Sometimes, I want to give up. I work in Catholic institutions, surrounded by teachers and administrators who all practice and believe with fervor the teachings of the Catholic church. I wake up every morning and see the sunrise, praising Ra for a new day. Sometimes I pause in the coolness of the dawn, letting myself be washed clean in the purifying fire of the new light, praising the gods of the sun and the day. Sometimes, especially as the Eye is at Her farthest, I find myself arriving in the dark, before the sun comes up, and I stand under the stars and the smiling crescent moon and praise the Akhu, and the gods of the night.
And then I walk into work beneath a crucifix; I start the school day with the sign of the cross.
All the while I keep my gods close to my heart – I pray to Djehuty and Seshat that I might instruct my students well; I pray to Bast and to Hethert that I might be compassionate in the classroom; I pray to Sekhmet and Ma’at that I might instill a sense of appropriateness and morality in my students.
This is difficult. I love my job and I love my gods, but doing both without being overwhelmed takes courage – as it must for the countless other people living with their gods quietly concealed.
I am not claiming to be persecuted – far from it. So long as many of us are quiet about Who or What we choose to honor for our existence, we can go on happily in what we do. But that silence can get oppressive; sometimes I know I wonder if it matters what name I call God, and feel that I should turn back to my roots, go back to honoring the Divine as a Christian, or another more mainstream faith. And then against all the silence, I steel myself – I strengthen my resolve to love the gods I worship. Because They love me in return, and because I am courageous, I continue walking my own path.
Which will probably make some heads spin, because this is a Kemetic blog, and Brigid is certainly not part of the Kemetic pantheon.
The connection, is that I’m going to be participating in ritual for Brigid next weekend, at the invitation of an old friend of mine. Her invitation came as an invitation to sing – something I love doing, but am always sheepish to actually do. The last time we spoke, we were both at a little festival where I’d been asked to sing with a friend who needed backup, so I suppose that was a part of it.
Brigid was the first Goddess I really tried to form a relationship with. As someone very new to paganism and very curious about what worshiping other deities besides the Judeo-Christian God would be like, I sort of picked deities who ruled over things that felt important to me. I picked Brigid for her association with the sun (because I felt strongly that the sun was female – wonder why) and with creativity, song, and healing. I won’t say I became Her most devout devotee – I never found myself keeping a flame for Her, or doing much besides saying “Hello Brigid, I’m committing to work on getting to know You better”.
So because of my history with Her, and my general interest in singing, and the chance to spend time with a friend from the past, I’ll be spending this evening and next Saturday singing in honor of Brigid.
And don’t worry – my own Gods have made it fairly clear that if I’m going to be spending time honoring Brigid, I’d better spend double that time honoring Them.
…as in, “the Gods are beautiful”.
This is a thought that strikes me frequently. Maybe I’m just biased, because They’re my Gods and I love Them – but no matter whether I’m kneeling in the State shrine gazing up at a consecrated Icon, or sitting with my personal shrine lighting candles next to the statues of my Parents, or in a museum, just taking in the intricacies of the ancient carvings of Their images – They are beautiful. Utterly, painfully, breathtakingly so.
It isn’t quite that They are physically beautiful; They are, but there’s more to it than that. I think it’s just the way They work, the way They are a part of my life and the lives of countless others; the spark of the Divine that They carry – I don’t know. But it wells up inside of me and overflows when I am in Their presence; when I am hurting, it cleans and soothes my wounds, and when I am joyful, it magnifies my gladness.
Just further proof that everything I do for Them comes down to loving Them fiercely.