Sometimes, when I spend time with the gods, or go to a spiritual event, or even just a fellowship with my church, I find myself trying to predict how the event will go the night before. I come up with different ideas about what might happen, and in the end, wind up with something that may or may not be possible at all. Sometimes this is okay. There’s no harm in pondering what one might see at a museum trip, or what will be on the menu at dinner. When it comes to rituals and god-time, though, it gets a little tricky.
The biggest point where my own expectations can get in my way is during rites of initiation. The RPD was my first experience with an initiatory rite outside of my Catholic upbringing, and I had all sorts of ideas about what might happen. It was excruciatingly hard to keep my mind open for the rite. I had decided that I would not go through the RPD until I was able to keep myself free from any particular expectations or desires; I needed to be able to accept the results without attachment to them. I think I did well, although I did not do perfectly – there was still some internal drama when I started to doubt whether Wepwawet would appear in my RPD. Going through Weshem-ib, and consecration as a W’ab was a little easier, since my experiences with the RPD helped me to feel less anxious about what my expectations might be. Still, since the rites are kept secret, there was a huge amount of curiousity bubbling in my mind.
I think most of all, it’s in the small moments that I get the most caught up. When I am in my shrine, I constantly catch myself looking forward to the next part of a ritual, or thinking ahead to what comes next, rather than allowing myself to stay in the moment with the gods. Sometimes I even catch myself drafting a blog post in my head; They gently remind me not to write about an experience until it is finished, and I carry on with the ritual.
It is human nature, I think, to get caught up in expectations of the future, and I struggle with that every time I go into my shrine. I want to plan, to move on, to reach the next zep tepi and hit the ground running – but sometimes, it’s more prudent to let each moment surround me and to fill the space within it fully. The last few evenings in my shrine have been focused on doing everything slowly, with great intent, to be as present in each action as I can. It’s a beautiful exercise and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a really deep, personal experience in their shrine. 🙂