Tonight, the shrines are lovely. Kneeling before the gods, the candles are flickering and the shrine is beautiful beyond belief. And yet – I feel nothing. Silence surrounds me. I press my forehead to the floor, as though bowing more deeply before Their altar can recharge my god-phone. Only the echoes of my own prayers fill my head. There is no warm, luminous presence; only the cold eyes of Their Icons, draped in lazy curls of incense and the glow of candlelight.
I came into Kemetic Orthodoxy with a powerful god-phone (aka god-radio). I had begun to hear the gods in the subtle yet irresistible voice of Sekhmet-Mut, quietly calling me to Her worship. I mistook Her voice for Aphrodite, and made Her the first deity I conversed with. When I came to Kemet, I found Yinepu and Wepwawet more than willing to become near-constant presences in my head. They spoke in warm and velvety voices, singing hymns and embracing me in quiet moments. Sometimes Their voices shook me to the core, and I found myself curled up and weeping from the power of Their words.
But Their voices were the only ones I felt constantly. Mother’s voice was never more than a low hum tugging at the periphery of my senses. The other gods came and went, Their presences a tide that swelled and washed away. And as I grew, the Jackals’ voices gradually ebbed too. I struggled, and lost my way; Their voices became fainter. I was so caught up in each crisis that came that I didn’t realize they were driving wedges between me and my gods. By the time I realized I wasn’t hearing the gods the way I used to, I was in complete radio silence. Dead air.
I’ve been in both places. I’ve been the follower wishing for earplugs because the gods just won’t shut up; I’ve been desperate for connection, shaking down my Tarot cards and staring in to the faces of my Icons hunting for some sign of life. Have I learned anything from being in both places?
If you have a strong connection with the gods:
- Enjoy it, but be cautious. There’s a word that gets thrown around a lot regarding interactions with spirits: discernment. Don’t take everything you experience at face value. There are spirits who will pretend to be the gods. Be sure to establish means of verifying identity.
- Sometimes your own head can play tricks on you; sometimes what you think is the gods is actually only a subconscious interpretation of what the gods might be saying, if They were speaking at that moment. Did the gods actually tell you to get that coffee? Well, maybe that’s something They would do, and you are interpreting your knowledge of that as the voice of a deity. Sometimes, They will push you to make a certain offering — other times, you will be making a leap of logic.
- Set boundaries. If you feel overwhelmed, make it clear to the gods that you need some space. Ignore Them when you have to. Answer Them when you have the time. Like any relationship, if They become too demanding, you have the right to ask for space.
If your connection is weaker:
- Fake it until you make it. I am completely serious here. Do Senut (or whatever rite makes you feel good). Stand, sit, or kneel before the shrine. Talk to the gods. Don’t give up. You may not get a dramatic answer. You may never notice an answer at all. Don’t make that the focus of your worship. Rest in the stillness of the shrine. Center yourself. Breathe the sweet incense and watch the flames flicker. We get much more than just a connection with the gods from honoring Them. We get Their blessings, the reversion of offerings, purification… we are centered, realigned, cleaned up and sent back into the world a little better for the time we have spent with the gods.
- Watch for other ways the gods will communicate with you. Other people may bring Their messages, or other events in your life may serve as signs. Don’t over-think these, but don’t second guess your instincts either. If something feels like a sign, it may be one. Be mindful of the influence of anxiety on these interpretations. If you are like me, some things will feel like a sign not because of divine influence, but because you’re frequently afraid of absolutely everything. Don’t let anxiety control your god-phone.
- Use divination sparingly. Do not run to the Tarot every time you want an answer. Sometimes divination can confirm what we think we are hearing, but sometimes it serves as a crutch. Try to work things out on your own first. Remember that the cards are just a tool. They make life easier sometimes, and sometimes they make it harder.
Above all, whether you’re swamped with divine messages or you’re feeling like there’s cotton in your metaphysical ears, remember that this communication is not the total sum of your worth as a Kemetic. The heart of our practice is ma’at – the rest is window dressing.