting back in July and wanted to stop having to try. Right then, when I wrote that entry and hit the post button, I knew what I could look forward to for the next five months: more bullshit, more disappointment, more fighting.

Why bother? I asked myself. I never came up with a good answer to the question. I would mull on it periodically, asking myself why I was bothering anymore. I stuttered on some answer, trying to jump start the next step, maybe rekindle a hint of hope. But I honestly couldn’t answer such a simple fucking question.

All of the little goals and the big ones I had hoped to achieve never got close enough. I knew back in July that what I had been looking to do for 2017 wasn’t going to happen as one thing after another went to shit. I blamed myself, cried furtively about it, and buried whatever new failure had reared its head behind a progressively growing wall of internalized nihilism.

For a while, I blamed the state of the world. Why bother when the world is crashing down and this is what we have to offer the next generation. Arguments and missile strikes and war and toxicity and climate change and “p.c. culture” and every other new fucking thing that’s hit us.

Hope is easy when there are rays of it everywhere or at least, visibly seen. Rays of hope are hard when the fucking shit is constantly hitting the fucking fan and there’s no pause between this round and the next.

How many Tumblr “please reblog and call your senator” posts did I scroll by? How many spot on fucking tweets did I see retweeted thousands of times and screen shot on FB with still the same fucking shit happening the next day and the day after? How many hatch marks could we cross off in the win column compared with the hundreds in the lose? It got to be too much. The daily worldwide overload was just as bad as the daily personal overload.

I think it was in October when I realized that I had given up. I woke up and did the bare minimum to get through the day. I had no plans beyond the day I had just started or just gotten through. I made little goals and maybe I’d meet them. Sometimes I did; mostly I didn’t. I shrugged off the feeling of futility and kept trucking on because forward, even slowly, was the only direction to go.

That’s when I stopped blaming the world and started blaming the gods. My theory about why the blame should be laid at their feet makes sense even if only to me: they’re not gods of the here and now. No matter how much political or personal heka I toss out there, they’re not from this time and place as much as devotees may try. Their finite resources are for the important bits – maybe like their own survival – and fuck everything else.

Well, maybe not quite like that.

Maybe they feel sorry about it. Maybe they just really can’t because shit is so fucked outside in the world and inside me personally that ma’at flew the coop long ago and there’s no more balance left to achieve. I frankly don’t know, but I’m strangely okay with it.

It’s possible this theory just sounds like doubt, lack of belief, lack of faith. The funny thing is that I don’t disbelieve in the gods. I’ve had too much shit happen to me because of them to suddenly turn atheist. This pet theory of mine… well, it just makes sense. But I can see why it may sound a little crackpot.

A couple months ago, I bought a wooden icon of Saint Anthony of Padua. It was a joke really. I had been looking for Saint Francis because of a story my mom had told me months before. I didnt like the Saint Francis icon the shop had and landed myself onto Saint Anthony.

I knew him of course. My mom invoked him, out of all the saints, the most when I was a kid because something she needed was always missing. It’s actually so ingrained in me to ask Saint Anthony for help when something is lost that it’s out of my mouth before I consciously think of it.

It didn’t occur to me until recently that maybe I always liked Papa Legba was because I had already felt comfort in the classic Catholic imagery he wears as a guise.

And then, I dreamed about Ezili Dantor in her Black Madonna imagery. I can remember the deep darkness of her face flashing against the white of her eyes and the gold imagery surrounding her like a halo. The child in her lap was happy.

I found it frightening and comforting to dream of a foreign religion, something I had set aside in an effort to further pursue a religion that hasn’t made me happy in so long. My Hougan friend said it was probably time for another reading, just like I did two years ago to see what this was about. I wasn’t thrilled with the advice – my last reading was kind of painful – but it makes sense.

I hadn’t really made much of a decision since the chat. Kind of yes, kind of no. I waffled because that’s what I do when I have to make a decision and make appointments.

Today, when I pulled the Skull of Flowers from the Halloween Oracle, I remembered the decision I hadn’t bothered to make. I thought about the changes that have happened for my Hougan friend since he went that route and all the stasis I’ve been sitting in.

What harm’s a reading anyway? Maybe Someone can finally tell me how to rekindle hope.

Kemetic Round Table: How To Survive a Fallow Time.

The Kemetic Round Table (KRT) is a blogging project aimed at providing practical, useful information for modern Kemetic religious practitioners. For all the entries relating to this particular topic, take a peek here.

I’ve spoken about Fallow Times numerous times on this blog (and all those pertinent entries are linked below). I even have an entire category about it. I’ve recounted the how, what, why, and when in regards to them. I’ve gone through one major one and a minor one since I started this blog. I’ve encouraged other practitioners of various faiths to discuss them positively and willfully in public venues because they’re a normal part of this growing process. (I occasionally view it as a kind of religious growing pain, personally.) Hell, I’m even the reason we have the coined phrase, “fallow time,” when we’re discussing these quieter times in our religious lives. But the one thing I’ve never really bothered to discuss was how I have managed to survive my Fallow Times.

And I’ll tell you why.

I never actually survived in so much as I bumbled around like a slug for a while and then, magically, one day it all stopped. So, while I can’t really begin to tell you how to get through this, I can at least be an obvious example of what not to do. So, here are some obvious examples that I have completely done and that I just do not recommend.

1. Don’t get depressed about it.
While it is possible that a depression can cause the Fallow Time, it’s not always the case. I’ve detailed this in other entries, but I can tell you that the sudden absence of your gods can be a completely mind-boggling and self-esteem destroying event. It can really end up playing with your head in ways that I can’t describe beyond, “KDFHUDSHBFKB SDIU VBSDHBDHNA JSHNDJSANBKJSHDFUSJKLM.” (And yes, I did just button mash.) One of the things, though, that I can tell you is that if you end up in a depressive phase because of this whole thing, it will only make matters worse. Instead of just having questions, concerns, worries, and fears, they will end up ten times worse than they normally would. And in fact, in ending up in a depressive phase, you can end up having a longer Fallow Time than what would have happened because in a depressive head-space, everything is twenty thousand times worse.

2. Don’t start panicking about it.
This is one of those things that, again, is probably easier said than done. However, having an anxiety attack because the OTHERS™ have gone on walkabout for whatever reason gets about 0 shit done and you’re left weeping on the floor, snot running down your face, and just generally not looking your all-around best. It doesn’t get anything accomplished and will not bring them back. As much as it is our very first and obvious response to freak the fuck out – trust me, I know, as I do it just about every fucking day over something – about things, this is one of those items that is firmly listed as “beyond humanity’s control.” It is quite feasible that the OTHERS™ that have gone off to do whatever are doing so for their own purposes and may not feel the need to tell you about it. (Just because an open line of communication can happen doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to use it, just so you know.) Try to handle the situation with as much grace as you can muster because, really, it doesn’t matter how much snot and pleading you have going for you, they’re probably not going to listen.

3. Do not say, “fuck this shit,” and claim to be done.
As much as you may think that this quiet and solitude is the time to run the fuck away from all the horror and pain your friends may have gone through, it doesn’t mean a damn thing. This will only set you back a good twenty paces (or more!) on this ultimately fucked up and insane path you happen to be on. After all the hard work you’ve put in prior to the Fallow Time, giving up is not a good idea even if it appears to be the most amenable and pleasing to the eye. Not only does it possibly screw up what you’ve been doing, but it may only end up pissing your OTHERS™ off exponentially when they get back. And as someone who works with Sekhmet on a daily basis… having a pissed off OTHER™ on your ass because you gave up… that’s not really a good thing either.

4. Do not bug your friends to divine on your behalf.
Chances are if you’ve tried making contact with the walkabout-on OTHERS™ on your own, no matter how much you annoy your friends, it’s not going to make a lick of difference. If the OTHERS™ want to talk with you, then they will do so through whatever means necessary that they decide. By asking your friends to try and get a hold of them on your behalf, you are proving that you are not ready to stand on your own two feet. And if that is the entire point in this Fallow Time – since it may be a learning curve to see how your survive without them around – then by continuously harassing them, you’re not really giving them a desire to come right on back. Also, this annoys your god-bothered friends, so… there is that to consider.

5. If you’re a blogger, don’t stop blogging.
Even though you may not have a lot to say, other than, “WOE IS ME, THEY ARE STILL GONE,” you should keep it up. It’s hard to get into a set schedule in the first place. It’s even harder to let that schedule go to fucking hell even if all you want to do is curl up into a ball and not look at anything that has to do with your OTHERS™. Keeping up your schedule will make it a little more seamless for when they do come back. It will also make it so that you have something to do with your time aside from curling up into a tiny ball and sobbing about how much everything sucks. Even if you need to find other pagan/polytheistic bloggers and write 500-word essay responses to something you saw on their blogs, just keep doing it.

6. Do not stop your daily devotions.
Please see above response about schedules and swing of things.

All in all, these are probably the biggest things that I did repeatedly when I was in a Fallow Time that I wish I hadn’t done. It made things harder and more irritating when things started getting back into the swing of things, but it also doesn’t solve the over all issue. I recommend checking out my category about it, clicking on any of the relevant links I’ve posted in those entries, and networking with other related pagans or polytheists on your path. Chances are, they’ve gone through this a time or two. Chances are, they’ll be able to hold your hand. And chances are, things will get better.

Relevant Posts

  1. It Is Well to Lie Fallow For a While.
  2. Fallow Isn’t Just About Fields and Dreams.
  3. Dry Spells at Kemetic Recon.
  4. Fallow Times at A Forest Door.
  5. When The Well Runs Dry at The Twisted Rope.

Vacationing OTHERS™ (PBP).

A quick note before I begin: I would just like to apologize for my dearth of posts this week. I just started a new job as a temp at a local insurance claims facility and it’s kicking my ass. It’s not because I’m not still religiously oriented or that I’m having a Fallow Time, it’s just that time and energy are escaping me while I get back into the work flow.

Sometimes, as a polytheist, you get to a point where the OTHERS™ you have a working relationship with take a kind of “vacation,” of sorts. A lot of times, personally, I tend to misconstrue this as a Fallow Time – one of those periods where religion takes a backseat. However, when an OTHER™ is taking time off from you, this doesn’t necessarily mean you or I are in a Fallow Time. So, let’s talk about what happens to me (and so, you know, you can base yourself off of this if you so desire) what happens when the OTHERS™ take a vacation.

When will an OTHER™ go on a “vacation”?
This is one of those questions that are actually specific to the OTHER™ in question. There are numerous responses that could be considered appropriate and numerous responses that could be considered wild guesses in regards to this query. The thing is that we don’t know when something like this will happen. We can assume it will, at some point in our lives, but we cannot always know when it will actually occur. Unfortunately, as much as divination may be part and parcel to the religion you practice, you can’t know in the future when an OTHER™ will be taking a break from you. If they wanted you to know in advance, they’d probably send you the OTHER™ version of an E-mail or voicemail about the thing. In the mean time, let’s talk about the “when” question and cycles.

You see, I’ve come to notice that when it comes to my OTHERS™, I have specific times of the year where contact is more pronounced, or louder, if you will. (What I mean by louder is that Papa Legba gets quieter in my head as opposed to leaving off entirely.) So, in my practice, I tend to find that the communication thing goes in and out via cycles, which are directly related to the time of the year. Now the specific reason behind this cyclical thing, I’ll get into later (or at least, theorize about it later), but in the mean time, I can tell you that I hear from Sekhmet and Hetharu less and less as autumn and winter culminate. In the mean time, I’m lucky enough to have “off time” OTHERS™ to take up their spaces, in the forms of Papa Legba and Hekate. So while Hetharu and Sekhmet get quieter and quieter or their communication becomes sparse, the other two fill in the hole.

Now, not all OTHERS™ are obviously cyclical. For example, I honestly don’t understand why I hear Papa Legba more pronouncedly in the winter time than I do in the summer time while I understand the slack in communicate in winter from my goddesses. Again, I’ll theorize about this further on, but in the mean time, I just wanted to get out there that sometimes, the OTHERS™ don’t really have a rhyme or reason as to why they go on a vacation at specific time.

Rest assured that it isn’t just you. They have their reasons and they’ll either tell you about them or otherwise when they get back. Now as for the OTHERS™ that don’t hold to specific cycles as clearly cut as mine do, there could be a couple of reasons for this. However, the one thing I want to get into specifically in this section here is that keep calm, cool, and collected here. Just because an OTHER™ goes off on walkabout doesn’t mean that you are doing something wrong or that you fucked up along the way. It just means that they went on walkabout.

When can I expect my OTHER™ to come back?
Unfortunately, this is yet another one of those questions that people have that are pretty much unanswerable. As I said above, as much as divination may play a large part in your religion that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be given even a second of an inkling as to when they will leave or when they will return. They will come back or at least send you their version of the E-mail, as I mentioned before. (I tend to think of OTHERS™ as not very rude, but big sticklers on formality, which is why I mention that they will probably let you know what’s going on at some point or another. Whether or not you realize that you are receiving a message, well that’s a whole different ball park.)

The thing that we tend to forget about the OTHERS™ is that they are, you know, more powerful beings than we are. So, while we may have a perceived schedule of events in regards to our religion, they don’t even remotely care. It’s not because they don’t have emotions in regards to us or that they’re emotionless creatures that are just levels above us (as evidenced, clearly to me, by the Greek gods, themselves…). It’s just that they are indefatigable in what they are doing that we may not be aware of and that they are, well, you know, OTHERS™. And that does, indeed, mean that their motive may be miles and miles above where we are on the ladder of life or whatever you want to call it. It’s not that they don’t care, okay?

So, again, I have to rehash what I said above. When an OTHER™ disappears, don’t just freak out that they’re never coming back. Don’t immediately assume that you did something wrong. Don’t immediately start crying and freaking out at your altar or in prayers (or both). The OTHERS™ are the OTHERS™ are the OTHERS™. They do what they want and when they want it. So, as much as we may have a perceived timetable, they probably aren’t going to abide by it. They will come back when they come back.

How will I know an OTHER™ is going on “vacation”?
I don’t really think that there is any sure-fire indication than an OTHER™ will be taking a time out. It’s not a very clear-cut process all the time. I consider myself very lucky in this that I have gods that are cyclical. (And of course, as I said, I will get to that later.) However, sometimes, it just happens.

Obvious signs are obvious: lack of communication, feeling like you’re in a case of the druthers for that lack of communication, etc.

Whenever I start to feel like my goddesses are doing their vacationing thing, I have a kind of depression for a week or so. It’s not that they aren’t there to hear me out or anything, but I just feel less connected than I usually do. And this ends up leading to a kind of depression period that tends to last about a week [for me]. Some of the other signs about this can also be directly related to real life. One of the things people tend to forget when the mundane gets in the way is that it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to head into a Fallow Time. It could just be a type of signal from your OTHERS™ letting you know that you have to take care of A, B, and C before you can get back on track.

Other signals can and do include communication via your divination weapon of choice. I use Tarot cards and oracle decks almost exclusively to work with my OTHERS™. So occasionally, I’ll get a bunch of cards that mean it’s time to take a step back, rethink some things, and then come back to it from a different perspective. I’ve never gotten a card, specifically, that said “HEY I’M TAKING A VACA; I’LL CALL YOU WHEN I GET BACK,” but you never know. Pulling runes or using other types of divinatory oracles are another avenue you can explore when it comes to getting that precog moment where you realize it’s getting time for the OTHER™ in question to take back.

As a side note to signals and signs: I feel that I should add that you cannot discount messages from outside sources. I’m not talking about the divination in as much as I’m talking about some random person contacting you out of the blue and saying, “Hey, OTHER™ X just notified me that they’re taking a break from you for a while.” While I have had some of my UPG verified by outside sources in various capacities, I’ve never had one of my OTHERS™ utilize another as a conduit for communication. (But wouldn’t that be kind of neat if they did?) However, I have known of it happening to people, both as conduits and as people who have received messages from outsiders. So, while you would probably prefer to stick to yourself in regard to this situation, don’t necessarily discount outside messengers.

Why do the OTHERS™ go on a “vacation”?
Okay, so this is really the meat and potatoes of this post. Whenever it comes to the OTHERS™, one of the main types of questions some of us older practitioners tend to receive are “why”. And who doesn’t want to know why? We get these types of questions from kids all the time. “Why is the sky blue?” “Why do I have to go to bed?” “Why can’t I paint poop on the walls?” Lots and lots of times, you’ll hear or see me go, “why is this happening?” I think it’s pretty much natural, as human beings, to constantly ask why. So, let’s wade through this mountain of possibilities.

As I said, my OTHERS™ are almost entirely cyclical. My two main deities, Sekhmet and Hetharu, are solar deities. So, it tends to make sense that these Kemetic goddesses would be more able and intense in their communication with me when it comes to spring, summer, and early fall. The sun is shining; the heat is profound; and everything is in bloom. All of these are aspects that I tend to associate with my goddesses anyway, being solar deities. Especially in regards to Sekhmet, who is an Eye of Re (also known as the super solar deity), it makes absolutely perfect sense that I get a deeper and more fulfilling connection with her in the summer months. In like fashion, we have Hekate who is an opposite of sorts to my Kemetic deities. She tends to be more associated with the autumnal and winter months, so when it comes to communicating, it seems to make a lot of sense as to why I have a more intense connection with her (and darker deities, besides) in the winter months.

As I said earlier, in the land of Papa Legba, I’m unsure. I have my theories, but I really can’t comment. As a crossroads lwa, he serves similar function to Hekate. However, he is lwa and I haven’t read too much on them being specifically associated with timing or cycles. I mean, certain lwa will obviously have a more direct connection with nature and so, therefore, it’s possible relationships will end up being cyclical. However, Papa Legba is a kind of alpha and omega in the lwa world. He opens up communication with other lwaas well as stirs shit in your life. So, aside from his perceived lack of cycles, my only possibility is that I tone him down in summer months so that I can pay more close attention to Sekhmet and Hetharu. It’s a guess, of course, but it is possible to kind of tune out some kinds of OTHERS™ so that you can focus on communication with other kinds of OTHERS™.

Now, so, we can take perceived communication outages as cyclical. Obviously, your mileage may vary and it really does depend on the OTHER™ in question. Some are more clear-cut and obvious than others: Persephone, Demeter, and gods that are inherently tied to cycles. However, there are deities that aren’t so neatly tied up and wrapped into a bow. In cases like that, we have to start sifting a little deeper for the reason behind this.

I tend to view it in a general sense. Since I do work with cyclical OTHERS™, I have less need to take a broader view here. However, I tend to believe that when an OTHER™ goes on vacation, we should probably also pay attention to how wide-spread their following is. While we read a lot of blogs about Loki followers and the like, we have to assume that Loki can’t be in all places at once. (Then again, when it comes to Loki, one never really knows.) I think a large problem here is that we tend to come into polytheistic belief systems from an Abrahamic background. This makes it difficult to disassociate the OTHERS™ with the omniscient, omnipotent YHWH from the Abrahamic side of things. We can’t just assume that the OTHERS™ are able to be in all places at once, able to know things at all times.

And again, maybe they need to take a break. We don’t know what happens on their plane of existence. We don’t know what they’re going through, who they’re hanging with, how many followers and worshipers they may have. We just don’t know. And even though you may have a more personal relationship with the OTHER™ in question that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not going to need to take a time out.

So to sum up: OTHERS™ take time off. They do so for various reasons. They will come back when they so desire. And at some point, they will probably let you know in some form or another what’s going on. It’s just a matter of keeping your mind open, your eyes peeled, and keep on keepin’ on when things go quiet.

Sometimes, I Jump the Gun.

Devo is one of the best people for me to interact with and start formulating ideas. (Seriously, people. Why haven’t you-all e-stalked her as heavily as I have? She’s all about the information and aid. HONESTLY.) Aside from the Sister, I can just sit there and ramble about things and she usually picks up on hints and clues that I, myself, or the Sister might not latch onto. This helps me because (1) someone is out there as a kind of beta-reader for my spiritual practice and (2) I have a lot more epiphany moments than I have in years. Sometimes, I wonder if (with her blunt words) she plays the part of Sutekh in my life. She always has just the right thing to say to get me to take a giant fucking leap, especially if I’m busy trying not to take that leap. But, she also has some good advice, as well. And when she isn’t doing either of these things, she’s patiently reminding me that I should pay more attention to my instincts, to my gut, and to myself. This is something that I forget a lot of the time. I don’t pay that close attention to what my insides are telling me because I’m just not that intuitive. All that being said, after some rambling conversation with the Sister earlier and a more focused, direct conversation with Devo this evening, I’m wondering if I may have jumped the gun about this whole fallow time.

It just feels different.

Now, I went back through my various posts and have remembered that there are lots of different kinds of reasons for fallow times. However, this feels more like a stumbling block than anything else. The rest of it – the lack of communicating with my gods, the quieting down to the loud-mouthed Legba – is just an after-effect that I’ve put into place, on my own, in some way. Perhaps it’s a way for me to start focusing more intently on what I’m saying versus what they’re saying. Whatever the reasoning behind it all, they’re all quieter than usual and this is really what led me to believe I was in a fallow period. The consideration and determination to continue my side projects – the calendar creation, the voodoo entry project, and the debating of posting some voodoo book reviews – leaves me, also, to believe that this is more of a time out than anything else.

It’s a time of rest.

I started formulating this idea when I was with the Sister for her birthday. We were lying on her bed and just rambling on about various things. I couldn’t get off of the subject of my new-found Fallow Time, honestly. I kept bringing the conversation back because there was something niggling there. It was like when you have a loose tooth and all you want to do is poke and prod at it to get it to fall out. (That way, you won’t have to do the evil attach string to tooth and to a door, and slam the door shut trick. Ugh.) The Sister is pretty good about letting me ramble on, giving me pointed comments, and letting me come to my own conclusions. Otherwise, I might get mad and be all, “WHAAAAAAH? I WANT TO FIGURE IT OUT MYSELF!” I’m very much like my four-year-old who wants to try to do new things. When it comes to figuring out the uncertainties in my head, I am more stubborn than my kid is. All that being said, she just let me go on and on and on. I didn’t come any closer to figuring anything else out and when I came home, I was still just as lost as I had been when I went over there.

Really, the only thing I had concluded was that the Master Weaver that is Legba was planning and plotting and doing things that I’m unaware of. I couldn’t say what it is – even now I can feel his fingers working delicately as though he is working with a loom, preparing a beautifully woven tapestry – but it is definitely His Work. And quite possibly, it is the whole point in his being in my life.

When I came back from my visit and I read the comments on my entry about my being in a Fallow Time, I wanted to have a heart attack. Again, someone was telling me what I probably needed to hear but I didn’t know how to go about it. I mentioned on FB that I was getting pretty sick of having to ask people how to fix myself or how to correct my self-esteem issues and how, how, how all of the damn time. Devo commented on that particular post on Facebook. She mentioned that she was doubting that I was even in a Fallow Time, at all. She likened it to hitting a wall and while that is related to being in a Fallow Time, it’s not quite the same thing. I started thinking… There I was, all day, talking with the Sister about how things didn’t quite feel right when it came to this particular Fallow Time. I had projects to work on to see me through. I had things to do. And I could still hear Legba, however faintly he may be. So, maybe I had jumped the gun? That’s always a possibility with me – I jump to a conclusion before I actually see any proof.

I decided to live and let live. I would decide one way or another, but not at that particular moment in time. At that moment, I received a comment from Lady Imbrium. She mentioned that it sounded like I was going through a time of spiritual burn out than anything else. I felt, rather than heard, the bell going off in my head. Ding-ding-ding. This is what I was supposed to be paying attention to. And you know? It really makes a lot of sense.

For months I’ve been going through everything. Every day is a new revelation of some sort, either of a personal or public nature, and all of it revolving around my spiritual practice in some form or another. I was writing a new blog post, daily. I was having epiphanies and moments of deep thought about four to seven days a week in some cases. I was constantly having some new idea. I was constantly thinking about the big, the bad, the bold. And I never had the time for myself, I never had the time to let some of this stuff actually sink in, and I never stopped and gave myself the time I needed away from all of this. I have been living and breathing and dreaming and thinking about my spiritual practice for quite some time now. I think it’s been since February, honestly, but it’s from fairly early on in the year. I never had a moment where I could take time for myself. The only time I was taking was reading some of my fiction novels as opposed to my voodoo or hearth craft or witchcraft books that I have, sitting in a pile, just waiting to be read. I didn’t take the breaks and I was finally at the point of implosion.

So, this. All of this. It’s a time to rest. It’s a time to sit back and guide. It’s a time to wait for the Master Weaver to finish his project in the wings. It is a time to wait for my goddesses to finish working on their pet projects and come back to me. This is a time of learning of a different nature. This is a time of learning about myself. This is a time of learning about what I want in life. This is a time of shutting the self-doubt off. This is a time about me and while my spiritual practice is definitely a part of who I am – as evidenced by how much I’ve been doing in recent months and how often I think about it – it shouldn’t be who I am in totality.

Thus, endeth the lesson.

Success Breeds Success, and Failure Leads to a Sort of Fallow Period.

The above title is a quote from Felicity Kendal.

So, if my title isn’t obvious enough, let me just go right ahead and say that it appears I’m entering a fallow period in my practice. This is kind of funny, ironic, and amusing since, you know, when I wanted shit to be fallow and demanded that it happen, nothing came of it. However, apparently, all I needed to do to make it happen was start doubting myself so badly and be angry so much of the time that it’s blocking out everything. Oh, yeah. Self-esteem, you are a truly unwieldy sword, but when it comes down to it, you know how to fuck shit up faster than I can do myself. And that’s the gist of this. My fallow period isn’t about anything more than a seriously fucked up version of self-esteem that gets me nowhere and does nothing for me.

The thing is that I’ve always known my self-esteem, or lack thereof, is a major breaking point in my spiritual practice. Some things happen and I back off because I don’t like the results, or the results just don’t actually happen. Case in point with witchery and spells. Some things don’t work out right and I back off because I wasn’t expecting that shit to happen when it did. Case in point with the fraças from about a month ago. And now it’s more than just results or something unexpected happening or fights with others or any of that shit. It’s just a simple fact that I don’t trust what I’m doing, who I am, or where all of this is going. I was so sure of myself before the drama-llama entered my life and before all of the at-home bullshit going on. Now? Not so much.

This is part and parcel to the post I wrote about on DON’T PANIC. I wrote about what it was that was getting to me and why I’ve been so bitchy about shit lately. It’s why I’ve been regurgitating very angry-related messages, comments, and whatnot. And it wasn’t just all the mundane stuff going on at home, but after having seen all of the things that I can’t do and the overwhelming reasons being because my self-esteem lives in the shitter… Well, that’s a great sour point. And I’m at that sour point. I have to work on myself to get where I want and I don’t know how to do that… Yet another thing that I don’t know how to do.

The one thing about all of this is that Legba is still around. The goddesses have been quiet since the stuff with the Sister went down. At first, I just assumed this was because at least one of them was working with the Sister’s main patroness about things. (I’m almost positive that Hetharu and Aphrodite are brewing something up, but I couldn’t tell you what it is or why. And I think Sekhmet is in on this for her healing capabilities, but I’m not one hundred percent on that.) Now, I’m thinking that I’ve accidentally, and without realizing it, cut myself off from them with this self-doubt bullshit I have going on. But there is Legba. He’s not as strong as he normally is or as obviously, and I think I may have hurt his feelings (as I told Larissa in a comment). But, aside from that, he’s still around…

…which makes me want to question other people who work with the lwa and what happens when they have a fallow time…

In the mean time, I don’t really know how to fix this. I don’t know how to fix myself so, obviously, I don’t know how to fix this. I will be working more on my Voodoo Project because it’s time to get more of that out there. I’ll also be working on a list of resources and a bibliography for various sections of pagandom: witchcraft, voodoo, Kemetism, Heathenry, herbalism, etc. I’ll also be trying to work on the ongoing process that is my navigation bar. So, hopefully by the time I have a plan for what to do and how to fix myself, my blog’s page will be more steam-lined and sexy than it is now.

So. There we have it. I’m in a Fallow Time. If anyone knows how to fix themselves, drop me a line. I’d love to know what to do here.

Relevant Posts

  1. It Is Well To Lie Fallow for a While.
  2. Fallow Isn’t Just About Fields and Dreams.
  3. My Bitter, Bitter Stew.

Hetharu and I: We Make A Pair (PBP).

Hetharu came into my life with an express purpose. She knew what she was coming for and the second I caught a glimpse, I knew as well. I went running in the other direction, my head faced behind me to make sure she wasn’t following. (I’m sure there was much tripping where she nearly caught up to me each time I fell ass-over-tea-kettle in that metaphysical sense.) I could run and run, but Sekhmet said I was being stupid and with those words in my head, I stopped running and let her catch up to me. So, then, I fought this connection harder than I have fought against anything in my life. Her purpose was to remind me that I have womanly parts that crave attention just as much as my ego does. She was coming forward to remind me that half a dozen sex attempts in a seasonal period wasn’t enough, would never be enough, and that I was being retarded. There’s a reason she likes it when I call her ‘The Lady of the Vulva.’ That was her purpose and my, oh my, how things have changed…

I knew the second she stepped forward at the prodding of Sekhmet why she was coming. Sekhmet is all about healing, no matter if it is psychological, emotional, or physical. Though she has a dark side and though she can be particularly blunt when she feels that you are ignoring things, she wants to make things better. And it was via Hetharu that she could make this happen. So, Hetharu came into my life and I went through the motions. I bought her a statue. I bought her a place to live that wasn’t beside her sister-self* (though, they live together now, just fine, on my combined altar space). I let her into my life in tiny increments that did absolutely nothing for the overall purpose: fixing what was once broken and has since been re-broken, as well as ignored and dismissed. Sekhmet was proud that I was finally stepping up and letting Hetharu in.

But, you know, just because I say I’m going to do something doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll actually be doing it.

So, I bought all of these things and I gave her breakfast every morning and I did nothing to work with her. I was doing smaller things to forge a better connection with my Main Gal, but I pretty much ignored the fact that Hetharu had work for me, too. Due to this, she fell to the wayside and because of this, so too did Sekhmet. The two of them had plans for me and I wasn’t interested. Sure, I wanted to fix and heal (as evidenced by bouts of sobbing tears to TH post-coital in which I beg him to keep loving me even though I am “broken”), but it was too much and I wasn’t ready. I’m still not, truth be told. So, since I was so busy ignoring and because work was a bitch, I spent about six months last year ignoring everything spiritually-speaking and went through a fairly deep Fallow Time. (Sometimes, I find it ironic that spirituality came back into my life about a month prior to my getting fired.) That particular Fallow Time was a lesson for me: ignoring the gods and what they desire can mean that they’ll stop working with you, no matter how much you protest.

Since then, things have been different. The Lady of the Vulva and the Lady of the Flame have both come back to me. They both live prominently in my home (it’s the first thing you see when you come into my home, actually: Legba, Hetharu, and Sekhmet all together). The thing is that, Hetharu has since seen that forcing the issue is not the way to go with me. Though Sekhmet is more willing to do this in regards to other things, she also has a way with me that Hetharu does not. Though I was working on building some form of relationship with her sister-self, I wasn’t working as hard as I have with Sekhmet or as willing, either. And even though Sekhmet can be pushy about things when she wants things done in such-and-such a way, the same cannot be done for me via Hetharu. My relationship isn’t as strong and I’m not as willing to walk down that gnarled path. She’s realized this and changed tactics.

The ultimate goal is to fix me. The ultimate goal is relish my sexuality and to live with it. The ultimate goal has always been the same, but the tactics are different. Instead of facing things head-on as they both desire, they’re going a back route. It’s an interesting dance that they’re both taking part in and I enjoy the fact that I no longer approach Hetharu with clear-cut dread as I once did. This has left my UPG of her and the practice I’ve been working with her in a constant topsy-turvy state. This is actually a good thing because it keeps me on my toes.

Whilst once, I only saw her as a sexual being. I saw her as a divine whore who relished in all things the body can arise within us. I saw her as a golden being of infinite light with the ability to bring orgasm with the mere thought. But, as she has changed tactics, so have my views on her. I no longer see her as a divine whore, lover of the bodily sensations that only lovers can give unto you. I’m finally seeing her in all of her aspects: a lady of magic, a lady of childbirth, a lady of motherhood, and a lady of sexual love. And while this last epithet still leaves me shaken and uncertain, worried and forelorn, it is the rest that I must begin to focus on. I am a mother. I am researching magic. Yes, I am a broken sexual being who needs to get off her ass and finally get to the point where an orgasm doesn’t bring tears of pain, I cannot look there yet.

I’m just not ready.

So, with Hetharu walking beside me, I turn away from the painful bits. I walk beside her and feel her hand upon my shoulder as I pull out my Tarot cards for glimpses of futures unknown. I feel her gentle tugging upon my hand as I open up books and websites based on hearthcraft. I feel her laughter when I discover something new and interesting about myself that pertains to motherhood, home, and magic. Hetharu, to me, is no longer a simple aspect of sex and sensuality. She is a multifaceted woman, just as I am and just as any other woman who may read this is. She is many things and I walk beside her on this ever-changing, mystically bewildered spiritual turnpike.

* Sister-self is my interpretation of syncretism that exists in the ancient Egyptian pantheon.

Fallow Isn’t Just About Fields and Dreams (PBP).

A while back, I wrote a post about what it’s like to have times without the gods [seemingly] walking beside you. I wrote the post because I had noticed that a lot of people, recently, were beginning to come out of their shells. It was like, all at once, the gods had taken a great big hiatus and we were all feeling the solitude that this had caused. The reason I, initially, wrote the post was because I was saddened and upset by the fact that (A) there doesn’t seem to be a lot of chatter about the quiet times with our gods, (B) so many people were entering depressive phases because of said quiet time and (C) I had figured some basic things out about it, so why not share? I’m not a teacher, by any stretch of the imagination, but if I have some insight, I should be willing to share it.

I can’t hear my gods; what is happening to me?
It’s pretty common to start freaking the hell out when you suddenly realize that you’ve been tootling along in your life and all of a sudden, your OTHERS™ seem to be having a party without you or they took a leave of absence and just didn’t bother to mention it before heading out for their vacation. It’s one of those times where you look around and it hits you, maybe like lightning. In my case, it took me months to figure it the hell out. I had been so into the whole “just keep swimming” metaphor with my life that I had been plugging away at my daily offerings for months before I realized that Sekhmet wasn’t responding and neither was Hetharu.

It left me feeling uncertain and shaky, in all honesty.

But, after a while, I decided that I had to name this shit. It wasn’t just that they were all on vacation and I was left at home, continuing the good fight or just be-bopping along. It was more to it than just a little time where the OTHERS™ were incommunicado because it ended up going on for months and months before I finally zapped out of it. I ended up naming it “The Fallow Times” some time later. Since then, I think the name has both caught on (I’ve seen others use it!) and more than adequately describes those moments in time, from hours to months, when everything you had been doing for/with your gods is put to the test: To do or not to do while they’re away, more or less.

All in all, my definition of the Fallow Times is taken right out of the dictionary. The definition I chose for this was “not in use; inactive.” (And just because I like to inform others, fallow is also a color.) The concept is similar to the concept of shifting cultivation in which a farmer uses a plot of land for a while (it looks to be a two to three years, maybe) before moving on to another section of land to start farming that. And even though the farmers leave that land for a bit (or in this case, the OTHERS™), they do eventually come back.

I don’t understand; why is this happening?
I’ve thought long and hard about the why of this. In trying to figure it out, I’ve done some research. I’ve looked into my past entries about my particular Fallow Times, as well as gone back to read others’ experiences with the Fallow Times. I’ve also started various entries on the forum I belong to (The Cauldron) as well as read through the various entries about crises of faith. In looking through what data I’ve been able to cull, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no single reason that this happens to any of us. We’re all too varied as people, with different upbringings and beliefs, with varying practices and backgrounds for there to be a single answer to this. What I think is causing my block might not be the same as what you think is blocking you.

The thing is, after careful consideration and a lot of reading, I have come up with five possible explanations.

  1. Simply put, it’s the mundane overpowering the spiritual.
  2. The gods are busy.
  3. We want it so badly, we block ourselves.
  4. It’s a test.
  5. There’s a problem.

The first is, I think, possibly the most common. It’s that moment in time where the things that we do with our lives end up overpowering our spiritual lives. In effect, it’s our will to focus on home, school, work, family, moving, worries, etc. that causes this blockage in the first place. The thing that I’ve realized after having this happen to me on a few occasions is that it isn’t just an act of sacrificing the spiritual world that we are crafting for ourselves, although sometimes, that can be the case. I think it’s actually something that we don’t realize we’re doing until it’s well in the midst of happening. And what I’ve come to find is that once you realize that you’ve been so focused on the real world and real world problems, you end up depressed. This, I’ve theorized, is due to the possibility of endorphins being released when we worship, pray, do magic, meditate, etc. Whatever parts of the spiritual and religious world that we live in, we start to ignore and those parts end up fucking up our minds’ basic chemistry. So, on top of already having the stressors of reality barging in, we also get the stress of being depressed. It’s cyclical and I can safely attest really damn hard to stop, but there will come a time (after lots of patience and irritation and anger, but mostly patience) when the blocks fall away and the OTHERS™ come back.

The second reasoning may sound a little weird or silly, but it’s something that also has to be taken into consideration. The OTHERS™ don’t just focus on us, our wants and needs and desires, but they have other followers in the world to focus on, as well. There’s no telling of the OTHERS™ can be considered omniscient or omnipotent and with that thought in mind, we have to consider the thought that they can only focus on so many of us at any given moment. Another reason, I think, that “they’re busy” is an adequate reason is because maybe, they need to take a break. We can’t assume that they don’t need to sleep or eat or take a vacation like we do. We are, after all, created in their image, are we not? And just as we need solace or silence to get through things or to work through things, so too, maybe do they.

Recently, another aspect of this theory was brought to my attention. It mentioned that at certain times of the year, there are some gods that are incommunicado. In this, I’m thinking of people who can’t commune with the Cailleach during the summer or get in touch with Persephone in the winter time. Certain aspects of our gods may, too, play a large part in why they aren’t around when we think we need them most. From personal experience, I can safely attest that I find it harder and harder to feel/hear Sekhmet during the winter months, when the sun is weaker than it would be in the summer. As the Eye of Re and a solar deity, this stands to reason. The same model can be placed next to other deities who have certain aspects of themselves that are seasonal in nature. So, maybe it’s not just a matter of taking a break from the world that we live in, but also a time for them to visit their husbands or being less-than-thrilled with a specific season.

My third reasoning behind the Fallow Times is actually a new one. This is a kind of work-in-progress and only recently came to mind. It actually came to me after having read through a few threads on TC about crises of faith. The reason is a kind of “mind over matter” aspect. It’s actually a little weird and I hope to the gods that I can explain it right.

What I’ve learned is that sometimes, we want something so much that we make it next-to-impossible for it to happen. I’ve come to see this happening more and more often when it comes to new pagans who are seeking out patrons. (Maybe one day, I’ll go on about patrons… maybe for a P entry!) But, it’s also possible that we, as “experienced” pagans, want to have the relationship so badly that we also block ourselves. It’s a matter of trying to balance, I think. When it comes to the more new pagans, they’re just so interested in the prospect of having a god pay attention to them and they want the type of relationships that we have that they are scatter-brained in looking for said patron. They’re all over the place. And sometimes, we, as older pagans, can act in similar fashion, but maybe it’s also because we’re so used to the communication that in not having it makes us panic and freak out. It makes it so that our desire overpowers our experience. (I hope to the gods that made sense. Please, someone, if it didn’t, let me know. Or explain it better?)

The fourth is one reason that I hate to have to expound upon, but I think it’s also valid. This is the one where I mentioned that I think it could be a test. It is shit and it sucks that we have to go through these tests, but they’re important for the path that we are on, the OTHERS™ that we follow, as well as to the very core of our pagan paths. It’s a test to see how far we are willing to go with this path. It’s a test to see if we really mean that we want to be dedicated. It’s similar, I feel, to this: How much bullshit are you willing to put up with when it’s your significant other? We can apply this question to the relationships we cultivate with the gods. I’m not saying that the Fallow Times are bullshit, per se, but I can tell you that it sure feels that way when you’re in the middle of them.

What I’m trying to get at, though, is that these tests are important to our faith, in both ourselves as well as our religious practices. It is these moments that prep us for what is to come.

The fifth, I feel, falls into the “worst case scenario” category. (First, I’d like to say thanks Dver, from a Forest Door for saying so in my previous Fallow Times post.) It was actually because of Dver that this even made it onto my list since she suggested it. Her words were: “The only caveat would be that sometimes there is something actually wrong which is causing the fallow times, something which needs to be addressed, and so divination might be in order if it’s going on for a long time or seems unusual.” Since I’ve never actually had something actually be wrong that’s why this has never made it to my list of options before. But now that she’s mentioned it, it does seem to make a bit of sense.

And by “something wrong…” There are so many different possibilities that fall into this category that they really are too numerous to name. I can think clearly that it could be a possibility of an OTHER™ moving on after having given you all that they feel they could. It could be an OTHER™ moving on because they were merely a space holder for another one to come on in. (I recently read of a woman’s experience on TC in which this was the case. I find that fascinating and oh-so-intriguing when it comes to the interpersonal relationships of various deities!) It could, in fact, be that the patron you had chosen for yourself wasn’t ever meant to be yours. In cases of the last, I’ll mention that if this is the case, the OTHER™ in question is more likely to give you hints and pushes about that before you get sucked into the Fallow Times.

However say that any of these reasons are a possibility and you’ve fallen into the “worst case scenario.” Then, you know what tends to happen? You fall ever deeper in the Fallow Times. Buck up, though, because I’ve got some advice.

So, what do I do?
The first bit of advice in this arena that I have is to have patience. This is something that, if you join the forum I referenced here, you’ll find me saying a lot of the time. Recently, someone on that forum was having issues with a patron who had done a disappearing act. They were questioning if this particular OTHER™ was ever supposed to be their patron. (Again, I will have to write a post about patrons and finding.) I linked them to the Fallow Times and I explained that the best advice anyone can give is to simply have patience. Patience is one of those aspects of ourselves that we need to cultivate, but it’s an exceptionally useful skill. It gets you through times like these, when your OTHERS™ are missing, but it also gets you through the crap you’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis. So, first and foremost: Patience.

The second piece of advice is something that I’ve come to learn isn’t necessary, but should be thought of in-depth before a decision is made. What I’m trying to say is that, when you’re feeling like there isn’t much point to the worship and craft that you’ve been doing for the OTHERS™, sometimes you have to keep at it. Dver made a comment on my last post when I used the word “just” prior to the words “plugging away.” She mentioned, “though I’d say it’s not really ‘just’ going through the motions anyway, since the gods/spirits still get something out of your practices even if you don’t (because it’s not always about us), and because doing the practices IS the work and will create the feelings over time.” This was a thought that I had never considered, which would explain why I didn’t bother taking my advice during any of my Fallow Times.

But she raises a very valid point, which is why I linked the entry she mentioned. She’s right that the act of worship and crafting that we do in the name of our gods isn’t just about us and the connections that we forge therein. It’s also a matter of giving to the gods. As she said, “it’s not always about us.” And that, I think, is one of the things that we have the hardest time realizing when it comes to our personal practices. Yes, it gives a feeling of goodness and wholeness, but we’re also giving similarly to the gods. And maybe, just maybe, they need those feelings just as much as we do.

Plugging away, though, at whatever aspects of your practice that you did is exceptional. It shows fortitude and it shows a willing commitment. This aspect is important, especially if the reason behind the Fallow Times is due to a test of sorts.

But, what if the reason I’m here is because the OTHER™ left?
This is a good question; what do you do if the OTHER&trade in question has left? As I mentioned in my reasons area, the last possibility of the Fallow Times tends to be the case of there actually being something wrong. I mentioned a few reasons as to (what I could see) be possibilities. So, how do you “plug away” if the god in question is gone? What do you do then? Maybe the idea of “plugging away” isn’t possible now because, well, who do you worship now?

In this respect, I have to say that continuing with your studies would be a good idea. So, the OTHER™ that you wanted as your patron isn’t around anymore and no one else is stepping forward. Maybe, you should start looking into new areas to study, such as Feri, other forms of polytheism, witchcraft, etc. Another possibility is setting up a no-one-lives-here altar and just going through the motions anyway. You can focus more on fairies and wights and spirits instead of the gods. You can focus on the dead. At that point, all I can say is that you have so many different manner of possibilities open before you that any single possibility could, indeed, lead you to the thing you want most.

I’m so alone.
No, not really. The fact that I’ve had to write this entry should be proof enough that you are not alone in this. The reason a lot of us think that we are can be because we don’t know a lot of other pagans to speak to about this or maybe, we don’t read enough blogs to have found another pagan who is willing to write about it. Also, it seems that the Fallow Times is so not discussed because it’s like a deep, dark secret. To me, that’s ridiculous. How are people supposed to learn that having quiet time from their OTHERS™ is pretty damn normal if they don’t read about it? Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that just because you are going through this pain and hurt doesn’t mean that no one else is.

Relevant Posts