D is for Death

This has been a hard post to meditate on.

Last fall, late at night as I was talking to my boyfriend on the phone about growing old together, I recognized mortality for the first time, and it scared the hell out of me. The conversation was not particularly deep; he was only telling me about an elderly woman whose home he did electrical work in that day. And in that moment, I suddenly realized all the truths of humanity – that we would both get old, and one day, there’d only be one of us. That started a long and torturous existential crisis into which I still slide from time to time. I remain uncertain and full of doubt, even when I go through astonishing spiritual experiences and life-changing moments.

In the midst of that intense anxiety, a local W’ab priest celebrated a feast for Nebthet and the Akhu. The timing couldn’t have been more appropriate. Like an icy pond in the midst of a heatwave, Nebthet’s presence in that moment cooled my fears. Not completely – ice melts around a source of heat, after all – but slowly, little by little, as I spent more time with Her and the other deities of the West (Yinepu, Hethert-Amenti, Nut) I found myself calming and centering once more.

Death is not a part of life. Death is something we all face as mortal human beings, but it is the end of life, the final transformation from which no one has returned. I can never fully understand what it means to die, but I can face that eventuality with peace knowing that – even if there is nothing waiting for me – I will go to it with the love and support of the gods of the Duat.

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