Kemetic Round Table: How To Survive Fallow Time

This is the latest in a series of posts that is part of a (new) Kemetic blogging project called the Kemetic Round Table that aims to provide practical, useful information for Kemetic practitioners of any stripe from beginners to more experienced practitioners. Check the link here for more information.

I must admit this topic threw me a little. It’s a fairly new concept to me, and trying to relate it back to my own experiences that I may not have coded as fallow time is an imprecise artform. So you will excuse me if this post is perhaps not the best, and may wander into strange territory, given my not-so-great understanding of the concept.

When I saw the topic, I first thought it was referring to that time between Samhain and Yule. It was only when I thought about it a little more that I connected it to those periods when gods don’t talk to you, and you feel somewhat disconnected from your path. I also understand this is a different thing than a ‘dark night of the soul’? Though I can imagine that both may overlap to some degree, though more in a Venn diagram kind of way than anything more significant. I can’t say it applies to every experience, though.

I have had periods in my life when I have felt disconnected from the gods, and those would probably would be coded as ‘fallow time’ by someone more familiar with the concept. But I’ve always coded them as periods of rest at the crossroads. I have a feeling that’s probably because those periods, for me, have always coincided with the time I spent reworking my somewhat eclectic path. They were periods where I’d take stock of what I had, and make something new to move forward with. So for me, even if I did not have any contact with the gods during this time, I was doing serious religious work nonetheless. And I think it is this that makes me not see them as fallow time, because they weren’t really like that, not in the way most people understand fallow time.

That’s not to say I have constant contact from my gods all the time. I don’t. I don’t really hear Them speak to me much, either. More often, it’s sensations/feelings/intuition than actual words or voices. And yeah, there have been times when I’ve felt Them around more than others. If I get in any way upset about it, it’s more … a feeling of absense? But it’s not aching loneliness, I don’t feel like I’ve been abandoned, and it never feels permanent. Sometimes, all Sobek has to do is remind me that His name means, ‘watching over you’, and I’m alright. I might not always feel them around, but that doesn’t mean they’re gone for good. I mean, They’re gods. I really don’t mind if They have to disappear occasionally to deal with God Things from time to time. I don’t require Their constant presence in my life in order to feel secure in my faith.

So in that sense, I don’t really see it as fallow time. Others may see it that way, but I have never particularly used that concept to code those times in that way. That might be because I don’t tend to assume my gods are always going to be around to constantly watch over me and guide me. I think I would get too overwhelmed with that kind of divine attention, anyway.

I don’t know if any of this is helpful for anyone who experiences fallow time differently to me, though. I mean, I can only comment on my own experience, and it may not be applicable to you or your gods. But I don’t know. Maybe it might offer another way of looking at fallow time that might make it more bearable for anyone who gets it rather more deeply than I do. For me, these periods of rest are vital for my path. I can’t move on and grow without that period where I take stock of what I’ve got, and keep what’s working, and discard what is no longer relevant to my religious practice. For me, that’s just a normal part of my religious practice.

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3 comments on “Kemetic Round Table: How To Survive Fallow Time

  1. I can most deffinitely relate. Not every person goes through this, but those who do, I am told, are destined for greatness. I think they just say that to make you feel better.

    Certainly, it sucks. No getting around that.

    There are two specific things from my religion which spring to mind. The first is a Jewish fast day called “Tisha B’Av” The story in that fast day is that once, we were really close to our tribal God, but we started to rely on Him/Her for everything, including things we shouldn’t, like fixing our personal relationships. God left us to our own devices, then, and we lost everything, temple, holy land and all. On Tisha B’Av, we mourn. We don’t eat, don’t drink, don’t sing, don’t greet one another. We gather in the dark to moan and wail. Because when your God(s) is(are) distant, it hurts. Its not a sharp hurt, but a long, lingering emptiness that piles up on you over time. Catharsis and being acknowledged for our feelings helps: it needs a time and place.

    The other thing I think of is Purim. Purim is a story in the Hebrew mythos where God is distant. Unseen, and unheard. In that story, there is real, human triumph. Like a parent who finally lets go of the back of their child’s bicycle, enabling them to truly, independently ride, sometimes our God(s) need to step back, when they think we are ready, to watch us succeed, or fail. When we look at success during these fallow times, it is a true reason to celebrate. The lessons we learned from our deities are still with us, even if we don’t have the divine hand directly on our shoulders.

    When we can exercise those lessons without guidance, I believe, it shows that we have truly learned, and in this, we do our Gods great honor. There is no greater reason to celebrate.

    Just my thoughts on the subject, and hopefully an interesting perspective, if not a Kemetic one.

  2. von186 says:

    I’m a lot like you. Originally, I would freak out a bit if Set disappeared for a long period of time. However, as I’ve learned more and gotten more comfortable, its possible to not speak with Set or Osiris for months at a time. And I don’t feel any particular loss, or feel like it’s a dry spell. Its just that we’re all busy and all have things going on and just like old friends- sometimes we don’t catch up every day.

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