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A Good Horse: 6 Months Later

Last year I had asked all of my readers to consider what they would do when a god pushes too far. To consider how they would react if the relationships they had with one or more of their deities suddenly fell apart and exploded all around them. How would they rebuild? How would they proceed with their religious endeavors?

It’s not an easy thing to answer. With something like a house, its very straight forward. You clear away the rubble and you rebuild your foundations. In short, you start from scratch. But with a relationship, especially a relationship with a non-physical entity, its not so clear cut. How do you start from scratch with a god? How to you rebuild the trust that was lost? How do you overcome the anger and hurt that you feel so that you can even look at one another again without scowling?

How do we take a relationship that has gone bad and get it back into neutral territory?

Marseille, statue, cheval, stone horse by Jeanne Menj via Flickr

Last year I got to experience first hand what happens when a long term relationship falls apart. I got to be on the receiving end of a deity that went too far and we both got to experience the results of what happens when I’m pushed to my limits. Last year, I got to experience what it was like to essentially be broken. At the time that it was happening, I knew that there was a reason for it. I knew that I needed to go through this first hand so that I could report back to everyone else and teach them how to do it better than I did. I knew that this was all part of a bigger picture plan that Set was concocting and that his words were both laced with truth and falsity all at once. And above all, I knew that there was no stopping it.

I knelt down on the ground and listened to him tell me that I was good at destroying things. I felt the lump in my throat as he told me that the community wasn’t everything that I needed to be doing. I felt that lump sink to my chest in the fall when Osiris told me that he was the other side to Set’s coin, and that their work for me would be in tandem. And then the lump fell into my stomach when fall shifted to winter and I realized that both of them were right in their own ways.

This is a 6 month check in on how I coped with my falling out with Set. This is also a story on how I have attempted to rebuild the foundations of my relationship with Set and Osiris.

_____________________

After Set and I had our initial blow up, things were incredibly tense. The next few weeks were filled with short and snippy conversations. A few weeks after that, those short conversations shifted into yelling matches. And within a month or so, we were almost not talking at all. By the time that I had released my Good Horse post, we were pretty much not speaking unless we had to. Any time I’d show up to work with Set, he’d stand there and stay silent. He figured that opening his mouth meant that he could insert his foot, and so in his eyes, silence trumped speaking.

Truth be told, this was probably for the best. As soon as Set realized he had done some major damage, he stepped back and gave me space. He got mildly better at not reacting if I yelled at him. Instead he’d stand there quietly and keep his comments to himself. I was given space because more pressure on his end would have only made it worse.

So when a god fails you, I would say that the best first step is some breathing room. You and the deity need some space to get your thoughts together. How long this period needs to be will vary. I didn’t start talking to Set again until after I got back from the Duat. That is about 2 months of yelling and barely talking, and nearly 3 or 4 months of not speaking at all.

About the same time that Set completely backed off from me, I noticed that Wpwt stepped forward. I can’t tell if Wpwt has long term aims for me or not, but I certainly know that his sudden appearance was not coincidental. I joke about how Set must have cornered him in a bar and cried on Wpwt’s shoulder about how badly he had screwed up, and how he then begged Wpwt to do something to fix it, and for all I know the joke is accurate.

Either way, Wpwt came forward and began to talk with me about the situation I found myself in. For the record, Wpwt is much smoother with his words than Set is. He offered me perspective about not only my situation, but the situation that Set was in. He highlighted the difficulties that the whole pantheon faces in this day and age, and he gave me other ways to look at things.

In other words, he initiated the process of my shifting of attitude towards Set. Had Wpwt not talked with me, I don’t know how long it would have taken me to realize these things. Even now, I am grateful for his assistance with the whole situation.

So the second step in repairing a messed up devotee/deity relationship is to gain perspective. This can be through other deities or other practitioners. Wpwt talked to me about how Set’s hands are bound in a lot of ways by the upper echelons of the pantheon. He talked to me about how things are not as smoothly running as we’d like to believe. He knocked some sense into my head so that I could, at the very least, start being in the same room with Set without throwing things at him.

He began the process of healing for the whole situation.

By this point, Osiris had taken center stage and I was preparing to fall into the Duat. Due to the circumstances I was in, I wouldn’t see Set at all until I came out the other side, and by the time the “other side” came, I found that I was angry with both deities, and that I’d need to work on figuring out what to do with both of my relationships.

But why was I so angry? That’s probably the question on everyone’s mind. I’ve been dancing around just what Set asked me last year, and what Osiris told me he had in mind for my future with him because I’ve not been sure how everyone would respond to it. But it’s really hard to follow the whole story without having the actual whole story to go off of.

The long and short of what Set and Osiris have asked of me is this:

Set would like to use my abilities as someone who can kill and destroy over in the Unseen. According to him, he is bound by paperwork and red tape, and that there are some places, realms, and people he can’t get to because of it. I would be someone he would send to a location behind the scenes. I’d go in, handle the person, and leave. The downside to this is that it creates a huge target on your back and can create a lot of problems if you realm-jump regularly. Nothing like landing in a realm only to be thrown in jail because you killed someone important. Plus, it creates a lot of mental stress for me, and I’d be neck deep in death, which I don’t like.

Osiris wants me to heal and work with dead people. He says the Duat needs healing, that the land itself needs repair. And that dead spirits need care too. He would like to see me develop these skills both here and in the Unseen.

Both are interested in my community work, but that’s more Set’s bent.

Both deity’s requests center around my ability to tinker in someone’s core. To heal someone effectively, you need to go to their source, their core. To kill someone totally, you need to destroy their source, their core. Both the life and death aspect of things are tied together through one common skillset. Both Set and Osiris are tied together in this, and they know it.

For them, these tasks are not a “you pick one or the other”. It’s more a case of “you get both of us together and you will deal with it.” These two are tied together through a death, and I think in a grand scheme kind of way, it makes sense.

Well great. I understand their link, but both of these aspects still leave me in situations I don’t want to be in. They both leave me dealing with death on a regular basis.

However, more and more I question my ability to escape some of the aspects that I dislike about my astral life. The notion of somehow falling off of the radar to live a quiet life is unlikely for a variety of reasons. At least if I had a god’s backing, it may give me some political bargaining power in at least a few realms.

After my time in the Duat was done, Osiris sent me home to rest. I didn’t leave my bedroom for probably a month while I waited for my body to heal up. During that time, I had a lot of hours to kill, and I killed them mulling the situation I was in. I weighed the pros and the cons, I concocted ways to get out of things, to circumvent things, to find a way to spin this more in my favor.

I started by leveling with them. I talked with them about what I truly needed to make this work. I asked them to give me answers about specific questions (such as: how are you going to keep me from losing my mind from all of this? How will we handle my stress from all of this? What will you do when my anxiety starts to kill me?). I am currently waiting on their responses to these questions. I began to ask better questions about what they are planning. I began to work on handling my anxiety in the Seen so that I could at least consider their proposals, which I still don’t have in a final format.

All of these emotions and anger and frustration and I’m right where they wanted me to begin with. I’m sitting down at the bargaining table, trying to at least get an in-depth understanding of what they want from me.

And that is where I am at six months later. I am still a little bitter and frustrated at them, but no longer seething with anger or rage. I’m beginning to understand that the Unseen is filled with tricksters and tinkerers, and that the gods are no exception. No one is immune to it. And so I’m trying to figure out how to make this work in my favor because I currently can’t figure out a way to get out of it entirely. It will probably still be another year before I make any decisions, but at least I can gather my information now and move forward slowly.

Although the fact that I am considering their offers really makes me wonder if I was actually broken in as a horse would be. Does this mean that they won? Is that even the correct way to look at it? I’m not sure.

_____________________

I get that this post is long, so I’m going to sum up the short version here:

When a god dicks you over, I consider doing the following:

  • Give each other space. This includes from the deity’s side. Ask them to give you time to process things.
  • Get perspective if you can. Whether from other Unseen entities/gods or from devotees or other people you know. Weigh the perspectives to see what you want to do moving forward.
  • Take things slowly. Don’t let anyone bully you into moving quicker than you are comfortable with.
  • If it appears that the relationship is too far destroyed, look into getting some godly back-up and assistance in severing the connection with that god.
  • If the relationship can be salvaged, I recommend talking it out with the god. Being honest and frank with one another with where you are at. This may take months to accomplish, so take your time. Not everything needs to be addressed in one conversation.

As for my own deity relationships:

I was pissed at Set and Osiris for throwing me into things I question if I can handle. However, recent events have made me seriously consider what they have in the future for me, and I am currently working on a number of things to see if its something I can hack. Our bargaining is on-going, and I wouldn’t expect anything final for a number of months.

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Modern Mythology: I <3 Balls Day

Gather around the camp fire once again as we delve into the myths and stories of our religion!

Set

During the ongoing battle for the Kingship of Egypt, Set and Horus found themselves in a large predicament. You see, each deity had been damaged from this battle – one losing his eye, and the other his testicles. It’s very painful to lose your testicles, you know! Through a series of wiley tricks and maneuvers, however, both were able to get their missing pieces restored to their former glory.

What Set didn’t know at the time, however, is that Thoth – “Astute in His Plans Who Fashioned All Things, Including Set’s Nuts” – gave him an even better set of balls as a way of saying thank you for taking the bad rap for the whole “felling Osiris” thing. When Set received his new shiny set of testicles, he was amazed at their awesomeness. It was like having a disco in his pants.

He was so ecstatic about his new hardware that Set ran to the highest point of Egypt and yelled out across the land “These are the best balls ever! Look at how amazing they are! I will surely be able to use them to smite apep every day!” Everyone was so happy for his new shiny testicles that a festival was proclaimed in their honor. And in our modern calendar, that day is February 14th- the day of <3-ing Your Balls.

You can see the effects of this festival almost everywhere you look! There are stands of balls in grocery stores. Ball shaped candies and candy containers. Ball shaped jewelry. Ball shaped everything! All as glorious and magnificent as Set’s newborn testicles.

When celebrating this holiday, it is customary to deck out your shrine is as many ball-shaped items as possible. Set loves the color red, so the redder, the better. However, he does has a soft side and can appreciate balls of other colors. Be sure to spend some time reflecting on your own personal badassery and taking the time to remember just how great you really are. You can also use this time to ask Set and Thoth in assistance in making your own balls better- as a means of seizing your potential and making tough choices that require balls to make!

With the proper heka, Thoth can assist you in creating a disco in your pants, too!

___________________

Every year around February we see nearly every grocery store in America fill up with tons of pink and red Valentine’s Day stuff. Usually, this is a holiday I don’t participate in at all. I’ve never cared for the concept behind it, and I’ve just never really gotten into the habit of doing anything for V-Day.

However, my foray into Kemeticism has changed my perspective on this holiday. Set’s main symbol is his balls. For most of us, we take a standard heart and turn it upside down to make it into a set of balls (which may not be too far off of what the heart used to mean). So now the second half of January and the first half of February is nothing but balls for me. It’s turned from a holiday about romance into a holiday about Set.

And his balls.

I feel like this can be shifted into a modern festival or rite that we can use within our community for seizing the day, taking hold of our courage and reminding ourselves of our greatness (in the same way that Set reminds me of his greatness all the time). If you’d like to give it a shot, there are two methods for this particular heka. One version, which involves a large chocolate heart, can be found here. The second, which involves good old fashions paper, is below:

  • Sheet of paper- 8.5″x11″. Any color will do, I recommend red or purple.
  • Writing utensils of whatever color you’d like.
  • A situation or trait you need to find some courage to tackle.
  • This tutorial about folding.

Start with your paper- figure out what situation you need some courage with. On the inside of your paper, write the situation down. You can be as specific or generalized as you need to be. Feel free to use sigils or different colors for different things. Get as creative as you want.

Then, fold up your paper into the shape of the balls using the tutorial above. If possible, place your balls in a location where you can see them regularly. If your situation is at work, perhaps leave them on your desk. If it is something to do with money, maybe leave it in your wallet. If you’re unsure, leave them on your shrine for the gods to keep an eye on.

Hopefully the heka provided in this post can help you to gain some courage and celebrate your awesomeness this Valentine’s Day! If you have any questions regarding these rites, or try these rites out for yourself- please let me know!

Other Modern Mythology Posts:

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

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A Good Horse

I don’t know how many of you out there have ever had horses. Or more specifically- have raised horses. But for those of you that haven’t, there is a concept that a horse is useless to a person until they are broke.

Yes, broke.

When you take a foal and “train” it to wear saddles and tolerate bits and halters, the process if called “breaking” the horse. And one of the selling points of a horse is that they are “broke”. You can’t usually ride the horse or do anything with the horse until this process is finished, and there are a variety of methods for breaking horses – some being very humane, some being very very cruel.

This is a story about a horse being broken.

_______________

“There will always be wolves” he tells me after the fact. That is his justification for all of this. “There will always be wolves, and I need to make sure that my children (his word, not mine) can handle that.” You see, to him- raising strong, self-reliant people outranks anything else. The idea that wolves will always be present apparently drives him to break you in. Because I suppose once you’re broken enough and yet are still surviving- that means you can survive anything.

In short, he likes to make “mini-Sets”. But to understand how we got here, we’ve got to go backwards to where this all started.

You see, I hail from the astral-ghetto. I wasn’t always in the ghetto, but sometimes bad things happen, and bad people cross your path and screw up your existence for the next 3457459823484957 years. It was that kind of situation for me. I originally began to work with my astral existence only because I knew I had fallen into trouble, and I feared that my life here would be shortened if I didn’t straighten out some of the crap in my astral life.

Knowing the why behind a situation can really set a scene. It would be years after I started working with Set when I’d be kneeling down on the stone floor of the Pit, contending with all of the trappings of the astral ghetto and losing my patience with this deity. You’d think after all of the hell he had led me through that I’d be okay with anything at this point, but we all have our limits.

I have honestly forgotten how this particular conversation started, but I do remember the hard floor in particular. I know that many people know me for not being someone who worships the gods, but I do know when kneeling is appropriate. And I have spent more than my fair share of time in front of He Who Makes the Sky Shake on my knees. I remember staring at the floor when I lost my patience with him. My patience because he was slowly taking everything that he had pushed me towards in the 4 years prior and throwing it out the window.

That’s how it starts, when you break your horse in. You ween them. You ween them from all of the comfort that they knew.

Set started it with the community. This boat paddling venture is my baby. My whole life revolves around Kemetics and paddling my tiny canoe between as many Kemetic islands as I can muster. And that is where he started.

“That is more my brother’s thing” he told me that particular evening. “I really don’t care too much about what happens with all of that. I don’t need followers. If anything, you pushing more people towards me means I’ve got to fill out more paperwork. I’d probably be better off if you just stopped with that all together.”

I could feel the first cracks in my practice forming. This boat paddling, pot stirring adventure that Set had been pushing shoving me into- was suddenly not his idea or concern.

I remember the hard floor under my knees. I drag my fingers along the grooves in the stone as I try to find some semblance of sanity in that particular moment. I ask him what on earth he wants me around for- if its not to help promote the ma’at sharing between devotees and gods. That reciprocal back scratching that we’re all supposed to be aiming for.

And as though it was nothing he states his case for me. His future that he sees for me. A future that is completely separate from anything Kemetic related. Something that would, indeed, make me into a ‘mini-Set’. A job that has been known to eat me alive in the past and would shove me ever further into the astral ghetto. A job that would keep me up at night and possibly ruin what little shred of normalcy I have in my waking life.

He looks at me as the smoke wafts up from his pipe. He’s frustrated because this isn’t how he wanted to broach this topic. No no no, he wanted to paint it into something far prettier so that I would be more inclined to say yes. But in this moment- this is how the cards played out, and this is what he has to work with.

Angry at the audacity, I ask him why on earth I would do that for him. And the conversation degrades from there.

And so I left.

Now, when things like this happen, they kinda happen slowly- in ways you don’t realize. I didn’t notice it, but Set had been chipping at this for a while. Little comments here. Little nuances there. Little things that escaped me at first. I think I sped up his timeline by forcing the issue, and so I was no longer allowed to ease into the notion, but instead had the whole house collapse on my head and around my feet. I rolled around in my anger for a couple of weeks. I quit showing up to see Set, and when I finally did speak with him again, I no longer provided offerings or incense upon arrival. I was furious at him, and refused to give him anything but the bare basics of civility.

We’d play this game for a while. We were still on talking terms, but we were nowhere near friendly. He promised to help me figure some stuff out because my life was falling apart- but he’d fall through on that, too.

It was during these months that I really began to question why we worship gods at all- when they seem to be incapable of doing anything worthwhile for most of us. Set would slowly continue to tell me things that broke apart what most of us believed made up the Kemetic practice. He’d slowly unpick every bit of religious structure that I thought was important until there was pretty much nothing left.

And one day I woke up and decided I wanted to burn what was left of my metaphorical house down.

“Match” by Ian Hayhurst

To me the Kemetic community and my Kemetic practice are like living in a house. This blog is part of it, my Kemetic groups and Tumblr associates are a part of it. And with Set more or less ripping apart everything I thought I had known, I felt entirely ostracized from everyone and I felt like my whole “house” might not last the storm. So in order to cut it to the chase- I decided I would burn the whole damned thing to the ground.

I did this in a series of posts that I expected to completely and utterly bomb and fail because they contained hard truths within them. If you’ve been reading for any amount of time, you probably recognize them, they are: The Nuances of Non-Physical Relationships, On Being Broken and Musings on Pain and Astral Travel. Each post has documented my slow breakdown and unlearning of what I thought I had known.

In Nuances, I set up the notion that perhaps gods could overstep our boundaries and push us in places that we shouldn’t go. I set the stage for the next post where I mused over what we should do when a god fails us. These musings were largely ushered in by Set’s seeming disregard for my sanity or lack of concern for my general well-being, I fumbled around with what the hell to do if he pushed me to a point that I could no longer work with him. I rounded this out with the final post on the astral and pain where I mentioned that large chunks of my own life have been destroyed by astral work and that you should consider whether you really want that in your life, lest it consume you entirely.

With each post I worked through my anger with him and grappled with what had happened between us. What the worst part about all of it is – its exactly what he wanted.

And I knew it. I knew from the get-go that this was part of what he wanted.

As he handed the matches to me and told me to torch the whole place, I knew I was playing right into his hands, and it pissed me off even more. “I am going to destroy your stability and your life so that you can go out there and write about how horrible we gods can be.”

The thing about it is, we all “know” that gods can be jerks. We all “know” that they will push us to reach potentials and goals (sometimes our goals, sometimes their goals) and we all “know” that we can say “no”. But sometimes no matter what you do, you are playing right into their hands and there isn’t a damned thing you can do about it.

The deity in question shoves a bit in your mouth and straps a saddle onto your back and you can crowhop and buck and roll around on the ground, but at the end of the day you’re going to succumb to the fact that you are being broken.

Because you’re useless if you’re not broken.

And so in my anger of being the Tesla of Kemetics and the fact that Set gave no fucks about anything, I lit my house on fire and I watched it burn as I released each post. And the weirdest sensation overcame me. I felt liberated.

Liberated. Free. Totally and utterly free of everything as I watched with eagerness over what would happen with each post.

To go back to Blacker’s book, she talks about undergoing gyo, or trials and hardships, when you’re working on your ascetic powers. She says that many people who undergo gyo end up being pushed to a breaking point and when they can no longer take it anymore- suddenly they are filled with renewed vigor and strength- and this is how they manage to get through everything.

I don’t know if that’s what I experienced, or if it was just a case of complete dissociation with everything I had worked to build over the past few years. But either way, I was elated to announce every post that would burn down my house. I was ecstatic to see what would happen.

And now I am at the end of the venture. Despite worrying that I would alienate every other Kemetic and polytheist in a 10 mile radius, my “house” still stands (if not a bit stronger for the adventure). However, despite having come through the house-burning intact, I can’t help but feel like something is still broken.

Because much like with the membrane mentioned in my Astral Pain post- sometimes once the blindfold is ripped off of your eyes, you can’t unsee the blinding light. And even though people have appreciated what I’ve written and I understand why Set led me where he did- at the end of the day, the basics still haven’t changed. He still wants me to do things that I’m not okay with doing, and because of the mental wringer I was run through my Kemetic practice will likely never be what it once was again.

I am, for all intents and purposes, broken in some capacity or another.

I suppose that makes me a good horse in some respects, but now it begs to ask- what do I do from here?

 
 

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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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The Cycle: The Pit

This is a 3 post series about a cycle. A cycle that took nearly 3 years to complete. I’ve decided to write about this now because this is my time for celebrating O’s Mysteries, and I feel that the cycle I have been through and the Mysteries go hand in hand (for my own personal experience). I am always contemplative about myself, life and death during the Mysteries, and if anything I’ve gone through could embody those traits- the Cycle is it. The Mysteries are all about death, transformation, and rebirth. A period of killing things, being torn apart, inert, helpless. Followed by a period of gathering your pieces up, regaining yourself, and rising to power, as it were. This Cycle that I’ve been led through did exactly that. It cut me down, ripped me apart, cleansed my bits, put me back together, and then I climbed out of my hole to find myself whole again.

I think it should also be said that I want to write this out for others to consider. A lot of people seem to think that recons are dry and dull- that our practices are completely stale and dead. However, I submit this experience for your consideration. I ask you to challenge your thoughts on what you think you know- about recons, and the gods. I ask you to take a look at the crack-laden roller coaster ride I’ve been on, and see if your opinions are the same once you come out the other side.

So shall we?

The Cycle began in 09. In fact, it started right after Set came barging into my life. I guess he doesn’t like to waste time. Shortly after my job situation was handled, he sat down with me one day in a vision and told me that I had a black hole in me. And in that black hole was a lot of anger, depression, frustration, malice. Inside of my black hole (my pit, he often called it) were all of these emotions. These things that were a part of me, but that I ignored them. And by ignoring these things, I was allowing them to control me.

I suppose it’s like ignoring a ferocious animal in your living room- and then wondering why your furniture is half eaten when you get home from work.

I looked at my black hole, and I saw all of these swirling black things.. like looking into a huge basin of black sludge and oil. I didn’t really know what to do about it. I was a mess. He then showed me his own black hole. I experienced this in multiple ways- the most prominent being through his own mythology. We took the basic myth of Set felling Osiris, and then he laced it with anger, jealousy, rage. He wove a story about how everyone got all of the good things, but he constantly got shafted. He showed how being the middle child, being the lesser son, having many people dislike you- how all of these things can create these demons, these problems- this pit that lives in your heart. He took every myth I could find of him, and warped it into something dark and angry. I have no clue if he actually felt some of this stuff in correlation to the myths, or if it’s reverb from people warping the myths themselves, or if he just tells a good story. But at the time, I could see where he was coming from. I could see the bitterness, the anger and anguish that lay beneath the cool exterior.

I could see myself in him.

The biggest difference being- he had control of all of that stuff. Those emotions were in check. They were his to use and manipulate- not to be manipulated by. Because he acknowledged all of this dark stuff, he was able to use it to his advantage. And it was exactly this that he wanted me to become.

So how did he do this? He took me to the edge of my pit, and kicked me in. Sparta style.

pit

And thus began the cycle. I spent months in this pit. In fact, I think I was there for at least a year. The pit is best described in feeling and color. It’s dark, it’s warm. There are reds and blacks- but mostly black. It’s deafening. All you can hear is yourself, your emotions, your thoughts- every bad thing you could ever imagine or think of lives there. It’s awful. And even worse- its inside you.

It’s inside you. Inside me. Inside all of us. In each of us lies a dark hole that is filled with all the bad stuff we could ever imagine. It’s only a question of if we choose to acknowledge it and work with it- or completely ignore it. In many ways, this part of the cycle is a lot like Dark Flame work within FlameKeeping. You must go into the darkness that is within yourself. And you must live with it, and become it, and embrace it before you can triumph over it.

And it took me months to even get a grip on anything. It took my anger months to get to a point where it was sated and quelled. It took me months to get a point where I could even think with a remotely clear mind. But even then, it wasn’t over. Once you can stand in the pit, you then have to find a way to crawl back out of it again. Once the anger was no longer boiling over, I needed to figure out a means to take hold of it. Only then could I find a way out. And the way out was filled with plenty of screaming, rage, and anger.

That is where Set told me to go look into Shinto. If there is anything that Shinto can address it’s peace, coming together, seeing the good in the bad. Things like that. And through working with Shinto (and a million other changes in my life), I began to see light at the end of the tunnel. I began to slowly crawl out of my own pit.

About this time, Set began to tell me that I needed to make my two halves whole. I was currently two parts, two portions, two mes at war with one another. That this journey into the Pit was ending, but that there was more in store for me.

And ‘lo, as I come out of the pit, I found myself at a river…

Other parts of this series:

 
 

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Flirting With Destruction


aka: Devo’s Guide to Working with Set and Other “Hard-nosed” Netjeru

Mandatory Disclaimer: As with everything, this guide is exactly that- a guide. Gods (especially trickster and chaos gods) can change rules at the drop of a hat, and my interactions with Set might not match your interactions with Set. This guide contains my own personal thoughts and interactions with this deity as well as interactions I have witnessed other followers experience over the years. This guide is merely meant to be a general overview for those who are new to working with Set.

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Nothing gets people talking like a trickster god. And one of the most discussed deities in the Kemetic pantheon could easily be Set. Is he evil? Is he mean? Will he ruin your life? Does he hate Osiris? Does Osiris hate him? If you worship him, does that instantly make you evil too? Set has called me- do I get excited, or run for the hills? He is one of the most misunderstood netjeru there is- to the point that you can gauge a lot about any book on Egypt by seeing how the author views Set (in my opinion), and even a fair amount of Kemetics, while understanding that he is no Satan, still fear him on some level.

And one of the largest things I have seen through the years is:

OMG SET HAS STARTED TALKING TO ME/FOLLOWING ME/REQUESTED MY ATTENTION. WHAT DO I DO?

And then panic ensues.

Usually, when I see Set step into people’s lives, he usually is there to help you grow, to help you move forward and to help you shed unnecessary things. If he only plans on staying in your life for a bit, you might only have to live through the destruction of your life once. If he is going to stick around forever, I highly recommend you learn to regularly purge un-needed things in your life. In my experience, working under him (for lack of a better term- I don’t like using ‘worship’) requires you to alter your perspective on life and the way you approach things. For someone who is only intending to work with Set for a spell, I believe you can learn a lot about how to approach him by examining how long-term followers experience him and handle his quirks.

So what are some things that are good to know with Set? What traits should you expect to cultivate?

1. Light a fire under your ass.

In my experience, Set likes go getters. That doesn’t necessarily mean he wants you to burn out, but he wants you to be actively moving forward in you life by the means necessary. So, for example, if you’re coming to him about getting a job, he would expect you to be actively pursuing getting another job- updating your resume, applying to whatever you can, honing your interview skills, networking, etc. If you’re coming to him about getting more money, he’d expect you to be saving where you can, budgeting better, and trimming excess fat. Those sorts of things. You can’t expect to ask Set for help, and then do nothing. If you ask him for help, or find that he is coming in your direction, you better prepare to start working quickly to make things better. As I have said to many others- if the destruction and change that you need requires you to jump off a cliff- jump off of it. Don’t wait for him to throw you off.

2. Learn to be patient and more laid back.

Ironically, we all think of chaos as being uptight. However, when you’re working with a deity that is chaotic, you’ll find that you need to learn to take a chill pill, or have your head explode from frustration. Many times, Set works in his own, secretive ways. He has methods, and sometimes they don’t make a whole lot of sense. There are also times when he’ll disappear at random and not reappear for quite a while. It’s chaos, it doesn’t always make sense or appear to, at least. One of the best things I’ve learned from this is to just chill out. Oh, Set hasn’t been around for a month or two? Well I guess he’ll wander back around when he needs me. So long as you’re actively performing number 1, you should be okay. The randomness of his actions might be maddening at first- but you learn to get used to it.

3. Remember the importance of a good attitude.

This is especially true if you asked for his help. Don’t cry to him for help, then complain about his methods. During some of my lower points, I’ve wailed to him about how I was breaking under the pressure, or how I was angry that he was effectively cutting me off at the knees (in my mind). This only garnered stares or responses of “GTFO”. Having a go-getter attitude really does go a long ways with him. And sometimes (in me experience) he won’t even bother to help you start moving forward until you’ve shown that you have the courage to jump off the cliff and accept his help- which also means accepting his methods of help. Even though it might seem like hell on earth while in the middle of the process, trust in it. Know that you are getting stronger, and that in the end, it is worth it.

4. Keep on keepin’ on.

Part of having a good attitude is to keep on moving forward. Usually, Set’s lessons are hard. They will push you to your limits- but that’s part of the point. Sometimes we have to break before we can ‘level up’ as it were. Once you’ve been thrown off the cliff, you might as well keep going until you hit the bottom or learn to fly. There is no point re-contemplating once you are half way down. Showing him and yourself respect by continuously moving forward (or trying to) is one of the greatest offerings you can give him (in my opinion). Having the discipline and trust to see things through to the end is important. Even if you have a few breakdowns and tantrums along the way- so long as you pick yourself back up and keep putting one foot in front of the other, that’s what matters at the end of the day.

Even though Set can appear to be a hardass, do keep in mind that there is more to him than that. On the by and large, I would advise against whining, crying, and throwing your hands up in a fit of “I give up!” However, it does happen to the best of us. There have been times where I have absolutely broken down in shrine. When I’ve screamed at him for the position I was put into. And never in any of those moments did he lash out at me (even if he looked less than pleased). There have even been times where he seemed to feel bad for the situation I was in. He can be nice, he can be caring. However, he seems to be very particular about when and where those feelings will be shown. That’s not to say he doesn’t feel these things all the time- it’s just that he doesn’t always show it. Sometimes we need someone to be stern and somewhat cold to help us grow. I think it is the harder exterior that scares many people away- because they don’t understand that there is more to him than that. If you are going to work with Set long term, it is helpful to understand this, and to try to understand the nature of the jobs he tends to take on. To understand his methods, for there is a rhyme and reason to what he does (usually). I also think it’s important that Set appears to have a better understanding of what we can handle. Many times I thought I was at the end of my rope- only to find out I still had more left in me. It was only when I was truly at my limit did he step in to make larger changes.

All in all, if we give Set the chance to work with our lives and help facilitate changes within ourselves, there is the potential to be so much more than we currently are. I know it’s scary for many people to hear that Set is looking in their direction, but he really does have valuable lessons for us that we should try to embrace and bring manifest into our lives. So the next time you see Big Red heading your way, instead of heading for the hills, try meeting him halfway and see how working with chaos can bring good things into your life.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2012 in Kemeticism

 

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Unveiling

The month finally came to an end. After so many nights keeping O’s statue hidden, I was finally able to unveil him. To bring him out of hiding and back into the light. Words can’t express how happy I am to have him uncovered again. To be able to look at him and not see him all wrapped up in his blue cloth. And his statue feels different, too. When I place my hands on both statues, O’s seems to be teaming with energy. It’s pretty crazy. So who knows, maybe wrapping the statue rejuvenates it as well. Either way, I’m happy to have him back again.

Coinciding with his unveiling is the hanging of my new shrine cabinet. Many many moons ago, Set sent me out to find a shrine cabinet for him (later to become ‘them’). He wanted something that was simple, but made of real wood. He was absolutely stubborn about the wood. No veneer for him! The more I sat with him, the more an image appeared in my mind as to what he wanted, and I slowly set out to find something that fit the bill. It only took me 6 months, but I finally found something that suited what I needed. The case is made of teak wood and is probably a foot tall. I love how simple it is. I also like the smoothness of the wood.

Originally, the box was intended to be a jewelry box. There were hooks hanging on the inside for necklaces. There were boxes hanging on the inside of the doors that you could put your trinkets in. I didn’t need either of these, so we set out to strip/gut the insides. From there, we treated the wood. Giving it nourishment to help protect the wood and bring out it’s nature colors/beauty. Afterwards, I left the box to sit while I waited for the Mysteries to end. I treated it with incense and left it at that. Now that O has been let out of his wrappings, I feel comfortable using the box.

I’m slowly starting to rebuild my practice. I’ve started off simply. Right now I’m only giving the ka embrace, swapping out beverages every morning and changing up their offerings. I figure that as I move further along, I’ll start fleshing out my rituals. But for now, I feel it’s best to start simply. The shrine still isn’t complete. I’ll update as I add more things to it.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Kemeticism

 

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