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The Astral and PTSD

I am pretty sure by this point, almost everyone has heard about the new movie Jurassic World. I’ve heard almost everyone I know (that is under the age of 55) talk about it in some capacity, and it’s even made its way into our Kemetic Fandom over on Tumblr. It’s so popular that it’s even made it into my workplace. I distinctly remember listening to my coworker talk about this movie last week, and referring to it as nothing more than, “A movie about dinosaurs eating people.”

You’re probably looking at the title of this post and wondering what the hell Jurassic World has to do with the astral or PTSD. And truth be told, that’s kind of the point. On the surface, it’s got absolutely nothing to do with PTSD or the astral. It’s “just a movie about dinosaurs eating people,” after all.

But that is the beauty of PTSD, triggers, and sketchy brain functioning. Sometimes the most tenuous of topics can set you off. Even movies that are about dinosaurs eating people.

Over the years I’ve tried to warn people about the dangers of jumping head first into the astral. I’ve tried to illustrate that the astral fucks with your brain a little bit, and that even those who have the best lives ever Over There can end up with a few mental quirks. And so you should be careful before you sign your life away to the astral bank because you never know what kind of mixed bag you’re going to be handed on arrival. You never know if the astral bank is going to charge you a 5 cent monthly fee or a $5,000 monthly fee, so you better make sure your pockets are deep enough to handle whatever comes your way.

I’ve talked about these “fees” and things like PTSD in abstract terms and hints and concepts, but I’ve never really laid it out in specifics before. I’ve never really sat down and talked to all of you about any one particular instance where my brain short circuited and I was left in a ball on the ground (it has happened a few times).

Today we’re going to talk about an incident more in-depth. If you don’t think you can handle discussion of a dinosaur movie causing a PTSD flare up, then you may want to skip this post. For the sake of those who haven’t seen the movie yet, I will be doing my best to ensure nothing overly specific is mentioned, so that nothing is spoiled. Please proceed beyond this paragraph at your own discretion.

The truth of the matter is, I wasn’t overly interested in seeing this movie. Dinosaurs are really not my jam, and I expected to spend two hours staring off at the wall out of boredom, not staring at the wall because looking at the movie screen was just too painful for me. I can’t even begin to express my own surprise and disgust that I felt towards myself when I realized that my mind was running itself through the ringer, and bringing up all of these images and sounds and feelings that had absolutely nothing to do with dinosaurs, especially given my sentiments about the movie on arrival.

The thing I’ve learned about having weird trigger moments over the years is that there is rarely one single thing that sets them off for me. There are times when I have been set off and I couldn’t tell you what exactly about the situation made my brain make a connection that caused me to be curled up on the floor. There seem to be some people who know exactly what their triggers are, but I don’t really seem to be one of those people (with only a few exceptions). There are times when I can see something and be okay, and then other times it sets me off; and who knows exactly why it happened as it did. All I know is that it caused something to snap inside of my head.

Jurassic World was no exception for me. I can’t tell if it was my connection to a species that had been wiped out, and was then brought back to life simply to be exploited and studied by foreign captors. I can’t tell if it was simply seeing dead or dying things that did it for me. Perhaps it was the volume of dead things that bothered me. Or maybe it was more about sound and ambiance, and maybe they used the right mixture of gun shots that made my brain snap. Maybe it was all of these things. Maybe it was something else entirely.

It can be frustrating not to know what exactly it is that caused my brain to slowly fracture and break into pieces, as I have no clue what to avoid in the future so that I don’t set myself off again. Do I need to start avoiding dinosaurs all together? What is it about this movie’s portrayal of violence that was so different than all of the other action movies I have seen? Do I need to be avoiding this director or soundtrack composer instead? What exactly caused this?

Not knowing what exactly caused this to happen made me feel even worse as I closed my eyes and watched the gunfire through my eyelids, because all I could then hear in the back of my head was my coworker chiding this movie for being nothing more than “dinosaurs eating people.” Nobody else in the theater was having problems. No one else was crying because dinosaurs. (I used dinosaurs because I didn’t really know what was causing this reaction). And all I could think to do is waffle between “This is all I see Over There” (‘this’ referring to violence and death) and “How the hell can you be so stupid to get upset over dinosaurs?!”.

Going through such an episode was a very surreal experience. In a way, my brain felt like a cacophony of thoughts and senses. On one hand, I was caught in the past, inside of memories of standing amongst a sea of dead people. Feeling blood dripping down my hands and the dirt under my finger nails. The drag of dirty hands across sweaty and dirty hair as I tried to calm the person dieing on the ground. I was caught in the smell of death and the unnerving silence that falls after the guns quit shooting. It’s like you’re simultaneously caught in the middle of the past, wallowing in the hell that your brain is putting you through, but at the same time, I could hear the very logical and reasoned parts of myself trying to tell me that this is just a movie, it’s fake, it’s not real. I could hear parts of me trying to calm myself down. And at the same time, I could also hear my very chastising self getting irate over the fact that I was “freaking out over dinosaurs”.

The other thing worth mentioning is that sometimes there were no overwhelming visuals that coincided with my meltdown. Sometimes I would close my eyes and simply see black. But that didn’t stop my body from tensing and tightening up as though I was in the middle of a war zone trying to stay alive. You don’t always need to see something, apparently, to experience it all the same. I think this is particularly worth noting because there are many times when I wake up and don’t consciously remember a single thing I did Over There. But it would seem that even though I am not consciously remembering things, that doesn’t mean my body isn’t still taking notes for me. I’ve brought up the fact that bodies are like libraries and indexes of what we experience throughout our life, and this can include things you don’t remember. Repressed memories and experiences that lay dormant in your brain meats can be brought back to life if the right buttons are pushed. And if I wasn’t punishing myself for getting worked up over dinosaurs, I was punishing myself for getting worked up over memories I can barely even recollect or see.

For those who have never had the pleasure of experiencing something like this, the end result is a complete and utter depletion of your energy. My hands were rather numb. I was shaking and couldn’t find a way to stop. My stomach was so upset that I was on the verge of vomiting (something that rarely happens). I can only imagine what everyone else in the theater thought about the weird chick who “cried over dinosaurs.” And when I was asked about it by the person I had gone to the movie with, the first thing I could bring myself to utter was “You’re going to think I’m incredibly stupid.” (btw, they did not think I was stupid).

The thing is, PTSD doesn’t give a shit about what sets it off. Your brain doesn’t care if it’s dinosaurs, or crabs, or penguins, or eggs. Sometimes it’s a smell or a song. Other times its a facial expression or the way someone’s hair lays that day. It can be literally anything, and it isn’t always consistent. It’s not logical, and that’s the point. When brains break, they lose their ability to be 110% logical. The whole take home message of mental illness is that it is out of your control, and falls outside of the realm of logic.

When you read people warning you about going onto the astral because you never know what will happen to you, we’re warning you because of moments like this. Imagine yourself going to a movie and freaking out to the point that you’re barely able to keep it together until it’s over. Imagine if you’re with friends or family, and can’t explain to them why you’re freaking out, because if they knew that you were caught up in some sort of war zone in another plane of existence, they’d look at you like you needed a padded room and medication. Even if you go by yourself, imagine having to coast past the fact that “yeah, that movie gave me a mental breakdown so I don’t want to talk about it” when someone asks you if you liked the movie. Yeah, you can just brush it off, but it can be challenging to do that when the mere thought of the movie brings all of the memories of your episode back to the forefront of your mind.

The worst part about setting up an account with the astral bank is this: even if you aren’t sure if all of this is real, the astral will prove to be real in very real ways.

Even if I’m just playing around in my head, the breakdown that I had this past weekend was very very real. It can’t be denied. It manifested in such a way that I was physically ill and it left me pretty useless for quite a few hours after it happened.

And what’s worse is that you will spend the entirety of your life being told directly and indirectly that you’re only traveling to garner attention from everyone else. That you’re delusional and making it up, that you need “help” and that you’re just trying to lord this over other people or use it as a power play. You will spend your life wondering if you’ve lost your mind, and plenty of people will gladly jump in to tell you just how not-sane you sound.

And despite that, you will have moments like this that are so real that it’s really hard to believe that you’re making it all up. Of course, you can’t really talk about those moments, because people will really begin to question your sanity because now it’s making you cry in the middle of a movie about fucking dinosaurs.

This is the trade off that Unseen travelers and workers have to deal with. When I tell people to please be careful, this is exactly why. This is what you’re possibly looking at for the rest of your life. You never know what lies on the other side of that door, and once you open it, there is no going back to who you were before. Sometimes you’ll walk through and nothing major happens, and it’s kittens and rainbows and life is great and the astral bank only charges you a .05 fee every month. But you’re also just as likely walking into the middle of hell and everything that you thought you were is going to change into something else completely foreign and the astral bank wants to charge you $5,000 a month, and you have to learn to contend with that.

No one seems to want to associate PTSD with astral, but I’m hear to tell you, you can only see so many people hurt and killed before it takes it’s toll on your mind. We all want to believe that the astral is only “sorta real”, but your brain doesn’t make that distinction even if you consciously try to do so.

For those out there who like to constantly remind everyone that “people who ‘travel’ to the astral are full of themselves and delusional”, I ask that you reconsider your stance, or learn to keep your stance to yourself. Even if the thought of traveling to the Unseen somehow seems too far fetched for you (even though you seemingly think that gods can be real), no one who does this kind of work is dumb enough to not know how crazy it all sounds. You’re not telling us anything we haven’t told ourselves.

For those of you who are considering astral travel as a “thing”, please consider heavily the price that you may have to pay if you are successful. Make sure it’s really worth it to you before you try to open that door.

And for those of you who are in the same boat as me, you have my sympathies and remember to take care of yourself, because I know how challenging this lot can be.

 

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Explaining Squishy Polytheism Through Astral Lineage

One of the things I see a lot of people get hung up on when they come into Kemeticism is our weird form of polytheism. Due to how the Egyptians saw their gods, it’s completely normal to get gods that mesh together, separate, conjoin for brief periods of time, merge down and stay completely separate all at the same time. Reading about these godly contortions often leaves people with a bunch of questions. “How can you be one god while simultaneously being two gods?” “Are there three gods now, or only two gods still?” “How come these deities keep merging… are they the same or different now?” “Is that a syncretization or an aspect… how on earth do I tell?” “Does any of this crap even matter? I mean, all of the gods are different and separate… right? Maybe?”

Truthfully, the tricky nature of our polytheism can be really daunting for a lot of people, and I’ve noticed that the most common methods of handling the weirdness of our gods is to either draw hard lines in the sand: well all of the gods are separate beings, always without exceptions. Or to go in the completely opposite direction: well all of the gods are secretly just one god with lots of mood swings, faces, and personalities. And in some cases, the devotee will simply curl up in a ball and rock themselves while they try to ignore the squishiness of our gods’ methods.

Everything about syncretization and aspecting (as well as the squishiness in general) used to confuse me greatly when I first got into Kemeticism. I’ve seen it explained many ways over the years- the each deity is two sides of one coin, or that it’s like cooking where you mix up ingredients to make a meal, or through the use of color (the sky being an ‘aspect’ or kind of blue, where as purple is a syncretization of red and blue) etc.

Generally speaking we define aspecting as when a god takes on the role of another deity for a brief period of time. An example I like to use for this is Wpwt-Re. Wpwt and Re are their own separate entities, but when Wpwt needs to be a little bit shinier, or a little bit more “Re-like”, he’ll take on some of his attributes to complete a job, and then go back to being just Wpwt when he’s done.

It’s kinda like he takes Re’s hat and says “I need to use this, I’ll bring it back when I’m done”. And while the hat is on his head, he becomes a little bit more like Re than he normally would be.

On the other hand, syncretization is when two deities come together to form one deity, while still remaining separate deities. To use the color example above, red and blue can still exist while purple also exists. However, deities are not crayons (or coins or taffy), and so sometimes the comparison doesn’t always make sense to everyone that reads it.

And generally speaking, none of the commonly used examples above really stuck with me or helped to clarify anything. It was only when I got into the astral and learned about how non-physical bodies work that it began to make any sense to me.

Astral Bodies: Big, Flexible, and Inception-ready

One of the first things that I think needs to be understood about astral bodies is that they really aren’t anything like ours in a lot of ways. As I’ve stated in the past, they are vast and they can contain a whole plethora of stuff that you wouldn’t expect to see. That being said, it’s very easy to stash people inside of you, or even entire galaxies inside of you, if that’s your thing. Scale and size don’t mean anything Over There, and it’s possible to being as large or as tiny as you might ever need to be, if you know what you’re doing. And so it’s entirely possible that you could stash gods inside of you, and no one would know.

Because you’re able to be merged while separate over there, it’s not too terribly difficult to merge down with someone to form one being, while still being separate beings. A lot of us have come to use the Megazord as an example for syncretization and how it works, and it is pretty accurate in a sense. A bunch of entities can come together to form one combined entity while still be separate on the inside (or the outside).

In addition to this, it’s very easy to cleave parts of yourself off of yourself- or in other words, you can basically clone yourself to some capacity. So in many ways, you and your friend can cut off parts of yourselves, and then take those parts and push them together and merge them into a new combined entity while still being separate on the outside, with the result giving you three separate beings (you, your friend, and the being that is you and your friend merged together).

Merging & Cleaving: The Line in the Sand

When it comes to merging and cleaving on the astral, there are a couple of caveats that have to be kept in mind. First off is that it is usually very easy to merge and un-merge with parts of yourself or another at first (provided you are compatible and healthy). When you cleave a part of yourself off, this piece will initially be very much like you. It will think like you, be like you, and do as you say because for all intents and purposes- it is you. However, the longer you keep this portion of yourself separate and acting on it’s own, the more likely it will eventually turn into its own bonified self-aware and autonomous entity. I’m not sure what entirely causes this to happen, but I have seen it happen several times with different, unconnected people.

So let’s say Horus cleaves off a part of himself to go do something Super Important while he is busy at home. If Horus2 ends up staying separate for too long, he’ll become his own person, if you will. And after a point, Horus1 will have a harder time sucking Horus2 back into himself- because he has grown into being his own person. In addition to this, if Horus1 decided to suck Horus2 back into himself relatively early in this process, they would likely merge down without any problem and reform into one being. However, if Horus1 decides to try and suck Horus2 back into himself after he’s become his own being, there will likely be slightly competing mentalities at play, in the same way that multiples have to deal with headmates.

A lot of what can dictate the ability to merge down after a point is going to be dependent upon how close the two entities are to begin with. In many ways, entities that cleave off but stay super close to one another are going to be able to merge down much easier with minimal efforts- because they haven’t drifted apart. This can also go for the ability to feel and sense what the other cleaved piece is doing or feeling. Usually when you’ve first cleaved a part of yourself off, it’s easy to see what that piece is up to, if they’re doing okay, and even what they are thinking because there is still a very clear bond between the two of you. However, if this piece runs off and you don’t keep tabs on it, it will drift further away from you, and can drift so far away that it takes a lot of effort to see where they are or what they are doing. This is largely because of the connection that exists between the pieces will erode unless it’s maintained and fed energy from the people at both ends of the connection. The state of this connection can dictate a lot about how close in nature two entities are, as well as how easy it is for them to merge down later on.

In terms of merging with another being, when you’re merged at first, it can be very easy to tell where you end and the other person begins. However, as you begin to spend more and more time together, you will bleed into one another, and eventually it may be impossible to separate from one another without severe damage being caused. This seems to occur as beings begin to resonate, think, work, and operate on the same levels and frequencies. And after a while, it becomes challenging to figure out where one ends and the other begins.

People who merge down with other entities Over There often know how long they can go before issues start to crop up. The same can go for cleaving parts of yourself off. Thing is- humans probably don’t know about any lines in the sand to begin with, so who knows how human worship has affected how the gods merged, splintered and joined as they did. Maybe in some cases the gods only wanted to merge down for a little bit, but then people kept invoking this syncretized deity, and so it became a permanent feature of the pantheon.

It’s because of these possibilities that I treat all syncretized beings as being their own separate selves from their original Creators. It’s true that there is overlap, but that doesn’t mean they are all effectively the “same”.

Lineage Like an Incestuous Venn-Diagram

This concept also confused me when I first got into Kemeticism. I think I was thinking of it too much like how I view children and parents here in the physical world. You are not your parents, even though their DNA came together to make you. And in many cases, the overlap between a child and their parent can be very minimal on the surface. Not to mention that your parents can’t suck back into you or talk through you the way super-connected people in the astral can.

It took learning about the lineage in my own astral household to really start to understand how bonds can form weird connections, and how merged beings can overlap like a venn-diagram does while still remaining their own person.

You see, my household looks like a bunch of different people living together. However, in a lot of ways, my household is a big ol’ vat of incest, because most of the people that are in my man pile are actually parts and pieces of other older merged menz. Sounds hot, doesn’t it?

To illustrate this, I will talk about 5 of my menz (and myself) and how their lineage converges into an incestuous knot.

First off is me and the man I usually call “K-pop”. He and I, for all intents and purposes, are one being split into two pieces. While I’m not entirely sure how we became one (or how one became two), the simple fact of the matter is we have a lot of overlap, and it’s very easy to merge down, split apart, reach into one another, pull one out of the other, and do all sorts of weird taffy-like things.

I have two other menz (let’s call them Joe and John) that seemed entirely unrelated in any capacity to anyone else, until I found out that they are actually a product of two other menz that took parts of themselves and made new people. In a way, this could make Joe and John children of K-pop and his partner. But that’s not entirely accurate either, as they certainly don’t treat these other two people like parents. When you watch Joe and John, you can definitely see influences from their predecessors and much like tracking traits and habits from parents- you can definitely see where they get certain habits from.

So while my house has 5 people in it, when you track down the origins of how things were cleaved and split apart, everyone is technically a branch or product of two people and two people only. And because of these splits and cleaves, we can all merge into one another, pull out of one another, and do a bunch of non-physical inception-level type things.

And in a way, the NTRW are like this. If all of the NTRW came from a single Creator deity, then they are all connected in some way, shape or form. And they can technically abuse these connections and merge down and split apart to their heart’s content. And in a very abstract way, they are all “one”, in the same way that my astral household is “two”. But due to how everything is structured, they are also separate and their numbers range in the thousands.

Another good example of this is looking at how certain kinds of trees and bushes grow. From the surface, it may look like you’re looking at an entire forest of trees, when in reality, it’s actually only one tree. And of course, that would make you wonder- which is it? One or thousands? And the answer would technically be “both”.

This is why Kemeticism can be described as being polytheistic and henotheistic all at once. Our gods are one and many all at the same time, as are many astral beings. It’s hard for us to grok it because of the limitations of our physical bodies, but on the astral, having various parts, pieces, facets, and cleaves is par for the course. And hopefully, with any luck, this post has helped to clarify some of that. If anyone has questions, or if anything isn’t clear, hit me up in the comments section and I’ll see if I can clarify.

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The Good Earth

Astral bodies are incredibly vast. They can contain worlds and universes within them. You could spend an entire lifetime inside of some bodies and never see everything within. Get lost within a body, and you may never get out again.

Astral bodies can also contain relics of previous existences within them, the same way that we sometimes stumble across old ruins in the dirt.

I’ve seen it said that human bodies are like a sort of repository or record of everything you experience. And that the records may not contain only information about yourself, but of your predecessors and ancestors, too. I find this interesting, because astral bodies can be like that as well. But instead of keeping the information for only one lifetime, the body is storing away information from multiple lifetimes that exist along a single soul line within. So the same way that my human body stores information about my own existence here on earth, as well as genetic information from my parents and their parents, etc., my astral body contains information about earth bound me, and all of the other versions of myself running around on the astral as well as predecessors and previous incarnations of myself. Because astral bodies are vast.

Stumbling across one of these relics, one of these recordings of the past is incredibly interesting. I just so happened across one in the form of dirt one evening. But this wasn’t just any dirt. This was like dirt and glitter went out for a night on the town and had a baby. It was unlike any dirt I’d ever seen here on earth.

When I asked about this dirt, I was told that I was standing on a corpse. Beneath my feet lay the remains of a previous existence, a previous life form. I’m not entirely sure what this previous life form was or what it looked like, or even how it met its end. All I know is that the corpse that this dirt represented laid the foundations for new life to grow. Like plants springing out of the ground, or crops sprouting out of Osiris’ back, this dirt has given the nutrients needed to create new life.

As it turns out, the man I was walking with was one of the many end products of this fertile soil. And as it also turns out, this man was not very fond of his soul line’s predecessor, the entity that was now embodied by this soil. He and I had been working for months now to try and figure out how to fix some of the problems he was experiencing, and the origins for most of them lie in the soil we were walking upon.

It is very difficult to heal when you carry wounds and scars from your predecessors. I have a hard time healing because I still carry scars and wounds from my parents- my mortal predecessors. And my parents carry scars that were given to them from their parents, their mortal predecessors. Based off of the many discussions I’ve had about Akhu with fellow Kemetics, it is very apparent to me that having less than ideal family lineage is par for the course anymore. So many of us don’t feel secure in giving our ancestors the time of day because they were not very good people. It is challenging to build up any sort of solace or acceptance if it hinges upon people that have hurt you- blood related or not.

This is also true, I think, if the horrible predecessor is yourself.

Ever look back at things you said or did in the past and thought “Wow I was an asshole”? Ever learn that you’ve got really bad habits that need to go away, and that those habits have hurt people really badly? Maybe you’re one of those parents in the paragraph above, and you wake up one morning and realize you wrecked your kids for life. What do you do then?

That is the situation me and my companion found ourselves in. For this dirt that he walked upon was nothing more than remnants of himself. The predecessor that he hated so much was a previous incarnation of himself. And many of the reasons the work we had been doing was not sticking was because he couldn’t get over his own past, his own previous failings.

It sucks to wake up one day and realize you’ve been a horrible person. It sucks to wake up one day and realize that you’ve hurt or possibly ruined people. It sucks to know that you’ve fed into oppressive systems or perpetuated someone else’s pain and suffering.

It sucks to wake up one day and realize you’ve been a big bag of floppy dicks. That you’ve broken the main rule of Kemeticism.

I have struggled with this over the years in many formats. There have been times when I realize that I have been horrible to other people and have hurt them and I had to figure out what to do about it. There have also been times when I have been asked to help heal someone in the Unseen who has caused me pain in the past as well. It’s hard to help someone heal when you can’t overcome the pain that they caused you. It’s hard to help someone accept their own past mistakes if you yourself can’t even accept what they have done.

Life is messy like that, and in my short time both here in the physical as well as the Unseen, I can tell you that there are more people who have screwed up and hurt others than not. If you have been a bag of dicks, I can assure you you’re not alone in it.

Something else I’ve learned during my stint here is that just because you were a bag of dicks before doesn’t mean you have to be a bag of dicks now. Just because you screwed up in the past doesn’t mean that you are condemned to be horrible forever. Sometimes your old horrible self can become useful, fertile soil to create a new you, if you know what you’re doing. I say this because who better to teach others the pitfalls of falling into certain habits than someone who has had those habits themselves?

If you look back over your past and can see how you fell into the habits, situations, and destructive patterns that you did- it’s much easier to show other people what to look out for, what things to avoid, what things to do better. Because you’ve been there and you know the ins and outs of the behaviour, it’s easier for you to draw a sort of “map” to help others get out, too.

I try to tell the man that I am walking with this. I try to reassure him that just because he was prone to bad behaviour in the past doesn’t mean that he is always doomed to repeat that behaviour. I try to tell him that he can learn from his past and better himself, that he needn’t be chained to who he was. Every moment is Zep Tepi. Every moment is a time to start over and recommit yourself anew to whatever path you choose. This fertile soil that we walk upon could very well serve as the foundations for him to become someone better than he once was.

And the truth is, we are all this way. We are all our own cache of fertile soil that we can grow from. We are all able to become more than what we were, whenever we so choose to plant the seeds of change within ourselves. Even if you’ve screwed up or done things you regret, you can always choose to do better. Never give up on yourself. Investing in yourself is the best investment that you can ever make, and it is an investment that we should all be making regularly.

Do not deny yourself your new beginning.

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Take Two & Call Me in the Morning

Alternative title: Healing Over There Ain’t Like Healing Over Here.

If you would have asked me 5 years ago whether I felt working healing people would be in my future, I would have laughed in your face and told you no. Even now, I have a hard time coming to grips with the fact that a large part of what I do Over There technically falls under the category of “healing”. Much like the medical field here in the Seen, there are many different types of healing that I’ve come across during my travels. And much like over here, there are many people who specialize in a certain type of healing. The notion that there is someone who can cure everything or do it all seems to be pretty scarce in the places I’ve been, and if you live in the bad parts of town like I do- and you’re smart- you’ll have a Rolodex filled with different healers who have different specializations. That way, when you end up with random health problems, you’ll have plenty of people to pick from to get yourself patched up.

And that’s probably the hardest part about healthcare Over There- there are just so many damned ways to get hurt that don’t exist over here. Some things are very literal like they are here-you take in a virus that needs to be worked out of your system or maybe you break a limb that needs to be reset and not used until it heals up. But generally speaking, the stuff that goes wrong there is not the type of thing you run into here.

Limbs don’t break very often there, unless you’re in a plane with really rigid physics. Nope. Instead you get limbs that get eroded off by poison laced weaponry. Or you find that someone ate two of your fingers off, and now you have to either learn how to re-grow those fingers, or find someone who can recreate those fingers and stitch them back onto you.

Other times you’ll get things like energetic infections- where your energy lines (possibly the equivalent to blood vessels or nerves in the human body) start feeling like fire every time you’re awake. Or sometimes you’ll get things shoved into you (literal things, yes) that end up emitting an illness from the inside- and in those cases you have to fish the item out (this is not as easy as it sounds), and then combat the infection that is now in your system.

There are also illnesses that can effect bond lines or threads- and there are people who perform surgeries and other similar methods to help clean those up or remove bonds and threads that are destroying a person’s health. And because bond lines are super fun and so many things are connected, what infects you could very well infect your entire house because it travels down the bond line. Kinda like when one kid comes in with a cold, and infects everyone in their class. And then those kids go home and infect their parents, who then go to work and infect their coworkers. If you’re not careful, it’s really easy for one well placed illness or injury to take out an entire household in the span of a few hours. Which is why the Rolodex is so important.

I also think it becomes pretty obvious pretty quickly why there are specializations. It’s difficult to learn and master all of these various areas of focus, and even seasoned healers come across new stuff that they have to formulate solutions to. However, no matter what focus you specialize in, there are a few lessons that seem to be applicable to all healers that are working Over There. Here are some lessons that I’ve picked up over the few years that I have been poking around people’s insides:

Lesson One: Leading Horses to Water Doesn’t Always Work

The first lesson to learn about healing Over There is that it is very difficult to heal someone who doesn’t want to be healed. This is less of an issue if you happen to be a healer that can tell someone to take some medication and call it day. However, most healers that I’ve met require their patient to be compliant and willing in order for healing to be successful- and you’d be surprised how hard it is to find patients that are both willing and compliant.

This is probably a big deal for me due to the type of work that I perform. Generally speaking, the work I do would be the equivalent to some forms of shadow work performed over here. And like many people here, many of the entities that I’ve worked on have wanted to be healed in a sort of abstract, distant kind of way. But for whatever reason they weren’t ready or prepared to do all of the work that comes with the process of healing. There have been many occasions where we will begin the healing process, only to have the entity revert or regress a short time later. Old habits die hard, and the death of those habits is usually part and parcel of the healing process. An inability to face that usually results in backtracking once a healing session is finished, and I have witnessed more than my fair share of backtracking in the time that I’ve been working Over There. This, of course, can be frustrating when a patient comes back a few weeks later, and you see all of the hard work you put into them completely undone like it was nothing. Which brings me to lesson two…

Lesson Two: Distance is Crucial

The second lesson I learned about healing is that you must be distant in order to be effective. This isn’t to be confused with being calloused- as that usually doesn’t get you anywhere either. What I mean is that you must always be in control of your emotions, and you must remain a bit at arms length from whoever you are working on. To draw on an example that is probably closer to home- imagine if you called the ambulance because you just got run through with something. If the ambulance showed up at your house, and all of the EMTs came out and started panicking and crying, you’d end up dieing on your living room floor. Or if the EMTs got you to the hospital, but your surgeon saw you and broke down in the operating room because they were devastated over your condition, you’d be likely to die yet again.

Healing over there is no different. You will traipse through people’s awful memories and have to stay compassionate but composed as they break down in your lap. You will have hurt people lash out at you and call you all sorts of names, and you have to not let it effect your mood. You have to learn how to keep your head above their water while keeping them from drowning- all while they scream profanity at you.

And when your patient comes back a few weeks later with all of your work undone, you have to be able to not explode in their face. To do so would likely cause more harm than good, and it would end up undoing even more of your work.

Lesson Three: It’s Not About You

I personally think this is the most important lesson to learn hands down, and it is something that I have experienced both over here and Over There, and it’s something that I’ve seen many people fail at many many times.

When you are healing someone, it is not about you. It is about them and what they need in order to be healed.

To bring up the person showing up a few weeks later, you may want to yell at them. You may want to teach them a thing and ream them about how they are screwing everything up. But much like parents who yell at their children at the worst possible time, doing what feels gratifying in the short term will often result in backtracking in the long term. Part and parcel to being distant from whoever you are healing, you must learn that you are not the focus of this situation.

This can extend beyond wanting to yell at someone, too. Putting your patient’s needs first means that when their body truly says “I am done”, you oblige them. Putting your patient’s needs first means that your expectations and desires come after whatever is truly needed for healing to take place. I’ve experienced this in a number of ways throughout the years. I had mentioned my friend “Waffles” in a previous post where he ultimately decided that he no longer wished to continue forward, and opted to essentially be euthanized. It was me that had to handle that.

In another situation I was healing someone who we expected to stick around and stay with my household after we were done. Except that once the healing took hold, he faded off and disappeared to who knows where. There have been other times where relationships have to be purely platonic while healing is occurring- because that’s what is needed, even though it wasn’t what either of us really wanted.

In every situation where healing is occurring, you have to remember to keep your needs second to the needs of your patient. If you can’t do that, then you are not the right healer that is required for the job. Sometimes there are certain cases that you’re not able to take on or shouldn’t take on, and sometimes you need a healer that is further removed from whatever is going on to get the job done right.

Lesson Four: Know When You’re Out of Your League

Healing is one of those things where you never really know what to expect when a patient walks through your door. There are times when people come in, and it’s an easy case where you can get it done quickly and send them on their way. Then there are other times when someone walks in, and you don’t even know where to begin. Learning how to figure out when to keep trying to heal a difficult case, and when to pass that case onto someone else with a different skill set can be the difference between someone who is successfully healed, and someone who ends up worse for wear.

This easily ties back into lesson three and remembering that it’s not about you. Letting your ego, feelings or desires get in the way of a healing session that you’re not really able to handle can prove disastrous not only to the patient, but yourself as well. I know that I want to be able to fix everyone that comes my way, but there are times when I know I’m in over my head and I know that I’m not the best person for the job. Being able to come to terms with that, and being able to pass the patient over to someone who has better tools to fix them is important. Because, again, it’s not about you- its about what the patient needs in order to heal.

There are obviously many other caveats, lessons, and things I could write about healing Over There, and this list only barely scratches the surface. However, hopefully it gives at least some sort of basic primer for anyone who has ever considered taking up healing in the Unseen, or will give some tips for anyone who has accidentally found themselves charged with the task of healing someone else Over There.

 

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Healing and Destruction: Two Sides of the Same Coin

When I was younger, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I loved animals, and I thought it would be a nice idea to help heal and save the animals that I loved. That is until I realized that in order to be a vet, you must be willing and able to also kill animals when treatment was not available or working. And with the mention of that, I decided the profession was not for me. Life’s funny like that, because despite my best efforts to move away from death and destruction, my life Over There landed me neck deep in both. Over the years I have made a lot of vague passing comments about the nature of my life Over There, but I’ve never really gone into any amount of depth or detail regarding the work I do. As with most everything I do, this has been done on purpose, as I’ve always felt that talking about it would result in one of two things: people looking at me like I’ve lost my marbles while they whisper “special snowflake” to their closest friends, or people looking at me with horror while they call me a monster. Both options lead to suck so I’ve never bothered.

However, recent discussions about the nature of ma’at and the nature of the gods has led me to decide to finally open up about some of what I do Over There. I guess we can consider it getting an early start to the work Set has laid out for me this year.

Usually when I sum up my work Over There, I de-fang and sterilize everything down to “I heal and destroy”. It sounds pretty simple and straightforward, but it’s honestly anything but. I’ve noticed over the years that many people seem to have troubles understanding how these two things can live so closely together, as seen by goddesses such as Sekhmet. However, let me assure you that the two are opposite sides of the same coin, as with the veterinarian mentioned above. In order to be able to heal, you must also be adept at being able to kill, and one can easily lead into the other.

I never expected to end up in this role, and taking up this sort of “work” happened very organically- at least on my end. I still can’t tell if Set and Osiris came to me because they foresaw what I was capable of doing, or if this is all just icing on top of their already made cake. At first I tried to escape the role that lay before me. However, the more I ran, the faster it caught up with me, and eventually I ended up embracing what was laying at my feet. Anything else resulted in more discomfort. Sometimes it’s easier to find solace in what you are than to continually deny what is written in front of your face.

Much like with my gods where Set came first and Osiris followed, my work started with destruction and I didn’t learn some of the finer points of healing until much later. Destruction came very easily to me from a very early point in my astral work. This is mainly due to my ability to access the deeper points of people Over There. I don’t even have to really try, and I can fall into some of the deepest darkest parts of a person or a plane (because planes can have embodiments and cores, just as humanesque entities do), places where it’s very easy to do damage. Waking up neck deep in astral fuckery meant that I had to kill sometimes in order to survive. Sometimes I needed to destroy a place, person, or item in order to get away and restore some semblance of balance or totality to my existence. Destruction was very necessary when I first started out. I had to clear out the wreckage of my house in order to actually address the foundations below.

The need to heal people was pretty quick to follow, though. Turns out that when you’re popping up in these horrible places to collect parts of yourself, you often find other people who are just as screwed up as you are. I found myself wanting to help these people, and wanting to help heal them as best as I could. I also think that I secretly hoped that I would be able to avoid killing things because healing them was the solution to everything. I didn’t realize at the time that this isn’t really the case- healing is not always a solution, nor is it always the best solution.

Shortly after, Osiris began to teach me how to use the river to heal myself and others as well. We’d branch from using my particular river to using vats of water in general. I learned various methods of picking nasty bits out of people’s energy lines, and I began to work on learning how to heal cores and core spirits. I felt as though I might have found a solution to everything- I would heal whatever I came across instead of killing it.

The problem is, healing doesn’t really work that way.

Death and destruction are part of a healer’s arsenal. When someone from Over There opens up their proverbial medical bag, death and destruction are one of the first things to be pulled out. The first method that Osiris showed me, after all, involved drowning in order to facilitate the ability to heal. It doesn’t get much more morbid than that.

And even if you’re not using death or destruction to heal, sometimes killing is still an unavoidable side effect. Sometimes you work your ass off trying to heal someone, and the healing still does not stick. The healing doesn’t work because the person isn’t ready, or in some cases, the person doesn’t even want to be healed anymore. I had a man that I ended up calling Waffles because he kept waffling in his healing so much. Some weeks he wanted to live and wanted to stay with me forever. And then other weeks he’d withdraw entirely, and wish for death.

Eventually, the death won out. Part of being the healer is being able to put someone out of their misery if you need to (or if they want it). Another part of being a healer is being able to put someone down if they are becoming a serious danger to you or others. Sometimes death is the best way to facilitate the healing. And of course, we can’t forget the other popular end result- which is when the healing works out so well that the person passes on by their own choice, leaving you with a surprisingly empty room one morning. All of these results are not only possible, but common when it comes to healing Over There.

To bring this into a more mundane aspect, you can even see destruction in the healing we perform here on Earth. Ever taken antibiotics? That involves killing bacteria in your system in order to get better. Destruction facilitates the restoration of balance within your system. Destruction can sometimes lead to ma’at – which is exactly why we have less than peaceful deities in our pantheon. Sometimes peace and passivity are not the answer.

And perhaps that is why I have ended up with the selection of gods that I have. Set’s destruction and Osiris’ passivity give me the best of both worlds, and in many ways both of their tasks fall into the same category: healing, or the restoration of balance for a person, plane, or realm. Sometimes killing and death are required in order to restore that balance. Sometimes good old fashioned nurturing and healing are required to restore the balance. Sometimes you need both in equal measure.

I was once hopeful that I could use all of what I have learned regarding healing to wipe away all of the red on my hands from everything I have destroyed or killed. But since then I have learned that healing doesn’t wipe the red away. It simply adds to the richness of the color. Life without death does not exist, nor does healing exist without destruction, as both are inseparably linked.

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Souls are like Ceramics

There is a tea set that I use frequently. This set consists of four pieces: a saucer, the cup, a teapot, and a lid. All of these pieces nest together to make a very nice, compact arrangement.

Tea Set

And if you will indulge me, I would like to compare this tea set to a soul.

I know that many of us think that souls are all in one piece, but the truth is that this isn’t really the case. Sometimes your soul line can be in only a few entities, but in many cases, one’s soul is spread out across many many existences, like branches on a tree (see also: Donut Theory). In the case of this tea set, the “soul” would take up four pieces- residing in each of the parts of the set. These pieces work well together and fit well together in order to make a complete setting that can be used for drinking tea.

Of course, each of these pieces could be separate entities- such as bond mates, but sometimes they are “duplicates” of yourself, if you will, which are sometimes called facets by members of the astral community. Soul bits and pieces can be spread apart many different beings, some of which may look like you, and some of which may not. Some of these pieces may work well together and fit well together like the pieces of this tea set. Or sometimes these pieces don’t fit well together at all, and they end up falling over when you open up your cabinet.

via Flickr

So when I got this tea set, it was a whole set that worked well together. Everything fit well together and worked smoothly and everything was great. But one day I was stupid, and I dropped one of the pieces- the lid from the top of the teapot. I remember watching it fall and trying to catch it before it hit the ground, and ultimately failing. The lid shattered into several pieces that flew in different directions across the room.

Souls can do this, too. Souls can be broken, splintered, shattered, and otherwise ripped apart. You can cleave non-physical beings into multiple pieces- both by force and by choice. When a soul is broken apart, its usually not done on purpose (at least in my experience), and just like the shards of ceramic flying across my kitchen floor, so too can soul bits go flying across the universe. These bits can be large or small, they can fly by themselves and land totally separate from everything else, or they can land close together where they are easily gathered back up.

I looked to gather up as much of the broken lid as possible, with the hope that maybe I could glue it back together and make it usable again. But the truth of the matter is, no matter how few pieces a piece of ceramic breaks into- you will always be missing something. There are tiny bits that you’ll never ever be able to get back.

And in this case, some of the pieces went flying under the fridge where they would never be seen again. Some rolled under the stove, and others were just too small to be salvageable. For all I know, the piece under the fridge was picked up by an ant and carted off to be used somewhere else. And soul bits are like that, too. Have a piece that flies off into no man’s land? Good luck getting it back. And if some less-than-savory character happens across that piece where you can’t reach it anymore? Well, that’s how you wake up in the astral with 93858746 years of fuckery to clean up.

Just like with the lid, when a soul breaks, it rarely gets put back together in the same way that it was before the initial fracture. There are ways to “glue” a soul back together. To re-melt it and re-forge it into something new and shiny. But when you do that, it’s rarely the same person, entity, or consciousness that it was before. It would be the equivalent of making an entirely new cup from old materials. The materials of the previous cup may exist within the new cup, but the cup is technically still very different.

Of course, my tea set technically works just as well without the lid (though my teapot may be sad to be missing its companion). I could have decided to scrap the lid entirely, and go from having a four piece tea set to a three piece tea set. You can do that with soul bits, too, technically. You can destroy them, consume them, discard them. But even then, you can only destroy what you have in your hands. That piece that landed under the fridge that the ant got a hold of? I can’t do much about that. Not until I find the shard again. Another possibility is taking the larger pieces of ceramic and using them in another project such as a mosaic. You can also do that with soul pieces. You can meld them together, break them down and reform them with other soul pieces into new souls or beings. You can shove pieces of one soul or entity into another entity (with and without consent, with a variety of outcomes from doing so). There are many options for how you can handle shards.

And of course, I have to decide if I want to move into having a three piece tea set. Sometimes you really really want to salvage whatever you can, even if the “fixed” piece isn’t the same as it was before. Much like with Japanese Kintsugi, sometimes people think that flaws and break lines add character to a person or an item.

tealidIn the case of the lid, I gathered up as much as I could. We worked to glue it back together as best as possible. Of course, there were pieces I couldn’t get. There are now holes in the lid. There are huge chunks missing. The lid works, but it doesn’t really work as well as it did before. You have to be more careful with it. You have to be conscientious of how you handle it. It now has special needs that you have to recognize in order to utilize it. This probably sounds familiar to anyone whose body has broken down on them over the years. Spoonies spend their entire existence catering to the fickle needs of their body.

Souls can get like that, too. The soul can break, it can be thrown across the universe, and you have to go and find as many pieces as you possibly can. Sometimes you’ll think you have them all, but when you glue the thing back together, you realize you’re missing a ton of pieces. You can try to compensate for this with gold or mortar or thicker glue. Or you can just leave the holes there like scars that tell a tale of your past. Sometimes you’ll be living with those holes, and you’ll suddenly stumble across another piece- you know, the one that the ant took. And you’ll take it into you and you’ll feel it click into place. Sometimes you’ll grab a piece up you didn’t even know was missing to begin with, and feel the solidity of having that gap filled.

Other times your “lid” will break and you won’t be able to glue it back together. So instead, you opt to find a new “lid” to replace it, to try and fill the hole that the missing piece has left in your “set”, in your existence. Or you’ll continue on and live with the hole that now exists within you- for better or worse.

In many ways, my work over on the astral has been a lot like fixing this lid. I woke up over there to find that I had holes in my body, holes in my soul line, and holes in my heart. I spent years working to find the pieces to fill these holes. I can’t tell you how many places I’ve been because I finally picked up on a tiny soul shard, and upon finding it, I had to extract my piece out of the situation so that it could be rejoined with the “set”. It has taken years, and my “lid” still isn’t finished. I don’t know if it will ever be entirely whole again (despite the whole “two pieces now made whole” thing). But sometimes that is the best you can do when things go wrong. Much like with my tea set, I have to learn to like the various flaws that now exist within the lid because I wasn’t careful with it. Much like with my body that isn’t ideal, I have to learn to work with the shortcomings that exist in my life. And much like with my soul, there will likely always be reminders of being broken- some of them in the form of holes, some of them in the form of lines of gold.

Because souls are like that. Imperfect. Breakable. And yet strangely durable.

 

 

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KRT: Afterlife

For this KRT we are discussing various ideas regarding the afterlife both then and now. The Egyptian realm of the dead, often referred to as the Duat (and sometimes as the Dat or Dwat) was a complicated place filled with all sorts of weird beings. The biggest hurdle to really understanding the Duat is that, like many cultures or religions that span multiple centuries, the Egyptians had shifting views on what happened after you died – including where exactly you went after death, as well as death practices that changes over the centuries. So in order to tackle the concept of the afterlife, we must take a look at how views on the afterlife shifted over the centuries of Egyptian history and then see how that influences modern Kemetic ideas about the afterlife.

Please note: you could easily write books about Egyptian concepts of the afterlife (see resources at the bottom). This post is going to be a general overview of some ideas and concepts that were present throughout the history of Egypt and should not be considered an exhaustive discussion of Egyptian views of the afterlife.

The Afterlife: Then

“It should be pointed out that the Egyptians did not necessarily hold a single view of the next world at any one time, but… were quite capable of maintaining two or more conflicting opinions at once. This is already apparent in the Pyramid Texts, in which the views expressed concerning the afterlife of the king vary considerably in different spells, depending on whether they were early or more recent in origin.”

Death in Ancient Egypt by A.J. Spencer

We are not entirely sure what the earliest Egyptians believed in regards to the afterlife. Due to a lack of written records and minimal archeological records, it can be difficult to figure out what their exact religious beliefs were. We do know that early Egyptians did appear to have ritualized death practices that included specific burial methods and interring the dead with different amenities and provisions, likely for the afterlife. However, our knowledge of what they believed pretty much ends there.

The Old Kingdom is when we really start to see the Egyptians come into their own regarding funerary practices and beliefs. It was during this 500 year period that the Egyptians began to experiment with mud brick mastabas and then commissioning large scale building projects in the form of limestone lined pyramid and mortuary complexes. These complexes could be incredibly large, and it was not uncommon for the king to have two tombs- one in Upper Egypt and one in Lower Egypt. The process for mummification was still experimental at this point in time, and there was an emphasis on ka statues as opposed to mummies to help you achieve immortality in the underworld.

It seems to be generally regarded that during the OK, everything regarding the afterlife was centered around the king. Many Egyptologists posit the idea that the Egyptians wanted to be as close to the king as possible, because the best route to any sort of salvation was through him. This manifested in nobles wanting to place their tombs in close proximity to the king’s tomb/s, and that one of the only ways to really get a nice mortuary complex made for you was through receiving favor from the king. At this time, only the king had large mortuary complexes or had the ability to commission a pyramid or line the walls with various reliefs from the Pyramid Texts. That being said, there are some Egyptologists who have suggested that certain texts were available to nobles or high ranking Egyptians that worked for or with the king, or that perhaps there was more oral tradition amongst common people that we no longer have a record of. Unfortunately, we don’t really know at this time, and its generally regarded that funerary religious practices in the OK revolved pretty much around the king.

It is during the OK that the pyramid texts make their first appearance, and the general idea during this time was that the Duat resided in the sky or resided within Nut or the Celestial Cow (who goes by many names). Most of the texts talk about moving up into the sky and joining the imperishable stars. The imperishable stars were where akhu, or blessed dead were said to reside. These stars were in the northern sky, and were said to be imperishable because they never dipped below the horizon- they were always there, looking down upon Egypt. And that was where everyone wanted to end up- amongst the akhu in the sky.

As the centralized government fell apart and the Old Kingdom shifted into the First Intermediate Period, religious practices experienced what is often called the ‘democratization process’. That is to say that funerary practices quit being all about the king or only for the king. As nomarchs (regional rulers) got to experience their first taste of leadership and power, they decided that they would commission their own tombs with their own texts and inscriptions because there was no king or authority to stop them from doing so. Because of the decline in wealth for these nomarchs, as well as the newly given access to afterlife provisions to the common people, we also see a trend in having ornate coffins (as opposed to sarcophagi shoved into stone tombs) for your resting place. These coffins had their own texts written on them, which are commonly referred to as the “Coffin Texts” (because we’re really original with our naming).

It was by this time that the Osirian cult began to really gain a foothold in ancient Egypt, and this influenced the content of the inscriptions. Unlike the Pyramid Texts (PT) which focused largely on the Duat being in the sky, the Coffin Texts (CT) placed the Duat in the ground, as being a sort of subterranean existence. You can definitely see parallels between the Pyramid Texts and the Coffin Texts, and it’s very obvious that one influenced the other.

This would inevitably influence the Middle Kingdom which saw intricate tombs for both the king and nobility alike, as well as a further democratization of funerary practices. It’s during this entire era (First Intermediate Period, Middle Kingdom, Second Intermediate Period) that you start to see the elements of the Egyptian afterlife that are the most well known to us. You begin to see descriptions of traveling through the Duat, elements of having your heart weighed in the Hall of Two Truths, and of course, Osiris being the supreme Overlord of the Duat.

The New Kingdom is, in my opinion, when funerary literature explodes all over the place. It is during the NK that we see all sorts of new texts created and distributed at all levels of Egyptian society. The most popular of these is, of course, the Book of the Dead. The Osirian cult becomes increasingly popular during this era, and by this point in time, salvation is possible for everyone, not just the king – provided you have access to the texts and cheat codes that will get you through the Duat safely. The initial ideas about traveling through the Duat, the weighing of the heart, and the various obstacles you could meet while traveling there have been fully fleshed out by the time, which is likely a reflection of the growing influence of Osiris’ cult.

Much like with the Coffin Texts, the Book of the Dead (and other supporting texts of the era) often place the Duat in the ground, or some sort of subterranean location (which is sometimes said to be inside of Sokar). There is a sort of dichotomy during this era, though, because there are also texts that discuss traveling through Nut’s body as a means of renewal and rebirth- so in this era, the Duat could be seen as being inside of a cavernous location as well as inside of the sky. It is my personal opinion that the Duat has multiple levels of location, and could exist simultaneously in many places all at once.

The popular tomb-style for the New Kingdom is rock cut tombs, and the royal necropolis moves down to Deir el Medina, or the Vally of the Kings/Queens. Tombs become even bigger and grander than in previous generations as each king tries to out perform his predecessors. It has been noted that New Kingdom tomb reliefs are much more somber than previous eras, and that there is a sort of seriousness that is lacking in previous tombs. Some believe that this is a backlash to the Amarna Heresy, though there is no real way to prove it either way.

Because I rarely study anything about Egypt beyond the New Kingdom, I won’t attempt to give information about funerary practices for the later periods of Egypt.

The Afterlife: Now

If you ask 3 Kemetics what they think the afterlife is like, you’ll often get 5 responses back. Modern Kemetics are honestly not very unified in their approach or ideas about what the afterlife contains or could hold for us when we die. I think this is due to a number of reasons: conflicts due to our cultural upbringing (since none of us was likely born into Kemeticism via our parents) and having 3,000+ years of Egyptian history to pour through in order to create our own ideas about the afterlife. I think that there can be such a thing as too much information- and sometimes I think that having so much information about how the Egyptians viewed stuff can make it difficult to draw your own conclusions.

When I first got involved with Kemeticism, I never actually cared about funerary texts or the Duat. I remember trying to read the Book of the Dead before I had ever picked up a basic Egypt 101 book, and realizing that I didn’t really understand what was going on, and that I didn’t really care to understand what was going on. I always have taken the approach that I can’t change where I go when I die, and so I don’t really care about worrying about the Duat or funerary practices.

I still adhere to that, actually. The work I do with the Duat is more or less unrelated to “what happens when I die” and is more tied to “Osiris won’t leave me alone unless I do the thing”. I personally don’t see any point in fretting excessively about where we go when we die, because it’s largely (in my opinion) out of our control. And my current opinion on where we go when we die is simply “it depends”.

I think it can be based upon your religious beliefs when you were alive, combined with the rules of whatever afterlife you’d typically be admitted into, as well as your own preferences about where you go when you die. For example, if you really really like earth, I expect that you’d get to wherever your designated afterlife area is (in this case, the Duat) and you’d tell your deities that you want to come back here, and they’d get the paperwork in order to get you back on earth. Or if you’re like me, you may arrive at your afterlife of choice (Duat) and you’d tell your gods “I don’t want back on that rock again” and they’d try to figure out the paperwork to make it happen. Of course, if I don’t meet the criteria to even enter the Duat (and therefore would get eaten by Ammit), I may not get the option to do anything.

So I feel like there are lots of possibilities and options about where you go when you die, and the options that are present to you are largely going to depend upon your religion while alive, the rules of that plane, and your own personal preferences, etc. I don’t really believe in a static afterlife.

That being said, I’m not overly impressed with the Duat. I’ve gone there to do work for Osiris, as anyone who has been with this blog for any amount of time knows, and I really wouldn’t want to live there permanently. It’s not my cup of tea. However, I will say that having a general knowledge of what is contained inside of funerary texts, as well as an understanding of the basic geography of the Duat is useful if you intend on doing any work there while still alive. But like I said above, I don’t work in the Duat out of some concern regarding the afterlife. Beyond the fact that I am there all the time, the afterlife technically plays a very small role in my practice. Which seems very contradictory, but there it is. Generally speaking, I don’t worry about the afterlife because I feel there is very little I can do about it.

To read other responses to this topic, check out the KRT Master List

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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Kemetic Round Table, Kemeticism

 

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Vision and Astral Travel

If there is anything that I’ve noticed about humans, it’s that we use our eyes to get a lot of stuff done. Throw most of us in a dark room and we’ll find every single piece of furniture with our big toe because we are pretty useless without our eyes to guide us. This can get “fun” when it comes to astral travel or working with the Unseen because many times your vision is jacked up, weird or completely non-existent. So for this post, I thought I’d discuss some things I’ve learned about vision on non-physical planes.

1. Vision on the astral is not static or uniform

The first thing I like to warn people about vision on the Unseen is that it’s not static. Your vision can shift and change, and likely will shift and change each time you go there (or even during one visit while there). Sometimes you’ll show up and your vision is all first person view, and it looks very much like how it might while you’re here on earth. But then other times you’ll notice that your vision is third person view, closer to what you’d expect in a video game.

And then sometimes you’ll go over there and find that you’re stuck in between first and third person view. I don’t know how that works, but trust me it can and does happen and it can make you disoriented and possibly even nauseous. But if you show up and find that your vision has changed, or that things look different than the last time you were there- don’t freak out. Vision can shift and change depending on the circumstances (such as health, the plane you’re in, etc).

2. People may not see the same things as you do

And this goes for humans who are traveling to the Unseen and with other entities that live on the Unseen. The things I see are not the same things that other people seem to see. Because my vision is pretty horrible, my brain has to fill in a lot of the gaps in order to make any sort of picture or coherency to my surroundings. And in those gaps, sometimes my brain puts in the wrong stuff. Or inaccurate stuff.

Additionally, a lot of my vision is filled with symbolism. That is to say, instead of showing me exactly what I’m looking at (such as a water globe filled with glitter and a scene from a particular city), my brain will show me what the item represents (so the water globe may look like a key because it’s the “key” to whatever I need). I have no clue if this is common for a lot of people, but it is important to remember that sometimes our vision is more symbolic than 110% literal. Once I figured out that all of these similar items I was grabbing looked similar because my brain was trying to show me what they represented, it made it much easier to decode what was actually going on.

And it also helped me to figure out why my astral family didn’t see the same things that I did.

3. Vision can occur in layers

In my experience, most of the Unseen has layers to begin with. You may be living on the most physical portion of the plane, but there exist several other layers beneath it- such as an energetic layer, perhaps a layer that is showing something that occurred 5000000 years ago, and maybe something like an emotional layer (just to throw out basic examples). And sometimes when you’re sitting on the astral, you’ll be viewing the physical layer, and other times you may be looking at energetic layers instead. This can cause some of the problems listed above, as well. If you’re not looking (or interacting with) the same layer as everyone else in your household, it can cause some difficulty in discussing things or with interacting with others.

The key to this is to learn how to navigate different layers in a plane. Learning how to pull yourself up a couple of layers, or drop down a few layers in order to be in the same place as everyone else can be beneficial for many things. A lot of the healing that I do is not on the physical layer, but occurs a couple of layers down, on a more energetic level.

And of course, learning how to decipher the different things you see on different layers is also helpful for ensuring the health of yourself and others, and for figuring out what exactly you’re interacting with.

4. You are bigger than your body

As humans, our vision really only comes from one place and one place only- our eyes. However, non-physical bodies don’t really work that way. You may have eyes (or things similar to eyes) on the astral, but your vision may or may not actually derive from said eyes (side note: I often question if eyes are sometimes only there for decoration and to make humans more comfortable). When it comes to non-physical bodies, you are more than your basic form. In the same way that many people believe human bodies to have auras or energetic fields, I’ve found that many bodies in the Unseen may manifest into a physical form, but actually are much larger than that. This means that you can technically fill an entire room with your ‘essence’, if you will, and that can cause your vision to warp and shift as well.

If you happen to be bonded to another entity, or particularly close with another entity, you also might have the ability to look through their “eyes” as well. There are many times when I have been able to remote view things that my menz are doing because our bonds allow for a sort of shared viewing or consciousness. Don’t let your form limit what you are capable of seeing.

Understanding that vision doesn’t necessarily come from your eyes can be beneficial in some situations. Does someone have you blind folded? No big deal. Try looking beyond your form instead. Or drop down a few layers on the plane you’re in, and see if you can gain information about what is in the room through those means instead.

5. Your senses are likely different in the astral

I think that a lot of people expect to navigate the Unseen in the same ways you might here in the physical, or expect their vision and senses to work the same way as they do here, and that simply isn’t the case.

Because our vision often overrides our other senses (such as smell, touch, hearing, etc), I think we often forget how to view things or gain data without the use of our eyes. However, my experiences have shown me that vision in the Unseen can and often does take a back seat to other senses. So if you go onto the astral and find that your vision is lacking, but your sense of smell or touch is heightened, try working with those things instead of trying to force your vision to become your dominant sense. Learning how to work with what you’ve got can make your experiences on the astral more enriching and you may find that there are perks to having other senses that are stronger than your vision. Sometimes your astral ‘species’ have different stats when it comes to senses because your body has evolved to survive in certain planes or to perform certain tasks that your human body isn’t made for. In the same way that many animals no longer have eyes because their surroundings are pitch black (and therefore eyes are pointless), you too may lack in eyesight because it’s not necessary wherever you come from.

As with all things in the Unseen, take the time to learn yourself and your body because your astral body is not your human body. Figure out what works best for you, and then exploit those assets to your advantage. While learning to get around without consistent eyesight can be a real pain, there are certainly many benefits to figuring out why your vision operates how it does. Remember that many people have many different ways of viewing things in the Unseen, and your eyesight is specific to you. There is no wrong way to see things on the astral, its more about learning to figure out how to make your specific situation work best for you.

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Spirit Spouses: Something Old is New Again

I’ve noticed over the past year or so that god-spousing is becoming a more prominent thing in our community. For those who have never heard of this concept, the idea behind it is that a human person gets married (or some other similar ceremony) to a deity. The marriage ceremony can vary person to person and deity to deity – some have a large ceremony, others don’t. What this relationship can entail is going to vary from person to person as it would with any mortal marriage – some of the marriages are more romantic, some involve sex and some don’t, some are all astral based, and others are not – it’s all very “your mileage may vary”. And of course when anything “new” comes into the community, there are people in the community who dislike that thing, and god-spousing is no exception. Many think that this is totally stupid and often blames the resurgence (because it is a resurgence, this is not new) on things like Hiddleson or Tumblr. Despite that, the god-spouse community is starting to make some headway and gain some traction in the community at large, and I am happy to see that it’s starting to become more accepted.

There is another aspect to the god-spousing community that almost never gets talked about: spirit-spousing.

Spirit-spousing is a whole lot like god-spousing: a mortal person gets married to a spirit or other non-physical entity that isn’t identified as a deity. Just like god-spousing and mortal spouses, the nature of the relationship can vary, and the method of marriage can also vary. There are certainly a lot of different methods that can be done with spirit-spousing, and each culture that engaged in such things had their own way of doing things. However, despite there being a history of spirit-spousing, spirit-spouses almost never get any mention in posts, group discussions or in the community at large.

Because there is so very little on spirit-spousing, I wanted to spend some time talking about some of the historical things I’ve found on spirit-spousing and god-spousing as well as some of my own experiences.

History Repeats Itself

Although a lot of people seem to believe that marrying a non-physical entity (deity or otherwise) is new, it’s really not. There are plenty of examples that prove that this has been going on for a hot minute (see the relevant posts at the bottom for more information). I saw the first mention of spirit-spousing while reading The Catalpa Bow. The Catalpa Bow talks about spirit worker practices in Japan, and it turns out that there is a rather rich history of spirits engaging humans in all sorts of things- from sexual encounters, to tormenting people, to marriage.

Yep. Marriage.

There are a few common scenarios that Blacker lists in her book:

The first two groups of tales […] are those known as shinkontan or divine marriage tales. These tell of a marriage between a human being and a god. In one group a human girl is visited by an unknown deity, who on investigation is discovered to be a snake. In the other group the goddess of the sea leaves her watery home to marry a human man, only to return to it in her true form of a snake when the man has violated a taboo.19
Both these types of tale are found associated with certain shrines, usually purporting to account for the semi-divine ancestry of the priestly family in whose hereditary charge they lie. The Miwa and Kamo shrines are the most celebrated examples, the Miwa shrine in particular having given its name to two sub-types of divine marriage legend, broadly known as hebi-no-mukoiri, or snake bridegroom. (pg. 93)

Blacker goes on to state that it’s possible that many of these marriages mirror rites of passage and rituals that spirit workers (which she refers to as shamans in this book) must go through in order to obtain their skills:

In both these types of divine marriage legend there can be discerned the vestige of an ancient shamanistic cult in which a woman is chosen to serve a water-serpent god. In the odamaki stories we see a girl seized and forced to act not only as the mouthpiece of a god, but also as his bride. She is thus ‘possessed’ in a double sense, both spiritually by an oracle and sexually by a lover.
We are at once reminded of the similarly sexual relationship which obtains in many Siberian tribes between the shaman and his tutelary deity. Here, however, the sexes are usually reversed and it is a male shaman who finds himself visited by a goddess. Among the Goldi on the Amur river, Sternberg quotes a shaman as saying that his tutelary goddess, a beautiful woman who taught him the secrets which enabled him to shamanise, was at the same time the wife with whom he slept. When he shamanised he was possessed by this goddess, as his body might be permeated by smoke or vapour, and it was she who spoke through his mouth and drank the offerings of pig’s blood. The Yakut shaman was also visited when asleep by a female spirit, and the Teleut shaman likewise had a celestial wife whom he visited in her abode in the seventh heaven.27
The odamaki stories suggest that a similar relationship, with the sexes reversed, was common between the early miko and her guardian snake. (pg. 96)

While Blacker uses god and deity to describe a lot of the marriages going on in these stories, the truth is that the Japanese word Kami is very difficult to translate into English. We often consider it to instantly mean “deity” or “god”, but Kami can come in all sorts of sizes- some of which are nothing more than regional spirits or entities. So when reading these excerpts, I would advise anyone to keep a relatively loose definition of what the word god or deity could entail.

And of course, at the end of the day, it shows that there is some historical context and history of marriages and unions occurring between the Seen and Unseen.

Communication: Like Talking to a Brick Wall

Communicating with the Unseen is a notorious pain. It can be challenging to render feelings and ideas and “woo” into something that is actually coherent. And while it can be challenging to figure out how to communicate with a god, I’ve found it to be even harder to communicate with spirits. With gods you’ve got at least some sort of resource material to pull from. There are books and websites dedicated to discussing various historical and modern information about gods and deities from across the globe, and if someone shows up looking like some particular culture from Earth, it becomes much easier to figure out who exactly is pestering you. However, there is likely no website with information on Jim the tree spirit that lives in your back yard or Sally the traveler from some non-physical plane we’ve never heard of. It’s this very same problem that makes identifying netjeri and other Duat critters difficult for Kemetics- there just isn’t any widely available information out there. You’re pretty much on your own for figuring out who or what this entity is, where it came from, and what to do with it.

I still suggest approaching non-deity communication the same way you might approach deity communication. Work on figuring out a system that works best for you. For some this may be a divination system, for others it might be better through feelings or sensations. It really just depends. If you’ve got a spirit showing up on your doorstep, I recommend feeding them regularly. You may be the only person who notices they’re alive, and so they may need more energy in order to communicate with you better. You can nourish a non-deity through a lot of the same methods that you would a deity- food offerings, energy offerings (dancing, music making, sex), having shrines or other things in your house that the entity can attach to and alight from, etc. I would urge anyone who is delving into spirit communication to let the spirit know that there could be hang ups, and to be patient. Remember that communication can be just as frustrating for the spirit/entity as it is for you.

Expectations Can Make an Ass Out of You and Me

This can be further complicated by the fact that sometimes the spirit you’re working with isn’t even from some sort of earthly plane. Most of my menz have not ever lived on earth, which means it’s even harder to figure out who they are or what they want.

On top of this, there are plenty of cultures who have taboos and rules for their spirit-spousing. Some spirits are against certain things, certain spirits might expect certain things from their spouse or have certain expectations for the nature of the relationship such as food and dietary restrictions or limitations on who you can associate with or even your daily schedule. Clashing of eras and cultures can make the relationship building process even more difficult and can cause all sorts of bumps and hiccups on your path.

This has occurred for me a few times. I had a past history with a few of my menz, and they had expectations that I had to promptly crush. One believed he could come in and convert me into being strictly monogamous with him – which I told him would not happen. I’ve also gotten to experience personality conflicts between a few of my menz that threw some relationships to a grinding halt for a while, as well as differing views on how the household should be run (which we still have some issues with).

The best advice I can give to anyone who might find themselves looking at a spirit who wants to be more than friends is to take it slow. And don’t be afraid to establish your boundaries and limitations with this entity. I have a strict rule for anyone (spirit, deity, or physical human) that is interested in dating me or being romantically involved with me- we do it my way, or not at all. That doesn’t mean that I won’t compromise on things, but there are certain caveats in the relationship that will never ever change. And anyone who is interested in being with me needs to respect those rules.

Once you’ve created ground rules for yourself, stick to them. However, be prepared for certain entities to push back and try to convince you to change your rules. And, of course, be prepared to potentially send this entity or spirit packing if they refuse to take your needs seriously.

But how did you know?

One of the biggest questions I’ve been asked throughout the years of talking about spirit-spousing is “how did you know that they wanted to be in that kind of relationship with you?” The short answer is- they had to spell it out for me, usually. I am incredibly dense and daft when it comes to emotions, and I default to “everyone is friends!” mindset (much to my detriment). For pretty much every single relationship I’m involved in (or have ever been involved in), it has usually taken the other person, entity, spirit or deity to tell me “hey, I want to be more than just friends”. The only exception to this rule has been with the menz I refer to as K-Pop, who more or less made it very very clear from day one that he and I were “gonna be a thing” no matter what.

cup

And that can and does happen- sometimes an entity shows up and refuses to take no for an answer. And it can be really challenging to figure out how to handle that. While he and I tangoed around this complete mess of feelings and emotional baggage, we pretty much spent 3 months making each other’s lives miserable. He made sure to antagonize anyone I was close to. We spent hours exchanging verbal barbs with one another while we completed tasks on the astral. We pretty much hated one another for quite a while.

It only began to progress to something better once he decided I was more important than whatever expectations he had brought to the table. It was a perfect example of having to stick to your guns. But it was a very big challenge to get to that point.

Almost none of my relationships have super romantic or amazing beginnings, and that is largely why I don’t discuss them. However, if you find that an entity (or a deity) shows up and develops a relationship with you- and then out of the blue one day decides that they want to be more than that with you- don’t feel too shocked. I certainly missed a lot of really obvious call signs with a lot of the people, spirits and entities that I have laid with. Again, communication isn’t always clear, and sometimes what is obvious to one person isn’t obvious to another.

Obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being married (or similar) with non-physical entities. I’ve tried to cover some of the basics of being married to spirits as well as covering some historical information on the practice. If there are any other topics anyone would like to delve into in the future regarding spirit-spousing, hit me up in the comments section!

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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Astral, Crack, Hypnosis & Inner Work, Rambles

 

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The Price of Rebirth

execration_pot

The thing about being reborn is this: In order to be reborn, you must die.
Everyone wants to be reborn, but nobody wants to die for it. (x)

In a little under a week from now I will be performing an execration for a number of people. It’s one of the first full-out public rites that I have ever done (I don’t really feel like my All Souls petitions really count). I used to do magic workings for individual people a long time ago, back when I first got into witchcraft and Kemeticism, and I learned quickly how difficult such workings can be. People often want really difficult things or they have unrealistic expectations about what the magic will do for them. I got out of performing magic for people because it became really stressful for me. When the magic didn’t perform as I thought it should I felt like a failure and that’s really part of why I put magic away for such a long time, too. I never felt like anything I did took.

All of these past experiences feed into my anxieties regarding this execration I’ll be performing. What do I do if things don’t change for people? What if I fail? What if I find out that I really suck at all of this? Should I even bother? If it doesn’t work, does that make me a hack?

However, I’ve learned over the years that magic isn’t under an obligation to act as we think it should, and there are many reasons why it may or may not appear to be working. To add to that, many times we shut our own magic down.

To me, an execration is an awful lot like a rebirth. When you execrate, you are essentially destroying something- a part of yourself, a habit, a piece of your life – and when you destroy something successfully, it is like a small (or large) rebirth, a zep tepi within your existence. And the thing about being reborn is that it isn’t always easy or pleasant.

I’ve had the fortune or misfortune of bearing witness to and participating in a number of rebirths in the astral. There are plenty of times when I have signed on to help someone be reborn (which usually involves a bit of dieing myself) only to get halfway through the process and decide that I must be the dumbest person on the planet. Many times, the destroying and subsequent healing process that is involved in these rites is very taxing and draining. And there are many times when I question if it’s all worth it in the end (the answer is usually yes, though it can take some time to see/feel it). In order for these rites to be successful, they require participation on both sides of the equation. I have to help the person rebirth, but they have to be willing to help me help them. You can not force an unwilling subject to be reborn, and if you force them, the rebirth will likely have unforeseen consequences and side effects.

Execration and other forms of changing magic are often the same way. You’re submitting something to the universe or gods to be destroyed. You are asking for change in some capacity. You’re asking them to help you die so that you can be reborn. And yet, how many of us actually think in these terms when we do our magics? How many of us are prepared for the routes the magic may take upon hearing our requests (or demands)? Rebirth requires a death, a price.

How far are you willing to go to see the change that you want become manifest? What price is too high for you?

In retrospect, I feel like a lot of the magics that I saw people requesting failed because people were not willing to pay the price for their rebirth. They wanted to fix the foundations of their life, but they were unwilling to raze the walls to get to the foundation for fixing. They want to get into college, but never submit an application. They want a new job, but feel their magics are failing because they lost their job, and were forced to move somewhere else instead (where a new job was waiting for them). They want their rebirth without paying the price of death.

Magic doesn’t always work on our timelines or how we expect. It works how it wants or needs to. Sometimes the path of least resistance is not the long term solution you actually need. When we perform these kinds of workings in our lives (or have someone perform on our behalf) we need to be prepared to take action ourselves to make the end goal a reality. Sometimes, you’ll be lucky and the blockages in your life will clear right up and you’ll land right where you wanted to be. But a lot of times, you’ll be forced to climb up some steep mountains in the rain in order to make your dream happen. That doesn’t mean that your magics didn’t work, though. It just means that it sometimes takes multiple things to make the magic manifest. Taking mundane steps to better your life situation can make your magic more potent. Sometimes the best answer to a magic request is practical application in your daily life.

So in the future when you’re considering performing a magical request (whether an execration or otherwise) I recommend being prepared and open for the possibilities that the magic can take. Don’t limit yourself to a certain preconceived notion or expectation about how the magic should play out. Be aware that sometimes the road to success is not a straight line, but a bumpy, obnoxiously tumultuous line, and that magic (or deities) can only do so much about it.

And remember that rebirth almost always has a price.

Sometimes on the way to where you’re going, you might think “this is the worst time in my life”. But you know what, at the end of the road through all the adversity, if you can get where you wanted to be, you remember that whatever don’t kill you make you stronger, and that all the adversity was worth it.

 

 

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