Always with the crossroads

I feel like I should be used to predicting this by now, that whenever Hekate takes over my life (like She has at the moment), I end up at a crossroads period. Which is fine. I always like a chance to stop and figure my shit out, so that’s nice. I just always feel a bit restless when I get there, because all my habits grind to a halt until it’s over, which doesn’t help to keep my ritual habits going, ngl.

Everything’s become a bit complicated at the moment. Apart from my CoH Hekate devotional work, my Kemetic practice has come to a bit of a halt. Also, Hekate is all, study witchcraft for me, and so I’m actually reading books about Wicca in a way I haven’t since I first started out in 2000; I suspect it’s one of those ‘know the rules before you break them’ things, but I’m still not really sure at the moment. I suppose I could’ve done without Sobek suggesting I might open a statue for Him in the middle of all this, leading me to change my shrine around, and my daily rites, again. Also, Isis-Renenutet-Mary-Hekate-Selene can you stop being confusing I am totally done with this.

Also, Ganesh is back on my altar because Reasons??????? *throws hands up* /idek anymore

OH. NOVELS. HERMES. WRITING OIGUBSDUGlfsjygfksygks. Yes. That is another thing I need to talk about idek.

Anyway, have a ramble below the cut about weird religious things, if the tl;dr above isn’t enough for you.

Anyway. This may take a while to write about, because it’s rather complicated, and very involved, and I still don’t quite understand it all yet, but okay. I’ll give it a go. Some of this figuring shit out journalling is relevant to my Hekate work, but I haven’t tried to write it all out yet, so I’m hoping it might help me clear things up in my head.

I’m also not entirely clear on the exact chronological order of these things, either, so I’m not even going to go there, and just write them as coherently as I can manage. It’s all just a big mess of things in my head at the moment, so untangling that won’t be easy, or simple. But it’ll still be a tangle if I don’t even try, so here we are.

I hesitate to say it started in March when I started keeping Hekate’s Deipnon, but it might well have done, I don’t really know. Things always get a bit complicated and intense when I start to focus more on Hekate, but that’s not usually an issue. The winter months are usually a bit barren on the god front anyway, particularly once the Mysteries of Wesir are out of the way, so I don’t usually mind if Hekate wants to co-opt that time for reflective crossroads shit. It keeps me busy, it’s useful work, and it’s not dull, so okay, sure.

My Solstice ritual was a bit … intense. I had planned to just do a bog-standard Hekate-centred COoR rite to cross off another of my DP High Days, but I ended up doing something else entirely, and had an intense experience meeting Hekate Kourotrophos along the way and learning shit about birthing and ritual knives. So there was that.

(It’s been a bit of a knife-y, serpent-y year, tbh, which is weird, or just a weird coincidence, idek.)

Orlando happened, and queer ancestor stuff happened. The Deipna for Hekate kept happening, along with the noumenia. My ritual year has no real structure or festival points right now except for the Deipnon and the Noumenia. They are my only constant right now in a daily practice that has been, at time, quite in flux and not settled on any one thing. Deipnon and Noumenia. Clean the house, collect the rosemary, do the purifications, appease the restless dead, offer to the Theoi, rinse and repeat next month. It’s weird, but also weirdly comforting.

This is actually the first time I’ve done deipnon and noumenia together, since it took me a long time to find something appropriate to do for the deipnon that didn’t require actually leaving things at a crossroads, which is not practical for me rn. So once I figured out I could compost the supper as a adequate alternative, that was okay. I could do deipna then.

I didn’t realise how much I would love the rhythm of the two until I started keeping the deipnon as well as the noumenia. But I do love it. I find it very peaceful.

It’s a weird structure to work with in many ways, because I honestly don’t even have named months anymore, not Greek nor Egyptian. It’s just month after month after month, the deipnon and the noumenia, and it’s just the rhythm of the High Days that marks the progression of the seasons. In some ways, I prefer working this way. Months are months. If the festivals are all the same, it doesn’t matter what it’s called. The seasons work themselves out with the High Days. The monthly, daily, grind, doesn’t matter. I don’t mind not worrying about the monthly progression of ritual calendars, and which season or month we’re in, and what festivals are big this month and what’s coming up. Deipnon, noumenia, deipnon, noumenia, this is all that matters.

I mean, I have toyed about bringing back the sixth day festival, but I do ancestor offerings at noumenia (and arguably the deipnon), so it just feels redundant to repeat it six days later. I think what I care about now, with my ritual calendar, is having one that’s simple and straightforward. One that really just focuses on my gods, and nothing else, because that alone is complicated enough without adding in festivals for other random gods I don’t have relationships with (due to lack of care/interest/etc). One that doesn’t change every month so I don’t have to worry about random festivals popping up out of nowhere for no reason for random gods.

I’m not at all suggesting keeping the old Kemetic or Hellenic calendars is a terrible idea, it’s just not for me. My practice doesn’t suit it. It’s a little too devotional/mystical/god-focused to work with a more general set of ritual/festival practices.

Though there have been moments where all I’d really like is for my practice to just settle on some daily rites, and stick with them, and not just change them six months later because Reasons. I’d really like some consistency, just to know this is what I’m doing, it doesn’t need to change, all I need to do is keep going to shrine, and that’s all that matters. But no.

It’s actually tiring. I spend a lot of energy reworking rites. I don’t quite feel like any One has any clear idea of what I really should be doing. So it just ends up with trying things and changing them, and feeling like screaming at them, I JUST WANT A CONSISTENT REASON TO GO TO SHRINE CAN YOU GODS JUST FOCUS ON SOMETHING FOR FIVE SECONDS PLZ.

Like, it goes from Sobek-Heru, to Sobek-Isis-Heru-Wesir to Sobek(-Heru) and NONE OF THIS HELPS ME FIND SOMETHING TO STICK WITH for any length of time. THERE IS ONLY ONE  OF ME AND ONLY SO MUCH I CAN DO AT ONCE AND ONLY SO MANY HOURS IN THE DAY. IF YOU ARE NOT SOBEK, YOU MAY NOT GET VERY HIGH ON MY PRIORITY LIST NEGL.

I may be somewhat flexible in my approach to gods and devotions and such, but Sobek has ALWAYS been my first priority. No one comes before Him. No one. Which makes me suspect it might be time to just strip everything back again and just have devotions for Sobek, and Hekate (because I have work I need to do – and chose to do – for/with Her with the Covenant of Hekate), keep the deipnon, and noumenia, and let the rest go. There are too many gods clogging up my brain and I need some mental space to just focus on my devotions and go to shrine and not worry about trying to do everything for every god who comes asking for worship.

I’ve done this before, of course, and it may never be a permanent solution. I’m sure in a few years I may need to do this again, but that’s okay. For now, I think things are just way, way too busy, and I need to just strip it back to the gods who matter, and right now, that’s Sobek and Hekate. Everyone else can wait.

This isn’t the only thing I’ve been dealing with, of course. Hekate is almost a whole post in and of Herself, but the tl;dr version is She wants me to magic things, and be more of a witch, and that just … doesn’t work for me within a druidic framework, and so I am back at Wicca and Wiccish witchcraft, with the benefit of fifteen years of new resources to work with now that I didn’t have back when I was a baby Pagan.

Part of this was also probably not helped along by a decision I made a month ago to go back through the old BoS materials from my early years of practice that I still had and make a sort of retrospective Book of Shadows, and document that with my own writings and memories about how I got started. Because I was TERRIBLE at NOT WRITING THINGS DOWN when I was first starting out. My magical record keeping was almost non-existent. So I thought I’d do it now, looking back, and while I may still miss some things, it’s better to have a more complete record than a bunch of papers that don’t really have any context for them.

I happened to find an old A4 day to a page financial year diary at the newsagent, going for only $20, so I picked it up, covered it in black crushed velvet, made an awful puffy paint pentagram on the front (due to lack of skill, it wasn’t deliberate), and began filling it with the material I still had left. It covers my practice from 2000 to around about 2005, when I did my Kemetic Orthodox beginner’s class, though I may also include up to my naming in there as well, but that’s about the hard limit. It’s that period where I was still figuring shit out, and hadn’t really settled on anything yet. When I did spells and maybe an esbat rite, and nearly set my ~ritual robe~ on fire with the elemental candles because who cares about fire safety amirite????

So, anyway, I have basically been sticking things in to the book, and have started writing down what I do remember about where I got started and how. It’s a work in progress, of course, but for someone who sucks at consistent magical journalling (still!), it’s better than nothing. At least I can look back on it when it’s done and know where I came from.

I don’t know if it predisposed me to looking back at Wicca again when Hekate was all, you should learn these things because witchcraft!, but perhaps. I don’t know. I still think your more bog-standard circle casting is way, way too long and complicated, and the way I do it for my heka rites is probably closer to adequate for my needs because who wants to spend two thirds of the rite setting up and then taking down a circle not me, definitely not me. Hence, I think studying Wicca will be more of a ‘know the rules before you break them’ sort of thing. So I can build something better that suits me and Hekate better.

It’s sort of why my Hekate shrine has become Hekate and Hermes, and it’s more witchy than anything else, but how long it stays this way, I don’t know. This is where Ganesha is, too, for no other reason than I felt He needed to be seen again.

Also, I ordered a bunch of those 100 sticks/pk handmade incenses from 13moons, including the Hekate incense, and ngl it is amazing I regret nothing. I also picked up frankincense and rosemary because Hekate likes me burning those for Her, and one for Hermes (lucky gambling money incense or something idk but He wanted it).

Also, can I talk about how I don’t even know what incense to burn in my daily rituals for Sobek because He doesn’t seem to care and now I have nfi what to burn and it’s all just too complicated and will you all just make some goddamn decisions plz this is not fun.

This kind of upheaval is just not fun. I’ve been through it before, so it’s not like this is new, but going through it can be really annoying at times, and I just want things to settle down again into something consistent so I can stop trying things out and start habit-forming.

Also, I am not inclined towards opening a statue for Sobek. I can’t with menstrual taboos and there is only one of me, and I just don’t have the space or energy for that sort of thing. I don’t mind making my rites more formal and temple-like, but anything more is just not feasible, not now, nor for the foreseeable future.

…Gods, I am going to have to make a new ritual book, I just know it. Fuck. That’ll mean transcribing everything all over again, but at least it’ll probably only happen once things have settled down, so there’s that. I’ve got time to make the damn book.

Anyway. Enough of that. I could go into the Isis-Renenutet-Hekate-Mary things, but ngl, that’s still so complicated I don’t really know how to talk about it yet. All I know is that Isis, Mary, and Hekate have turned up twice now all together in my meditations in the past two-ish months or so, and I feel like that is definitely Not A Coincidence. Also, Mary keeps hugging me like She misses me, it’s weird ngl. I have nfi what that’s all about. More on that when I have more than just IDEK! to tell you.

The writing thing. Yes. Hermes and writing things. So. Pasithea’s City is 90% done. It probably would be done if I didn’t try to do foreshadowing that I’m not sure I really even need and now I’m stuck again because of course I am.

There’s a long, complicated route to HOW I got stuck, I think, but the source that caused it all, indirectly, is the video for Mary by Sparkadia. Again. (This video, I swear. It’s been five years since I first saw it and it’s a persistent little … thing, ngl. So. Many. Plot. Bunnies.) The first thing I wrote for that was a weird pre-ish apocafic thing centreing around Mary/Isis/Quan Yin/idek gathering survivors before it all went to Shit. But I never quite managed to make it work for a variety of reasons including: a) world was way, way too complicated, b) too many characters, and c) nfi what the actual plot was actually going to be.

But it stuck with me because of course it did. Fast forward to the Pasithea’s City rewrite, and I’m pondering where everyone’s going now from the caves after the storm (~2/3s of the way through the plot) and this figure called ‘The Black Priest’ keeps turning up. I can’t quite remember where that phrasing first came from, either, but it wasn’t that. It came before that, and then turned up again as someone my protag and friends would meet on the final leg. Some sort of oracle/psychic/idek. Thought it had promise, but I didn’t have the inspiration to go further with it.

Some time later, I binge-watch Mary again, and this time, The Black Priest becomes part of the Pasithea’s City world again, only not as a wandering oracle, but as (one of?) the last High Priests of Egypt, who flees from his temple with what’s left of the temple staff, and the cult statues, to preserve the religion in the face of invasion and defeat. (My brain is full of apocalypse, I apologise.) They were originally going to be Osirian/Isian/Heru priests, but I was like, fuck it, everyone writes about them. They can be priests of Sobek. From the Faiyum. And then it became both way more complicated, and way more personal, and somehow took on a life of its own. Also, I started writing temple rituals to use in the story because I am terrible and this is how I write novels why do I do this to myself. Also myths and festivals and spending way too much time doing character development and pouring over maps of Egypt and north eastern Libya and yes.

There’s nothing like figuring out your own religious practices in fiction, ngl.

But that turned into 20k worth of stuff because apparently writing backstory before a cameo in a totally different story made the best sense to me so that’s what I did. But that’s a whole ‘nuther story I need to deal with once I am done with Pasithea’s City. Particularly because every time I read through it, I add something new, and now it’s just in dire need of a proper focused plotline rather than whatever I feel like throwing at it because it sounds like fun!

Also, tying the two groups together has been … difficult. But I think I have managed it. But then, I  might cut the whole thing entirely if I decide it’s not worth the hassle. But I think it might work enough so it doesn’t feel weird idek. But this isn’t really the right place to do a tl;dr about that, either, because it’s way more complicated than that.

Particularly because I decided to waste some of my tax return on Sparkadia’s two albums, and listened to them, and got a whole bucketload of more Plot Bunnies, one of which came from A Dream in which The Black Priest went from Egyptian Priest to sitting in a dodgy motel room in regional Victoria, having run away from everything, and the reasons for this went from simple breakup to running away from his Domme to being a demon hunter to a devotee of Hekate who does demon-hunter-y things to idek what it is anymore but I will write something for the Spook Me Hallowe’en ficathon for it just so it leaves me alone at last.

Which is how Hekate and Sparkadia got mixed up and now it’s all weird but good and I have basically listened to nothing by Sparkadia for the past two months I am amazing at life. :D?

Anyway. Is that everything? Three thousand words later, I think that’s all the convoluted idek that’s been going on in my life, so there’s that. I’m sure I’m missing bits out, but this is probably long enough. I hadn’t planned to spend two hours writing this, but there you go. Best leave it here, and maybe some day soon, I’ll sort all this out and have a better sense of where I’m going apart from ‘IDEK!’.

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