The Pagan Experience – Week 3 – Deities and The Divine

Deity and the Divine- This will be the third week’s topic every month and an opportunity for you to share with everyone those who guide, inspire and inform you.

First and foremost, I’m a polytheist. I don’t know how many other polytheists are doing TPE, but I’m one, at the very least. I don’t qualify that with hard vs soft polytheism, though, because I don’t find that terminology to be particularly meaningful to the way I experience the gods. The gods are separate, except when They’re not. I also don’t exclude any gods from existence, such as the Abrahamic god(s); sometimes I think ‘omnitheist’, meaning ‘all gods’ is technically more accurate than the ‘many gods’ inherent in polytheism. But that’s more a question of pedantic semantics; polytheism is useful enough for what it needs to mean for me and my practice.

Also, for those who might not be familiar with me and my practice, I am genderqueer, and this filter also affects my polytheism and the faces the gods show to me. Yeah, this does mean the gods tend to be more queer with me than they might otherwise be with someone who isn’t as queer as me, but that’s just how they are with me. I mean, even when I go to meditation to meet my gods, my body is anything from female to ambiguous to male to androgynous/hermaphroditic, and this generally changes depending on which god I’m meeting, so. :D? /on which, more later, probably.

As for the particular gods I am closest to, they would be the Egyptian gods Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset/Horus, son of Isis. I am Their hem-netjer(u), loosely translated as servant of the god(s). I am also scribe and lector priest, insomuch as my lector priesting involves keeping a ritual book, and reading from it for every ritual, even the ones I’ve memorised. I also write myths for my gods, Sobek in particular, and my heka work at the moment involves sigils and written heka. Because scribe! So anyway. Not that I’m very good at heka right now. Heru is on a mission to change that this year. So we’ll see what happens with that.

For those who don’t know these gods, Sobek is a crocodile god, associated with kingship, the Nile, fecundity, and strength. I worship a particular form of Sobek who was worshipped in the Faiyum, in Shedet, who has very close associations/syncretisations with Heru, to the point where Sobek was talked about in myths as Wesir’s/Osiris’ son, who gathered up his father’s bones and put him back together.

Heru is a falcon god, traditionally associated with kingship, is referenced as a sun and sky god, a mighty ruler who avenged his father, Wesir, and exiled Set, coming to unify the Two Lands. His syncretisations with Sobek in Shedet are many and fascinating, and I never understood why I felt the two gods were so connected in my life until I learnt about Their close assocation in Shedet. And, yes, if I think about Sobek-as-Heru/Heru-as-Sobek too much, it makes my brain hurt. D:

I actually never really knew Heru was around until I had my Rite of Parent Divination, back when I was a member of the Kemetic Orthodox faith. I was divined as a child of Sobek, and a beloved of Heru-sa-Aset, Aset, Djehuty, and Wepwawet. The Nisut (AUS) told me that Sobek and Heru were very close, which might’ve been why I never suspected Heru was there at all.

Through a long series of experiences and UPG revelations, it became clear to me that Sobek and Heru came together, and I couldn’t just serve one and not the other. I was a child of Them both, and this, I think, was the culmination of a lot of things that led me to realise that I was just too different from the rest of the Kemetic Orthodox folk, in theology as well as practice, and so I left in 2011 to forge a path with Sobek and Heru at the centre, away from the rigid Parent/Beloved framework I was used to.

And once I knew about Sobek of Shedet, and finally got my hands on Marco Zecchi’s book on Sobek of Shedet, that’s when I knew that was the Sobek I’ve always been dealing with. Because this Sobek is very closely tied with Heru, and with the Wesir mythos, and none of the other Sobeks fit. This has led me to build a practice that is much more stable than it’s been in a long time, and I’ve sustained a daily practice for I’d suggest it’s about a year in it’s current form, but I’d have to check. But either way, my practice hasn’t been this stable for a long time, and I’m glad of it.

Other gods I regularly worship, and work with, at the moment include Artemis, Nit, Isis, and Hekate. I honour Them once a month, at various moon phases, and meditate with Them. Artemis has the full moon, Nit has the last quarter, Hekate has the new moon, and Isis has the first quarter moon. They make a nice progression of energy, too, through the month, which is nice. It is weird marking rituals by the moon phase, because I have never done this before now, even when I was Wiccan about fifteen years ago. But Hekate’s deipnon and noumenia are how I divide up my months now, so it sort of comes with the territory.

I almost don’t want to make this any longer, but my gods and I are just so queer with each other and I find it hard to talk about Them without talking about the queerness. It’s the bodies changing and that, and how They appear to me, yeah? Like, with Sobek, I’m a weird androgynous female bodied type, but with Heru, I’m more of an androgynous male bodied type. IDK what on earth I was when I met Nit for the first time, nor what I am with Artemis or Isis. It kind of changes and morphs depending on what I’m there for. With Hekate, I’m more or less female, but it’s not a limitation.

Actually, it is weird with Isis and my body and my gender. For a long time She referred to me as female, and gave me a female name. And this was fine, for the most part. I was going through weird gender times, and trying to conceptualise my own gender, and how that related to my gods and my spirituality. I did that weird ‘balance’ thing, where I tried to be more fluid and embrace that male/female/neutral thing, almost in a compartmentalised sort of way. But none of that ever really worked for me. I spent too much time in ‘neutral’, and it made no sense to keep trying to hold myself to binary genders that never really worked for me.

Even trying to think about queer paganism, and what that means, left me confused and trying to address it in the wrong way. I’d thought about a queer Wheel of the Year, queer myths for queer gods with queer bodies, and some sort of separate/coherent practice that you could write down. But it took me a long time to really understand how to work with that, and how it really fits into my practice. Not as a separate thing, but as a way of seeing, of perceiving myself, the world, and the gods. And tied to that, how the gods relate to me.

See, once-upon-a-time, I drew a picture of Sobek where He had a large pregnant belly and pendulous breasts like Taweret. It came after a long period of thought and experience, and Sobek’s apparently nonchalance about gender-bending. Definitely not a historically attested thing, but came after a lot of thought about Sobek as a Creator god, and how I’ve come to understand His nature through researching the behaviour of crocodiles. And, IDK, I think He might’ve been waiting for me to get the genderweirdness thing before He sort of took it and ran with it. But it’s a Thing now with Him and me, so.

Artemis is also queerly gendered with me. I often see Hir as a slender androgynous figure, usually with short hair. Sie’s usually more fluid with Hir gender, though, and it really depends on when I see Hir. Sometimes, Sie is more female, sometimes more masculine. Never particularly male, but certainly masculine. Sometimes Sie’s just neither/both/something else.

Nit was weird, though. I have NFI what I was with Hir, nor what Sie was, either. I think it was a both/neither/something else case. But I have only met Hir once, so I can’t say Sie’s always going to be like that.

Hekate’s never really played the gender thing too much, except I believe She stopped me going through and finishing the Pillar of the Naos meditations because I wasn’t ready. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back and redo them, because I have a suspicion She has something else planned out for that, but I don’t think I’ll ever know until I go ahead with them. She’s the only one who’s ever really suggested I consider transitioning from female to … IDK something else. I’ve generally considered myself trans* for a long time, in a non-binary sort of way, and I’ve never bothered thinking about transition because I don’t have dysphoria (very much, or very badly), nor the resources to go through with it, and because I’m fucking non-binary, and gatekeepers can get fucked. I think about transition a little more than I used to, but ehhhh. /lazy, not bothered, sane, and functional

Oh. Yes. I was talking about Isis once upon a time, wasn’t I? Yes, I was. And how She used to refer to me as female, and I was generally okay with this until I really wasn’t possibly a year or so ago? See previous paragraph about Hekate nudging me to consider transitioning. Yeah!

Anyway. It was a full moon meditation in August last year where She took me to the Temple of the Four Winds that stands in the middle of the lake/sea at Bakhu. There was a pool in the centre of the temple this time, and we got in together. She plunged me under the water and named me Isidore Stellar Maris, and acknowledged that referring to me as female wasn’t working, nor was it what I wanted anymore. So She was going to stop, and I think use more neutral pronouns for me. Hence, Isisdore rather than Isidora. That was also the moment I realised my Isis/Aset had been Isis Stellar Maris all along, and I had a face, and a particular aspect, rather than just an amorphous Isis/Aset figure. Which was also interesting, and has left me lots to ponder. INCLUDING the Stellar-Nit, Maris-Isis thing, which goes ALL THE WAY BACK to a Thing Hekate told me soon after we met that was Aset-Nut, Isis-Hekate. WHICH doesn’t have Nit, but the Starry thing is what’s important. Apparently.

Have I mentioned before that My Gods Are Confusing? Because yeah! 😀

Anyway. I think this is long enough, and the album I’m writing to is almost done, so I should end this before I ramble on too much longer, and get this posted. I have to save some things to talk about for the rest of the year, obvs.

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7 comments on “The Pagan Experience – Week 3 – Deities and The Divine

  1. faolan says:

    Very interesting, I personally believe All deities are Both male And female why?, because they’re just Not Mortal. Whatever created us has to be both! “As above, so below”.
    Lets face it, regardless of gender, we all have a bit of the opposite sex in our make up,

    • Sashataakheru says:

      I generally see more like our conceptions of gender aren’t particularly useful when applied to gods. It serves a purpose for us to recognise and relate to Them, but beyond that, I don’t think it really matters. They function on a plane far beyond human conceptions of gender and form.

  2. jewelofaset says:

    Isidore is the male version of Isidora, if that helps any. (There are also neuter words in Latin so…I could see if there is another variant, if that would help…) Oh, your post has me thinking!

    • Sashataakheru says:

      Yeah, I’m aware of that; sometimes, I’m more interested in not-obviously-female, rather than anything specifically neutral, but if you can come up with a better neutral version of it, go right ahead. 🙂

  3. jewelofaset says:

    Also, great post! And I loved it! And I would love to email you later. And…I have to go because my company is almost here!

    • Sashataakheru says:

      Ahaha, well, thanks for taking the time to read and reply, even if you’re in a hurry. I’ll look forward to your email. ❤

  4. Eri says:

    I definitely get the same feel from Sobek, that He cares more that we’re happy with ourselves than traditional gender roles. It kind of resulted in the nickname “hot son”, which referred to crocodile sex being determined by temperature, and that in some species, high incubation temperatures results in almost all females.

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