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. 🙂
So I’ve sort of failed at the Pagan Blog Project this year. The problem is that while I love doing organized blogging projects, I immediately balk at a deadline. Knowing that I just have to blog once a week kills it for me. So I give up on the weekly Pagan Blog Project, and instead am going to finish the alphabet on my own time. 🙂
My approach to this whole Pagan Blog Project business is basically this: I’m pagan and I’m blogging about it, therefore my posts can be about whatever aspects of my pagan life I want them to be.
Many of my fellow Kemetics are writing really thoughtful posts about different theories or philosophical subjects; me, I’d prefer to tell you about what’s going on in my shrine.
Right now I’m on a puriy hiatus, shall we say; not much is happening in shrine. This past weekend, however, I went out to Tawy House for a small celebration of Wepwawet, and even though it was very simple, it stirred up in me a sturdiness I had not felt since last November’s crisis of faith.
I felt the warmth of the love of my gods bubbling from the deepest parts of me, like a spring reopened. That peaceful reserve of strength I now carry with me. I sort of want to bring it to everyone I meet; to do everything I do as though with it came the distribution of God’s love to each and every person.
I think I still hold many of my old Christian leanings in that way. Christians are encouraged to share Christmas by being Christ-like; I want to share my gods quietly, by being full of Their blessings and by treating others with respect, with ma’at.
All of this is pooled deep inside me quietly, a well of grace to carry me.
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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.