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Each of Us, Kings: A Paradigm Shift

Ever since I came back to things, I’ve found myself thinking about kingship a lot and what it means for our community and our religion. I think there are several reasons behind this, not the least of which is a seemingly new trend that I’ve noticed, where people will literally find any means to get out of having to critically examine their ideas about ma’at, which includes the common practice of writing off kingship.

To be fair, I more or less admitted a few years back that I involved the king in virtually no capacity in my religious practice, but at the same time, I’m not running around assuming that because a directive of ma’at was aimed at the king, that its somehow not relevant to how ma’at pertains to me or others like me. And I think between this influx, my astral BS, and my direct workings with O this year, kingship and all that it entails has been on my mind.

The Prevalence of a Nisut in AE

It never fails that virtually every single book on ancient Egypt has some amount of information about the king or pharaoh in it, and for good reason — nearly every single bit of relief that we find in temples, and so much of what we even have left to find in the sand to begin with, was inevitably tied back to the office of the king in some capacity or another.

According to most of these books, the king was largely regarded as the primary priest that was supposed to perform the daily rites to the gods to maintain ma’at. But because the king can’t be everywhere all at once, he delegates those responsibilities to the priesthood spread throughout the country. The “Good Shepard” that he is supposed to be, the king was meant to direct the entire “flock” that was Egypt, both in terms of international relationships as well as keeping the gods happy. Because of his stewardship, the land of Egypt would flourish, and the gods would smile down upon everyone.

Or something like that.

Given that the king is the Biggest, Most Important Priest and is supposed to be the main person who knows what the gods want and expect, I feel it could be argued that the king is quite central to the State side of the religious structure of ancient Egypt. Of course, this is really only important if you’re a priest and worried about your practice mirroring what went on in temples, but given that modern practitioners are stuck using mostly state-sponsored materials to recreate their practices, it might be said that the king is actually more central to our modern religious recreations than it appears at first glance. I say this because we have very little left to work with from individual “everyday” practitioners, and most of the information we do have is from temple relief or funerary texts. All of which feature the king heavily.

It’s because of this overt positioning of the king at the center of everything that I honestly feel that we Kemetics do ourselves a disservice by ignoring what Kemeticism meant for the king. We almost never see anything about ethics, morals, or preferred behaviors and practices for anyone except for the king. Even in Sauneron’s book on priesthood, he mentions several times that priests were not held to any known ethical standard beyond what was required to perform the job (aka ritual purity.)

And yet, if we’re trying to figure out how to live in ma’at, who better to reference than the very person who was responsible for maintaining it for the entire nation?

Why a Paradigm Shift?

Study of ancient Egyptian myths and themes may be complicated by their focus on kingship (Diakonoff 1995, 124; Spalinger 2007). Rather than just a distortion, the prominence of kingship can also be read as a story of reception (or democratization), with the gradual adoption across the society of certain models first developed for kingship.

Yet Diakonoff raises the question, whether it is possible for us to see an ancient Egypt outside kingship. Writings tend, then, to obscure any parts of ancient Egypt prior to or, more neutrally, outside kingship.

One of the primary reasons that I feel a paradigm shift is in order is because of the fact that most of what we’re working with focuses on the king and his relationship to not only the gods, but with ma’at in general. I feel that if we were able to develop a better way of interpreting and applying the aspects of kingship that are brought up and referenced time and time again in relief and writing, it would help us to obtain a deeper understanding and usefulness from the materials we’ve got to work with.

I think what’s even more important than giving us a better ability to utilize the materials at our disposal, is that by viewing ourselves as being kings of our own selves, we begin to have a litmus of how to better hold ourselves more responsible to the ethical system we claim to participate in. When ma’at is left as some sort of vague, nebulous “well just do ‘right'” or “doing what is right” it becomes really hard to concretely determine what actually constitutes as “right.”

You can see it in several circles where people will almost purposefully find a way to make it so that no one can be held accountable based off of anything objective. So many interactions where people bring up that something isn’t within ma’at, people will almost do backflips to try and find a way to prove that their behaviour is actually in ma’at. Because “we’re not kings” or “we don’t have anything concrete to base this on.” As they say in business management: you can’t manage what you can’t measure.

Shifting the Paradigm

In my mind, I feel that this new paradigm would have each of us viewing each other as being a king or participating in the office that is kingship. A couple of posts ago, I talked about how everyone is their own self-contained pattern or system, and how that system has edges: 

For instance, as a person, I am made up of cells, each of which contains several patterns or similarities. I am self-contained, and yet I exist inside of an even larger pattern — a desert. And that desert is made up of its own components, each made up of their own patterns, and all of these entities is constantly interacting with the other entities and patterns around them. To take it a step further, this desert sits inside of a country, which is in many respects its own pattern that interacts with other counties (aka other patterns.)

You notice at the end of this statement, I mention that countries are their own pattern/system, and by extension, that basically means that they are essentially the same as a person in that they are both a semi-self-sufficient pattern/system. The only real difference is that a country is more complex and larger in nature than a person. We are all made up of systems that are stacked and nested inside of one another.

And in the same way that countries need leaders (or kings, for the sake of argument), I think its fair to say that each of us needs to be a leader to ourselves. No one will be with us forever, except for ourselves. And as I’ve mentioned several times over the past year, it’s imperative that we all choose to actively participate in our own lives.

In the way that a leader is supposed to foster growth, improvement, and a healthy environment for people — whether that’s a country or a company, we should all strive to improve ourselves and our lives. If we take it as seriously as the Nisut in antiquity was supposed to, wouldn’t we all end up in better places? Doesn’t it make sense to cultivate those very values in ourselves, especially since ma’at is supposed to be at the core of this religion?

In closing, I would like to post a portion of another post that I rediscovered when flipping through KRT responses. Turns out that this idea isn’t a new one:

And so the call to Kingship is for everyone; we are each to be as much a king as we can be. It is the call to fulfilling your potential. Expanding your own boundaries and ensuring that others respect them. Ambition is as much a part of kingship as altruism. Being a learned person and citizen is as well. Giving back to your community, whether by helping a sick family member, working hard at a career, helping a lost stranger, working on a campaign, or organizing a coat drive, are all ways we can embody kingship, but so is growing your assets, mastering your talents, and making sure you c.y.a. Traditionally, lusting after expertise, discipline, and wisdom are traits of good leaders. Ethics and morality, faith and values should be central as well.  Determination is also key, as is a sense of vision.

The call to kingship is similar for us. We have a call, despite our shortcomings, to improve ourselves and our world. To bloom our potential. For some, the call may be more communal than for others. Everyone is different, but we can all be a king.

What do you think of viewing yourself as the king of your own life? Does this change your perspective about how you view yourself, your religion, or your life?

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Posted by on November 14, 2018 in Kemetic Round Table, Kemeticism

 

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How to Build a Heart: Creating a Base

If there’s one thing I can say about this entire process that I’ve gone through, it’s that you can’t and shouldn’t underestimate the power that physical items can have on the Unseen. I usually felt like a lot of physical items were there to mainly help myself visually make connections with what I was doing. But that ultimately, a lot of the power was coming entirely from me. However, as I’ve gone through the process of trying to heal Father-Lover, and upon failing that, pushing Father-Lover out of my life, I’ve found that items can definitely do a lot more than I had originally given them credit.

The more I looked through comparisons between what was going on astrally and the items that laid around my house that were connected to astral people, I found that moving items in the house could have an effect on what was going on Over There. So as I began to move forward with rebuilding myself, I knew that I needed to be particularly careful about what I did with the items that I was attaching to myself and to my purpose/goal. To treat the items carelessly could very well undo a lot of the work we were undertaking.

When I first decided that I was going to rebuild my heart, I was pretty excited. I thought the notion of being able to rebuild myself into whoever or whatever I wanted to be was pretty cool, and I looked forward to tailoring who I was into someone more like what I wanted to be. However, I found very fast that this is an incredibly daunting task, and once my health tanked a month after starting this project, I found myself bitterly hating even coming up with this thing.

The first thing that I did was work to establish my ib jar in some capacity. Since it still smelled of weird cherries, I decided that the scent was the first part I needed to work on. Smells are important in Kemeticism, after all. The fine scent of incense is what draws the gods close to us, and I felt that having a nice-smelling heart might help to attract my inner divinity back in.

So first I placed a bunch of coffee beans in the bottom. I was hopeful that they would help to neutralize any remaining cherry smell that was in the jar. I then ground up several flavors of incense and placed them in the bottom of the jar as my base. On top of that, I added some salt for purity purposes, and some of my MMJ tea to help keep myself calm on all levels. I let this steep for a week or so and eventually added another kind of tea that reminds me of my family and considered the scent portion good.

I also added a ma’at feather, to keep myself balanced, and I placed my Ptah pendant in the bottom. I felt that both of these items could help to keep myself more balanced, and to help drive myself to become better at handling my various moods and emotions.

But then I was stuck.

On the astral, we had run into hiccups with my healing. There were several reasons for this, most of which are irrelevant, but the main takeaway was that I should have either woken up and “resurfaced” into my body by this point. Or I should have been able to create an interior space for myself where I could begin to heal. I was still sitting in a black void, though, which meant something wasn’t quite right.

I was urged to embody myself in some capacity. Take a form (whatever I’d like!); create a space to call my own (it can look like whatever you want!); or make some sort of item that reminded me of myself (any shape! any size!). But in every attempt to do these things, I found that I couldn’t. The more I tried to figure out who or what I was “supposed” to be, the more upset I got. The notion of trying to create a space that was all to myself sent me into a panicked frenzy, and it got to a point that even bringing it up made my chest tighten. For someone who knows themself so well on the physical, I apparently don’t know much about myself on the astral. Trying to recreate myself after eons of being merged with someone else was causing me a lot of mental hell.

And I stayed in that hell until the middle of May.

I got so frustrated with my project that I had to put my ib jar away for a while. The simple act of looking at it would make me so upset that I couldn’t stand it. So I thought that some space would be helpful. I still couldn’t see anyone in the Unseen, either, and that was not helping. Usually when I get stuck, I go and talk with the gods or converse with one of my menz or contacts to see what they’d suggest on the matter. But I was still locked in the darkness with everything cut off from me. I would have to figure it out on my own somehow.

Some how.

I would love to tell you that I pushed myself until I really got a deep understanding of who I was or what I wanted to be, but that’s not really how everything went down. It happened very suddenly one day without a whole lot of explanation, when I was kicking around ideas about how to proceed with all of this. At first, I was telling myself that creating my own space wasn’t really that bad, and that I should look at it like being moved from a cubicle jungle to my own office. It’s really not that scary, and nothing says that I have to spend the rest of my time alone because I’ve made my own space (a huge fear I seemed to carry was that I’d be all alone). So think of it like a new office! I just need to figure out what I want my desk to look like.

I continued to kick this idea around until I could suddenly find myself standing in the darkness. Once there, I almost forced myself to envision what I thought my core might look like, and I fine tuned it until I could at least tolerate what I was looking at. And when I finished, I was pulled into that item into an interior space. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.

I also got very lucky while out shopping one day, in that I found a piece of jewelry that screamed “this is it” to me. And by this is it, I mean: this is the piece that will represent yourself. I wasn’t sure if it was correct, and I worried and stressed that I was picking up the wrong thing. However, I was pushed to get it anyways, and so I did. While I still wasn’t sure what exactly I was doing, I at least had enough to get going.

And so the building actually began.

For this project, I decided to take a multi-pronged approach to rebuilding myself. First was to create a sort of “trap” jar that would capture anything harmful that was coming after me. I was in a period of instability, and I wanted to make sure that I protected myself during this time. This involved taking a black jar and filling it with grounding materials and a magnet, and then placing an item inside of the jar that is “like me, but isn’t me”. I then placed it in a safe spot to attract all of the negativity away from me. This way, I wouldn’t have to worry about dodging punches while I healed.

I then made another container that allowed me to let go of some of the negative stuff that was happening around me and stressing me out. I used some of the basic ideas in the post that I got the idea from, but modified it a bit. I chose to use salt and rice as my base, as I consider both to be soothing. This would hopefully allow me to stay calm while I worked on letting go. I used hematite beads that I had laying around in a craft bin, and then I wrote things that I wanted to let go of on paper strips. This included things like the names of people whose negative words needed to leave my mind, bad anon-hate, negative things I tell myself, doubts I had, etc. I left this out in an open place so that I could shake it whenever I felt these things taking hold of me.

grr_jar

Through making both of these items, I felt like I had made a level base to get started on the real work at hand.

I took out my ib jar and added several more things to my scent and ma’at base. I added in pieces of paper that had phrases and sayings on them that I wanted to keep in mind as I moved forward. Things like “You exist beyond someone’s perception of you” or “I am able to connect with myself and those around me”. Things that I felt would help keep the negative self-talk down, and allow me to better exist in the world around me. I also added origami stars to my jar that had dreams and things I’d like to achieve written on them. And for a final touch, I added in a small (fake) fish to eat any negativity that happened to slip in.

I then created a shrine for the jar to rest upon. Everyone needs a place to rest and to recover, and that’s what the shrine was meant to embody. As such, I was careful in what I chose to place in the area, trying to keep in mind that everything here could have some sort of unforeseen effect on the work I was doing.

And with that, the first phase of recreating my heart had begun. But how far would it actually carry me?

 

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In a World Full of Yes

Deciding to finally live for myself couldn’t have been more timely. I knew within a matter of days that the situation I found myself in earlier this year would have done 2016-era me in completely. This is largely because I was suddenly finding myself dealing with my family on a daily basis in ways that I hadn’t had to in the past. I never had to get into it with an aunt about finances or with an uncle about caring for their elderly father.

As the weeks dragged on, I found that most of my family hadn’t changed much from my youth, and that most of them were just as shifty in their behavior as they had always been. With each new round of drama that would crop up, I found myself having to choose between keeping the peace and actually protecting myself. In my youth all I had ever done was work to keep the peace. I chose to make myself smaller so that I might not get ousted from the group, and what I didn’t realize when I decided I was going to go “all in” with life is that you can’t really take the path of least resistance when you’re actually trying to take care of yourself.

With each new experience where I felt like someone was taking advantage of me or trying to hurt me, I could suddenly see my younger self looking back at me, asking me why I was allowing this person to hurt us, to hurt them. I noticed that I was always more willing to put myself in the line of fire for others, but not for myself; a well-known trait for those of us with anxiety. Which meant that if I wanted to walk the walk and not just talk the talk, I’d have to start sticking up for myself in the same way that I would for others, and drawing boundaries in the sand as to how I would allow people to treat me.

For someone like me, this is actually quite terrifying.

Of course, when I talked with my therapist about boundaries, some part of me knew that this was going to happen eventually. She told me that I wasn’t very good at drawing boundaries to keep myself safe. She said that this was partially what caused the violent emotional responses that I was prone to. Because I couldn’t separate myself from everyone around me, I couldn’t help but feel their feelings as though they were mine. I almost felt like I wasn’t being a good person if I wasn’t flinging myself headlong into everyone else’s issues so that I’d know what it felt like to be them in that moment.

And in those moments, I seemed to imagine that drawing boundaries would be empowering. That I’d basically be learning how to cordon myself off from things that would hurt me. That I’d make sure I was safe. I think that my initial concepts of drawing boundaries banked on the notion that I’d be able to actually disengage with anything I didn’t want near me. Which, in its own way, means I was planning on drawing my boundaries by running away.

But what if running away isn’t possible? As is the case when you’re being a caretaker for someone who still has living family that they want in their life. I hadn’t thought about this until I was already in it. You see, for all of the years of being labeled as being aggressive, mean, bitchy, overbearing, etc. I actually do not get off on telling people what to do. I feel uncomfortable asking for simple, basic things, and when I have to do so regularly, it can cause me to have anxiety attacks. But in order to actually protect what I had managed to cultivate, I had to find a way to tell people — family — no.

And so I tried. At first I often would try to soften anything I said. “Could you maybe, possibly think about how that might have come across. It was kind of mean.” or “I’m not really comfortable with that, would it be possible to maybe do something else?” And you know what happened?

People got mad anyways.

[[image of quote that says “If I say no to someone and they get angry, it does NOT mean I should’ve said yes”]]

If there is anything that 2018 has taught me, it’s that you can be as accommodating as humanly possible. As nice as humanly possible. As non-intrusive as you can possibly be. And people who are committed to not meeting you halfway will still call you Too Much, Extra, and my personal favorite, Bitchy. People who are not interested in developing healthy relationships with you will never acknowledge or respect your boundaries without a fight, and that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have set those boundaries.

Above all, I’ve learned that setting boundaries feels less like taking care of yourself and more like fighting a war against people who won’t take no for an answer. The problem being that as awful as fighting a war everyday is, fighting this war is necessary, if not mandatory in order to be healthy. The more I found myself not defining what was okay in terms of how people treated me, the more I found myself not saying no, not standing up and speaking my needs, the more miserable I became.

So it begs to ask — which is worse? A slow death by suffocation via those around me because I was too scared to stand up and say no? Or a slowly-fought battle where I potentially lose people, but can ultimately breathe?

[[image of a quote “It is crucial for deeper level recovery that we learn that feelings of fear, shame and guilt are sometimes signs that we have said or done the right thing.They are emotional flashbacks to how we were traumatized for trying to claim normal human privileges.”Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, Pete walker, pg 78”]]

In Kemeticism, we talk about how isfet has to be battled back every day. The gods have no choice but to engage in this daily battle, or be destroyed by the thing they fight. Every time I’ve talked to the NTRW about fighting back isfet, they don’t seem to be too distraught over it. It’s just a thing that they Have To Do if they want to live a certain quality of life, and there is very little baggage tied to it at this point.

As I continue to work on drawing boundaries for myself, I begin to think more about this comparison, and how if I allow other people to constantly take advantage of me, how my life will be overrun with isfet. How I can’t, in good conscience, tell myself that I’m trying to live in ma’at while not actively trying to dispel the isfet I’ve inadvertently let in my life. I remind myself that anything worth having is worth fighting for, and if I’m not worth fighting for, then what is?

And so the battle continues. May it get easier to do, and feel less like a battle in time. For all of us.

How do boundaries play a role in your life? How do you create boundaries in your life?

Resources for developing boundaries:

 

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Inch by Inch

One of the things that marked my two years of hell was an overwhelming sorrow that I almost always felt. I mean, the sorrow wasn’t new — I knew it was there. But when my brain finally gave up the ghost, the floor that had separated me from that sorrow seemingly disappeared and I was dragged into the sorrow-filled depths below. I have no clue if its accurate, but I feel as though I’d been stuffing all of my sadness into this big ol’ hole in my head, and then disassociating myself away from it as not to let it effect me. Likely, this is due to the fact that my family doesn’t deal well with emotions. Crying is just not something you’re really allowed to do, and so I did everything in my power to never cry and never show any emotion that could be used against me.

But when the floor disappears and you’re drowning in it 24/7, there is no real way to escape it. It becomes an all-consuming totality that is your waking existence.

As such, we tried to address this in therapy. We didn’t talk about the Ocean of sorrow very often, but whenever I’d brush up against it, I’d tell her that my sadness was too large to handle or figure out what to do with. And whenever I got too close to it, it became too overwhelming and Too Much for me to even maintain any semblance of control or ability to even do anything with the feelings that were consuming me.

During one of our last sessions together, I went into a place that existed astrally, but had seemingly been inaccessible to me since 2016. I navigated through these dark hallways and came to a large sphere where my ocean of sadness was seemingly held (don’t ask me, that’s just how it goes with this stuff.) I told me therapist that it hurt to look at it, hurt to touch it. That there was no way I could do anything with such a large sphere. It was too big and too precarious to move, and any attempts to make it smaller were not producing anything.

But because in EMDR-styled therapy we’re bypassing a lot of your conscious brain and letting the subconscious bits do the work, my mind showed me that we could poke a bunch of small holes into the sphere. And that slowly the water would drain, making it more manageable for me to handle. I remember the therapist asking me why I didn’t do these smaller things that would help with the sadness, and I told her that I didn’t fee like it was actually doing anything. She reminded me that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that each journey is made of a bunch of small individual steps. That if I wanted to make progress, sometimes that progress has to be made one tiny little inch at a time. But reminded me that it’s still progress.

I spent years not handling the sadness, partially because I didn’t know how and partially because I didn’t want to, and by the time it came to a point where I needed to do something about it, lest it end me, I found myself expecting to be able to do one or two “somethings” that would make huge dents in this sorrow, and therefore bring me relief.

If there is something that I think many of us do that ultimately hinders our progress in life, it’s that so many of us seem to walk around with the idea that we just need to perform one or two Big Actions to make a Thing happen for us. We lose track of the fact that all of our decisions matter. Every single one of them. And if we want to make the most progress, we shouldn’t only place an importance or emphasis on one or two choices, but on each and every choice we make.

Not to make my segue too harsh, but I saw a couple of posts a few weeks back that were spawned from a series of tweets that Ed Butler had put out into the world. For those who don’t want to click on the link, here is a copy of the tweets in question:

Someone says they want a relationship with the Gods. Tell them to wander out into the desert and nearly die, or to take an entheogen that will have them puking and hallucinating for hours, and they will do it. Tell them to put a little food in front of an icon and they will not. This is because the former, as hard as they are, are easier insofar as they support the person’s vanity, whereas the simple acknowledgment of the reality of the God embodied in the offering of food to an image is like a mortification. One could say that this is because the sinfulness of idolatry has been peculiarly thoroughly indoctrinated into people, but I think that the strangely stubborn aversion in those otherwise nominally inclined points instead to a resistance based in narcissism. Or perhaps a person feels too self-conscious making offerings to an icon; after all, one can hardly feel self-conscious while dying of thirst in the desert or imagining insects swarming over one’s body. But how interesting it is that they fear the one more than the others.

When I read these tweets, I had so many thoughts as to why someone might choose to do something big and grandiose but not something simple and basic or mundane. And while I do think that Butler is correct in that there is a percentage of us who only want to do things that don’t make us uncomfortable or speak to our vanity (or are, for all intents and purposes, performative), as sat talked about in their post, I think another factor of it comes down to the notion I was talking about above (which is similar to the take that this post over here took.)

Which is that so many of us seem to think that one or two Big Things is better than regular/daily smaller inane “useless” things.

I can give you countless examples where I’ve seen this play out in so many different ways across various communities. Where people discount things that appear to be too simple, too small, too mundane. We’re waiting for the One Important Thing that we have to do that will kick off the middle-of-the-movie montage that will rocket us towards our future Selves that we were always supposed to be.

And in that context, I feel its less about appealing to vanity, and more that we’re waiting for one or two major decisions to balance out all of the smaller decisions that we neglected to own or make–for a multitude of reasons (giving up power is another post.) Just like my younger self choosing to tuck those emotions away instead of handling them, I gave up the chance to work through that sadness while it was still small and manageable, up until I had no choice but to face it in its overwhelming totality. And even then, I thought that the idea of letting out a little bit of sadness here or a little bit there was never going to amount to anything of note. I wasn’t trying to turn it into a big production for my ego, I was simply underestimating how much power can be found in these smaller bouts of release.

Now, I want to add a caveat for all of my spoonie readers out there — please keep in mind that this isn’t a post about running yourself into the ground. This isn’t about doing all of the things all the time, nor is it about bludgeoning people in the head with ideas about how gods won’t ever possibly like people don’t do “enough work” in their religious lives or anything like that.

If anything, I am urging everyone reading to remember that every decision has weight. That we can all accomplish more in our lives if we do the tiny things that seem insignificant now, but will ultimately bear fruit later on. That there is no shame in making a practice or life of small, simple things, because those things may lead to amazing places if you let them.

I have found that handling my sorrow a little bit at a time, scratching out some notes here or there, drawing a picture or two, writing a blog post… that these little things slowly allow me to let my sadness out, and allow me to heal a little bit at a time. I don’t feel healed or 100% better yet, but I can tell that it’s getting easier because I keep working at it little by little.

Even if it seems too simple, remember that there is power in simple things. Just because its small doesn’t mean its insignificant.

What role does simple acts play in your practice or life? How often do you consider the weight of these simple acts?

 

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Edge Effect

As I’ve been learning about permaculture, I have found that many of the concepts presented often line up with aspects of Kemeticism. There is one section that discusses the idea of “patterns,” which is a sort of self-contained entity that often exists inside of another system that is often its own kind of pattern. And because of the nature of these patterns, you can often see similarities that unite many patterns in unique ways.

For instance, as a person, I am made up of cells, each of which contains several patterns or similarities. I am self-contained, and yet I exist inside of an even larger pattern — a desert. And that desert is made up of its own components, each made up of their own patterns, and all of these entities is constantly interacting with the other entities and patterns around them. To take it a step further, this desert sits inside of a country, which is in many respects its own pattern that interacts with other counties (aka other patterns.)

The author then goes on to discuss how the boundary between patterns and systems is an area where events love to occur, simply by the fact that two separate “things” are being forced to interact together. This creates a space that is nothing but an overlap between two systems, and yet is a system unto itself. As described in the book: “Special physical, social, or chemical conditions exist on the boundary, because of the reaction between the adjacent media. As all boundary conditions have some fuzzy depth, they constitute a third media, the media of the boundary zone itself.” Because of this, boundaries are considered to be species-rich and usually have more resources available. Put another way, it’s a liminal space.

For example, where a forest meets a pond, there is a border where you’ve got both land and water. Because both ecosystems are represented in this singular area, you’re going to have a more complex system that combines both. “At interfaces, species of both systems can exist, and in many cases the boundary also supports its own species.” He calls this concept the Edge Effect.

Due to how special boundaries are and how beneficial they can be to an ecosystem, the author instructs the designer to create as many boundaries as possible. This way, you are increasing the amount of diversity and resources available. And while this was originally created for a natural/outdoor space, I personally think that it can apply to our own lives in many ways.

I’m sure to some extent, many of you are scratching your head (as I certainly am on my medicated reread of this post) as to what boundary interaction has to do with anything beyond agriculture. What I’m trying to suggest is the idea that if you consider the personal boundary that is your self, and if you make your boundary interact with lots of other boundaries, you might see an increase of resources or benefits within your life.

Put another way that is specific to my genre: I question that if you are struggling with interacting with the Unseen or its inhabitants (which live on the other side of a very thick boundary) that by going out and either increasing the amount of times you attempt to interact with the Unseen or their structures (aka, religious materials, rites, rituals, etc.) or by going out and having new experiences in general, that you might have an uptick in ability to interact with the Unseen.

First of all, I’d like to say that this concept isn’t new or original by any means. Therapists suggest it to depressed people. Life coaches suggest it to CEOs and creative types. If any of you watch Steven Universe, you might even recognize this concept already:

 

Though from a permaculture standpoint, it’s less about being random, and more about increased frequency of interaction.

This increased interaction can happen any number of ways, mind you. You could attempt to increase the amount of times you try to interact with the gods or the Unseen, and see if that helps you to get a better feel for them or have more interactions with them. It stands to reason that by doing more of a thing, you’re going to increase your chances of success at it, and rites and rituals are no different. Several authors have talked about the idea that by doing rituals in the same way over and over again — whether it be years or generations, that it helps to build up a sort of “Unseen Highway” that you can tap into and touch some deeper meaning or energy from those who came before. And while I can’t say that I’ve ever somehow stumbled upon some sort of arcane, unknown knowledge by doing rituals, it doesn’t change the fact that by doing, you’re genuinely increasing the likelihood that you’re going to have an interaction with those you are dedicating your time to.

But I would also like to posit the idea that increasing your interactions with other experiences in general could also help in this matter — even if the experiences aren’t directly related to your religious practice.

The main reason behind why is the simple fact that experiencing new things changes our brains. Simply by actively engaging with something, you are causing your brain to change, and those changes can lead to new and unexpected places. This is partially why its not unheard of for therapists to recommend those with mental illness get out and do something — because it’s going to force you and your “boundary” to interact wit others and their “boundaries” and those interactions can improve mental health, even if you’re not entirely thrilled to be doing stuff.

I think that this is also why so many of us recommend reading books or doing things that make you think about the gods/religion during fallow periods — because it allows your brain to learn new things, and make new connections. And that can not only refuel our desire for practice, but it can also lead to an increase in participation or interactions within a practice.

Have you ever considered making “outings” a part of your religious practice? Have you ever noticed an improvement in mood or creativity after a break from daily pattern? If you could use this method, what sorts of experiences would you want to explore or try?

 

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Aimless

This post was originally a part of last week’s post, but because of length, I decided to break the post into two with last week focusing more on my mundane life, and this week focusing more on re-entering Kemeticism. If this post seems somewhat repetitive, that is why.

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One of the most interesting and oh-so-fun side effects of my health degrading is my complete and utter lack of memory. I honestly can’t remember most of 2015, 2016… and to some extent, 2017. When I went to start writing posts in August, I realized that I had forgotten that I had posted in April. A lot of what I used to know about Kemeticism still rattles in my head, but I don’t really have access to it anymore.

Because of this side effect, all I could really remember thinking about Kemeticism since my health tanked in 2016 was lukewarm “eh” ness. I mean, when I moved, my shrine sat on a shelf for weeks and collected dust with its doors taped shut while I lukewarmly looked for a place to put it. I couldn’t care less about the gods or the community, and for all I could remember, this had been the case since my “A Good Horse” era.

But recently I found a planner from 2016 that I stored all of my little tidbits in. As it turns out, early 2016 me was very much still jonesing for Kemeticism. I have pages of notes for my book. Pages of notes for how I wanted to release it. Topics that I wanted to write about on WP. Tagging phrases I wanted to use over on tumblr to make resources more searchable. Initiation tidbits that O had pinged for me while I was still able to read (another fun side effect — I can’t read or write very well anymore.)

But between the gap of what was and what is, I lost something. I lost a lot of somethings. And part of that was my original love affair for the NTRW. I don’t know when it happened exactly, but I’m pretty sure it started in the fall of 2016, when I was told through a third party that I should step back on all fronts related to Kemeticism, for my own health, and co-signed it with Set’s name. Regardless of what I wanted or what I felt was the proper handling of such a situation, the writing was pretty apparent on the wall, and it said to gtfo.

I had to be dragged and kicked away from my work. Within a month or two of fully walking away, you couldn’t drag me back to it. I began to find absolute liberty and freedom in being able to see that drama was occurring, and not feel obligated to do anything about it. It was amazing to not have to deal with writing schedules, constantly checking social media platforms, having to field drama or requests to handle drama, etc. I loved being able to just… exist without worrying about this religious community.

But even as I drifted away from Kemeticism, I found that I was often still going back to it. As I began to study permaculture and learn more about the processes that occur in nature, I found myself comparing them to ma’at, to the NTRW, to Kemeticism. Even if I never wanted to see Kemeticism ever again, I couldn’t seem to break free of it, either. It was built so heavily into my worldview that I had nothing else to put in its place to compare new concepts to.

As I began to play with the idea of writing again, I found myself mulling more and more about how I actually felt under the surface about my religion. I knew that I still liked the religion itself, but that my strongest emotions were towards the gods and the community specifically. In many ways, I was content to keep ma’at and pitch the rest–other Kemetics included.

So when grandma died and everything was thrown onto the floor, I really had to figure out why I should even bother to come back to writing at all. Because of the need to be present and offline while handling all of the aspects of cleaning her house, moving in, caring for grandpa, etc. I really got the chance to 100% forget and remove myself from the trappings that used to be my daily life. My shrine was packed away. All of my books were out of sight, and I went months without checking WP and days without checking Tumblr. I completely and totally fell of the map.

And I liked it.

I’m sure this is leading a few of you to ask yourself “well why are you even here, then, if you liked it so much?” And my answer to you is

 

To some extent I can’t justify entirely walking away from what I’ve helped to build, but on the other hand, I’m not as committed to the sparkle motion as I used to be. Or at least, I’m not as committed to the sparkle motion that the gods seemed to want for this community. Part of why I am here is also spite — spite at the gods for their treatment of myself and others, spite at the people who wish I’d just disappear.

So far, the only thing I can really say with any certainty is that becoming more active on discord is probably the main reason I decided it was worth coming back. Being able to talk with other people was what really sold me on doing this work many years ago, and to some extent, its what’s bringing me back now (and frankly, I’m not the only one.) Time and time again, love it or hate it, its those pesky human interactions that seem to bring a lot of us back.

That and spite.

The more I get to interact with people again, the more I remember that it used to be this way before I lost a lot of my friends, and before I became too ill to really bother with talking to anyone anymore. I have no clue how widely-known it is, but when my health tanked and I suddenly stopped posting or doing anything online… almost no one came to check on me, and I know for a fact that that has weighed heavily on me since 2015. When you’re trying to hard just to scrape by, and no one even seems to notice you’re gone, it makes it hard to convince yourself its worth going back to. I’ve realized since that it’s not necessarily that people don’t care, but it’s that people don’t know what they don’t know. And many of us (myself included) really suck at letting people know that we’re thinking of them, or checking in on people.

As I slowly sifted back through the posts that I forgot I wrote, I began to realize that ultimately, I’m in the same position that I’ve always been in. My love for the gods is about a lukewarm as it’s seemingly always been. It’s the people that have always brought me back around and kept me here.

And I think I’m okay with that.

 

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The Problem is the Solution

They say that recovery isn’t a straight line.

They’re not wrong.

Back when I was in therapy, I often found myself back in a portion of my past, somewhere starting in 4th grade, spanning through to the end of 5th grade. During this time in my life, I had experienced a lot of changes resulting in a loss of stability, structure, and trust btwn me and, well, everyone around me. While everything that was going on seemed doable from the perspective of an adult, the younger parts of myself felt as though I had experienced the end of a way of living. To elementary school me, it was almost like I was living through an apocalypse, and trying to find a way to continue on despite the fact that only a husk seemed to remain of my former life.

I think about this part of myself often. I think because I can relate to it in a whole new way than I could before. It’s not that I haven’t had to shift my way of living regularly as new health issues or losses of resources have occurred… its that I’ve never actually achieved any level of stability since my youth to actually lose. Until now.

People may have noticed that at the end of last year, it seemed like I might start posting regularly again. If this was you, then congratulations, you were correct. That is, until my grandmother died. For those of you who have been hanging around for a hot minute, you’ll know that our past was checkered in both amazing and equally awful ways. Our relationship was complicated, though it had mostly worked itself out as I became an adult.

With her death, everything about life changed. I had to move into her old house so that someone could keep an eye on my grandfather, except to do that I needed to clear out enough of her belongings to actually be able to move in (can you say “hoarding”?.) In the process I had to break my lease and pay for that. I had to give up job opportunities and accept the fact that holding down a full-time job again was no longer in my future, for better or worse. I had just gotten my diet, and to some extent, my health, under control only to have that blown apart because I now have to provide meals for another person whose eating habits are completely antithetical to what I need to be ingesting.

So in short, everything has more or less changed in the past 6 months. My living situation has changed. I’m no longer living in town with my SO, but instead in the sticks with my SO, grandfather and all of my grandmother’s hoarded animals. I’ve got to not only take care of myself, but the house, the animals, and my grandfather. And while my family had originally made it sound like they were going to be helpful, the truth has shown to be quite the opposite.

As such, in a matter of a few weeks, nearly all of the progress that I had made in improving my health has completely been sunk. Symptoms that had left have slowly started to return, and I’ve noticed that my lack of being able to maintain all of my specialists and dietary needs has taken a toll. And I’m likely only just getting started. In so many ways, I feel so much like my younger self, standing in a wasteland of what used to be my life. Unlike 4th grade me, I at least have more tools now to get myself back to where I want to be, but it doesn’t change the fact that it really sucks to have your recovery shot in both of its kneecaps and left for dead.

Everything that has happened in the past few years has left me with conflicting emotions, and this final turn of events has been the cherry on top. I titled this post “the problem is the solution” in an attempt to remind myself that even though things are challenging, they are ultimately what I need in order to get where I want to be. And that while I may feel several ways about something, that I am still heading in the direction that I ultimately want to go.

While the timing of being forced out onto this property is not ideal, I know that it will ultimately be better for me to be here sooner over later. This will allow me to start moving forward on my long-term future plans sooner over later, and it allows me to stop my future house-to-be from becoming completely unlivable, as my grandparents weren’t doing any of the major maintenance needed to keep things running well. While the existence I’m eking out right now isn’t great, I know that I ultimately have the capacity to turn my situation into a boon if I play my cards right.

But it also means the passing of an era. I know that I’ll never be able to go back to how things were, and while I know that that ultimately isn’t a bad thing, it still makes me a little sad. Especially because it means that getting my health back on track is going to now be that much more difficult and challenging, and that while I know opportunity exists at some point in the future, I still have to get there from where I’m at.

Of course, I am also changed from this experience. The person I was three years ago really kinda no longer exists. Running the gauntlet of having someone die, becoming a caretaker, and dealing with the drama and fallout that occurs with that sort of process all while trying not to die on the daily has changed me, for better or worse. As you will likely see in the coming posts that I’ve got scheduled, I’ve lost parts of myself, cast parts of myself aside, and am still not entirely sure where I’m at or what I’m doing–especially when it comes to Kemeticism. And while things are still up in the air, I’m certain that it’s only a matter of time before those changes affect how I look at Kemeticism, or handle my community work, as well.

Everything I did with this blog before I left was mainly aimed at obtaining Set’s objectives for the community. I no longer have to adhere to that, so I guess let’s see where it leads us, shall we?

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2018 in Hypnosis & Inner Work, Kemeticism, Rambles

 

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