Monthly Archives: March 2013

F is for Friends and Feasting Leads to Finding “Things”

This post is a little late in coming, but here we go. For anyone who didn’t know: Paganicon took place in Minnesota March 15th through the 17th, and it was a mixed yet needed weekend for myself. I am warning beforehand, this post is going to be a ton of emotional spewing, because yeah, I need to.

I had the fantastic opportunity to meet some individuals who I had been talking in the eCauldron forum and chat room. The first night included going to dinner and having fun conversation, and afterward meandering to a panel that was hijacked and because it was hijacked, it resulted in reading some fantastic poetry and side commenting on the talk with one of the people.

The next morning was meandering for breakfast and returning for a talk (which was one of the ones I was the most geared up/excited for) by Kiya Nicoll. The talk gave me some ideas to work with (including “teeeeeeeeeeth”). I know have some
new material to work with. Kiya’s talk also gave the overly self-conscious part of me some solace.

I have lived in a vacuum (or so I have experienced)  where I’ve been the only source for finding and practicing anything with the Neteru or (for lack of better vocabulary) anyone with a specific “path” with things like rules, guidelines, rituals, taboos, etc. The amount of outside influence I have found useful in helping me develop has been non-existent (or were violent lessons to be learned) until I finally found eCauldron and a little after that period  (events unrelated) started to go to a tea time in Minneapolis.

In my social life I tended to be surrounded by individuals who take what I take so seriously and whimsy it out (it’s not the worst thing in the world, but dialogue that benefits my own practice and life experiences hasn’t been there for me).  It makes for situation that includes more of me explaining to others rather than finding knowledge I can utilize and explanations for me.  There has been one individual recently where the whimsy is not in their vocabulary beyond bullshit, and I have begun to collaborate with her.

When I first logged on to eCauldron and was posting, I felt way below some of the others on the board. I was finding ideas and “the things” I should know, I really didn’t. I felt I had wasted myself and my own resources for the years I have been studying (both as a science and as a religion). After being able to talk to others who are following a similar path, I now feel that I’m not in a boat all alone in my own ocean. I know it probably seems weird to think of me in that situation, and need a hard thunk, because there really isn’t such a thing as wasted resources, but it is what I felt and will probably feel in some regards for a while. The “Digging up the Mysteries” talk was the thunk I needed. It gave me then experiences of someone who had similar hurdles that I needed to hear about, because once again, I’ve only had myself.

I used to believe I needed to be everything, because there was none of it present. I live in the middle of Paganistan and yet the European practices dominate and I have found no one until recently, present here in MN, who can actually tell the difference between Set and the Unmaking One, or how Aset is not actually a moon goddess from a Recon point of view, or maybe how one of the personifications of the earth is male, so it’s my Father Earth, not Mother Earth (although it’s much more complicated than that, but anywhos, I hope you get the picture).

I don’t make it a point to go around refuting others (I used to, but now I don’t). I now just pine for having others who can understand the dialogue and the work I do. I yearn for community because I have never had that. Some always say we want what we don’t have and I want community. I want to be able to have random conversations on different levels. I want people whom I can call friends, and that is what I was faced with in this group of people.

So, we get to the time for the Ball. We start at the Ball and figure out the party is really at the Flamekeeping Suite with cheaper booze, and then later at the Crossroads suite with free booze and red lights. We have fun, we converse, we joke, we laugh, and for me, most of all, it’s getting to know all of the others. It is learning who they are and what they are like beyond the internet. The internet is all fine and dandy for connecting across distances, but I miss being able to be face to face with others (I am working on not hiding at home, I swear).

The second major experience came with Kiya’s second talk (surprise, surprise) on Sunday. It was a topic involving Paganism in households. I have been wrestling for a while about when I have children, how is my religion going to be role or if it should be a role. There were also tips on how to introduce it to the tiny ones and some ideas how to work a mixed religious family. I haven’t had the ability before this to talk to others who are mixed religions in regards to raising children and how to create a functioning household. There are a couple of other aspects about myself which bopped me in the head at this talk, and talking to a couple of the others while we were intoxicated, but it’s still too fresh of a revelation to discuss at all, so I’m not telling (neener-neener-neener).

I don’t believe I would have gotten out of the talks what I got out of them if it wasn’t for having the background reason for investing in to the talks and the background to understand them. I do want to give a shout out to the people who put up with me for the weekend, because whether you know it or not, you gave me back to me, and made that weekend the best experience I have ever had at a social function. F is for friends and feasting because they can and do lead to finding the “things” I need and the “things” that are me.

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“E” is for Envisioning the Evolution of the Embrace of The Neteru and I

This is a bit late on the upswing, but life is life, and it happens. Surprisingly the letter “E” was a hard one for me to ponder. I didn’t want to have anything with “Egypt” in the middle of it. I felt I should dig deeper, and voila! I decided it was fitting to take “Embrace” (specifically in regards to me and my own history with the Neteru), and run with it.

The word “embrace” has a few meanings. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (as found on the internet), the definitions (in a nutshell) are hugging, cherish/love, to take up a cause, to welcome, to take part of, and to be equal to. All of the listed definitions relate to how I go about with my relationship to the Neteru, and how I view Them.

I have been in this role for long enough to know I want to stay there, but it is still early enough to where I can keep growing under Their guidance fueled by my determination to learn and act alongside Them. I know there are varying views as to what we “humans” (for lack of a better word) are to the Neteru.  A strong belief I have is the Neteru view myself and others as extended family members with no limits on the roles we and They can enact. This is my conclusion from experiences throughout the years as I have picked at connections of stories along with my work with the Neteru. I strive to continuously embrace and be embraced by the Neteru as both a servant of Ma’at and as a member of Their family.

The roles some of the Neteru play in my life manifest through the interpretation of “acts” of tough love, understanding, acceptance, challenge, and the very distinct elements of Their own personalities. I view the Neteru individually as a part of a greater whole, but not permutations of one being. I’m included as a part of that whole. We don’t exist without Them and vice-versa as we are all the instruments of Ma’at.

The Neteru are constantly present and their energies have been supportive towards me. It has “felt” like they have “hugged” me at my low points in support and have celebrated alongside me in my triumphs. I feel cherished and loved by Them. There are a few who I have had rough dealings with, but as with co-existence with anyone, there is no way to please everyone and I just do the best I can. Even the rough happenings have simmered down as I have evolved in my understanding of Their ways. As I go through the periods from first contact to now, it has always put in to perspective exactly how much the different Neters have done for me, and how much I may mean to Them.

I was enthralled by the stories of the Neteru when I was young. I count myself among one of the lucky ones who had parents that encouraged learning about the world and the world’s history at large. I was seven when I received a picture book talking about Tutankhamen’s tomb, and I fell in love with it at first sight. As the years went on, I had decided I wanted to become an Egyptologist. I would go on to hoard any information I could find, and by the time I hit high school, when I was bored with the lack of learning that comes with the MN public school system, I would transcribe hieroglyphics and practice telling some the stories (granted I know many of the story versions I learned are not the ones I know want to latch on to, but I’m getting ahead of myself).

High School also brought many difficulties to my life and from what I could glean from the murky memories is still very vague. I was at the end of my rope, and I couldn’t see the end of the tunnel. I contemplated running away and at the real low points ending it all. I went through the motion of waking up, going to school, and hiding in the corners out of sight. I however, wasn’t “living”, and it would have been at night when I found my solace in games and later in dreams. At this point in my life, I wasn’t raised nor considered myself a spiritual person. The stories I read and studied were just stories from long dead religions.

I had a series of dreams of content, I don’t remember very well except the presences of Aset and Nebt-Het telling me to hang-on and I’m not alone. Now, throughout the years I have had arguments and debates with others about the fact that “the gods came to me in my time of need, which is me trying to be special or succumbing to a ‘mental illness’ (yeah, WRONG!)”. I have thought about why and how They were able to reach out.

The why (foresight is 20/20) is simple: I was technically doing Them good by keeping their memories alive by sharing and studying. The imprint the Neteru have on the world will always be remembered by my effort and the effort of others. Am I special, yes, but I’m not more special than others who follow similar paths. I am merely another vessel to promote Ma’at. The how they were able to find me is easy to describe now (once again, foresight has perfect vision, unlike me). I inadvertently called to Them before knowing They “existed”. I made the unconscious effort to latch on to Them through the knowledge I was gaining. I spoke their names and brought them in to my world.

Anywho, I wrote off the dreams as overactive imagination, but I took the message to heart. Enter senior year in High School. I went Post-Secondary to St Cloud State University in St Cloud, MN. It was there that I meant a few cool people and every Wednesday or every other Wednesday the Pagan Alliance Group on Campus had a selling table for their crafts. I talked to a few of them and met a couple of other Pagans in classes and learned the religions I had thought were dead, was actually spiritual paths very much alive. I confided in a few of them the dreams I had, and the consensus was “revisit the dreams and decide if you want to visit Them, because there is something there”.

I revisited the dreams and I did start to look at what it meant to “believe” in the Neteru and “listen” to Them. My “listening” to the Neteru isn’t done by words; it’s by impressions and empathetic/emotionally based responses I discern differently from my own psyche. As I looked beyond scholarly works, I came to the conclusion (don’t know how this happened) of being a “priestess” for only Aset and Nebt-Het. Since I was female, I should only follow goddesses (facepalm moment allowed). Oh and for more facepalm fun, Set was the evil brother that I shouldn’t even look at (my religion’s own Lucifer). I sat comfortably for about two years, then the “real tests” began.

I noticed there was a quietness emanating from Aset and Nebt-Het and decided I was overdoing it and decided to take a small break from the constant attention I wanted from them. The itsy-bitsy point of emptiness was filled not too far after that point, but not too early either. Shu was the first and he’s like a father figure to me, even still to this day. I can communicate through the winds with Him easily. The next to “appear” before me was Ra. Ra must have an abundant amount of patience to put up with me at times. His presence is very distinct and I know when it’s a “quit the moving mouth and ‘listen’” moment. The next was the very “Brother” I scorned for two years. He didn’t seem offended, almost proud, but now knowing His nature, I’m not surprised. He scared the crap out of me back in the day, and trolled me hard. His father, Geb, came in a little later and is much quieter than His children. I have more of a connection with the sky then with the earth so it’s been a learning experience to learn how to talk to a “source” of earth.

At this point, the gears in my brain (aka my ego) said, “Oh I guess I got everything I needed from Aset and Nebt-Het and they are leaving”. I even still have the letter I wrote as thanks for the support and goodbye. The laughter that ensued from the actions of that letter, dear gods, I have yet to feel as wondrous and thunderous of a response in any situation in my entire life. I settled in to knowing that They would never leave, or so I thought. It would sit steady like this for two more years.

By this time I chose to switch from being an Egyptologist to being an artist. I felt and still feel a disconnect between being able to be scientific/unbiased about deep emotional experiences and my focus within the study was the stories. It became more of a path of a spiritual storyteller than a path of a scientist. This led me to meet others from the other side of the spectrum than I was used to. I don’t want to dwell too much in to this next part as the lessons were very hard and are still hard to talk about. In a brief nutshell: I collected a few friends along the way and I decided to try experimenting (for lack of a better term) with maybe incorporating information from their practices. The aftershock was horrendous. I lost the contact I gained with the Neteru for enough time to do damage to myself.

Whether it was anger on their part or an inability for me to connect due to damage I received and brought on energetically from some very toxic people and practices, I don’t know. In my panic, I ripped at my energy pathways (mainly the one surrounding my heart), and I can sometimes feel the “scarring” to this day. The one thing I do know, a lesson needed to be learned and I learned it. I took for granted what I was given by the Neteru, and I now knew I wasn’t invincible or too shiny to chuck away. I also decided to look at the basics on energy and how to deal with people. I didn’t know how to ground, or center, or any of those basics. I had worked with mostly “god-energy” and not my own. Asar and Anpu would be instrumental in helping me along the way in this period.

A couple of years later, I would find a different group that brought a whole new dynamic to perceived reality and “actual” reality. With respect for the individuals involved, all I will say is “Spechul Snowflake” times four with a group of fifteen plus, and I was caught up in the momentum. I had some very legit experiences, but it also pointed out to me some of my own overkills and the instinct to buffer with many Neteru (granted the Neteru didn’t leave when the dwama stopped, so I guess that means something).

I would go on and now almost nine years since I took my first name of “Selene Aset-Nebthet”, I have a nice-sized list of Neteru I can turn to and learn about and learn from. My goal isn’t to collect them all, my goal is to “know” Them and “work” with Them.  The path I take as a priestess is that of a “crafting storyteller”. I tell Their stories through” Installation Art”, writing, speaking, painting, drawing beading, and soon to be a mix of all of the above. As my understanding changes (which is daily), I feel myself change along a parallel path. I will never stop walking as I whole-heartedly choose this path and I would never do anything over again. I embrace and am embraced by the Neteru.