One of the titles that King Henry VIII was incredibly proud of was the one that many historians find a tad amusing now: fidei defensor, or defender of the faith. In 1521, Pope Leo X granted this title to him when he wrote Assertio Septem Sacramentorum (Defense of the Seven Sacraments). Part of the reason why this is hilarious is that he wrote this in defense of the sacrament of marriage and the supremacy of the Pope against the Protestant Reformation, more specifically against Martin Luther’s allegation against the Catholic Church. A bit of an embarrassment later, one should think, when taking into consideration all of the hullabaloo King Henry VIII would go through in an effort to destroy the sacrament of his marriage and his subsequent denial of the Pope’s power over all spiritual matters.

While I’m sure this came back to bite him the ass time and time again as he was attempting to divorce his wife in order to marry Anne Boleyn, I’ve often wondered if he thought about that title while he was in the middle of that process. He was awarded this honor during a very highly charged time for the Catholic Church. And it had to have been more than just a badge of honor to him. There is very real evidence that Henry VIII was incredibly devout. He was, after all, supposed to enter the church before the death of his brother. His religion never officially changed over to the Protestant religion, if I recall correctly. His services were still very much Catholic. While the title probably pricked at him in the wrong way now and again, it was probably something that meant a lot to him even after the whole Act of Supremacy. I’ve always just kind of thought that, even with all of that crazy business going on, it was probably something that he thought about in the dark of night, when he was all alone, and realizing how badly things were going for him (prior to his marriage to Anne, after his marriage to Anne, after the death of Jane, et cetera). If nothing else, it was probably a quiet source of comfort as long as he ignored all of his duplicity in the matter.

Personally, I’ve always liked the Latin form of the title. It always felt really… well, as stupid as this sounds, “pretty.”

A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with a friend of mine. This friend of mine is Christian. She doesn’t give me any shit for the stuff that I believe in and I don’t give her any shit (usually) about what she believes in. She even tolerates the rather blasphemous comments I can and do make! (Usually, I forget that I am talking to a Christian and make the comments anyway. But she gets my dry sense of humor, so…) Anyway, I really enjoy hanging around her and listening to her talk about her faith. She doesn’t go on about it to me a lot because she’s worried that, one day, I may up and just be like, “Bitch, you be cray-cray,” and walk away. I would never do that. The thing that I haven’t told her yet is that whenever she talks about her faith, I feel very content. Even when things are bad and she’s asking God or Jesus for a helping hand, I still feel a contentedness coming from. I have always got the impression that what she believed was never a question, was never put out there for face value purposes, and that it sustains her.

It makes me happy that this makes her happy.

I was at her house and she mentioned Jesus. Her eldest two children are not believers, as she is. And her son pretty much amounted to Jesus as a story told, a fable. And I said, “Boy, do not make me come over there and beat you. Your mama loves God and you do not disrespect her beliefs in front of me. I will pound you. Say you’re sorry.” And he did and that was that. She was pleased as pop at my statement, though – made me blush. She said that I was an amazing person because I defend other peoples’ faith, whether I believe it or not.

It never occurred to me, not really, that what I do is strange or different. It just comes natural to me to want to defend someone else’s faith in something, whether I share that belief or not. I’ve been around and around the Internet a few times and I’ve gotten into fights with friends over religious traditions. But, I still will never deny them their belief. The thing that’s different with this particular friend of mine and some of the other friends that I’ve had religious disagreements with is the feeling I get regarding the faith. A lot of time, I tend to feel like people put on this face to the outer world, attempting to mimic something that everyone believes in. In a lot of those cases, I doubt everything that comes out of those mouths because it just doesn’t feel right to me. It feels like a farce; like a play and a poorly acted one at that.

However, in the case of this friend, I feel it. I can feel her love and adoration for God. I can feel the belief in my bones whenever she talks about Jesus. And she’s also not an asshole Christian who feels the need to tell me what my religious choices should be – and even believes in some of the stuff I talk about – so that makes it even better. But she’s one of those people whom, when they talk about their faith, they make me feel happy. They make me feel proud to know them. They make tears in my eyes as I am overwhelmed with the level of their emotions regarding their religion. As I said, I don’t always get this feeling from people. I don’t get the feeling that they have the faith in what they claim they do, but in her case and in a few others, I get that feeling.

After my last post, I started mulling this fidei defensor idea over again.

A lot of that post wasn’t really about what I practice as a Kemetic layperson. If people are really interested in what my practice looks like, then they can read my blog on a regular basis or ask me questions about it. I don’t really feel the need to defend my choices and why my practice looks the way it does. It works for me and it keeps me happy. I have a hard time, periodically, and there are weeks on end where I whine about things. But, you know, even with all of the shit that can and does go wrong both in my mundane life and in my spiritual life, I still feel quite content with it. It wasn’t me saying, “Here is why you are wrong because this is what I practice.” I was talking about Kemetics in a united front and also explaining that each Kemetic is different in how they come to their particular religious persuasion.

I was defending their ability to see the gods as they wanted to; to practice their religion how they wanted to; to do as they pleased and not get lumped into a single homogenous group just because they identify as polytheists.

This was apparently too much for anybody. The detractors have made their comments, mostly not on my blog. They didn’t see the point of the post as I was making it and to some of my group, they also didn’t see the point that I was getting across at each specific point. Obviously, my heka wasn’t as good as it could be or perhaps, some people are just unable to grasp the concept that everyone can play in their own way and that’s okay. Whatever the reason that they were unable to see the point, I stand by what was said and I will continue to do so. The point of the post wasn’t that I needed to stand up and say, “Hi, you are wrong because that is not how I practice,” but the entire point was to say, “Hi, you are wrong because that is not how Kemetic polytheists practice. Here are a few examples of how some of them do practice. Thank you.”

I was defending the various religious practices of my fellow Kemetics, whether they be historically informed or not, whether they be a part of Kemetic Orthodoxy or not. It doesn’t really matter to me how the hell they go about their practice. I don’t care if they are monolatrists, henotheists, or hard polytheists. I don’t really care whatever it is that they do and how they go about it because in many instances, I get the good feels. I get the overwhelmed with their devotion feels. I have interacted with many Kemetics through my networking and in quite a few cases, the community I have built around me is based almost entirely on that feeling. Not only do they bring something incredibly individual to the table in our discussions, but they also make me feel happy to know them because they do what they do and it works for them.

I don’t necessarily agree with their approaches to things, but it’s okay.

I don’t necessarily agree with how a lot of other polytheists or pagans go about their business. For example, there are quite a few people who think that Sekhmet is Hetheru is Aset is Ma’at is Neith. That is not how I approach the netjeru. But the stance works for them. And I can defend that choice because they are not hurting other people. (Now, if they’re deliberately going around providing this as the only interpretation, then we’ll have issues.) There are people who believe that Sekhmet and Hetheru are a single entity. I have never worked with them in this capacity – they have always been two extremely individualistic entities who have worked with me on various things throughout the years that we have had relationships. While I don’t necessarily agree, I’m still going to defend their right to believe that because it works for them. (Again, if they begin to deliberately provide misinformation, then we’ll have some issues.)

The issue with these ongoing pagan/polytheist debates and dramas is that someone, somewhere, gets it in their head to write about something in a very UPG fashion as a “be-all, end-all” dictate that all polytheists and pagans must follow. This is a huge problem, for any number of reasons. We don’t have a Pope Leo X to grant us titles or to tell us how the fuck things are supposed to be. And in many cases, we don’t have this because we don’t want to be told from someone, supposedly on high, how the hell our religious traditions should manifest in our lives. Even how the Christians approach their religious traditions varies from sect to sect, from person to person. Since each person approaches God in a different manner, each aspect of their faith is going to be uniquely detailed to suit their specific needs. The same applies to polytheists, no matter how they view the gods or how they go about practicing.

And as much as I may not agree or may not even feel like their belief is more than face value, I will continue to defend their ability to have that belief from people who think they have the right or the ability to tell them otherwise.

I may not have been awarded a pretty little title like Henry VIII.

But it doesn’t matter.

Fidei defensor.

A Response.

Originally, I was going to leave this as a comment on this entry that Galina Krasskova wrote, but I ended up realizing that in order to answer each point, I had to keep on explaining. And as I’m sure comments that are nearly two thousand words are oh-so awesome, I thought it would be best to leave this as an entry on my blog instead. I hope she ends up reading this because I’d like to see what she has to say regarding her obvious erasure of Kemeticism (and many other polytheistic belief systems). While I doubt that any response she makes will end up leaving anyone feeling better about the testaments of her decisions on what “true polytheism must be,” I hope that this will at least show other polytheists out there that not everyone subscribes to what she deems “appropriate.”

Before continuing, I recommend clicking the link I’ve provided and reading what was said.

I think there’s a large problem with your generalized interpretations of what polytheistic values should be, across the board. The issue being that each polytheism is inherently unique to its particular branch. So, for example, how a Heathen polytheist and how a Kemetic polytheist view what their particular branch of polytheism is about and what core values make up that branch are going to be inherently different. By making such broad generalizations, you’re also ignoring the fact that in many instances, each individual is in the midst of practicing an individualistic form of their polytheistic branch. Not everyone is capable of joining temples or is willing to join temples that do not meet their strict standards, so by making such generalizations, you are kind of erasing those of us who may not fit your criteria. And that’s rather mean.

While I understand that you have, recently, begun a sort of pogrom against polytheistic practices that do not meet your rigid standards, this is really just not a good idea in any context. As each person is not a carbon copy of the person next to them, neither will the polytheistic flavor that they create for themselves. This is something that all of us – every single one of us who fall under the polytheism branch – need to keep in mind when interacting with one another. We also need to keep that in mind when deciding what is or is not “appropriate” in other polytheistic branches.

That being said, I felt that as a Kemetic, I should explain a few things regarding what you think the core values “should be.”

You mention ancestor veneration and that all ancient polytheism branches had this. The problem is that you are kind of glazing over a lot of fine nuances here. In Kemeticism alone, many of the practitioners (whether affiliated with one of the temples or otherwise) are of the layman variety. This actually ends up making it less mandatory for the veneration part. Since we don’t actually know how the laity felt about the dead or what, specifically, they ended up doing in regards to their akh, we can only guess as to what amount of veneration was actually done. We have plenty of information regarding the elite classes and how things went about for them, but for many of us who are attempting to reconstruct this ancient religion, we are flying blindly. The laity were illiterate so such items were not left to us.

Just because the elite castes were obviously venerated didn’t necessarily mean that the laity went about things the same way. We don’t know on what level such “veneration” took place or if we can even refer to it as “veneration.” Maybe they just thought fondly of Uncle Joe now and again, maybe even left a bowl of water during one of the major festivals, but we just really don’t know. We can assume a whole plethora of things based on how the elite were treated and what sort of things happened in later periods, but frankly, assumptions aren’t a good idea for those of us interested in a historically informed basis. That being said, we could assert that since many of us are laity and since we don’t really know how important such veneration was to the laity in antiquity, then perhaps ancestor veneration really isn’t all that important in a modern context.

And honestly, whether or not someone feels the need to pay attention to their blood kin or not once they go into the West is none of your business. It’s none of my business. It’s no one else’s business but the very person deciding whether or not they need to pay attention to their kin. Since many of us are reconstructing an ancient religion, in some form or another, it’s – going back to that point I made above – entirely up to the individual creating that practice.

The individuality of the divine, as you put it, really has no merit in Kemetic polytheistic circles at all. Syncretism is rife throughout the Kemetic pantheon. While the netjer are often viewed as individuals in some areas, in other areas of the country, they were viewed only in their syncretic forms with other deities. This poses a bit of a problem for those of us who are hard polytheists, but we make do. Epithets are shared between deities, which could lead us to believe that they all functioned as a single unit to get whatever that epithet refers to done. Point of fact, many of the netjeru are given the title “Great One of Heka.” In other instances, epithets are similar enough to one another to get the impression that two polar opposite netjeru can, will, and do fulfill the same needs.

Suffice to say that we can view one of the netjeru as both an individual and as a composite. Whether we work with them that way is entirely up to the particular flavor of Kemeticism that we practice. In Kemetic Orthodoxy, many of the practitioners utilize their deities in composites while there are some solitaries who also utilize syncretic deities.

By adding this statement, you are pretty much erasing Kemeticism as a polytheism.

The thing about piety is that it is kind of unnecessary in Kemeticism. The whole point in Kemeticism is that the populace needed to retain correct actions – orthopraxy – as opposed to correct belief – orthodoxy. Whether or not respect was given to the gods was immaterial. Whether or not the laity respected the rituals the priests performed to keep the world going was immaterial. Hell, whether or not you even believed in the gods themselves was immaterial. So long as you maintained ma’at, you were pretty much good.

There was absolutely nothing that a single, individual had to do in order to be seen as devout since each individual would have, and did, interpret what “living in ma’at” meant individually. There are some basic ideas of what it would be across the board, as shown by the negative confessions people are fond of quoting. The problem is that these confessions aren’t a sort of set of commandments that, either we modern day practitioners or our ancient counterparts, practiced. They were actually more like “divine subterfuge.” By stating that the individual in question didn’t do this thing, they were kind of hiding all the really fucked up shit they actually did do in their life that could be interpreted as not living in ma’at.

The ancient Egyptians were pretty fond, also, of doing things that many other polytheistic cultures would find anathema. They had no problem associating themselves with one of the netjer to get things done. They threatened and bribes the gods, too. Based on the most fundamental definition of “piety,” I don’t think the ancient Egyptians really fall under your heading here. And so, by association, neither would any of the Kemetic polytheists who actively participate in this religion.

Suffice to say, that at this point, I think you may have [again] done some erasing of Kemetics.

As far as modesty is concerned, I don’t really know if you’ve actually read anything from ancient Egypt. The love poetry, alone, should be pretty obvious as to what all the people were referring to. The bit, in which you state, “squander it in ways that don’t enhance her as a human being” regarding a woman’s modesty? I have to say that the love poetry alone would show that any ancient Egyptian “squandered” it quite often. And the love spells would, also, kind of show that there were both men and women (since both sexes are quite capable of “squandering” their sexuality) who were pretty interested in the orgasms all that “squandering” would provide them.

You also mention the terminology of “miasma.” This is a rather odd choice since this particular word is based on a Hellenic concept and so, really has no basis in Kemeticism. There really isn’t a lot that a Kemetic, either modern or ancient, could do that would be termed as an offense against the gods. While there are texts that indicate the gods could and would kill based on whatever the event happened to be – which may even include killing their family – it doesn’t quite equate to the concept of “miasma.” In the cases of Kemetic wrong doings against the gods, there wasn’t really any atonement that could be provided to them that would have them change their minds. It was really up to the gods themselves to forgive – as in the case of Re when he felt badly for sending his fiery daughter to destroy humanity – or to not – as in the case of Djehuty who killed a royal prince and his family for daring to steal his magical texts.

Now as far as keeping people centered on the path that they are treading that is entirely up to the people who doing the treading on that path. So, however the person manages this is going to be entirely individualistic since they are the ones who have to decide what-all keeps them centered. Another thing here is that just because someone wades in shit daily doesn’t mean they’re going to use prayer to cleanse themselves. They’re probably going to use water and soap to cleanse themselves. Whether or not they pray to the gods to get them through the event in question is, again, entirely up to them and incredibly individualistic.

In ancient Egypt, it wasn’t an act of courage to continue to live through whatever was going on. It just was. This hearkens back to my brief discussion on ma’at and orthopraxy. The laity did not question whatever it was that was going on around them because it wasn’t their place to do so. While courageous aspects are mentioned, usually in relation to warfare, this doesn’t really equate to the day-to-day lives of the ancient Egyptians. They toiled in the fields and that was their lot. Whatever other aspects to their lives that they lived just was the status quo. One of the major items that we tend to forget – being so forward and modern in our thinking – is that the laity didn’t question these things because to do so would mean they were no longer living in ma’at, but that they were inviting isfet (chaos) into their lives.

As far as they were concerned, the second the creator deity of their particular choice (since there were so many) stood up and created, the world was perfect. And the only need for the ancient Egyptian, whether they were priests or the laity, was to emulate that moment of perfection. They didn’t think creatively or outside of the box in order to fix something that was going on in front of them – they looked to the past and to that perfect First Time for the answers. As far as they were concerned, the blueprint for maintaining ma’at was in the past. To question that maintenance was isfet.


I could go on, but I think I’ve said enough.

Let’s suffice it to say that by deciding what-all the values of others’ polytheistic paths are, you’re kind of being a dick, which Kemetics loathe on a fundamental level and other pagans/polytheists will find really wrong. Point of fact, the only piece of what “living in ma’at” entails that you should concern yourself with is the modern adage: don’t be a dick. I recommend looking into that phrase a little bit and attempting to emulate that into whatever core values you think your polytheistic path is about. And while you’re at it, please stop telling all of us what our values and morals should be. We can handle that job quite well on our own. We do not need a pagan or polytheist pope and we certainly don’t need one from an entirely different polytheistic branch from ourselves.

Thank you.

Inter-Faith, Polytheistic Discussions: Are They Really Possible?

I’ve been mulling this over for a few weeks now. I’ve constantly harried myself, back and forth, about whether this is an actual possibility.

On the face of it, based on the positive sentiments I’ve received from various Tumblr users over the months when I do make posts regarding my polytheistic faith and the turns it takes, I can say that yes, it is possible. However, this is merely on the “face of things.” If we don’t look any deeper than the public aspects that I post on Tumblr, then everything is fine and dandy; we have roses and sunshine and rainbows dropping down around us. If we don’t discuss things that can be considered the very meat and potatoes of this particular Kemetic practitioner’s path, then we can have very positive, happy, thrilling conversations that really get me going in the thought department.

But I’m not the person that just let’s you catch a glimpse of what things may be going on at this moment. This entire blog is about the very real and often very confusing questions that I pose to myself and to anyone willing to read. There’s a very real reason why I chose the title, “Mystical Bewilderment,” and have kept it in the nearly three years I’ve owned this blog. The title is just as valid today as it was when I first created this blog: I’m constantly searching, constantly wondering, and always guessing. I can’t tell anyone what anything really is at any given moment because my views may change from second to second, day to day, month to month. (ADHD polytheism, anyone?) I’m the type of person who, if stuck, will tell you about it. I am the kind of person who, if having issues with a very major tenet to my faith, I’m going to admit it and hopefully be able to fully digest and discuss what those issues are with other fellow practitioners.

I did this very real thing when I posted my Kemetism is Orthopraxic: Live in Ma’at entry. I admitted that I had definitive feels on two very real examples of what some other Kemetics have decided what living in ma’at entailed and that I didn’t agree with either of them. Now, a lot of people commented on that particular blog entry. However, most of the people who had something to say had no fucking clue what I was talking about because they’re not Kemetic. I suppose they have correlations with ma’at in their religious practices, or else they think they do. Again, I will reiterate that defining ma’at in a language as completely on drugs as English is next to impossible.

The basis of my blog entry was pretty much just me admitting that I’m at a loss here with ma’at. I can clearly define what I do not believe it is, but I cannot say definitively what it is to me. This message was clearly lost in the flurry of responses, on the various Internet communication sites available. While the Kemetic viewpoints are important because they have a basis in the very problem I am experiencing or they are at least able to agree with me in some ways (such as Sard’s admission that ma’at is difficult to define), the responses that hold no scope on ma’at make me pause. Can they really comment on the very real issue I am having at this moment if they don’t know what ma’at is? Can they full comprehend the overall problem that I am experiencing if their religious reconstruction doesn’t have a similar concept?

It’s one thing to offer components of discussion when realizing that there is no similarity or basis for a full-on discussion. It is quite another when it comes down to personally attacking someone because they don’t quite agree with someone else’s theological essay on a core tenet to a faith the attacking person doesn’t even follow. And it is entirely another when those personal attacks are (A) based on something that happened nearly a year ago and may not have any basis on the discussion itself and (B) the following commentary is from two opposing polytheistic faiths. If I’m having problems with a core tenet to my faith, then so be it. However, if you don’t have a similar core tenant (and ma’at, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly and will continue to do so, is just something that cannot be easily explained nor seems to have a basis in other polytheisms) then how can a conversation between the two flourish?

As another example, let’s talk about hubris in Hellenic polytheism. This is apparently a very big, huge taboo in Hellenism. I think it has something to do with thinking you’re a god, from what I’ve gathered from Tumblr users. When this quote went around, I asked Hellenic polytheists to explain the “hubris” concept to me. As a Kemetic, we don’t have this concept in Kemetism. In fact, one could go so far to say that it is “foreign” to Kemetics. How the Hellenic practitioners view it is an entirely foreign concept to me. After having numerous people helpfully explaining the concept to me from a Hellenic viewpoint, I had to admit that this concept was beyond me and probably always would be. If it comes up on the blogs of Hellenics that I follow, I tend to ignore it. I have nothing constructive or helpful to say as the concept is beyond me. (I also know I’m not the only Kemetic who feels this way.)

I don’t attack others for having a different view from me. I don’t attack people because I feel like I can just… muscle my way in to a discussion that I “should” be a part of. I have no basis for this particular discussion and I cannot add to it. So, why bother? It’s not just about spoon management or about adding an opinion. It’s about the fact that I cannot be helpful or otherwise to anyone if I don’t understand the concept. And I can admit, clearly, I just don’t fucking get it. (As can be evidenced by the loose definition I offered above.) And I probably never will.

Based on the two above examples, it is feasible to admit that certain concepts in various polytheistic circles just do not translate either well or at all. In the case of hubris, it does not exist in a Kemetic context. In the case of ma’at, it does not exist in a Celtic, Hellenic, or Nordic context. Each branch has confusing aspects to it, sure. However, the confusing bits aren’t all the same. (Wyrd seems to be a bit of a toughy for Nordic and Heathen practitioners, which doesn’t have a correlation in Kemetism, either, as far as I know.) And those confusing bits may not translate in any context outside of those particular branches. So, is it appropriate for me to muscle in, add a few comments, and walk right back out?

And, you know, it isn’t merely that these concepts don’t translate across cultural or religious lines, but the fact that in some instances, we can’t even agree on a universal meaning behind these concepts. Case in point, the hubris definition that was given to me varied from user to user. The ma’at definition as given to me by various Kemetics, again, varied from user to user. There were some similarities in both of those example definitions, but all in all, each specific user had their own particular flavor to add to the definitions in question. This makes it even harder for an outsider, such as myself, to make a fully informed or helpful comment besides, “Oh, gee, that’s interesting,” to people having a discussion about hubris. Or, in like mind, one can even go so far as to say that without an all-encompassing definition of ma’at to be given to an outsider, there are very few comments that can be made from other polytheistic circles aside from, “hm, that’s very neat.”

I will admit here: I am a large advocate on inter-faith discussions. I am not specific in the blogs that I follow on Tumblr or on WP for this very reason. I enjoy reading other polytheists’ blogs. I like to see a full complement of possibilities surrounding me at any given moment, which is why I am so varied in regards to who I follow. (I also do this so that, should a neophyte need assistance, I can hopefully point them in a good and proper direction.) However, there are a lot of instances in which I keep my mouth shut because I don’t understand where the specific practitioner is coming from because I have no correlation in my practice. I know I’m not alone there; I can’t be.

But really, what it all boils down to is, differences aside: Is it even possible to have these discussions with outsider polytheists whose religions don’t have the same belief systems or structures?

Based on some the reactions out there and the above that I’ve cataloged, I’m going to have to say, no.

Unfinished Business (II).

I mentioned in my last post how this one was going to go down. I’ve had thirty-six hours to ponder, rage, rant, cry, hurt, bemoan, angst, and just generally fall through the full array of emotions this experience has caused. However, yesterday, as much as all I wanted to do was sit at home all day and whine about things, I had to go to work. And I took the tedious boring moments in between phone calls to figure out what the next step was. I could be a complete bitch and say everything that I’ve wanted to say about certain [personal] issues between me and this friend of mine. It would have been… ugly, suffice to say. Or, I could think of a way to just side-step all of this and move on with my life. As many tears as I’ve shed over the fact that my childhood best friend seems to think of me as an evil, curse-wielding embarrassment, I figure it’s time to go for the high road in this. And like Dr. Sheldon Cooper, I certainly do like the sound of being the Bigger Man.

I will admit that this is difficult for me. One of the things that both Devo and Helms have tried to get into my head is the “two response rule.” This is a way to conserve “spoons.” In effect, it means that expending your precious energy on things such as Internet fights and real-life fights may not be in your best interest. You’re sending all of this into the universe, even if it is over the Internet, and you will never get that wasted energy back. No three-fold law here or karma here; it comes down to wasting your time, energy, thoughts, and heka on events that you probably cannot or will not change. I’m no orator here, people. I’m not Martin Luther King, Jr who can inspire with pizzazz and moving oratory. I can’t change people’s opinions. I can only offer what I see, what I feel, what I think and be done with it. And if I can’t do that within two responses, well.

And I’ve done more than have two responses here, both what is apparent from my last post, as well as mini-snipes via Facebook messages.

My first step in taking the High Road was to delete the message conversation we had been having. I didn’t even read most of what was placed after the first message that I commented on in my last post. I saw snippets. And while those snippets are still very much drilled into my mind, and will be fodder for future blog entries, they weren’t worth the time to respond to. As much as I wanted to say X, Y, and Z to her about support and the whole enchilada, I just couldn’t bring myself to go there. Where I was heading was that dark place. I tend to associate it with the place that the Reverend Mothers from Dune and its subsequent books cannot look. It is a place that only a man can go in the books. In all reality, I can definitely go there. It’s not a place for just men or just women; anyone can go there. But it was a dangerous, dark, angry place that would have only been me lashing out in an effort to make her cry as much as I’ve been doing. So, the safest and first step was to merely delete the messages without further responses.

I’ll admit that I dithered back and forth on this particular course of action. I thought that maybe I could save them somewhere and go back later, but I think no matter what, I would always get angry enough to last out at her in a very painful and vile manner. Even if it’s years down the road, I know things and have felt things and she knows things and has felt things that makes it easiest for the two of us to hurt each other, to the quick, with no foreplay. It’s not in anyone’s best interest in this situation to do that, so I deleted the messages and will just hope that I’m making the right steps here.

The next step was to think over what this all means. I guess you could say that I’m big on signs and symbols. I tend to view major events in my life – of which this is a big one – and try to figure out where this is all going. I think that’s a pretty human trait, in all honesty. I think it’s something that every human being tries to do: connect the dots to see what the fuck this whole shebang is doing and why the fuck it is doing it. I’m nearly positive there are lessons here.

Let’s talk about those lessons.

1. This is more of a personal lesson and it aggravates me. This whole argument and some of the things she’s said to me have made me realize that people still think I’m the asshole-bitch-cunt from high school. Since our discussions have been limited to online or piss-poor telephone conversations, neither she nor anyone else seems to realize that I’m not the person who will make a Lumber Jack cry anymore. Sure, I can do it and I will go to that place if my friends need me. However, I’m not the person that she thinks I am. She still sees me in the “gives no fucks” attitude that I had in high school. Let’s be honest, though. A lot of people had that attitude in high school and the subsequent years because of the hell and horror they went through during those formative years. Yes, I have my moments where I put on my “gives no fucks” slicker, galoshes, and gloves and go trompin’ around, busily not giving a fuck.

Nope. Not a one.

Nope. Not a one.

But, I’m not that person anymore. I do give a fuck – a series of fucks even – about things. People tend to see how I reacted and behaved in high school and think that the intervening years haven’t made a single change to who I am. That’s really not how it works. Lessons have been learned and things have changed. Just because I can cut someone out of my life for the preservation of myself doesn’t mean that I don’t care. It doesn’t mean that I can’t hurt because of this. I’ve had moments where I have cried myself stupid for some of the things I used to do and I have had moments where I’ve cried myself stupid over some of the things I’ve felt the need to do to save who I am, my soul, my life, my everything. Just because someone can doesn’t mean that they do it easily. Unfortunately, she won’t see it as that. She’ll see it as me being a bitch and the same asshole-bitch-cunt I want in high school.

2. There were a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings in her commentary about what I practice. At first, I just figured, “Well, she’s not actually paying attention to what the fuck I’m writing.” However, in league with this post by Zenith, I’m beginning to think that it’s not just her fault she doesn’t understand what I do. I’ve been thinking that I need to write more in my On-Going Path Project stub up there. It’s out-of-date and you know, it doesn’t really say anything. But this is one of those things that is supremely difficult for me. I’ll get into why in a different post, all its own, but I think it’s about time I set up a clear explanation of what I do so that there can be no more miscommunications, innuendos, or misunderstandings.

3. This has made me realize how much faith I’ve built into my practice. I talk about faith a lot here and having it. And this has made me realize that I really fucking do have it, even if I’m on a doubt trip. While losing a best friend twenty-years strong is a different matter all together, I also realize that I am okay with it. Not because I won’t miss her. Not because I won’t cry. Not because this doesn’t hurt like a fucking bitch. All of those things are true. However, as time has gone by and I’ve felt and learned and seen, I realize that I truly do believe that my friend and I have lived so many lives together. I told her once that I believe when one of us dies, the other soul waits around in wherever-land to plot out the next life together. While all of this hurts in the here and now, it doesn’t hurt nearly as badly as I thought it would – tears be damned – because I know that there is always the next life to get whatever we fucked up in this one right. I’m not overly worried that we messed up here because there’s always the time after that and the time after that and the time after that.

This is actually one of those moments where I’m surprised at myself, actually. I’ve always talked about how I have “a lot of faith” or how I am a “very religious person.” This, to me, feels like a kind of vindication or proof positive that this is the case. Just because I say something or write about it doesn’t necessarily mean I believe it at the time. But… I guess I do.

4. I do believe that interfaith relations are a very important thing. Too often, I see things lambasting pagans and pagan practitioners for things that are half-truths or out-and-out lies. But, I think I’m also beginning to realize that it may not always be possible. I’ve always been of the mind that acceptance between the faiths is possible. But, I don’t think it is anymore. If a twenty-year friendship isn’t enough to keep the two of us from fighting like cats and dogs, then what else could possibly ease the process? I don’t really think there is anything. She was too afraid to say what she was thinking and feeling because of a fear of losing me. And I was too worried about embarrassing her in front of her Christian friends to actually say anything big and meaningful in some of her darker, more painful, lacking-faith posts on Facebook. If fear and anxiety can get in the way of our friendship, then maybe it doesn’t really matter how much we loved each other once. Maybe none of that matters.

Maybe it just isn’t possible to keep up friendly relations with people of other faiths.

And I think that’s one of the larger lessons I’m having here. I try very hard to maintain an open-ended conversation and policy when it comes to other people’s religions. However, too often, people will take their religion to a very negative, angry place and they will use that backlash to shame and victimize people who don’t practice the same thing. I see it all the time just in the pagan community. At large, I tend to ignore what the Christian community is doing to us, but I know it’s out there. Occasionally, I stumble on an article that makes me angry and upset that I have a religion that isn’t popular and so, therefore, no one but myself will or can speak up for me if I feel like I’m being shamed and victimized by someone from a popular religious practice.

I think, too, that this is a precursor of what I can expect. Christmas, after all, is just around the corner… and my mother’s hardcore Catholic family are all friends with me on Facebook. So, I think this is a kind of preparation of sorts for a possible show-down between myself and the matriarch of the family. I think it’s possible that this happened now so that I can better prepare myself. I’m not really sure how I can prepare myself if it’s necessary, but I think that’s part of this whole shebang right now. That I have to be prepared that I may have to take the high road again and again and again, if only to prove that I’m not the asshole everyone seems to think I am.

5. Above all, this entire drama diorama has made me realize how very important my religion is to me. It goes hand-in-hand with lesson number three, but it also merits its own place. I have faith in what I believe, so I think that gives me a solid and firm foundation. But I also realize how very religious I have… become in the last year or so. I’ve been worrying a lot lately that by going back to work, I’d become the same materialistic jerkface that I was when I worked for my last job. But, I think I’ve come to the realization that my religion has become so much an integral part to who I am that, no matter what job I’m working, it will always be there.

And it’s more important to maintain its integrity and the Djed pillar it is in my life than to keep hiding myself behind the fear and anxiety I get whenever I debate trying to talk with my friend. My religious is part and parcel to who I am. It’s helped me deal with a lot of the traumas that I’ve been through over the years. It has given me a place to belong. It has given me the strength to stand up and say, “This is who I am and you either take it or you leave it.” It has given me a wonderful online community of support and friendship. My religion has sewn me up, Frankenstein-style, so that I am a mostly whole, functional adult.

And I won’t sacrifice that.

For anyone.

Unfinished Business (I).

I got into a fight with my Christian best friend after my last post. It’s not lost on me that she took offense to what I was saying and that the people who replied and liked were all of a pagan background in some form or another. The thing is that when I talked with my mother about the instance of our argument later, she said to me, “I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner.” And that’s when I began to wonder just how completely incompatible our lives have become. It isn’t so much just because of the distance and the fact that we are no longer the Giggle Girls from our teenage era, but also because of the religious stances we both have, of which are completely different. Initially, I was going to write this post and be angry – and you can expect that there will be some very snarky, snotty, swearing comments – but now I think it’s going to be a mixture of various volatile emotions.

Just to figure things out, I started doing research about her church. I decided not to leave a link to the church in question because, really, that’s an asshole move and it doesn’t really explain much. I will point out that the basic tenet of the church appears to be the fulfillment of Acts 1:8. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (New International Version.)

I was thinking that maybe there was something more than just the Baptist veneer here, but I’m not really seeing anything except perhaps a more vocal need for evangelism. Then, I realized that in my haste to hope that this was just a miscommunication thing that I clicked the wrong link. I was looking for general Baptist associations with her church. What I wanted her to be affiliated with was the Baptist World Alliance. But if I’m reading everything on the website that her particular church is affiliated with, the church she belongs to is part of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention,, which is related to the Southern Baptist Convention. After learning all of these very fun and alarming facts, I’ve come to the conclusion that our disagreement isn’t a miscommunication in as much as a complete and utter break down in opposing religious identities.



Here is what started all of this.

Reference your thoughts on prayers blog post:
What makes you think that just because I posted a comment on Facebook about praying about getting my car paid that I don’t pray to God all day everyday about things in my life both good and bad? And why is it that you can’t seem to talk about your gods with out demeaning someone else’s God or beliefs, or the way they pray, or anything else that isn’t whatever you want it to be? You pick and choose what you want to believe in this life, and when something about your gods or your religion doesn’t suit you, you just change it to whatever does. I’m sorry that your so angry with God over your fathers death. But it does grieve Him when we are hurting, and our problems no matter how big or small are important to Him. It doesn’t matter how far you go from Him he’ll always be there. Forgive me if I’m confused but you say you don’t care what other people believe, as long as they have faith, and you talk about tolerance and all these things that sound so great, but then cry about everyone who is “doing it wrong” and complain about how stupid kids on tumblr are, and post blog after blog demeaning everything, every God and every person who isn’t or doesn’t think like you. No one does it right in this world that’s why God gave His son, so that through Him we can reconcile with God. Jesus wasn’t merely human either, He was also fully devine. I’m just saying. I don’t understand how you can believe the things you do, but not believe in God. I don’t understand why you are always attacking Christianity. Yes people have done horrible things and started wars in His name but those people were wrong. Just as every person that walks on this Earth makes mistakes, bad choices, sin, whatever you want to call it. I’m no different, neither are you. I love you to death and never say anything for fear of losing your friendship, but why? Why should I continue to fear losing your friendship? You voice your opinions and rants all over the Internet and don’t care. You want all these people to follow you and hang on every word you say and if they don’t you just cut them off. So if I’m going to be cut off, then it is what it is. Probably happen eventually anyway so I might as well just say what I think. Believe in whatever you want, but stop demeaning others who do believe in God. Stop demeaning those who don’t believe what you do or practice religion the way you do, because we are all the same.

So, to be completely frank, I was pretty excited when I read, What makes you think that just because I posted a comment on Facebook about praying about getting my car paid that I don’t pray to God all day everyday about things in my life both good and bad? I thought that we could have an adult conversation about perceptions being 9/10s of Internet law. I thought that we could have a rollicking good time. Then, I saw the length of her commentary and was just like, “Well, there goes that idea.” I thought, “We can talk about things!” And I could explain to her that since she doesn’t make mention of the fact that she told her god about her fantastically fucking awesome cookies, I can only assume that she goes the negative way. And that since a lot of her posts recently on Facebook have been about doubt and loss and fear and being a bad Christian all the time, I had to assume that things were just, you know, bad and that her prayers were, you know, to effect change on those bad situations. But, as anyone who has read her snippet can tell me, yeah. That conversation didn’t happen.

Unfortunately when she went on to say, And why is it that you can’t seem to talk about your gods with out demeaning someone else’s God or beliefs, or the way they pray, or anything else that isn’t whatever you want it to be? I realized that she only actually read the entries in which I explained why I had issues with Christianity. I should have already been given that little factoid anyway. In looking back, any comments she has made regarding my religious blog, this blog, has been about how she’s sorry that my experiences with the Christian deity seem so negative and angry. That’s fine. Just to be sure I wasn’t completely off my rocker here, I’ve found that she has commented thirteen times. Not all of the posts she’s commented on were remarks upon my experiences with the Christian god. But, thirteen… and I have 390 published posts. So she has made comments on point-zero-three percent of the posts… so I have to assume that she skims, if she reads at all, and so therefore doesn’t actually take away any of the content I discuss.

You pick and choose what you want to believe in this life, and when something about your gods or your religion doesn’t suit you, you just change it to whatever does. While she started to make sense here, it stopped when she got to the point where there were changes to my religious stances when things “don’t suit.” The only changes I’ve made have been in regards to what the soul is, by ancient Egyptian standards, and in working with the lwa and having to figure out exactly what Bondye is in my practice and where it belongs. Accusing me of something about my theology that is based on a completely incorrect assumption? Also a pretty good indicator that she doesn’t read my blog posts.

I’m sorry that your so angry with God over your fathers death. But it does grieve Him when we are hurting, and our problems no matter how big or small are important to Him. It doesn’t matter how far you go from Him he’ll always be there. Again, yet another indication that she doesn’t read my posts. I never once said that I was currently angry with the Christian deity for my father’s death. On this blog and in my personal one, I have commented that I am angry WITH MY FATHER for dying. I don’t blame it on anyone but my father’s poor choice making skills. I said in my previous post that after praying, as a kid, to have my dad given a Phoenix Down by the Christian deity, and that not happening, I gave up on praying because I didn’t want anything else. PERIOD.

Forgive me if I’m confused but you say you don’t care what other people believe, as long as they have faith, and you talk about tolerance and all these things that sound so great, yes. I do. I have repeatedly. I have even said I’m not great at it, but I’ve said, you know, whatever floats your religious boat. but then cry about everyone who is “doing it wrong” I believe this is actually a direct reference to the statement I made, “That’s just not how this works, as far as I am concerned.” That was from my last post, direct quote there. That wasn’t me telling anybody, “You’re doing it wrong,” but explaining that whiling away your time, praying about how you want good shit to replace the bad shit, seems wrong to me. The words, “as far as I am concerned,” refer to how I work, how I practice, and how this just doesn’t seem like it’s right. It’s funny how people who write blog posts utilize the information they’ve gathered from their experiences. In no way did I ever say, “MOTHER FUCKER, STOP FUCKING WHINING AND TALK ABOUT HOW YOU KNITTED A SCARF TO YOUR GOD.” I’ll suggest you do that; I’ll tell you that I do shit like that and that it works out well, in my experience. But, I don’t order people in what they believe.

And to the next part of that massively run-on sentence, complain about how stupid kids on tumblr are, and post blog after blog demeaning everything. That’s actually conflating two separate blogs together. I have a personal blog, in which I only go there to vent and get out my angst. I have had that blog since August of last year and I have posted a sum total of 150 times. And yes, most to all of it is me being very negative. Why is that? I have to let it out somehow, right? Otherwise it just kind of eats at you or some shit? Yeah; amazing that.

No one does it right in this world that’s why God gave His son, so that through Him we can reconcile with God. Jesus wasn’t merely human either, He was also fully devine. I’m just saying. I don’t understand how you can believe the things you do, but not believe in God. Okay. That’s your opinion. I’m glad you have one about that kind of stuff. I don’t, like, at all. Your divinity doesn’t have anything to do with me except that we worked together, once, when I was a kid. I don’t really understand what my beliefs have to do with it. In fact, it feels to me that you don’t really know what my beliefs are. I suggest checking out a basic ancient Egyptian religion book and getting your reading on. You may finally get it.

I don’t understand why you are always attacking Christianity. Yes people have done horrible things and started wars in His name but those people were wrong. Just as every person that walks on this Earth makes mistakes, bad choices, sin, whatever you want to call it. I went back through my post. I never attacked Christianity. I never said, “Hey, you shouldn’t be a Christian because that’s just wrong.” I never said anything except discussed how it was FOR ME when I was a Christian. It didn’t fucking work out; what’s the big deal? How many relationships were you in before you got married? Just because you find a religion doesn’t necessarily mean you have to keep it, just like all those ex-boyfriends.

I love you to death and never say anything for fear of losing your friendship, but why? Why should I continue to fear losing your friendship? I don’t see a damn word about how I feel about you being a southern fucking Baptist with conservative-fundamentalist backgrounds. But, you know, it’s not for fear of losing your friendship. I know we’ll meet again in the next life and learn the lesson we probably didn’t learn in this one. Will it hurt? Yeah. Does it suck that you have drawn a line? Yep. But, I can live with that. My religion is my life, kid. I eat it, breathe it, sleep it, dream it, live it. And I bet you feel the same about yours. *shrug* Oh, well. A twenty-year friendship is an impressive thing but not enough to sacrifice my ideals or for you to think that I demand the same of you.

You voice your opinions and rants all over the Internet and don’t care. Actually, I do care. This is another indication that you just don’t read what the fuck I write. I have said repeatedly, “This is what I think, I could change my mind later; inform me of your thoughts.” I’ve made major revisions to personal beliefs and liturgy at the behest of numerous comments about something I’ve posted. I’ve cried and bled for this religious path. I’ve cried and bled because of this blog. I do fucking care. I care all over the fucking place and you’re accusing me otherwise? Why not just pour lemon juice on that paper cut you just created across my fucking face?

You want all these people to follow you and hang on every word you say and if they don’t you just cut them off. You got that right! I’m a fucking Leo! I want everyone to stroke my damn ego and enjoy what the fuck I write. The thing is that, you know, it’s not just that I want them to hang off of my every word. I want to teach; I want to explain; I want to be someone that someone turns to if they have a question. While part of that is because, you know, ego… it’s also because it feels fucking good to help others. I’m sorry if you think me so selfish, but I’m really fucking not. Also, aside from no longer following blogs due to a blow out that happened in May of this year, I have never once cut off a person. I really don’t think you know me, at all. Just because I can stop talking to a person doesn’t mean that I do it lightly.

Believe in whatever you want, but stop demeaning others who do believe in God. Stop demeaning those who don’t believe what you do or practice religion the way you do, because we are all the same. If you found my experiences with your god demeaning, then I’m sorry for your perception. But again, we come back to that being 9/10s of Internet law. You obviously don’t understand what the fuck I’m talking about because you have a great relationship with your god. FANTASTIC FOR YOU. BULLY FOR YOU. GET A COOKIE OUT OF THE JAR. It’s not that way with everyone. And yeah, some of us have had really fucked up experiences with the fucking Christian deity.


With this whole fucking commentary, I’ll admit, readers, that I suddenly became acutely fucking aware that it is possible for a cisgender, white girl to fucking experience what PoC and LGBTQ people call “privilege.” Because by discussing my fucking experiences, that meant that I was demeaning her and her god. WAY TO GO ON MAKING HEADWAY WITH INTER-FAITH RELATIONS.

(Stay tuned for part two where you see the initial comments I made to this message and the response I received back!)

Thoughts on Prayers.

I’ve noticed an exceedingly disturbing trend (to me) in which people only pray when the shit hits the fan. I’m not saying that this is a predominantly pagan or Christian occurrence. I see it in both religious instances, to be perfectly frank, but it absolutely and one hundred percent disturbs me to no end. I can’t tell you that I have the best possible way to do things because I don’t really think any one person’s way is better than anybody else’s. (Hm, a fundamental issue with two out of the three of the Big 3, me thinks.) I don’t feel the need to lord it over others’ heads that I’ve “been doing it longer” so therefore, I must be a walking god or some shit. Nope, no. Nada. That’s not me. But I will say that this whole trend to turn to deities when shit gets real seems pretty fucking stupid.

This is the stone edifice that held dominion over my soul while I was a child. Pretty, huh?

This is the stone edifice that held dominion over my soul while I was a child. Pretty, huh?

It’s possible that the reason I have this issue is because, quite frankly, I didn’t pray as a child. I was technically a Christian. I went to church. I sat through my Sunday school classes. I’m sure I picked up a thing or six in the entire time I went there. But, praying wasn’t one of them. Fellow Methodists may know what I’m talking about – I’m a little fuzzy on how other religions do it that aren’t Catholic – but when it came time to do that Sunday-only little epistle to God, where we all bowed our heads and said some things to the Big Guy In the Sky, I really didn’t know what to say. I was always at a loss for words. It seemed to me, even back then, that talking about how I’m miserable in school because I have no friends, nobody understands me and oh yeah, my dad was dead… It just didn’t seem like the kind of thing to talk about with the Christian God.

Besides, I had done all my praying about my daddy as a kid. It seems to me that, you know, if he wasn’t going to pull a second Lazarus on my dad, then he was probably not going to want to listen to my rage at ‘im for that.

So more often than not, I would bow my head and study my hands. Or I would imagine what it would be like to fly to the big, huge stone rafters over my head. I would draw stick figures on the programs they give out – why do people feel the inherent need to know what’s going to happen in a two-hour long Sunday ceremony? there will be praise and Bible and greetings, it’s all pretty much the same – or play hangman with myself since my kid brother would go to the kids’ chapel and I’d get bored with my mom. Some times, I imagined by unicorn and horse herd in the cordoned off seats to our right. (Don’t ask.) And other times, I would get up twenty times “to pee” just to explore the building without any adult supervision because, frankly, I had really nothing of interest to say to the Christian deity.

Often, I’ll see Christians, now, talk about how they’re praying to get things going the way they want. The thing is that I just don’t really think that the Christian deity they’re working with is very intent or cares very much. This may have something to do with my delving into voodoo in my practices. (They believe that Bondye exists, but that he’s pretty damn impartial and not-caring, which is why lwa are around – they get the jobs we desire done.) So, I mean, I could clearly say that I’m biased here. Why would the Christian god, after giving over the only begotten child for our sins, really give two shits about whether or not the car gets paid off in time or whether or not we have walking pneumonia versus a really bad chest cold? I just don’t see it. But, I think my bias here is mostly in the fact that, as a kid, I was taught that you prayed to your god when things got real and then, maybe a miracle would happen and maybe it wouldn’t.

Since the miracle of resurrection didn’t happen with my father, I kind of figured that anything else, paling in comparison to that, wasn’t on the Christian deity’s list of things to do. And I’ll be frank, I just can’t see praying to a mortal who died for sins. Considering all the stuff that they claim the Christ went through, I mean, it seems really wrong to ask him for anything. HULLO? CROWN OF THORNS? I know that was supposedly the point and all, but any problem I can come up with, sans not resurrecting my dad, is probably not going to measure up on the list of “miracles to grant.” Getting a car paid off, hoping it’s not pneumonia, getting a job… All these things just don’t seem like the kind of things either of those two divinities would care to talk about or make happen. Again, it kind of comes down to, let’s compare notes on what we think is bad versus how it probably was for the Christ and, you know, nothing compares to his prayers that you know, he probably NOT die a miserable, horrific death. Or that people use his name to start wars BUT WHATEVER.

So, what the fuck does this have to do with my gods, my prayers?

You’ll notice that I have an entire category called “Letters.” In that category, I offer some of my more formalized prayers to various gods. I believe there is one in there to Sutekh, one or two to Sekhmet, one or two to Ptah… So, obviously, I have prayed to my gods when things were bad. Obviously, I’m ranting and raving here about something that I’m guilty of doing.


The thing is that I talk to my gods daily. I go over and I give them their daily offerings. And throughout the day, I pray to them. “O, Sekhmet, give me strength to not fall asleep during this boring, boring shift.” Or, “O, Hetharu, remind me to love myself.” However, those aren’t the only kinds of prayers I do with them, either. When I’m baking for the gods, that’s a prayer right there to me. When I’m cleaning their altars, I’m praying that I get the arrangements right. When I did my Thanksgiving, polytheist style, I was praying to all of my gods. I wasn’t asking them to make things happen; I was telling them that I trusted that things would happen. It’s not a miracle. It just is. The Universe, the gods, the lwa, they will all provide for me. I may not understand what it is I have to go through now, which is… pretty bad, but I believe that they will hold out. That they will show me the way. It’s just a matter of my getting through the tough times long enough to see the happening materialize.

So, yes.

I pray to my gods. I talk to them daily. I tell them about how hard it is for me to believe that things will work out. I’ve fallen down, sobbing hysterically, in front of my altars and demanded to know why this shit is happening to me. I’ve had my moments where I have raged at them, angrily, because I don’t understand why things are the way they are. But, I don’t just turn to them about that. I talk to them about how my kid is great, even when he annoys me. I talk to them about how excited I am about going Christmas tree hunting with TH’s family or how I’m so happy my nephew is finally taking tiny steps (even though walking, on his own, is probably a long, long way off). I talk to them about how I’m worried a new god is coming in. I talk to them about how I will find a job. I talk to them in positives and in negatives. I don’t just go to them with all of my problems, unload, and expect them to fix it.

That’s just not how this works, as far as I am concerned.

While I will often tell people that if you don’t doubt, then the miracle can’t happen, I also believe that telling your deity of choice about the good stuff and the bad stuff is how the relationship works. It’s just like a having a friendship or a relationship with a significant other: it’s not all puppies and rainbows and unicorn farts. Sometimes, you’ve got to discuss the bad thing going around. I’m jobless. I’m worried we’ll end up homeless if what the Hubby told me is accurate. I can’t fix my car to get to jobs outside of the Springfield area or to get the Hubby to any jobs that may open up in the next month or two. I don’t really have the money to pay the bills and I’m hoping that they really can’t shut off the heat in the winter time. I talk to my gods about my worries and my fears.

But, I tell them about the good things, too.

And I think that’s something that all divisions of faiths, from Christian to pagan, need to do. Otherwise, what’s the point in praying if all you’re doing is inundating them with the bad shit? Why would they want to have a relationship with a Negative Nelly?

Would you?

Talkin’ Tolerance (PBP).

Alternate Title: I’m An Asshole, An Asshole, An Asshole…

Xzibit on tolerance, bitches!

So, one of the things that people who read this blog will notice is that I talk, a lot, about tolerating other pagans or polytheists or other races or other genders. This mostly stems from the fact that since I recently joined the Tumblr community, I see a lot of shit about this stuff all over the place. (That’s an entirely different kettle of fish, but I’ll tell you, if half those kids went out and did something about what they perceive as slights, then we may just have a better living community. Instead, all they do is bitch out people on the Internet because, you know, starting a petition is too much work.) I talk about it a lot, but I’ll admit something here that you may be surprised about: I don’t necessarily practice what I preach. I know, that’s a pretty big shocker. In a day and age where we hear about priests going on about protecting our children and then sexual assaulting them, it’s “oh, so shocking” to see someone talk a good game but neglect to actually practice what they are preaching. Let’s face it; I’m an asshole.

But the thing is, honestly, that for the most part you don’t know what it is that I am intolerant about and what I am tolerant about. I don’t do this because I like to keep people guessing, but because I know that it may just be me, as I said, being an asshole. In other cases, I do it because I know what I think and feel is wrong and I’m hoping to one day fix that. I’m going to discuss two instances in which you may not have been aware that I’m not tolerant of others and then, you know, you guys can get out the torches and pitchforks.

The first instance is that I am a racist motherfucker. Okay, so some of the comments I’ve made regarding thousands’ long reblogged posts on Tumblr may actually have been a clue or some of the more cavalier commentary I’ve made (if you know me, in real life) about skin color could have been another large clue. But, I am actually a person who hates and fears men of the black persuasion. I wasn’t raised that way. In fact, you can kind of tell how I was raised because I don’t see binary gender at all. If someone says they are a woman, but really have a dick in their pants, well then they’re a woman as far as I’m concerned. If someone prefers the pronoun “he” over the gender they were born with, then that’s what they are. My mom didn’t teach me to see other people’s differences, from skin tone to gender change. In fact, and you can laugh at me all you want, when I was a kid at an inner city public school, I had a few people as my friends who, gasp, were not of the same skin tone as myself.

Weird, right.

But, Sat. Don’t you hang out with that ex-employee who is half black?

Uh, yeah. Yeah. I do hang out with her and I talk to her whenever we can catch a hot minute. The thing is that my racism stems almost entire around black men. And while I could easily blame my impressionable hatred on the fact that I got to listen to a certain best friend’s mom talk about “porch monkeys” as a teenager, this actually has nothing to do with it. (I had no idea what any racial slurs were until I met that woman, so fucking help me.) You see, the boy who raped me when I was sixteen? He was black. And I’m almost positive this is where my heart-racing, roll-up-the-windows, lock-the-doors, stay-the-fucking-hell-away-from-downtown fears come from.

The funniest thing about this (as if there is anything funny about racism or how I, like, got it or whatever) is that the boy in question was a yuppie. He was being raised middle class. He was a football player. He was popular, smooth-talking. I mean, you can pretty much guess the story from those few sentences right there. But, whenever I see a black man, whether he is of a lighter color or darker color, I start freaking the fuck out and fear overtakes me. As a kind of trial and error to get away from these dark, irritating feelings that can swallow my heart up with my panic, I tend to say rather crass and asshole things about black people in a generalized summation. I know it’s wrong. Fuck, I know the whole fucking thing about is WRONG and stupid. None of those black men in downtown raped me. None of those black men hurt me. So they stare at me a little longer but so do the white boys in their group, too. So what the fuck?

This is one of the issues that I’m hoping, with my shadow work, I get to destroy. Let’s face it. Being a racist asshole in this day and age is oh, so passé. Not to mention, why am I going to take that shit out on people who are not my rapist? Why the fuck am I going to sit around and just be a stupid douchebag to people who are probably trying just as hard as I am to make it in this world? It’s completely uncalled for and completely fucking retarded.

And as TH just pointed out to me (because, you know, I did mention this post to him before writing about it) is that my racism is very specific, so maybe in a weird context, it’s not really racism. I don’t know. I don’t know what the fuck it is but I’ll mention this: I am okay on one-on-one basis. For example, down in Texas, we had Otis and Twennie (he called her “Twennie” because that was his pick up line to woo her: “Ooo, girl, you better than ten; you two tens… I call you ‘Twenty’.”) who would come in. And they took care of me just like they were my grandparents. I had no problem with them, whatsoever. And in fact, my son has money in his piggy bank from them and I get messages from them, via my mom, all the time. So, I don’t know what the fuck this is…

…besides completely inconvenient and really fucking weird.

(And as I’m reading this out loud to TH, he says to me, “Well… aren’t you buddy-buddy with Papa Legba? And I don’t think he’s white…?” And I tried to explain about in certain contexts, he could be construed as such because of the associations he has with Catholic saints who are white, and he just went, “PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFT.” Yeah. That happened. And then he decided he was going to teach me about voodoo. Oh, gods. The conversations we have! “Why don’t you try to use some tolerance at me, brah?” He says now. THE POINT. GET TO THE POINT HERE.)

MLK is showin’ the way.

So, what the hell does all of this have to do with me, spiritually?

Well, if you can’t figure out that my being racist in some contexts can affect me in a religious way, then you are an idiot. (And there’s nothing racist about that because, you know, I hate idiots equally!) This sorely fucks me up on a religious level because, you know, I don’t believe it has a place in my religious practice. I don’t feel that my panic-stricken reactions to boys with darker skin tones has a single fucking place in what I practice. And yet, it’s there. It’s in my house, eating my potato chips and drinking my fucking soda. And I want it the fuck out. Thing is that I’ve noticed that intolerance in some areas, such as the more mundane such as racism, can translate over in other ways. And this is specific to my religious life, my spiritual path, what the fuck ever you want to call this.

I discovered this today when I was reading through my blog roll. While I may not comment, I do actually spend a good deal of time going through the blogs that have been updated to see what’s going on. I stumbled onto a blog entry written by someone who wanted to thank Sekhmet for something. And I was reading the entire entry with a giant fucking stick up my ass, like I knew my shit so I didn’t have to hear it, and I’m just like, “No, no, no, no,” throughout the whole entry. Everything this person had to say was wrong to me. I don’t live that person’s life. I don’t know how they connected with Sekhmet. I don’t know a fucking thing about their religious life, but here I am, sitting back and just snorting derisively.

And what is that?

That’s intolerance.

That’s me with a giant stick up my ass and thinking I am the gods’ gift to my premier deity.

That’s me being a motherfucking asshole for the sake of being an asshole.

That’s me letting my inability to get tolerant in one arena of my life bleeding over into another area.

You see, the thing that I’m rapidly learning is that intolerance only breeds more intolerance. When you see the kids arguing on Tumblr about appropriation of Native American items or clothing, which generally and rapidly devolve into name-calling and racial slurs back and forth… that’s intolerance becoming more intolerance. That’s someone being unable to stand up and say, “I see your point. I don’t agree, but I see your point.” We’re all too focused on how we are right and perfect and lily-fucking-awesome about everything to realize that others have a point-of-view and that they may be right. Or, if they’re not right, they’re not going to see other points-of-view because they’re being intolerant. And then someone else who is as equally or more so intolerant comes in and the cycle just keeps fucking evolving until your head wants to explode at the motherfucking stupidity going on.

PhilosoRaptor takes a stab at tolerance!

So, the point in all of this is that in one instance I’m like, “Oh, wow. This happened to me and it’s continued to effect me.” But, you know, I never really considered how much it could bother me in other ways, how it could translate in other ways. Am I saying that because I have racist tendencies in some form or another this translates smoothly over into being a dick wheel about someone’s blog entry about Sekhmet? No. But I’m saying that if it’s easier for me to preach tolerance, not practice it in some area, then it’s easier for it to come out in other areas.

And that’s something I have to work on.

So, in closing, I leave everyone with an awesome fucking song that can depict me, at this moment in time, being an asshole.

Religion Vs. Religion.

I’m just going to say this very quickly before I move on to the post, itself. This entry is probably going to be about me sounding very naïve. For everyone who thinks that I’m some battle-axe, I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but this subject hit and I had to write about it.

Last night, I began to watch the movie, Agora. I’ve had a few people recommend that I do so and so, figured, why not? It’s been on my Netflix queue for a very long while and I was bored. So, I began to watch it. It seemed a bit slow and a little weird, but I really do love Rachel Weisz, so I kept through. However, I had to shut it off after the first battle scene between the Christians and the pagans in Alexandria. I knew what would, invariably, end up happening because I know my history. The Christians win that particular battle and some time later, the city sinks into the sea. I didn’t want to see it any more.

I watched as blood was shed from one faith to the other, horrified. I know that those were the ways of men back then: religion against religion. I know that very well since, as I said, I do know a thing or two about my history. However, maybe I’ve been babied by the historical biographies about Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen, who was pretty religiously tolerant. Or, maybe, I was babied by the fact that the Egyptians didn’t really give two figs who followed what religion and even, later, began collecting other religions in Egypt. Perhaps, I have been incredibly babied by the fact that after the Romans came through and put those to the sword who needed it/battled for it, then they didn’t really give a fig what you did, religiously speaking, either. Sure, they cared later, but not at the first expansions of their empire. So, in watching that scene (which wasn’t as bloody as some battle scenes I’ve watched lately), I realized that I couldn’t finish watching it.

The reason? I just can’t abide by that.

I never quite understood the whole point in having a religion that was willing to take to the sword to force others to believe the same. And in my eyes, that particular scene was all about it. Sure, the pagans got up in arms because the Christians were shitting, in effect, on the statues of their gods. They were blaspheming, in the eyes of the pagans, and the pagans had enough of that. They were going on about their One True and the pagans didn’t want to bend the knee. Eventually, they may have, but the pagans fucked up when they decided grabbing a sword was the way to go. It makes me wonder how far the pagan religion would have lasted if they had listened to Hypatia and said, “Yeah. You’re right. Fighting about it isn’t going to solve anything and only get us killed.” However, hubris was speaking in those ears as well and that’s who won that particular inner battle: hubris, ego. They were so busy believing that the gods were offended or that the gods would help them that they never bothered to stop and ask if the gods would keep them alive enough to bring the sword to every other non-believer out there. And in my eyes, the gods said, “No. This is not the way.” And maybe they watched in sorrow as their believers were butchered and tortured, or maybe they turned away. Who knows?

My fundamental issue with the Crusades is much the same as how I feel about the above battle scenes. I never agreed with it. I could understand the desire for the Promised Land, but I could never understand the need to kill so many people or force them to convert. What was the ultimate gain out of that? The Christians held the Promised Land for a hundred years or so and then, the Muslims forced them right back on out again. And we haven’t been back, except as visitors, since then. (Did you know there were nine numbered Crusades and a bunch of others all in the name of religion?) I could never understand why the Spanish Inquisition tortured so many and for what gain? To have a peaceful realm? That didn’t happen, at all, if my thoughts on that area of Europe is correct. And really, what were they hoping to gain by hurting so many other people besides hate and enmity? And this jihad that the Muslims have been fighting against us isn’t, really, religiously motivated. They say it is. They go on about how this is the way of their people, but if they attacked the United States, it was mostly because we were the “big bad” and our “Christian foundations” had little to nothing to do about it, in my opinion. (Yes, I know. Our country was not founded on a Christian basis. That’s why I said that in quotes.) All of these things to do with religion, either forcing it upon another person or just to be the only people who are religiously “right” is so utterly sad and depressing and irritating that I want to spit.

Why is it important for the message of one religion to overthrow the message of another? If the words are taken properly and put in the right place, then why do we have to fight one another? Does it truly matter so much? I understand that the Christians want to save us and whatnot, but maybe, the words they speak and believe so well are not the ones that sit right with everyone else. I understand that the Muslims want their words to be the ones, above all else, that are the proper way in religious matters. But to kill others for that belief seems to me a great folly. I mean, after all, isn’t one of those rules that everyone abides by have something to do about not killing? If that’s the case (and I’ll be frank, in the whole Islamic tradition, I honestly don’t know if they have anything like the Commandments or if, you know, they believe the Commandments), then aren’t they flying in the face of their very beliefs by killing?

In the movie, what the pagans did was wrong. They thought they could overthrow a religion that was only for “the slaves and riffraff.” (Direct quote, there.) And they were snuffed out for that audacity, only to come back alive and well thousands of years later. What the Christians did during the Crusades and every other religiously oriented battle since was wrong. They were proved wrong when they failed to take and keep the Promised Land. What the Muslims did during their jihad against the United States was wrong and, as I said, probably not very religiously motivated. But if it was, they were wrong too because this country is not the seat of Christianity anymore than England, France, Italy, or Russia are. Every country has a Christian faction of some sort (some quite different from others), but ours is overwhelming and different from person to person, not just area to area. This is wrong. This is wrong. This is wrong.

I just cannot and will not abide fighting a battle or war against other people, either of similar faith to mine or completely different, just so that someone can be “right.” We could all be right. We could all be wrong. The only thing that we should really think about more than anything else is that we are all human fucking beings and that should be what unites us instead of letting a religious message divide us.

Heka Doesn’t Really Work, Apparently, Even if I Think It Does.

Apparently, all I’ve been able to do today is offend people in some form or fashion with the words that I choose. It seems like the second my fingers hit the keys, I’m led down the inexorable path to offend and cause harm to others. Call me crazy, but this seems like the antithesis to what I’ve been striving for with all of this talk about living in ma’at. I’ve been thinking calmly, coolly, and rationally before responding, but apparently, I am careless all over the place and let things slip out without realizing it. This, in turn, has offended other people in various instances. And the shit just keeps rolling downhill. While I know that I’m over-emotional because of it being that time of the month, I also know that the emotional toll of this knowledge stems from the fact that I feel that I cannot express myself properly in any way, shape, or form without causing harm, which in turn is causing harm to the path that I, ultimately, hope that I can tread. I was reduced to tears earlier when I thought about writing this entry, but as time has passed, the emotions fell away and I felt able to write this post… only to learn that the shit storm is still rolling down hill and look at that. Tears, again.

A while back, I used the word “rape” in a context not associated with sexual assault. I was utilizing it in regards to just what a mechanic is liable to do to you if you’re not careful enough. Since the word “rape” does have other definitions and I was utilizing it this context, “an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation.” This was, apparently, not correct. I was called to the carpet, so to speak, and laid out. I explained that the above definition was the version I was using and apologized for having offended. I felt awful in a variety of ways. I felt badly for having brought someone a possible trigger. I felt guilty for having utilized a word that could be so offensive to someone. And then, I was angry that my jest was taken so literally. I felt like I was being singled out and pointed the finger at. Even writing this, I’m feeling all of these things, but mostly overwhelmed. I ended up deciding that I’m kind of done with that quarter. (Just a note: This happened on TC for anyone who cares. I think this has soured me from there for a while.) I cannot change it, but I was so mad. Why should I stem my speech because someone else can’t handle it?

But, heka right? And words have power, right?

Well, I ranted a bit on my FB about it. It was just a place to let off steam. The thing is that I forgot… I am friends on FB with various people who post on this forum and may or may not have seen the original commentary. And guess what? Yes, someone from TC commented on my FB status about it. She raised a point and I conceded that to her, but I don’t agree. I don’t feel the need to curb things because others can be negatively impacted. As I talked about this with the Sister, she even went on to say that in using the words in day-to-day speech, it aids to desensitize us to the traumas we have experienced and I had to agree. Does that mean that I use “rape” regularly? No. Does that mean that I should keep my mouth shut? Apparently because all this has shown me is that my words offend, which means that obviously, I’m not paying too close attention to the heka I’m striving for.

And later, I received an E-mail from my mom about something else. I offended a mutual Christian friend with telling her that I believed the Exodus stemmed from the Hyksos expulsion out of Egypt. This hurt my feelings because, even though we don’t see eye-to-eye and as I said somewhere she doesn’t give me a lick of credit for even saying that the Exodus happened, she is my friend. And while I see that I am running out of spoons for that quarter, it still sucks that I managed to offend her sensibilities. And then, later, my mother told me that things I’ve said have offended her. Even though she is not a practicing Christian, some of the terms I’ve utilized to sarcastically remark about Christian holidays have offended her. And while I was already hurt and wounded from having brought harm to someone else, it was made ten times worse when I realized that my careless attitude has negatively affected my mother as well. Nothing else matters, really, in lieu of my mother’s aches because I will never meet the Christian friend or the person from TC. All that matters is that I stupidly offended my mother.

Even after deciding that I was living in ma’at and taking more care.

Ah. Water works. There are the tears that I’ve been suppressing just about all day.

I feel stupid and retarded. I feel like I’ve made this epic decision to live a better life, but no matter what the hell I try, it still fucking fails. I feel like I can’t do anything right: a stupid foolish little girl who is playing with things beyond her ken. All of this falls down around me and all I can see is that every time I let my fingers spread across the keys or I open my mouth, I end up hurting someone. What’s the point anymore? What is the point to any of this shit anymore? What’s the point to the idols and to the incense and to the offerings and to the walking beside these beings if I can’t even figure out how to speak/type without bringing harm to others?

I’ve always thought of heka as us imbuing power into words. I’ve always thought if it as our conscious decision to put power into the things we say. But, as time goes by, I seem to realize that the words have power on their own. If we ignore them, maybe that power will flee (in the case of words like “rape,” for instance) but we don’t do that. Human beings pay too close attention to those negative things that we give them more power than a girl like me can handle. And at this juncture? This girl just can’t fucking handle it.