Intercalary Days 2013

I have never bothered to really celebrate the epagomenal days before. Since I only started the actual calendar based celebrations last year, I had never felt much need to pay any attention. And last year, I was so busy working up to the day of Wep Ronpet that I really couldn’t be too bothered with doing much for the five gods Nut gave birth to, thanks to Djehuty. This year, I figured I could do something for the gods in question. It honestly made sense. I had begun to cultivate relationships with two out of the five and I’m interested in doing something, at some future time, with Wesir and possibly Nebthet. So, why wouldn’t I bother to honor them in some form or fashion? I knew that – based on other celebrations – I didn’t want to do anything big or too overwhelming. I just wanted something quiet and meaningful between me and five gods who were born because Djehuty gambles spectacularly.

I really wasn’t expecting the soul-crushing depression that would go along with those celebrations.

The day prior to Wesir’s birthday, I kind of snapped about everything. It didn’t seem to matter what I was doing or why I was doing it, but things never seem to work out capably. I have since reminded myself that planning anything is really just not a good idea. It started with work related items and started to snow ball from there. With each day into the intercalary days, I couldn’t help but wallow in some new form of mind-crushing depression. The first day, it was work related. The second day, it was financially related. The third day, it was car related. The fourth day, it was family related. And on the fifth day, it was a general feeling of being incapable of doing anything for anybody without screwing something up. With each new day, there was a general theme. It seemed to flow, a little, with the gods to whom the days were associated. But, I wasn’t expecting it.

I’ve since wondered if this part of the celebrations had anything to do with the fact that the intercalary days are seen to be a sort of chaotic time of the year. Technically, according to ancient Egyptian lore, the days themselves are “outside of time.” Many ancient Egyptians would not bother to go to work on those days and would, generally, just remain at home so as to keep themselves safe. There weren’t many laymen celebrations, although some of the temples seem to have done a thing or two to mark the days. But, overall, the time it pretty much seen as “inauspicious” all around. And the nation, at least as far as my cursory examination has led me to believe, seemed to kind of close up shop instead of bothering to do anything with. I can remember thinking to myself on my drive to work on Thursday (the first intercalary day) that this was a chaotic time and I had to drive extra more careful to be safe, Sekhmet pendant being worn or not. As I’ve thought about the strange coincidence of this depressive phase and the particular holidays associated, I’ve tried to think back to last year and how I felt around this time. I believe I had a deep, dark depression in the days leading up to it as well. (I was still unemployed and I was still whining about no one hiring me, so I was at least slightly depressed if not horrifically depressed.)

In any case, I was not expecting that happy little coincidence. It was kind of a mind blower.

Wesir’s Birthday

The night before, I spent a good two hours coloring in a coloring book that I had purchased for just such the occasion. The Gods of Ancient Egypt by Dover was a last minute purchase about two weeks prior and I knew that I had to have it. I knew that in the purchase it was going to be a devotional item and as it arrived, literally, the day before Wesir’s birthday, I knew how I begin my devotional acts. Very carefully, I spent a good portion of my Wednesday evening just coloring very gently. I remember sitting back and looking at the likeness of Wesir periodically, feeling as though his energy was infusing the picture. Whether or not that was the case doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that, in taking the time to create a depiction that I was to honor later, I was devoting myself to the celebration to follow. And it really helped me to nail down his “energy signature,” or whatever it may be called, so that I could focus on him later.

The next day, upon driving to work, I found Wesir in my car. Now, having gods in my car really isn’t a strange occurrence. Since I spend a good deal of my time driving places, either because of work or because of errands, I have a very deep, magical, and intense connection with Olga. (My car.) I have had numerous gods and spirits show up, out of the blue, to have deep philosophical conversations with me in said vehicle and since I can’t hide behind a book or my family or chocolate or what have you, I end up being forced to listen to whatever they have to say. In this case, I had little else to do expect to listen to Wesir wax poetic about various things. We talked about my religion and where I wanted it to go. We talked about work and how I wasn’t overly thrilled to be going. Actually, we spent a lot of time giving me various pep talks about how I needed this job and I couldn’t just say “fuck it” like I was interested in doing. (Not that I wanted to not go, but that I didn’t want to give it my all.) It was a very pleasant drive, although the work day thoroughly sucked.

Upon coming home, I pulled out his carefully colored picture and set up a quick altar. I have a spare table that used to house various deities (and lwa) throughout the years that I had kept for just such a transitory purpose. I had purchased a dozen yellow roses for the occasion. I placed two cut roses into a small jar, gave some organic ginger snaps, lit some incense, and gave him a mug of tea. I allowed him to take his time over each item. I said no prayer. I said no rites. I didn’t even bother “cleaning” myself all proper-like. I dished out some food and left him to it. This, to me, is the integral aspect to my rituals and rites. I don’t hover. I don’t gawk. I don’t hope to see a hand move or hope to feel their presence. I’m not very pious about it. And frankly, I don’t care if they care how I behave about it. The only act of true devotion I bothered with was writing a page-length devotional short regarding our time together in my car that morning. You can see what I did here.

That night, I went to a party with Wesir on the astral. He introduced me to all his friends and pretty much behaved in the complete opposite of what I would have expected from Wesir as possible. The only way I could even remotely describe it was that he was very much the quintessential frat boy that everyone pictures. It was an interesting glimpse in the life of Wesir when he’s very busy not being himself.

Heru-Wr’s Birthday

For the hour or so before bed the night before, I colored the picture of Heru in the book to look as closely approximate to Heru-Wr. Since Heru-Wr isn’t a big deity, I guess, he was not included in my coloring book. I decided that instead of looking for any ancient Egyptian coloring pages, I would spend my time creating him out of what I had to hand. So, I colored as best I could the picture I had and wrote “Heru-Wr” just beneath the hieroglyphs for Heru. I didn’t spend as much time on this picture as I did for Wesir. I think part of that had to do with the fact that I had managed to program my hands to not ache as much while I was coloring. I, also, think that it was just easier to go with what I wanted instead of basing it off of classical ancient Egyptian imagery. Again, the action of coloring in this picture felt as though I could connect better with Heru-Wr. It didn’t feel as much as it did with Wesir – maybe because I had no relationship with any of the hawk deities before two weeks ago, or maybe just because I was in a bit of a rush while coloring – but I did feel that the act of coloring brought us closer.

The next morning, Heru-Wr came along with me on my drive to work. We talked about how Wesir is a party animal and Heru-Wr was never invited. Though he didn’t admit it at the time, I think Heru-Wr was secretly jealous. Mostly, the two of us discussed how he’s not as popular a deity as some of the others. He said a lot of things that were very interesting on the topic. Mostly, what really made me think was when he said, “I used to be popular. They used to fan girl over me all the time. I was pretty important, you know, during the Old Kingdom. But as time went by, I realized I didn’t need all the attention. It was nice while it lasted, but I do all right. I do all right.” If this wasn’t a secret message to me and my secret desire to be a popular kid, then I don’t know what is. All I can say is that it certainly goes with my impression of Heru-Wr: statuesque and quiet, happy with his lot in life.

That night, I added two more cut roses to the jar I had left out the night before for Wesir. The two in the jar were already beginning to bloom and it seemed a shame to jettison them. I added four organic ginger snaps, cool water, and a small tea light. I spent about an hour trying to write a short page-length devotional as I had done for Wesir. I ended up writing whatever came to mind instead of what I had actually wanted to discuss. I wanted the little page to seem like a devotional act. And since I was actually writing about Heru-Wr, it could be classified as such. But it wasn’t as devotional as Wesir’s, I don’t think. As it was, I came back to Heru-Wr’s statements to me earlier that morning and how he seemed happy with his lot in life. I decided I was happy with what I had done and left it at that. You can see what I did here.

Sutekh’s Birthday

Following my previous tradition, I colored Sutekh the night before. Frankly, I didn’t think I really needed to focus on the coloring in as much as I did with the previous two. Sutekh and I have had a passing acquaintance for some time now. He’s even showed up and had conversations with me about random items at the most inopportune times. I couldn’t really fathom what-all his birth day was going to be like, especially since I had the day off, but I knew that it wasn’t going to be as intense as the previous two. With that in mind, I spent most of my time focusing on how I really didn’t like the representation of Sutekh. The picture is of a goat head and that is not the classic Sutekh I know. I tried to keep the picture as close to ancient views as I could, even though the head really wasn’t what I was thinking of when I was coloring it.

The next morning, Sutekh watched my majestic break down as I learned I have a pretty decent oil leak in my car. And that was really the building point that we worked upon. We talked about break downs. As a god of chaos and all the stuff that he did to his brother, he completely understands the whole think about having a break down. He understands the need to curl up into a ball and cry about things you really have no choice in going through. And while he did have the choice – whether or not to remove his brother – he did it anyway. And even though he knew what he was doing would be misconstrued and he would be hated, he still went through it. Only the little bits people forget is that he probably grieved and he probably felt really hated and he probably ended up breaking down quite a few times, both because of Wesir and because of his nephew. So, while driving around randomly so that I could get back into the right head space for my family, we discussed what it was like to be a god and what it was like to be a human and how, when it comes right down to it, the emotional fall out can be the same.

Again, I added two more cut roses to my growing jar. I actually ended up filling the jar to capacity with the next two. I relit the little tea light I had used the previous night before because, as Sutekh informed me, “waste not, want not.” I added four ginger snaps and cool water. As I had done on the past two occasions, I wrote another devotional page of randomness to Sutekh. In the writing of that little tidbit, I could feel Sutekh beside me. It was just like when I was in the car, tears pouring down my face at yet another thing I had no control over. And in that moment, I completely understood him in every way. You can see what I did here.

Aset’s Birthday

Since I have a working relationship with Aset, I was actually more interested in things that I could do for her. I thought about doing magical type items on her birthday, but the fact that the intercalary days can be so chaotic prevented me. Instead, I did as I had done the last three nights: I colored her picture. I spent time reflecting on her as a god in my life, as well as what she would have been like before Sutekh had killed her husband. I reflected on the fact that we have a lot in common in various ways. But, mostly, I focused on the fact that I was more interested in her birthday than anyone else’s. Nothing against Sutekh and our relationship, but she’s really the one god in the whole Wesirian cycle that I pay the most attention to. So, it wasn’t really shocking that her birthday would be something I was most interested in.

I didn’t spend as much time with her on Sunday as I had initially hoped. That was part of the reason why I was thinking about doing some magical undertaking. Instead, I spent my day just relaxing. The little bit of time we spent together was about us. It wasn’t about us as a mother, as a magical worker, as a woman or anything in between. The day was just about who we were and what we mean as people. I spent that early evening, working on her spread for the altar. I added ginger snaps to the offering plate and she was given cool water. Instead of a candle, I went back to incense. (I find it amusing that I burned incense for the husband and wife team that are so well known.) I added a second jar for the next set of cut roses, which were looking a bit worn at that time. And then, I spent my night just focusing on me, me, and more me. You can see what I did here.

My dog stole one of her cookies off of the plate on the table. We laughed about it later.

Nebthet’s Birthday

I have thought about Nebthet a total of a few times in my life. I think I’ve taken consideration of her more in this last year only because I do have a sort of relationship with Sutekh, whom she is married to. However, I’ve come to primarily associate her with a goddess of grief. While I have never actively prayed to her or worked with her during those trying times, I have only ever associated her with sadness and despair and grief. Of course, she does have other associations, but not in this UPG. The night before, per usual, I colored a picture I found of her online. Since she is, also, not one of the popular deities, she was not in my coloring book. I don’t remember where I found the picture, but it was okay. It didn’t have the same standard as I have found with the gods in the Dover coloring book, it would suffice, as far as I was concerned. The entire time I colored, I marveled at my one-dimensional view of her.

She showed up only briefly on my ride into work. By the fifth day, I was running out of spoons. Even though my festivals and rites aren’t really all that huge or awe-inspiring, the fact that I had five in a row was beginning to wear on me. While she didn’t really spend any time with me on my ride in to work, I did feel her presence throughout the day. And when I say that, I mean it was like a gentle breeze or caress. Frankly, I don’t get as “strong” a vibe as I do with her husband or her sister, or any of the other deities I actively cultivate relationships. The wavelength, so to speak, is entirely passing or vague. She’s there, but only for a split second before she’s gone again.

That night, I put the coloring book in the little drawer and placed her colored picture front and center. I added a fifth cookie to the usual four, as a kind of penance for having a misbehaving dog the night before. I added the last two yellow roses to the cup, which were sad looking indeed. Instead of a simple tea light for Nebthet, I chose one of my scented ones. This one reminds me of home cooking and a calmer atmosphere. Since my connection with Nebthet is fledgling at best, I couldn’t tell if she was pleased with my choice. But since she is the “mistress of the house,” I have to assume she liked the reference. You can see what I did here.

All in all, I have to say that I am pretty pleased with the rather mellow way that I celebrated the days of birth of each of the gods. I was looking for something simple and easy and I chose it. However, I will admit that after five days of ongoing rituals and rites, as simple as they were, it does take a lot out of you. I can’t decide if this means I will do something even smaller and less expansive next year, or if I will continue in same vein. I do know that I want to continue to add this portion into my festivals and feasts in future. I also do know that I enjoyed getting to know Wesir, Nebthet, and Heru-Wr after never having given them much of a passing thought. As to whether or not I will continue in the vein of laity in future or if I will tone it down further, I haven’t quite decided yet.

Advertisements

Violence, Sekhmet, and Ma’at (PBP).

I realized something the other day when I was thinking about ma’at and Sekhmet and Sutekh’s relation to the belief. I realized that, myself included, a lot of people seem to think that ma’at is intrinsically associated with rainbows, happiness, and unicorn farts. There are roses and oases everywhere filled with lotus blossoms. The scents of beauty enchant and entrap you with their perfection. In the distance, a gentle breeze blows the heat from your brow or a warming stone keeps the chill from your fingers. Everything works out okay: the money comes in when it’s supposed to, you’re eternally employed at the best job ever, you have a good family, there is healthy communication, and just happiness abounds out of your pores like the sweet scents of incense. So, in essence, I realized that there are probably a lot of people who think that ma’at is equated with perfection and happiness. It is a concept, I believe, that is horrifically wrong.

What brought this up was the other night when I found an image someone did of Sekhmet in human form, as can be found here. I like the image without looking further into it; the face of it is lovely. I think the artist is incredibly talented. However, the actual symbolism behind the image, I’m not a large fan of. The dark, almost evil, thoughtful look on Sekhmet’s face, the mountain of skulls the throne is upon… these don’t sit right with me. I have never once, in all my years, had a feeling of Sekhmet as this inherently, well, evil kind of lady. She’s a lot of things and she’s lot of facets but this image kind of makes me feel like she is EVIL INCARNATE – DESTROY, KILL, DESTROY and nothing else. I went on to comment on this and had a little side conversation with a Canaanite polytheist over at Tumblr about it. Later, the person who initially posted this image commented back and one of the things ze said was, “Though Sekhmet can stand for order… she’s unapologetically violent as hell.” And I started thinking.

What is it about ma’at that makes us believe that it’s some lovely, peace-filled harmony that we should all strive for?

I think the basic issue stems from the inability to properly equate it in American-English, UK-English, and various other languages. I’ve mentioned this in other places before but sometimes, there are just some foreign words that have no comparison in other foreign languages. I’ll break this down using an example that I think relates to the concept of ma’at and is dear to my heart. So, let’s discuss the Russian word, Правда, or “pravda.” In English, we associate this term as meaning “truth,” but it’s actually a good deal more than that. As found on page 17 of Russia and the Russians by Geoffrey Hosking, “in fact everything the community regarded as ‘right’: justice, morality, God’s law, behaving according to conscience. The criterion for any decision taken by the village assembly that it must accord with pravda.” In effect, the concept of Правда is similar (UPG here) to what I equate ma’at as being. What I’m saying is that it isn’t just about what we ascribe as perfection or as truth, but as a moral compass as well as harmony. It’s a word that needs numerous other words to be properly ascribed in English, which is something we often find when trying to explain ma’at to outsiders. (I know I tend to go, “it’s uh…” a lot when talking with non-Kemetics.)

And while morality figures highly into the concept behind ma’at, we can’t just assume that violence doesn’t figure into this.

As found on Wiki, we watch as a god slays Apep. Similar imagery can be found in later times of Sutekh and Sekhmet slaying the serpent of chaos.

As shown in the image above, we see a goddess (claimed to be Bastet by Wiki) slaying the serpent of chaos, Apep. There is nothing light and fluffy about this act. Warboar drew an image of Set slaying Apep (original entry linked below). In later myths, I have found the chore of slaying Apep given to Sekhmet, my main lady. As evidenced by the picture above, it is also a chore ascribed to Bastet. In all of these instances, in the mythologies, we find that the gods are slaying a creature to uphold all things that are ma’at. This is a necessary evil, in effect. In order to keep isfet from overtaking the world and creation, these gods must stand up against it and battle it. In the battles, blood will be shed; violence will be used. But these are considered good, charitable, and life-saving acts. Sometimes, light and fluffy is fine and dandy, but offering Apep tea and crumpets isn’t going to necessary stop it from overtaking all things ma’at.

But let’s go back to Правда for a minute. In Russian linguistics, they actually have words that we can equate with the antithesis of Правда. Depending on the words used, they could equate to “crookedness,” “untidiness,” and various other things. But, as I mentioned in what I quote above, “The criterion for any decision taken by the village assembly that it must accord with pravda.” In effect, whenever we discuss Правда, it was the social conscience for what was correct and morally upheld by the entire assembly, the entire community or Мир (or “mir” in English.) So, in while we would view Правда as discussing unicorn farts and rainbows with pots of gold at the end of them, in times where life was anything but certain, Правда could also equate with burning the fields and starting all over again, fighting against the Khans that were subjecting their authority over Russian land, and fighting against other Мир that were trying to overtake their land and resources. While Правда was about good things and conscientious thought, amongst other things, that could also mean utilizing violence to make it happen.

Now, let’s talk about Sekhmet for a minute here.

Sekhmet had seven arrows that tended to bring bad luck and misfortune, usually in the form if disease. As taken from page 37 of Magic in Ancient Egypt by Geraldine Pinch: “the Seven Arrows of Sekhmet, always brought evil fortune, often in the form of infectious disease.” However, there doesn’t seem to be any concrete evidence as to who may or may not be hit with these seven arrows. Considering her actions in regarding and upholding ma’at and her heavy influence over maintaining justice, wouldn’t it be possible that the people who were afflicted with the Seven Arrows could in fact be those who were living lives filled with isfet? Obviously, we have no evidence in support or to the contrary of these thoughts, but I feel that it makes more sense in what I’ve learned and what I’ve done in working with her that while, she was fearful since she did try to annihilate humanity once, it is just as likely that those struck by her arrows were not living in accordance with ma’at. This, I feel, is another example where, maybe not specifically violence per se, but a more negative aspect can be utilized in an effort to correct slights against ma’at.

What it comes down to, in regards to all of this is, how does violence suddenly no longer equate with ma’at? When did that happen? And how does the act of using violence to maintain ma’at suddenly equate Sekhmet as being “unapologetically violent as hell”?

Let’s discuss the elephant in the room here: the basis for most people’s thoughts on Sekhmet being “unapologetically violent as hell” isn’t just the Arrows that are considered “evil” and the diseases that could arise from them. Almost entirely, we have the basis for belief in her violent savvy ways is the Destruction of Mankind myth. A quick summary is that Re got really old and kind of enfeebled. Some of his human creations didn’t understand this and began talking smack about it behind his back. When he learned of this treachery, he got really angry and decided to teach his treasonous creations a lesson by destroying all of them. Enter Sekhmet: the Eye of Re. While initially, Sekhmet was only supposed to kill the people who were plotting against Re, she was intent on her blood lust and wanted her fill, so she began killing the humans that hadn’t plotted against her father. In the end, he tricked her with some red-colored beer, she got so very drunk, and passed out. However, the whole point behind the myth is that treachery and espionage are probably not a good idea because only bad things happen. Due to this, illness came to the world and Re relinquished his ruler ship over humanity.

However, in all of this, we are forgetting that while Sekhmet did get out of control, she was initially upholding ma’at by destroying those who had plotted against her father, Re. In order to teach a lesson, sometimes we have to smack our children’s hands out of the fire or punish them by sending them to their room without dinner. While times were more violent back then, it was with violence that the lesson was taught. Do not go against the gods. But more simplistically, do not fuck with ma’at because it will not end well.

Now, in regards to violence, it was common and often necessary in the ancient world. Since quite often, outside cultures would be considered part and parcel with isfet, subjugation via war would be considered upholding ma’at in ancient Egypt belief systems. They would see the act of war as necessary to tame the chaos all around them. These beliefs never brought about their destruction or seemed to annoy the gods since the ancient Egyptian culture lasted for thousands of years. And it wasn’t always just “unapologetic violence” being utilized here. It was an act of entering a country, subjugating its people in totality, and with the end result of having upheld ma’at from the agents of isfet. Just as Sekhmet and Sutekh and Bastet were busy slaying Apep to allow the sun god to rise yet another day, so too were the pharaoh and his armies doing likewise by conquering their neighbors.

While I will admit that we no longer live in a time frame where violence is to be utilized so readily and quickly as it was in ancient times, I do think it’s a mistake to forget that, in upholding ma’at, the ancients and the gods utilized it easily, readily, and to quick effect. So, really, the lesson here isn’t just that ma’at is a good deal more than a lot of people make of it, but that it’s as “dirty” and “violent” as it is “harmony” and “light.”

Relevant Posts

  1. Why Do You Worship Sutekh? by Warboar.

The Heart Palace of Satsekhem.

I have a heart palace. I’ve never used this term before. I’ve never really understood the term before or what everything that Dusken told me about when she did an astral trip for me in early July. I knew that what she was describing to me was important. Since then, I’ve tried to imagine the place that she went to in order to retrieve a portion of my soul. Since then, I’ve tried to see what my heart palace looked like, on the outside as well as on the inside. I’ve tried to explain away all of the little things that it signifies with rationality, but it’s a problem. How can one be rational and scientific when you’re faced with the knowledge that not only have you lived a past life, and your mother was one of the most premier rules of the 18th Dynasty, but that it’s still a part of you in some way? Rationality withers in the face of this.

Hatshepsut.

Seated statue of Hatshepsut. Image from here.

After Dee did her thing for me, as I said, I’ve tried to imagine what that place looks like. It hasn’t just been about the inside, which is still a foreign concept to me and may just remain that way. The outer doors to this palace were in the heart of the statue I’ve placed an image of here. The statue, the heart palace’s outer doors so to speak, is not crumbling. It has not met the face of time and been wounded into the battle. It is pure. It is whole. It is wrought of gold. The statue also is as big, in my mind’s eye, as the Great Pyramids in its reliquary of past kings of ancient Egypt. It lives in a place of solitude and an attitude of worship is necessary to enter there. This statue is where I placed part of my soul after my life ended in ancient Egypt all those centuries ago. I think my then-self placed it in the care of my mother for she loved me dearly and I knew that she would guard what I was placing there – bits of myself – as strongly as she had guarded me in that life. Too, where else would a knowledgeable priestess put her pieces if not in the hands of the living god on earth who she loved more than anything? I think that was the basic thoughts behind why my heart palace resides in a statue of my then-mother.

There is a temple within that heart palace. In that temple, Dee saw the statues of Sekhmet, Sutekh, and Heru. When she told me this, my initial belief was that it had to do with not just who I was back then but who I am in general. I believed that the imagery of Sutekh and Heru hearkened back to the days when I was of the royal household. Both, prior to Sutekh’s demonization over the years, were royal guardians in their own right. I assumed the statues had more to do with past lives and these gods being the most important gods in those past lives. Obviously, Sekhmet has more bearing now than she probably did back then (although I couldn’t say for sure how correct that is). I left it at that.

I was wrong.

Dee told me today after a brief conversation that I had been called a “child of Sutekh.” My initial response to this was pretty much denial and negativity. I shook my head (as though she could see it). There was no way I was a child of Sutekh. It wasn’t that I was hoping to deny it and therefore make it true. I couldn’t see a damn thing about myself that would even remotely have been proved to make me a child of his. I was not chaotic or tricksy or any of that jazz. I was falling into the patterns we see amongst other Kemetics – Sutekh is the evil! Some days, I forget that I’m supposed to be more broad minded about my own religion. After a while, I started thinking more intently with what she was saying. “A child of Sutekh.”

And I’m beginning to rethink the purpose behind that particular aspect to my heart palace. Maybe it’s not just a reliquary for my soul portions, given to those gods. Maybe it has more to do with a reminder that I am a child of all three of them, in some manner or another. I couldn’t be sure, of course, but there’s a feeling here… a feeling that I should pay closer attention to where my thoughts are headed.

Also, I hear laughter in my head and it’s not the Old Man’s guffaw.

Relevant Post
Past Life Shenans.

Letters to the Gods: Sutekh.

Dear Sutekh,

I do not know you well. I’ve heard of you, of course; anyone in this line of religion will have at least once or twice. I know a couple of your kids and they talk highly of you. I should probably learn more about you before I do this, but I know how much you like people who just toss themselves into the middle of the wash cycle without looking around for the lifeguards. So.

The reason I’m writing is because it was implied, heavily, that I should look to you at this time in my life. You see, I’m kind of in need for some luck, good would be best. I’m at a crossroads, or more like, a precipice. And I hear from those kids of yours that you have a thing for cliff faces. I don’t mind going over and I know you’ll be there to toss me over if the need arises, but I’d like to know that I can count on you for the landing or maybe, just to hold my hand while I’m going down and to pack me a parachute… preferably, a real one since I know how much you love your jokes.

I really feel like I’m heavy this month. And it’s not like I’m just gaining too much weight, but that everything is sitting on my shoulders. I know why it’s all there – that’s the best place for the stress. But the thing is that I don’t know if I can handle all of the downers that will be heading my way. I know a lot of them will be coming. I’m no fool. I don’t expect instant gratification just because I’m looking to you – and a few others – for help during this troubling time. But, I do need some luck. I do need some help. And I need a shoulder to cry on. Those kids I was mentioning earlier? They keep telling me that your shoulders are wide enough for another head to lean again them.

So, here I am.

I’m sending this out into the universe, into the cosmos, to the indefatigable place that you inhabit when you aren’t playing around on the planet. I’m sending this out with the plea that I need help. I need a hand. I need some luck. I need somewhere to shed my tears. I just… need.

Satsekhem

“Darker” Gods Are Misunderstood but Necessary.

I’m one of those odd pagans that like to learn new things. I ask questions and sit back, waiting for the information to role in. When it comes to others’ paths, I am doubly fascinated. On Twitter, I know a ton of people with different spiritual and religious practices. I know ceremonial magicians and I know Heathens, I know Vodouisants and hoodoo root workers, I talk with Asatru and Kemetics and CRs and Hellenismos. Pretty much on my Twitter feed, if you’ve had anything to do with anything with paganism, I’ve got someone in that particular tradition or path added in some form or another. When I can’t find answers in groups or via the Internet or I’m just beyond mind-blown with information and can’t possibly handle looking up more, I turn there for answers. I received a bunch of answers to my questions today by TreeGoldandBeeGold and Semiotechnic.

I was asking about the Troth because apparently, they’re against Loki being saluted in public or something. I didn’t understand why this was. So those two lovely users explained that it was due to his roll as the adversary, so to speak. I likened it to his being like Lucifer: There are Christians out there who salute him in some way, but they’re in the minority. And in effect, that seems to the case with this Heathen/Asatru organization.

And I found myself thinking about this.

For a while, I was likening it a bit to people’s misunderstanding of both Sutekh and Sekhmet in the Kemetic pantheon. There are a lot of people out there who get hung up on the more negative associations with these two gods. On the one hand, we have Sekhmet who went off on a bender and tried to kill humanity, first at the request of her father and then later, because she was drunk with the blood of humanity. People seem to get hung up on this because this is the first and really, only, myth about Sekhmet. They don’t seem to realize that if she wanted to go on a bender again, she would have. The same can be said for people with Sutekh, and actually more often than is the case with Sekhmet. They’ll hear that someone is a Sutekh kid and jump back in fear. He’s an “evil” god of chaos and what they don’t seem to understand is that he was very part and parcel to the Kemetic pantheon, once upon a time. His image went through a very long and drawn-out vilification process.

The thing is that people (and gods, too) change. The things they once believed or held dear may morph into something new. The things they did in the past may not hold as much weight today as they did then. And from what I’ve felt from my working with Sekhmet, she isn’t the kind of “beastie” that would just go off and kill humanity for shits and giggles anymore. She laughingly has referred to that part of her life as her “youth-filled days.” She’s thousands upon thousands of years old now and has learned a lesson or two in all that time. But, with Sutekh, there’s something different I want to go on with this one. It leads into the rest of this post, but let me first add this little caveat: I am not a Sutekh kid. He has never once approached me. The information I’ve gathered about him is mostly gleaned from forums and blog posts of Sutekh kids. (In other words, if I get someone wrong, someone say something please!)

In regards to Sutekh, he seems to have come to the realization that what he did against Wesir and Heru were necessary evils. This is something that people don’t seem to realize happen, either in the realm of the gods or in the realm of humanity. Some evils that are committed are necessary. For example, if we have another Hitler coming into power and someone has the ability to kill that person, then for the greater good of humanity, isn’t that one of those necessary evils that should be committed? In killing the person and going against the laws of ma’at, we are also upholding ma’at.

The case of Sutekh is very similar to this. If it wasn’t for him, then ma’at would not have been Photobucket upheld. I can’t quite comment on how he was upholding ma’at when he was getting rid of Wesir or fighting it out with Heru, but Sutekh is at the head of the barque of Re. He is the god that faces Apep each night on the journey in the underworld. Each night, Sutekh is sitting there with his spear while the gods behind and the mortals behind arm themselves with knives and magic spells. Each night, Sutekh and Apep battle it out and each night, Re remains victorious with the help and aid of the “chaotic” and “evil” god that is Sutekh. If not for him and his spear, there is no telling if the end of the world would have happened already. Even though he is such an “evil” guy he goes through the battle each night and he comes out victorious. This, however, is part of the god that people don’t seem to either remember or understand.

He upholds ma’at by aiding and abetting the solar barque. Chances are, he was upholding ma’at by fighting with Heru and by taking the kingship from his brother. Though an “evil” god, he still has his place in the role of ma’at.

Now, as I understand it, there is a similar concept in Heathenry. In Kemetism, the whole big shebang is led about by ma’at, which can be construed as order and truth. In Heathenry, if my research is telling me right, their version of this is called orlog and wyrd. Now orlog seems to be translated as “primal law.” In effect, from what I’ve been reading, it is this law that all beings follow. Everything that is created is done with the rules of orlog in effect, which leads me to believe that this may be the case with necessary evil, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The other word, wyrd, seems to mean a kind of fate. From what I’ve been reading about it, it’s kind of like the energy you put into orlog. Now, I will fully admit that I can’t really wrap my head around these concepts and someone was nice enough to point out that these are things people can spend, literally, their whole lives trying to understand. But, from my perspective in Kemetism, it kind of seems to me that orlog is ma’at under a different name. It is all things and it is nothing. It is the way of the world, but it is through wyrd or heka that it is put into play. (NOTE: Anyone with a Heathen, Asatru, vague Nordic background want to try to learn me on this, do it. Please. I am begging you. You have no idea how long I’ve been hemming and hawing about this particular section.)

It is with my background in Kemetism, my worship of Sekhmet, and my friending of a number of Sutekh kids that I get to the gist of all of this. (OH MY GODS. THIS WAS ALL JUST LEADING UP TO SOMETHING?!?!) What I’m thinking is that we’re taking this whole basis of the “darker” gods being dark, but we’re forgetting that they have significant roles in the lives of the gods and ours as well. We can lump them under some happy-toned little group and leave it at that, but they all have necessary roles to play during all of this. Loki’s is, ultimately, to bring about Ragnarok. Sutekh’s is to, ultimately, steal the kingdom from his nephew, as he did steal it from his brother. Sekhmet’s is, ultimately, to bring about the end of mankind again. Each one of these gods has a very negative connotation, but they also have significant positive roles to play in our lives and in the realm of the gods. Sekhmet is the goddess of healing. Sutekh protects Re from Apep and succeeds, every night. And Loki seems to have helped the gods, to either positive or negative effects, when needed.

I guess what I’m saying is that these gods all have negative looks and feels to them but these are necessary evils. These are all things that are bound to happen and that the laws of the realm, the world, the gods, the universe, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the whatever all need. Without light, there is no dark. Without life, there is no death. Without law, there is no disorder. I kind of went through this when I was talking about ma’at for the first time, in my isfet entries. (Link below.) Just because they’re all seen as bad doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not around for the greater good. These beings are all so “evil” and everything, but we forget that sometimes you need a little evil. Sometimes, the darkness is as necessary as the lightness. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Relevant Post
1. Isfet…