I know we already have a myth for why the sunrise is so colorful, but I choose to believe this as well:
When the sun rises, and the uncreated lays bleeding on the horizon, broken and defeated by the Son of Nut, Ra and His daughter move into the sky, and She dances. She touches the hem of the night with Her joy, stitching in the seams of dawn with red and golden thread. She sings the clouds into a fury of color, and each step of her slender feet sends neon splashes darting over our heads. She celebrates Her father’s triumph, and sends Him to rule the day with all the beauty Her love can create.
I am particularly thinking of Bast here, but you can substitute any Eye you’d like. 🙂
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This is what you will be, if you do not stop or hesitate.
Kneeling before the shrine, I am yet again apologizing for my long absence. And yet again, They take me back without reproach. Our talks are not without gentle admonishment – not for my failings, but for the shame and guilt I carry for being away. Life is unpredictable. Illness is unavoidable. I need to build solutions to the roadblocks in my way without blaming myself for their presence. And I need to be honest. A huge part of the problem is the overwhelming sense that by being forced to take a less intense role due to circumstance, I am somehow unworthy to work for the gods – somehow no longer Their servant. This is, in a word, preposterous.
It is very easy for me to turn all the blame internally when circumstances require taking a break, stepping back, or even just slowing down until changes can be made. The Ifs and the Shoulds can be overwhelming. And it is equally as easy for me to say “I won’t give up; I will work harder and be better than my anxiety,” but this is virtually impossible to accomplish. Because sometimes, working harder isn’t the solution. Having compassion for myself and taking the time to work patiently through a disadvantage often is. It seems that no amount of blunt force can break the wall of emotional fog, but slow and gentle kindness can wear it down until it eases.
Ma’at and the rules of the gods are not inflexible. They change, and they force us to examine ourselves and change with them, ever evaluating ourselves and balancing on Ma’at’s scales each day. Every day has its own equlibrium; each zep tepi comes with a tiny adjustment to the metrics. So we learn to live in flux, in harmony, and to know that standing still can be as effective a tactic as charging ahead.
Yesterday we celebrated the Day of Wetting the Head before Netjer with a series of wonderfully effective herbal baths, followed by lunch. Then my least favorite part – saying goodbye, and coming home.
It’s hard for me to leave Retreat. There are so many things floating around my head from discussions an experiences during the week. There’s a zone of comfort being surrounded by people who really get what we do, and leaving that can be unsettling. I have come away this year with work to do, as with any Retreat. Good work, it seems – the overwhelming message this year was that me personally, and the House of Netjer as a whole, will have a better year.
I have more to share, of course. As things process and coalesce into coherency I will post them. It will be a very beautiful year. 🙂
An old sun rises,
breaking over the buildings
and reinventing the landscape –
repainting the buildings
that sprawl and strut along the sidewalk.
The new sun stirs,
a rumbling tumult
of dreams and confusion
tangled in the old sun’s rays.
What the dawn touches is glazed
in amber, copper, gold,
mead and honey,
sweeter and lighter.
In taking in its glamor
I am overcome,
the waves of light break over me
and I am knocked to my knees,
a mouth full of wonder.
Remarkable, unimaginable –
the world fills itself
swelling with its own numinous presence.
Labyrinthine and powerful –
how perfect a thing to love in,
to give love to.
This is my favorite season of the year, the season before the flood. When the air is humid, and the sun is hot, and you can feel Ra’s fierce blaze on your skin even as He rises. I love the heat and the sticky humidity, the sense of anticipation building around me, like the Earth is sick with a fever that rises until the flood comes and breaks it.
I don’t live in a part of the world where the flood is crucial to my survival. I don’t even live in a part of the world where annual flooding is a part of my life. My streets flood when it rains too hard, but that has little to do with tides and seasons. Even in Egypt, the Nile is dammed so that the floods don’t have the same impact as they once would have.
Even so removed, I still feel an unseen flood building through the summer months. Waters in the Duat climb their banks, the gods and spirits chatter and prepare. The year gets old and rickety; the flood will sweep away its foundation and leave a new one in its place. We will be purified in the tide as it crests and washes over us. Everything that has built up on the year will be drowned and freed to start fresh.
I’m feeling it stronger this year than in years past. Normally I get swept up in the pull towards the new year, but this year I am standing in the middle of it all, watching the tension build. Watching the old year decay. Letting the rising flood overtake me, to wash away the distress of the last year.