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Eating a Mystery

A few weeks ago I was getting ready for my shower when I suddenly got this memo that went something like “don’t forget that you need to be preparing for the Mysteries this year.” It struck me as odd, since I haven’t really done anything for the Year of Rites since October, and for the NTRW to not harp me on that, but instead decide I needed to perform the Mysteries really seemed out of character.

I asked the “memo” what I needed to focus on for the Mysteries, and I received one line, it said “Glorify your father.

In the matter of a few seconds, my brain raced in several directions with this. First off, the word father really seemed highlighted to me, and there are two reasons for that. First is the mythological component. Osiris’ myths are frequently centered on Horus and his quest to avenge his father and take back what’s his. Second, you’ve got the historical context in that every Osiris relies on his eldest son to give him a proper funeral and to maintain his cult to at least some degree. Both of these aspects would place me in the role of Horus glorifying my father, and have fairly straight-forward heka connotations.

But what really caught me was the third place my brain went.

While I understand that the NTRW can use familial terms for some people, it’s never been the case for me. Further, if there was a NTR out there that I would use familial terms with, it certainly isn’t Osiris. But there is another person that frequently gets labeled specifically as father (as opposed to “dad” or some other similar label, it’s always father) and that would be good ol’ Father-Lover. Would I need to incorporate aspects of my rebirth/rebuilding process into this? Or perhaps more accurately — had the NTRW decided to insert themselves into my process without letting me know? I wasn’t pleased with the idea.

Between all of these concepts, though, there is one vein of similarities: you become your father.

Ultimately, the reason Osiris gets it on with Aset is largely to make sure that he continues on through his son. Ultimately, the son and father overlap and become one mythologically speaking (hence Bull of His Mother) and so in some respects, I would argue that you could potentially interchange the two to some extent. And when it comes to Father-Lover, well, its just that we are literally the same being spread across two forms. We are ultimately one and the same on some level or another.

So I began to mull on this. If glorifying my father ultimately ends up glorifying myself… what would glorification look like? The word “glorify” means to praise or present admirably, perhaps unjustifiably so. It is what nearly every Kemetic ritual aims to do — to beautify the NTRW in the hopes that they will remain gracious to us. It is also through this process of glorification that we ensure that the rhythmic needs of the Duat are sustained and maintained. Re needs to go into the Duat each night, he needs to push back a/pep each day, he and Osiris need to meet in order to revitalize the Duat and its residents. Just like nature, everything has a rhythm and a cycle. Part of our end of the deal is performing the rituals and doing the acts that sustain these cycles.

To consider this concept on myself, we all need a healthy attitude about ourselves. We would all lead more fulfilling and less-miserable lives if many of us weren’t constantly being self-defeating or putting ourselves down. To glorify yourself would ultimately mean to feed into your inherent regenerative nature. And so I asked myself what would help sustain me most?

I then switched back to considering the historical contexts of glorifying your father — what do akhu value most from their families? What do we often see most often for helping the akhu? And the answer I came back with was:

The voice offering, in my opinion, is the quintessential akhu rite out there. There are lots of people who know nothing about Kemeticism, but know about the “thousands of beer, bread, and every good thing” voice offering that was left to the akhu of the necropolis. The most important thing a son could do for his father was to offer the basic necessities of life so that his father could continue to live in the Duat. And when I think about what the best offering that you could give would be, I thought of the foreleg. The foreleg is, by far, the piece de resistance in the Opening the Mouth ceremony. Everything in the ritual crescendos when you pull out the choice cut of meat and offer all of its contained vitality to the statue/mummy.

I thought to myself, could I offer myself the foreleg instead? Could I offer it to both of us simultaneously?

One of the suggestions after my post about my eating issues interfering with being able to offer to the gods regularly was the idea of drawing foods, and offering the drawing. In response to this, I began to offer my paper foreleg amulet to the NTRW as a stand-in meal. And so the connection between the foreleg and the offering of foods went full circle, and I thought to myself “what if I offer a meal to myself every day? So that instead of doing offerings at a shrine that are couched inside of a larger ritual, the act of feeding myself becomes the ritual.” And in response, I heard “what if you did it three times per day?” (since, you know, we’re supposed to eat three meals a day.)

So I guess that means I’m eating three times per day for the Mysteries.

I admit, this is strange to me. It feels like a cop out, like I’m just using something I “already do,” and saying that it’s a good replacement for “proper rituals” at a shrine, as I have been doing all year. But to cite that post I mentioned above: I don’t really eat regularly. Or at least, I don’t eat as regularly as I should. So it’s actually quite a challenge for me, since I won’t be able to eat depression meals and call it a day. Even though it feels like a cop out, it’s going to actually be a challenge for me to do this for any length of time.

I decided I needed to check through other means to make sure that I was on the right track, and the response I got was so direct and straightforward that it was hard to deny the answer, so I guess this means I’m eating three times per day for the Mysteries. Which O dictated that it’s to be a month, as it’s always been. So I’m eating three times per day for a month. I’m sure that’ll be riddled with success.

The general idea of how this is supposed to go is that I’m to treat each meal as an event that requires my full attention. I’m to focus on myself, the food I’m eating, and try not to let myself get super distracted by the Internet, my phone, thoughts, or what have you. The meals need to have enough substance to them that they can be called meals. So for example, just eating a piece of bread and walking away is not good enough. It needs to big enough to fill me up (a challenge.)

The biggest question I am left with when it comes to doing this is the following: when we typically do rituals, there is a layer of separation involved. You offer to the gods, separate from you, and then you take the food into yourself afterwards. The path is outwards (to the gods) then inwards (when you eat it.) But what happens when you skip the outwards part? What happens when both the offering and the consuming are done in one step, at the same time, with both parties being overlapped? And is O doing this because he wants me to take care of myself, or is he wanting me to do this because of the overlap I just mentioned?

I guess we’ll see.

 

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How to Build a Heart: Carrying My Father

Father-Lover proved to be a surprisingly easy task.

When I first realized that I would need to still do work with his remnants, I was daunted. I expected to be overwhelmed by the emotions and trauma of our past, of his past. I spent weeks avoiding putting his stone into the heart jar where it needed to go. And then I spent weeks ignoring the fact that I needed to pull it out again. And then I spent days doing everything I could not to touch said stone, for fear of what would come rushing forth. Each step seemed to inch me ever closer to resolving the situation at hand, but each step also evoked the deep-seated fear I ultimately have of the man that I once called father.

It was early morning, and we were having tea at the table. I found myself staring at Father-Lover’s stone as it rested on the table. There was a pull in me, a desire to touch it, but the desire was always tempered by fear. But because I had enough substances rolling through my veins, I guess I was in enough of a mind space to ignore my baser fears, and I found myself flipping the stone between my fingers, rolling through black fabric in my mind’s eye as I floated forward towards some unforeseen ending to the tunnel that the stone was pulling me down.

This was the first time in years since the stone had anything active in it. While it had always continued to carry its feeling with it, touching it up and to this point hadn’t rendered anything of note. But now? Now I was going somewhere.

I sat there for a while, waiting to reach my destination, and when my feet finally hit the closest thing I can consider ground, I saw that someone was sitting there waiting for me. I’m sure everyone can infer that it was Father-Lover sitting there in the backlit darkness, waiting for me to find him. However, he felt nothing like the versions I had been forced to interact with all of these years. In this crystallized moment, he was so close to who I had always been told he was, but had never gotten to witness on my own.

With his form as I knew it removed, it barely felt like Father-Lover. For a brief moment, I could look past the trauma, the hell we had been through together. For a moment, there was the tiniest possibility of healing. You could see it in his eyes, the sorrow, the unfairness of it all. In this section, he was neither Father-Lover, nor his predecessor. He was somewhere in between.

Of course, this place was not to last. Like so many other healings I have worked on, once the person in question gets what they need, the blockage is removed and everything starts to flow again. The problem being that flow usually means a lack of direct access like this, and so I was no longer able to find him again. All in all, I had less than an hour to soak in the emotions before I had to let go again.

But at least I could handle the stone freely, and I was no longer afraid of its contents. Though the trauma of Father-Lover still exists, I no longer seemed to fear that he would show up and wreck my life again.

And as soon as I had finished that bit of work, the next bit rolled in. And this time, it was my old pendant that I used to wear to represent Set and O as a sort of singular unit. My Ptah pendant that has skeeved me out so badly that I’ve barely touched it in years. It’s spent a lot of its time living in my heart jar, where I could forget that it exists. Every time when I would go to check the contents of said jar, a small part of me would be like, “Oh yes, this is a thing that exists, I forgot.” but I never felt inclined to pull it out or wear it. And as the years have progressed and my love of the religion and its gods has waned, my desire to wear the pendant has diminished greatly.

By the time that Someone was trying to convince me to bring it out and work with it, I didn’t want to touch it at all.

I have toyed for months now as to whether I should be opening up about it or not. Truth be told, most of the times I mentioned my growing issues or complications with the NTRW, I ended up with people either telling me its my fault for things being as they are, or to quit complaining, and so I’ve mostly been keeping it to myself. But when they made me pull the pendant out, and then made me wear the thing, it became much harder to ignore, and has since been very hard to ignore.

For whatever reason, I was inclined to hang it on two different strands of yarn, which you may recognize from this old post. And then I wore it for a few days until the feelings about the pendant itself started to float away. So I can touch it now without feeling completely put off, but I still don’t want to wear it.

Throughout this time, I received a handful of visions or experiences, and one of the most notable things that occurred during this time is that  the nerve damage that is present in my physical body began to show up as a sort of scarring on my skin in the astral. It’s not something I’ve had happen very often, and I’m not sure what working on these two items might have done to cause it to occur, but here we are.

Slowly, I’ve also noticed that I am sorta being dragged away from using my heart jar shrine as a sort of living shrine, and have instead been encouraged to co-opt a pre-existing setup that was in another part of my room. It’s left me wondering if the jar is meant to be temporary and not permanent, and honestly, I’ve always had this nagging question in the back of my head as to whether a heart jar would be a permanent fixture in a person’s self care, or if its something you only need during times of healing.

As this progressed, I began to question if maybe I should scrap my entire heart jar heka idea all together (though I am still using aspects of the shrine, albeit, sparsely), not to mention the slowly-rising anxiety about how I’d even begin to put into words what I was experiencing. It can’t be ignored that this series is now six posts deep, and I have no clue how much closer I even am to finishing this project, much less if this will ever reach any sort of logical conclusion. It has led me to feeling like the work will never be done, or that the hope of being healed is some sort of unattainable dream. It’s why I don’t usually write about a project until after its done, because if I can’t wrap it up in a pretty, edible package for everyone, then it usually never sees the light of day. But now that this is out in the daylight, it also feels weird to not write about its progress.

I guess if it does say anything about rebuilding your heart, its that the process is long, messy, and rarely feels productive.

Previous posts in this series, for those who lost count:

 

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How to Build a Heart: Devo Adultmenz

Late in the summer of 2018, everything started to slowly flood back into my head. I could feel my menz more. I got more visions. I had heard from O out of the blue. I found myself wandering back into this space. Like spring thawing the earth out after winter, its as if everything started to wake up all at once.

But things were not the same.

Instead of going over to an astral location and being able to see people separate from me, I found that most of my menz were… inside of myself? I have no clue if it’s close to what it’s like to be in a multiple situation, but around that time I began to joke that I was three people in a trench coat because I could feel two of my menz always hanging around in my periphery, as though they were stuck in my body. Ever since I more or less left the void, the astral has largely been this way. Where I sense what is going on inside of myself, but I don’t really exist Over There in any real way, and I can’t interact with anything Over There in any real way. Its as though I am stuck out here fully, can’t really see or sense anything around my astral self (if that even exists), and everyone has to seemingly center onto my physical location to really communicate with me.

The gods aren’t quite the same as my menz, in that they aren’t fully in my form when they talk to me. But at the same time, I also can’t seem to separate from myself enough to see who is talking to me or what things look like where said god is at. It’s like they leave a memo to the back of my head, and that’s all I can ever discern of what they’re wanting or what is going on.

There have been some exceptions to this, where I can travel in the same way that I used to, but its been limited. Very limited.

To reflect this, I changed out the jar that I was using for my heart shrine. I picked a donabe that I had around the house as my main vessel to replace my old jar. I chose a donabe because it felt like it would incorporate room for more people — the same way that my body seems to have. Eating a meal from a donabe is usually done with multiple people, and since I was no longer “riding solo” anymore, I felt like it was fitting to try it out.

I found a wooden base hidden in my grandma’s stuff, and I placed everything on top of it — thereby giving my heart a “firm base” to rest upon. I also cleaned out a lot of the stuff from the inside of my old jar. And as it turns out, I had hit more of my goals than I had realized. I guess I had made more progress than I expected.

Most of my focus from there has been on my own body. Watching different menz roll in and out. Watching them work on things, how their behaviours effect my own, how we overlap and how we don’t. The assets they have that I could fold into my own behaviours vs. the things that we could all do without. Bringing the experience to my body like this helped me to understand a different side of my menz, and it helped me to see how we all fit together as an entity.

In this time, all of the fragments and stories and experiences I had collected from the astral slowly began to fall into place. Holes were filled, and suddenly the story began to make a lot more sense. As I began to fold people into myself, the gaps began to disappear.

In many ways, this reminds me of the work that therapists often assign people who have experienced trauma. When we are young, we have no concept of ourself as being separate from the world around us. As we develop, we will start to explore ourself, and in the process, you begin the process of separation from those around you (mainly, your caregivers/parents.) When the process is done correctly, you are supported and loved while slowly branching out from your caregivers, and eventually, you are able to fully explore your entire self and become whoever you want to be.

But for those of us who were told directly or indirectly that our genuine selves were bad, we are inherently taught to reject parts of ourself. When you’re a toddler and your parents consistently shun things that you do, you’re taught that some part of you is inherently bad or wrong. This will ultimately lead to you rejecting parts of, or even all of, yourself.

One of the ways to heal this sort of splintering of the self is to slowly learn to love and embrace each of the parts of yourself that you’ve been taught to reject. There are many ways to do this, but it generally seems to follow a trend where you will find a part of yourself that you have been told to reject (and you’ll know it because this behaviour, desire, or action will usually feel weird or wrong somehow, and often will bring up feelings of discomfort.) And when you find this part of yourself, you should do your best to fully embrace what you feel and experience, without judgement. Accept it for what it is, and don’t criticize what you experience. Doing this will often heal the judgement we have for ourself, and allow us to reincorporate all of our traits back into our person. Ultimately, it allows us to continue the growth process that was interrupted as a child. It allows us to fully explore all of ourself, and to become whoever we want to be.

And this is what the past year has mostly consisted of for me. As I and my menz share a physical space (my body,) we are allowed to experience all of our emotions (because they can feel mine, too) and as we work to embrace and accept these hard truths about ourselves, we’re more able to merge into one cohesive entity.

Which is not where I expected this to go. At least, not really. I expected that some of us would merge over on the astral plane, but I never expected this to manifest so strongly within my own body.

Of course, it begs to ask, why would I be trying to merge with these people? Wouldn’t that erase them? Doesn’t that mean that my astral family is now gone entirely because I gobbled them up and meshed with them? For most of my time doing this work, my answer for this felt like a resounding yes. That by bringing these parts of myself that I have lost back into the fold that is my personhood, that I would be losing them. But now that I’m halfway through the process, I don’t know that I feel the same way about it. Of course it’s scary, of course I worry that I’m ultimately going to end up closing myself off from the astral by doing this. Of course I worry that this is all just some weird psychology thing where menz are aspects of myself and that this is all “not real.” Of course I worry.

But the process of coming together happened so naturally that it couldn’t fully be stopped. Or stopping it felt wrong.

Some of my menz blended with me very easily. Some of them didn’t need any work at all. But some of them took a long time to make any progress. Before they could come to do their work with me, they had to iron out the kinks between themselves. It turns out that when you’re doing deep-level bonding, you absolutely have to work out the finer details between people if you want the bonds to be strong. One of the many reasons we had issues perfecting this healing earlier on is because small discrepancies between people kept eroding at connections we’d make.

It’s a lot like working with a coworker you can’t stand. Eventually, the tiniest minutia become obnoxious, and we needed to find a way to heal or harmonize those issues out in order to finish the work at hand.

Slowly, one by one, each of us managed to fix our connections. Slowly, we were able to seamlessly shift together. Slowly, I felt less and less differentiation between those of us who had come forward.

But there was still one left. Father-Lover.

 

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How to Make a Heart: The Void

The void is, by far, the longest, most awful part of this entire “journey” that I have been on these past few years (though March 2019 gives this a run for its money.) I call it the void because it was, for all intents and purposes, the closest to being cut off from everything that I could have ever imagined. It was the absence of all that was familiar, and it was devoid of what felt like any true growth, change, or improvement.

It is, for all intents and purposes, what it’s like to be inert.

I’ve mentioned being inert several times now since trying to scrape my life back together, and I sort of feel silly every time I bring it up, because I feel like I’m constantly bringing it up without ever really being able to grapple with what this inertia actually means for my journey. It’s a thing that I notice, but I never know what to do about it, or with it. And I think that that is partially because I feel that, even now, I am just as inert here in 2019 as I was back at the end of 2016. Even though I know that this isn’t true (read a post from 2015 or 2014 and tell me that the cadence even sounds the same,) it still feels true. It feels as though I’m in exactly the same place I was then, and it feels awful.

Nobody likes to be inert. As humans, its antithetical to what we need to thrive. We’re not meant to stop, to be stagnant, to remain static. It’s not good for our mental health, and yet many of us are stuck throughout our entire lives being effectively stuck in our past. Ideally, you want to be cognizant to your ever-changing surroundings, and remaining open to new possibilities until the day you die.

However, I have come to believe that sometimes you need to be inert. The same way that we need to rest a broken limb, or sleep in after being sick, sometimes we need to slow down and stop what we’re doing. Because if we don’t, we’ll eventually be forced to stop. Or as I liked to call it, being curb checked. My time spent in “the void” was life’s curb check for me. Every post so far in this series contains a number of subtle warnings about what was going to eventually happen. I wanted to try to prevent it from happening, but the bottom fell out anyways. What started as a steady decline ultimately turned into a complete nose dive towards the ground.

And that’s when the screaming began.

One morning I woke up, and I could hear a part of myself screaming and wailing from somewhere. Nonstop. I’d get up and get dressed and go to work and be trying to pay attention all while this consistent, constant AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH went through the background.

I had issues with crying almost all of the time anymore. The tears would just flow and wouldn’t stop. It was as if it was beyond my control. I forgot what time of year it was, why I walked into rooms, where I left things. I dealt with heavy depersonalization combined with dysphoria and derealization. I looked in the mirror and felt this vague sense of “who is this person I’m staring back at” with side elements of “I am a man in a dress” (which is new for me, I’ve never felt this before.) All of my clothes quit fitting because my body ballooned from whatever was going on with it. It became hard to get up. Hard to move around. Hard to walk.

It was as if everything had finally decided to shut down. All the while AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH just kept playing in the background. Is this a bad time to mention that screaming can border on being triggering for me?

One of the strangest things that happened during this time was that I would frequently get visions of being drowned. I could never tell who it was that was doing it, as the distortion from the water I was submerged in masked too much. But I knew that they were familiar, and that it wasn’t right, but I could never seem to stop it.

I lost contact with everything. Religion, astral, myself. At the end of it all, the only thing I could find any solace from while in this darkness was my art. More specifically, my traditional art. Even though I was a designer by trade, I hadn’t touched traditional artwork since college. This is largely because it costs money and supplies to be able to do traditional art, and that was a luxury I didn’t want to afford until I had nothing else to do with my time. Can’t walk? No worries, you can take a drawing pad with you wherever you want. Paint all of the pretty colors you want to ignore the fact that everything in your life feels a shade of grey or black.

Slowly, things began to leak out. Experiences from the astral suddenly spilled out on the page in front of me. My therapist would later tell me that art therapy would be ideal for me (it is,) but it turns out that I had been trying to come to grips with everything that had happened long before I even realized it was a “thing.”

The largest thing I took away from my time in the void was my art. Because I was forced to stop doing everything, I finally made enough space for art to exist within my life again. And even though I can do much more now, I still make time for art because I feel its an ideal processing method for me. I also think it makes for great heka — which is something I’ve been toying with as I (hopefully) move in the final phases of this heart building that I’ve been trudging through.

The second thing I learned from my time in the void is that there is a real raw grittiness that comes with reaching the bottom of your depth as it currently exists. When you’re being drug along the bottom of your life and you can barely tell where you’re at or why you’re even bothering to continue to draw breath, your priorities shift massively. You learn to accept the help that you’re given because its impossible to do everything by yourself anymore. You learn to accept that things will not be to any sort of preferable ideal because you’re so short on energy that you truly have to accept that “what you can do” is better than not at all. Something I tell people all the time, but never really wanted to tell myself.

The third thing that I learned is that the void is sometimes unavoidable. To some extent, if you don’t stop, you will be forced to stop. Even if you feel you can’t stop, or shouldn’t stop, we all have our limits. We need to pay attention to those limits before we hit them.

The screaming did not stop until after I got into therapy, almost a full year after it had started. When I was finally desperate enough to try an SSRI, I found that the ocean that I had been drowning in for a full year suddenly dried up, and that I could no longer access the water anymore. In a lot of ways, the SSRI cut me off from my emotions too much (a sign that it’s not the right medication for me, but alas, I’ve not been stable enough in the past year to wean myself off of it…), but at the same time, I was desperate for any reprieve I could find, and so I relished it.

The void is an awful place to be. It’s a place I’ve spent various phases of my life in, and this particular session pushed me to my limits in every capacity. If there is anything I could tell anyone about their own time in the void, it’s this: don’t give up. As uncle Iroh said:

“Sometimes life is like this dark tunnel. You can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you just keep moving… you will come to a better place.”

I can’t say that where I’ve ended up is currently better, but the place I arrived at the beginning of 2017, after ages in my own void, felt amazing. It was a beautiful place where I was even capable of feeling happiness — something I have woefully little experience with. Sometimes life is absolute shit, but if you can remain curious about what the future holds, you will always find reasons to keep going.

I am glad I kept going. Even as I sit in a new void, hoping that I will eventually find a way out again, I am glad that I kept trying.

 

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How to Build a Heart: The Maze

The last post that I released in this series is the last bit that I had written back in 2016. Which is to say that everything you read moving forward was written in the here-and-now in 2018.

I bring this up because when I first started this project in April 2016, I had some weird idea that this would all wrap up and be finished around the same time I celebrated Wep Ronpet (early August.) It was an ideal goal because it would be finished around the same time that my astral work would be finished (late July.) A death and a rebirth that coincided on both planes. If timed out well, it’d synchronize perfectly… right?

The problem being that rebuilding yourself is not something that can be rushed. It’s not something you can really control or hold onto tightly. It’s a process that largely is passive and occurs to you — until it doesn’t anymore (see my late 2017-era posts.) And while I felt a burning desire to process what I was going through (hence the tiny bit of writing from 2016,) I quickly realized a few months in that there was no way that this process would be over soon enough to draw any conclusions on what I was experiencing. I usually like to wait until a sequence as complex as this is finished before I write about it, because my perspective and understanding of things often changes as I am, by effect, changed. And once I realized that I wasn’t going to be finishing anytime soon, I stopped trying to write about it all together.

I often question if I did myself in by not writing throughout the entire process. On one hand, I feel like something was gained by completely immersing myself in the process and losing touch with the world around me (this blog included,) but I find myself questioning if I would have saved myself some hell if I had been letting everyone else know what was going on while it happened…. as opposed to two years after things got started.

And I suppose the answer doesn’t matter anymore, since that time has come and gone and my decisions have already been made. However, two years later, I decided that writing about this process was more important than waiting for it to finish — and that’s if writing about it doesn’t turn out to be completely vital for the work to be able to be finished at all. And so here we are — with me trying to remember and make some sense of what all transpired during the past two years of murky transformation.

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When I first started this project, I decided to use a physical representation of myself wading through this mess. I had a copy of the maze used in Westworld, and I moved a small marker representing myself each day through this physical copy of the maze, hoping that somehow it’d help me figure this mess out. I remember being told which ways I could move my marker, in that I wasn’t allowed to cheat and just head for the center. Whoever or whatever was directing me initially made me go the longest route we could find. So I feel like on some level, doing this accomplished something, but ultimately I couldn’t really tell you what exactly it accomplished. If anything, I could only come to assume that perhaps I was teaching myself a path, a way out, that would play out in the here and now over the next few years.

Each time I came to the center I spent a few days there, trying to figure out what to do. And when nothing happened and I couldn’t figure out if I had done something wrong, I started the maze over again, but decided to run it as fast as I could. I reached the center at a much faster rate this time, and once again, I sat in the middle and waited for something to happen.

And eventually, something did. Was it due to being in the maze? Probably not, but I feel like sitting in the epicenter was probably the best place I could have been when it happened.

I feel like I’ve only mentioned it in vague references and passings, but my astral work over the past 5 or so years has been specifically to reach a particular goal. And in the summer of 2016, in the midst of me trying to figure out how to secure a solid state of existence after doing myself in a fit of spite, this goal finally reached its climax.

And it was a messy one.

I’ve found that you can have the best-laid plans, but sometimes things don’t pan out well. I mean, it was well in that we were successful. But if we were going to get a grade for the level of success achieved by our endeavor, I feel the grade would be pretty low. C level if we’re lucky.

In the process of securing my goals, I managed to get myself done in again. This time, it was a complete reset, which is good, but it wasn’t done with an anchor, which makes it risky. I got lucky in that I came back with most of myself intact, and for about a week or so, things were amazing. I felt like I could connect in a way I hadn’t in months. I could see my family, I could be with everyone.

But then everything cut off again, and I was back in the same old darkness I had spent the previous seasons in. I was sent notes about how things unraveled, and I was being assured that everyone was doing as much as they could to speed things along, but ultimately we all knew that this was going to be a long ride.

Eventually, I decided to move the maze under my heart jar. I felt like I was showing that I had conquered that which sought to conquer me. That I would build a better version of myself on the ruins of what I had been through, and that maze was the base of my heart until I moved in 2018.

But as summer faded and I realized that this process was not going to be triggered by completing my astral goal, and that my ability to rebirth myself was in jeopardy for reasons that I didn’t fully understand. Fall finally settled in and the world slowly started to get darker.

And it was about that time that the screaming started.

 

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How to Build a Heart: Creating a Base

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

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

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

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

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

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

But then I was stuck.

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

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

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

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

Some how.

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

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

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

And so the building actually began.

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

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

grr_jar

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

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

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

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

 

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How to Build a Heart: The Curious Case of Father-Lover

This is a series that I have been working on since 2016. Some of the parts of this series were written back in 2016, and other parts were written here in 2018. This series will focus on astral work and the heka I’ve been experimenting in tandem with said work. Abuse will be discussed, as such, viewer discretion is advised.

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There is a saying about times and measures and desperation. In the astral, it seems like rocks and hard places are always the norm. This is a story of when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, and the aftermath that comes with it.

This story is long, and so I am breaking this into a series of posts for your ease of reading. This work is still ongoing, and as such, it may be a while before I am able to draw any heavy or final conclusions about certain aspects of what will be discussed and its possible that there will be long breaks in between posts in this series as I wait for things to develop/happen. In many ways, you can consider this series to be similar to my Mysteries and Cycle series back in the day.

Late in the summer of 2015, I wrote about losing an astral partner that was close (and yet oh, so, far) to me. I bring this up, because as it turns out, there was another part of this person running around on the astral at the same time. Lo, this other shard had been around just about as long as the person I lost (about ten years our time), and was still hanging around when my partner finally passed on. The biggest issue was that I didn’t realize what or who he was until after the other piece had passed on. I didn’t realize a lot of things until after that person passed on.

Nothing brings families together or tears them apart quite like death.

I had learned that my mentor was not only a shard of the person who had passed, but was in fact the creator and source of that person. To say that the man we eventually called “Father-Lover” was a shard of the person who had passed was technically incorrect–the man who had passed was actually a shard of Father-Lover.

As I began to sift through the history between all of us, I found that this goes deeper than just that. The mentor that I had been working with since college was far more than just a father-figure to me once upon a time. Oh no, just being a mentor is not enough for this dog and pony show. We call him Father-Lover for a reason, for he was more than just my “father.” He had been a lover of mine once upon a time, too.

But wait, there’s more!

It turns out that he and I used to be one, except at the time, he was whole and complete and looked like someone else entirely. But after he lost too much of himself, he changed. The problem being that we were still attached at the hip and technically have been ever since. My musings about my heart feeling literally broken after Rosetjau suddenly made sense to me: when I had “reset” my mentor, I had inadvertently reset part of myself. Killing him meant killing a part of myself.

There are many take-away lessons that I could pass on to you from trying to heal Father-Lover.

One is that you should never place your most important bits into someone else. It’s a surefire way to be screwed over. If not by you, by someone else. Ultimately, you need to be responsible for your own well being. No one else should do it for you because eventually that someone else will be compromised, and its just easier to keep track of yourself when you contain your most-important pieces.

Similarly, cutting yourself off from yourself doesn’t work, either. Like magnets, eventually you will attract yourself back into yourself, and if you’ve been trying avoid that scenario, the results are usually pretty catastrophic when the inevitable comes to pass. For those of us who can’t literally cut ourselves into smaller beings that are separate, the equivalent would be ignoring parts of yourself that need addressing. Repressing feelings and issues that need to be worked on only works until it doesn’t anymore. And by the time that it doesn’t work, things are usually going to be in shambles.

Another lesson is that you should never put all of your eggs into one basket. Trying to push off the work because it’s too painful only goes so far. As I found out, Father-Lover had been banking on my partner to “succeed” him, but when my partner firmly refused because he didn’t feel it was his place (him being a shard, he felt it was more proper for the source to have that honor), two wills clashed and my partner’s won out. Father-Lover had spent so much time banking on this other person doing the heavy lifting that he was nearly crushed by the weight of his choices.

And keep in mind that if he is crushed, I get crushed, too. Being one person will do that to you. His actions not only affected himself, but myself and others that are contained within me or attached to me. That’s a lesson, too: things rarely just affect you. There is always collateral damage. You should be considerate of who you are screwing over in the process of saving your skin or avoiding work. The main reason my partner could never heal is partially because his source refused to heal. None of our attempts ever took because we were treating symptoms, but never addressing the source. Separating himself (my partner) from himself (Father-Lover) wasn’t stopping the bleed-through from occurring. If anything, it just made the healing process more difficult.

Once I knew who Father-Lover actually was, and what role he played in all of this, I set out to finish what I had started with my partner. To an extent, my partner’s death didn’t change anything–we still needed to fix the source of the problem in order to un-knot all of the threads keeping us here. My partner dying didn’t relieve Father-Lover of his duty. Instead, it forced it upon him.

I began working on him at the end of 2015. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to suddenly learn that someone you’ve thought of as a father was actually your lover before Things Happened, but it makes for awkward situations and tension. Even if Father-Lover had been intent on fixing himself (he wasn’t), I think we would have had issues doing the work simply because his facade had been destroyed. He could no longer hide who he was, or what we were “supposed” to be. It’s like when Christine pulls the mask off of the Phantom. By removing his veneer, I had changed the relationship permanently.

While our relationship as mentor-mentee was pretty smooth and drama-free, as soon as we began to shift into whatever-this-is-supposed-be, I found that he became drastically more and more unstable. As he worked to take up his “proper” role (that is to say–as an equal, and not so much as a mentor–the lover stuff was only as relevant as we wanted it to be), I found that he began to bleed into every other area of my relationships. He’d co-opt songs and symbols that had already been claimed by other menz. He’d infect, claim, and overlay onto others bond lines without consent. He’d have bouts of jealousy and anger where he lashed out at my other menz for being around me, or at me for being around them.

For all intents and purposes, the act of healing him was doing the exact opposite. But as I’ve mentioned before, if you don’t want to heal, odds are you won’t.

As the weeks began to span into months, his actions got worse and worse. I soon found myself locked in a black space where I couldn’t get out and no one else could get in. His being a part of myself was becoming my downfall as he had access to every part of me. It wasn’t hard for him to control things from a deeper level because he had his hands in nearly everything, and to a degree, knew my innards better than I did.

By the time that April 2016 rolled around, I knew that something needed to give. I just wasn’t sure how it was going to give. This is that rock and hard place, those desperate times and measures. In the same way that the unstoppable will of my now-dead partner collided with the immovable will of Father-Lover in 2015, my unstoppable will to survive this was about to collide with Father-Lover’s immovable will to heal or let go.

I took actions into my own hands. Well, asleep me took action into my own hands.

I went to bed on Saturday night, and everything was fine (as fine as being locked in an endless vat of black can be), but by the time Sunday morning rolled around, I had found that I had had some sort of altercation while asleep. There were Taint stains on my hands and shirt, and it was obvious to me that something had happened.

It would take most of the day for me to figure out what exactly, though. The short version was that I was tired of Father-Lover’s waffling on the issues at hand, and in order to force a change, I removed all of his pieces from myself. Now, for those of you who don’t know much about bonding, this process is usually not easy or fun. After my partner died, I had to go and have everything removed from my person for safety reasons, and it was a thoroughly-planned week-long affair. This, on the other hand, was done very haphazardly, and it wasn’t just bond lines. As I had mentioned above, we were merged on a core level. Which means that removing him from my person involved removing the bulk of my core and giving it back to him.

I had essentially ripped the heart out of my chest and given it to him. That way, he had everything that was “his” (what truly is “his” or “mine” when you are technically one being…) and I was no longer liable to fix his problems. And before I even hit the floor from the pain, he had left.

Ultimately he never came back. He drew his final breaths a few months later when things truly drew to a close for us.

This, of course, left me wondering what to do about my missing core-bits. Losing small chunks of yourself is not a huge deal, but this was probably well over 3/4th’s of my core that I had forked over in a possible fit of spite. I had people who could help me on the astral for stabilizing myself out, but the bulk of the work would fall to me. You can’t rely on someone else to make you, after all.

It was on the very same day that I had woken up a complete Taint-stained mess that my partner (in the physical) had found an old jar in the cupboard. When I looked at it, I knew that I wanted to use it for an ib project of some kind. And by the end of the day when I had figured out what all had transpired, I knew that which ib project I would be relegating it to. Now I just had to figure out how to actually make it happen.

 

 
 

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Edge Effect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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On Making Entities Smaller

Recently there was a post that circulated on my dash that was called “Making the gods smaller?” I didn’t read it and I don’t know anything about what the post entailed, which is why I haven’t linked to it here. It played absolutely no role in this post except that seeing the title got me thinking about what it means to make gods, or other entities, smaller, and how that affects a relationship with them.

Working through all of my crap over on the astral has given me the opportunity to see entities of many scopes and sizes. The variety of what I saw, and how each of these entities interacted with someone such as myself, is largely what skewed my views of what we call “gods,” because I found that many of the entities I encountered were just as big and powerful as our gods, and yet were not called as such. It also taught me that size and power aren’t always directly related, and are usually not static.

The more I mulled on it, the more that I decided that for me, when it comes to an entity’s size, most of us (physical and non-physical entities alike) are All Encompassing, and incredibly small and shallow all at the same time. Allow me to attempt to explain.

I think one of the easiest ways for me to explain this is to use my own experience with myself as an example. As you all know, I am a human stuck on this planet just like the rest of you. However, when I travel in the astral, I can connect with other parts of myself. Some of these parts are very “small” and contained in the same way that my human self is. However, there are times when I will come across parts of myself that are vast and feel very “big” in comparison to who and what I am here on earth.

On the surface, the “bigger” parts of myself may still look very much like the smaller parts. We take up the same amount of space physically, and the representations of choice tend to look more or less the same. So it behooves me to say that on a visual level, you’d never know I was smaller, that she was bigger; though you may guess we are the same in some way or another.

I know that most people seem to look at “making entities smaller” as a sort of bad thing, as though becoming smaller and more human is some awful horrible act. But the truth of the matter is that it does have its place, its benefits. When you talk to the larger form of myself, you’ll note that she behaves differently. She has different priorities and different ideas on how to handle things. In many ways, she’s colder, more calloused, less understanding, and can seem like she doesn’t care about the suffering of anyone or anything. I’ve found that many times “larger” entities are so busy looking at the bigger picture that they forget that the entities they’re sacrificing are living, breathing things with their own autonomy. They’re so busy looking at how everything is going to “come together” that they can become very much the mindset “you have to break eggs to make an omelet.” As though living beings are just pieces on a chess board. A means to an end.

Sometimes those traits are useful. Sometimes you need someone who is capable of seeing the big picture, of not getting caught up on those details. In order for many cycles to complete, you’ve got to sacrifice some things. The same way that none of us would be alive if not for the death of other living things. It makes sense that we sometimes need someone Big to carry out bigger things.

However, those traits aren’t always useful. When I and my partner were first brought into a series of events over on the astral, it seems as though we were both fairly “large” in comparison to humans. However, in order to be able to get out of that situation, we desperately needed to find a way to be smaller. There are certain benefits to understanding life on a physical level. There are certain traits you pick up as you become reduced, as you become more humble. There are certain things you just can’t do when you’re so large.

I believe this can be true for our gods, too. That there is a benefit to being reduced in some capacity. They can learn new skills and traits. They can relate to their devotees in new ways. They can develop a better understanding of our needs, our existence, and incorporate that into their own activities. This can, in turn, effect how things happen on the Duat. They may be better able to relate to the residents of the Duat, to be able to better govern them or help them in their needs.

In many ways, I believe that being able to be both Large and Small at the same time is beneficial. If you’re a fully-connected entity that is tapped into both ends of the spectrum, you can shift your focus from large to small, from big picture to small detail. You can see how to best get from point A to point B (large) while also understanding that minimizing the sacrifice of smaller entities needs to remain a priority (small) — because you’ve been there, you’ve seen it, and you understand that smaller entities matter, too. You make yourself more well-rounded and connected to the world at large.

In a way, a dare say that being able to make yourself smaller makes you bigger — because you can reach things you couldn’t before.

Being made smaller doesn’t mean that you can no longer access your larger self ever again (though its possible to be blocked in your ability to do so.) If anything, it just means you’re able to tap into both, and utilize the skills and knowledge of both.

At least, that’s how I’ve come to understand it.

I think the thing I wish to know most is why is everyone so afraid of coming to meet the smaller parts of the entities we interact with? What is it about being “small” that is so detestable?

 

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The Importance of Stability

I feel that all of my astral travel has really given me an appreciation for some of the difficulties that gods and spirits probably face when trying to interface with our world:

  • “I’ve finally managed to get to the other side, and now I can’t get anyone there to pay attention to me. How do I talk to people?”
  • “I figured out how these beings communicate, but I can’t get any of them to listen to me. What am I supposed to do?”
  • “Why am I in this house, this is not where I intended on showing up.”
  • “Oh where did all of the doors in this house go? Why did all of the furniture move?”
  • “What the hell is that? And will it hurt me if I touch it?”

I feel like all of these statements could easily be uttered by a god trying to get some human to listen to them, and they are all statements that have fallen out of my mouth at least a few times while trying to travel. I’m sure that interfacing with foreign planes is probably not as challenging for some non-physical beings, as they have more power and practice than I do, but there will always be challenges when you’re trying to interact with beings on a foreign plane.

As I’ve worked to get better at my astral travel (and with communicating with my menz and gods over here), I’ve found that there seems to be something that helps everyone get on a little bit better, and that is stability. I mentioned in my post about working with unknown beings that stability can be useful for establishing a solid connection with non-physical beings. However, I didn’t go too terribly in-depth on what I meant by stability, or how to incorporate it into your practice. Today, I’d like to talk about two kinds of stability–stability that we can create for non-physical beings here, and how we can incorporate stability in astral travel to better our success rates while traveling.

Stability While Traveling

I feel that it’s better to start with stability as it applies to astral travel, because I think that it helps to round out the picture about how stability here can benefit beings that don’t really live here. You see, when you’re traveling in the astral, you’re effectively doing what the gods do with us: you’re taking a non-physical portion of your body or Self, and taking that portion to places that you don’t (typically) fully live in. While it’s true that I have a form that lives with my astral household 24/7, the human portion of myself doesn’t really live there 24/7. That portion comes and goes as I split my focus between here and There. And while the gods may indirectly always reside in our physical layer of earth, on the by and large, they aren’t living here fully, either (which is why Open statues are helpful, which I’ll cover in another post).

While I don’t pretend that my experiences are the same sort of experiences that all travelers have, I wouldn’t be surprised if my experiences aren’t entirely unique, either. And with that being said, my experiences have shown me that the process of getting from here to There can be convoluted. Sometimes it’s really simple, and I look inside, and I am instantly there and ready to move around. But most days, there is a sort of acclimation process that occurs as I move from here to There. For those who have never traveled, imagine waking up in the dead of night after having taken some medication. Someone flicks the light on, and your eyes haven’t fully adjusted to everything. You can’t really see well, you’re not very steady on your feet. You’re not sure where anything else because your brain is still fuzzy.

There are days when “waking up” Over There feels similarly.

And when you wake up in the middle of the night and need to move quickly, part of the reason you’re able to move quickly at all is probably because you know where you’re at. You know that you’re in your bedroom, and you subconsciously have an idea where the furniture is, and where to move or not move, etc. Your pre-existing knowledge of your house gives you the stability to know where to go, even when your brain isn’t running on all cylinders.

Now imagine that in an astral setting. You finally are able to connect in, but you’re not sure where you are or who is around. Your hearing is doing pretty poorly, so even when your bestie reaches out to talk to you, you don’t necessarily hear it or register it. The house shifted while you were gone, and you’re not sure where any of the furniture is, or where you’re supposed to go. You may not even be certain which room you fell into when you woke up.

You have no stability to know where to go or what to do.

Stability is key in these examples for being able to hit the ground running. In my household, we know that I have certain things that need to be done in order to visit regularly, and all of these things lead to more stability for me as a traveler. For those who might be interested in incorporating some of these ideas into their astral households, here are some of the things we keep in mind:

  • Keep some of your housing the same. The rooms that I get put into always have beds and doorways in similar or the same locations. That way, I always know which way to head to reach a door. Similarly, keeping the furniture to a minimum can be helpful.
  • Keep walls and/or space to a minimum. Whenever I’m having issues with connecting, we will remove walls, or shrink the size of the room that I’m in. That way, I don’t have to try and process as much information when I come into the room. Just like with video games, I can usually only process so much of a given space at once, and if the space is smaller, it’s much easier to move around because I can process the entire space in one go.
  • Keep a schedule, and utilize a partner. One of the best ways that I’ve found to make porting into the astral easier is to keep to a schedule. If I tell my menz that I’m going to be arriving at XYZ time in XYZ location, they know to keep an eye out for me and can assist in helping me to acclimate to the location that I’m shifting into. This also helps because you’ll know exactly where you’re going, and you won’t have to utilize as much energy or time trying to figure out your surroundings.
  • Get physical. I’ve found that when I’m having a particularly hard time hearing, seeing, or just being in an astral space, that touching someone’s face, or holding something and focusing on the physical sensations that I get can help to ground me into my body well enough that I can start to move better.

Stability for the Unseen

As you might have noticed, most of these things involve giving the person who is traveling some predictability in where they are going or what they will be doing. And when we are trying to facilitate stability for our non-physical compatriots, you’re essentially trying to do the same for them. Obviously, some of the situations listed above don’t necessarily happen all that often. We don’t have to worry about walls appearing or disappearing here. We don’t have to worry about rooms being reorganized, and most of us aren’t moving every few weeks like some nomadic astral people might. However, there are still things that we can do to help make our experiences more stable and predictable for the entities we’re reaching out to.

  • Create a space that is just for them. This is usually going to be your shrine area, but it doesn’t have to be a shrine per se. Having an item or a space within your home that is specifically for the entities you’re hoping to interact with will help to give them a solid place to settle in whenever they come over. This allows entities to saturate items with their energy, or place markers and other identifiers into their space that will allow them to transition into our plane much smoother. Using items that they readily identify with will help make it easier for them to ground into the space, and settle into their “body” or a vessel/item that can contain a portion of their energy.
  • Keep a schedule. Just like with my family preparing things for when I arrive, it can make it easier for the entity you’re trying to communicate with to manifest if you’ve got a regular schedule. When some sort of schedule is kept, it makes it easier for them to time their efforts for trying to communicate with us, and it makes it easier for us to hear them because we’re both working towards the same goal at the same time. I often feel that devotees end up playing this never-ending game of phone tag with the gods, and figuring out a schedule for everyone to work around can help combat that.
  • Start off sessions or rituals with similar dynamics. These dynamics can be any number of things. It can be playing the same song before your ritual. It can be saying the same words at the beginning of each ritual. It can be wearing the same thing for each ritual. Or sitting in a certain way. Anything that can be repeated regularly can help create a trigger that can help both you and any spirits you’re working with transition into a different mindset before communing begins. In the same way that a bell primed Pavlov’s dogs to be fed, starting off your sessions or rites with the same thing can prime your brain (and your gods or spirits) for astral work.
  • Provide energy. Traveling across planes takes up energy, so if you can give some sustenance to your spirits or gods to utilize during travel, it can help them to become more prominent within the space. Energy can be in the form of food, but it can also be the energy you raise in ritual or energy you give of yourself, etc.

When all of these things are met on the regular, you essentially create a predictable schedule that the entity can plan for, which will occur in a predictable space that the entity can settle into when they arrive. By having familiar items and sounds around, the entity should be able to grasp onto these things and settle into the space with less issues. And the easier that it becomes for the entity to settle into our physical world, the more likely they are to do it more often. And further, I believe that it helps the gods to better understand us the more often that they come here.

While this is certainly not a definitive list, I feel that these are the staples for creating more stability for non-physical entities to alight within a space, and if you end up trying any of them, I’d be interested to hear how they work for you.

 

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