Five years ago…

… I sat breathlessly in the shrine at Tawy, barely able to watch as Hemet (AUS) – who I had only just met, then – cast handfuls of shells into a tray. I was anxious – I had been overwhelmed, strangely, by my Akhu reading. Partly because the deities who were associated with that reading were Heru, Set, and Yinepu – which made me worry that Wepwawet would not be a part of my divine lineage, something I had been quietly confident about, though I swore I would approach the rite with an open mind.

The night before, we had sat in the shrine singing and drumming quietly, because we enjoyed each other’s company and the presence of the gods; the RPD candidates slept in the shrine, our mattresses lined up on the floor. The morning before that, I was welcomed with hugs and warmth from a priest of the temple – something I will never forget.

The moment of my divination is a blur of clattering cowries, whispered conversation from the observers behind me, and the rustle of papers that Hemet used to take notes. What I remember most clearly is the announcement that I had two Parents and two Beloveds, and the question: did I want to guess? I didn’t, and that seemed to be met with surprise.

I replay this moment repeatedly at this time of year. Each anniversary takes on a different meaning, as my role within the faith changes. By the second anniversary, I had done Weshem-ib and was a Shemsu-Ankh. By the fourth, I was a priest. And even beyond my changing place in the temple, my own life changes. When I was divined, I was a college freshmen, just starting my second semester. I went through my entire college career, which literally changed everything I thought I knew about myself. I bought cars, I lived on my own, I moved back home, I had relationships and heartbreak. I got bitterly wounded by both strangers and those I thought I could trust. I took on responsibility and I ran from it.

I will never stop being grateful for that day, for the gods who stepped forward to look after me, for the gods who came later, for the community I have come to love, and for every blessed moment within it.

Five years is such a long time for something that takes no time at all.

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