There is always love.

See to it that love continues. It is left to you to tend this work. We cannot do it for you alone. You too must serve. 

from the Year 24 Kemetic Orthodox Oracle of Aset

When I read the Oracle for this year, I was ecstatic. I am all about divine love. Love is basically the key word of my religious practice. The word ‘love’ appears more than a dozen times in the Oracle.

Love is such a big word. It encompasses so many things: friendship, family, religion, sex, partnership, enjoyment, and on and on. Love can be comforting and soothing, or so deep it causes pain. It can be so much more than four letters could ever contain. And yet – four letters contain love in its entirety.

Love is a command, it is a sensation, it is an action; in the Oracle, it is all these things. We are reminded that the gods love us — so much so that They bring us into being, suffused with this love from cradle to grave. We are commanded to act always in love — not in romantic love or friendship, but the love that recognizes that we are all children of the gods, and as such deserve respect, honesty, and dignity. We are given the power to love ourselves, to care for ourselves and our world, and reclaim our innocence.

Love is the foundation of my worship. Everything springs from love. The gods love me, so They call to me to honor Them. I love the gods, so I bring them offerings and kneel before the shrine. I learned about the term bhakti yoga (or bhakti marga) in my brief study of Hinduism, and it springs to mind every time I try to describe my religious ideology. Bhakti yoga can refer to the path to moksha, or freedom, attained by love and devotion to a god or to the Divine as a whole. The goal is to be devoted without pretense or desire for reward; to love God for the sake of loving God, and to allow oneself to become absorbed by the love that joins God and devotee.1

I sometimes describe this feeling as grace, though that word has its own Judeo-Christian connotations. There is this lightness, this breathless joy that I feel when I walk out of Their shrine drenched in Their love. It is this feeling that I try to carry with me through the world. It is this feeling that inspired the name change of this blog. This love is powerful and intoxicating. It changes everything it touches. It has certainly changed me.

We are tasked to serve love, this year. We are instructed to ensure that the love They have given us — pure, strong love — continues to move through the world with us. We are expected to share love with each other, to heal each other and support each other.

I am so ready to carry Their love.


  1. This is a way watered down summary of the concept of bhakti yoga. If you are interested in learning, you may wish to seek out someone currently practicing Hinduism who may be more deeply familiar with the concept. My study of Hinduism was purely academic.

Milestones

Well, I did it. I finished my master’s degree in counseling. I also passed my licensing exam. Now the only thing standing between me and my dream job is a boatload of paperwork — and hopefully not too many job applications.

I’ve been longing to do this work since before I even knew what it was. My youthful drive to be a teacher was spurred by my desire to be a source of support and an open ear to my students. It wasn’t until I had already sent applications to get my bachelor’s degree in music education that I realized that what I really wanted was to become a therapist.

I didn’t know what that meant when I started my undergraduate work in psychology. I figured I’d learn what I needed to know by the time I got to the end of my bachelor’s degree. I didn’t. I took a year off to get my ducks in a row, and took up a master’s program in mental health counseling.

Through it all, I knew that the work I was learning to do is the work that I was meant to do. Even as an undergraduate, I felt driven towards this goal. It feels like a service to my gods, to heal and to serve. I walk with my clients as their guide through their troubles, and I show them compassion and help them to heal. I see this as the greatest offering I could make – to give my daily work in service to my gods. And now here I am.

9.

You have two parents and two beloveds. Would you like to guess?

For the self-discovery;

For the connections and relationships;

For the self-improvement and crucial lessons;

For opening my eyes to everything I needed to see but hadn’t;

For the last nine years living deeply as Your child;

Thank You.

All images from my personal collection.

On sabbaticals.

Taking time off from serving as a priest of my deities has been one of the greatest blessings I have ever received. When I made the decision to temporarily suspend my service, I grieved a little. I felt like I was giving up, like I was losing a piece of myself, like I was a failure. My inability to remain committed to my worship felt like a personal fault, rather than the natural consequence of increased academic and professional requirements.

In response, I withdrew from everything. I stopped doing Senut and stopped tending my shrines. Everything came to a halt, until I slowly picked up one thread at a time. I briefly engaged with other pantheons. I worked at connecting with the most basic forces that drew me to polytheist — the spirits of the land and the Divine Itself. I began to feel enthusiastic about engaging with the Divine again. By Wep Ronpet, I felt like engaging with the gods again — and engage I did, worshipping with fervor during Retreat.

Senut began to feel fulfilling again. As I was doing my priest work, it had started to feel meaningless, like a lot of vague hand-waving that didn’t do anything.

More than that, my desire to serve the gods rose in me again. It had dwindled over the past four years, to become vaguely burdensome. I found myself planning research, sketching out festival rites, envisioning my reconstructed shrine.

I dropped everything, and then picked up one piece at a time, and it has been restorative in a way I never imagined it would. I am patiently waiting for my internship to end to consider returning to service with renewed purpose.

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.