Kemetic Round Table: Shrine 101.

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

In a way, one of the easiest beginner question to answer is altars. The reason being is that it comes down to have a blank space for deity-related items, in a nutshell. Obviously, it’s more complicated than that, but you could easily start off with an empty table, cabinet, or shelf and you have a functional altar. However, no one really asks about shrines. No one seems to understand that an altar =/= a shrine. Here follows a quick 101 to discuss the differences and how you can set up a shrine if you are so inclined.

What’s the difference between a shrine and an altar?
There’s a world of difference between altars and shrines, which is not made apparent to a lot of newbies running around. There are some people who will use the words interchangeably. However, I don’t recommend this. And the reason is all in the definitions of both of these words. They really are two separate items and they are for two entire separate types of worship.

They can both be categorized as a place in which something sacred goes, however, the difference stems in what happens at the location. For an altar, it is a place in “which religious rites are performed or on which sacrifices are offered to gods, ancestors, etc.” (Source.) However, a shrine is not a work station where things are to be done, but a “structure or place consecrated or devoted to some saint, holy person, or deity, as an altar, chapel, church, or temple.” (Source.) It is a realm of piety, of devotion, and of prayers.

Why would I create a shrine instead of an altar?
In some cases, someone would choose to create an altar for the netjer because the deity in question has requested it. I know of at least two Kemetics that I can think of off the top of my head who had their deities request that they create a type of shrine for them. In both cases, the god resides within that closed off sacred space 100% of the time. This, to me, shows that the relationships they have with their gods is more dedicated and more serious than some of the other relationships people can and do have with the netjeru.

In other cases, a person decides to begin building a shrine to their deities because they have a priest-like relationship with their gods. The thing about having a shrine instead of an altar means that there will be more hard work, a lot more devotion, and an exceptional amount of hard work in the actions of maintaining one. In the morphing an altar space into a type of shrine, you are accepting more responsibility with your religious practice. The only people in ancient Egypt who were granted access to shrines were the priests themselves, which is why I tend to equate the practice of having one and the work put into making it and maintaining it as a kind of entrance into a modern-day priesthood. The rules change, in my opinion, when a shrine is put together for your netjer of choice.

Personally, I only have altars around my home. I do not have a shrine to any of my gods, although I have put serious consideration into having a shrine for Sekhmet and altars for the rest. And while some of my altars are too small to actually be a devotional work place, they are still altars. I don’t do the shrine thing because I am not a priest, nor do I wish to be. And I’m not ready (and probably will never be) to do that.

How would I create a shrine?
In this, one must first look to past resources for ideas on shrines. The ancient Egyptians had an entire temple for their religious observances, but there was a particular section that the status of the gods was kept within (the shrine area) and only consecrated priests could enter its domain. As you can see from this Ptolemaic era travel shrine, they utilized a cabinet with doors. If you do a Google image search, you will find similar representations, both modern and ancient. So, your first step is to find a type of cabinet that reflects what you think your gods would both prefer and that any icons (pictures, statues, representative items) would be able to fit within. An excellent modern example is Devo’s shrine entry at Shrine Beautiful.

As shown from the above linked article of Devo’s shrine, you can see that the items she has for that shrine are exceptionally plain. The doors are opened and she gives them sustenance in the form of her votive offerings for the day. The doors are then closed and the offerings are left within the shrine until the next time she goes to visit her shrine. There is no decoration. There are no flowers. There is nothing but a very immaterial and streamlined shrine. Personally, when I look at shrine porn, the more minimalistic a shrine the better.

However, not everyone is going to enjoy minimalism when it comes to their personal sacred space to their netjer. The thing is that one must reflect on the fact that a shrine is a sacred place. A shrine is a place for offerings and for worship and, in my opinion, little else. Cluttering the area with things like rocks, pictures, and the like may prove harmful in the long run. Giving those items as offerings and removing them when you are either done or the next day when you go back to renew your offerings is one thing, but keeping extraneous items laying about all day, every day may end up taking away from the connection you are attempting to solidify with your netjer and also detract from the overall goal of sacred space.

Where should I set up a shrine?
The thing about putting a shrine together is that, if you are going to take into account the ancient Egyptian standard that we have to work from, then the shrine is going to be placed in an inner sanctum of sorts. The temple precincts for each deity were wide and varied tracts of land – a kind of city-state unto itself in later dynasties. We don’t have this option, for obvious reason, but you can easily choose a quiet, inner room to place your shrine in. In some cases, people have entire rooms dedicated to the wants and needs of their gods and their spirits (I’m thinking, specifically, in regards to the lwa here but this works for relationships with the netjer and other gods as well). You can think of opening the door to that room as the outside precincts of the temple in question and then the shrine area as the private place for your shrine.

However, if you are like me, then this may not work out so well for you because you may end up forgetting the whole “daily offering” thing.

Part of the reason why I have altars instead of shrines is, also, because I need to have them placed in a public space. This has helped me to facilitate the daily offerings that I believe I should be giving on a regular basis. As I discovered when my altars were in my inner sanctum, I’m less likely to go about and get the daily offerings because of not having the altar spaces in my face. In effect, laziness grabs hold and I end up saying, “I’ll do a double offering tomorrow,” and then that tomorrow never actually manifests and I’m six months behind on daily offerings and in a fallow time. So, for me, if I were to go the shrine route, the shrine in question would be in a public place. Point of fact, if I were to ever convert any of my altars into shrine areas, I would probably place the shrine on top of the working altars I have currently so that I can work for the gods at their sacred work stations and then also open up their shrine doors for daily offerings.

I believe that the few people whom I can think of who have shrine areas also have their shrines in public spaces. They may do this for the same reason as me or for lack of space in quieter, out-of-the-way parts of their home. No matter the personal reasoning behind where you place your shrine, it is an inherently personal decision. If it’s in a public place, then that’s where you need it to be. If you’re not a lazy as me and you have the room/ability to place them in an inner area, then that’s where you need it to be.

When will I know that I can handle a shrine?
This is, again, another personal decision for each practitioner. As I mentioned above, I know that I am not ready and probably will never be really ready to handle a shrine area. It is a very large decision to go ahead and start manifesting something like a sacred space, such as a shrine, and maintaining that sacred space. If you think you are ready to take on the duties that lie within a priesthood infrastructure, then you could quite easily be ready to create and maintain a shrine space. However, the responsibilities of a priesthood caste are incredibly large and occasionally back breaking. In my opinion, there is less time for fun and adventure (such as Roamin’ Gnome shenanigans during festivals) and more time for devotion, prayer, and introspection.

If you think you are ready to carry the mantle of the priesthood, then you are ready to attempt the building of a shrine. Just ask the netjer that you want to create the shrine to first and go from there.

Altars and Significance.

I have altars. I know this is probably not very shocking. It seems like, as a practitioner of a polytheistic religion, you must have one. I’ve had them for my Deadz, which has since been broken down and put away. I’ve had small ones. I’ve had larger ones. I’ve had medium-sized ones. I’ve had ones that get shared by other gods and other spirits. I’ve had ones that evolved and I didn’t realize that I was making a kind of altar space until I looked at them just so. I’ve mentioned this before but, primarily, the reason why I have all this altar stuff is because I need a place to focus my intent when I pray, when I break down, when I commune, and all of that. While I fall under the blanket term of a Kemetic polytheist, I tend to consider myself an idolator first and foremost. (Think of an image of some money-hungry person bathing in dollar-dollar bills, y’all, and instead of bills, put statues and whatnot. That’s me.) So, yeah, I have altars.

Thing is, I’ve been eyeballing my altar spaces and just feeling like they’re all wrong. I don’t mean the ones that happened overnight or out of the blue. Those were more accidental than anything else. But when I look at the table I have Hekate on and I look at my spooky cabinet, housing Legba, Sekhmet, and Hetharu… I’m just completely discontent with what I have going. I keep staring in the hopes that something will click and feel right, but nothing of this happens. Instead, I end up feeling dissatisfied with the general feel coming from over there. It’s not stagnant. It’s not blocked. It’s not anything that I can put my finger on, but there is just something about those places that are causing me to wonder what the hell I’m forgetting or doing incorrectly. I don’t know.

There’s just something.

It’s that niggling feeling you get when you forget something and you have no clue what the hell you forgot? Mm-hmm.

Periodically, I’ve found myself going through the Fuck Yeah, Altars block over on Tumblr. Then, I’ll get completely verklempt over something before I decide that I need to go and check out Shrine Beautiful for some ideas or just to see what other people are doing. Periodically, my friends will post pictures of what they have going on. And I look and I think and I sigh and I wonder. And I peer at what I have going on with my altars and I’ll cock my head with an idea and then sigh and then wonder and then ignore it all and continue to peruse the pretty pictures.

There is something coming up here… something…

This was that little ritual I did on September Eleventh, in honor of all the people who died because of those attacks.


You see, I realized that I was beginning to feel dissatisfied with what I was seeing after I did my 9/11 Ritual last week. There was something about the event, itself, that changed me in an extraordinary way. I was basing my ritual or what I had in mind, at least, on imagery I had seen on various websites (two of which, you know, I liked above) as well as from other peoples’ altar photos whored all over the place. I wanted a sort of image akin to what Catholics do when they light their candles in remembrance of their loved ones. (Note to self: save some money, go to G-ma’s ex-church, and do that for her since she would probably really like that.) But, I also had the image of altars I had seen: big, huge monstrosities filled with candle light. And I was also thinking about those friends of mine. Those candle lit havens…

And I see the correlation with where I feel dissatisfied.

While I was doing some random chores around my house earlier, I thought back to what I had figured out about the Mindset I was in. It was the one where the religion part falls to the wayside while I get back on track with the boringmundane. And while I was picking up the dogs’ water dish to wash it or at least give it a rinse and a refill, I couldn’t help but wonder if my general angst in regards to my altars had something to do with this whole Mindset. I didn’t think that the correlation here had much to do with the fact that I was falling behind or not focusing nearly as much. But, I began to think that maybe the whole thing had more to do with needing a spot for when I’m feeling the need to get down with my religion instead of just muttering some random prayers, putting on my related jewelry, and going about my day.

Can we get an ah-ha?

It’s really stupid and funny that I never made the connection before.

You see, back when that job was stealing my soul, my altar spaces were pretty much in my room. I had little things and whatnot that I did out and about in the house itself, but Sekhmet and Hetharu were in my bedroom. (This was before the Papa Legba ah-ha moment and before the surprise entrance of Hekate, of course.) And I often found it difficult to remember to do more than, “Oh, yeah. I forgot to give you an offering today, huh?” Or, do much more than, “darn, I swear I’ll remember to dust in here tomorrow.” I never bothered to do much more than the motions way back then, which should both comment on how tired I always was but also how I seemed to think that by claiming myself a devotee of these goddesses, then I didn’t have to do much more than a little here and there. And while I was very devout in various ways, other things just fell away. The motions stopped and I fell back into a deep, dark depression.

Isn’t it amazing how much faith and belief can keep your head above the water?

So, it was only relatively recently that I decided to move all altar spaces out of my bedroom. Even though I went in there every day to get clothes or go to bed, I couldn’t remember to even bring a cup of water into the room as an offering. So, I felt it was in my best interest as a practitioner of a religion in my own home to have places set about in a public venue so that I wouldn’t forget. Since they all came on out of the closet, so to speak, I’ve remembered much more easily about doing the daily trappings and this leads me into doing more intense trappings, like the ritual I posted a picture of above. Since I do the smaller bits, I want to do the larger bits.

Where am I going with this?

I’m beginning to think that my altar dissatisfaction has a larger bearing on the Mindset and how to keep out of it.

A Myriad of Things… With Pictures!

So, in the last few days, I’ve had quite a few random tidbits that actually all equate to my spirituality in some way, but just haven’t gotten around to blogging about them. So, instead of making a bunch of small posts and spreading them out, I decided to do a big huge to-do (with pictures). That way, staring tomorrow, I can start working on two offerings related posts that I’ve been thinking hard about, my calendar post that I promised ages ago, and start prepping for this year’s (and my first, really) celebration of Wep Ronpet. Also, there’s some pie baking in that somewhere, but that’s not anything to do with my spirituality and more to do with the fact that my son has an awesome grandfather who loves blueberry pie and I’m the only person in the world who is willing to make it.

The first to do with anything is about the dead bird I found in my yard.

The bird I found, being put to rest.

After discussing it with K and L, we decided that I should do some unofficial rites for the passage of this bird. I remarked on how the birds were quiet that morning and decided, well, why not? I didn’t have anything to lose and my first instinct had been to bury him. While I’m not fond of doing the gut instinct thing all the time, it was remarked that I probably should. So, I went for it. I ended up going outside with my Deadz spade, a cone of incense, and a cup of water. After making the hole and burying the bird within, I lit the cone of incense in honor the bird’s spirit. I also ended up pouring the water offering in a giant circle around the bird. I felt like I was doing something worthwhile and very important. I also had to figure out what this all meant: was this a signal to begin some work more in tune with Miss Dirty or was this something else?

After take my son and one of my dogs for a walk, I ended up figuring it out. (K and L also aided in this realization, as well.) Recently, I had been driving by a shit-ton of OLD CEMETERIES. Each time, I wasn’t able to stop for whatever reason: not enough time, no camera, no enough time, child in the car, not enough time, and NO CAMERA. And I found myself yearning with each swoop by. I haven’t actually been grave tending since May, I believe. And that is one of the duties that I was taking very seriously and enjoying very much. It may seem strange and odd that what I was doing – playing around in cemeteries – was making me feel good about myself and helpful, and that I was accomplishing something. But there it is. With each click of my camera, I was feeling more in tune with myself. (And seriously began considering a grave tending business up here, in MA.) All that being said, I haven’t done it a long while and I’ve wanted to desperately. Time, energy, a lack of spoons, and various other things have gotten in the way. And it was on that walk that I realized that I’ve been getting in my own way. I need to get out of my way and do what I want. With these thoughts, I felt really at peace.


Right in front of the steps, there she was.

That’s when I knew I had done the right thing for the bird and that I was on the right track when it came to my thought process. The bird was pleased with what I had achieved and the gods were pleased that I was finally getting it. Sometimes, I don’t need clue-by-fours.

After a while, I started thinking about how I haven’t really been able to focus on my work with Hekate. This isn’t for lack of want. I do want. Things have just been getting in the way. I’ve been on a mad cleaning spree since I discovered just how bad my bug problem was. (I have thrown out a metric shit ton of personal mementos, never mind all of the bedding and whatnot.) I feel like I’m failing and I know that she doesn’t feel this way – this is merely my perception of the entire situation. After a while, I decided I would sit down and I would apologize to her. I was feeling down in the dumps because of the bug problem and because I feel like an overwhelming failure in a lot of arenas. (No, I’m not going to discuss what’s up with that here.) I needed a laugh.

I need a laugh? The gods obey.

I looked over because I happened to hear clicking that was out of context for my dogs. Jasmine was chasing down Sweet Pea to dominate her with some loving. (Yes, my Jasmine humps the hell out of Sweet Pea, whether she’s in heat or not.) Sweet Pea was not amenable to this and looked for the only place she could hide that wasn’t under my shirt: Hekate’s altar. Where she is trying to hide if the lower shelf on the end table I appropriated for Hekate’s sacred area. This isn’t the first time she’s done this since I pulled the table out and into the kitchen, but it’s the first time she was on there long enough for me to snap a picture. Laughing maniacally, I couldn’t help but fantasize about getting a dog pillow for Sweet Pea to lay upon beneath the altar. If nothing else, this reinforces my belief that Hekate likes dogs – like I didn’t already get that feeling. She evidently really liked Sweet Pea, though, because Jasmine hasn’t tried this yet. (Although, it would be HILARIOUS to see a 20 pound weener-dog trying this on a tiny table shelf.)

Last night, I took apart my son’s room to clean up his toys. (I can’t remember the last time I did a bleach-water soak for his things. Ugh.) So, I filled the bathtub and threw his cars, his blocks, and various miscellaneous toys into the bathtub. After a horrifying moment when I realized that there were crayon bits in there now, as well, I sat down to relax. While I was busy relaxing and watching adult television – Lost Girl is fucking awesome – I couldn’t help but noticed that some of the cars the Sister had bought my son for Christmas were going off. The buttons are extremely easy to set off. You can walk by and they’ll go off. Anyway, they were going off all night long, but the connection wasn’t made until I saw a child’s head poking out of my son’s room. This was disconcerting because the door was shut and the beings that wander my house at least try to pretend that they can’t pass through corporeal shit. But, these were children playing around…

… The Marassa are back.

I was pretty pleased since I haven’t seen them in a few months. Not since the last time I posted about them. But it began to make a lot of sense that they were playing around. Things were getting cleaned up, the cars were out and about instead of locked in their usual bucket, and there was no way I could yell at my son for pressing the same damn button over and over and over and over and over and over again if he wasn’t at home, now could I? These two planned this one out! The one that was in my son’s room came rambling out and played hide-and-go-seek with me in the hallway while the other just pressed the button on the car over and over again. After three blasts, the button pressing would stop for a while and then start back up again. It was pretty cute. At about midnight, I asked them to (nicely) stop playing around but that we could all chase one another in my dreams if they so desired. And evidently they did because I do remember chasing after some giggling twins in my dreams last night.

My birthday is coming up and I realized that I would probably not get much in the way of a birthday this year, like last year. Last year, TH was at work out east somewhere and I was stuck out here. So, I received a flower delivery at work (yes, I worked my birthday) and got FB wishes for my birthday, but very little else. Everyone else forgot. I’m trying hard not to get depressed at the fact that I probably won’t see TH on my birthday, two years running. My birthday is… kind of crappy. My ex-husband decided to get married to me on my birthday. I could have said no but I was young and dumb then, so, my birthday is an eternal reminder that I can make big fucking mistakes. So, with my birthday coming up and depression kind of nearby, I decided to buy some shit for myself. (I bought books, if you must know, but they are not here yet.) I had a promise going with Legba that I would buy a cowrie shell bracelet as well as a lot of cowrie shells for him. We compromised on just the bracelet this time around since the lot of shells I wanted didn’t have free shipping and I was worried I was spending too much, as it was.


So, I wasn’t really prepared to find a box in my mailbox this afternoon when I went to walk Jasmine. But there was card board peaking out. I was pretty excited – what was here?!?!? I immediately knew what it was. I also find it pretty damn ironic that the skull beads I had intended on placing on my Deadz altar showed up the DAY after I decided to dismantle my Deadz altar.

Oh, wait what?

Here’s the thing. The bed bug problem I’m going through is pretty fucking horrible. We’ve seen them in every room of our house, and that includes the kitchen. And by the way, the bugs in this house don’t know that they’re not supposed to go in the kitchen but all the literature says that they’re not. So, anyway, this is why I’ve been doing a prevalent, massive, huge clean and purge. (GUYZ. GUYZ. DON’T GET BED BUGS. OKAY.) This means that once the exterminator tells me that everything is okay, I am going to be getting rid of all to most of my furniture. Wait. I go through all the work of getting them cleaned and toss them out? Yes. I cannot and will not have the mental reminder of a horrific time if I can help it… and I can. So, my mattress and box spring, the end table, the night tables, my son’s bedroom furniture, the couches, and the two shelving units, one of which holds my Deadz altar, are all going to be going on the side of the road in two bulk pick up loads.

I seriously debated about the shelving units, actually. One holds a shit-ton of movies that don’t fit in our [broken] DVD cabinet. The other is home to my Deadz altar, which I always forget. That’s because it’s in a small corner that I don’t really pay attention to. I know it’s there but it’s not as in-my-face as the rest of my altars. I can’t miss those since they’re the first thing I do when I walk in the common area of my dining room or when I first walk into my house. (PLANNING; I HAZ IT.) And I haven’t felt my Deadz over there since Sviata Vechera. I’ve also felt that both Papa Ghede, if he was ever in my life, and Anpu do not care for the placing of the altar, or the way it is laid out. So, it goes and I wait until the day when I can put my Deadz in a better location that is IN-MY-FACE.

Oh, irony. You are my life.

Relevant Post

  1. Interesting Things!
  2. Sviata Vechera

The Hankerings and Biddings of My Myriad of Benefactors.

My spiritual life is a little odd and definitely chaotic at the moment. On the one hand, I have four different other-worldly beings that I have to mollify in some form or another. And on the other hand, I have to balance the Kemetic want and need from my patronesses and the voodoo desires from the lwa who have made themselves at home. They all want something at any given moment and more often than not, it’s at the same time. This leaves me with a conundrum: who do I pay more attention to? Who gets me at that particular second in time? And, can I balance the wants of the lwa with the desires of the goddesses?

It’s a frickin’ balancing act.

And it makes my head spin.

Recently, she’s been on my mind. I think a large portion of this is because I’ve been feeling the wheels of injustice turning around me and as the goddess of justice, it only stands to reason. However, I think another part of this is because she was the first. And like all people who are suffering from a hard go of things, I turn to the patroness that is more familiar to me than all of the others. I know her presence as well as I know my own and so, it is to her arms that I find myself turning for comfort at this juncture in my life.

The other night, I had this insatiable desire to prostrate myself out in front of her residence on my Getting-Steadily-More-Crowded altar area. This was the beginning of her being at the foremost of my thoughts, actually. I didn’t end up prostrating myself that night because I like to give myself tons of excuses as to why I can’t do things. She was both amused and irritated with me since, obviously, if I had the urge, then I should do it. And of course, she knows better than myself that just because I feel something or I am told to try something that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to do it. (For example, my mother informed me that I should start watching The Big Bang Theory when I was living in Texas with her. Four years later, I finally took her advice, since nothing else was on that night, and found out that she was right from the very beginning.) In fact, if I’m told to do something, I’m even more likely to ignore it or not do it.

I’m just contrary, I guess.

That same evening, I got this distinctive impression that she wanted something from me. My mind is easy at supplying words to these basic feelings that I often get from her: senut, she says. And I’m just kind of like, “Really? Again? We want to do this again?” She wants formality; she wants my attention and above all, she wants me to start… something important. (Don’t know what yet.) However, to begin this little adventure of hers, she wants me to get back to formal and start doing senut with her. She says that she doesn’t care what I say or how I say it, out loud or in my head, but she wants offerings every fucking morning, damn it, and she wants my fucking attention. (Swears added by me, but the intent was there.) I’m just kind of like… “Can’t I just prostrate, instead?”


I’ve been praying to her, a lot, in the last few days, too. This is a part of her always being at the foremost of my thoughts. In the shower, outside during my walks, and just now before I started writing this: Prayer, prayer, prayer. Today, I finally did prostrate myself and I felt a little ridiculous (and monstrously fat). My son came over to see what I was doing and the dog decided she had to lick my face right that second to ward off any tears. (Actually, my son came over for similar reason only without the face-licking aspect.) I don’t feel any better after having done it, but I think it is to be a model for what I have to prep myself for.

This is the desire and demand of the Lady of the Flame.

She’s mostly a quiet goddess for me. A lot of this stems from our uncertain behavior with one another. She’s worried that if she throws herself all in with me, then I’m going to run away from her (again). And I’m worried that if she tried to throw herself all in, then I’m going to run away from her (again). So, we’re kind of taking things slowly. What this really means is that I give her some attention when I want to do Tarot readings—I light a candle to her and ask her to guide my hand before I begin—and that’s about it.

Her job around here, I thought initially, was to get me back into the sexual creature that I know I can be and just… aren’t. (Sexual abuse is so awesome! It’s the gift that keeps giving!) In fact, if I have an urge, I’m more likely to bury it under a heavy stone. I figured that she was coming around because, you know, this is bad and I’m actually kind of tired of it. If I could change it on my own, I would. However, I’m so used to not giving in to said urges that I don’t think I know how to actually, like, fix it on my own. So, I assumed that when she showed up … last year? (I can’t even fucking remember and I don’t have the energy to look back.)… that was her purpose.

And maybe that was true back then, but it’s not the case currently.

To me, she’s always been a magical deity. When I think about mother and wifely goddesses, I always think of Aset first. Hwt-Hrw filled these rolls before, but I always think of her as more with being one with the sexuality of being a woman, as well as sensuality, and magic. I’m not really sure where I get this feeling or idea. I mean, more often than not, I’ve noticed that most Kemetics have the two deities reversed: Hwt-Hrw for motherhood and Aset for magic. To be honest, and I’ve given this no thought prior to this second in time, I think the difference for me is because of my intense relationship with Sekhmet, who Hwt-Hrw is closely related to. I’m not sure how that correlates with how I view them, but I’m pretty sure it does…

…and I’m rambling.

So, what started her coming back around was my intense focus on looking into various magical paths. When I started reading about hedge witchery, I felt like she was standing behind me and reading over the material I was taking in. Every time I went onto Amazon to add more books on various magical traditions into my Wish List, I felt her there, guiding my hand. It is from her, I feel, that my magical practice will entirely stem. And this is what the hell she wants from me: she wants me to practice, she wants me to learn, and she wants me to stop putting it the eff off already! (I think that’s verbatim, right there…)

This is the demand and desire from the Lady of the Sky.

Papa Legba
I like to think of him as a kind of spiritual tornado that comes up and messes shit around until you’re left completely lost and thirty miles from home. I mean, obviously, he’s the kind of tornado that you can survive (so therefore, not in this plane of existence). But, in an odd way, I really see him this way. I suppose that comes from the fact that he decided to show up in my life and almost immediately started messing around with things. Obviously, I needed the kick in the pants he gave me since I wasn’t doing it for myself. He and I have come to terms with the fact that he messed around with things until I am where I currently am and that I really wasn’t really happy about it. I guess we’ve surpassed that phase in our relationship.

As the guardian of the crossroads, choices are entirely his domain. At least, that’s how I like to see it. It’s like anything that I decide on this long road of mine is important to him and something that honors him, in a way. To be honest, I want to make him a little shadow box with green grass on either side of this random white gate in the center. I think he’d get a kick out of it and, you know, since he’s all about gateways, too, it’s kind of like an ultimate of ultimate saying, “Hey. I accept you. You’re cool shit.” I think it’s also a way for me to (A) get down with my creative genes, (B) deal with the whole “fucking with my life” stuff that he likes to do and (C) make amends for my snotty behavior right after he fucked with my life.

He started falling into less prominence lately, which bothered me. I didn’t hear a word from him until well after he had ruined my working career (at a shitty place of business that I never would have left if he hadn’t changed things). So, I’m a little frightened by his silence. He tells me that I shouldn’t be because he’s a busy little lwa and he’s got other things to do. However, he does stop in sometimes, in the morning hours when we’re sharing a cup of coffee together, he asks things of me. It was during one of those moments that he demanded I write something for him. An offering from your most important creative center is what he said.

And he really does seem to like that little poem/sonnet that I wrote to him. I even told him that I would be printing it out for him on some nice paper when I have money again. I also promised that I would frame it, as he had asked. It would do a spot nicer to have it all done up and pretty-fied since the original copy is pretty much being torn to shit by the fact that it’s just lying on top of the Mutual Altar Space. While I plan on keeping the original (possibly folded up in the back of the printed copy), at least I won’t have to worry about spilling coffee all over a framed version.

Just the other day, though, he asked me for a big one that I’ve been kind of debating about. He asked if I could move Papa Ghede from the Community Altar. He’s encroaching on my spot and I’m sick of it. When I thought about moving Papa Legba to a spot, somehow, over by the front door (since you know, doorways are his thing) he told me to take a leap. I believe the wording was: I was here first, damn it! He can move the fuck on! This leaves me in a bit of a space issue and a quandary. And of course, it’s not like Ghede wants to tell me what the hell he wants because that would be too easy.

No, he just expects me to guess.

In the mean time, I get the feeling that Papa Legba is having a pouting adventure over on his portion of the Communal Altar Area. I don’t blame him and he’s right: he was around first. He’s the one who suggested the shared altar and how to set it up. He has every right to stay there. So, while he’s having his pouting session until I come up with something decent, I’m left in a bind.

This is what The Old Man requires and requests of me.

Papa Ghede
I have the hardest time with this particular lwa. He doesn’t seem much on chattering away like Papa Legba was after he came over to me. I think, sort of, that this has to do with the fact that he has to do with the dead. I would gather that the dead don’t speak much unless spoken to. I mean, honestly, I don’t really know. I talk to the dead (or myself) all of the time, but Papa Ghede is anything but a talkative lwa. It’s like he gets off on being all inscrutable and ineffable. To be honest, I’d say that it’s annoying, but I honestly don’t know if he would be amused, bored, or irritated by the sentiment. So pretty much, I just guess on what the hell I’m doing and hope that it’s okay.

He’s inquired after my serving him, which has been his only request to date. Everything else has been me, hoping to impress or gain his acceptance. I don’t have a mentor that I can turn to and discuss this with. A lot of time I have doubts: is it Ghede? What if it’s something else masquerading? What if it’s another lwa who is now offended because I don’t know the difference between Ghede and —–? How do I know that I’m not just insane? I mean, if I had someone around nearby who hung out with the lwa, I could at least voice this opinion to someone and get their thoughts on it. And if they were nearby, they could maybe tell me what they felt about it.

In the mean time, I’m left, as I said, guessing.

The move to a new spot is paramount for both Papa Legba and Papa Ghede. I have a kind of idea about it, but since Papa Ghede is doing the mysterious shtick, I can ask his opinion and not get anywhere. There is a possibility of a place since the representation that he has is a picture: I can, of course, hang it up on the wall. It came with a little hook thing that I can use to attach it to a spot in the hallway (one of the few places I feel comfortable placing it). However, I wouldn’t have anything to use to place any offerings for him. And since, I do want to make him 21 Pepper Rum, I do need to have a spot to place offerings.

Thus, the conundrum.

In the end, it’s all about space or a lack thereof. I know what I [eventually] would like to have for a spot for Papa Ghede, but in the mean time…

I do know that the grave-tending is tantamount to the servitude. This is unquestionable and one of the few things that I actually do know. (This also leads me to wonder, more often than not, if it isn’t Papa Ghede and maybe is just the Baron whose come a-knocking.) Every time I go to a cemetery with the intention of bringing them into the foreground, I get a feeling of lightheartedness and gaiety. This is, of course, why I know that I’m doing the right thing. And I, at least, didn’t even have to guess what it was or wait to have it requested, at least.

I just wish I knew what he wanted. All the others have had no problem demanding things of me, but this one lwa… It’s all a game, maybe, and I’m the only one with pieces on the board.

All Men Say, Let Your Name Be Known.

I bought the table for Hwt-Hrw. There hasn’t been word, positive or negative, from the lady about this. I hope she likes it, to be honest. I have a simple, plain table with a little drawer that will hold crystals that I pick up as time goes by. Or… you know, whatever she deems it should hold if this suggestion isn’t adequate. (It probably will be for about a year and then she’ll change her mind… or something.) I’m waiting to see Sekhmet’s reaction to the table.

I also picked up two incense blends from Meta Pot for a trial run. They’re both of an Egyptian bend so I would assume the ladies will enjoy it. I can only hope this goes well. If they don’t like it, they’re pretty much shit out of luck. I bought the hundred stick packs since it made more financial sense to do so…

In reality, I’ve been maintaining the status quo. I have little energy to do anything over the top for either of my goddesses. It makes me depressed and feel like I could be a better patron-ee. All I know is that something has to change in this arena. I can’t continue on in the condition I’ve been in while on this path. I need to become freer, lighter, more absorbent of the things that I need to learn while on this path. However, I feel more dense and rock-like than ever before.

The closeness I’ve felt over the past few weeks is dissipating. I don’t know if this has to do with the time frame of bad past experiences or if it just simply me… Either could be a feasible answer. I just know that I feel dumb as a rock when it comes to all of this lately… and that bothers me.

The Inner Most Chamber Is Only Open to the Man of Silence.

After my raging last post, I feel quite upset with myself for having gone that far. However, I did get a reaction from both deities because of it. They are both back. Hwt-Hrw is back to her whimsical “you know, whatever you want, dear” policies and Sekhmet is just around. She was kind of upset with me last night, which ended up in yet another argument between the two of us, but I’ll get into that in a minute.

I had gotten the new statue of Hwt-Hrw in a few days ago. However, I swore up and down that I would not take her out of her shipping box, much less her personal box, until I had put the floating shelves up. About a thousand purchases later, I was able to put three of the six shelves up. I put Hwt-Hrw in the middle and surrounded her with a large and a medium-sized shelf. The shelves, much to my chagrin, are not holding up well. The walls in my apartment are pretty much cheap and shitty, so they hang at a slight angle. I have to bracket the shelves, and soon, so that I can put what I want to surround her on the walls. In the mean time…

I decided that I should just get Sekhmet up and out of the way, just in case Rowan’s attention turned from Hwt-Hrw to Sekhmet. So, I put up one of the shelves I had originally bought for Hwt-Hrw and put her on it. This is where the fight ended up. She looked like this:

…and she was super pissed. She was angry that I was using the shelves I had bought with the intention to house Hwt-Hrw. She was angry that the shelf wasn’t flush against the wall like it should have been. She was pissed off to no end that the shelf wasn’t of a maple variety, as she has specified, and that I was even remotely trying this for a minute or two. So, I took her down and put her back on my bedside table atop the boxaltar. She’s happier, but still wants her own shrine.

I’m thinking I should go back to the double-doored wall cabinet from Wal-mart because there is no way that I can find a friggin’ maple colored floating wall shelf set. Trust me: I’ve looked all over the place. Everyone sells them in cherry, ebony, mocha, and oak colors. I love my deities, but I’m not going to sand down and re-stain shelves for them! So, I think I’m going to buy a white wall cabinet for her with a shelf of some sort beneath the doors so I can put all of my Kemetic Recon books there. She is, after all, my patron deity and she is, after all, the supreme deity of medicine, only learned in the House of Life. Unless Djehuty comes along, Sekhmet is going to hang on to my books.

Oh, and speaking of other gods… I thought it was a good idea to invite Sutekh into my life. I just opened up my lips and blabbed it out for the Internet to hear. I’m vaguely paranoid about this and wonder if my odd, Egyptian-related dreams have anything to do with him. Honestly? I don’t know since they’re so vague. I do know, however, that Sutekh likes to make himself apparent with odd dreams. If that’s the case, he should work on me remembering them in the AM.

And since my blow-up at my patrons… I’ve felt better and more light-hearted. Perhaps they appreciated my rage for what it was worth? I know Sekhmet did, but there’s no telling with Hwt-Hrw. I think she’s just happy that she has a statue again!

I forgot to mention… I have since closed down the spiritual blog I was keeping on Livejournal, which was private. I like WordPress a lot better than LJ right now, though I do not intend on fully ridding myself of my LJ. Since no one could read my spiritual blog, it seemed more of a hassle to keep it open. I plan on deleting it the first week of November.

The Humble Man Flourishes.

I was seriously interested in putting my shelving units up today so that I had my altar completely set up and ready to go. Unfortunately, I need a special tool to set the wall anchors into place. I plan on ransacking Anthony’s parents’ house for the possible tools necessary to put these up. I also have to measure things out, apparently, so that I can put tall things up if the need arises.

In the mean time, the box is still being shared.

In other news, I came home from work last night to find that Hwt-Hrw had been broken by my son last night. I don’t know what in the world happened, but to say that I am very upset is kind of an understatement. Apparently, Rowan had decided that he needed to play with both Hwt-Hrw and Sekhmet statues last night for whatever reason. In the end, Sekhmet was completely fine but the feet of Hwt-Hrw were severed at the ankle. She’s currently leaning at a slight angle.

I kind of feel like this is a sign that Hwt-Hrw is displeased with me in some way. Honestly, I can’t think of anything that I have done that would irritate her to send me this kind of message. I have properly paid obeisance to her, as well as Sekhmet, every morning. I have spoken nicely to her and have listened to her comments. I have learned as much as I could about her as quickly as possible. I have offered her me as her slave and yet… there is this.

What in the world could this mean?

Great is the Benevolence of Re.

My half-moon shelves came in the mail today. I’m very excited to put them up so that I can get Hwt-Hrw up and onto her own altar. I have to put it off until we all have time to get a level and put them up in a way that I find satisfactory. I already have an idea in mind: I want them staggered so that none of them are beside each other. I want Hwt-Hrw on the highest shelf and various objects that I want to dedicate her on her behalf on the answering shelves. On the last shelf, I want to put the dish and bowl dedicated to her offerings.

For her altar, I need to purchase the following: her own kyphi candle, a holder for her personal natron, and a candle holder that’s befitting of her. These are just the things that I can think up off the top of my head. I know that I have to wait patiently for other items on her behalf. I do want to give her something glittery and gold like since, after all, she is known as the Lady of Gold. I also want to get a couple of stones together that I think she would like to put on her altar. I have so many ideas and so little money to do it all at once!

In other news, Sekhmet has pretty much informed me that she is not getting a cabinet “monstrosity.” (That is exactly what she said.) She wants a set of stream-lined shelves that are not painted, are not white, and are not black. She wants something in a cedar, maple arena, but finding floating shelves with that kind of coloring is hard. I’m thinking that I should take a trip up to the Triple B (Bed, Bath, and Beyond) and see what they have. However, if I recall correctly from my last trip in that store months and months and months ago, they only had cherry and black shelves. They were also a little too pricey for my tastes.

However, when the goddess speaks then I have to listen. And I should obey in a decent amount of time.

I’m still trying to figure out what kind of things I want to put on her shelves. I want to try and buy a vial of sand directly from ancient Egypt for her and also, get her a new kyphi candle with affiliated holder. I’m thinking about picking up a votive of a lion, but I’m not feeling that as strongly as I am about the vial of sand and the candle. I know what to do for Hwt-Hrw but Sekhmet is still eerily silent unless she’s verbally bitch-slapping me into what she wants.

Gah. Things will come to me.

I have nearly completed my first vase of “ancient Egyptian flora” or things that I think are particularly ancient Egyptian like. I have some cattails, some wheat grass, and some peacock feathers. I want a couple of other things to go with it and I want to find a vase that screams, “THIS COULD BE OLD! LIKE THOUSANDS OF YEARS OLD!” to complete the whole feature. In the mean time, I need to create a smaller one for the other side of the room so that the overwhelming tall one doesn’t take up too much room.

I found a cabinet on the side of the road that will be my akh shrine, AKA Shrine of the Blessed Dead. I have to get a bunch of pictures and put them in nice frames for this small cabinet. I’ve hit up family for pictures, although how I’m going to print these things out is another story. I want sizes 5×7 and up. I also get to put things associated with my ancestors in and around the shrine, however, I don’t know quite what to add aside from the pictures…

I have to paint the cabinet first. There’s no way I am having anymore white taking up a shit-ton of space in my apartment. I suppose I could strip it and stain it a deep color, but (A) that sounds like a pain in the ass and (B) I think Anthony would put his foot down about this. Of course, sanding is a pain in the ass, never mind the whole staining process. (Actually, I think staining is probably a lot easier than the whole sanding aspect.) I could also paint it deep blue and add gold stars to it as I had originally intended with Sekhmet’s shrine/cabinet…

Hm… I could buy some dark blue paint and then gold stamp paint and star stamps from Michael’s… Hm… This could be workable.

In the mean time, I have to remind myself to be patient. I can’t do everything all at once, no matter how much I would love to!

Great is the Law of Ma’at.

I am overly ambitious in the realm of my religion. I think a part of this is due to the fact that I grew up in a Catholic church. Everything was rich and gold and in-your-face and exuberant and huge. It was all completely over-the-top so that, I think, is what I assume all religious practices to be. I’m not sure if this is honestly the case. This is merely a simple, possible explanation for my constant “I need this and this and this and OMG WHERE IS THE MONEY THAT DOESN’T EXIST FOR ALL OF THIS GOING TO COME FROM?”

I found a website via Kemetic Orthodoxy that sells natron and kapet incense and bath oils/salts/something and everything. However, the products are entirely affiliated with the Kemetic Orthodox movement and this makes me leery. All descriptions say something about how the Nisut has blessed such-and-such a product or hand-crafted it herself and then blessed it. I bite my lip in temptation, but I also have to wonder if I should go ahead and seriously think about buying these things. I mean, after all, I am not a person of that specific faith and I hold no serious belief that the Nisut blessing is necessary for such things. I think most reconstructionists of my ilk would agree.

(Note: I’m not saying that the KO path is the wrong one or that I think it’s silly or anything. I just don’t hold with it, is all.)

I think I may have found a handy solution for a kar-shrine however. I was doing random searches for kar-shrines and happened to notice that the images of such were usually of cabinetry. So, I thought maybe I should get a TV armoire, like those you would find in a bedroom, for my shrine. However, after a serious problem with my son trying to play with my altar, I realized that I need to have the shrine out of his way so that he can’t open it. Voila! The idea hit me: How about a wall cabinet that like those found in bathrooms? And I think I found one. I want to paint it, although I don’t know if I should paint it in gold since it will be in my bedroom and, one day, my bedroom will be of an ancient Egyptian bend or if I should paint it blue and cover it in stars like images of Nut are shown…

So many ideas! And they are all so grandiose. I have big dreams, baby, but I don’t know how to see them come about.

I think the answer to kapet and natron is simply that I should make my own. I finally bought the loudly-touted book by Lise Manniche that everyone who is anyone in the KR path talks about. I had to buy a used copy because the re-produced current version is fifty dollars on its own. That just doesn’t fly with me because, if it only costs me twenty at a used price, that means that I can buy a few more books before I hit my magic mark! So, I bought a couple of other highly recommended books.

On that note, I should thank The Sister because it was her perseverance in buying her books that made me realize I need more for my personal edification. I knew that I needed the books, but I put it off for this and for that. I was thinking of big, personal changes when really, I should have been eyeballing her and realizing that, yes a new wardrobe would be nice, but really, I need to change the inside before the outside can follow suit. (And you know, diet again.)

So, personal learning comes before everything else.

And even though my ideas and thoughts on the whole thing are big and in-your-face and grandiose and I want to do them all RIGHT NOW. I realize that I have to wait. Everything takes time. My biggest sin is that I am greatly impatient. I will try to remember that impatience leads to many things and never any of it any good.