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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.

cookies_osiris

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:

 
8 Comments

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.

 
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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?

 
18 Comments

Posted by on July 17, 2013 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

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Gods and God-Phones 101

I’ve recently been working as a mod over at the Pagan101 Tumblr, and one of the topics we get asked about a lot is basically summed up as “How do I gods?” This topic includes things such as “How do I approach the gods?” “How do I know if a god is interested in me?” “How do I hear the gods?” “How do god phones work?” “How do I make my god phone work better?”

All of those things that we all wonder when we first start out in the Pagan-sphere.

So I thought I’d gather some resources and some ideas and put them all in one place for everyone to use and share. If you’ve got more resources for this post, leave them in the comments section, and I’ll add them!

I’m new to this whole Paganism/Polytheism thing. I am interested in learning about some gods, or finding a god to call my own or work with- what do I do?

I think this is where everyone starts. When you first dip your toes into Paganism, you find that everyone is talking about gods. Gods this, gods that. X god said Y to me. It seems like the entire point to all of this is gods.

And so many people want to work on finding gods as quickly as possible.

There is nothing wrong with this, but I recommend doing a couple of things when you first start out:

  • Research. Research anything and everything that looks good to you. Learn about all sorts of religious paths and gods. Learn about different cultures that are tied to these religions.
  • Talk to people. Talk to followers of these gods. Talk to people who are in different religions. Ask questions to these people (though remember that no one is obligated to answer your questions. Always remain courteous and respectful).
  • Get into discussions. Throw ideas around. Take your knowledge that you’re gaining and try to apply it when you’re talking with others. When you find new concepts and ideas that work better for you, don’t be afraid to throw old ideas that no longer suit you out.
  • Question. Question what it is you want out of your religious life. Figure out why it is you are looking for a relationship with a god. Question if you need one or want one. Ponder everything.

There is a lot to Paganism and polytheism. Taking the time to read, learn and discuss can help you decide what you’re looking for, and where to narrow your search when considering deities. Lots of people think you can’t practice a Pagan religion without a deity- but in truth, you can. And sometimes taking the long way around to finding a god is helpful – because you’ll know what you want when you find the right god, and things will likely click a lot better.

Two good posts on figuring out if a source is good or not:

Okay, so I’ve read and thought about it. I still want to find some gods to talk to.

Take the culture, religion or deities that interest you– and research some more. Don’t worry so much about why a culture or deity calls to you- just follow what you feel. Sometimes hunches and ideas can really lead us to interesting and unexpected places. Once you’ve got a deity in mind, figure out how you should approach them. Some cultures and religions have taboos, and you wouldn’t want to offend a deity on your first meeting. Try to be as accurate and thorough as possible (if possible). Remember that respect and intent go a long way.

Once you’ve got some ideas on how to approach the deity- do so. We’ve got a simple guide for Kemetics and approaching gods, for reference. Remember that not every ritual or meeting has to be elaborate or fancy. Sometimes the simplest stuff will suffice. Just make sure that you’re doing the best you can.

godphone-meme

I’ve reached out to the god/s that interest me… and nothing happened. What now?

Remember that communication with the Divine (or Unseen, or any non-physical entity) can take time and practice – and you might not receive an answer right away. Sometimes gods are busy, or they want to see how you work and do things before giving a response.

More commonly, though, gods speak in a language that most of us don’t. As brought up in the book Manifest Divinity (which I highly recommend), the Divine is all around us. It’s in everything and a part of everything- but many times, we’re more or less blind to it. Gods can appear in many many ways. For some of us who have astral workings, gods can appear there. For some, gods appear in visions or dreams, or will pop up in messages through the radio. Or perhaps you’ll see a deity in a bill board, a bird flying through the air, or leaves scuttling across the sidewalk. And gods tend to pick whichever messages and means they think we’ll hear the best when communicating with us. Some gods are known for certain types of communication over others- but because they are gods, they can switch it up just for the lols.

Keep your eyes open for omens and signs. Remember to practice discernment when reading omens, though. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes the uncanny things you’re seeing might not be an omen (or they might be an omen that didn’t come from the deity in question). If you’re unsure, you can try to approach the deity again in another ritual, or you could try performing a type of divination to figure out if the god wants you to hang around or not. If the god declines, thank them for their time and continue your search. Remember that gods have their own lives and things to attend to. Try not to take it personally- there could be a million reasons why a god might decline working with you. Remember that there are other deities to look into.

Links for reading on Discernment:

What if a god picks me first?

This happens as well- many times people feel like gods choose them, not the other way around. If a god starts to knock on your doorstep and ask for you to pay attention to them, I recommend that you still follow some of the rules above- research, learn, talk with others, and ask questions. Remember that forming a relationship with a god is a lot like forming a relationship here in this plane as well- you want to make sure that you are compatible and work well together.

Some people do well with more ‘forward’ gods that are strict and firm. Others need a softer touch and might want to stay away from deities that are more pushy. Some people are scared of gods (as opposed to goddesses). There are lots of things to consider- so take your time. You wouldn’t marry the first person you met in a bar- nor should you oath and completely “wed” yourself to a god that you just met.

As with everything in your religious practice- take your time. Get to know the deity. Build up a relationship with them. This is usually best done with rituals and offerings. Sit and talk with them. Pour your heart out to them (that’s what I used to do). Ask them what goals or interests they have in you. Figure out why they are hanging around you (if they have a reason). Make sure that their long term goals and your long term goals sorta line up.

Other posts about when gods come knocking:

So I’ve got a deity that I like, but my god phone isn’t working so hot. How do I make it better? 

The best thing I can recommend with anyone is to practice. God phones do take time to develop, much like any other skill or asset. Sometimes, a god phone will never manifest for the person in question – and that’s okay. You can still have a fulfilling religious practice without a god phone.

Beyond practice, I would urge you to experiment. Gods and the Unseen can manifest in weird ways, and sometimes communication may occur in ways that you wouldn’t expect. Try to remove any expectations you have on communication and allow yourself to be open to different means and methods that you wouldn’t have considered originally.

Also remember that god phones can cut out from time to time. It’s perfectly normal and there is nothing to worry about. Much like with Fallow Times, just keep moving forward as best as you can and usually the connection will re-establish itself in time.

The Road Ahead

As always, this post is not exhaustive. Writing about gods and deity/devotee relationships could fill tomes, but I do hope that this guide serves as a good spring board for people who are starting along the polytheistic/Pagan path.

Other relevant posts:

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

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KRT: Mixing Paths & Dual Practices

For this round of KRT we are discussing mixing and practicing various paths and rituals within our practice, and whether it is permissible or not.

The prompt read as follows:

Can I work with other pantheons? Can I perform rituals that aren’t Kemetic based?

The short answer for both of these questions is yes.

Working two paths, or mixing elements of two paths isn’t entirely new, really. Ancient Egypt was known for mixing elements from nearby cultures into their religious pantheon and circle, and the Netjer have been known to send people to different gods or religious paths because said gods or paths will help us to learn things we might not learn otherwise. So it was popular then, and it is still pretty common now.

When it comes to participating in two religious practices at once- I always try to stick to the notion that they are kept separate and true to one another. For example, I practice both Shinto and Kemeticism at once. However, I would never place an ofuda inside of a Kemetic kar shrine. Conversely, I’d never stick a Kemetic icon inside of a kamidana. I wouldn’t give offerings to Netjer in the same fashion as I do Shinto offerings and vice versa.

Each religion has its own guidelines and setups and I keep those guidelines and setups for each religion. I don’t cross them over out of respect for the gods I’m working with and the cultures that surround these gods.

So for anyone who is considering practicing two faiths/religions/paths at once- I say go for it. Just make sure you’re being respectful to the cultures and gods you are interacting with or learning from.

However, there is the capacity to utilize ideas, rites and concepts that are foreign to Kemeticism within a Kemetic practice. For instance, Shinto does have a lot of cleansing rites and mixtures (such as kiyomesune, a type of sacred black sand used for cleansings) and so I’ll use things like that for cleansing before a Kemetic rite. Or I might use natron in my bath for cleansing before going in front of the kamidana.

So long as you’re not being disrespectful to the original concept, or the religious framework you’re adopting the idea into (Kemeticism already has a concept of sand being purifying, and both Shinto and Kemeticism place heavy emphasis on cleanliness and purity, for example), the cross over should be okay.

If you were wanting to participate in a ritual that isn’t Kemetic- this is allowable, too. Many Kemetics I’ve met have been invited to participate in rites that aren’t even remotely tied to Kemetic practice. Once again, being respectful and courteous during these rites is key. But most of the time, Netjer doesn’t seem to mind if you’re participating in rites and festivals from other cultures. As stated above, its entirely possible that a Netjeru will push you to participate in something new or different as a lot of other cultures and religious paths have great ideas and values that we can learn from.

So if another pantheon is calling your name, or someone that you associate with invites you to a local religious shin dig and you want to go- never fear! Netjer are open to new and different things, as should we all. Just be sure to be respectful to the gods and cultures you are rubbing elbows with and things should go just fine.

See all of the responses to this particular KRT topic by visiting the Master List.

 

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