Tag Archives: polytheist

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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The Fight For Yourself

Before I start this post, I wanted to thank everyone who gave me feedback from my last post. It’s great to see that I still have a readership despite being awol for the past year or two, and I’m glad to hear that people like my less informative posts, and were still down with seeing more of my shadow work stuff. So a lot of love to all of you ❤ and with that, now for the actual post…

Being chronically ill is frustrating.

Of course, many of you reading this know that, but it bears repeating all the same — being chronically ill is frustrating. It’s a constant uphill walk, filled with schedules and things you have to do, along with a lot of not-doing things that you want to do. It requires a lot of will power and discipline, which illness loves to collect from you as though it were extracting a fee. It also costs a lot of money and time to be sick all the time. I’ve lost track of how much dough and how many hours I’ve dumped into various doctors appointments, prescriptions, supplements, etc.

When you consistently hate yourself, this battle becomes even more difficult. You end up burning the candle at both ends — telling yourself that you need to do something, because its good for yourself and will make life more bearable, while simultaneously hating yourself for being sick all the time, for making your own experience on this planet even more difficult and frustrating.

Or at least, that’s how it has always been for me.

When I first started therapy, one of the first things that we discussed was the fact that I was so super mean to myself. I was always super critical of everything I did. I was very much like a non-stop version of this:

There is a reason why so many of us end up with this sort of negative internal self-talk. To pull from someone who knows more about this than me:

A flashback-inducing critic is typically spawned in a danger-ridden childhood home. This is true whether the danger comes from the passive abandonment of neglect or the active abandonment of abuse. When parents do not provide safe enough bonding and positive feedback, the child flounders in anxiety and fear. Many children appear to be hard-wired to adapt to this endangering abandonment with perfectionism.

A prevailing climate of danger forces the child’s superego to over-cultivate the various programs of perfectionism and endangerment listed below. Once again, the superego is the part of the psyche that learns parental rules in order to gain their acceptance.

The inner critic is the superego gone bad. The inner critic is the superego in overdrive desperately trying to win your parents approval. When perfectionist driving fails to win welcoming from your parents, the inner critic becomes increasingly hostile and caustic. It festers into a virulent inner voice that increasingly manifests self-hate, self-disgust, and self-abandonment.

The inner critic blames you incessantly for shortcomings that is imagines to be the cause of your parents rejection. It is incapable of understanding that the real cause lies in your parents’ shortcomings. […]

A traumatized child becomes desperate to relieve the anxiety and depression of abandonment. The critic-driven child can only think about the ways they are too much or not enough. The child’s unfolding sense of self (the healthy ego) finds no room to develop. Their identity virtually becomes the critic. The superego trumps the ego.

In this process, the critic becomes increasingly virulent and eventually switches from the parents’ internalized voice: “You’re bad” to the first person: “I’m bad”.

This is unlike the soldier in combat who does not develop a toxic critic. This process whereby the superego becomes carcinogenic is a key juncture where ptsd morphs into cptsd.

(you can read more quotes from Walker’s CPTSD book here.)

In Kemetic circles, you will often hear about how one should “not eat their heart.” In a way, its saying not to devour yourself, to destroy your own essence. Arguably, it’s working against ma’at to eat your heart on a regular basis. It undermines your health, your life, and what the NTRW have given you. Yet for someone like me, eating my heart was all I seemed to be doing. It didn’t look like it on the surface, but deep down, I have always been mean and nasty to myself. I’ve always been bitter at my own limitations, at my own body, at not being what I thought I wanted to be (truthfully, I don’t think I even know what I wanted to be… back to not really having a clear goal of where I’m even going.) I think chronic illness adds another layer to all of this hell because it gives you even more “reasons” to hate yourself, and the society we live in often reinforces that hatred (because western culture doesn’t seem to like disabled people much.)

If my body is a microcosm of my world, and I were to translate how I treated myself to how the NTRW run the Duat, it’d be a case of only going to battle a/pep whenever it suited me. The citizens would cry out in the streets about how isfet was devouring the outer edges of our land, and I’d begrudgingly pick up my spear and bemoan about how I have to go do this yet again to keep our land safe. I’d be the most obnoxious “savior” anyone had ever met. And because of my lack of speed to even help battle a/pep, I’d then have to spend more resources cleaning up the damage after the fact. All because I wasn’t really in it to win it. My heart was gone, for I had eaten it. I wasn’t really fighting for myself as much as I was just… going through the motions and hoping it would work out.

And if we flip that narrative, how would you feel if you saw the gods drag their feet and get huffy every time they needed to go smite isfet? Would you have a lot of confidence in them? Would you want to put your energy into helping or backing them? Or would you be more inclined to not get involved? I suspect a lot of us would waver at the sight of our gods acting like that, and on an internal level, the same thing happens to our neglected selves, our inner children that watch our adult selves shirk off responsibilities and only half-assedly dole out love to our own beings, our own selves. As my inner child told me very early on in therapy, “You care more about your astral self than you do me. Why should I even talk to you.”

If there is one thing I could stress to everyone reading this, it’s that you have to be on your own side in order to win a fight against yourself (and by that, I mean, win a fight against your inner critic.) You can’t be passive in your love of yourself and expect to make headway in loving yourself.

I’m sure many of you are now saying “well that’s all good and well, but I don’t know how to stop hating on myself.”

The method that we used is rooted in the notion of having options. A major factor in PTSD and learned helplessness is the feeling of having no options to take. When we don’t perceive ourselves as having options, we feel like there is nothing we can do, that we are powerless; and often times it means that we don’t even give it an honest shot to try and be successful. The perception of having options (and therefore control in your life) is vital to moving forward.

We often generated options by asking ourself “well, what else might be true?” To give you a more concrete example, we often call ourselves lazy. When you find yourself saying “I didn’t finish it because I’m lazy”, you could ask yourself “what else might be true about that statement?” And you may very well realize that you’re not actually lazy, but are downright tired from a spoon shortage.

Another example might be “everyone hates me” converted into “I feel like everyone hates me.” One is a statement of absolutes, the other allows the possibility that maybe it’s not as bad as it feels right now.

The way that really made this concept stick for me was to step back from myself and go “if I was someone else looking in on me now, would I believe this is true?” Usually I am more forgiving of other people’s shortcomings and problems. I’m more able to be understanding and be lenient, to remind someone that they’re going through a lot, that they’re doing the best that they can. And in turn, I should be doing the same with myself.

I’ve found that this method works best with multiple people to help point out when you’re being mean to yourself. Very often, me and my SO will quip “what else might be true” or “why are you being so mean to yourself” whenever we start with the negative self-talk. It’s been very helpful for noticing those behaviours so that I can work to correct them.

If we believe that heka is an Important Thing, then we believe that our words have power and weight. And as such, we should therefore believe that mean words to ourselves are essentially our own internal execrations thrown against our own hearts. The more we execrate ourselves, the more salted the ground becomes, the less effective we become at everything. We are all amazing hekau — when it comes to execrating ourselves.

I propose that 2018 become the year that we master our internal heka, you know, the internal messages that we tell ourselves. That we truly start to fight for our own well being, for our own needs. That we open up to the possibility that we are not the pieces of shit our world has taught us to believe that we are. That we hold each other accountable, and ask each other to not be so mean to ourselves. That we help each other see our goodness and strong points. That we quit using our energy to break ourselves down, and instead utilize it to build ourselves up.

What untruthful things do you say about yourself? Have you considered whether negative self-talk could be damaging your relationship with yourself and your life? Will you end up working to create more options about how you talk about yourself?

Relevant Posts:


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When One Door Closes…

I think it’s pretty obvious that I have fallen off of the wagon this year. I don’t even know if I could call it falling off the wagon, as it feels more like falling off the wagon and log rolling down the hill next to the wagon and into the bottom of the canyon that lies below. And then I fell into the river at the bottom of the canyon, and floated three states over.

I’m at that level of falling off the wagon.

As with most fallow times, I quit doing a lot of my work for the gods. I haven’t really done any work or rites since Wep Ronpet, and I’ve even gotten bad about opening my shrine so that I can at least look at the gods (and so the gods can look upon my wreck of a life house in return.) Over the course of the year, I’ve done less and less in regards to religious stuff.

So imagine my surprise when couple of weeks ago I got the urge to give an offering. It was an offering of cookies to O, and at first I thought it was more myself being petty at a past slight over cookies and Osiris, and so I ignored it. But the urge didn’t go away, and eventually after a few weeks of ignoring it, I decided to give in.


I’m sure many would expect that in this paragraph, I would talk about how I gave these offerings and suddenly felt the love of the gods. That they rushed forward to me and said “finally, you came back, we’ve missed you” or something equally pretty, but it would be a lie. Instead, I laid the offerings out, wafted the incense inside of the shrine, told them about what had been going on with me, gave well-wishes for their current affairs, and stared at the shrine box for a while before moving onto other things. I know this sounds boring, and it is. But it’s also realistic.

If I could sum up 2016 in terms of my Kemeticism, I’d say it was largely uneventful, just like my offerings above. It wasn’t uneventful by choice, but my body decided earlier in the year that it was Not Having Anything, and everything had to be put on hold in the wake of my health deteriorating. I’ve dealt with having spoon shortages in the past, having to muck through weird new health “things” while I held down a job and continued all of my extracurricular activities such as religioning, astral work, writing, etc. But this year was different. This time, my body went headlong straight into the ground and took me along for the ride.

By the time the summer hit my ability to do much of anything was gone. Not even gone like it used to be, where I mentally was ready to do everything but my body or time limits were preventing. Oh no, this is full on gone. Where even trying to construct sentences or read paragraphs of text is challenging. Where there are virtually no ideas in my head to even mull on, let alone the energy to mull upon them. Where trying to do housework is hard. Where trying to do much of anything is proving to be challenging. This is a whole new level of gone for me. This is completely unexplored territory in my life.

At first I tried to fight it. I figured I just needed to will up the nerve like in the past, and that I could push through it. “You can do things, just do them slower!” I’d tell myself. Until I found that just doing meant that I literally could barely function for a few days after the fact. “You can do things, just start the process and the rest will come!” as I try to write, but three paragraphs of barely legible sentences was enough proof to show me that it wasn’t something I could push through so simply like I could in the past. “You can still interact with the community if you just limit how often you go online!” as my eyes continued to glass over at the words on my screen, none of which were actually being processed. Every work around only succeeded in making my situation worse. Eventually, I had to give into the fact that this was my new normal for the time being, and that fighting it was doing me no favors.

They often say that when one door closes, another door opens, but that’s not necessarily true. Sometimes one door closes, and you’re left in a room with nowhere else to go. Sometimes life throws you a sucker punch, and your only option is to lay passed out on the ground for a while.

To put it in a more Kemetic context–sometimes your ma’at is running around smiting isfet all the time. Sometimes your ma’at is doing daily shrine work. Sometimes your ma’at is just surviving. Not everyone can do everything all the time. Sometimes we must retract ourselves from the world around us while we sort things out. Sometimes we need to prioritize meeting our bottom line of survival before we worry about other things. Sometimes a fallow period is very much a part of maintaining balance.

At the end of the day, this post has no real point to it other than to illustrate that “nothing” can happen to any of us. That life can throw a wrench in the works and sometimes we need to step back, and that that is okay. And further, that sometimes you will take a step back towards the gods, towards your religion, towards what you used to do before and not find an immediate reaction, and that that is okay too. A lack of response doesn’t necessarily mean that you messed up. The gods know, too, that fallow times have a place and a purpose. They know that sometimes we truly need a drop-everything-and-do-nothing sort of break.

This post is a reminder to be gentle with yourself when life hits you in the face and sends everything to a grinding halt. It’s a reminder that sometimes we have no choice but to sit down and be patient while we do next to nothing. A reminder that Kemeticism will still be here when you get back to it. That the gods will still be here when you get back to it, even if it’s not immediately apparent.

It’s a reminder that sometimes surviving the day to day is all that we can muster, and that there is no shame in that.

Relevant Posts:


Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Kemeticism


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The Mysteries: Prologue, Pt 2

Nothing ever truly dies.

That is what repeated in my ears for the week following my initial dive into this years Mysteries preparations. I had just finished reading the chat log from KO’s discussion about Osiris and it would not leave my brain- nothing ever truly dies.

Most astral people I’ve met know this to be a “thing”. It’s a blessing and a curse that stuff is pretty much impossible to kill in the Unseen. It’s a blessing when the person that you love comes back to life a little while later, and its a curse when the asshole down the street just won’t keel over. Even when you think something’s dead, it rarely is. It’s either just in the process of preparing to be reborn, or it’s been reborn somewhere where you can’t see it.

But nothing ever really dies.

via flickr

We even see it here on this plane. Even though your auntie might never re-inhabit her body again, she lives on in the stories we tell of her. She lives on through her children, and items that she owned that we still use. She lives on through her famous casserole recipe that we use at family functions. Even though she is a little harder to see now- she continues to live.

This is also true of ideas and concepts. They say that history repeats itself, and I think that that is another formation of “nothing ever dies” or “things that you wish would die rarely do”. We often fall back into old habits and old ways of thinking because true and total death is nearly impossible.

It is with that notion that O sent me onto the next leg of my pre-Mysteries work.

It took me a while to see where this was going, honestly. I knew the concept well, and many of the astral people I had sent to their deaths earlier in the year had undergone the necessary rebirth processes and found their way back to me in due time. I knew what it meant to watch a core explode in my hands and hoping that this person would eventually find a way to exist in a better state. So it’s not like it was completely uncharted territory for me. But in this situation, his applications for me were a bit more abstract.

His applications dealt more with the ways of thinking that I mentioned above. He was hinting at the intangible thoughts and feelings that exist inside of us and how I would handle those things. You see, feelings have a way of growing and consuming us. My anger and doubt from the previous year’s mess had proven this to be true. What started off as something small- a small seed of discouragement or a moment of doubt- eventually grew into a monster that was fed and fueled by the world around me (including myself). His reminder that nothing ever truly dies was his way of noting that just because I beat this today doesn’t mean I won’t have to beat it down again tomorrow.

Those of you out there who deal with mental “demons” such as depression and anxiety can likely relate to this.

This was also his way of telling me not to slack off on my mental and emotional hygiene. I can no longer ignore these things for weeks and months at a time. It’s not healthy.

Every emotion that we feel, every pain, every loss- it resides within us somewhere. All of the turmoil and strife from this past year will reside within me forever to some extent. Even if I am able to cope with it, accept it and grow from it, it will not change that because things don’t entirely die- some tiny bit of that emotion will live within me forever. And this sentiment exists not only for the bad emotions, but the good emotions as well. In situations where I feel extreme rage or hatred for someone, there is still the opposite love and caring that I felt for them beforehand. Just because the anger burns within me doesn’t mean that the pre-existing love isn’t there as well (even if it is hard to see). It is possible that the stronger the love was before, the stronger the hate and hurt will be after the fact.

I mulled on these concepts for a couple of days and mused on what it was I was looking for over the next month. Yes, I wished to heal my wounds, but what would healing look like? Would I seek to let go of the anger and move back towards love? Would I even be able to go back to my feelings before? Should I go back to the feelings I had before?

I wrote down a list of the people and situations I was trying to heal from over the past year and I decided where my end goal was for each. For some people, I wanted to return to a love I felt before things went south. In other situations, all I could ever hope for was a neutrality of existence. Neutral in the sense that when I see them, or their name or words, I would feel nothing, or at least nothing beyond a sense of “this is that person that I know of.” I continued to work through my emotions and keep track of when I was stable and able to let go of negativity surrounding certain people and situations, and on the days where I found that I was slipping into old thought patterns, I sat down and examined why I was falling back into old mentalities.

Even after the Mysteries officially had begun and I had started on my crack-laden adventure at O’s behest, I’d find that I’d have to sit down and re-examine things regularly. Once again looking at where the emotions are coming from and why I am feeling them. Osiris had given me the tools to better understand my emotions, and I found myself turning back to those tools regularly as I worked through all of the relationships I had experienced during the past year.

He told me right before the Mysteries started that he would strip me down to nothing before this was all over. At the time, I didn’t truly realize what he meant, but I certainly would by the time this whole experience was done.

Mysteries 2013:


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Much Ado About “Woo”

Today has been an active one on Tumblr where the discussion has centered around laity and the concept of “woo” or “woo folks”. For those who don’t know what woo is referring to, I’d recommend taking a look at this post here. Please note that while some people dislike the use of the term “woo”- there is no other good viable alternative, so that is what I will be using throughout this post.

Throughout a lot of the discussion on Tumblr I noticed two large problems surfacing:

  1. That being a layperson means you’re not a “woo” person.
  2. That someone who lacks “woo” in their practice has nothing to write about or anything of interest to say.

I wanted to address both of these points in this post because I think there is some confusion occurring on some topics, an its a crying shame that people feel they’ve got nothing valuable to bring to the polytheistic/pagan sphere. We all bring something to the table!

A lack of woo doesn’t mean you are instantly a layperson. 

When reading these posts, many people seemed to equate a lack of god phone, astral travel, or general mysticism to mean that you are instantly a layman. This is simply not true. There are many people who are priests and don’t have daily chats with their gods about who knows what. There are also tons of bloggers and pagans who talk with their gods all the time (or go on astral travels or whatever) and they consider themselves laypeople– myself included.

We would all do well to break free of the notion that “woo” and laity are somehow mutually exclusive. They are not. Remember that from a Kemetic standpoint- priesthood is an orthopraxic job that doesn’t really require you to be able to talk to, feel, or hear the gods – and in many circles, its an accepted “fact” that ancient Egypt is devoid of any woo, mysteries or shamanism of any kind. So it stands to reason that priests could have been entirely headblind, and yet were still able to perform their function and jobs. Additionally, Shinto priesthood is also orthopraxic- no god phone is required. You can be a headblind priest just as easily as you can be a cracked out layperson.

Okay, so I’ve got no “woo” and I’m not a priest- what on earth do I blog about? Where do I start?

This right here is the crux, the point of this post. “Where do I begin?” is an important question and I understand the frustration of wanting to talk about your entirely “boring” and “normal” practice, but not knowing what to talk about. I decided that I would gather up some ideas about what completely normal, non-woo polytheists could easily blog about, and believe me, it’s not as difficult as it seems!

First off, I recommend you go back to basics- your religion and your gods. What concepts about your deities or path could you elaborate on or discuss further? A lot of Kemetics discuss concepts and ideas that are central to our religion – all of which are entirely “woo” free. We also like to write about our gods and mythology (and again. and again.) – some of which is historical and some of which is entirely UPG. And on the note of UPG, it is possible to come up with ideas and challenge concepts related to a god (or their mythology) without having a god phone. I have pondered and poked about the Osirian myths from a purely historical perspective- no god phone or crack visions included.

So if you’re looking for ideas on things to write- start with your religious practice. Look for concepts and ideas that you can write about. Your writings can be historical or research driven, or you could muse on topics to open the floor for further discussion with fellow practitioners. Don’t forget to look at your gods and mythos to see if there are interesting things to be discussed there.

Beyond concepts and ideas, you could write about holidays, shrine making (if it pertains to your path), offerings, rituals that laymen might perform, or symbolism within your personal practice. Figure out what it is about your particular religious path that makes it tick or work and see if you can translate that into a post.

You could also write about devotional activities- this can run the gamut from devotional jewelry, devotional writing, cooking– you name it. Discuss how you bring your practice into your day to day life or how you see the gods in the world around you. Or you could write about how you cope with a lack of god phone, or fears and concerns that you have due to your lack of hearing. Even our concerns and troubles have value in the blog-o-sphere, because it allows us to reach out to one another and support one another in times of crisis.

Conversely, you could not write so much about you and your practice, but instead focus on writing out and creating resources for people who are already practicing your religion or path. Many Kemetics make a huge fuss over 101s and guides and resource lists. None of these things require “woo”- they only require the patience and drive to read the materials and create the lists and reviews for people to see.

Truthfully, you could easily take a look at the KRT Topic Queue and see a whole list of topics that is based off of practicing Kemeticism sans a god phone or astral travel. Additionally, answersfromvanaheim wrote a short list of topics you could look into as well.

Hopefully this will help to give some of you (god phone or no god phone, woo or woo-less) some ideas for things to write about from a religious or spiritual standpoint. I, for one, would love to see more people writing about their practice – regardless of what form it takes. We all have something to bring to the table, and there is always something we can garner from learning about how others practice.


Posted by on August 28, 2013 in Kemeticism, Rambles


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The Necessity of Death

I’ve been reading Carmen Blacker’s “The Catalpa Bow” recently, which is a book on shamaism within Japan.

In this book, Blacker goes over the practices and rituals that a medium or ascetic (her terms) must go through in order to gain their abilities. One of the most common themes within these regimes is pain that would break an “ordinary” person. Pain comes in many forms including a very strict, malnourishing diet, cold buckets of water poured over a person- regardless of the temperature outside, sleeplessness and repetition of numerous norito and sutras. According to the people who practice these routines, they describe the experiences as excruciating- but at the very moment when they think they can’t hack it anymore, they suddenly find themselves filled with renewed energy and gusto.

One evening, after a night of pot stirring, I was musing on the nature of death. It’s very common for me to hit rock bottom regularly, and I had been teetering above that point regularly at the time. I noted that, despite my recent low- that evening I was particularly focused and clear. Things made sense, and I felt as though my fire and clarity had returned me- however brief. While I was thinking over this, Set shows up and asks me if I had ever considered that perhaps it is death that gives me my fuel and drives me forward.

Or perhaps it could be phrased if I had ever considered if death gives me my sekhem.

And that’s when I connected the dots between what Blacker had described in her books, and what I had been experiencing all along in the Pit and the River. Whenever I hit the bottom of the bottom, I find myself in these places and I die a little death. And in the convulsions of death, I am ripped apart and I shed my old skin, and I resurface, filled with more energy to continue on another day.

Sometimes the death isn’t small. Sometimes its really really big.

Sometimes I will find myself laying in a mental anguish for weeks wondering how the hell I’m going to figure a way out of this mess that is my life. There are many times when I lay there and think that I seriously have hit rock bottom and I just can’t do this anymore.

And it never fails that when I hit the lowest of the low that somehow I am reborn. Much like the mythos surrounding Osiris, I mentally rip myself apart until there is nothing left, and then when I can’t even find myself anymore, I am hit with a sudden onset of clarity and find it within me to step forward and keep moving onward.

Tonight is one of those such nights. After weeks of rolling around in a mental and physical fog- I am struck with such clarity that my mind feels like it’s going to break open at any given second because it just makes that much sense to me. Much like the people in Blacker’s book who go through weeks of hell as a means to strip their bodies of any excess so that they may be rendered barren to be reborn anew, I have wallowed in my own mental filth long enough to break free and in so doing, have hit a type of epiphany for myself.

In this, I research about the Sekhem Scepter to further understand what Set is referring to when discussing the source of my sekhem. And it is during this search in my Reading Egyptian Art book that I find out that Osiris is heavily tied to the Sekhem Scepter. In fact, one of his epithets is “Great Sekhem” or “Foremost of Powers”. Combine this with Set’s inability to ever die and it becomes even clearer how these two form the duality that is not only my cracked out practice, but myself.

One never dies. He constantly becomes reborn and in so doing, knows how to show another how to consistently claw your way back to the surface. The other can show you the ins and outs of the process of dying and being reborn because he had to go through it himself. In fact, if you will remember – it is the undying Set who pushed Osiris into the transformation that is death. Osiris can show you the ins and outs because his brother gave him the literal shove into the process.

My new thinking is that if you work with both and you can become adept at both. You can learn how to die and yet never die. You constantly become the person to initiate the death, work through the death and come out of the death still breathing, but better for it. An endless cycle that perpetuates upon itself.

He tells me that this is the source of my Sekhem, my power. That it is a part of me. Vital to me. That it is me.

I’m not sure what to make of that.


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Sometimes it’s Not About the Gods

There is a large movement in the polytheistic community to push people towards paying more attention to the gods. These people advocate giving more to the gods (and more and more and more) and pretty much being deity-centric in your religious practice, and to some extent- your life. I understand that a lot of these discussions about putting gods first is likely a heavy handed response to what is likely a heavy handed problem- people who completely have no regards for the gods. But I see nothing being gained in returning heavy hands with heavy hands. Heavy hands do nothing but leave bruises.

Because I dislike bruises, I would like to propose a differing view, in which I believe that sometimes, even though you are polytheistic and in a polytheistic religion- its not about the gods. Sure, you can make it about the gods, but sometimes, they are not the center of the universe (in the same sense that people aren’t always the center of the universe. Shocking.)

Allow me to clarify.

First of all, in Kemeticism, the point of the religion is living in ma’at (as I mentioned in this post here). Living is the first priority. You can’t make ma’at happen on a large scale if you’re not living and mixing and mingling with other people and the world around you. So you could argue, straight off the bat, that Kemeticism is at its core about being here and now in the physical realms and living your life and making ma’at happen around you.

And you will note, that entire statement doesn’t include a single mention of a deity.

But let’s examine this from a different angle. I can hear many of my hardcore polytheists responding with “But Devo! They put all of this time and money and effort into the cult centers and temples in antiquity! Surely the gods are the forefront and center of everything. This proves it!”

I would respond with- perhaps.

The temples and cults were more or less the treasury of the nation and the King. They stored the wealth of the country, which is why the cult centers of Amun got so large by the later periods of Egypt. However, despite the cult centers and temples being very large and wealthy, only a small percentage of people actually worked inside of those temple complexes. Even fewer ever made it to the inner sanctuaries and levels of the temple itself.

Out of all of the population of Egypt, only a very small percentage would have been wealthy or literate. And only a small percentage of that small percentage would have made it into the temples where gods were the focus. And let’s also add that those priests who “lived for the gods” also had long vacations from the temple- where they probably did very little that is god-centric.

So I repeat that its entirely possible that not everyone cared about the gods, or lived for the gods, or made everything they did about the gods. I think this to be particularly true if you were dirt poor. You were too busy keeping your fields going and hoping that you didn’t get sick and that you had enough to last the summer than anything else. Like many cultures, it’s entirely possible that the only time that the commoner really focused on the gods was during a festival, or if they really really needed to ask for assistance from a local hekau.

As with everything about the past, it is purely speculation- so instead of only speculating about the past, I’d like to bring it back to the present.

I mentioned above that the point of Kemeticism is to live in ma’at – and I think that’s very important to keep in mind. A lot of newly converted Kemetics will spend a lot of time focusing on their altars and shrines and buying statuary and incense and bowls and plates and all sorts of things for the gods. And while this is great for building a personal practice, I would like to posit that this isn’t the whole point to this Kemetic thing. The point is that mention of ma’at above. We have plenty of articles about offerings to gods and what to give them- but truthfully, the thing that fills the gods most is ma’at.

They live off of ma’at. They breath ma’at. They are ma’at.

So by giving and making and performing ma’at in this world (with or without the gods in mind), you are effectively feeding them. It could be as simple as being a good person, being nice to another fellow human, donating to a charity- anything like that that helps to bring things into balance helps the world, and in effect helps not only the gods, but yourself.

Yourself. That is a powerful thing.

There seems to be a stigma against helping yourself. “Religion isn’t a psychologist” or “Religion isn’t there to help you” “Religion is about the gods, not us”.

And yet- if every Pagan and polytheist you meet isn’t in balance, or isn’t healthy and happy- what good are we do these “all powerful” deities? And even more importantly, if we are miserable and unable to function well- what good are we to the world around us?

Because we can’t forget that we live here, on this planet, in this place. If the world around us goes to hell, what’s the point in honoring the gods? Simple- there is no point because there won’t be a here or an us to do any of the honoring.

I wrote a long time ago about Unconditional Love and how that means loving yourself. And I think that many modern polytheists are forgetting that “myself” is just as much a part of the equation as the gods are. Humans are not the center of the universe, but neither are the gods. The gods don’t have ultimate control over everything that happens in the world (or the cosmos). In the grand scheme of things, gods are but specs of dust- as are we. To entirely forget yourself so that you might have better focus on the gods is not only pointless but, in my opinion, destructive.

As it is said, you need balance in all things.

Are you balanced in whom you devote your time to?

How do you feel about putting the gods second from time to time? Do you make yourself a priority in your life or your religious practice? Should you?


Posted by on July 17, 2013 in Kemeticism, Rambles


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