Crazy

(Pagan discretion is advised: contains blasphemy, insanity, woo, rock music, appropriation, and a few words. Feel free to skip it if you think you won’t respect me in the morning.)

I have a confession to make, that some of you may have already picked up on. I’m crazy.

It’s just a fact of life. I didn’t really choose to be crazy, but I have chosen to accept it, because not accepting it makes it worse. I am godtouched, sometimes in the unflattering sense of the word. Telling me to be reasonable, logical, or to do my research would be a waste of breath.

I remember having a conversation with Hades, who was a friend of a friend. He asked me why I didn’t accept myself. I told him it was because I didn’t want to be crazy. When he looked at me, he saw a very different person from the one I see in my mirror. Mirrors work differently on that side. I’ve broken a few for not liking what I saw there.

Not accepting myself because that would make me insane would be a cop out, a coward’s path, no excuse at all to my former spirit mentor. He would have fried the heck out of me for that kind of wishy washy behavior. He never asked for offerings, and yet my sacrifices to him were some of the greatest I had known. I told him I wouldn’t run. I tried to keep that promise as much as I could. I failed, and succeeded, many times. With him, insanity is not a threat. It is a promise. If you’re not crazy, then you’re not doing it right.

You’d think that being with Wakinyan, the Lakota Thunder Being, would make me lose my fear of it. It did somewhat. If someone called me crazy, or a fool, I took it as a compliment. I fought and danced and laughed. I let him burn away my rough edges. I valued the low above the high. I treated friends like enemies and enemies like lovers. It was a fabulously painful time.

So why, when the truth that I left buried came burning back to life, did I lose my foolish courage? The sun burned me from the inside, leaving me sober after Waki’s masochistic intoxication. I forgot what he had taught me, once I was on my own and facing the thing I unknowingly ran to Wakinyan to escape. I couldn’t handle the sun. And what did the sun do that was so terrible? He called my name, one of my real ones, one I didn’t even remember was mine. (Naturally this song started playing as I was writing that. Out of hundreds of songs that Pandora could be playing…)

Heru-sa-aset (Horus the Younger) who lives within my heart as more than just my divined father, has his own moments of freak out too. He is literally a Son of a Bitch and a Mother Fucker (sorry mom!). He can slice first and think second, and he needs to remember to beware of uncles bearing drink. He’s also the boy who lived. He watched it all fall down and turn to sand. But if you light a candle and talk to him, that’s probably not the side he will show you. He has the compassion of one who has Been There.

Under that calm exterior, Stuff Has Gone Down. That’s the side of him I see most often. I understand that this is not the side that most others know him by. Scorpion stings and all, he is mine and I am owned more surely than any spouse could be. Sometimes I forget and say “I” instead of “we” or “he.” Am I a horse? I can’t really tell when he wanders in and out. It feels the same, just maybe a little bit “more” than usual. When in doubt, assume that it’s just plain old me talking. If you like the message, take it. If not, whatever.

Being crazy is not such a bad thing. It forces me to learn many lessons. Before I label someone else with it, I have to think carefully about how they are like me, and how they are different. I’ve heard some crazy stuff from people, believe me. But is it worse than my own stuff? If so, how? I can’t just dismiss those whose views are different from my own.

I guess what I’ve come to is that there is good crazy and bad crazy. I’ve done both. Good crazy helps you to face your fears. It allows you to take risks and cut through to the heart of things in a way that the usual rules won’t allow. In the right hands, it can be a tool for healing, discovery and growth.

Bad crazy is when you run away, or even worse, when you persuade others to run away with you, even to the point of holding them hostage. Bad crazy is when you ignore those questions that torment you, until you can no longer hear them. Bad crazy is thinking you are beyond the rules. (Good crazy still knows that the rules exist and is prepared to accept what comes of them.)

Crazy is a given. I at least try to stay on its good side. It’s not an easy path to walk, but it does have its perks.

Now back to your regularly scheduled Pagan Blog Project. I’ll attempt to keep the woo down to a dull roar. Not sure if I’ll succeed. Stay tuned next week for Cleansing.

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Blood

As the title suggests, not everyone may be comfortable with this post, for a variety of reasons.

A few years ago, Artemis came to visit me in my spiritual abode. We had been good friends during my college years. We spent a lot of time hanging out with each other, many times just chatting. She’d made it her personal mission to teach me not to be so mousey. (My friends today might have a hard time believing that word used to apply to me. She must have succeeded!)

Anyway, I was happy to see her. We’d drifted apart after I graduated, and I missed her. She brought the puppies with her. It was great to see them tumbling around and getting into everything. One of them came up and bit my hand. It started to lick the blood that welled up, and I let it. It didn’t really hurt, and the pup was just being the kind of cute vicious little monster it was meant to be.

But, at the same moment, I felt a wave of fierce angry tension at my side. Oops. I’d managed to accidentally offend my old friend in a major way. It was the blood. I immediately tried to fix my mistake. Because we were in spirit, I could do things over there that I can’t do over here. I held my hand over the pup and called back my essence from it. Before I could get all of it, Artemis stopped me. “That’s enough,” she said, “You won’t be able to call it now, but what’s left will make it a better hunter.” I sensed undertones that told me that it would also give her something to remember me by. She hasn’t really been back since. The changes I’ve gone through in the years since our friendship have made her uncomfortable. I still nod my head in respect when I come across her name though.

So what exactly happened there? As I alluded to in the story, the rules in the otherworld are not the same as the rules in this one, in fact they can differ from one region to another. Actions and objects have different meanings. I have different abilities there than I do here. And if I’m not thinking, I can cause insult even to one of my oldest friends while on that side. I was able to fix the mistake, and she recognized that I didn’t mean to do anything wrong. I was lucky.

Apparently if a young and impressionable being ingested my blood on that side, it would then, at least partially, belong to me. That’s why she got angry. It looked like I was stealing something of hers. Why do you think Catholics are so fond of having everyone drink a bit of Jesus’s blood? It puts them under his sphere of influence. This also reminds me of the warnings not to eat anything while in Faerie. I’m not saying that the fae chefs cook with blood, but I’m not saying that they don’t either.

I hope that no young and impressionable magicians read that and then proceed to spread their blood all over that side in hopes of amassing an army of ‘critters.’ Because if they do, they will find that it’s a really dumb thing to be doing. One, influence does not equal control. They may find themselves harassed at all hours by things that don’t take commands well. The second reason is that there’s “always a bigger fish.” You might offend something as I offended Artemis. Or they might just be looking for a snack and decide that you smell tasty.

As a Kemetic, we do not bring blood into the shrine. It is listed as a purity thing. On this side, I can see it as such. Blood is messy, it stains, and it can even transmit disease. On the other side, you run into another set of problems. An open wound is a vulnerability. Your scent is easy to read, to follow, and to act upon. Some deities and beings might even take that scent as an open invitation. So, as a matter of personal advice, I’d say keep it in your skin.

Prayer for Kemet-Wesir

Praises to Kemet!
She who is the black lands,
She who wears red,
She who wears white,
She who is adorned by forty-two shining jewels!
Praises to the Lady of field and flood who is Wesir.

Heru cries for you.
The sisters sing for you.
Ra warms you from his boat
Djehuty names your members.
Yinepu attends you.
Tayet dresses you.
Wepwawet opens the gate.

Your fertile lands bring many heirs!
Your children light their shrines for you!
May their offerings never cease.

Heru guards them.
Hethert sings for them.
Ra turns his face to them.
Djehuty records their names.
Tayet purifies them.
The jackal holds them in his arms.
The way is open to them!

Kemet-Yesterday, Kemet-Today

(Continuing from thoughts earlier today.)

I’ve spent the day feeling like crap barely warmed over, as could be expected. Lots of hiding in my room and crying.

I also feel this is a step in the right direction. What seemed hopeless and insurmountable now seems like something I can handle. The phrase “dressing the dead” comes to mind. I’m not sure what that means, but it feels like a right thing to do, something I couldn’t do before. I can give proper respect, and I can move on. I’ve been thinking of this Kemet-Wesir(et?). What iconography would I use to depict her? Maybe I should make a shrine, or a holiday of mourning. Maybe recognizing her will open me up to considering my other blessed dead.

Others speak as if she still lives, or that they will revive her or bring her back. After what I’ve seen, such talk seems full of denial. If I can’t accept her passing then I can’t let go. I can’t move forward. Though perhaps there is a Kemet-Heru in counterpart to the Kemet-Wesir. We are making an effort. It will never be like it was, and it shouldn’t be. This is a different age. Some parts of the old ways are best left buried. I may be a heretic for saying so, but then we knew that already. I also see that the reconstructionist hissy fights may be resolved by seeing the difference between the Kemet-Wesir and the Kemet-Heru. Both are valued. Both have a purpose. Do not pit one against the other. Should we try to understand the past and recover her missing members, dressing her in solemn respect? Absolutely we should. Should we look for her face among us and celebrate her in the modern world? Yes! That’s the only way she will have life. And if someone is better suited to one task than the other should we berate them for it? Of course not!

The Wesir Kemet

(Cut and pasted unedited from my private journal.)

Last night I was snuggling with Sekhmet when she decided there was something wrong with me that had to be attended to right then. I was annoyed by that idea. Snuggling was far more fun than being worked on, and haven’t they been working on me enough? What good would it actually do? I pouted and told her so, but of course, once she makes up her mind there’s not much you can do.

She dragged me to the rest of my godly line up. They all are listed as healing gods in one manner or another. Maybe I need a lot of looking after, or maybe it’s the fact that there are about as many gods of healing as there are gods with crowns in the Kemetic pantheon. Can’t toss a cat without hitting one.

Ever since the first vision Sekhmet sent me, there has been a bottomless black hole in my heart. I’ve ignored it, run away from it. I’ve endured it and told everyone I was fine. Sometimes I even believed my own lie. It’s an instability that spawns other injuries which seem difficult to heal. I remember the grief crashing over me. I remember staring out across the sands. I remember when we said, “It’s all gone! Brought down by the arrogance of the people.” Kemet was gone and it wasn’t coming back. I don’t care how many reconstructionists you have sifting through the sands. All they will find are bones. The god in me felt like it was his fault. He should have been able to save it. It was his job to keep it safe. He failed, and even worse, he survived that failure when others were lost.

They set to work on that hidden darkness. I felt the needle pierce my etheric flesh. I felt the thread pull through. They took another pain, a natural pain, one I was able to grasp, and stitched it together with that seemingly endless void. It was the death of my father, my real, earthly one. In so doing, they brought the other pain into perspective. Sometimes things, people, even civilizations, die. It is a natural process. No matter how hard you try, you can’t hold it off forever.

Kemet is not just dead, it is Wesir. We assemble her limbs, scattered across the world. We say the words. We revitalize her. Her enduring fertility inspires us, but she isn’t coming back. Instead we must turn our eyes to her children, bring them life and strength. Allow them to justify their mother.

Boredom

Pagans are a rather innovative bunch, aren’t we? We are constantly reworking and rediscovering our belief systems. We take joy in tweaking our formulas, doing research of various kinds, and conducting experiments. Who says we aren’t scientific? But sometimes we find ourselves in a slump. Our muses seem suspiciously silent. The altar starts to gather dust, and we start to say “should” a lot.

Benjamin-Constant-Contemplation

Based on personal experience and pure guesswork, I believe that boredom is the answer to our prayers! I was in a spiritual slump for months. You don’t even want to know what I found in my offering bowl when I went back to clean it out. This winter, I got bored. Really bored. I complained to my journal about how bored I was. Next thing I know, it’s Pagan Blog Project! And New Statues! And Actually Showing Up to a Dua for a Change! I wasn’t doing these things because I felt that I “should” do them. I did them because I wanted to.

Despite what most people think, boredom doesn’t just happen, especially in a culture where we demonize it and go to great lengths to keep it away. Boredom has a similar quality as hunger. How often do well-off Americans actually get hungry when there are food commercials reminding us to constantly stuff our faces with junk food? When you go on a diet, you realize that hunger, though not always welcome, is your ally. It tells you when to eat, and also when to stop eating. People who aren’t hungry can really shovel those potato chips!

To cultivate boredom, you must cut down on the mental potato chips. Sitting and staring at the wall actually is a better use of your time than flipping through a dozen memes or reading a long list of articles that aren’t very interesting. Your mind is moving, but it’s not getting nutrition. You’re not bored, but you’re also not really thinking.  I tackled some of that problem a few months ago by putting my monitor on a shelf, making it a standing desk. If I want to waste time on the net, I have to stand up while doing it, either that, or squint at the screen from a distance. I don’t know if I’m burning any extra calories, but it has cut down on the mindless surfing.

Once you have achieved that annoying groan and slack jawed appearance we often associate with children and teens, then what? That is the perfect time to finally put all that self-help advice about following your passion to use. You didn’t know what your passion was before, did you? Or if you did, you lost it somewhere along the way, didn’t you? With a sufficient level of boredom coursing through your system you will be primed to recognize it when you see it, because you will fall upon it like a hungry vulture when it appears.

Anchors

Warning! UPG post ahead!

I’m not really talking about heavy hook-shaped objects that keep boats from drifting, but it makes a good analogy. You can picture the boat on top of the water, practically in a different world than that of the long chain that descends through ever darkening waters and ends finally at the heavy object resting on solid, watery, ground. Heck, the boat itself might not even be visible if you go down far enough, or maybe it would be a barely visible, blurry, undefined shape bobbing around far above.  As we know, without the anchor, the boat will start to drift at the mercy of the winds and the currents, having no direct connection to the seafloor at all.

I believe this is what we are trying to accomplish with our statues and offerings. They provide for and strengthen the anchor points between us and the spirits and deities. Sometimes your will and intent is enough to act as an anchor, but physical representations and repeated actions help to keep both sides from drifting. They strengthen the connection between here and there.

One example of this is the statue I got just a few days ago for Sobek. Sobek was divined as one of my beloved gods in the Rite of Parent Divination. He’s also the one that I know the least about. The other four Names are fairly well known. I had vague ideas of what Sobek was about, both from descriptions and from UPGuesses, but it wasn’t much to go on.

Wall relief Kom Ombo7

Anyway, despite being one of my Beloveds, Sobek’s anchor wasn’t as strong for me as the others. It was easy to call the others to mind and have an idle ‘chat’ with them about various things. For Sobek, the only time that worked was when I imagined his energy body overlapping my own, or it was until the statue showed up. I’ve been getting nudges about letting him get some sun, or tossing the meat offering I gave him to our dog, who he likes. He’s sitting on the shelf next to the monitor right now as he waits for the other statues to arrive and for my shrine to be rededicated. It’s good that we have this extra time to get to know each other. The statue isn’t Sobek himself, it’s just an anchor that makes communication between us a little easier.

An anchor can be an object, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a verse, or a song, or a concept, or a location, sometimes even a person. Repetition and memory will strengthen it. Apathy and forgetfulness will weaken it. Sometimes how strong or weak they are seems like a random thing, like the weather. Maybe a tide somewhere has shifted. It’s not always something you did.

Anchors can sometimes be used by things you don’t like. If someone is having nightmares that they believe are supernatural in origin, one of the things on my checklist to tell them is to physically change, clean, and/or redecorate the area that seems to be related to the problem. The idea is to disrupt any anchors that might be present. It may take a bit of trial and error to identify the culprit. Even if you aren’t a big believer in meddlesome spirits, the idea works for psychological triggers as well. A scent, a sound, a certain arrangement of objects can trigger a memory. Whenever I start to mistakenly hear my cellphone ring in my sleep, I change the ringtone. That stops it.