Fealty seems to best sum up my relationship with Ra. He’s the second of my two divined, divine fathers. Heru-sa-Aset is the first of my fathers, but we’re a bit too close for that term to apply. He owns me the same way he’d own one of his own hands. I’m not terribly worried about him. He lets me get away with just about anything. Ra does not. He’s the one who kicks my butt if such a thing is needed. Heru is “Duuude.” Ra is “SirYesSir!” I guess it keeps me balanced.
In my tai chi studies, I was once told about the Chinese Uncle. It is the uncle, not the father, who teaches martial arts. Training is hard. Tempers can flare and relationships can be strained. This allows the father to keep the loving, spoiling, relationship with his son without skimping on the brutally hard work of training. Ra seems to fill that role with me. Ra is my Chinese Uncle.
Our relationship has been strained. When I ignored the call, it was Ra who came to get me. Ever hear of Kundalini burn out? It was something like that. Except instead of painfully hot energy traveling up my spine, it traveled from my heart and out both arms. It reminded me of the winged sun disc. This was every morning, as the sun rose, for two months. It drove me insane. It was a heck of a way to get my attention. I lived in fear that it would return the next spring. It did, but it got milder each year.
Fast forward a few years to my RPD (Rite of Parent Divination). I knew ahead of time there would be two parents. I had seen it in a journey session. Mostly I was nervous about whether Heru would show. I was so relieved when he did, that I didn’t think much about Ra’s appearance. Sure, he made sense, but I wasn’t really thinking about what that meant. I took the shemsu vows to honor my RPD gods before all others because it seemed the obvious thing to do.
Only later did I really go back and explore what having him as a father meant. Diving into my feelings, I realized that I was still very angry about what he did. But I was stuck. I had taken a vow. He is a king after all. Fealty is what kept me from walking out on him. I was tempted. I wanted to punch him in the beak.
Instead, I kept trying to work on our relationship. I would journey to the sun boat through meditation. Sometimes he would test me in various ways. I wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted from me, but I kept trying. One time I tried bowing, offering deep henu. He smacked me across the floor. When I glared at him, then he smiled. He wanted me to stand up to him, and for him. I couldn’t do that if I was going to play the meek little follower.
Other times, he wasn’t really all that bad, or mean. In fact, his energy could unsurprisingly be described as “warm.” I still had a hard time trusting him, but I decided I could work with him. It was possible to put my reservations aside for the sake of my duty. If he needed me, I would be there. He is the Sun after all. I would fight for him.
Finally Djehuty had enough of that. He told me I had to forgive Ra. I wasn’t sure if I could. I went to visit him, not sure what would happen, only knowing that we had to work something out one way or another. I invited his energy in, the same energy that once burned me. That time, looking into his eyes, I was able to see a reflection of myself. “That’s my Name!” I thought. I realized that he wasn’t punishing me before. He was simply calling my name, a bit too loudly for comfort. He’s not human after all.
Fealty is a tricky word in modern paganism. There seems to be a great divide between those who endorse it, and those who condemn the idea. The line between someone who rightfully leaves a bad situation and someone who just gives up when things get hard is a blurry one. No one would fault a person who leaves an abusive relationship. Few would praise a soldier who goes AWOL and leaves his fellows in danger. There is a lot of grey in the space between those two scenarios. In the pagan sphere, we have those who place free will above everything else, “Do what you will” being the law. There are also devotionalists who will tell you that the god is always right. In reality, every situation is different. You must make your own choices, face your own consequences, and reap your own rewards. Sometimes you do have to put your personal feelings aside for the greater good, and sometimes the god does screw up. Life happens.