I’m a Bad Kemetic.

I have been a bad Kemetic.

I have been a lazy priest. I have rushed my rituals and gone through the half-assed motions. I have made skimpy offerings of bread and cool water rather than digging through my kitchen to put together the food and tea I set aside earlier in the week. I have been tired, and distracted, and angry, and bored at the feet of my gods.

I have used heka to feed my anxiety. I have nervously chewed my nails, speaking and re-speaking my intention into glasses of water, into mirrors, into burning flames. I have yelled at the gods when I did not get my way. I have greedily grabbed whatever tools on hand, demanding they effect change right now. I have refused to plan my heka, taking my chances on whatever I could throw together.

I have ignored ma’at in favor of getting what I want. I have talked about others behind their backs. I have omitted the truth because it was easier that way. I have lied because it was convenient. I have been self-important, and dishonest, and arrogant. I have complained when Her scales swung me back into order.

I have let my shrines get dusty. I have shrugged off the call of my gods, whispering under my breath to come listen to Them. I have let the cool water of the akhu run dry. I have let flowers die on my altar, withering and becoming smelly. I have let ants get into the offering bread and let mice chew on the candles. I have let the home of the gods in my home become stale. I have been a bad Kemetic.

I have been a good Kemetic, too. I have closed my eyes and felt the gods calling and let myself drift in Their presence. I have recorded the names of my akhu, I have spoken their names, and I have encouraged my family to speak their names too. I have spoken for ma’at when Her words were not easy. I have given of myself to improve the world, and honored the gods in doing so.

I have brought my gods wine, beer, flowers, incense, spices, chocolates, gemstones and jewelry, tea and coffee, red meat and cool, refreshing water–and They have been satisfied. I have done heka earnestly with the skill granted to me by the gods, and I have changed my world. I have been Their diviner, Their priest, Their shemsu and Their child. I have served Them daily, bringing Them ma’at and bread and water, letting love and adoration wash over Them every day like zep tepi.  I have been devoted with my heart and with my hands.

I have been a good Kemetic.

I have been a good Kemetic, and I have been a bad one. I have done right by the gods, and I have done wrong. No matter what I write in this blog–no matter how much I may share about how deeply I love my gods and how deeply I want to live in Their service–I have screwed up as much as I have done right. Sometimes I screwed up in my inexperience, clumsily fumbling until I knocked over candles, or spilled the libations, or called one god by another’s name. Sometimes it was circumstance–the mice that got into the shrine were certainly uninvited, as were the ants.

And sometimes? Sometimes I just dropped the ball. I got lazy. I wanted to sleep in instead of greet zep tepi. I thought I knew better. And it’s okay. I’m human, and you’re human, and we’re all just doing the best that we can in the presence of beings who can be terrifyingly, awe-inspiringly magnificent.

I intend to keep screwing up, too–because as long as I am doing this, I’m going to screw it up too. If I’m not making mistakes, I’m not trying. If I’m not dropping the ball, I’m probably not carrying it either.

I will be a good Kemetic, so I will have to be a bad one too.

Discipline – Part Two.

“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”

This quote came up in a conversation a week or so ago, and felt astonishingly appropriate. June has been my month of reclaiming self-discipline, something I let slide rather badly this year.

I am pleased with how I have done so far. I have been in shrine all but two days so far this month; one of those days was the final day of my cycle, the other I was traveling. I have been very present in shrine, too. My focus has been on the gods – and when it hasn’t been, I’ve been able to catch myself and reorient my attention. To all that, I say Nekhtet!

I have developed a greater sense of discipline in keeping my space clean and uncluttered, which is great. I put things away as soon as I am finished with them. All my belongings have a place.

I am making progress with my work ethic as well, though it’s not quite as refined as other areas. I have developed a better system for managing my emails and communication wih students. I am getting better at being present with students during lessons, and not zoning out while they’re practicing.

Still, my one failure this month remains in physical discipline. I wanted to use this month to begin a fitness regimen for myself. I have not done anything toward that goal, aside from poking my head in at a local gym. I have a lot of little fiddly details to conquer in this area which I don’t want to make public here; suffice it to say this will be the focus of a lot of attention in the future.

So, discipline is possible. It is one of my offerings to the gods – and I believe They appreciate the effort.

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Pagan Values Month: Discipline.

During June, many Pagan bloggers take on the challenge of writing about the ethics and values they believe comprise a significant part of their lives as pagans. The concept of the immoral pagan, propagated by Christians who see themselves as taking a moral high ground, can be overwhelmingly dismissed. Ask any Pagan whether their path provides them with an ethical and/or moral code, and you will get a hugely positive response.

For my part, I plan to blog primarily about Discipline this month. According to dictionary.com, discipline means:

1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.

I want to focus on the first two points,  it will probably touch the last one as well. Discipline in paganism can mean adherence to a daily practice, observance of taboos or oaths, constant work toward self-improvement — any number of things. I am not the most disciplined person, but I value self-discipline highly; I hope that in sharing my meditations on discipline this month I will be able to bring my own actions more in line with where I’d like them to be.

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