Festival of the Beautiful Reunion 2020.

According to Barbara Watterson in The House of Horus at Edfu, the Dendera preparations for the Beautiful Reunion began two weeks before the New Moon in the third month of Summer. Ceremonies were conducted and Hathor was carried out of her temple to begin her two week journey to Edfu. Installed in her barque by the priests, she would be towed on the river and thus the Reunion begins.

In Hathor: A Reintroduction to an Ancient Egyptian Goddess by Lesley Jackson, she details a four-day journey from Dendera to Edfu. The barque of Hathor, named Mistress of Love, bids farewell to her home and sales to Edfu, making stops at three different temple precincts along the way before she meets with our Horus of Edfu at Wesetjet-Hor on the fourth day. The shortened length of the journey makes more sense since Edfu and Dendera are only a little more than 100 miles apart.

The discrepancies in timelines makes sense if you’ve read The Ancient Egyptian Daybook by Tamara Suida. She highlights the differences in timelines in her blurb on the Beautiful Reunion. For those following the Edfu calendar, the trip from Dendera to Edfu takes about 13/14 days. For those following along with the Dendera calendar, the trip takes 4 days.

I came into contact with the 4-day journey calendar from Dendera long before I found references of a longer journey in the Edfu calendar, which is why I follow a 4-day sail-a-thon. But when we are recreating and celebrating this holiday, the length of the journey matters not at all. The focus should be on the purpose of the reunion – the celebration and reunion of two lovers separated each year, the fertility of the harvests, and the sacred marriage that makes those harvests fertile – and not the length of the recreated trip down our imagined Niles.

I start preparing myself and my home for this particular festival two to four weeks out. There are a handful of long-lasting festivals that have a premier importance in my calendar and this is one of them. I always want things to go smoothly and be able to come away with a feeling of pride in a job well done. My relationship with Heru-Wer feeds into both of those feelings and I feel as if I am consistently trying to outdo myself each year I celebrate the Reunion.

But this year is a little different with everything else changing within my personal practice. This year is less about how fulfilled I feel at the end of it all or how pleased the gods are with my endeavors. While both are important, this year is about an established set of rules to follow from here until eternity, a unification of the local cultus push and the religious practice I need to incorporate more readily into it. So, to meet all of these expectations I’ve set for myself, I actually began planning everything about 6 weeks out.

A month ago, I began taking stock in my yard and what plants the previous owners had tried to grow here. Growth at the front of the house is a little more sustainable; fewer chipmunks up there and more sunlight. Growth at the back of the house is possible though more difficult as that’s where the chipmunks and rabbits live. The backyard gives off to a small forested area and a bog to the side of the house, so sunlight is harder to come by and the backyard is wetter than the front. The plants in the back have come up as best they could (attempts at tulips, iris, and hosta) but they’ve stagnated and no buds appeared.

My mother-in-law is a plant guru who speaks the language of plants. (We’re ignoring the patch of 2×3 in her backyard that refuses to grow grass no matter what.) To me, this is a mysterious magic as I’ve managed to kill all the plants people claim you can’t kill. With her help, and her greenhouse, she picked me up a fair mix of plants and vegetables so I can start the eventual garden in my yard. I have them on my kitchen table, have read the tags so I know what they are, and this weekend I intend on getting them into dirt and soil. Hopefully, I don’t kill them all on their way in because that would definitely put a damper on the fertility aspect of this holiday.

Plants have never really been my jam, though not for lack of trying. But since Osiris has pushed for plants and planting, it only seems right that I’d develop a similar association with the Festival of the Beautiful Reunion.

The rest of my preparations began this past week with my habit of compulsive list making – a tribute or curse from my mother’s side of the family. The lists start out small: dates, associations or work to be done on those dates. But they eventually grow out and get bigger and bigger until I have pages of hodgepodge notes in my crib notes notebook relative to the who, the what, the when, and the how.

And my final preparation this week is to start on the ritual writing. I hate writing them almost as much as I hate performing them. But something this year requires that touch more. Maybe it’s the unspoken belief that this year will establish further things down the road – an anchor of sorts – or perhaps it’s the overall change in my religious practice making itself felt here for the first time after 5 years of ritual-less Reunion celebrations.

No matter the reason for rituals this year, I have begun the work in earnest. This had proven difficult, far more than the list of things to purchase for the holiday or the list of plants or notes or offerings, because I am a bit of a perfectionist. (Surprising, no?) I want these rituals to be great from the get-go, something to inspire not just me but others too. It’s slow going and I need to dedicate more time to the efforts to ensure I meet my timeframe.

Barbara Watterson has a very limited chapter on the Festival of the Beautiful Reunion in her book, The House of Horus at Edfu. I remember being distinctly unhappy with the book in total (it didn’t give me as much detail on Edfu and Heru-Wer as I was hoping for), but I thought it odd that she didn’t dedicate more than a handful of pages to such an important festival. Maybe it was simply because the Ptolemaic inscriptions didn’t provide as much detail, or she wasn’t as interested in getting down what was found on the Beautiful Reunion. Whatever the case, the interesting part in her chapter on the holiday is that she ascribes it less as a celebration of fertility and sacred marriage, and more an homage to the ancient ancestors of Edfu.

The ancestors total nine in number and all were giants who died and were mummified in Edfu. My research for this holiday did show a day where Hathor and Heru-Wer were taken to the Necropolis of Edfu to pay homage to the ancestors, though not for longer than the one day. Watterson indicates that the Reunion festival was merged in a way with the Festival of Behdet (where the ancestors were libated and given offerings) as well as the Harvest Festival. According to her book, the sacred marriage aspect totaled two days of celebrations, followed by a handful related to the ancestors, and finally Harvest rites before Hathor heads back to Dendera two weeks later.

Jackson’s blurb on the Reunion, while also not as long as I could hope, lines up a little more with my personal calendar of events than Watterson’s version. The discussion in Suida’s Daybook correlates more closely with Watterson.

So, which one is the right one?

Since I compiled my calendar and holidays prior to having the access I do now to those books, I had to finagle things based on the materials I had access to at the time as well as what felt right to me. The below list for this year’s Reunion are what I have used throughout the years and will continue to use going forward:

  • Preparations to Depart Dendera (June 16th)
  • Travel and Arrival at Isrw/Renewal of the Earth (June 17th)
  • Travel and Arrival at Per Mer/ Renewal of the Earth (June 18th)
  • Travel and Arrival at Hierakonpolis/ Renewal of the Earth (?) (June 19th)
  • Travel and Arrival at Wetjeset-Hor (June 20th)
  • Celebrations for Safe Arrival (June 21st)
  • They Have Arrived in the Presence of Ra (June 22nd)
  • They Give Offerings in the Necropolis (June 23rd)
  • Marriage/ Harvest Celebrations (June 24th – July 5th)

I included the dates for my holiday timeline in case anyone doesn’t want to figure that out and wants to join in.

Can anyone else hear the ticking of a clock?

I almost always do, no matter what’s happening, as if my internal, anxiety-ridden clock must always be heard. It’s louder than usual as if to say that my time is getting infinitely shorter. It’s nerve-wracking, as it always is, but at least the clock is ticking for something other than an imaginary timeline.

Aside from two or three items that I still need to try and get my hands on, the feast ingredients for each day, the only thing truly left to me is ritual writing. A less-than-favored pastime made doubly unwelcome because everything I write looks or sounds terrible. But perhaps I can overcome that as I continue to hear the clock ticking…

Glitter of Sunlight Upon the Dew.

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

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


Inspiration (Image by DigiDi.)

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

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

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

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

Unapologetic perfection.

soul on a sunbeam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Prayers (Image by Xerones.)

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

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

I do not pray.

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

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

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

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

On the Periphery.

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

Day 188: Gleaming Peripheral Glimpse

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleaned up seams

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Exploration in Love.

I have had a long, hard road with Hetheru for as long as she has been in my life. I can remember the day I felt that she was calling out to me for the first time and I can remember the sheer, stark terror at the thought. I have my reasons for why those feelings emerged at the call of a second goddess – none of which have, really, to do with being called by another deity and all to do with whom the deity in question happens to be a goddess of – but they are issues that I’ve had from the get-go. Throughout our entire relationship, I have attempted to prevent myself from shunting her to the side and to stop myself from forgetting that gods have layers. Hetheru isn’t just the titles that can still incite panic attacks in me – Lady of the Vulva; Lady of the Uterus; the Beautiful One Whose Attire is Attractive; etc. As can be clearly seen here, there are a hell of a lot more epithets than the few that make me panic and rage internally about working with her. However, I continue to have issues with the fact that just looking at her statue can make my breathing a little more rapid, sweat break out across my brow, and an unwavering desire to hide in a tiny closet for a while.

The current incarnation of the hearth-and-home based altar of Hetheru.

The current incarnation of the hearth-and-home based altar of Hetheru.

As time has gone by, and the years have passed, I have spent a lot of my time treading lightly wherever Hetheru is concerned. I have continued my daily devotions so that when I was ready, I could go back to her. But, I pretty much just assumed I would never get to the place where she was hoping I would be, where Sekhmet was hoping I would be. Thing is that I have continued to move forward with the knowledge that, one day maybe, things would work out between us to a satisfactory conclusion. What I didn’t take into consideration was just how difficult all of this was bound to be. It’s ridiculous and silly, admitting that. I have spent literal years ignoring her, shunting her to the side, maneuvering around her as though walking on eggshells, but it never really occurred to me just what sort of difficulties I could expect to face when I finally got to the point where I could admit that, as a deity of the hearth and home, she’s fine, but there are other aspects of hers that I should also honor and pay attention to.

Since our exploration in beauty together, Hetheru has been a rather large presence in my life. The switch from deities has thrown me for a loop, a little bit. As a hard polytheist, I distinguish the syncretic deities by different color associations to differentiate. When I astral with them, Sekhmet is always wearing a red linen, form-fitting sheath whereas Hetheru will wear a white and pink loose sheath. When I feel their presence around me, I see Sekhmet as a hazy cloud of red and when I see Hetheru, I see a hazy cloud of pink-and-white. This differentiation has helped me to distinguish who it is that is “in my head” as well as to better let me know when they’re “wearing one another’s hats,” or syncretizing. (This all sounds crazy and I’m terribly sorry. I’m usually much better with words, making it seem like I’m less crazy than I literally am.) In the last six weeks, I have felt nothing but cushioned by a sweet-smelling pink-and-white cloud. In some instances, it’s almost like I’m drowning in it. In other instances, it’s more like a whisper in my ear. It’s definitely a change from the norm in my life and it’s an ever-present reminder that I have a deity who has taken back seat for three years and is now, seemingly, no longer willing to do so.

I turned, out of need, to Hetheru during Memorial Day weekend when things went exceedingly sour between TH and me. It’s a long story and it’s really not important to the story. All that matters is that he moved out, and it hurt. The problem I kept foreseeing was a little known card reading I had done between the two of us many years ago. During that reading, I foresaw the issues. I saw the possibilities of our futures, both with and without one another. And because the reading was exceedingly negative, I was pretty sure that things were just completely over between us. When TH came back and said that he loved me and wanted to be with me for the simple fact that he loved me for who I am, what I do, what I look like, and everything in between, I turned to Hetheru and said, “I don’t know what to do with this.” This started our lesson plan, our discussion about love, and all of the various items it actually entails.

The lesson plan started off small.

I have exceptionally awful self-esteem. I’ve written about it on my personal blog and I’ve inferred it all over the place. When I look in the mirror at my face, I see the sum total of every Google image search for “the ugliest person in the world.” If you then multiply some of those photos by 20, you may actually get what I feel and think I see when I look at myself. With TH’s admission that he loved me for how I looked, I was floored and nervous. I am guilty of spending quite a while staring at my reflection in the mirror and saying, “You are the most hideous piece of shit this planet has ever wasted space with.” (The worst part is that, during those moments, I have usually gone in there to do some power mantra about how awesome and beautiful I am. As I’ve said, I have some severe issues here.) No matter what I have attempted to make myself seem more pleasing to myself, I have utterly failed: make up, hair styles, positive comments, etc. I know that I can look as perfectly coiffed and wonderful as the women on television and in the movies – and I can do so rather well – but I will always come back to feeling like I am some scared, ugly piece of shit whom no one could ever love for anything about them.

What makes this utterly worse is that I am overweight. While I often say that the body mass index is a load of shit, and I still kind of believe that, I actually fall into the “overweight” category. It doesn’t affect my health. It doesn’t really do anything except to make my self-esteem that much worse. I’m not a fan of dieting – not just because I have no control over myself when cupcakes and cookies enter the mix – and I always feel ten times worse about myself when I attempt to work out. It’s really just a byproduct of having done that “miracle” thing of carrying another human being for nine months. I can remember the days when I was barely one hundred and ten pounds, complaining about my weight. And I can remember the days, still complaining about how fat I must be, when I put on a healthy twenty more pounds. And then, I got pregnant and I’ve kept a lot of the weight that those days added. And as I dry off after a shower, I try not to look at the body I am saddled with, feeling so piss-poor about myself that even the thought of going back to zumba or joining a gym makes me cry from the horror of other people realizing just how grotesque I actually am.

The lesson plan started with how I had to admit, at least once a day, that I am an awesome and spectacular human being.

Another part of the lesson plan had to do with derailing the general discomfiture when TH mentions how much he loves my body. As I’ve indicated, I have absolutely no love of the shell that my soul inhabits. Whenever I wriggle with the need to hide at TH’s voluminous outpouring of sentiment regarding any aspect of my body that I find disdainful – of which there are many – I have to attempt to internalize what he says. And there are days where this lesson has worked to my advantage.

I find myself singing and dancing in the car now, more so than normal, with the knowledge that there is a man who loves my body for what it is. Previous relationships were adventurous and interesting and many of those men claimed they enjoyed and loved my body. While I have to admit that in many of those relationships, I was nowhere near as large as I am today, I never actually felt that was a real possibility. There was always the nagging belief that if I ever got fat, which was always a possibility due to genetics, they would leave. I don’t have to worry overmuch with TH regarding that being the reason. We may have our faults, but his love and worship over my physical stature is true. (The cards I’ve pulled repeatedly regarding our relationship confirm, at least. So, I guess we can say that this is kind of confirmed personal gnosis of sorts.) And there are days where the knowledge can incite me to ecstatic dancing, ecstatic singing, and an over all appreciation of everything around me.

It’s a step, at least, in the right direction.

Another step in this direction, at Hetheru’s direction, has been to post pictures, occasionally, in the sexy pagan Friday tag that has been going around on Tumblr. I don’t really know where or how this started. However, the fact that it started in league with the attempted lessons Hetheru was trying to instruct me in was fairly precipitous. And while she has explained that I don’t have to post every week and she has explained that I don’t even have to make the picture particularly alluring, I have begun to try to incorporate the kinds words that others have said about me. Just this past Friday, a fellow Sekhmet kid she loved my hair. (Thanks!) And another Sekhmet kid said I had a pretty face. (Thanks!) I may not have fully incorporated or internalized the kind words these two lovely ladies have said to me, but I am beginning to at least be able to say, “There are people who like things about me.” As much as the kind replies have helped to boost my self-esteem, there is something even more exciting about the comments that TH has said to me.

I have found, oddly enough, that with the knowledge that someone cares about my body that I have found myself thinking more positively about myself. It’s probably a little sick and twisted that the knowledge of someone else caring about my physical stature should impact how I feel and think about myself. But, there is something incredibly sultry about knowing that someone is willing to kiss all of your parts and to assist you with your beauty regiment if the need would arise. (Do you really think it’s possible to shave your legs when you have a nine-month belly? No. It is not. Not only did TH assist me with leg shaving, but he also assisted in me in shaving other parts as well. [I had a traumatic experience with 70s bush a few years ago and I have kept my trimmed ever since.]) There is something heady and inebriating about the fact that TH is willing to see me in all of my glory and all of my deprecation. And this has absolutely and completely given me a boost that I never knew I actually needed.

It was Hetheru, really, who explained to me that I needed to hear these things on a regular basis. I had spent so many days and so many nights living in the horror of my own head that I began to believe every aspect of those horrors. I began to believe, truly and honestly believe, that I was everything I thought myself to be, which was not good enough, not perfect enough, not beautiful enough to be loved or wanted. And she explained to me that I needed to hear that good things could come to me, that I deserved good things, and that, frankly, I needed to stop living in the snarl of my own head.

“You have lived for so long believing every word your mind has come up with to describe you that you cannot even begin to see that you are a human being. You are everything that a human being is, but you think that you are actually less than a real human being. You have spent so much time living in the tiny, little box that you invented for yourself. This box is a cloister for all of your self hate and self loathing. You are not the sum total of the things you have decided you are. You are the sum total of your love, both for yourself and for others and for the causes that speak to you. You are the sum total of the lesson of beauty that we had together. And you are the sum total of the gods’ love. You are alive. You are worth everything that you say others are worth.

“You are so sweet. You are so kind. You are so congratulatory. You are so into boosting others’ self esteem. You are the positive influence in many peoples’ lives and you forget this. You forget the power of your heka when you tell your friends that they are worth every hurdle someone else has to go through in order to be with them. You forget the power that you wield with each act of kindness, with each sweetness, and with each moment that you infuse your friends with your care and your time and your spoons. You are all of these things and you forget that you deserve to be the recipient of every word you have ever given to your friends.

“You are worth it just as clearly as everyone else.”

And this is something that I need to remind myself. With the constancy of TH’s presence and his ability to make me feel loved, sometimes, I can hear her voice in my head, reminding me that I am worth all of the attention. She tells me that not only am I worth all of the attention that he lavishes on me, but I am worth every sweet caress, every tender kiss, and every positive reinforcement. I am not just worth it because someone loves me for me, the ugliness that I think I have and the body that I wish I didn’t have, but because I am a human being who is worth every ounce of respect that I should be garnished with. And that respect isn’t just based on what other people think about me and what other people feel towards me, but also the respect one gains from the love they give themselves.

It’s a lesson a long time coming, but at least it is finally begun.

An Exploration in Beauty.

Yesterday morning, I got to explore all types of beauty while driving to work.

Some days, I spend my drives to work marveling about things or having deep, philosophical conversations with my gods. On other days, I just ignore everything while I focus a little too much on the fact that I am driving. Yesterday, I chose to focus on the fact that Hetheru is in my life and more often than not, I don’t know why. I know the original reason, but she has stuck around through all of my sobbing, whining, and refusing to do what she wanted of me (and doing it anyway under the mantle of her sister-self, Sekhmet). But she is the complete antithesis to who I am, honestly. She collects things and they’re not like two or three bookcases of books or sets of divination cards out the wazoo. She collects things like beauty products, and sparkly rocks, and seashells. None of these things, if you look at me or even know me, are things that would even remotely equate to who I am, in any form. So, why does she hang around? What’s the point?

While mulling over the fact that I have a main deity in my life who has never really, overtly, explained why she’s here, I began catching flickers of color from the corner of my eyes. No big deal – I was driving and most of the area that I was driving through is flush with spring’s first blush. However, green and white and pink do not equate to gold and red. So, as I turned my head to glance into my passenger seat, thinking I was going crazy, there was a goddess sitting there. She stared at me with gentle eyes and she was… breath-taking. It was as though I was looking at that man who got kicked out of that Middle Eastern country for being too beautiful? Only instead of a male body, it was a female body. And she was wearing a white, thin sheath with golden bangles down her wrist that clacked together when she moved her wrist.

And her movements… they were every ounce of grace that I had ever seen in ballet performances. She moved with an economical intent, making sure that each movement of her arm or positioning of her body was bringing her more and more fully into focus. As I kept glancing over to see her, I couldn’t help but realize just how beautiful she actually was. I had envisioned a perfect paradigm of earthly and unearthly beauty, but I was getting something that tugged at heart-strings and made me feel oh, so inadequate. With each second she was in my car, she shimmered from corporeal to thought-form and back again. I was pretty sure I was crazy, so it stood to reason that she would start talking.

“You’re beautiful, too, you know,” she says softly. Her bangles slide up and down her arm as she reaches out to touch my forearm.

I glance down at the paunch leftovers of bearing a child and of not bothering to work out, of eating what I want, and usually not caring. “I hardly think we could both be classified as beautiful. You are the epitome therein. I am just… something that generally alludes to a feminine splendor that doesn’t deliver and you are the actuality of that splendor.”

She giggles. “You are beautiful. You bear the hallmark, the badges of creating life and bringing it into this world.”

I touch that paunch and think about the nine months of horror and of joy at having my son growing in there. I think about the days when his kicking and tumbling about were the most exciting things in the world. I think back to the bitchiness and grouch of demanding him out every five minutes in the last month. “Being a mom… that’s not beauty. Butterflies are beautiful. Flowers are beautiful.”

“You are wrong. You are beautiful because you are a mom. You are beautiful because you wear the badges of honor for being a mom.” I mull that over for a minute while she says, “And you are beautiful because you are human. All humans are beautiful.”

“Hardly,” I retort.

“If they have a heart, then they are beautiful,” she says.

I thought about this statement for a long while. What was it about humans that could equate them all to being beautiful, no matter the outer shell they reside within, if they had a heart? By her statement, one could assume that no matter the doings that may stain that heart, then a human was still beautiful. Or, maybe it was because we were given free will to preserve a heart that does not weigh more than the feather of ma’at, then we are beautiful because of that? I honestly tried to pick the meaning. Was it just because I had a heart that made me beautiful? Or was it because I could make decisions to preserve the perfection of that heart so that the feather weighs as much as my ib?

In all honesty, such philosophical tripe isn’t normally my repertoire as I drive the forty-five minutes to work in the morning. But, Hetheru – and the other netjer, to be honest – have this habit of forcing your mind outside of its usual trappings. Instead of mulling over what to make for dinner when I got home and what my first plan (that never ends up happening) to get moving on when I got to work, I was trying to figure out what it was about humans having a heart that made them all beautiful. In a manner of speaking, I got it. It was a message of not paying attention to what’s on the outside, but what is on the inside. But, she was saying all humans and not all of them were nice people with good hearts.

Then again, maybe she didn’t think those kinds of people even had hearts anymore.

Or, maybe, once a human being stains their heart with a failure to live in ma’at, they are forfeit in her thought processes.

I went back to the whole being beautiful because we had hearts thing, trying to figure out what it was about my heart that made me beautiful. Or what it was about Joe Blow’s heart that would make him beautiful.

“You’re over-thinking this,” she says to me, finally. She breaks my concentration with her words. She points to a man in the distance. He wears a day-glo green shirt as he rides a mower, doing his job in the morning sunlight. “He is beautiful. Now tell me why.”

I had no clue. I had no idea why a man, mowing a lawn and doing his job, was beautiful.

“He is providing. Providing for oneself and one family – that is beautiful.”

If I was reading into this conversation correctly, then she was telling me that what we do because of our hearts is what makes us beautiful.

“You’re still over-thinking this,” she says. Sighing, she turns to look out into the world around us. We are driving down past the correctional facility. There is a giant, barren field of grass on the right and the soccer field the man is mowing on our left. She points at the barren field, “That is beautiful, too. It has a heart and it is beautiful.”

“All nature is beautiful – wild or ordered,” I reply, on much firmer ground here.

“That building is beautiful,” she says to me. It is the face of a mechanic. It is brown with white lettering. There are cars littering the front parking lot and the sign out front is in some need of repair. It is quaint, to me, more than beautiful but I love architecture – all kinds. I am on even firmer ground here. I agree that architecture and that building is beautiful. Smiling, she points to a yellow sign. “That sign is beautiful.”

I am tempted to stop the car, but I do not. The sign is that glittery yellow they use for road signs. In the center of it, there is a man on a horse. A forewarning that we are entering a countryside where people own horses and ride them in public places. “That sign is beautiful because… why?”

“Humans made it with a purpose. That purpose was for good – they wanted to let people know that there were horses and riders in the area and to be aware so that no harm will come to anyone. That purpose is a good purpose. That sign is beautiful.”

Driving further down the road, I started to look for things that she would tell me were beautiful. It was easy to pick out things that were obvious. The over-sized rocks in the middle of people’s lawns, placed in a carefully manicured subplot were beautiful. Someone had taken the time and energy and forethought to work that rock, either because it was already there or with its being placed their intentionally, to landscape their front yard. Not only was the pattern of the red and green plants surrounding it beautiful, but the person who had worked on that project was beautiful. Whether it was the homeowners themselves or a professional landscape artist who had done it, it didn’t matter. They had worked something beautiful into the world with their intention and that was beautiful.

But, I was putting off the inevitable. The inevitable was that I would have to start finding things that didn’t seem to go hand-in-hand with beauty to make my goddess happy. She didn’t just want me to think about nature as being beautiful, though I do strongly ascribe to the principle that all nature – both ugly and clean, both ordered and chaotic – is beautiful. She wanted me to think outside of that beauty box like she had with her horse riding sign.

I began really looking. I looked at the street lights coming up a they switched from red to green. I continued driving at my speed as I tried to find a reason why those lights were beautiful. In same vein to the road sign with the rider on it, they were beautiful because human beings had made them with the intent of keeping the rest of humanity safe. Along the same lines, I could assume that the cars we were all driving, with their pollution and their break downs and their flats and their loud mufflers and their talking-on-cell-phones-illegally drivers, were all beautiful, too.

“But that’s a little different,” she says. “Humans create things to make their lives easier. They made the wheel to help transport things more easily. That is beauty, too, but cars aren’t just beautiful because of the assembly line someone made in Detroit for that car. They are beautiful because they have a heart, too. Just like you and me and your son and the dog, just like the trees and the flowers and the clouds. Everything has a little bit of a heart in it but a car’s heart is part the car and part the human who loves it.”

We were discussing animism, I was pretty sure. There’s been a sudden burst in urban paganism lately, on Tumblr, so I was passingly familiar with this. It was after reading Zenith’s entry about cars that really nailed home for me the types of personalities each person can have with their electronic items. And I knew the personality of my car – Olga – even prior to reading that entry. (It was only after that entry that I began paying attention to the personalities associated with my laptop and my tablet.) And since I had no doubt about the personality of my car – old, tired, doggedly attempting to keep up her fighting weight – it stood to reason that every other car on the road would have a type of personality, too.

And those personalities could be part owner and part the car’s own.

On firmer ground, I was able to tell Hetheru about how and why Olga was beautiful. In same vein, I was able to explain why Dell, my aging laptop who has the same dogged personality as my car, is beautiful. (What? I’m not so original with naming my electronics – sorry.) I was able to explain why all the cars on the road were beautiful. I was able to point out what made them beautiful and what made them unique. I was getting into the exercise of this exploration on beauty. I was able to give her satisfactory answers and I was able to point out houses, signs, 18-wheelers, and depict why they were beautiful in the eyes of this goddess.

She smiled with each passing answer, pleased that I was finally getting the hang of what she was trying to teach me.

“You are beautiful because of your relationship with TH,” she says, out of left field.

I clam up, deep inside, not willing to discuss this. I could not bring myself to say anything on my relationship with TH at the moment. It did not seem like there was anything beautiful, right now, with my relationship with TH. “I don’t want to talk about it,” I say.

“You love him. You love him so foolishly and stupidly and that is beautiful. You would fight for anything he asked you to fight for. You would protect and cut out the eyes of anyone who would dare destroy your family, even if that person is you or TH. You are beautiful because you love, head over heels, deep emotional love, for that man even with all the problems you two have lived through.

“You are not just beautiful because you are a mom.

“You are beautiful because you love selflessly.”

I could feel myself choking up. To hear from one of my gods that I am beautiful because I love a man who drives me insane some days and who makes me happy on others was nice, if a little painful. I knew that if we continued this conversation, I may cry. The music on the radio was in line with the revelations that she was telling me. And even though, in a secret part of myself, I knew how much I loved that man and even though we continue to have the same old problems, I’m not willing to give up. I’m not willing to just walk away because nothing ever appears to change or because we end up in a new batch of shit-fry. I just keep it going and going because I love and I don’t give up.

“You are beautiful because of your relationship with the Sister, too,” she says to me. I shake my head, not willing to discuss this further. I did not want to talk about my interpersonal relationships at the moment. I wasn’t willing to go further with this conversation, but that was quite all right. To a goddess, it did not matter if the person they were speaking to was willing to continue the conversation. They would talk and that person would listen, whether they really wanted to or not.

“You know you are beautiful because of your friendship with her. You are beautiful because of all that you have done for her.”

The message was clear: it was the part of ourselves that we put into things that makes us beautiful.

So, endeth the lesson.

Let Us Be Silent, That We May Hear the Whispers of the Gods.

Note: The above title is taken from a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

This morning, I woke up with a mission in my head. I had gone to the astral – as I have been for the last few weeks – in search of something. Somehow, my astral self ended up in front of a god who is not mine and will never be mine. This god requested that I reach out to a follower of theirs and just saying, “X told me to find you.” That was the mission. That was the entirety of what this god wanted and I completed this mission. However, this makes me intensely sad in a way that I can’t begin to fathom. I woke up with the mission – knowing that I would do it – in my brain and knowing that this changes something somewhere. This means a lot of things but what irritates me the most is that this god, knowing I would not want to do this but would do it anyway, used my kindness against me.

This is part of the reason why I don’t work with that particular pantheon. From what I have seen from other polytheists, they are not above taking advantage of a person to get what they want from that person.

This was me, this morning.

This was me, this morning.

I know that my gods – my Kemetic pantheon – are not above doing this, either. I also know that each god begins forging a relationship with us pissant little pipsqueaks for all their own reasons. I know why Sekhmet is here. I know why Aset is here. I know why Djehuti is here. I know why Hetheru is here. I know why Bes is here. However, while I may not particularly like what it is they may want of me and while I may kick and scream all the time about it, I still end up doing those things. Their purpose in my life – outside of Djehuti’s intense desire to get me to start writing again – are for things that are necessary to who I am, to who I will be, and what my purpose in this life is for. They are very, very open about that…

… now.

Even a few months ago, I would have still been guessing as to what their overall purposes in my life would be. But, it’s as though I’ve turned a corner or perhaps just because more mature on the subject matter. Whatever the actual reason is, I’ve passed something or surpassed an unknown point and they’re more likely to fill me in. Maybe it’s just because I have dedicated myself to them and to their vision of what I should be so much that they know that, as much as I may piss and moan about it that I will still end up doing it because I am aware of the Bigger Picture. Whatever their reasoning is, they will tell me, either in that moment or some time later, and I trust in that.

However, when a god outside of my pantheon requests something from me and I don’t know the reason why, I get more than a little pissed off. I get upset and irritated and very, very sad. It makes me feel used in a way that anyone who has ever been used by a god or by a human being should understand. It makes me feel like the person I actually am – not the loud-mouthed, fast-talking Leo, but the person afflicted with a Gemini moon – is something that other gods look down on, snort about, and will make use of just because they know that I will not say no.

This is the point where my friends who astral regularly will say, “You can always say no.” Or they will say, “grow a thicker skin.” And I’m just… I can’t really convey how not like that I am. I’m actually really quiet, shy, and introverted. I don’t view the astral as they do, in any way. One tends to view it as a home away from home, so to speak, and the other tends to view it as a cray-cray place with things that are even more cray-cray than the place itself. (I’m generalizing so that I don’t say too much about really great friends and make them feel like I’m shitting on them while also trying to keep their astral lives private.) I don’t see it as a cray-cray place with things that are insane – I see it as a scary place that I have to go to in order to find that thing I’m looking for. I don’t view it as a home away from home – I view it as a viper-infested pit, trying to suck me into it.

Ask anyone who I have had a real conversation with and they will tell you that I went into the astral, kicking and screaming because I didn’t want to open up that can of worms. I had no choice, as last night’s revelations have made me realized (revelations prior to god asking me for my messenger ability), but that doesn’t necessarily mean I like it. I do not want to live there. I do not want to be there. All I want is to find what I’ve been looking for in the last few months, do what I need to with that thing, and then move on with my life. My next problem being, you know, that since the door is open, it will be 10x harder to shut now, if impossible.

As my friends will point out – and anyone else who is reading this – they will remind me that I can say no, and vehemently. As I have said in the past: It is just fine to say no to a god. I absolutely agree, but I’m that jerk face who will give you everything I have in order to make you happy, to the point where I will actively begin sacrificing myself before realizing that there is something wrong here. Let me put it to you this way: it wasn’t until my past employer asked me to break federal law that I realized that the job was killing me and I should probably begin job hunting. (And not even a few days later, they fired me so, ha!) I am that asshole who would willingly jump into a vat of acid for anyone. I may say mean things, I may be acerbic, but generally, I’m willing to sacrifice the core person who qualifies as “Satsekhem” for other peoples’ happiness.


In same vein, I end up wearing my fucking heart on my sleeve, either here or in the astral, and everyone can see what exactly they need to do in order to get me to the point where I will do whatever they want. The god, as mentioned above, probably didn’t have to look too hard. In fact, he was probably purposely searching for me to do his messenger bit, knowing just what makes me tick. And I did it. And I’m sitting here, drinking my morning coffee, trying to not to cry because there’s now a whole new group of people that I don’t want to have anything to do with who can and will take advantage of my nature.

What makes this even worse are two things.

My gods will not prevent this from happening. That’s the lesson. I have to learn it. Sekhmet flat out said that I had the option to say no but didn’t. And while she understands the kind of person I am, as she explained to me earlier, that is one of the things that they’re trying to help me out with and it’s time to buck up and get working on that.

I am actually a Leo, through and through, but it’s because of other things that few people know about me that have caused me to be like this. The person I am supposed to be – the one the gods I have are working towards – is supposed to be very akin to Sekhmet. But right now, other aspects of myself are at the surface and there’s nothing I can do about it until I complete more shadow work and complete yet more execrations.

And in the mean time, I’m going to be taken advantage of and I have no way to prevent it.

So, the moral of the story is that if you are a nice, kind, give-the-shirt-off-your-back person, don’t go to the astral.

Kemetic Round Table: Inadequacy.

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.

Inadequacy is one of those things that tends to hit human beings at the least opportune time. You can be in the middle of doing a huge ritual and that voice in the back of your head starts whispering things about how you must be doing it wrong. Or, you can be about to fall asleep and that voice pipes up about things that you could never actually successfully do because that voice is a douchecanoe. But, we all have that voice. We all have those whispers that feed our poor self-esteem and our inadequate imagery. This imagery and belief about how inadequate we are to the gods, and in my case, to the lwa, may in fact be completely fucking wrong.

I will be honest here, my inadequacies don’t necessarily translate over to my religious life. There are moments, don’t get me wrong, when I feel like what I’m offering the gods – inadequate. There are moments when I feel my attitude – inadequate. There are moments when I feel like my rituals – inadequate. I think everyone has at least one moment, at some time in their life, where they think that what they are doing, saying, thinking, and believing doesn’t measure up to some invisible yard stick. I’m not perfect. In fact, I am pulling so much stuff out of my butt about 99% of the time that I literally can tell you that I have no fucking clue what the hell is going on in my religious life about as often. But, when thinking about this topic, I realized… I really don’t feel very inadequate with the netjer I have relationships with. I know I’m not perfect, but… does it matter?

You see, I wonder if the reason we feel inadequate is because we believe that our gods have some invisible servant/devotee/child image of us that they measure us up to. In working with all the gods I have going – and more, apparently, on the way – I have to say that I don’t really worry about it. If I’m in the middle of doing something that feels right, such as celebrating a festival or creating a spell or working up heka, then I’m not necessarily going to let myself stop long enough to doubt myself. Before the event, I may ponder and hem and haw about what to do. After the event, I may mutter and moan about something I forgot to do. However, when I’m in the thick of my religious life and all that entails, I’m not really, really, really worried about whether or not I am fulfilling my duties with ineptitude or with satisfactory actions.

Here’s the thing, each of these gods is in my life for a reason. I know this isn’t necessarily the case with all other practitioners out there, but in my case, each of these deities showed up with an ulterior motive. Djehuti is around to remind me of my dream of writing. Aset is here to help me get over my magix issues. Hetheru is here because I wanted a mother/home deity in my home. Sekhmet is here because that’s her bag. (And personal.) None of my gods worry about me being perfect. None of my gods harp about how I am a tool. All of the Bigger Picture stuff that I discuss? It’s not made to make me feel like I’m inadequate for the tasks they want me for, but that one day, I will be awesome enough to be that tool.

They also knew, coming in, that I had faults. They knew that I was sexually anorexic or asexual. They knew that I was not willing to heal myself from my traumas. They knew they I had nothing but bad experiences with magic and thought all experiences would be the same. They knew that I had a dream about being a writer that I had given up on. They knew that I was a fledgling in the religion area. They knew that I had no fucking clue what the hell I was doing. They knew that I was sassy, importunate, and bitchy. And yet, they all still showed up, entered my life, and ready to work. I’m not being built up by them for some magical purpose except to live to my full potential. And that’s all they want from me. In a manner of speaking, we could assume all this Bigger Picture stuff, all of this shadow work, all of these side projects have the ultimate goal of fulfilling my intense desire to live in ma’at.

I will admit, I’m extremely surprised by everything that I’m writing. Of all the people I know, I’m the most nervous, the most anxious, and the one with the least amount of self-confidence. If we had been doing this blogging project even a year ago, I would have said, “I am not what they need. They need to find someone else. I’m just a nothing and a nobody and unsuitable for whatever they need.” But as I sat down, ready to explain to everyone that feeling like you don’t measure up to some invisible yard stick is bollocks, but it’s fine to feel that way… I realized that after a very long time of struggle, I’m finally comfortable with my Kemeticism.

And I think, at some point, everyone gets to that point. The thing is that may not necessarily mean that you, or I, will ever be “perfect.”

Look, let’s be frank. I’m not an expert. I don’t know what’s best. I just know what has worked for me. And I also know that how I’m living and working with my gods is probably entirely off-base with how they did it in ancient Egypt. So, I suppose that from an outsider’s perspective, I am inadequately measuring up to the historical standard. And you know what? That is just fine by me. There’s a reason I am recon-slanted and not a full-fledged reconstructionist. It’s great to have a basis in history, but it’s really stupid to try and measure myself to a standard that I cannot visually see and will never visually see. Besides, if the gods wanted the same thing they had in antiquity, don’t you think they would have, en masse, given us the information necessary to emulate an ancient practice?

It really doesn’t matter what other people are doing or how they are doing it. It really shouldn’t matter if you will be judged by those other people. Of course, you will be, just as I am and all the rest of my Kemetic friends are. It is human nature to make snap judgements and judge others based on those perceptions. And that’s perfectly acceptable for each human being who does it. But, you know what? That’s complete shit. As they tell my son at the library, Everyone can play in their own way and that’s okay.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret… The above phrase? About playing? That’s a good one for religion, too.

Suffice it to say, when it comes to feeling inadequate, most human beings go through this at varying points in their lives. Occasionally, it is mundane and the moment passes. Other times, it is religious in origin and the moment passes. In some other extreme cases, it can be a mix thereof and the moment just kind of lingers. Everyone goes through that.

Look, today while I was at work? I kept remonstrating in my head about things I really had no way of fixing, trying to make myself more competent for the next time some shitty shit falls my way. Consciously, I knew that the items in question were out of my hands. Consciously, I knew that no matter how much “I suck” feels I was having, I’m incredibly awesome at my job and really, I should always be reminded about how awesome I am. However, knowing I’m good at my job doesn’t stop me from feeling like I suck at everything and that I only ever handle things improperly. This is incorrect in every way and I did everything I could to deliver good customer service. However, we all just have those times where you’re feeling overwhelming and incapable.

The moment passes.

Sometimes, it requires more than a deep breath. Sometimes, it may require a long bitch fest, a stiff drink, and/or harsh music at ear-drum abusing levels. Whatever floats your boat and however you take care of the situation is all you. But, sometimes, the feelings are going to happen no matter who you are, how awesome you are, and no matter the situation. Human beings tend to want perfection, but we can’t always deliver. And in those moments, all I can say, it may just be best to take a step back, listen to some angry music, and wax poetic about how much you hate the world.

If nothing else, it’ll make you feel better for a little while.

Thanksgiving, Polytheist Style.

Before we get to the meat and potatoes here, I should inform people who I had a regular, American thanksgiving. It was good. We spent the day at TH’s aunt’s house. We got to Skype with her son who is living in Japan as a teacher. (I think he’s teaching English, but he may be teaching Japanese? I’m not sure. His major was Japanese something-or-other.) However, I don’t really see the point of the holiday aside from getting together with your family and eating a turkey. I don’t find it very spiritual and I don’t find it much use aside from eating turkey. It’s the only time of year that I eat turkey.

Also, this thanksgiving polytheist… thing fell in my lap… today.

This morning, I awoke from a very odd dream. I don’t normally dream about my OTHERS™. Or, if I do this on a regular basis, I never recall them. When I do wake up with them in my memory banks, there tends to be a large reason behind it, usually a warning of some kind. What was even more fascinating was that I dreamed of Hekate for the first time.

I was at her altar in my home, but it was outside. Or maybe, there was no roof above the alcove I have her table in. (And that makes sense since I want to try and find a scarf with stars on it, as pictured in this image of Nut to tack to my ceiling.) Anyway, I was kneeling in front of it and I was being incredibly formal as I made offerings. I couldn’t see the offerings, but it was definitely me, kneeling, and formally giving her offerings of some kind or another. I was also speaking formal words, possibly some of the ones I’ve been reading about in Hekate: Liminal Rites by Sorita D’Este. Again, I don’t remember what words I was speaking or what I was offering, but the dream was important.

I’m pretty sure Hekate was trying to tell me something. I figured I would do something big and bad ass for her on the new moon.

Today, however, is the first of the month of Sf-Bdt according to my Kemetic calendar. This is also the first of the new season of Peret, or winter. I knew I was going to do something in commemoration of this. Since I’m not huge on festivals and big-huge things, I try to at least bake something at the start of the new month and I’ll go a little more extra on things when it’s the start of a new season. But over all, I’m really not a huge ritual, celebration person. I like being the low-key, lay person I’m pretending to be. Of course, it’s funny how you assume or figure things will end up in one way but they really end up in another. Today was about giving thanks for the things that I do have.

You see, things haven’t been very well over here. On Friday, I go back to being unemployed and I’m pretty sure I can’t file for unemployment benefits because I’m only a temporary employee. After this, I don’t know where money is going to be coming from. We receive TH’s miniscule weekly allotment from his unemployment, but even with me trimming the fat on certain bills, it’s not enough to pay for everything. I figure that if I could get cash assistance from the state in the tune of, say, three hundred dollars, we should be able to survive… as long as we also get food assistance. So, suffice it to say that I’ve been wicked depressed and moody. It’s at the point where I’m cleaning like a fiend, taking non-cleaning out on my family members (even though it’s not their fault that they didn’t do something, but I feel like it is because I’m angry at the world), and rearranging my entire house to boot. Well, parts of my house. I’m sobbing internally at the thought that I won’t be able to buy anyone anything for Christmas, again.

Since my daily rune pull today was othala, I decided to take this as a sign that I should be thankful for what I do have.

Sure, I don’t have a job or won’t in the near future, but I have to have faith that I will be provided for by the universe. As easy as it is for me to slip into a deep, black depression over all of this, I really can’t. I have a four-year-old and a twenty-four year old who relies on me. I have cleaning and laundry to do. I have the ability to ask for help from numerous people and I will receive something. I still have some money in savings so maybe Christmas and bills won’t go completely to shit. My car is still functioning even if she’s not at tip-top shape. So, while I’m liable to be miserable and depressed again in the upcoming week or two, TODAY, there’s no fucking room.

And I’m thankful for that, too.

To get the party started, I went to my local Goodwill and purchased some items.

I bought a wooden bowl, two small tumblers, and a pretty picture with flowers on it.

I had actually gone in there with the intention of finding a small, but wider bowl for Hekate. She was going to get pomegranates when I did the thing for her, but I was hoping to have a bowl that had a wider lip than the one I have. No dice on that, obviously. The wooden bowl was purchased for Papa Legba. At a future point, I’m hoping to paint it red and get a black paint-pen to inscribe his veve into the middle. Since I can’t afford a real calabash bowl, like they do in Haiti, but I can afford the fifty cents this bowl cost me… Yeah. He was all for it. The two glass tumblers are for Hetharu and Sekhmet. They’ve recently requested oils for offerings. Right now, they’ve got regular old extra virgin olive oil, but I think they really want scented ones. The picture was for Hekate. She likes plants, right?

Before I went home, I decided to stop at the grocery store. I had AN ITCH and I couldn’t go home. So, in a half-daze, I wandered around the grocery store and picked up cheap items for tonight’s dinner and for any of my OTHERS™. The only one who didn’t cost me anything, oddly enough, was Papa Legba. (Although, he almost talked me into another red candle in a glass holder. ALMOST.) Hekate sent me to the fruit section for a pomegranate and then I went zooming down to flowers. They had a pretty little bouquet on special for five dollars. I was shocked by her choice, though; oranges? I think it’s a last lingering feels regarding the end of the autumn, but who knows what’s going through a person’s head when they– OH. You know. I read something about her getting lilies from someone as an offering and guess what kind of flower is in the bouquet? I get it.

The next step was to notice that I was being trolled by the land spirit.

That tree is the tree I focus on when I’m working with the land spirit, so it IS the land spirit in a sense. The leaves from that tree are all leading up to just below my living room window.

It’s the full moon tonight and that was when I decided I would leave my monthly offerings for the land spirit. I didn’t take a picture because I didn’t leave them until it was cold and dark outside. But, later, I went out and did leave a diced apple and some kumquats for the land spirit. Tomorrow before work, I’m going to leave a slice of bread and the big fucking rock I plucked up from one of my local cemeteries. I also talked, briefly, with the land spirit today about how things are going really badly in my life (again). I got the overwhelming feeling from it that I needed to stop worrying so damn much. I guess I’m getting it from all over: the gods, the lwa, and the universe will provide, so knock it off. It was nice to talk with it, though, since I always think that winter = land spirit communication being remote. INCORRECT, SIR.

So, after a lot of cleaning and generally annoying labor, I went around and began baking. If nothing else, when I celebrate a new month, I will bake something for Hetharu. However, I got the feeling that my baking was more in line with a Certain Other Feminine Deity than the one living with Sekhmet. I’m just getting trolled by all the female deities… Of course, I have to admit to everyone here that I’m not surprised. I know that Aset’s statue was in that dream I had about Mut a while back, so I was kind of expecting it. I’m just… I hope she likes small offerings in my kitchen. I’ve been putting her off for a while and she’s been patiently waiting. Apparently, patience has run out. And I’m pretty sure that she’s here in the FOREVER WAY, like Sekhmet. So, this should be weird and interesting. And it explains so much shit…

But that’s a post for a different day.

Continuing on.

So, after I did my baking chores, I went around and started making my thanksgiving dinner. Of course, it was small and tiny. I can’t afford big and expansive. And besides, that’s kind of the point, to me, in a thanksgiving meal. It’s my family sitting down and enjoying what I make. It’s the three of us lauding my cooking abilities (of which are good, okay, but I always wait to see how people react when I cook, all nervous like, because what if I kill someone by accident?). It’s the three of us arguing over who gets the last dollop of milk in a cup. It’s the three of us being a family.

And of course, before we all sat down, all of my OTHERS™ were summoned to their respective places.

He wanted rice, but he got orzo in a garlic and butter sauce. We argued for five minutes about why he needed a fork. Obviously, he won.

Water, oil, cookies, and steak for the two of them. They were also given more items on their altar, per requested.

Flowers in the background, pomegranate in the foreground, and Grey Goose and diet Coke. She was also given a rearrange and clean.

So, that, ladies and gentleman, is how a polytheist can get down with the giving of thanks.

Home, Hearth, and Hetharu.

One of those things you find me talking about often enough is how very, very layered and diverse the gods can be. Too often, we’ll find a website or someone who thinks they know everything they could know about a god’s particular aspect – dark and danger, flighty and pink, motherly and sweet, whore – and that will be the end of it. Now, I don’t talk about this so often because I think my way is the only way (usually), but because too often I get all het up when I see people pigeon-holin’ gods into tiny boxes that just don’t work. So, you’d think that, considering this content and how often I bitch about it, that I’m not guilty of this. But, that’s not true. I’ve found myself guilty of it frequently. The difference is that I strive to get out of that mindset.

Thing is, I don’t always succeed.

When Hetharu came into my life, I thought of her as a kind of sacred whore. (She was intrigued by the title when I came up with it.) She came into my life with the express purpose of helping me work on the sex stuff, although now years later, I wonder what exactly her helping is in that regard. But, neither here nor there, I had a very difficult time when I started seeing her cropping up all over the place and heard, specifically, from Sekhmet that I had to get my ass in gear and work with her sister-self. And the face I made when I first made this intense and surprising discovery was something you should never hope to see on my face. It pretty much means that death is coming to you. The only word that even remotely comes close to describing it would be “thunderous” but I’ve also heard “bitchy” now and again. You can ask the Sister if you don’t believe me. I was not happy when the sacred whore showed up in my life.

I did my research because, as much as I may not be happy about it, I’m not going to just go with my first gut on who a particular god is. There are a lot of different nuances in the ancient Egyptian pantheon that you may not be able to pin your finger on unless you immerse yourself in the mythologies and the descriptors, in the imagery and the professional opinions. I saw that she was a grand dame and that she held dominion over motherhood, the home, as well as the feminine body parts. I also saw that she was related to stars, to beauty. She was the patron goddess of dancers and the sistrum is an item often associated with her cult. Suffice to say that to call this particular goddess’s associations as “varied” is a complete understatement. In earlier times, her cult center usurped and added to its repertoire by overshadowing minor goddesses. Of course, in turn, she ended up going this way via Aset, but prior to that, she had all her fingers in a ton of different pies.

But, my head kept getting stuck on the sacred whore paradigm I was focusing on her. It mainly had to do with one of her epithets, Mistress of the Vulva, but also because I was sorely against working on any of the sex stuff. Yes, I have issues. Yes, I know I need to fix those issues. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be willing and capable of working on it. One thing that those epithets and myths do not tell you about Hetharu is that she is pretty fucking patient when she wants to be.

I guess we could say that the motherhood thing has some merit in fact.

Recently, I decided that while I enjoy her place on my altar and that, one day when I have a home large enough for such a thing, her relegation will be to a place on my home and hearth altar, but that’s effectively it. I don’t feel connected to her. I never really did. But then again, if I really get down to it, I associate my connections on the same level I have with Sekhmet. The level I have with her… is mind-blowing. If there was a way to describe how I feel about my primary goddess, then I have yet to find that word. I’ve looked to others’ relationships with godspousery and all of that… and sometimes, I think how I feel about Sekhmet is akin to what they have going on, but it’s so much more than that and not the same. We’re not married and we’re not going to be. Let’s just face it, I cannot describe how I work with Sekhmet, what I feel about Sekhmet, and all of that. I can only say that it is deep and it is everlasting. And I tend to look at relationships I have with other gods in relation to her and they all fail to come close.

Anyway, with that in the background, I kind of decided that while I enjoy her sphere of influences (baking, in my household) she pretty much was taking the furthest backseat ever. It wasn’t that I don’t want to work on the sex stuff, but I have other avenues that I have to work on first before I can even come into that mode of thought. And so, with my basic background still the sacred whore mindset, I began thinking about her today as I ate dinner. Now, let me just say this: I can bake like nobody’s business and will have a thermonuclear meltdown if what I’m baking turns out badly, but I pretty much can’t cook. I’ll let you in on a bigger secret: I can actually cook, and fine, but I prefer not to because I’m a lazy motherfucker.

I’ve been saying I can’t cook for so long that people actually believe it now. And I get irritated, now, as I step into a more full motherly role and house providing role that I forget that I really can cook. I’m used to saying that I can’t. I’m used to hearing that I can’t. And if you hear it and say it often enough, then it must be true correct? Wrong. I can actually cook. I may have to work on certain recipes and I may have to try my hand at something a time or two, but I can usually get it after only my second try. And as I was eating the delicious dinner I made tonight, I realized that Hetharu’s sphere of influence is a good deal larger than I had ever given her credit.

Sacred whore. That’s what I thought.

Mother, home, hearth. These are the areas that I forget and yet, she has more dominion here, in my life, than I realize. I’m still too busy pigeon-holding my own fucking gods to get my head out of my ass to realize where they actually end up influencing me. And I guess, I guess as I sat there eating dinner, I needed to come to that realization.

Divination Miscellaney.

It’s almost as if that, now that I have a way to listen to music with my tablet, my OTHERS™ are using the shit out of this. Let’s talk about the day I was doing a Quick Mix radio blast on my tablet via Pandora. This meant that the one time I wanted to listen to Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye got added to this mixture and I ended up hearing things like Rihanna and Maroon 5. I don’t mind Maroon 5 (but skipped most of Rihanna’s stuff). I got to dance around to Moves Like Jagger while cleaning my bathroom. It was great and hilarious and tuckered me out faster than just the usual shit I try to dial into via YouTube on my cell phone. Since I liked Moves Like Jagger, the next song that came up was Payphone by Maroon 5. I had heard it once, in passing, on MTV and then again, on VH1 some time later. I like the music; I like the voice; I could do without the rap; I like the beat; I also love these lines, if ‘happily-ever-after did exist, I would still be holding you like this. All those fairy tales are full of shit. One more fucking love song, I’ll be sick. If I happen to be flipping stations on the radio when I drive TH out to east bumfuck (literal place, I swear) then I hope that I get this song.


So, of course, you know this means that one of my OTHERS™ thought it would be TERRIFIC to get this song in my head today. It took me a minute or two to figure out who that was – I couldn’t help but assume it was Hekate to begin with since she apparently loves Gotye, so I assumed she just liked using pop to get her point across – and a conversation with someone who has no idea what the fuck is going on in my life before I figured it out. Cue a smidge of back story.

Yesterday, I asked for a reading about my relationship. I can’t do readings for myself, which I’ve discussed a time or two. I just don’t have the stuff to get through the process and “go clinical” about it. In effect, what it comes down to is that I don’t have the mental fortitude to sit back and clearing say this, this, and this is happening. I usually need help in all personal readings, but this is especially true when it comes to relationship stuff. The thing is that I don’t usually want to know about relationship stuff. It’s actually a pretty big thing if you find out that I’m asking because normally, I just flow it when it comes to my relationship with TH. I spent too much time trying to see when it came to some of my past relationships and I don’t want to do that anymore. Besides, who the fuck wants to see the end coming at you from a mile away only to find out you were wrong? I won’t get into what the reading meant because, really, it’s no one’s business. But I will show you what the reading looked like.

Yep. She uses playing cards to do readings. How bitching is that?

I will tell you this. The reading wasn’t, like, very happy or anything but it wasn’t like, “Bitch, you best be leaving now,” either. So, I sat around to ponder it. I was pretty despondent. I didn’t like the reading at all. And as though the universe felt the need to laugh at me, I received a message from the universe this morning regarding my relationship. (THE UNIVERSE IS LAUGHING AT ME – AND YOU TOO CAN HAVE IT LAUGH AT YOU.) “For as long as you wish to keep them in your life, Sat, whoever they may be, understanding them, as opposed to changing them, will wildly improve the chances that they’ll wish to keep you in their life.” This isn’t the complete antithesis or anything of what TRB had to tell me about my relationship, but it didn’t exactly go hand-in-hand with her reading, either. And I was just kind of like, “What the fuck, universe? What the fuck?” That’s about the time that Payphone entered my head and now refuses to get out. (Yes, I am listening to it on endless repeat while I write this.)

So after my conversation with the person about stuff that had nothing to do with the song in my head, I realized I had to sit down in shrine and talk to someone about it. That someone was Hetharu. I mean, come on. Why it didn’t come to me earlier is beyond me? Perhaps, it’s just that I’m so used to going to the movers and the shakers in my life – Legba, Sekhmet – that I tend to relegate her to a background role. This is wrong and stupid and silly. If anyone was going to do anything about love and relationships, it would be Hetharu. Sure, I bet Aset would like to get into that and maybe Mut, as well, as a mother divinity. But, really, Hetharu should have been my fist guess. I suppose I just got hung up on the fact that Hekate likes pop music to communicate with me.

The Ancient Egyptian Tarot by Clive Barret. Also, utterly useless.

The cards I received were the Eight of Wands reversed, the Seven of Cups, and the Eight of Disks reversed. Now, the book that comes with this Tarot deck is all about people and doing things. There are very few esoteric meanings or anything that I am specifically looking for. I did look up the meanings in the little book, but grew frustrated. So, I went to my all-purpose book that I use with my EVERYONE GETS A READING BUT ME Tarot deck. The general interpretations for each card (in order) are wasted energy, lack of focus, cutting corners. This left me feeling like a complete idiot for not quite catching the whole point. This is when I scrapped my idea of using Clive’s Tarot deck to communicate with Hetharu. (It wasn’t my first choice, but I thought I’d give it a shot since it’s just sitting in my spooky cabinet.) I ended up going back to the deck I preferred.

The Egyptian Pyramid Oracle by Verona McColl. Also, not useless.

I actually prefer this deck, primarily, because I’ve used it so extensively that I tend to remember what the cards mean without looking them up. I also recall who belongs to what specific card still. (For example, my ex-husband’s card tended to be the Heru card while TH is usually associated with Djehuti.) So, the cards I received during this next attempt were Djehuti, Anpu reversed, and Nut reversed. I looked up each card for a meaning, although I knew that the first card was TH. The Anpu card warns of shallowness, being overly interested in material gain, not enough thought is being exercised. I felt I knew what this was pertaining to. The last card, Nut was disbelief, giving up, black thoughts. And of course, I understood the point behind this as well.

Nothing is as it seems, more or less. I have to mix all of these readings into a single coherent strain. And when I do that, I think, the fucking song will be out of my head.

I’ll look forward to that second.