Monthly Archives: July 2013
It’s that time of year again. It’s almost to the new year (Wep Ronpet) and a very important festival season for me personally. I am proud of myself for calculating when the year starts so I can plot out all of the other feasts and festivals I want to do. Yes, it’s a matter of what I want to do, not need to do, because the Egyptian empire had a very complicated system of calenders. The only uncomplicated aspect was that they had 360 days with five added for the births of Heru-Wr, Asar, Set, Aset, and Nebt-Ht. Which is the same amount of days I’m used to having being from a westernized society.
The complicated part was the ancient Egyptians utilized a solar calender, a lunar calender, a civil calender, plus different regions sometimes followed different Netjeru families/cosmologies creating different sets and levels of importance of festivals. If I was regionally based, it would be a little easier, but I’m not, and I don’t want to be limited in how I work/They have voiced They don’t want me to be limited in such a manner. The lack of limitation leaves me to sitting with books/other people’s input and here at a computer entering data for personalized lists of schedules. I also tweak the calender to match my region and its characteristics, rather than basing it on the Egyptian region.
Since I live in Minnesota, it could be said we have less than four seasons. In one system we have two seasons: snow and road construction. A second system has three seasons: Spring/Summer, Fall and Winter. Our springs and summers tend to blend together and flip between the two at odd times. I like to joke about being able to coordinate the two season systems, for the sake of my practice, it really doesn’t matter. I can make everything work when it needs to, because that’s how I do it. If it doesn’t work for me, it doesn’t happen a second time.
I count myself lucky to have had some time to plot out the new calender at least for Wep Ronpet, Wgy, and Opet. This gives me a little bit of a breathing zone to plan those three festivals before I have to worry about after those three events. Now, the fun begins with planning the rituals. I haven’t done very well with rituals I have found from books so I write up my own rituals for myself. I respect the people who record their methods, but it’s just not for me. Planning rituals is a calender in of itself. If rituals don’t function like calenders, they are least syllabuses, which are micro calenders, so they are calenders (anyways). With how sporadic and fluid my practice has been, I have found myself writing up rituals for the same festivals over and over again, trying to find what feels right to me.
The process starts with brainstorming what the focus/goal is for that festival and what do I want to get out of it. From the brainstorming I pick activities that are relevant to the goals. The activities can be anything from beading, meditation, prayer, reading passages from translated works, tributes, poetry, story-telling, conversation, etc. After I make the final decision on scheduling, any of the parts that need the creative touch are prepared and compliled. I found the more time I have to think about what I’m doing, the better I feel and the better the result I get in regards to the goals for each festival.
Wep Ronpet is probably the most complicated and work-heavy out of three major events. The festival does cover seven days and each day has a specific focus. I will be taking as much free time as I can to prepare between now and the 7th when it all begins. I will be having fun updates for anyone who decides to read my ramble-mode, because it will be ramble-mode. “O” is for overcomplicated calenders and onto the new year because it is overcomplicated with attempting to build the blocks without having them topple over, and overcomplicated calenders are discovered as I head to Wep Ronpet.
There was a question posed to me the other day by Naomi (her blog is at: http://leithincluan.wordpress.com/) about suggestions for introductory documents for my path. She will be giving a talk at the UK Pagan Pride event (the title of her talk is “Beyond Earth Worship: Diverse Paths Under the Pagan Umbrella”), and she asked if I would give her some input as a solitary Kemetic. I thought about it and I hit a blank. Instead of supplying sources I basically described that I started scholarly and built from there, which is true. The gears in my head started turning and so I decided to maybe scratch through the layers of what is my practice.
I had started studying ancient Egyptian mythology from a scientific perspective at a young age, unaware the very stories I was reading about were still alive to this day, unaware They were alive and there. A book I acquired in my Sophmore year of high school called “The Mysteries of Isis: Her Worship and Magick” by DeTraci Regula at a bargain bookstore was pretty cool in my view as it had recipes, information, and crafts I thought were for the purpose of study (yeah, I was dense and not able to put the circle in the circle slot back then).
I started myself with nothing more than “They reached out to me and I will reach out to Them”. With my arsenal of a few scholarly books, an Isian-Wiccan biased book, and a Tarot deck (here is the deck I started with: http://www.loscarabeo.com/lang-en/tarocchi-esoterici/295-egyptian-tarot-set.html) I got myself rolling.
I held a belief that as a female I would be a priestess to only goddesses (if anyone asks: logical stupidity). In my defense, it was Aset and Nebthet who reached out first and hung on to me. The other Netjeru didn’t appear to me until later on. I sat with building and writing my own material until I hit about 2006 when it seems the reality kicked in.
I was faced with Set looking over my shoulders and pushing me in to the waters without a lifejacket. I had a view of him (based on the couple of books I had looked at) he was the devil I shouldn’t speak of nor to. He wasn’t having any of that, and after I finally turned around to Him, I figured out I really didn’t know much at all beyond the stories I have looked at (and moreso, stories from a Greco-Roman worldview, not the Egyptian I was aiming for).
I went down to Magus and dumped a buttload (dare I say hundreds if not thousands of dollars) in to sources influenced by practices. There was a trilogy by Mogg Morgan that dove a little bit in to working with the more chaos magic/darker forces. I didn’t do as much work with them as they were more essay-worthy than practice-worthy. The next to come would have been Rosemary Clarks’ duology (which turned out to be SO, SO, SO Hermetic it wasn’t even funny; but I wouldn’t find out until later on). From this book, I took some of the concepts, but not many to further my practice. I would appreciate it for it’s ritual translation as some of the intonation work was hella-strong.
Enter the next phase in where I felt the unneccessary need to learn universal concepts, and THAT fell by the wayside as They promptly pointed out I don’t need that shit to define myself. I went from trying to find connections in community (Ancient Egyptian practices share Shamanic traits, their Temples function like circles, Their holidays can be tweaked to follow the Wheel of the Year, etc.) to walking my own way even if it meant I walked it alone. There was a sense of empowerment I didn’t feel before. I found myself making less excuses and telling others to let ME do it MY way and screw off.
After some fun times (not really) I had a moment to breathe before I entered another community: eCauldron. The people there are intelligent and they not only do their work, they do it well. It was overwhelming with my personal point-of-view being hit by the freight train of “I didn’t even know this before”. I had a difficult period with feelings of being under-prepped and not good enough. When I took myself out of that damn cesspool of self-insult, I buckled down and worked on what I wanted to do for MY practice.
I re-read the books I have that had multiple stamps of approval, maybe acquire a couple more along the way, and I just sit down as the need arises. My practice has become fluid, ever-changing, and about an unorganized as it can be. This dis-organization is due to me building the blocks for me. A book, a person, and a website isn’t going to give the whole picture, because I am a PART of it. There isn’t a book that tells me how to be me. I tell myself how to be me. They interact mainly with me, not the books I read (unless they make sure I see some subject matter as time goes on).
The advice I would give to those starting up: just jump right in and don’t feel stupid. If you don’t make the effort to swim, They will let you drown. It’s not just the Netjeru that will let you drown, it’s the world, and it’s you. No effort put in is nothing received back. There are oddities in thought processes, but I’m not here to define stupid or wrong. I’m not here to be the “true” voice. I’m here to define me, uphold Ma’at, and share Their presence with the world. If others try to tell you otherwise, whack them.
“N” is for navigating practice, because there is a ton of navigation needed in my practice and the path I walk has borders defined by my own footprints.
I’m going to be lurking on this. If the mood tickles me, I may add to the conversation.
Gods’ Mouths 2.0
Following our own paths… together
We are extremely excited to announce a new collaborative alternative spirituality, paganism and spiritworking blog project with the return and reboot of “Gods’ Mouths.”
The new managing editors, Alex Bettencourt of Rock of Eye, and Wintersong Tashlin of Notes From A Barking Shaman, intend to present content from contributors with a broad diversity of relationships to spirituality, faith, gods, spirits and magic.
Posts on Gods’ Mouths 2.0 will explore the complexities of our lived experiences as spiritual and/or magical beings in ways that challenge us as readers to broaden and question our own understandings faith and practice. But through it all, God’s Mouths’ writers and editors will strive to ensure that our content does not pass judgement on people whose beliefs (or lack thereof) differ from our own, or seeks to non-consensually impose a fundamentalist worldview on anyone.
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I’m sure some of you who are reading are tired of the angry whinging I have been spewing out the orifice of my brain to my fingertips. This post is everything but the anger, the depression, and all of the stupid negative crap. I’m done with all of THAT for a while (it will be ritually execrated on the 7th of August for the Closing of the Year).
Music speaks on so many levels. It can excite me. It can sadden me. It can bring unconscious tears to my eyes and down my cheeks. Music defines my life, how I live it, and how I interact with others. It is a connecting web to vocalize with others and self.
A little while back when I was faced head on with community and other people outside of the experiences I’ve been plagued with locally, I encountered a new phenomenon: music for deity representations. Now, I have a collection of music that has tracks named for different deities, but thinking of popular music lyrics as songs for deity was not something I ever thought about.
After reading posts and talking to others I started to look at the songs I listen to over and over again and what drives me to be addicted to them. I found they capture stories and inserts of stories.
For example, here is the beginning of the song “Eye of the Storm” by Cruxshadows. The lyrics listed below captured my attention from when I first heard it, and even drove me to make an AMV (Anime Music Video) back in the day where I was doing things like that.
“The trials you now are facing
They are not greater than your will
For there is nothing under heaven
You cannot overcome
See the door that lies before you
And know this too shall pass
The confrontation of your tears
In strength drawn from the past
When the silent voices whisper
Find the course that is your own
And however great the obstacle
You will never be alone
For I have watched the path of angels
And I have heard the heavens roar
There is strife within the tempest
But there is calm in the eye of the storm”
The thought of overcoming anything and everything appealed to me because of the experiences I have had throughout my life. I strive (not just desire it) to overcome everything however great or small. It was brought to my attention some time ago that this song can also be equated with Set. I started to think about it deeply. The lyrics really speak towards being that epicenter to drive everything along and breeze by those who don’t matter. It is Him. It is me, and all of a sudden it made more sense as to why He has invested so much in to me. We are one and the same in the path we have chosen to walk.
I am considering a large project that would catalog my music in to playlists for different Netjeru, so I can maybe get past my own dense nature and lack of connecting my life with Theirs. It has been an ongoing breaking down the walls series, and is going to be used more for breaking down the walls than trying to capture ALL of Their essence.
Another twist was recently added to this thinky-thought. The other day I was listening to a walkthrough of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (Nintendo 3DS game) and one of the worlds (Symphony of Sorcery) is based off of Disney’s “Fantasia” where Mickey is an apprentice caught in the trance of a dream-eater and music has to be obtained to wake him up. The music obtained at the end of it all with the two combined pieces between Sora and Riku was the musical theme of friendship used in the different entries to the series called “Dearly Beloved”. I had forgotten the power that simple little musical piece moved me. Yes people, video games move me.
It isn’t just the lyrics of songs that create a literary connection to self and others. It is the rhythm, the notes, the speed and other standardized guidelines of musical quality that can drive emotions and connections within me. Which leads me to ponder MANY things.
One of the essences of my “work” that I’m actually able to talk about is storytelling. I have beem entrusted to share who They are with the world. One of the aspects of this work is to tell the stories using different mediums other than lectures and powerpoints (I’m not bashing those who do traditional mediums, it’s just not MY method).
The challenge has been to take what’s washing around in my head and translate it to something others can understand. Hence why I have a degree in Art and Film. My original plan was to go in to animation and game concept design, but that has shifted to work in as many mediums as I can, for example jewelry, film, painting, drawing, and now potentially music.
In the coming times I may have some pieces for the internet to feast upon (or barf upon as it may be). My goal is to experiment with the idea and run with it for a bit. “M” is for making musical lore, because it can be done. Well, not just it can be done, it has already been done for thousands of years, now it’s just me connecting the dots and having it go along with my work.
I used to think the worlds between the divine and the mundane were separate and the only bridged rigidly in “work” related circumstances. Recently, I have broken down the walls I created and have explored what it really means to connect myself to the divine within everything. I already had a pre-existing philosophy of everything having a soul, but I never applied it to anything outside of “existing with intent” until last October.
With the infant idea of weaving webs in reality rather than making walls, I have been assisted in the reworking of my practice by THE BOARD. THE BOARD was an idea introduced by Kiya Nicoll on eCauldron chat as a method to organize all of the thinky-thoughts/concepts apparently flitting about in their own directions making people crazy. It’s a method to help make sense of how all of the “stuff” can all connect and work together. She described it as mimicking the diagrams used when investigators are taking pieces of evidence to solve a mystery or a crime. A bulletin board (or two in my case) is covered in post-it notes with words, tacked on to the board, and connected by yarn.
I decided with all that was going along on my path and my issue with “ooh shiny” all over the place, to make one of my own. It helped me to take the internal and make it something that can be moved around on a diagram. I can now really analyze what I do or plan to do, Who I’m actually working with, and what connects where and why. With the move I had (a couple of days ago), my BOARD took a beating and needs some TLC, but the setup isn’t going to change drastically.
The post-its are categorized on my board as follows:
– Blue: Netjeru
– Pink: Craft Projects
– Orange: Study subjects or study materials
– Yellow: Concepts
– Purple: Tools
I started writing the sticky notes and found the best way to pattern the board for my practice was to base it on Netjeru relationship-categories. It has helped to really take a look at who I work with, and the how/why I work with Them. It seemed throughout this process, I was no longer going through the motions of practice, but really thinking about what I actually DO and what I can DO.
Other major points were found as the board developed:
– 1. Crafting is a mainstay and it should become viable not just spiritually, but in my lifestyle (I knew this already, but nail driven home is driven home).
– 2. I should update my prayers/rituals/all of the other pomp to what I am doing now (craft-book projects here I come).
– 3. My divinational system started out organized and has begun to fracture. It is a deeper part of my practice and communication. I will be revamping the systems
– 4. The different relationships I have are stronger with some of the Netjeru, and there has been an outreach from a couple of Them to deepen the relationship I have I missed along the way (smack to the head required and oblivious is oblivious).
So what I get out of all of this? I receive a ramping up in activities, the ability to begin to make a consistent schedule that makes sense, and some footprints to guide me along my path. This is why “L” is for linking practice with life and dissecting relationships using THE BOARD. I would have had a harder time figuring out what I have had beside me all along and it would have been much further down the line.
Disclaimer: There is strong language and whinging ahead, you have been warned (disclaimer takes me back to my fanfic-ing days of the early 00’s).
Whew! There’s nothing like moving out and moving in within 2 days to make for a hectic energy-eating period. The stress I have been feeling is redistributing itself back in to its normal categories, like money, time-management, and job flailing/job searching. I feel a bit more normal again (normal as in like me). I’m now in a calmer place, building a home, and away from the “bad”.
Cauldronites get a shout out for listening to me as I was trying to figure out/bitch, moan, complain, and whine. I was in a bad place. A “bad” location, surrounded by “bad” interactions. I’m not necessarily talking about the loud music/voices, the domestic disputes on the street, nor the daily gunshots. Those urban mainstays caused some stress but weren’t as stressful as the “bad” I’m referring to. Those urban mainstays were the least of my problems. No, the bad was the triggers that would be concisely hit, the emotional abuse inflicted, the inability for someone to be a fuckin’ adult to help keep house, the stress of feeling trapped and alienated in my own house, and probably a few others I’m forgeting.
I had come up with a daily schedule to talk with the Netjeru and at least look at one crafty thing if not craft myself. I was so ecstatic to have finally found a pattern that WORKED. That schedule went by the wayside and now I’m feeling the scramble to get things back on track (not because I have to, but because I want to). Now there is the point of trying to figure out what went wrong and where. I was all right for quite a while, but then things broke down slowly. As I am figuring out the what to figure out the why, it has given me a new meaning to the word “toxic”.
Within that whole mess are two main concepts: me and the house. I have figured out I couldn’t maintain the house of the Netjeru I have set up, because it was taking all of my energy to maintain both the physical house and the facade of everything was okay in the house of my soul, my heart.
Well guess what, I wasn’t okay and I’m still not totally fine. How someone I was close to for years can cause me to feel like that and not give two-shits, angers me to the point of tears. I don’t care about nor want to hear about male-obliviousness, gods damn you all people who can’t pull their head out of their asses enough to see past their fuckin’ upturned nose. Well guess what, I’m done with that and I’m not going to play these passive-aggressive games. Are you reading this, my old friend? No, you’re not because you’re so busy on Youtube, Netflix, and your sporadic-due-to-lack-of-motivation-based projects to even care what I say and what happens to me.
Keeping house isn’t just cleaning up what is there. It’s also about getting rid of the clutter and unnecessary. It can be in the physical, the emotional, the spiritual. It can be in so many places. Typically in the past the Netjeru give me withering looks from the eyes of their statues when I’ve been slacking off. This time They haven’t given me “the stares”. In fact, some of Their presences have been stronger and more assimilated within me. It’s an embrace that’s helped me weather the meltdowns. It’s also the embrace preparing me to move forward, all the while picking up my pieces along the way.
It’s because I’m a part of Their family, and they look out for Their own. I am a member of Their home. It’s only appropriate with starting a new chapter on the physical would lead to a new chapter emotionally and spiritually. I talked about in a previous post about how I’m not finding home among the people here in Minnesota, and although it is the case, I’m at least making a home and keeping house with the universe. Now I just need to apply that to all of the intertwined elements. Ba, Ka, and Khait work here I come and with that in mind “K” is for keeping house and making home.
What can I say? I’m a beading-craftaholic and it makes perfect sense the post for this letter couldn’t be any other thing. I am not going to include pictures as they are sporadic and unorganized to the point of I-don’t-want-to-deal-with-it-right-now, but included in this post is a rundown of a little history, and a written blueprint of plans for current/future projects in regards of my jewelry-laced path.
I grew up learning different crafts like sewing, beading, braiding, and others. When I hit about thirteen, I didn’t craft much at all anymore as soccer, school, video games, and extracurricular research took up most of my time and interest. It wasn’t until college I would start to explore jewelry making again.
The later part of my college career was very hectic on many levels and stress management was not one of my fortes (many times, especially recently, it still isn’t). I knew I needed, for my own stability, to have projects not school related to help me unwind when life was too stressful. I started looking at beading again and it took off to become a prominent piece of my current lifestyle.
The over-arching project I’m undertaking with the jewelry-making is to make it a sustainable source of income in the future. I started to take a look at the functions it has had not just as a stress-relief, but as a lifestyle. This exploration has led me to where I’m at now with attempting to merge the spiritual with my everyday facets.
I have been in and out of pseudo-identity-label crises throughout the years in regards to religious practice and what position I want to take in regards to my own practice. I’m not a priestess in the hard-recon sense and although that was my original goal, my path is no longer anywhere near that part of the spectrum. I sat down and thought about the different societal functions and found the “priesty” aspect is in fact very small both in my life and what I have found studying the ancient Egyptians. I became enamored with the idea of being an artisan/priestess hybrid.
I’ve become interested in crafting (specifically beading) as manifestation work and community involvement. Some of the projects I hope to test and if successful give my services to the community at large.
Base Jewelry as I like to call them (necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings) are all going to be created both on a non-spiritual level and as “amulets”. I don’t want to limit my outreach base by saying, “I’m going to only make X jewelry for X people”. The only aspect I want exclusive is it’s made by me. There will be an inventory of non-individual based pieces to feed the resources to make the commission based ones, but I would like to have an emphasis on commission based.
The “amulets” I would make with intent would be commission based and not necessarily just Kemetically themed. They are going to be made based on and for the individual who is going to own them. I’m currently testing how to control the energy and intent behind the design and the crafting of each piece in regards to the more energetically charged pieces.
A little further specific in the “necklace” category is the usekh. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it’s the collar piece worn by the upper class. This project has been on hiatus after I have tried to assemble it four or five different ways, and I have banked over fifty or sixty hours on it. It’s back to the drawing board for that one.
A category within the commissions would include icons. These will not necessarily be jewelry, but they could be. I follow different Netjeru where either statuary is expensive or they are not made for a variety of reasons, and so I came up with the idea to make pieces for myself for different Netjeru (including some I have statues for). This is a work in progress and there are no finished products yet. The work with icons and beads is also something I’m going to experiment with on canvases. The pieces would have beads, paint, and maybe even clay (I haven’t figured out exactly what I want to do yet).
I could go on and on about all of the ideas and projects I have, but long post is long and I think as I have substance, each one of these can their own posts and photo albums of progress. What started as stress relief is now a calling. With how penetrating beading and even beyond that, crafting, is in my life; it makes sense that my path is journeying laced with beads and jewelry.