The road ahead

october-2016-shrines

So, a lot has changed. The shrines have switched places. This is, arguably, more of a practical move mor than anything else. The physical space I need for my devotional rites for Sobek and Heru is nowhere near as much space as I need for my fledgling witchcraft practice. I think this is actually the first time in sixteen years of pagan practice that I’ve had a permanent witchcraft altar. So there’s that.

I’ve put up a couple of quick videos of each shrine on youtube, for those who want more detail: the Shedety shrine, and the Hekate/Sobek witchcraft altar. There’s a bunch of other shrine videos on there as well, but it’s easier than uploading them anywhere else, since I take them on my phone.

At some point I will stop making new wordpress sites, but I have thrown up another one for my witchcraft blogging stuff because what the hell, and also there’s no room for it here, so. Feel free to follow it if you like: A Sobekatean Grimoire. (There is a lot of punnage in that title, ngl.)

And now that the pimping is out of the way, the tl;dr version is under the cut. Enjoy.

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That point of no return

Sometimes, the cards have to tell you something three times before you understand what it is they’re trying to tell you. So it was with the omen I took during last night’s High Day ritual. I’ve been mulling over it, and I had a moment of clarity this afternoon when I realised what it was trying to say. The door that’s been closed, the path I can no longer retreat to, is Kemetic. In some ways, it’s a way to firmly keep my focus on my druidic studies, and commit to them. But it’s still an end of one path, and the beginning of another, and I didn’t realise I would even miss it until this evening, when I was writing up my omen notes.

I’ve been feeling that shift for months now, to be honest, but never knew how to articulate it or understand what it was. And now that I know, that’s when it begins to hurt. To miss what I’ve left behind, even though I’m not willing to leave what I’ve now established. This is home, and I didn’t know it until last night, when I sang words to that effect to Hermes. I’ll never stop being Sobek and Heru’s priest, of course. They wouldn’t have made me Their priest if I was just going to leave Them behind. But the rest of those relationships with Egyptian gods have fallen away and we’ve drifted apart. I no longer default to those gods anymore. I default to the Greeks. Which is strange to think about. But there you go. I think this has been in the works for years, but I’m sure Sobek has His reasons for taking me in this particular direction.

I feel like I’ve drifted, or moved, so far from Egypt. It feels like a distant place, far from where I am now. The gods feel unfamiliar, with the exception of Sobek, Heru, Isis, and Wesir, and strange. And I’ve definitely changed, it’s definitely not them. I’ve been calling myself a polytheist, rather than a Kemetic, for a few years now, because any sort of cultural affiliation always seemed hollow and narrowly defined. That, and I don’t work within one single cultural pantheon, so. This just seems to be my place now.

It also helps to reinforce, for me, that sense of foreign gods in a foreign land, that feeling of not being from there, and having to get to know things and how they work all over again. I’ve always felt that to a certain extent, but it’s more explicit now. At least, it feels that way. It may just be a way to shift me into that mindset that’s better suited to connecting with nature spirits and the environment and whatnot, but we’ll see. We’ll see where this new path takes me, and what new relationships I’ll form along the way. I’m sad to leave one thing behind, but this new path feels so right I can’t imagine it not being there. I fell in love with Hekate, with Hermes, with Artemis and Hestia. These gods embraced me and adopted me, even though I felt like I was a stranger to Them. They are my gods now. For how long, I don’t know. But I’ll enjoy the ride while it lasts.

TPE – Wk 10 – As Above, So Below

What do you seek from the Divine? How is that reflected in the mundane? Where do you find your place of synthesis?

IDK if it’s just me, but I’m not fond of the wording of this prompt. But I’ll do my best anyway. I’ll also use gods instead of ‘The Divine’, because the latter isn’t relevant to my theology or practice. I don’t really have any unified concept of ‘The Divine’; it makes no sense to me in a polytheistic framework. Others may disagree, but for me, it doesn’t work, so I won’t use it.

And, of course, this changes the nature of the question, because what I seek from my gods really depends on the god. The nature of our relationships are always different, depending on the work we need to do together. Sometimes, it’s not what I seek from Them, but what They seek from me. Sometimes, they just turn up and say hi. Because gods idek.

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The Pagan Experience – Week 6 – Earth

Earth- The word “earth” has multiple meanings. What does it mean to you? How do you use its definitions to support your work?

This was another topic that made me pause, because I’ve never been a very Earth-centred pagan. Perhaps it was why Wicca never resonated with me. IDK. But mostly, I serve the gods first, and that’s what matters to me most of all. So in some way, this is another hard topic to write to, because I don’t really have much to say?

In the last few years, I have been trying to grow that connection with the landscape around me, if only so I can contextualise some of my festivals and my ritual Wheel of the Year, and plant them, and my gods, in the land around me. But, ultimately, it comes back to the gods, not the land. But perhaps it’s more complicated than that. I might have to revisit this later, and maybe talk about that connection, and how intertwined they are for me.

It is hard to forge relationships with the land, though, because I am highly aware that I am an Anglo white person living on land that was stolen by Anglo white people from the indigenous people of this country. When I started exploring druidry, ancestors, and land spirits, I was consciously aware that those ancestral land spirits might prefer it if I ignored them, because I’m not from their culture, and they might be rightly cross at a white person wanting to contact them. (Which I would totally understand.) So the most I do is offer water libations, ask for peace, and leave it at that.

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The Pagan Experience – Wk 5 – Humanity

How do you define “humanity”? What is your contribution to the collective space of humanity? How does your spiritual path support this definition and contributions?

Yep. That’s about how I feel about this topic, ngl.

Yeah, I bet you thought I’d given up on these. Ahahano. Though, I have to admit I have somewhat slacked on the last two weeks, and am only now catching up with this. It’s partly because I have had nfi what to write for this topic, and I am at the point of considering writing about how hard it was to answer the prompt, rather than writing to the prompt itself. Because I can’t bring myself to just write about something else, can I? No, because then it wouldn’t be a challenge. /stubborn Sasha is stubborn. :/

It’s not like I can’t define humanity, or anything like that, it’s just … Every draft I’ve tried to write for this has felt like it was a mess of vague generalisations and ever-so-slightly-concealed rantings, all mixed in with excessive usage of the royal We, as if I can speak for all human beings on this planet. AHAHAHANO. And I just wasn’t happy with that. And now I’ve spent another two hours writing IDK nearly 1k of ranting, and even now, I’m pondering deleting it, but whatever. It’s better than nothing. At least my next post on ‘Earth’ is less grumpy. :D? /tries to find a positive?

And if you can’t be fucked reading beyond the cut (which I would understand), you’re probably not missing much except some swears and ranting and a grumpy Sasha. :/ Continue reading

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.

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Seasons, Gods, and Cycles

I had one of those moments today where everything suddenly fell into place. I’ve been trying for a long time to figure out the whole Kemetic calendar into my year as I experience it, and it’s been tough. Three seasons doesn’t really translate well to mine, and I stopped trying to do that a long time ago.

I still can’t explain why I feel a need to have such a seasonally relevant calendar for a Kemetic, based on my land here, but it’s a driving force for me, and I finally feel like I’ve sorted it out at long last, in a way that’s relevant to me, if not to anyone else.

I’ve been playing around with Sobek/West and Heru/East associations, as well as Their significance for me at Solstices and Equinoxes, along with Wesir and Ra. Wesir and Ra are like equinoxes for me; Sobek and Heru are the solstices. I honestly had no idea why this association made any sense to me for a while; these events weren’t really significant in the old calendars, with perhaps the exception of the winter solstice, but they seemed, to me, to be the seasonally instinctive way to divide up my year.

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Reflections on Polytheism

My spiritual life is a bit of a shambles at the moment, too. I’m doing my daily devotions to Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset, and that’s about it. And it’s not that I don’t mind that, because simple and ‘able to be done when half-asleep and just out of bed’ is what I like, I feel directionless. It may be that I am overthinking things, and trying to make things more complicated than they need to be. Wouldn’t be the first time. But IDK. It’s crashed into the chaos that has been the past two months, so I’m just feeling overwhelmed by it all and uninspired, and I just need some clean, fresh air to sort all this shit out.

I don’t even know what I am anymore, except a polytheist and Sobek devotee. Which is fine, but. Not recon. Not not-recon. Not Wiccish. Not, well, I don’t even know anymore.

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Back to Basics

Sobek and Heru-sa's Shrine

Newly-redone shrine. Icons are on top of the shrine because the big ones don’t fit. Apologies for the flash glare, too, but it’s late, and it’s the only way to take decent pictures with my shitty camera, since I can’t find the good one. I will do a more full proper shrine post at a later date so you can see where everything has ended up, but for now, admire the new set-up. And yes, that is a Feraligatr between the two horses. I regret nothing.

I think it takes a lot to go back to the beginning, particularly on any kind of spiritual path. Once you get so far along, you kind of feel like you know what you’re doing, and don’t feel like you need to teach yourself much. But, I don’t know, perhaps it’s the lot of a polytheist, but I feel like I’ve been collecting too much lately. My path and practice has become too full of thing, too full of festivals and gods, that I have come to feel burnt out. And I didn’t even recognise the fact that I was burnt out until today. But that’s what I am. I’m burnt out, and I need a rest.

It’s not just the subtle proddings by Woden (and possibly some ancestors) to look into Anglo-Saxon paganism (because apparently that might have been what the ancestors actually meant when they were talking about ‘The Old Ways’ they wanted me to bring back, rather than the Welsh polytheism I assumed they meant), or the calendars, and the SDF rituals I’ve been doing, but I don’t know. Somehow, it’s all felt like … too much. I’ve got to the point where I just need to stop, and evaluate just what is really important to my path, which gods I would be willing to spend time with on a regular basis, and what needs to be left behind. And also how to fit said ‘Old Saxon Ways’ into my path in any kind of meaningful way, if that’s what is being asked of me. (Though, I have just started Wyrdworking by Alaric Albertsson, and my reaction thus far has been, ‘Oh, so his definition of magic is pretty much heka, but in a different language. /finally understands the point of runes’. So. /ponders.)

It’s entirely possible this is related to my nearly 30th birthday at the end of the year, but that might just be a coincidence. Either way, I’ve decided to start again, right from the very beginning. I’ve stripped back all my shrines and redressed them. I’ve set Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset on my old festival shrine; They are the only gods on that shrine now. I’ve also kept Hekate’s shrine, because She has a tendency to help me when I get to these crossroads moments. The rest of my icons are on Sobek’s old shrine by my bed. It’s still a shrine, but it’s not one I will use (yet.)

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P is for Polytheism

I promise ‘Pokémon as a Valid Religious Metaphor’ will be next week’s topic, and it will be as epic as it sounds, but this week, I want to talk about Polytheism.

I think I’ve always been polytheistic. It just took me a while to figure that out and acquire the vocabulary to talk about it. I’ve always believed in many Gods. I find it the most logical way to interact with the Divine, but I would never presume to say it’s a worldview that works for everyone. It makes the most sense to me, and that’s all that matters as far as I’m concerned. Whether it makes sense to anyone else is their business.

What’s got me thinking about this is partly this post by Star Foster in which she writes about how polytheism is vital to Paganism, as well as a couple of books I’ve picked up lately on polytheistic theology, which I didn’t even know existed until this year. All these things have had the result that, more and more, I’m explicitly calling myself a polytheist. It shapes the way I view the world, and it reminds me that I see the world very differently to many of the people I will meet in my life.

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