Pray for Paris; Pray for Beirut.

Six months before my tenth birthday, a truck bomb was detonated in the parking garage of the North Tower of the World Trade Center complex.

I don’t know why my mother wasn’t home, but I can remember seeing the nightly news and being horrified by what I saw. It was my first real glimpse, I think, of the horror that existed in the world. I was, like many people driving by a car crash on the highway, unable to pull my attention away from the news reports, watching the videos and listening to the news commentators.

I can remember sitting in our living room and trying to figure out what this meant to me and how it could possibly impact me. I tried to imagine what it must be like to have had family work in the towers on February 26, 1993 and not knowing if they were all right. I tried to imagine what it would be like if my mother had been killed in an attack like that and was overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty.

It seemed like the world was filled with fear and uncertainty, horrors that a nine-year-old can’t fully comprehend. As a thirty-two year old woman, I still can’t fully understand them.

Paris is Not Afraid

Parisians gather after the Charlie Hebdo attack on January 7, 2015 to show the world how this attack has impacted them.

Right along with the rest of the world, I was watching the stories unfold from Paris last night. I can’t recall where I first saw the story pop up on my radar, but I read through the articles I could find as the story developed. I went through the tags on Twitter, looking for posts and information. I watched as innocent men, women, and children had their lives shattered by violence. From my comfortable couch, I felt chills and sorrow that are but a drop in the bucket compared to the people waking up in France today.

The attacks that occurred last night appear to have been carefully orchestrated and have left more than a 100 dead. The president has closed the borders and has indicated that the next 3 days will be days of mourning for the loss of life. I was overwhelmed with the state of it all, just like that day when I was nine years old and watching the aftermath of that truck bombs in 1993.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.”

I saw the above quote on Tumblr and began looking around for that and I found it.

Men and women came together, tweeting safe havens and instructions on how to find them, cities across the world showed the French national colors in solidarity, and people around the world prayed for Paris. I have found myself combing through stories this morning, reading as much as my heart can handle. There were many people helping last night.

While combing through the Parisian records, I found out that Beirut had been attacked the day before. I hadn’t known. Nothing about it had crossed my periphery. I’m finding that happens more and more, though. It seems like, unless the damage ISIL has wrought is against a historical monument or something related, I don’t see it in the news very much. I wonder if we’re just inured to the violence that seems to be happening on a regular basis in the middle East.

With a heavy heart, I began looking through the news reports to see what had occurred, what I had missed. Violence broke out in Beirut this week in the form of two suicide bombs. According to what I had found, the ISIL, as with Paris, has taken the claim for these acts. There were acts of heroism in Beirut, too. Now the people of Beirut mourn just as Paris does.

Along with other Tumblr Kemetics, I found myself unable to stand by and just watch all the tweets and news reports flow to us, giving us minor updates on such a huge situation. I couldn’t fathom what was happening in either Paris or what had happened in Beirut. I couldn’t wrap my head around it and in my confusion, I turned to the gods.

With a little over 100 notes, we offered suggestions and ideas on what we could do to help from our removed positions.

The Art of Flame

Tonight we are victorious – Victorious by Panic! at the Disco

It seems like more and more the world has become a scary place, a place filled with real live monsters. The quote from Aliens that Newt says to Ripley seems particularly more and more accurate with each passing month and each passing day. As more reports filter down to the masses, stating that someone or many someones has done something that should be seen as inhumane:

“My mommy always said there were no monsters, no real ones, but there are.”

Instead of grotesque xenomorphs running rampant across far-flung planets and space ships, we have the human equivalent running rampant here, on Earth, and it seems like when you take down one (or they take down themselves) six more pop up in that empty space.

I worry and worry. My son is seven and he’s already become aware of the things that people can do, can inflict on others. He may not know the specifics, but he’s been taught about 9/11 and the changes in the world that happened afterward. He’s already been taught other horrors, aware of the Charlie Hebdo attack in January of this year, and asked questions about it.

I was 9 when I became aware, for the first time, that the world was not always a good place. I was 9 when I realized that the idyllic world that I resided in was not the same as what other people lived and breathed in. My son was 6 when he first learned about the World Trade Center bombing in 2001. He was born into a world where these things are more common, happen with a frequency that both saddens and frightens me.

I am tired. I find myself exhausted and overwhelmed with the stream of reports, with the news that something else is happening and it is Big and Scary. We cannot hide our heads underneath the blankets and fervently wish for the monsters to go away or scream out to our parents, demanding that they fight off the evil monster for us. The monsters live and breathe in this world right along side us and hope to extinguish us for whatever twisted, frightening reason resides in their heads.

We must turn on our night lights and fight back, with magic and with prayer, with solidarity and courage against the extremists who would scare us back beneath the covers. No matter where the violence is occurring – a European capital or a city in the Middle East – we must fight back and show these people that we are not afraid.

I stand with Paris and with Beirut. Do you?

Political Heka.

Political activism has become so commonplace in the United States news that we hardly bat an eyelash anymore. I don’t, at least. I’ve been blasted with articles about things like Bree Newsome’s courageous removal of the Confederate flag, people dangling from bridges to stop Shell’s ice breaker, the next step in the LGBT+ movement after marriage equality and the Black Lives Matter movement and why it is as American as the Boston Tea Party. I read many of those articles, feeling overwhelmed as I watch from the background as men and women fight for what they believe in.

Political activism has become more common place with each week. There’s a new series of articles being shared across my friends’ FB pages, which I’ve read about a hundred times with each new share. The world is changing with the youth of America willing to not only acknowledge those changes but fight hard to bring those changes to beneficial fruition while the men and women we continually elect turn a blind eye.

I often find myself wanting to help. I don’t know how to. I can’t donate money; my budget is incredibly finite. I hope that in the sharing of those articles, I can at least sway the minds of some of the pig-headed and stubborn assholes who refuse to acknowledge their privilege, think that the Black Lives Matter movement is a disgrace to this country, suck their teeth at trans youth/men/women looking to be seen as equal in the eyes of everyone in the country, and turn a blind eye to the damage we’ve done to our planet. Even if one person starts to recognize the reality of the world, then maybe I’ve done my part.

But it never feels like enough. I always feel like I’m the problematic ally who doesn’t really do anything.

I want to march. I want to yell with a sign in my hands at politicians. I want to, well, maybe not dangle off a bridge to stop companies from destroying our world but you know maybe have water bottles waiting for the people who are dangling. I want to do and show that I believe and I believe strongly, too.

As though I’m not the only one looking for a way to assist the change, I’m seeing more and more political activism within the pagan and polytheist communities. I haven’t paid too much attention to the wider pagan/polytheist climate in years, but when I do take a peek around, I’m a little awed by the number of people advocating activism. It seems like I’m not the only one who wants to see the change.

Perhaps born of this desire or something else, during the 2012 presidential elections, I got to watch the Tumblr witchcraft community do what they could to ensure a victory for Obama. I felt like I was watching the birth of political witchcraft at the time. It was rather awe-inspiring to see how many people discussed what sort of magical undertaking they were hoping to achieve and what outcome that magical undertaking would look like.

It was, to be frank, beautiful.

In 2013, I got to help out when a courageous Wendy Davis stood before the Texas legislature to filibuster an abortion bill. She didn’t make it the 13 hours she needed, but I watched the live feed as they argued amongst themselves and crowed as Leticia van de Putte took some fucking names when they ignored her. I couldn’t shout like the people waiting in the background, but I remember feeling overwhelmed not only by the responses on my laptop screen as I watched the live feed but also from the wider community as they did what they could do assist in any way possible.

Whether by magic or by design, the filibuster did work and the bill didn’t go anywhere. It wasn’t a clear win, but it was a step in the right direction.

Last year, I helped out as I watched the news coverage when Ferguson lit up over the murder of Michael Brown. For seventeen days, I watched the biased news reports and the more bipartisan articles shared online. I haunted Tumblr and Twitter as post after post after post was reblogged and retweeted, showing what was actually happening there. I did what I could, adding a little heka for a problem that, no matter how many times my aunts and uncles might say it, did not die when the Civil Rights movement achieved something.

Untitled

I worry what unfought battles I leave behind for my son.

Last week, I started really reading about the bullshit going on with Planned Parenthood and the war on women in general. I’ve been posting the articles as I see them, horrified by what my government is trying to do to this organization. It’s not even a matter of taking away a resource, in my opinion. They just want to take away our rights, remove the access that we all desperately need for important health-screening programs because the organization provides services that the conservatives find distasteful even though those services are not funded by the federal government.

It’s like that one kid who would break a toy because he couldn’t play with the toy in question. “If I can’t have it, no one can.” It’s a my way or the highway type of ideal governing the policies our House of Representatives and Senate is putting out there into the world. It makes me physically ill to read the new layers of bullshit going after Planned Parenthood.

The attacks on Planned Parenthood just keep coming. The more I read, the more I despair for what this country is turning into. I use Planned Parenthood exclusively. I don’t need to have a fancy doctor’s office with people who may look down on my state provided health insurance. I can go to my local PP and get all the same services without feeling self-conscious in some overly dramatized waiting room.

I decided that I had to do something. My state seems to have a good relationship with Planned Parenthood, but I’ve been watching how Texas and other states are managing to shut down centers with their personhood bills, abortion bans, and biased counseling. Again, as I read through the articles, sifting through what I’m seeing, I just want to do something. I want to be on the front lines along with the organization, supporting as best I can.

With the advent of political witchcraft, it occurred to me that political heka was a good idea. I wasn’t the only one who had this thought because TTR posted the exact same idea on Tumblr. The idea stuck. The thread has just over 100 notes and there are people from outside of the United States who have mentioned helping out. It looks like the fledgling Kemetic heka hut may have found a new purpose, a way to breathe life into the monthly New Moon rituals we all did together periodically to execrate the shit in our lives.

flames

Light ’em up.

I stand with Planned Parenthood and I stand with the activism I see populating my Facebook news feed, my Twitter feed, and my Tumblr dash. I’ve watched from the sidelines. Now I have something available to me that I can use and hone, like a weapon, aiming it at the hearts of the elite who are hopelessly out of sync with the changes in the world today.

I may not be the activist that I could hope to be or the activist that others would demand that I be, but I am an activist. I will assist to the best of my abilities.

Who will join me?

The Propitiation of Sekhmet 2015.

July 24, 2015 – August 19, 2015

Last year, I created a holiday for myself in an effort to incorporate Sekhmet into the epagomenal days and the New Year. I had a real purpose to this: I wanted to add Sekhmet, who was the main reason I was on the path that I am, with the celebrations that I was undertaking in the name of netjeru that I don’t really have relationships with. It felt wrong to not include her, to be honest, so I made it my mission to do so.

I formed the basis and the actions that went with the celebration last year. I wasn’t thinking beyond the actual creation of this. I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like one day since I did, sort of, base it off of the mysteries that TTR celebrates for O every year. But I didn’t stop to think what that would mean in the future. I just needed to create some form of back bone and take it from there… at some point.

With a foundation created, I didn’t do anything further. Aside from wrapping her up in the black scarf I purchased specifically for this, I didn’t do any heka. I didn’t add any further rituals. I just left her closeted away for five weeks (yes, five weeks) and left it at that. At the time, I needed a break from everything and ended up running as far and as fast as I could after the wrapping of her icon was completed.

With all of the other things going on this year, I recognized that what I was aiming for last year wouldn’t be sufficient for me this year. Sekhmet had told me that I had things coming and that I would have rules to follow. I’m still parsing that bit out, but the gist is that I needed to focus more on the duties as her servant that she wants and less on the bare bones that I had crafted last year.

It’s a bit like that section in My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts. She discusses how Osiris is the foundation of all ancient Egypt. During a conversation with TTR on this subject, I mused about how our altars could be viewed as a continuation of this idea, as the backbone of O: each altar being a form of central focus, a foundation, if you will of our practices*. The actions of my ritual for Sekhmet prior to the epagomenal days and Wep Ronpet were another version of this backbone. I just needed to flesh it out.

* I’m not saying that altars are mandatory in order to practice Kemeticism. I was thinking more on the physical reminders of one’s practice, which an altar would be the largest in my opinion. There are many other things that can and do make up the backbone of one’s personal practice.

So, I decided that I needed to do more than just act: I needed to think and say, as well.

Since this was going to be messy, I had a crappy cloth to soak up as much excess oil as I could get. ... I still made a mess though.

Since this was going to be messy, I had a crappy cloth to soak up as much excess oil as I could get. … I still made a mess though.

I chose to use one of the spells I read in Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts by J.F. Borghouts. Much of the spells in here make me go, “what,” most especially since the ancient Egyptians really seemed fond of crocodile poop. But there are a few bits of heka that include items to prevent the netjeri of Sekhmet from inflicting harm on the person who is either performing the spell or the person who the spell is being done for during the End of the Year. There are 12 spells regarding the End of the Year in this book to choose from. I chose to work with spell number 13, which can be found on page 12.

As the book indicated:

“Words to be said over a piece of fine linen. These gods are to be drawn on it, and it is to be fitted with 12 knots. To offer to them bread, beer, and burning incense. To be applied to man’s throat. (A means0 to save a man [from] the plague (i3d.t) of the year; an enemy will have no power over him. A means to placate the gods in the retinue of Sekhmet and Thoth. Words to be said by a man from the last day the opening day of the year, the Wag-festival and at the daybreak of the Ernutet festival.”

I ended up choosing to use a silky nylon cord of which I have a large abundance of. I chose to use cordage in the color red. While the color red is associated with things like destruction and anger, it also has associations with strength, virility, and kingship. Since the color is most often associatied with Sekhmet, and being a devotee of hers, it occurred to me that choosing red cord would be an excellent way to utilize it’s negative aspects as well as its positive aspects against the netjeri that would be unleashed the next day. It would help to protect me when they are unleashed.

Since I didn’t know how much string I would need to include 12 knots, I decided to just try it out and see what happened. I had spare cords that I had cut for another purpose that I no longer recall. They were about 20″ long. I cut a third piece to the same length and tied the beast together.

It was still pretty covered in oil but it was no longer dripping everywhere at least.

It was still pretty covered in oil but it was no longer dripping everywhere at least.

I have three vials of various oils that someone made for me a long time ago. (I can’t even remember who or why, tbh.) One of them is a protective oil to keep evil away. So I figured that since I was using cordage, which doesn’t have space to create depictions of gods on it, I could use this oil as a replacement. I soaked the hell out of those three cords and then let it dry for a while.

I cut up a huge bowl of cucumbers and shared them with Sekhmet while I waited. When I felt like enough time had passed, I braided the three cords and found out that no matter how much time has passed, when it comes to oil being soaked into cordage, you’re still going to make a huge mess. I also discovered that one crappy white rag was insufficient and would up with oil all over my hands (again) and in small drips on the table.

When that was completed, I tied knots in the middle as evenly spaced as I could manage it and reformed the knots at the end so that they were evenly spaced as well. I only had enough space for 6 but I’m okay with that. I pulled over the book and whispered spell 13 from beginning to end over the cord. I plan on doing this every day through the epagomenal days and including on Wep Ronpet. I haven’t decided if I will keep this up through to the Wag-festival though.

The next step was to clean up the altar space and get Sekhmet situated.

It was a good afternoon and I felt like I had really accomplished things this time around.

It was a good afternoon and I felt like I had really accomplished things this time around.

I pulled everything off of the altar that I use to associate with her except for the bowlplace of truth, Professor in his aspect as Maurice the Netjeri, and a small bowl of offerings. This bowl of offerings included by ib pendant that I wear daily, the beautiful red bracelet that Stone Spiral made, and my personal devotion. I spoke words over that offering bowl regarding the depth of my devotion to my lady.

We spent a good portion of the rest of the day just resting. I had the blinds open to let in fresh sunlight and I napped as I watched the sun move across the sky. I listened to music that made me think of my relationship with Sekhmet. I also ended up finishing off the cucumbers with her, realizing that no matter how many you cut up, it’s probably never enough to fill you up.

Later that evening, I pulled out my little pile of offerings and set them together so that I could get started. I left them out for her to look over with the feather of ma’at amulet above them. This gesture was to remind myself that what I was always aiming to maintain ma’at and that what I did, by the virtue of all that I have read about the gods and how they were served in antiquity, was an extension of maintaining ma’at.

As I did last year, I bound them in a gold cloth that came with one of the amulets I have (I can’t recall if it was something that came with the feather or the ib pendant). I wrapped them up like a little package with some cord in a nice little bow. While I was doing this, I was doing my best heka on the fly. This may not have been very good because I stumbled a lot over my words, but spoken heka is not my best suit. (You want me to write it? I’m all over that, but if it’s spoken aloud and on the fly… Well.)

I pulled Sekhmet from her representative benben and carefully wrapped her in the black scarf. As I did so, I spoke yet more words discussing that process, the why and the how, and the reason that my power was as strong as any god’s. Once she was wrapped up, I wrapped the package that is Sekhmet in a white cord and murmured spell 13 back over the entire altar space.

As she went on her way with her package of my personalized offerings, I set up Professor in his aspect as Maurice the Netjeri to keep watch over her passage. I lit a cone of incense to bless the path that she walks with the sweet scents of sandalwood. I then placed my red cord of protection on the altar, a not-so-subtle reminder to the other netjeri that I am a hekau of Sekhmet and my demands will be obeyed.

Sekhmet is Pacified!

Kemetic Round Table: More Heka!

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!

When I first got started in the wild realm of heka, I think I overcomplicated the concept to myself. I tried to look at it from the same frame of reference as the ancient Egyptians. Don’t get me wrong – that’s important especially for those of us who are recreating the religion. But I spent so much time worrying about my words and what sort of associations, ramifications, and unintended hurts may end up being inflicted on others that I stopped saying anything of merit at all.

I can assure you – this is not how you work with heka.

I think the thing that hung me up the most is that, while the ancient Egyptians saw words as inherently powerful in their own right, things have changed to an extent. We don’t take as much time with the wording of something. I think our modern viewpoint negates the inherent ability within us to effectively create heka. It’s important, of course, to be mindful of our words and how tone, inflection, and the wording can impact others, but I don’t necessarily equate someone being a twatwaffle when they speak to utilizing heka.

When I use heka, I tend to save it for “larger” occasions, specifically during the rites and services I do on behalf of Sekhmet, during major holidays, or larger magical undertakings. So, for example, I have been cooking up (so to speak) a large personal rite that has aspects of both sympathetic magic and heka interwoven together. Outside of these instances, however, I very rarely use heka in my life on a day-to-day basis.

I found that my past failings with attempting to monitor my words and mind my attitude had ended up disastrously: it impacted me negatively by feeling as if I couldn’t say anything with any substance as well as setting off my anxiety. It also made it that much harder for me to communicate effectively. I still have leftovers from this – anyone who knows me that I go quiet on the Internet frequently. This isn’t always caused because of spoon management (or lack thereof) but because I don’t feel as if I have the ability or wherewithal to (A) add anything to the conversation or (B) say anything that wouldn’t, eventually, end up coming out badly.

So, I stopped worrying about my words on a daily basis and started worrying more about them when I was in ritual and when I was working on magix. I found that I worked on it all, studying what it was I was hoping to achieve by turning to heka (healing, protection, execration, etc) and using that as a firm foundation. From there, I built upward with what I felt was needed in order to have good heka in use for the goal I was aiming to achieve.

But you know what I discovered after a while? I’ve become far more mindful of my speech on a daily basis.

Part of this, of course, could be because my job is 95% done through written communication. Much of what I work on is highly technical… and I have to communicate the technical aspects to people who would not understand the lingo. I often find myself paying more attention to how I’m phrasing a problem and what the resolution for that problem was. I pare it down to its most basic component – as an example, the carrier made a wiring repair – and reflect that in my communication.

I do this, as well, within my written communication over the Internet and my conversations with friends and family. I think about what it is they are wanting to know from me, pare it down to its most basic component, and work upward from there. (For those just getting to know me via Tumblr, this is why 99% of my responses are so short.)

When I became aware of this, I started looking around to see if there were other instances where I would use heka on a more daily basis. And I found that I did have my moments. I can’t say it’s something that comes to me either naturally or often, but it is something that I do.

Periodically, I will do a sort of invocation of one of the netjer to see me through the day. The ancient Egyptians were fond of equating themselves as the gods when they were undertaking heka. It added a layer of legitimacy along with a layer of power to the heka that they were trying to do. Most often, as anyone can guess, I reach out to Sekhmet in my attempt to embody what she is capable of: getting through some bad ass shit.

I will admit that this has had mixed results, though I don’t think it’s necessarily because my heka is ineffectual as a whole, but because I tend to do this in a fit of pique. I don’t think that being at my wit’s end necessarily assists me with what I’m trying to do… which is why I tend to plan out for quite a long time frame beforehand what heka I am undertaking.

When it comes to getting started with heka, I honestly don’t know how someone should get started. I think studying the concept in an effort to understand how it was used in ancient Egypt is a good idea. However, when I did, I found myself anxious and overwhelmed both by the concept (since it isn’t exactly an easy one to figure out in a single go) and how it could possibly impact my life.

I think baby steps are probably the best way to go, but that’s honestly the case with about 99% of anything one wishes to study. When it comes to heka, I would go through Kemetics’ blogs and read through any posts tagged under “heka” or “heka hut.” That should give you a rough understanding if what it means to the modern day practitioner.

The next few baby steps that would be the most effective would be to start off small: execration. Execrations are probably the easiest, most cathartic, and the most common forms of heka modern practitioners utilize. (Have a whole KRT topic on it even!) I’m almost positive my first official act of heka was an execration. Besides, who doesn’t like the idea of beating the crap out of a pot or piece of paper when you’re frustrated beyond your measure?

From there, I would take it one step at a time. There’s never a rush when it comes to this sort of thing. Rushing into these types of endeavors can lead to more problems in the long-run anyway. And of course, as always, make sure you have fun with it all, you know? Don’t get boring with it.

Petition to Sekhmet – July Edition

I am rapidly beginning to understand why there is a dearth in the Kemetic community for heka hut type things. There is a toll on the person doing the heka hut that I, personally, didn’t take into consideration. With each month that comes by and each monthly rite and service under my belt, I am not only seeing some really heart breaking tales and requests, but I’m also beginning to see a pattern in what is requested and my responses to it. While I’m pretty used to what’s being requested – much is of the mental or financial assistance category, which makes sense considering the world climate we currently live in – but what I find disheartening is that with each new petition service having come and gone, I find myself more and more exhausted by the end of it.

All in all, it’s not even the actions themselves or the specific errands I must complete prior to the rite that tires me out, but the whole act relating to it. The next day, I wake up fairly early with the knowledge that I still need to spend some serious time on the actual blog entry itself relating to what occurred the evening before. And I find myself, more often than not, just sitting around with a blank look on my face, feeling like I haven’t achieved a damn thing and whatever energy levels I may have had are now currently out the window.

If this is what even a fraction of people have experienced when conducting these types of services, I can completely understand why they stop after a while. I think it’s kind of like burn out. And of course, while all of these service type things are happening, nothing else stops. There is still a life to live and still religious items to go through and deal with and still lessons to learn and still family to tend to and still a dirty fucking house that needs to be cleaned. I mean, it’s all still there, but it gets shunted to the side for a bit to complete the service and then, there it is, back and ready the very next day.

Yes, I can clearly understand why people don’t tend to do these things for such long periods of time.

With seven months of official rites under my belt, I’ve also noticed a steady decline in requests. I’m mostly okay with this because that means that I spend an hour writing down petition requests instead of multiple hours. However, it also leads me to wonder why the requests have dropped off. I find myself adding people into those requests whether they ask for one or not – people I care about, people within my community, who clearly need some assistance coming from somewhere.

I often wonder if the reason the requests have dropped off lately is because people aren’t seeing anything being done on their behalf. This might be fear (mine) talking, but it’s something I’ve thought about each month.

I don’t know if I have ever made it clear that Sekhmet decides on what she does or does not do. I have absolutely no say in who gets first dibs or who gets completely ignored. I would assume that the people who are just hoping that things end up dropped in their lap without doing any of the legwork are the people who are not seeing anything positive come out of this. Or maybe, it’s because whatever they are doing is insufficient and they need to do something else. Or maybe, people are just sick of seeing me put that request out there every month and they no longer give a shit.

I’m not sure it really matters.

I think I may try something different, though. This month was the last actual rite – next month is an oracular session. (Note to self: let’s be firm about how many people are admitted to this because you sucked last time and admitted like a million people more than you wanted.) I think, though, in September, I’m going to change up how I put out the request a little bit and see if that draws anyone new in or brings back frequent flyers.

The rite itself, as usual, was pretty simple. I had a couple of errands that I wanted to get through yesterday in order to meet up with Sekhmet during the service portion of my evening, fully stocked with what I wanted. However, I also had other errands that I needed to complete in preparation of Wep-Ronpet, which is rapidly approaching. (Wep-Ronpet is slowly but surely turning into something very different from what I’m used to.) So, I did the two burns with one stone shtick and managed to get everything that I wanted in about two hours… minus the rose petals.

I’ve pretty much just given up on rose petals for the time being, even though I really fucking love using red rose petals in my services. The last two bags that I had went bad before I could use them all, which irritates me beyond belief. I completely understand that I’m buying it and they are on sale so, therefore, I should use them quickly. But my ritualistic time table and the rotting-slowly time table of the rose petals are clearly not in sync. So, until I can be sure that I’m getting fresh rose petals that will last beyond two weeks, I’m going to have move passed that particular idea. In the meantime, I can still set a mean fucking altar if I want to.

Even without rose petals, it still looks pretty B.A., in my opinion.

Even without rose petals, it still looks pretty B.A., in my opinion.

I decided on a simple setting this month. I chose grapes and wheat bread for an offering. The only thing that I went a little overboard with was the CHOCOLATE. I saw this chocolate Swiss roll that was on sale at my local grocery store and it looked so delicious. It also had the fewest caloric intake when compared to all of the other delectable goodies on sale in the bakery. It was rich and fucking wonderful, by the way, and if they ever have it on sale ever again, I am going to buy it (possibly not with the intention of giving any to the gods, possibly only for me).

For this month’s flowers, I chose an orange type of color. I was hoping to add lilies to the whole shebang because I’ve been on a lily kick lately. However, none of the bouquets with lilies were in my price range, so instead, I found this really awesome orange and white bouquet for like $6. There were even roses in the bouquet and as anyone who has been reading my blog can attest, I fucking love using roses in my rites and whatnot. So, I can’t really tell if I was sold because of the orange roses or if it was just because it’s a color I associate with Sekhmet or perhaps both. But orange fucking bouquet it damn well was.

When I came home, I did some minor altar cleaning and then napped.

I realized at about three or so that I was fucking exhausted. I am an introvert and a homebody, in case no one was aware. So, all of the errand running kicked my ass coupled with yet another shit-tacular work week. So, my son and I ended up watching Mythbusters and fell asleep until well passed dinner time. (Seriously, I took like a 3 hour nap, which is unheard of. Give me an hour and I’m usually ready to bounce up and do the things. Or, well, not bounce up, per se, but like at least get shit done until I have quiet time.)

I added incense, booze-and-soda, and cool water to the altar before trying to find a box that I like for shrine purpose. (I failed. I found a bunch of boxes that I really liked and found issues with every single one. Then I found a bunch of boxes that I kind of liked and found issues with every single one of those, as well. I’m beginning to despair that I’ll find one in a timely manner – because I should have found one like well before now since this was “supposed” to be done with before Wep-Ronpet.)

While reverting the offerings, I sat around and did some thinking about what sort of changes I can expect in the next few weeks. I know there are a lot – there have been others who have confirmed that they’ve noticed BIG CHANGES on the horizon and with Wep-Ronpet rapidly approaching for Kemetics across the world, it’s really no wonder. (Wep-Ronpet can be a chaotic time for a lot of reasons and three years running, I’ve noticed that’s when shit goes down, at least in my life.) I have to hope that the BIG CHANGES are an easier confluence than the last few BIG CHANGES I’ve gone through.

Also, I have to wonder why in the hell 2014 is the year of BIG CHANGES.

Whatever the case may be, here’s to hoping that Wep-Ronpet heralds the end to them. And that with the burning of my last seven months’ worth of petitions, a new era will reign supreme. Or, if not a new era, I at least won’t have to stop because no one puts in requests anymore.

Petition to Sekhmet – June 2014.

Yesterday, I woke up knowing that I needed to be on a much more even keel than I had been all week long. I don’t know if it was just me, but this last week kicked my ass. It seemed like at every possible juncture, I was battling some stupid asshole to get things rectified and things still weren’t rectified after the battle. I did surprise pop-ins. I escalated shit. I ended up sitting at my desk at lunch just about every day and instead of reading, as is usually the case, I propped my head in my hands and tried very hard not to cry. And as if the universe wasn’t having enough shit throwing the telecommunications world in which I work into complete and utter chaos, they felt the need to do the same with my personal life, too. My emotional stability had gone from “solid as a rock” to “impersonate a Geiger counter at Chernobyl on April 28, 1986.” While I have to continue to live my life, and take what comes at me in whatever possible way that I can, I also can’t let it impact the services that I am providing for others.

The ib is strong with this one.

The ib is strong with this one.

With that in mind, I put on my most recent purchase from On the Temple Steps, which is owned by Bezen (the owner of Per Sabu). I had bought an ib pendant from her a few weeks ago, feeling the need to add yet more heart imagery to my daily wardrobe. As anyone who has been following me for a while should know, I was tasked with finding a ring that perfectly symbolized our relationship before the end of 2013. I had chosen an anatomical heart for the task and I wear it every day. As though to emphasize my decision on the imagery, I was looking through Bezen’s most recent amulet haul and thought, I need an ib for Sekhmet, too. It actually came in on Friday – a single bright spot in an ongoing miasma of pure bullshit – and couldn’t wait to wear it around. So, after going through my morning ablutions yesterday, I put it around my neck, coupled with the winged Sekhmet pendant that I don’t wear as often as I probably should, and felt instantly better.

I don’t know if anyone reading this will understand what I’m talking about but when I put on those pendants, I felt a much more solid connection to the services I was going to provide that evening and also to Sekhmet, as a whole. It felt very much as though I had bathed the back of my neck in Florida water, which I do when I’m feeling frazzled and overwrought. Things have been dicey all over the place on an emotional level and I always tend to view Sekhmet as this stalwart in the midst of said upheavals. But this week, even knowing that I am her daughter and she will always be there for me in some form or another, I couldn’t find a connection. I worried about it, honestly. How can I provide rites if I’m feeling this? I need to be more on the level! I don’t know if the ib came in with the purpose of bringing me back towards that stalwart matron with whom I love dearly or if it was mere happenstance. Whatever the case may be, the second that golden amulet was around my neck, coupled with the silver amulet of Sekhmet, winged and ready to inflict chaos on those who deserve it, I felt much better about the whole thing.

And as I prepared for last night’s services, I realized that, well, over all I was beginning to feel better about the whole process. I realized that I didn’t feel nervous about the upcoming services, at all. It’s possible this was due to how chaotic and awful things were this week. I can’t possibly discount that because of how the universe threw every available curveball in my direction, I was too overwrought to even remotely feel nervous about things. But, I honestly have to wonder if that was it in its entirety. I’m beginning to think that after six months of officially doing this, coupled with the two months of unofficially doing this, that I may actually be starting to feel like I know what I’m doing. I can’t say that I have all the answers, but I do feel as though I have in hand what it is that I’m doing, what the aim is, and where I’m heading: the heka hut.

A while back, Devo and Helms had been throwing around the idea of a heka hut. I’m not sure when that conversational ball got started or even what brought it up, aside from something that Nekhbet had said to Helms at some point or another. In effect, the heka hut would be: “Where a group of hekau performs heka for people in need. We’d each do our own rites, possibly together, possibly separate.” While I will admit that I would prefer other hekau to get in on this, especially considering there is quite obviously a hole within the overall community for rites such as these, I also understand the lack of spoons that most of us currently are in the middle of. But as I thought about it all day yesterday, occasionally reaching up to the ib around my throat, I realized that I had accidentally started the heka hut without even consciously realizing that was what I was doing and am now just kind of waiting for others to jump on the bandwagon.

So, while I don’t know if that’s really what this whole thing is about – if Sekhmet thought the heka hut idea needed a push and is using me as a guinea pig – or if her wants and desires coincide with the original idea, I do know that what I’m doing is a valued service within the community. The list of petition requests I receive each month is a clear indicator that people need this. And I will admit that I’ve always felt like I needed to help people in some form so this actually all kind of fulfills that desire, too. As many spoons as this little heka hut can sometimes take, it’s a win-win over all.

Another thing that I have noticed with each month that passes is that I am finding it easier and easier to pull something out of my butt. I really don’t think anyone fully recognizes how much of my practice is me just saying, “Hey, I have a thing that I want to do; let’s see what I have around the house and make it a festival!” Or, insert religious observance. Sometimes, I have to go out and get items specific to that event, but it’s usually in cahoots with chores that I am already in the process of crossing off of my ever-growing to-do list. So, it’s not really as if I do anything overt or special for any of those observances. I am just doing what I would normally do or spending money on the food that I would normally purchase. And while the first few months of these services show a larger portion of meals and offerings to sweeten the deal, so to speak, I’ve come to realize that I don’t need to be so overt with these things. Just as I don’t need to be so overt with the other festivals, feast days, and processions that are marked on my calendar.

With each month, I know what I need to get things done and I know what I am going to do.

I don’t know if that makes me an expert or just more capable, but whatever the case may be, each month seems to find an easing of tensions that were explosive back in January.

For offerings, I chose roses. I really like flowers, okay? But I found that the roses were on SUPER SALE at my local grocery store. I got 15 stems for under ten dollars. And honestly, I don’t know why they were on massive sale since the roses were still in good condition. There was hardly any rot in any of the petals, which I removed as I was cutting them down to fit my vase, and hardly any of them had even started to bloom. I was also able to snag another bag of rose petals, which were also on sale. I went through the petals last night and saw that they were all in good condition, as well. What was even better was that the two key items I wanted to provide as food offerings – oranges and grapes – were still on sale, too. I was able to walk out of the grocery store with spending a lot less than I had budgeted for this month’s services.

I don’t know if the universe was trying to make it up to me after a hellacious week with all of these sales or not, but it certainly pleased me.

I didn’t have as many petitions as I normally do this month. I think that shows that these things come in waves. I don’t know, since I’ve only been doing this for six to eight months now, if people are more in need of reaching out to the gods in the beginning and ending the year, when things are constantly changing (and not necessarily in good ways), or if people are just so inured to my call that it’s that time again. In either case, I didn’t spend hours writing out petitions this month, which was nice. I was actually able to write them all down in less than an hour. I did see a few familiar faces and I also saw some new requests. And I added actually a bunch of people from the Kemetic community without letting them know. Since I know them all so well, I tend to know what’s going on in their lives at a given moment and know when I feel the need to step in and do something. Even though most of our relationships are long distance and through the Internet only, so I can’t really stop by with pints of ice cream to eat away the feelings, I can at least reach out to a deity who knows how to fuck bad shit up.

I even put in a petition request for myself, which I legitimately try not to do. It’s not that I don’t think she won’t listen to my request any more than anyone else’s, but also that I know the request I was putting in was probably kind of dumb. I haven’t done any work on my end to further the goal I was requesting her assistance with, so why should she listen to me? I also don’t like to put in my own requests because then I feel like a selfish jackass. But things were made quite clear to me the last few weeks regarding some things and I realized I needed to do something. Hopefully, the way that I formed the heka for myself won’t seem as though I’m asking her to pull a miracle pass in the last 15 seconds of the game, but just give me the added boost or the push that I need to get off my ass.

Oranges to symbolize her Eye of Re aspect; grapes to symbolize my servile relationship; and flowers everywhere to symbolize the beauty in maintaining ma'at.

Oranges to symbolize her Eye of Re aspect; grapes to symbolize my servile relationship; and flowers everywhere to symbolize the beauty in maintaining ma’at.

After cleaning off her altar space and setting up the offerings in front of her, I reached out and touched the prayer beads that are always on my altar. No matter what changes I may make, there are key elements in my relationship to Sekhmet that are always there: the prayer beads are one of those. I reached out to those beads and realized that I wanted to make them more part of the rite than I usually do. I normally have them on my altar, in some form or another, but I wanted to be a little more symbolic here. I placed them on top of the bowl of petitions, as a kind of sign post for her to take a peek at what people were asking for. Since I touch them frequently and leave them as an ongoing offering to her, I felt like it was the right step to bring her into this world to look at what people were asking. I also placed the feather of ma’at amulet on top of them (also from Bezen’s shop).

With everything completed, I relaxed for a bit, hoping that the next week is more about ma’at and less about isfet.

Petition to Sekhmet – May 2014.

This week was strange only in the fact that I actually remembered I had a rite coming up. Hell, I remembered last weekend that I had a rite coming up and had to demure from plans with friends this weekend so that I could see the religious aspect of my life. What was even weirder was that I found myself looking forward to the weekend. Of course, I’m usually looking forward to the weekend because work is shit, but in this particular instance, I was looking forward to the weekend because of the rite I was supposed to be doing. I don’t know if I’ve ever truly looked forward to do these things before. Looking back on this last week, it was almost as if I was climbing out of my skin with the need to be doing something and when it finally came upon me, I looked up and knew who I was, what I was, and what I had to do. I stopped questioning myself long enough to do what I had said I would do and maybe, I was a little content with it.

Yesterday, I found myself in a sorry state, though. Most of my Saturdays are active when I have rites to perform. But it was nearly like the morning rain had infested my soul with something that needed to come out. I won’t say much more about it because I think it’s a blog entry all its own. But I felt very much like I was trying to climb out of my own skin again. There were other things that were impacting me in a way I hadn’t anticipated – things that I’ve done with and dealt with before with little to no issue. But yesterday, issues happened and I found myself sore in places I shouldn’t have been as well as flushed. Maybe I’m getting sick and my mind wandered with the illness that it’s trying to fight off. All I know is that this last week, when I thought of the rites and services for Saturday, I felt content and ready. Yesterday, as I attempted to prepare for them, I found myself wanting to slither away from myself and hide in a thicket of grass or in the sky.

Instead, I sat around and read.

I did other things like the laundry and cleaned a bit. I can’t very well go to the rites with a dirty house at my back. It seems a bit unseemly to do so. Amid all the wandering thoughts and the odd sensations and the reading of a book, I would stop now and again to clear up the detritus from the last week or so that I left to fester. I cleaned the table and I washed the dishes. I made sure the counter tops were cleaned and wiped with cleaner. I watched the clouds float lazily across the sky, some dark with impending rain and later, some pale and fluffy with the blue skies of a late spring day. Yesterday, it felt very much like Mother Nature couldn’t make up her mind about what she wanted the day to be like and I felt very much in line with her in all of that. Last night, thunder pealed and I saw a brief flash of lightning; I counted to ten before the thunderclap sounded. A few miles away, TH told me that the skies opened up and a torrential downpour flooded the streets. It didn’t here; we just heard thunder and had a few soft patters of rain.

I felt like Mother Nature yesterday, in a way. I was a little of this and I was a lot of that, but I wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be. I wanted to be surefooted and intent on the goal. And in a way, I was. I knew what I was about. I didn’t demure in the process of cleaning up and setting up the altar. I did find myself wandering a lot, though, as I wrote the petitions on their little bits of paper to place in a bowl at Sekhmet’s feet. While I wrote, I caught glimmers of emotional content, both from the petitioners themselves as well as from that other that I tend to associate with Sekhmet. Sometimes, she would be bemused and other times, she would be angry on behalf of the asker. Whatever the case may be, my own emotional feelings regarding the petitions were, for once, nonexistent. I had no opinion, either emotional or mental, on the writing but only on the cramp in my hand as I wrote.

It took me about two hours to complete it all and I don’t honestly know if that was because I was dicking around on the Internet while writing them down or if it was merely because there was a bit to write. Or maybe, it’s just the normal that this loquacious motherfucker rambles the fuck on when I submit the petitions. I try to be as specific as possible – something I am always counseling others to be in any instance. The gods, Sekhmet especially in my opinion, are queer when it comes to interpretations of the wants and desires of others. I often think that if I am not very specific about what it is people are asking for, then the wrong things will happen and I will feel less like I know what I’m doing and more like I’m fucking everything up. So, I write a lot, I supposed, far more than what most people submit to me in couched and flowery terms, sometimes a bit poetic in its sycophantic prose. I think Sekhmet is amused when I get in a flowery mood, a mood of poetry in my step and in my word. I think sometimes that it’s when I’m like that that the working is far better than it normally would.

I’m probably making this up anyway.

As I was cleaning off the altar space, making room for what I was going to be placing before her, I stopped myself often and stared down at the prayer beads that Autumn made for me a while back. I tend to touch them a lot, though I don’t really pray to them. They’re mostly a bauble right now, but I’ve found that if I’m feeling particularly “uncentered” about anything, I can just touch them and I’m okay for a bit. I found myself stroking the cool of the carnelian and lightly caressing the gold beading between the groups of carnelian. It’s always cool in my hand and maybe that’s why it brings me back into focus: usually, if I’m feeling “uncentered,” I end up feeling rather overheated. Maybe it’s the cool of the stones that is all my body needs. Whatever the case may be, as I cleaned off the altar and made sure there wasn’t a speck of dust, I stopped frequently to stroke the beads and to run my finger across the gold ankh. I wanted to feel the whole thing cool against my skin, but I didn’t dare touch it.

It was almost like, “I have requested my friend to create this thing in the name of Sekhmet,” but it’s really, all about her. I can touch it and I can feel something when I do so, but it’s really Sekhmet’s prayer beads. I just get to keep them safe upon her altar whenever she doesn’t want them near. I know that’s not the case – both S and I had discussed what use, if any, we would have for the beads though never came to a clear conclusion. Right now, it’s just a focal point, not just for the altar itself but also for me. It’s a focus so that when I am overheated and feeling a bit of blah and needing something and not knowing what that something is, I can just touch them and I am grounded for a bit. (Grounded as in, I no longer feel out of sorts, not in the meditation sort of way?)

I cleaned everything down, myself included, with Florida water. I figure that there are a ton of people out there who use the stuff for everything; I’ve heard it used in cures for people, honestly. I figure it can’t be too bad to feel a bit of citrus scented coolness on your body and on your altar. It’s a nice scent, really, and it is a bit more of a ground, I think, just like the prayer beads. The stuff I bought, in the beginning, specifically for the lwa whom I serve. But now, it’s come to the point where it’s a good bit of something when I’m cleaning everyone out – all the altars, turning them up and re-consecrating them after a good dust and cleanse. It’s also helpful, as I said, when I put it on my face and on the back of my neck. Sometimes, I fling droplets in my hair and let it evaporate slowly. My hair still smells of the Florida water now, hours later.

I needed to ground myself in some way before I did what I was set to do. I think I managed, at least.

I’ve been kind of dieting, which made the whole “here is some food, too” bit kind of difficult. I don’t think people realize how small actual serving sizes are, unless they already eat the proper serving size. I am, of course, a product of American gluttony and have always had large portions in my evening meal that are probably half to a full portion above what they should be. So, I had to keep in mind what my calorie counter was telling me when I decided on the course of feeding Sekhmet. I also had to decide on things that were healthy. Of course, I would like to think that I tend to feed her healthy bits anyway because I like to give her my favorite things as a form of sacrifice, which includes a lot of fruit. (Devo is always making fun of me for the whole grape thing and I’m not terribly sorry either because damn it, I really fucking love grapes.) I didn’t have much to spare since I’ve been lazy this week and didn’t bother with the grocery shopping, but I had a few things to hand that I thought was appropriate.

Everything I gave to Sekhmet last night was a form of sacrifice.

And I think that’s probably just as important as the rite itself, you know?

It’s all fine and dandy to give daily offerings. For me, it’s not really a bit of sacrifice to do it. I give cool water and the play food that I have on hand. But when it comes to doing the services I promised in her name, as well as when celebrating the myriad of festivals in her name, I feel that sacrifice needs to be in there somehow. Sometimes, it’s something small and minor – a bit of time, some energy. But when it comes to the bigger things, like rites can be, I think more sacrifice needs to be provided. So, I sacrificed everything I thought of that was good for me and knew that while it was a small meal, it would at least go over fairly well. I sacrificed peanut M&Ms, diet Coke, my precious Crystal Skull vodka, cheese, bread, an apple, and ‘Nilla Wafers. Later, I sacrificed them all right back into my gullet and enjoyed the feel of them there. (I didn’t bother to eat dinner in prep for the rite.) And while I didn’t end up “eating dinner” until 10:30 or so at night, I was at least pleasantly muzzy with the feel of all the things I had first given to my god and then later, given to myself.

For once, I didn’t have fresh flowers to provide to her. I did end up using a fair bit of the red rose petals I have stored in my fridge for these types of things. They’ve been in the refrigerator for almost two months now and some of them have started to turn. I was looking in the bag, pulling out the bright red ones to lay upon her altar, scattered artistically about. While I looked, I saw the brown of rot on some of them and pulled those out in the hopes that I could keep some of them for next month. As I pulled them out, the wetness of the interior of the bag clutched to my finger tips and the brown bits stuck a bit, too. I looked at my hand, feeling like my fingers were making love or something to the dead bits of petal, they were so thoroughly covered in the stuff. I thought about those flower petals, the blackened edges between the bright red and the brown of the death.

I thought Sekhmet would think that highly appropriate under the circumstances.

Everything lit; a quick execration above the petitions; and a feast fit for a goddess.

Everything lit; a quick execration above the petitions; and a feast fit for a goddess.

Sometimes, I think that these rites and services are never going to go anywhere. I see a lot of repeat customers asking for the same things. When I’m writing the petitions, I will see the same things asked for amongst different people, but I’ve noticed a trend with some people; they always ask the same things. I wonder at those people, who put their faith in what I’m doing. I was doing a bit of wondering about them as I carefully flung brown petals from my fingertips into the trash, thinking about Sekhmet. I wondered if the brown bits on the petals wasn’t a bit of metaphor for them and their requests – the brown a hint of not fully grasping the seeds that they must plant in order to see their requests met or perhaps the brown a hint that they were on the right path and the shit would begin to decay before their eyes, breaking open the path to where they want to go – or maybe the metaphor was more about me than about their requests. I’m a bit of brown here and there, ragged black lines through my soul preventing the rot from reaching the bright red health of the rest of my soul.

Or maybe, I’ve been living too much with poetic sentiments and am only looking for something that is not there.

Either way, I culled the rotten petals from the bag, thinking that I should probably put them in another baggy for next month since I think there may be mold in the bag itself. Maybe I, too, am molding. Or maybe, the repeat customers’ obstacles are molding, ready to part beneath their forceful demands. I suppose it doesn’t really matter where the metaphor lies here. As long as it, maybe, gives comfort to those who need it.

Petition to Sekhmet – February 2014.

This week, going into the services for this past weekend, I felt a little more grounded and a lot less anxious than I did in January. I think that’s because I had the January services under my belt. I have to admit that, even with my practice runs in November and December of last year, there was something daunting and terrifying about starting up the actual process in January. I’ve thought about the reason behind this and I have to assume it’s because the services I provided in November and December weren’t only just a practice run to me. It was a way for me to just kind of throw it out there and into the community and see what happened. And back then, even with the overwhelming amount of requests I received both times, I could always have just said, “Well, that was fun,” and stopped there. But once January came around, I didn’t have that “stopping” option anymore and I had to move forward.

This month, however, I felt that I was better prepared. I knew what expect, sort of, from the amount of requests that I would receive to what specifically I felt I needed in order to see the requests through. I also knew what to expect from the aftermath, as well. It may not be noticeable from the pictures that I post or the comments that I make, but this shit is draining. Since I’m not asking for anything in return and honestly wouldn’t want anything in return for this, I have to go at this based on whatever spoon allotment and energy reserves I have to function. Since I had given myself more time to prepare, knowing what to expect after the services had been completed, I was better able to budget myself the week before hand. To keep myself above the waves, so to speak, I added more calendar notifications throughout the week so that I knew when to start resting up and when I needed to ignore things going on around me so that I could better focus on the upcoming services I was planning.

As January’s services were about utilizing the New Year energy to promote goals for the petitions, February was a continuation of that goal. In January, a feast of blockages were provided to Sekhmet. She would eat whatever blocks she chose and help move people to the next step of whatever it was they were seeking. This month was a continuation of sorts to last month’s services. Only instead of just feasting on some blocks, we were requesting that Sekhmet aid people in punching through those walls and get to the other side. The goal was to ask that she provide her destructive energies for people to harness and bust through the blocks that were still there or that had recently accumulated after January’s services. And once I put the call out for people to submit requests, they came pouring in.

They kept falling off the table and just generally being all very unwilling to stay put.

They kept falling off the table and just generally being all very unwilling to stay put.

In all honesty, I think I received more requests this months than I did last month. Or at least, it felt like that was the case. I received requests on various platforms open to people to put in those requests. And it took me about an hour of non-stop writing to create the petition papers that I use for these requests. I noticed that a lot of the requests that came in last month were more about the physical and the mundane than anything else. There were, of course, people requesting for things across the board, from the physical and mundane to the spiritual and the astral. What I noticed with this month is that a lot of people felt like they had walls to burst through regarding their religious and spiritual matters. The reason I mention this is because I hope that January’s services provided people the ability to destroy what was preventing them – the mundane in many cases – from seeking what they felt they needed in their spiritual lives. While this isn’t the case across the board as there were requests for mundane things to get destroyed this month, I thought it was definitely interesting that many more requests were more about spiritual levels.

Another reason I mention this is because of this Tumblr post that was going around yesterday. It seemed pretty timely that I provide the rites the night before and then, immediately, the next day, someone was asking about painful-yet-necessary rebirth processes the next day. I’m not saying that my services created that, by any means. But I do find it significant that many petition requests were regarding spiritual/religious blocks that, once broken through, would create a rebirth process for the petitioner. It’s probably just coincidence.

One of the staple offerings I buy for these are flowers. I love fresh cut flowers and if I had more vases and more space in my house for vases of flowers, I would probably go broke with the amount of flowers I would have. But Sat, someone is bound to say, why not have plants? Well, I have no window space to grow my own flowers and my yard is currently under about a foot and a half of snow. So, fresh cut flowers it is! When perusing the selections, I was hoping for something bright red to symbolize Sekhmet’s destructive capabilities. Unfortunately, or fortunately, my local grocery store didn’t have much in the way of red flowers. I did find a huge bouquet of yellow blossoms that kind of reminded me of fireworks. I liked the imagery since there were little white blooms in with the yellow ones. (I’m sorry, but I don’t remember flower names. They’re all pretty blooms to me.) And I thought that the yellow “firework” blooms would work pretty well for what I was trying to convey. After all, when I put out the request, my exact wording was, “bitch-slapping.” While fireworks and bitch-slapping aren’t quite the same, the imagery holds in my mind.

I decided to pare down the huge bouquet when I brought them home. I wanted to keep the three white roses that I still had on Sekhmet’s altar from the Feast of the Two Lands that I celebrated the week before. The white roses weren’t in the best of health, but that imagery, also, felt appropriate to me. It was like by adding the browning white roses to the firework yellow blooms, I was incorporating what the petitioners needed to get to the next step. A little of the old, mixed with the new, and we have a beautifully choreographed and over-filled vase of offerings ready to go.

For the meal portion, I chose to go with fruits again. I actually prefer to offer fruits to the gods for various reasons. A part of it is because fruits are very expensive. There are a lot of people who talk about eating healthy and everything, but the amount of fruits and vegetables that I can purchase for $20 is a hell of a lot less than the frozen meals that I can pick up for a buck a box. So, by offering fruits to the gods, it’s definitely a form of sacrifice for me especially since I’m not going to offering anything that I wouldn’t eat myself. Staple fruits are, of course, oranges, apples, and grapes. I didn’t add grapes to this month’s services since they weren’t on sale anymore, but I did purchase a delicious apple and a juicy orange to provide. I topped it all off with three jalapeños.

Another UPG I have of Sekhmet is that she really, really, really likes the spicy peppers. This isn’t actually all that surprising, I guess, because she tends to have a spicy flavor to her interactions. Part of the reason I incorporated jalapeños was because I wanted to give her something that I felt she would truly enjoy. However, I also wanted to incorporate the spiciness that stems from eating those types of peppers. I felt that by adding a spicier item than just my sweeter things, then it would behoove her to help people bust through with the fiery aftertaste of those peppers. I thought about giving her habanero peppers, but since I’ve never offered them before and I hear that the pepper shit can stick to your fingers hours afterward, I decided to stick with the usual jalapeños. Maybe never month, I’ll go for broke and check out those tiny little habanero peppers.

To top off the offerings, she got a broken up piece of her chili chocolate.

All set up and ready to go. And of course, rose petals everywhere because who doesn't love rose petals?

All set up and ready to go. And of course, rose petals everywhere because who doesn’t love rose petals?

I set everything up on her altar in a pleasing arrangement. On top of the bowl of petitions and the food offerings, I also pulled out the healing candle I had created in November of last year. I chose this candle in an effort to heal whatever destruction the petitioners may end up facing after the petition was over. This was to speed any healing that may be required after the blocks were broken up. I also chose this candle because I felt that I had overcompensated in using as much “bitch-slapping” imagery as I could. So, I wanted to mitigate any negative affects people would go through when the walls were broken open. As much as all of these busting open walls may need to come down, it can be daunting and quite painful, at times, to have it happen all at once. I was hoping that, at least, I could make things a tad bit easier for those that needed it.

After the rites were completed, I sat down in front of the altar and chattered at Sekhmet for a while. Since things have been picking up between us, I’ve found that our discussions are much less frequent. It seemed appropriate to discuss with her a lot of [personal] religious shit while waiting on her okay to blow out the candle to go to bed. I’ll admit that a lot of the discussion hinged on my insecurities regarding these services. While I felt quite calm, cool, and collected leading up to and during the services, I have to admit that it’s the after part that kind of gets to me. I never know if she’s going to bother to see any of the petition requests through. Of course, in same vein, I don’t know if any of the petitioners are going to get to work on whatever blocks/wall-breaking that need to be done, either. But since I don’t know if she’ll actually bother – and let’s just remind ourselves that this is the Lady of the Destruction, the Lady of Power, the Lady of I-Decide-What-To-Do-and-When-To-Do-It that we’re reaching out to – and that always kind of wears on me.

When I was finally finished with the whole thing, I had to admit that I felt much better about things. I can’t say if my conversation, or chattering, was what was needed here. Or if my pre-planning for much of the week beforehand left me feeling in better spirits. All I do know is that I didn’t feel as depressed or blank as I did after January’s services. Again, this could just be because of any number of things, but really, February’s aftercare, thus far, has been minimal. I’m a little shaky and overtired now, but that’s also after a full day of work and work-related bullshit, so you know, maybe I really am getting the hang of this.

Petition to Sekhmet – January 2014.

I think doubt and uncertainty kind of follow people around like little dark gray clouds, sitting behind their shoulders, and whisper really nasty things in peoples’ ears. Whether or not the people are listening while the whispering is going on is an entirely different story. But I know that I get little snippets of whispers, sometimes, about things that I would really like to go well. The learning curve that I’ve been slipping and sliding on lately has been that, chances are, everything will fall apart in one area and be completely fine in another area with no issues whatsoever. I don’t know; this is kind of just a theory, but there are days where I’m pretty sure everything I touch will either be irrevocably destroyed or completely undone in a matter of seconds.

What always ends up surprising me the most is when neither thing end up happening. Like, what is that? Why the hell did the worries, fears, and anxieties not happen? How is it that what I was hoping would happen actually ended up happening for this thing when it hasn’t happened for all the other things going on in my life? In the realm of the spiritual, sometimes, I just assume that things are going well because the netjeru really are very interested in what sort of endeavors we get ourselves into so they make sure that what we are hoping will happen actually ends up happening.

That’s kind of how I’m feeling right now with my rites and services.

When I officially sent out the call early in the week, I thought that absolutely no one would be interested in reaching out, through me, to Sekhmet. I pretty much assumed that it was the beta testing I did for November and December that would go really well and then I wouldn’t hear another thing from anyone else. Then, someone sent me an E-mail request and I was like, “Okay, well this will be the only one.” And this feeling just kept following me around in a haze all week long until I felt wrung out with the amount of anxiety.

So, honestly, color me surprised when I started getting inundated with more requests.

I’m uncertain if I really learned a lesson with all of this. I don’t know if I can say that sometimes, things just really do work out and that’s it or if my thought that the netjeru really do watch over what we do in their name because they want to see it succeed. I also don’t know if I won’t have an anxiety-ridden week next month when it’s time for the next round of rites and services. What I did learn here, though, because I actually did learn something is that, yeah, there really is a need here, in the community, for things like this.

I wonder, sometimes, if the need is because of how dark the world looks around us. We’re still in the “Great Recession” and many peoples’ outlooks are as dark as they were at the start. I’m seeing a lot of posts asking for monetary assistance on Tumblr and I’m seeing a lot of depression, anxiety, and terror flooding the Internet, as well. I think that’s why the need is so great in our community. And honestly, I may not be doing as well as I would hope right now, but if my semi-stability is enough to give people just what they need in a time where uncertainty and anxiety flood them at every turn, then I’m more than willing to be the tool they need.

Besides, sometimes, it’s just really nice to feel needed and wanted by complete strangers.

I knew that this month was still a sort of start to the new year cycle. I wanted to kind of incorporate that when I began working on what my calendar would look like. Just as I did with Papa Legba on New Year’s Day, I decided I would use the fierce, destructive power that Sekhmet had behind her in an effort to better assist the people who needed some assistance out there. So, I put out the request that Sekhmet would feast on any and all blocks that the petitioner’s felt that were hindering them from moving forward.

Before even submitting the call to put in requests, I received an E-mailed request. I was pretty excited because, maybe, that meant that my fears would be unfounded. So, when I actually put out the request later this week, I was pleased with the amount of petitions that came through. What I failed to take into consideration was, per usual, how long it would take me to write them all down again. I thought I gave myself enough time – I wanted to get started at about 8:30 for the rest of the prep – but I ended up writing for about an hour. Either I was just taking more breaks than usual, which is possible, or there was just a lot more that people needed this month.

Everyone's all neatly folded and ready to be re-homed in the heka jar until Wep-Ronpet.

Everyone’s all neatly folded and ready to be re-homed in the heka jar until Wep-Ronpet.

In either case, I did manage to get every request down to paper. I also added someone who didn’t request anything. I am pretty good friends with the person in question and I’ve been speaking with them, personally, about a lot of things. I decided to add them based on our conversations and knowing that they would never actually ask for themselves. I also added myself in there. I’m not sure if she’ll answer my request because she really likes the idea of my doing things on my own without asking for assistance – something about making sure I can take care of myself and see to my own need or something – but sometimes, even those of us who are relatively stable need some added assistance.

I was able to buy flowers this round because my local grocery store was having a massive sale on some flowers. I found tulips for $4, which is a massively huge deal. It’s also the first time I’ve seen tulips in any context. Most of the flower bunches at the two stores I purchase flowers at have a standard selection of things like carnations, roses, lily, and asters. So, I was incredibly happy to finally get something new and different for one of my rites.

Someone sent me a private message last night, letting me know that some of their UPG indicates that Sekhmet really likes tulips. I’m uncertain if I can confirm that UPG at this time, but I found it pretty interesting that the tulips were opening pretty early on. They didn’t completely open but when I had placed them in the vase, they were tightly closed. After setting my altar properly and placing the flowers down, I found quite a few of them opening. Someone told me that it was probably because of the heat in my home – and I don’t deny that as a possibility because I know very little about how flowers react to temperatures in the home – but I also thought that, maybe, it just meant she really liked them. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more tulips and continue testing this until I can make a steady pronouncement on whether I should add tulips to my UPG.

I set up the plate of offerings next. I chose to go with only fruits for last night’s rite. Besides, the pepperoni bread that I had made for dinner didn’t come out as well as I had hoped, so I didn’t think it was up to her strict standards. I chose the fruits that I tend to associate with her the most.

Fruits.

Fruits.

In my UPG, she really likes oranges. As an Eye of Re, the symbolism here is pretty obvious. There’s just something really sunny and cheerful about oranges, so I tend to just associate them with every solar deity that I can think of. I don’t even remember where I read this, though I know it was probably during my more eclectic days. However, the classification of oranges being a fruit grown in sunnier and warmer climates really kind of works with the general associations of Sekhmet, so she tends to get them fairly often in my house hold.

I also tend to associate apples with Sekhmet. I don’t associate the Red Delicious or any of the apples that are redder than the rest with her. I actually associate Macintosh apples with her. I think it’s because I absolutely fucking love these apples. Seriously, if they are on sale, I will put things back at the grocery store so that I can buy overwhelming amounts of them and eat nothing but apples for a week. It’s the taste, honestly, that adds to my UPG here. They’re tart. And as wonderful as Sekhmet can be when helping others, she can also be rather tart about things. So, it’s not the color or how they’re grown or even anything like that, but merely because of how they taste and how her personality can just be… well, sharp on occasion.

Finally, I added a whole bunch of green, seedless grapes. According to my limited knowledge of such things, grapes were reserves for the elite classes in Victorian England. They were too expensive for the rest of society to have, so they were most often associated with money, class, and royalty. It was this information, really, that made me add them to the offering plate. Another reason is because they are so damn expensive still. I mean, I’m looking at $4 per pound on these damn things. So, it’s a kind of sacrifice in providing them to her. While I’ll munch them down later, of course, it’s still a minor sacrifice to offer up those expensive green globes to her.

To round off all of it, I added chocolate. Since I had some of that orange chocolate leftover from Papa Legba’s services early this month, I added two pieces of that. Again, hearkening back to my UPG with oranges and because it has to do with general luck, it made sense. I also added her chili chocolate so that the feast would be sweetened for her. As it was, she had plenty of items to choose from. Finally, I gave her a glass of Coke and vodka and sprinkled the entire ensemble with rose petals.

Everything all set up and ready for viewing.

Everything all set up and ready for viewing.

I chose to use a lot of red in this rite, which is definitely a deviation from the norm. I usually try to balance out the red on her altar with just as much white. However, since the point of this rite was for her to feast and destroy blocks in an effort to bring better circumstances to the petitioners, it seemed like a good idea to use a lot more red than usual. I wanted her to feel the fierce, passionate side that many of her devotees have come to know, love, and hate all at once. I also tend to associate the color red with power, whether it be the internal power of humans (blood) or the act of achieving power (walking down the red carpet) or the power behind Sekhmet herself. It seemed appropriate to provide her constant reminders in as many ways as I could as to how powerful she can be.

In my eyes, everything was a lot simpler with this particular service than the last two services combined. I wanted to continue the sedate piety that I had been providing to her all week, partially due to my own anxiety and also due to my personal petition to her. I also wanted to clearly delineate the differences between the festivals that I celebrate in honor of her – where I tend to be a bit silly, more often than not – and the rites and services that I am providing for others to her – where I tend to be a little more serious.

Another part of the reason why I was so quiet and sedate this time around was that I was thinking about lions in the savannah, honestly. When they hunt, they are using the developed senses they were provided in order to hunt their meals – sense of sight, sense of smell, and sense of hearing. By remaining more demure than the norm was because I didn’t want to distract her from the prey I was readily providing her in the forms of peoples’ requests. I wanted her to focus on that and less on the pomp that I can and will occasionally provide.

Per usual, I feel worn out after placing this before her. Again, I’m beginning to think that this really is the case. And I have to say that I don’t know how other spirit workers can do this on a more regular basis than I currently am. Perhaps that’s part of what this year is all about – another cross point on the balance I thought I had been learning properly last year. In either case, after each rite, I’ve noted that I will end up feeling just tired enough to lay down but not quite tired enough to need to fall asleep. This is rather interesting, honestly, and a little new. I’m used to being able to just close my eyes and passing the hell out. However, after rites like this, I usually end up feeling excited by the energy I’ve raised and the services I’m providing. I usually have to spend a good couple of hours relaxing with whatever distraction I have – no matter how tired my eyes may get – before I can get to sleep.

I don’t know if that means I’m doing a good job, but at least I feel like I am.

Rites and Services.

After many months of planning, I am pleased to announce that the rites and services, previously provided as tests, are officially ready to be rolled out to the general public. There will be two types of rites and services provided – those for Sekhmet and those for Papa Legba. Each rite will be performed in my home on behalf of those who request a petition. Every rite will be catalogued with pictures and then written up in a follow-up blog entry. On how to request a petition, please see below.

Sekhmet Rites and Services

Each month in the calendar year will feature one rite for Sekhmet, per her request. Each of the services provided will feature a specific nature commonly seen in ancient Egyptian holidays – a feast, a procession, and a festival – and I will provide the details of what is coming up next a few days prior to the date of the celebration. Anyone can submit a request, whether they are a devotee of hers or not. Anyone can submit a request on behalf of someone else, again whether either person is a devotee or not. I will not refuse a request for a petition to Sekhmet unless someone is attempting to bring harm to themselves or to others.

When I put out the notice that an upcoming rite will be provided to Sekhmet, I will recommend how best to phrase the petitioner’s request. As a general notice, however, please be advised that each of the three listed types of celebrations will be based on specific phraseology. A feast to Sekhmet would allow a petitioner to provide anxieties, insecurities, injustices, ill-health, and general blocks for her to eat upon in an effort to grant the petitioner a break in whatever is causing them trouble. A procession to Sekhmet would allow a petitioner to progress through whatever blocks or negative aspects have been, in their eyes, preventing them from moving on to the next step. A festival will be a general thanksgiving for the works provided in the previous two months and a catch-all celebration: if someone wants to ask to remove a negative item or would like assistance in moving forward with an item, I will do both.

The fourth item, which is new, is that I will be offering oracular services on behalf of Sekhmet. I have already begun the process of working with her on how best to perform them, for the both of us. As this will be my first, official, work with oracular services, I will limit the number of entrants. As anyone who provides divinatory rites for others is aware, those divinatory rites can and will take a lot of energy out of the practitioner. As I am not asking for payment or energy reimbursement for these services, I have to keep in mind the spoons I have on hand at this moment. Due to the limited number of spoons I have, I will limit the first oracular session (shown in the calendar below) to seven requests. When I put out the reminder notice, I will remind everyone of that fact.

The following is the rites and services calendar for Sekhmet:

Second Weekend of January – Feast of Sekhmet.
Second Weekend of February – Procession of Sekhmet.
Second Weekend of March – Festival of Sekhmet.
Second Weekend of April – Oracle Services for Sekhmet.
Second Weekend of May – Feast of Sekhmet.
Second Weekend of June – Procession of Sekhmet.
Second Weekend of July – Festival of Sekhmet.
Second Weekend of August – Oracle Services for Sekhmet.
Second Weekend of September – Feast of Sekhmet.
Second Weekend of October – Procession of Sekhmet.
Second Weekend of November – Festival of Sekhmet.
Second Weekend of December – Oracle Services for Sekhmet.

Papa Legba Rites and Services

Services provided for Papa Legba will only be provided on feast days for the saints he is syncretized with and on days wholly dedicated to him according to the calendar I have on file. Each celebration will, just as with Sekhmet, be proceeded by a notice indicating what to expect out of the rite in question. In that notice, I will also provide helpful hints on how best to phrase the petition.

January 1 – New Year’s Day.
April 19 – Feast Day of St Expedite.
June 29 – Feast Day of St Peter.
December 17 – St Lazarus/Lazarus of the Four Days.

How to Request a Petition

Anyone can send me an E-mail to satsekhem@gmail.com as well as pop an ask into my Tumblr inbox, found here.

Please note: This will be recreated as a page on my Tumblr, found here, and my WP blog, found here.