Kemetic Round Table: 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 here.

Side note: As with ma’at being a concept and a deity, so are heka, hu, and sia. Let’s talk about the concepts.

One of the most difficult parts about working with a religion that’s been dead for millennia is trying to puzzle out some of the most basics of basics. It doesn’t help that the only aspects of the religion that we can build from are from leftovers from priesthoods that are long since over, especially since not every single one of us want to rebuild a priesthood but just a functional practice for the layman. We have to rely, heavily, on academic books that may be overly dry and boring, enough to make your eyes glaze over when you attempt to read them. Another problem is that this particular religion is definitely outside of a Western thinker’s framework. We come into these ancient religion with our preconceived notions of definitions and beliefs, bringing holdovers from monotheistic religions in a lot of cases. It can be one of the hardest things when you’re going along and finally decide to ponder the meaning behind important concepts like ma’at and heka without much of a jumping off point.

As I had stated in my initial Kemetism is Orthopraxic post, I have had exceedingly difficult times with figuring out what ma’at is. In same vein, I have had similar difficulties when it comes to heka. Generally, it is defined as “magic.” This isn’t inaccurate, but it’s not the actual definition of the word if we can really say that the definition we have is accurate since the language has been dead for thousands of years. In effect, the literal translation (near as I can figure) is activating the ka (the ka was the immortal aspect of the ancient Egyptians complicated soul concept – this is also the part of the soul that I believe reincarnates with each new life). But what in the world does that even mean?

In the last year, I’ve tried to define it with mixed results.

My initial thoughts on it were more in line with one of the concepts that heka is associated with as opposed to the actual meaning of the word. These two concepts are hu and sia. Sia is the power of perception and hu is divine utterance. I was thinking more along the lines of these two concepts as what heka actually was and I honestly don’t think I am correct at all. They are related, honestly, but they do not equate to one another. Sia is, to me, about what can come about, is created by, the action of hu. While these two concepts are kind of the foundation of what the great, wide world of understanding heka can be, they are not the totality of the concept. It isn’t just about watching your speech because you never know what you’re throwing out into the world – though this is important – it’s about activating or use of your ka.

But, specifically, what does that even mean? Is it like having super powers at your disposal without you realizing it? In a manner of speaking, we could easily say that the answer is “yes.” It is through our ka that we are able to inflict change, in the forms of hu and sia specifically, upon the world. It is through the ka that we have a deep connection with divinity, “Upon the body’s demise the ka rejoined its divine origin, but always remained in close proximity of the body.” [X.] It is through their ka that gods like Amun self-fertilized, Ptah created the world, and Khnum shaped clay into the vessels of men. While they are gods and probably are more aware of what needs to happen to use effectively their heka, they created us in similar image. They gave us the exact same piece of the soul, the ka, to do similar acts. While our acts may not be as grand as self-fertilizing or creating an entire world, they are still acts that we can do in order to effect change in the world.

And doesn’t that sound familiar to anyone who has studied witchery in any context? I’ve seen it explained that by using spells and poppets, witches are pushing their will into the world to create a change that they would like to see happen. It’s not really all that far-fetched now to see why heka is usually loosely translated to mean “magic.” Magic isn’t necessarily a bad definition, but it’s not the totality of the subject matter. Heka is more about what you have to do – in witchy words, building up the energy based around your desire – in order to create whatever you want to see happen. It isn’t just about deciding to do something, but in the acts that lead up to that moment as well as the ingredients needed, the correct word usage, and the will to have perceptions change to include what you’ve just thrown into the world.

Now, as I said above, I’ve had difficulties defining this concept, to the point where I was conflating the two foundational concepts – hu and sia – to equate to heka. While, as I said, they are important aspects because they teach you what it is that you must do in order to utilize heka effectively, they are not the sum total of the concept. It’s almost as if we have an ancient recipe on our hands that we must follow exactly in order to get the final result – the dessert – that we are aiming for. If you go a little over on the measurements, you may be short-changing what it is you want with your heka and end up with something completely different than what you had intended.

I’ve been thinking about whether or not this concept is something we need to make manifest on a daily basis. Is heka and it components necessary for a layman in modern times? Is understanding this concept, and thereby using it, something that we, as modern practitioners, require? I’ve written one set of responses and realized I was wrong. I’ve written another set of responses and realized that wasn’t the totality of what I wanted to say.

Honestly, I think that even though we see it used so often in ancient Egyptian myth in specific occurrences, specific events, that it is something that modern recons/revivals/eclectics need to take into consideration on a daily, hourly, or even minute by minute basis. It was, probably, used frequently by priests in the ancient days because that’s part and parcel to the religion itself. Using good heka meant the world would continue for another day, another hour. It was probably used just as often by healers and magicians, for the common folk, because they were literate enough to decipher the texts that are associated with heka. But we don’t have a specialty class anymore. We don’t have a specific priesthood, specific magicians and healers, that we can go to in order to properly and effectively use heka. We are the people who cavort with the gods, who are de facto priests of the gods, and we must learn about heka in order to ensure that we are doing things appropriately in the name of our gods and in the name of our religion.

But, how do you do that? How do you start working with a concept like heka?

You start off small.

For example, you will see that many Kemetics do utilize, at least in part, the hu aspect of heka when we discuss religion. You will see the name Apep “ritually” destroyed in our conversations. Some people remove some letters, other people use a strike through to ritually destroy the name. In this vein, we are practicing heka, more specifically the concept of divine utterance. By desecrating this name, we are making sure that it does not gain power and cause ma’at to fall from the world, generally speaking. Do we do this daily? In some instances, yes. When we are discussing our religion with outsiders or with one another, these discussions may span days in forums, blogs, or groups and each time, we will do this. This is minor heka. It is about activating our ka. It is about perceiving this name as being destroyed. It is about performing a divine utterance. However, this is small – minor, really – in comparison to larger acts that we may perform, such as a spell, an execration, explaining things to newbies, etc.

I think we should be aware of what we say to other people and how we say it. I think we should be aware of what sort of perceptions can be sent into the world about one another, but about ourselves. And I think we need to be aware that, perhaps, our use of spoons is about throwing the energy into the world about X, Y, and/or Z when we don’t mean to. I think all of these things are important enough to keep a kind of mental sticky note on the mirror to say, “How are you spoons? Are you using your heka effectively?” And I wonder how many of us will come back from this exercise to realize that we were activating our ka in regards to something, tossing some spoons into the world for the fun of it, and then shutting back down again.

I’m pretty sure I’m guilty of this and I’m almost positive that I’m not the only one.

And I think that’s really, honestly, the only way outside of major undertakings (like ritual destruction) that we can and should use heka. Pay attention. Look around. Do some internal surveys. Double and triple check your thoughts on something so that you don’t have to backpedal later when you fail to explain yourself properly. Watch your spoons and how you manage them. But above all, be cognizant of the best advice a Kemetic has ever shared, “don’t be a dick.”

The Hermit.

Recently, my Radiant Rider-Waite deck and I have been in a hate-hate relationship. It started requiring a lot more energy than usual in order to use them. I’m pretty sure it’s my fault that this ended up happening, but it happened. So, I put them up and away for a while, telling them that they needed to behave themselves when I use them. And everything was fine until a friend of mine requested a reading. This friend has asked me a couple of times since I put the deck up and away for a reading and yesterday, I decided to pull them out. I tend to bring my deck with me to TH’s family get-togethers as a way to obviously ignore people. (Since apparently my reading means that everyone has to come over and see what I’m reading and ask questions, but not with Tarot cards – I don’t fucking get it.) And I figured if I was in public, the deck would behave itself properly. And it did. On a whim, I began shuffling and “lololol” asked it about my religious life. The first two cards of the reading were unimportant as I’m passed that, but my current phase? It’s the Hermit.

At first, I thought that this was entirely based on my community mongering. I’ve been so intent with community building and the project therein that I’ve written about needing one no less than once a month in the last year (or more). And in all that time, I’ve been so focused on the community that I’m having issues in my personal practice. The thing is that we are working with a religious framework that, while it is community based, is also outside of our normal framework. Many of us solitary Kemetics are coming into this religion from a monotheistic background, which may or may not have a communal backbone as Kemeticism does. (I know my childhood monotheistic practices were not community based, though there was a community within it.) And to compound the appearance of getting nowhere fast with the community posts that we’ve had going around, I’m rather tired of people as a whole and Kemetics, in minor. I go through phases where I am an extreme introvert, which is usually categorized as my “I hate everyone” or “let’s nuke the planet and start over” phases.

I said it was excessive, didn’t I?

The thing is that this is only part of the whole Hermit-ting the card is getting at. I can look at it in one aspect and see, “ah yes. I’m using too many spoons on that when I need to be conserving them for this.” However, I tend to view my divination practices as more than just simply two-dimensional readings. The card wasn’t just simple about having to pull back my spoons and pulling away from my community for a while. It was more about worrying about me, about my practice, and what that actually happens to be. I’ve become so complacent with my practice that I’m beginning to worry about everyone else and what they are doing and what sort of drama-mongering Tumblr is up to that I’m forgetting I have gods who need/want me, I have lwa that require me, and I have a life to lead.

On a whole, I think this is something that all people, of polytheistic, Kemetic, and-or pagan stock, need to pay attention to. If you send things out on the Internet all the time, what does your practice look like? How often are you online, worrying about what others think about you? How often are you online, calling someone else out on what you perceive to be a slight or injustice? Is your relationship with your gods suffering because you’re so focused on things that have no impact on you? Is your practice suffering because you’re so focused on “teaching a thing” to people who have absolutely no part in your life aside from having seen them in passing online?

I was so focused on what other people were thinking about me and worrying about not saying things that I felt because of how other people would react that I was forgetting the most important thing in my entire practice. I was at the point where I was so focused on coming home from work to see the latest drama on Tumblr or to see who was pissed off at whom on Facebook that I was forgetting about the most important facet in my entire practice. And that most important thing is me. There is no one else here who can pick up my mantle should I fall. There is no one else around who will be able to write the guide I’m planning for Sekhmet. There is no one else here who can do the work Papa Legba has asked of me should I get caught up in outsiders’ drama.

And frankly, what is the point in all the things that I’m doing with my practice if I’m focused on other people?

My practice, as I’ve been harping on lately, is orthopraxic. I don’t have to sit around and debate theology with anyone about anything (although I will, occasionally). My religion has nothing to do with what I’m thinking or what Joe Blow Tumblr is thinking. This practice is about what I’m doing. And if I’m focusing on other people and other things, then all of the shadow work, SVP entries, grave-tending, and devotional acts go down the drain. They all end up failing the ultimate test, which is to create a functional, cohesive practice on a solitary level so that, maybe one day, we can create a functional, cohesive practice on a community level.

As Sekhmet said to my earlier,

Being a hermit isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be a good thing. It’s not an act of selfishness to lock yourself away from other people. It is an act, as you are already aware, of unconditional love. And sometimes, those acts of love require you to step away from the whole and work on the one. I haven’t been working so hard on you for all these years for you to be of no use to me now.

“Just When You Thought It was Safe to Go Back in the Water…”

Note: The title a quote from Jaws by Peter Benchley.

While I will tell anyone who asks – and those who don’t – that my favorite horror movie is The Thing, circa 1982, I have quite a few that I can classify easily as “my favorite.” One of the top contenders that has to fight with Kurt Russell, aliens, and the Antartic is the summer thriller, Jaws. It came out eight years before I was born and it would be another twelve years before I saw it for the first time. I read the book first before renting it – because I’m a snob like that – and while I still have moments where I try to point out items in the book that were not in the movie to the television screen, I still really enjoy the movie. It scares me still – unlike The Thing, unfortunately – because there is just that primal fear of not knowing what will get you if you’re swimming in the ocean. And the best part is that they hardly, if ever, show the fucking shark so it’s that much scarier.

So, what the hell does this movie have to do with anything? Why am I writing about this?

I rented the movie for three bucks last night and started watching it. I was mulling over all the various community posts going around (links below) and I was watching the movie, looking for mindless oblivion before I went to sleep. And you know what I realized? The whole fucking movie is an excellent metaphor for this community shit. If you haven’t watched the movie, then you really aren’t going to understand what I’m talking about, but I’m going to go ahead and explain it anyway… and hope someone has seen the movie and understands where I’m coming from.

The movie is about this giant shark – a great white – that starts to terrorize a small island community. There’s no telling where it came from or why it chose the water of Amity Island, Massachusetts. The feeding grounds were plenty, it being high summer and the islanders’ main income in the form of tourist dollars added to the feeding frenzy. In the movie, technically, only a few people die. However, that’s still more than your average shark since, you know, statistics show that there’s an average of 78 unprovoked shark attacks a year. And the worst is that the knowledge base of sharks is still fledgling so how do you kill an ancient killing machine? The heroes manage, of course, because books and movies aren’t very good if you don’t have heroes. There are three heroes in this movie and while those three heroes were more anti-hero in the book, they’re still pretty fucking heroic.

And I’m watching this movie, getting cold chills up and down my spine from the excellent orchestral notes we all associate with Jaws just as much as I’m getting them from realizing the metaphor for the pagan community at large, the polytheist community at minor, and the Kemetic community at clique. And that’s what really threw me last night before my mind decided it had too much thinking going on. I was watching a cult classic and its association with my religious life was horrifically accurate. No one should be able to watch any kind of movie, classic or otherwise, and find out that it has any parallel on your life. I think it may even be worse if you realize that this prolific horror movie mirrors your religious life. Your religious life shouldn’t mirror anything, but for some fucking reason, paganism has decided it’s going to do this thing anyway.

Look at my excellent text-based paint skills in action.

Look at my excellent text-based paint skills in action.

I think the movie poster, as seen above with a few additions, can greatly surmise what I’m getting at for those not quite aware. This movie poster is about as iconic as they come and just about everyone has seen it at some point or another. (Or else, I’m a really great, huge nerd and never realized how big of a nerd I was for knowing what iconic movie posters look like.)

At the top, we have the innocent victim, swimming happily in the ocean. She is completely unaware of what lurks beneath her. And while most of us “boat paddlers” are usually in a boat, maybe we want to take a dip to cool off from all of the hard work we’ve been busy doing. (My job isn’t so much to just paddle, but to also man the coconut missiles when my fellow boat paddlers are under siege) So, there we are doing our boat paddling best to forge a community amid a bunch of over-defended (read: highly sarcastic) people and lurking beneath is the mob mentality of the pagan community. And that mob mentality is getting ready to shoot through the water, black eyes rolled back in its head. And then, the feeding frenzy on those of us trying, trying, trying so damn hard with tears in our eyes amid the stone wall defenses of our “fellow man” can begin.

The thing about this mob mentality is that most people don’t seem to realize how very detrimental it can be. They claim that those of us who are so busy paddling our boats and calling for reason are “tone policing.” As my mother used to say when I was a child, modulate your tones. While this link is specific to Feminism, it pretty much correlates entirely with what people are complaining about us boat paddlers. “You want us to express ourselves in a pleasant manner? Fuck that!” That’s really not what we’re talking about, in its entirety. Yes, we would like it if people paid more attention to all of their heka, which includes what the fuck you’re saying on the Internet. But, I’m not just discussing this from a Kemetic perspective; I’m also looking at this from a pagan and polytheist generalized community perspective, so I know that my discussion of heka may fly over some people’s head.

It’s not so much that we want you to push your volume button down a few notches; we’d prefer it if you did that with your vitriol. Tone arguments aside, the point is not so much that you’re fucking yourself over by being the loudest asshole out there – and one day, people will realize what a fucking asshole you are with your petty Internet flame wars – but that you are fucking all of us over with your hate speech. And really? By attacking a neophyte for making a mistake, by turning to personal attacks when someone comments on a theological essay that no longer works for her, by degrading the conversation into a huge fucking feeding frenzy (KILL ALL THE NEWBS), you are fucking everyone over in the community. When we petition others to take us seriously, all they’ll see is the in-fighting and angst between all of us and say, “Pffft. You’re not a real religion; you are nothing but petty teenagers in a clique, looking to bully everyone who doesn’t believe as you.”

And where will we be?

As Sard pointed out in her post, we’ll be dead.

But let’s back up because we’re not all dead, yet. Let’s get back to tone policing.

If tone policing was the only thing we wanted people to do, then we’d be no better than the concern trolls mentioned in the Feminism link I provided. But, we’re not just concern trolls. We are people who are legitimately worried by the in-fighting and hatred we see on a daily basis. Community is something that people have to work at. Everyone seems fully cognizant of this fact, but no one seems to realize that petty flame wars, personal attacks, and degrading relationships aren’t going to do a fucking thing to help the community. It will only make it worse. The other problem is that, obviously, people aren’t really paying attention to anything that we say. We have entire listed explanations, possibilities, answers, and thoughts on the topic, but they take the most minute point that we have made and blow it out of proportion.

That way, they can deflect our finger pointing and attack us with our pants down, so to speak.

And in those moments, those people so worried about our tone policing may swell their ranks a little. They may even have a valid point with some of us. I mean, not every boat paddler is as altruistic as we make ourselves out to be. (Shit. I’ve said, as linked below, that I don’t need a fucking community before, but I’ve been roped into this after realizing that I’m an idiot and actually do need one.) But they forget that one day, they’ll have to look at themselves and realize what a miserable fucking human being they are.

And as my metaphor clearly indicates (going back to Jaws now for those who I’ve lost), I don’t, frankly, consider them human beings any more. They are a creature; a thing. They are a conglomerate collection of self-righteous asstwats who think that their ego is only there to be stroked. Well, you know what? My ego is large, too, and I think I’m just the most greatest thing since sliced bread. You can ask anyone who is friends with me on Facebook; I talk about how awesome I am about once a week. But, I don’t go around requiring that my ego be stroked on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute fucking basis. I can stroke my own ego – and do – and I don’t need a horde of children to make me feel good about myself.

But all of those in this mob mentality so obviously do.

Is it because they are young? Is it because they are really insecure? Is it because they have nothing better to do with their time?

I honestly don’t know, or care, about the reasons behind their actions.

All I fucking care about is that they stop it.

If you’re so busy pointing out our flaws, then stop trying to be a part of our community. Ignore us boat paddlers – those Kemetic and non-Kemetic – and ignore what we are trying to build in our little cliques. Ignore out “tone policing” blog posts. Ignore our very fucking existence. We’re not going to stop, no matter how much you may want us to, no matter how much sabotage you may try. We’ll still be here, paddling our boats and forging our community because we know that, to survive, it’s what must be done.

While writing this, I was re-watching Jaws and I’m towards the end now. And I stopped while the heroes are busy battling for their lives with the shark, but I mostly stopped because the iciest, most chilling part is Clint’s monologue. His soliloquy is incredibly apt for the movie, but for this entry as well. As found here, Clint’s monologue,

Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, chief. It was comin’ back, from the island of Tinian to Laytee, just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in twelve minutes. Didn’t see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. Thirteen footer. You know how you know that when you’re in the water, chief? You tell by lookin’ from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn’t know… was our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. Huh huh. They didn’t even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, chief. The sharks come cruisin’. So we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know it’s… kinda like ol’ squares in battle like a, you see on a calendar, like the battle of Waterloo. And the idea was, the shark comes to the nearest man and that man, he’d start poundin’ and hollerin’ and screamin’ and sometimes the shark would go away. Sometimes he wouldn’t go away. Sometimes that shark, he looks right into you. Right into your eyes. You know the thing about a shark, he’s got…lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eye. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be livin’. Until he bites ya and those black eyes roll over white. And then, ah then you hear that terrible high pitch screamin’ and the ocean turns red and spite of all the poundin’ and the hollerin’ they all come in and rip you to pieces.

Y’know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men! I don’t know how many sharks, maybe a thousand! I don’t know how many men, they averaged six an hour. On Thursday mornin’ chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player, boson’s mate. I thought he was asleep, reached over to wake him up. Bobbed up and down in the water, just like a kinda top. Up ended. Well… he’d been bitten in half below the waist. Noon the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us, he swung in low and he saw us. He’s a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper, anyway he saw us and come in low. And three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and start to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened? Waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water, three hundred and sixteen men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.

And for those of you who don’t know the history behind this monologue, here’s some facts.

So, there I am, re-watching the movie because I have it for two days and I want to get my three bucks worth. And I’m watching the face of that venerable Robert Shaw with horror and pain and awe and chills. And he’s telling his story and I realize that it’s not so much that this community shit… those people who point their fingers at us and turn the argument back at us boat paddlers are the shark but more like all of the sharks that attacked those men on the U.S.S. Indianapolis. And everyone who has made a mistake and been at the end of the vitriolic hatred via Tumblr, forums, or blog entries are those manned groups, hollerin’ and poundin’ away, hoping for survival. There were 1,196 men on that boat that sank so long ago and about 860 went into the water with only 321 surviving those five days in the water, lost, alone, and praying to a deity who may or may not have been listening.

We boat paddlers are those tough-as-nails men and women whom survived the sinking of the ship and survived the shark attacks for days, with no food and no water. We are those people who others may sing about. We know what’s at stake here and we know how, at least in part, to fix it. And we’ll keep going, keep paddling, and I’ll fling my coconuts at asshats and fuckwads when I’m asked to. And I’ll get attacked and my boat will get swamped and someone will pull me out of the water before the shark attacks begin.

But we’ll survive and maybe, even, forge a community.

And assholes?

Need not apply.

Related Posts

  1. The Logistics of Running a Kemetic Anything by Devo.
  2. An Open Letter to the Kemetic Community by Fanny Fae.
  3. Loneliness, or Community Iz Hurd by Shine.
  4. Dear Pagan Community by Dusken.
  5. A Ray of Light by Kallista.
  6. Freedom Isn’t Free, And Neither is Community by Sard.
  7. G is For Group, I.E. Why Your Words Matter (PBP) by Nellethiel.
  8. G Is For Giving Back to the Community (PBP) by Iretenra.

Related Posts By Me

  1. Where Fellowship Has a Place in My Practice.
  2. If The Gods Created Man, Then Why Are We So Hot To Not Support Each Other?
  3. Nazis In Paganism (PBP).

Unfinished Business (II).

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s talk about those lessons.

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

Nope. Not a one.

Nope. Not a one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I won’t sacrifice that.

For anyone.

Unfinished Business (I).

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

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

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

Well.

Fuck.

Here is what started all of this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guess what, honey? PEOPLE EMOTE AND DISCUSS THEIR EXPERIENCES WITHOUT DEMEANING EVERYONE.

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

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

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.