C is for Change.

[This is part of a series of loose meditations on ma’at, purity, and the role of both in my life. All anecdotes are personal and the reflections may not be relevant for all. However, I hope there’s something to be gained from reading — as I have enjoyed sharing.]

There’s an old cliché that says “the only constant is change”. There’s also a cliché that says “all clichés exist for good reason” — and I’d argue that at least in this case, that’s true. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that the greatest thing my life has in common with two or three years ago is change. Where I was a year ago is much different from where I am today. All of my relationships have grown and shifted. I am married now. I live with my husband and two cats. A year ago today, I lived with my then-fiancé alone. A year ago from that, I lived in a hotel room with my parents, youngest sister, and a miniature schnauzer, while we waited for our storm-ravaged home to be repaired. A year before that, I lived at home with my recently injured father, my mother, and my youngest sister. And only one year before that, I lived in a college dormitory with three other lovely people.

When I put it that way, it seems like such a short time for so many drastic changes. The list of things that are different now than they were five years ago goes on and on. It sounds like chaos. And yet, through all the changes I have become a better person; I have grown and learned and now find myself in a more stable, better place.

Ma’at is a balancing act. To “act in ma’at”, we have to find the right mix of being careful and bold, demure and outspoken, forceful and mild. It does not do to bow and scrape all our days, but we also can’t act superior all the time, either. Wisdom literature is filled with exhortations to be neither too meek nor too strong. We should neither be too stagnant, nor too shifting. I imagine this has to do with our need for growth. If all things stay the same, we can never grow. We grow by changing. We grow by observing in ourselves a need to become something else, to take the way we act or think and alter it — and then by reconfiguring our lives or actions to meet that need. It is growth that brings us to better understand ourselves, our world, and how to better serve Netjer and Ma’at.

I’ve been thinking about the role of change in purity and ma’at this week. The “Red Week” festival for Set ended yesterday evening. It was a beautiful celebration of the Lord of Storms. My relationship with Him has been fraught for some time; I have been reluctant to re-examine it for fear that I might be inviting unwelcome chaos into my life. Having this week to spend meditating on His role — one far more complex than transforming my own personal life, to be sure —  has helped me see that it is better to invite change than to live undisturbed and never improve myself. I would not want things to be the same as they were a year ago, or even five years ago, back in college again. Maybe it’s the newlywed in me talking, but I am so very grateful that my life has changed. What’s more, I feel excited for and not scared of what changes might happen in the future. Dua Set! May I endure the changes of the future with the strength You have shown me that I possess — and may those changes be as smooth and as pleasant as they can be… if possible. 😉

Music Monday: January 12th (Red Week Special Edition)

Atreyu – Honor (Metal/Hardcore)

This has always been one of my go-to tracks for thinking about Set. Not only does it have the kind of endless, driving intensity that I associate with Him, but it speaks of fighting the darkness at dawn — which is kind of His thing.

Thanks for killing the darkness, Sir. I’m very glad You are on our side.

Red Week!

Oh yes, and happy RED WEEK!

In honor of the feast of Set Killing the Rebel, the Kemetic Orthodox community is having a week long celebration of Set.

If you’ve followed my blog long enough, you know I have a complicated relationship with Himself. I haven’t always been on speaking terms with Him. Things have improved, however, so I’ll be jumping on the Red Week bandwagon as well, and hopefully making some contributions on the son of Nut.

For today, here is a link to a prayer I wrote for Set on His birthday, back in 2011: Prayer for Set. 

DIY Wep Ronpet: Epagomenal Days

Em hotep! In preparation for the end of the year (which is barreling towards us faster than a speeding train I might add), I thought I’d post some tips for those who will be celebrating the arrival of Wep Ronpet at home. I thought I’d break this post up in two, for the last two days of the year – convenient, eh?

First up are the Epagomenal Days – or for those of us not fond of tongue-twisters, the Days Upon The Year. For those of you playing along at home, these are the days that take place after the year has ended but before the new year has begun. Mythologically this comes from the story of the birth of the children of Nut, which was not to take place during any day of the year. Djehuty worked his sly magic, won some light from the moon, and poof – five extra days for Her children.

I like to take these days to honor each of Her children, and to reflect on what of each gods domain I need to improve or eliminate from my life. I start the day by lighting a candle to whichever deity is in festival that day, and stay mindful of what message They might have to bring to me.

The first day belongs to Wesir (Osiris). For Him, I light a green candle. I ask His blessing on my relationship with the Akhu. I will reflect on my own relationship with my ancestors, and how I can improve or better it. I will meditate on stability – where it needs to be built and where it needs to be taken away.

The second day belongs to Heru-wer (Horus the Elder). For Him, I light an orange candle. I ask Him to bring me strength and good judgment. I will reflect on where I am in control of my life, and where I am not. I will meditate on strength – where I need to carry more of it, and where I have exercised too much.

The third day belongs to Set. For Him, I light a red candle. I ask Him to keep chaos and disorder out of my life. I will reflect on what has been stagnant in my life, and what has been out of order. I will meditate on change – where I need to make more of it, and what I need to allow to settle.

The fourth day belongs to Aset (Isis). For Her, I light a blue candle. I ask Her to watch over the heka and magic I do. I will reflect on my successes and failures as a magic worker. I will mediate on wisdom – where I have used right judgment, and where I have erred in my decisions.

The fifth day belongs to Nebthet (Nephthys). For Her, I light a purple candle. I thank Her for the blessing of life for another year. I will ask Her to watch over those I love in the West, and to help me be mindful of how blessed I am to be alive. I will meditate on time – how precious it is, and how I can make the most of it.

Each day, I light a candle for each of the days upon the year that has passed. I light one on Wesir’s day, two on Heru-wer’s day – and so on. If you’re interested in celebrating at home, feel free to use my “template” and add to it as you like. 🙂 Tomorrow, I’ll post about Wep Ronpet itself. Enjoy!

Hurting and Healing

It is my experience that any god can heal. We have gods who are affiliated with healing – Sekhmet, Sobek, Khonsu – but I am certain that all of the gods are capable of healing in Their own ways. The question is whether or not we are willing to endure the kinds of healing They offer.

I have asked Set for healing. If you like having your hand cut off to save the rest of your body, or having bandaids ripped off with all your little hairs – Set is great for healing. It was effective, it was quick, it was painful as hell – but in the end, I was more whole. I should say that I was pretty naive at this point – I didn’t have any fear of the gods – so my approach was just a bit poorly thought out – to say the least.

Why do we need healing? What do we need healing from? All the gods want us to be whole. It only makes sense that They would all be capable of guiding us more nearly to that place. I think we sometimes get too caught up in the human need to file our gods into categories, to make sense of why there would be multiple gods rather than one god for everything, and we deny the gods Their individuality, Their personalities, Their ability to self-select what They will and will not do.

Really, I’m just feeling sick and I pray to all the gods because I want at least one of Them to get me better, fast – but it’s good for reflection.