Carrying Their Light, Every Day

I’ve known for years that I was meant to work in a service-oriented position. In elementary school I thought that meant being a teacher. In high school, I waffled between psychology and music education. As an undergraduate student, I landed squarely on the side of psychology, in a tiny corner called “counseling”.

The funny thing about counseling is that you don’t really get to experience it until you’ve already expended significant effort training in it. The work of counseling is so delicate that you have to be carefully trained – and even then, it takes years of supervised practice in most states before you’re permitted to launch your own counseling practice. So for years, I was chasing a goal that felt as alien as the moon — and yet as dear as the grass beneath my feet. How could I love this field so deeply without experiencing it? Real talk — I have no freaking idea. I loved counseling wildly for all four years of my undergraduate training and for all five, laborious, snail-slow years of my graduate training, and I have no idea how.

Now I have the luxury of sitting in my office, embracing the trials of the clients who come through my door. I love every minute of the chaos, of the heartbreak, of the frustration, of the anxiety. I love seeing the face of someone who hears “I’m in your corner” from another person for the first time. I even love the hard stuff. I love sitting with someone in the depths of psychosis, sick and scared and a world apart, compassionately assessing their needs, and advocating for their treatment. I love extending my hands to hold someone’s grief with them for a short space of time.

I first met my gods when I sought out gods for the work that I wanted to do. Sekhmet was the first deity of healing I encountered; Wepwawet just felt right, for reasons I have difficulty articulating. Wepwawet opens the door to healing, creates the space of safety I try to create in my office. Sekhmet illuminates the space with Her light, chasing away the darkness. My Beloveds, too: Bast brings music and joy, the compassion needed to embrace sorrow; Nut brings patience, endurance, wisdom; Khonsu, the surgical precision that carves out pain and exposes bitter truths; and Nebthet, most recently come to my shrine, brings quiet comfort, a gentle mirror to gaze into and reflect.

Even on the hardest days — the days when I’m leaving job #2 at 11 PM after starting job #1 at 5:30 AM, after I’ve been yelled at, told off, had my training questioned, written and re-written assessments, made mistakes and cleaned them up — I still walk out full of joy, with my chin up, feeling like I am finally in the right place.

My goal since becoming Kemetic has been to carry the light of my gods wherever I go. Through the work I’m doing now, I believe I can.

A Prayer. 

A prayer I wrote to my gods recently, as I commuted to my internship site. Feel free to adapt for your own use with your own gods and ancestors. 

O Father mine,
unlock the doors of my heart and mind
that I may walk fully with others.
O Mother mine,
place your fire in my voice and heart
that I may bear your strength and compassion.
O Perfumed Protector,
grant me your softness and warmth.
O Vault of Heaven,
grant me your infinite patience.
O Crescent Moon,
grant me your sharpness of mind.
O Starry Dead,
grant me the wealth of your history.
I do this work always in Your service,
furnished by Your love.

Eight.

So it has been eight years since my RPD. I remember back when I became Kemetic Orthodox, and I wondered what it would feel like to have been a part of something for eight years. I submitted my application for the Beginners’ course just before I turned eighteen; at that point, the only thing I’d been doing for eight years was having two digits in my age.

I always find myself reflecting on the changes in my life more at this time of year than any other — even my birthday. I don’t know why, but thinking about my RPD makes me recognize that I’ve become such a drastically different person in the short amount of time between 2007 and today.

As an example, here’s an excerpt from my personal journal, written right after my divination. It makes me cringe a little bit to read it (whose journal doesn’t?) but it is also somewhat incredible to me, reading my impressions of my Parents immediately after divination.

My Father was no surprise, to me, or apparently the entire room watching me be divined. The dancing in my seat evidently gave it away. Papa Jackal is great. He is kind, He is loving, He is understanding, and He loves booze, dicing, and wimmin. My kind of God. Mama Sekhmet-Mut is a little different. I half expected Sekhmet, but was having a hard time connecting with Hethert. The Mut part of Mama makes sense. She is motherly, but fierce and watchful. Hemet described Her as being the Sekhmet who does not fly into a rage OR return to Hethert — She sits on Her throne and watches, quietly taking in Her surroundings and quietly judging, waiting to catch someone red handed. She is regal and fiercely protective. She is mother and queen, but she is the claws of the queen and the rage of the mother against someone who would hurt her children. She is beautiful, in short. Mama is beautiful.

My beloveds were a little surprising to me. EVERYONE around me expected Bast, my boyfriend and mother included. She makes sense, because I am an extremely sensual person, with a temper. I think I have the more creative side of Her though. She is not fluffy for me, and not terribly clawed… She is dancing and singing, and rejoicing. That might just be because I’m finally trying to get to know Her, though. I am very happy to have Her as one of my ka-Moms*. I had sort of expected Nit as a beloved, but got Nut instead — which is not unusual. It’s hard to tell Nit and Nut apart. Nut is absolutely awesome. Nut is an ubermom. She is warm, very warm, and gives THE best hugs. I adore Her and am SO glad to have her as my second ka-Mom. She makes more sense than Nit. I don’t have the bluntness to be a Nit kid.

How things have changed since then. 🙂 It’s been an unbelievable journey, to dive briefly into cliche… and it continues to be even more amazing than I ever could have dreamed. Here’s to the next eight years.

* – at the time of my RPD, the concept of Beloveds as creators of one’s ka was still really popular, and even though I knew it had come from a ritual saq session with Nit I didn’t care, I liked it anyway.

Also, some of you may know that I am also a beloved of Khonsu; He was a later addition, so I had no opinion about Him at the time (other than that He is awesome).

Words to a song for Nut.

Hail Mother Nut! Dizzy as you climb so high,
fleeing the Earth as Ra’s command bids you to rise!
Up in the heavens, patient and wise;
hail, Mother Nut!

Hail Mother Nut! Steadfast looking down on Geb,
standing above us, tending to our Blessed Dead.
Up in the heavens, constant and kind;
hail, Mother Nut!

Hail Mother Nut! Mother of the stars above;
embrace our Akhu, hold them in your shining love.
Up in the heavens, singing with joy;
hail, Mother Nut!

Hail Mother Nut! You do not judge or turn away
for in Your eyes both great and small are worth the same.
Up in the heavens, welcoming all;
hail, Mother Nut!

Back from Retreat

Well, I am back from Retreat 2012 and am slowly trying to find my way back into daily life. Retreat has its own rhythm to it. I lose track of what day of the week it is and live solely based on which God the day belongs to; I openly embrace others and become very physically demonstrative; I find myself speaking about the Gods without reservation. It’s hard to come out of that space and back down to Earth.

In some ways, I want to say that we shouldn’t need to come away from this total immersion in Kemetic faith. Living deeply in a Kemetic mindset is grounding. It feels right. Unfortunately, nobody will understand what I mean if I keep using Kemetic dates unless they’re Kemetic too. And therein lies the need for balance.

This year is to be a year of balance; of holding all things within ourselves in equilibrium. This is the first challenge, I think: to come back to reality and hold within myself the heka and power given by time spent with the Gods, and weave that through the dealings of my secular life. May Nut grant me Her patience as I work to learn this lesson.