R is for Ritual, Reflection, and Rebooting the System

I’m at a bit of a loss for focus this week. Far too many R related things have come to my attention, but I’m not sure I have the brain power to fully devote an entire post to them just yet. I had actually planned to write about ritual this week, and what ritual means to me. Because I don’t think I’ve written about that too much at all? Or maybe I have. IDK.

So anyway. Ritual! And then other reflecty type things, in which I tl;dr about all manner of things relating to Gods and such. I probably should’ve called this post R is for Rambling! Because that’s pretty much what this is. But it doesn’t sound as impressive as the title above does. 😛

So. Ritual. I started off Wiccan, like many new Pagans do, and I left that religion behind because I hated the ritual structure. That was pretty much the only thing I didn’t like about it, as far as I can remember.

Okay, to be fair, this was back in the early 2000s, and I will admit that all I had access to was Silver Ravenwolf and Scott Cunningham. Ehhhh. You take what you can get, alright? It was all I could find in the library. You gotta start somewhere. And, IDK, I sometimes wonder if I’d found a group to learn with whether I might’ve stuck with Wicca longer than I did. Maybe the whole circle-casting bizzo might’ve worked better in a group setting for me than trying to make room for it in my TV room on my own.

But it’s a moot point, and not really worth pondering much anymore. I’m not going to go back to Wicca, but it still influences me. Not in the sense that I’m trying to make some sort of syncretic Wicca religion, but more… Okay, so it’s mainly the Wheel, because the Wheel fits in with the seasons here much better than the Egyptian seasons do. Though that’s kind of diminished a little since I finally figured out a way to swing the Kemetic calendar around so it makes more sense with regards to the seasons. The Mysteries of Wesir are now at the right time of year, as is the Solstice. Nothing jars in my head anymore.

I actually had a lot of trouble finding ritual formats that worked for me. Okay, I have been pretty much self-taught during this entire period I’ve been Pagan, for lack of any groups around I could learn from. Apart from Kemetic Orthodoxy, which was where I learnt the most about Kemetic worship and ritual, everything else has been self-taught and improvised. I’ve been experimenting for about twelve years as I try to find something that’s meaningful and works for me.

I never did Senut very often as a Kemetic Orthodox Shemsu pretty much because … Senut never really worked for me. I almost feel bad admitting it, because I know many people do find it meaningful, but it just never worked for me. But I did come to the House from about a year or two hanging out with the Akhet Temple crowd, and it wasn’t until I was more firmly entrenched in the House that I learnt how much of Akhet’s stuff was just reworked Kemetic Orthodox stuff. Which might be why neither really worked for me. It was basically the same ritual. I didn’t like Akhet’s because I was worshipping Isis at the time, not Hethert, and it just felt wrong. Which is why I jumped ship when the opportunity arose.

I also have to admit that most of my desire to hang out with other Kemetics was more about fellowship, not about finding a religion. I just wanted other people to hang out with and compare notes. And, IDK, I kind of got to the point of realising that it would probably be nigh on impossible to get any Kemetic group together where I am, or to travel over to America where the Temple was. I think I was always meant to be a solitary, so that’s what I am.

And I still … feel a sense of frustration with regards to Heru-sa-Aset. It actually doesn’t help that He and Sobek are so intertwined. They did historically share epithets, which makes it hard to tease Them both apart, and Hemet told me They were very close when I first got my RPD six years ago. So close I didn’t even realise Heru was there. And I still don’t really know He’s there, not really. He and Sobek come together, that much I know, but I just can’t seem to get through to Heru at all. There are times when I can’t understand why He talks to everyone else but not me.

Maybe the twin thing is a manifestation of this entanglement. But I do sometimes feel frustrated that pretty much every other God will talk to me except Heru. Can’t fathom what I’m doing wrong. Can’t see the woods for the trees either. Feel like I may never figure this out, and He’ll just be my Father’s Beloved, and not mine. It makes me doubt what I’m doing, that the foundations aren’t as steady as I thought they were.

But I think part of this is also part of undoing the Kemetic Orthodox worldview I stuck with for about six years before I decided to go it alone. When you’ve spent six years referring to Gods as Parents and Beloveds, and understanding things in that context, stripping all that back is really, really hard. And I need to do that, I know I need to get rid of all that baggage and approach these Gods in a completely different way, but it’s just so hard to do. Particularly because I am then at a loss for what other language to use. :/ Patrons feels … not right. Personal Gods feels … too cumbersome. But what other language is there to use? I don’t know. Might take me a while to sift through that, too.

Like, I know what Patrons means in a Pagan context. Though I tend to take it more in the Graeco-Roman context, rather than neo-Pagan, where it’s just code for ‘God I <3/work with the most’. And I … don’t really think I can define any of my God relationships as anything like a Patronage. I have too many Gods. I can’t just call Them ALL Patrons. That would cheapen the word, I think. And it’s not really correct for all of Them either. I think calling any of Them Patrons would imply things that aren’t true of our relationship.

I think I’m basically trying to find a way to distinguish between ‘Gods I actively work with/have relationships with’ and ‘Gods I will honour for festivals but that’s about it’. Does that make sense? My own Gods, and those in the rest of the pantheon I don’t really seek relationships with, unless it’s offered, of course. (Amun, Wesir, Mousai, I’m looking at you.)

I have a feeling that, while I never had much baggage from Christianity to get over when I became Pagan, I have a tonne of Kemetic Orthodox baggage to get over, now that I’m rebuilding everything from scratch. It’s like switching denominations, rather than changing religions. The language, the concepts, so many of these things are the same. And that’s half the problem with shedding all that baggage and being able to look at things from a completely different angle. This is something I struggle with, and I might need to do some sort of rebirthing/rededication thingo either at the end of the year with Hekate, or whenever else feels appropriate, to try and shed all those things I don’t need anymore.

Even then, I feel bad even admitting this, because you don’t really see this sort of thing discussed in Pagan circles. The whole multi-path thing is meant to make multiple religions easy to handle, or at least, acceptable to do, but no one really talks about switching from one Pagan religion to another, and what that entails. Moving from one worldview to another, and not trying to merge them. What needs to be shed and let go of before you can move on with a clean slate. It’s really hard to unlearn this stuff, and even I doubt if I can even do this, or if there will always be some remnants remaining that are too stubborn to be removed.

You can’t really unlearn RPD information, either. Once it’s revealed, you never really forget it. It’s hard to pretend like I never did that. That’s what rites of passage are all about. But I’m not Kemetic Orthodox anymore, so it sort of becomes a bit pointless, to me, to keep talking about my Gods within that context. But I don’t have another frame of reference to use. But how do I fit Ganesha in there? Amun and Wesir? Hekate? The Mousai? Where do they fit? Not ‘official’ beloveds. What else to call Them? I don’t have any language to use (yet) that makes all this make sense (yet). And that’s frustrating.

So much of this is about defining relationships between me and my Gods. That’s the most basic point of all this frustration. But I don’t want to use the Parent/Beloved dichotomy because it relates to a context that isn’t relevant to me anymore. I’m not a shemsu, and I have more Gods than were actually divined that are important to me that I’m not willing to ignore. I don’t want to use the Parent/Beloved framework for fear of damaging the RPD system itself, by claiming things that aren’t true. I might, perhaps, be overthinking this, but IDK. Maybe I am. Maybe I’m just over-complicating things.

I feel like I’m repeating myself. Like I’ve said all of this before and it’s still ruminating in my mind, unwilling to resolve itself. How DO you shift your mind out of one Pagan religious context and into another? I think I might have to sit down and sort out what is Kemetic, and what is specifically KO, and somehow… I’m not even sure what. Ditch what I don’t need. Or something. I am going to have to do some serious unlearning. I’m not sure that’s going to be pretty to watch.

I just feel like I need to get all that KO stuff out of my head, so I can sit down and say, right, what have I got left? Probably followed by, how do I work with what I’ve got left? Or something along those lines. Because I know there are some KO specific things I still have hanging around with regards to how I see things and talk about things that perhaps aren’t needed (or even make sense) outside of a KO context.

Perhaps this is the problem that stems from a polyamourous polytheist trying to make sense of things where this is not the case for most people, or for the language I have access to. I need new ways of conceptualising and describing this in a way that makes sense and isn’t confusing for people. I need new words, or words I don’t know yet. Or some other way of talking about these things. But I’m not even sure where I’d even START with something like that. So instead, you get to read about my angst as a proxy for me trying and failing to figure this all out.

*gets out thesaurus* Clan? Herd? Pack? Household? Kindreds? Tribe? Hmm. Maybe Tribe. But maybe – Gods, I don’t even know. This is all too complicated right now. I might have to sit down and unpack all these words and see which one might work, if any might work at all.

WELL. Maybe not Kindreds, though, because I know it has an ADF/Druidry context that isn’t what I’m looking for/doesn’t relate to what I’m looking for. WELL. It kind of does, but mine’s a narrower focus. Don’t want to confuse anyone by using terminology from a group I’m not actually a part of. Part of why I don’t want to use Parent/Beloved either, cos I’m not KO anymore either. It’s too specific to those groups, I think, to take out of that context and not confuse anyone. I think that’s what I’m trying to do, to get away from group-specific language that would imply things that aren’t true for me, or imply an association with a group I do not have/do not belong to. Does that make sense? (See, I knew if I rambled on long enough, I’d figure out what my actual bloody point was with all this. :P)

I think I’ll leave this here, and go mull this over for a while. Next week, Sobek gets His own post! 😀 Moar information than you ever needed to know about my favourite Crocman. 😀

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