Tag Archive | faith

Days Upon the Year, Day One.

Year 20 is finally behind us!  Aside from the fact that it was the Year of Nut, I can’t say that I’m sorry to see it go.  It’s been a hard year for me, particularly in my secular life.  I’m looking forward to a new year and new oracle.

Spiritually, I could probably say that this past year has been a disappointment as well.  I didn’t learn near as much as I wanted to, I didn’t maintain this blog very well, I didn’t keep up with the Pagan Blog Project.  The list of things that I didn’t do is pretty extensive.  When I was reflecting on the past year, that was the one big thing that stuck in my mind.

However, I didn’t stop there.  Because while there are lots of things on my list of unfinished tasks, there are many things I did do.  First and foremost, I got closer to the Kemetic community.  The sense of comfort I’ve developed with my fellow House members (and some non-House members) has made me feel really good, and I’ve come to think of it as one of the more important things I wanted.  When I first discovered the House of Netjer, community was one of the things that I was looking for in a spiritual home, and I like to think that I’ve found a relatively good one.  I was even able to meet a newer Remetj (who was quite literally just Named) in person and spend time with her.  It was very exciting for me, because there just really aren’t many members in my area and I haven’t even had the option to gather and celebrate holidays with anyone until now.

My altars for my Father and Beloveds are “complete.”   (parenthesis because there’s always room for more if I find new objects!) I pulled together photos for my Akhu altar, and while I don’t have everything that I want for it, it’s in working order.  I feel comfortable with my Divine Family and with my spirituality.

These are the things that are important to me, and the thoughts that are with me as we enter these Days upon a year and celebrate the birthdays of the Children of Nut.

Today we celebrate the birth of Wesir, Lord of the West, and King of the Akhu.  Dua Wesir!  Kheperu!

In His honor, and in the honor of my Akhu, today I will write a few letters to some of my more recently deceased relatives – my grandmother in particular, who passed away this year.

Enjoy the day, my friends!

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PBP: C is for Calling on the gods

C is for Calling on the gods. 

When you believe in a god, or gods, I think one of the basic ideas behind that belief is that you can ask for help.  That you can pray for things like guidance, patience, strength, or prosperity, and Someone will hear you.  It’s a comforting thought, that even if no one else in your life is paying attention, They will hear you.

I can’t say that I think that if I pray for prosperity and then go out and buy a lottery ticket, I’m going to end up winning a few million dollars.  I can’t even say that I think that if I pray every day for my mom’s physical health that she’ll make a miraculous recovery and be saved from her far too early decline in life.

Some people might wonder then, well, what good is asking for help if you’re not going to get it, or you don’t believe that you’re going to?

I suppose I just take something else away from praying.  I enjoy those moments that are just between myself and my gods, knowing that They are there and hearing my words and caring about me.  In a community sense, it makes my burdens less to know that others are listening to my request for prayers for those I love, or even for myself.  To know that again, someone is hearing my words, and it matters.

That’s not to say that I don’t believe in Divine Intervention.  I most certainly do.  Those moments when my mom surfaces from her pain and is well enough to spend the day with me, talking and laughing.  When I can take her out of the house, even if it’s just for a taco bell burrito, I know They’re there.  They may not grace me with a winning lottery ticket, but perhaps my monthly bills will decrease enough to allow me some extra spending money, or that thing I wanted so badly but couldn’t afford will come as a gift from someone I love.  It’s those small things that enrich my life, and make the day to day just a little bit easier.

I don’t call on the gods, or request prayers, expecting a miracle.   I just want to know that I’m heard, that I’m cared for, both by my gods, and by my friends and family.  Anything else is just a bonus.

pbp-kemetic

Getting it together.

My monthlies were over last week, incidentally on the same day that HoN celebrated the Victory Festival of Heru.  The time had finally come for me to commit to getting back into Senut, and surprisingly enough, I stuck to my guns and went through with it.  I say surprisingly because I’m most definitely known for making decisions that seem practical and good, and then finding some way to not follow through.  It’s one of the reasons I rarely make promises unless I’m completely sure about the specifics.

I prepared for the evening by doing some light shopping.  I had to get a few things for dinner anyhow, so I made a point to pick up some mix I found for date bread.  (Don’t look at me like that, baking from scratch is something I rarely have the time or patience to do!) After reading some of Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods I’ve made a point to buy accumulate different things for offerings, including honeyed sesame bars with dried fruit, figs bars, and dried dates.  I’ve never really had Netjer turn down any thing that I’ve ever offered, but I think it’s a nice thing to try to make offerings of things that are either similar to, or the same as things that were offered in antiquity.  I also have a nice stock of scented tea lights that I picked up from Ikea a few weeks ago when I bought my daughter her first big girl bed.

After a busy evening of making dinner for my family and getting the kids cleaned and in bed, I made my date bread and attended the Victory festival.  I always enjoy Wednesday gatherings when there’s a dua, especially ones with heka involved.  In addition to celebrating Netjer, I’m learning something, and experiencing something new.  I’m always surprised at how simple most of it is.  There’s so much power in just our words and intent.

For the first time ever, I decided to try my hand at taking a shower for the purity bathing.  In the past I’ve always taken a bath, and spent at least 15 minutes in the tub clearing my mind and relaxing.  Nowadays my alone time is severely limited, typically to late in the evening after the kids have gone to bed, and sometimes the end of the day is the only time I can get a regular shower in.  I don’t tend to like baths for cleansing purposes, so I wanted to see if I could be comfortable taking a shower and performing the purity ritual.

One thing I learned pretty quickly – use warm water when mixing the water and natron.  Cool or cold water rubbed or poured over one’s body while in a hot shower is not that great of a feeling!  Aside from that though, the process went without a hitch (though I guess what can really go wrong in this situation?  XD )

I got an inexpensive white shirt dress last month for my purity clothing, as for some reason my old Senut clothing disappeared during the move.  I wasn’t ever particularly happy with them anyways, and I had always intended on finding something better suited, so it all worked out anyways.  The garment would be a little short for performing Senut with others during Wep Ronpet, but in private I feel very comfortable.

Going back to Senut for the first time in months was very draining.  I had a lot to say, and the emotions all just kind of tumbled out.  Guilt and shame for not being in shrine for so long, among the more private personal feelings concerning things in my life that I won’t divulge here.  It was very rewarding though, and I slept decently for the first time in a long time.  Since then I’ve managed to get Senut into my evening ritual before settling in for sleep, reading and/or gaming for the night.  I’m always surprised when I realize that it really doesn’t take altogether too much time.

I’ve been spending time reading, mostly about Wicca lately, and I’m interested in reading more.  I’m not entirely sure where this is all going, but it’s catching my attention and holding it, which is more than I can say for a lot of things.  I recently received my copy of Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt and am excited to get started on it for the February book club selection.  There isn’t nearly as much discussion on the readings so far as I would like, but at the very least, it spurs my motivation for reading the books I’m interested in.

I’ve made some good headway on my list of goals, but there are still a few that I can’t seem to be arsed to spend time with yet.  I’m not sure why, perhaps I’m just not ready, or maybe it’s something less dramatic and I’m just lazy.  (:

On one last note, I’d like to ask for prayers for the ka of Reverend Deena Butta, known at HoN as Mekhatsenyt, who passed away this week.  She was a Shemsu of my faith, as well as a priestess for the Fellowship of Isis.  I did not know her personally, but she has been involved in the lives of many that I know and care for, and her loss is felt deeply by many.

 

Goals.

It’s been a little over a month since I’ve made my return to the HoN forums and to the weekly IRC events.  I feel better spiritually, every day, and manage to find purpose beyond my video games (which are fun, but ultimately just a hobby and shouldn’t be a lifestyle) and the caretaker sort of life that I live.  It’s a wonderful, happy thing for me.

Even so, there’s so much more that I need to do, that I need to work on.

When I first resurrected my shrine, I was on the cusp of my monthlies and unable to perform Senut.  In the time since then, I’ve found numerous reasons not to do so.  I needed new whites, I needed to make a fresh batch of pure natron (my old stuff somehow got wet and I didn’t feel safe using it), I needed to find a comfortable time of day to do it… the list was and is endless.  It’s now back to my monthlies and I am unable again, regardless of my reasons.

Enough is enough though.  No more making excuses, no more hiding because I’m worried that I’ll enter my shrine and hear No One.  I had the same fears when I was first getting ready to start trying Senut, and they were unfounded.  I need to remember the feeling I had back then and hold onto it.  Remember that as a Shemsu of Kemetic Orthodox, Senut is and should be a part of my routinely worship.

Other things I want to achieve in the next few weeks:

  • Secure the necessary photos for the Akhu photo book I got for myself and create a drawing for the cover space.
  • Find an appropriate plant/flower(s) for my Akhu shrine, and work on completing the altar.
  • Double and triple remind myself of the 6 day Akhu ritual event in February.  I’ve been meaning to attend for months, and always manage to forget.  I even have the white candle necessary, and have had it for at least six months.
  • Light candles and spend a few minutes in shrine to give thanks to Netjer and my Family before settling in for the night.
  • Create a personal prayerbook for original prayers.  Write some original prayers! Also create a morning ritual for my Dad, and at least spend a few minutes at His altar when I wake up until I can come up with one.
  • Stop being a shy feeb and attend one of the Saturday night fellowship chats on stickham.
  • Commission artwork for my Beloveds, Djehuty and Serqet, that will be used as a backdrop on Their altar.
  •  Attend at least one of the Senut support chats that are taking place this month.
  • Spend some time reading about my Divine Family and actually work on updating Their pages on this site.
  • Make an effort to be creative in Netjer’s honor, particularly in ways that I am unfamiliar with.  I’ve been feeling a push to create for Them, but I’ve yet to discover just what it is that I’m meant to do.
  • Unearth the rest of my Kemetic books from my boxes so that I can actually work on getting through them.
  • Either find the oils I already purchased (went missing during the move >.< )  or obtain new ones for offerings.  Replenish candle supplies.

A nice size list, but not impossible.  I think I’ll do a goal check in four weeks, which should allow me to have a chance to attend the 6th day Akhu ritual event.

Not always alone.

It’s been an interesting week, spiritually.  Last Wednesday was the monthly Pesdjentiu Dua (one of my favorites, and not just because Djehuty is associated with the moon) as well as Rekeh Wer (Great Festival).  Now, there are always two different times during the week that I can attend the weekly fellowship/Duas – Wednesday evenings, and Friday afternoons.  It’s been that way for as long as I can remember.  Typically I prefer to attend the Wednesday evening grouping because the kids are in bed, and I can have my full attention on the event.

Wednesdays also happen to be a social night of sorts in one of the video gaming worlds that I associate with, and for the past month I’ve been bowing out of it because I preferred to attend the House events.  Last week I told myself that I would join in on the gaming event, and simply wait until Friday to attend the Duas.  However, about an hour before the chat was set to start, I began to feel weird.  Anxious.  I was fidgeting and I kept checking the clock, and most definitely wasn’t performing to my best in my gaming session. At about three minutes before the Dua was set to begin I finally gave up on gaming and succumbed to the odd shoving sensation I was feeling.

I can’t help but wonder if Someone was being insistent that I attend.  I’m the first to say that at this point I don’t “hear” Netjer the same way that other people seem to, but often get random inspiration or feelings of agitation that come out of nowhere.  The second I entered the chat room, an immense feeling of relief washed over me, and I really enjoyed being with everyone and celebrating the Dua.  Interestingly enough, I had intended to attend the Friday session as well, but ended up being unexpectedly busy – another reason to believe that Someone was looking out for me.

I’ve been dreaming heavily lately.  I’m usually the sort to have nightmares and wake up distressed, but lately I’ve been sleeping deeply and comfortably.  I like to think it’s because my room has a better ambiance going on now with my shrine set up (though many recommend that you don’t keep your shrine in your room!) I’ve even been sleeping with my closet doors open, which is something I couldn’t do very well previously.

I recently dreamed that I was celebrating a Dua with people from the House, not online, but in person.  We were all in a large circle, and everyone seemed very happy, both loud and quiet at the same time.  The loudness I think was a feeling, as opposed to a sound.  Like we were all full of joy and happiness that was so large that it felt loud, if that makes sense.

Then suddenly it was quiet, completely.  And a strong voice called out Who will dance with Yinepu? We all stood around looking at each other, wondering who would step up and offer to dance with Him.  The funny thing is that I’m sure if this had really happened, many people would be clamoring at such a chance, but in my dream, we all just stood there waiting, as if we all knew it was meant to be someone specific.  After a few moments, someone stepped forward and I recognized her as being my friend Ekunyi from the House.  I will dance with Him she said in a calm, clear voice, and then He was there, holding a hand out to her.  They danced ballroom style, with all of us watching silently until I woke up to my alarm.

I don’t really know that it means anything, but I’ve never dreamed of Yinepu before, or for that matter, of Ekunyi, or anyone else from the House!  It was an interesting dream, to say the least.

I also had a dream over the weekend that I was performing heka that at this point, I didn’t/don’t recognize.  The dream was largely obscure, but I have a distinct memory of knowing that I was working from a Wiccan perspective.  This one is pretty easy to interpret because I recently had one of my “Someone’s guiding my hand” moments and randomly discovered a book at the library when I wasn’t even looking.  It’s called Inner Mysteries and is a (so far) pretty detailed book on Wicca and pagan practices in general.  I’m reading it now, still going through the histories of Wicca and the word “witch,” and am finding it utterly fascinating.  I’ve been giving some thought to adding some Wiccan flavor to my spiritual practices, and I don’t think that it’s any coincidence that this book found it’s way into my hands.

New Year.

With New Year’s fast approaching I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the Kemetic New Year, which takes place right around the beginning of August by secular calendar.  It’s called Wep Ronpet, and we celebrate the birthdays of Wesir, Set, Heru-wer, Aset, and Nebt-het. They are the children of Nut and Geb, who were born on the five days that exist outside of the year because Ra decreed that She could never have children on any day of the year because he did not want his earthly throne to be usurped.

Because Djehuty loved Nut, he promised to help Her and He subsequently made a bet with Khonsu, a moon god, and won.  His prize was enough light to create five days that didn’t exist within the regular year (which is why the moon disappears each month!)  and it is during those days that Nut was able to bear Her children.

Wep Ronpet is a celebration of new beginnings, what we call Zep Tepi, and a restoration of cosmic balance.  It is the biggest event within Kemetic Orthodox, and as such there is a Retreat where the children of Netjer gather for the five days and perform heka and rituals for the gods to bring in the new year.

Last year I was too new, and too shy to even contemplate going.  This year, I want to go.  After much deliberation on the money issue, and battling with myself I’ve decided that not only do I want to go, but that I will go.  I don’t have an actual job, just an allowance really, for being my niece’s caretaker, and for keeping my parents’ house because they’re both ill, but I think with the seven/eight months of time that I have to save, I can manage to set aside enough for the costs.  Because I want to be serious about this, I’ve already created a separate bank account to stash money in.

There haven’t been any specific announcements yet on the event (last year they were posted up on January 10, so I’m expecting them any day now), but I’m basing my estimate of costs on last year’s postings and the things that I want to do.  Most of the events are part of the general admission, but there are a few things that are optional and cost extra because of supplies needed, etc.

Admission for the event:  $275

Sekhmet baths: $75

Fedw divination class: $50

Guesstimated airfare: $400

Guesstimated hotel cost (sharing with a second person, hopefully Meket): $160

Food/gas/general spending money: ~150 (I’d like to have more just in case, but this I think is the bare minimum)

Current total estimate of needed cash: $1,110

It’s a lot of money.  Definitely nothing to sneeze at.  The Sekhmet baths and Fedw class are optional things I want to do, so if it really comes down to it, I can leave that cost out, but I’d really like to have the whole experience if I’m already shelling out this kind of cash in the first place.

I’m really hoping that Meket will join me.  I know she’s wanted to go as well, but in the past has decided not to because of her anxiety with traveling and meeting new people.  With her, I will definitely have a roommate I’m comfortable with, but otherwise I’ll have to find someone who doesn’t already have a partner in mind, because I definitely don’t think I can afford a hotel room for four nights, even with the reduced group pricing.  The other consideration is the Shemsu-Ankh ceremony.  As of today, I’m not ready for that next step, but it’s something to keep in mind over the next few months as a possibility, and it would be an additional 50 dollars.

Mm.  Putting this out here and seeing the numbers so concretely is a bit daunting.  I’m trying to remain positive about it though, and determined.  I’m really pretty sure that if I asked my grandmother for a birthday gift (my birthday is in May) of money towards a spiritual retreat, she would happily oblige.  She’s always commenting that my generation isn’t religious enough, and I know she’d want to fund something that meant I was being spiritual.  As long as she doesn’t ask me what religion I practice (which she won’t, she’ll just assume Christianity) I’m set!

Things that make me smile

It’s been a pretty busy and rough week, but I’ve been trying to stay positive and focus on the things that make me feel good, the things that I can control.

I had a meeting with the Nisut (AUS) on Wednesday.  I’ve never scheduled an appointment with her before, and to be honest, some of the reason that I did was simply because I never had before.  I probably could have talked to other people about the subject matter, but I decided that maybe hearing a neutral voice of reason would make that much more of a difference to my head.  She didn’t tell me anything that I haven’t really known or thought myself, but I have a way of doubting my own rationale and all that.  I think that’s pretty normal for a lot of people.  All in all, it was really nice to sit down with her and have that one on one time.

After that I took part in the Wednesday evening Dua for the week, which was celebrating the Return of the Eye of Ra.  The actual day of the event was Friday, but I think I’ve mentioned before that the House does celebrations twice a week in a chat to try to get the maximum number of people involved.  It was my first Solstice celebration with the House, and it was quite lovely.  I offered Hethert a plate of clementines, some chocolate chip cookies, and a glass of orange juice and played one of my favorite songs (Gone with Leaves from the Hero soundtrack) during a part of the litany that called for joyous music.

I decided to wait to burn my red candle until the actual day of the Solstice though (yesterday) mostly because I didn’t want to leave a candle burning in my room unattended, but also because it just felt right.  I performed my own little shrine ceremony that I pretty much just ad-libbed as I sat there and made new offerings and lit my candle.  I was pretty proud of myself, even though I did stumble over what I wanted to say a few times.  For the most part it felt pretty natural though!

In other good news, I won the statue of Khepera that I was bidding on, and I should receive it the first week of January.  Mimafdet of the Kemetsy Shop that I spoke of in my last entry is currently finishing up a custom piece of Khepera for me as well.  She’s sent me a few progress photos, and He’s just amazing.  Once I ask her permission to post the photos, I’ll pop them up here for people to see.

Another really great moment for me this week was receiving Moomas cards finally.  I was getting to the point where I didn’t think that anyone was going to send me any, mostly because I joined the list so late and people had already sent out cards.  It was starting to sting a little, because I hate being left out, but as of yesterday I’ve received four cards.  They were all quite lovely, one of them custom made with a golden cow covered in stars.  The best part for me was that they were all personalized – mentions of how great it is to see me back in practice and on the forums, and even a “welcome back home,” which almost made me cry, because it’s practically my exact words, that this faith has felt like home to me.

So, it’s been a hard week, but there have still been quite a few things that have fed my ka.  (: