Pond is Done!!!

I’ve been working on this thing since February. It’s insane that it took this long, but when you see the pile of rocks, you’ll understand why. It was very much like pulling teeth, scraping at hard packed dirt and extracting those rocks one at a time. If my new kiln wasn’t being held ransom by the completion of this project I might have given up.

The pond is dedicated to Sobek. I buried a little handmade gator figurine in his honor. I could practically feel him grinning from ear to ear when the water went in, which is not at all hard for a croc to do.

The fish will go in next weekend, and I still plan on adding more rocks and maybe a small waterfall at the shallow end.

Inundation

Inundation refers to the flooding of the Nile valley. The rising water of the river clears away anything in its path, but it leaves behind a great gift. The organic materials in the muddy black silt allow the barren sand to grow crops. Kemet is the Black Land. The smelly relics of death and decay also bring fertility to the land. It is the gift of Wesir (Osiris) the dead king who still brings life.

That’s great for the Ancient Egyptians, but what does inundation mean now, to us? We could look at it as the polar opposite of Fallow Time. This is a time when we are flooded by hints, nudges and clue-by-fours from the spirit side. At first we may be grateful for the extra attention. Then, as it goes on, we start thinking longingly back to quieter times. Every song on the radio seems to have special meaning. Every prayer or meditation session brings new insights. We may suddenly be filled with ideas for projects. We may start to take on that glazed deer-in-the-headlights look. We may start to say things like “Again, Universe? Really?” When it rains, it pours. I even have a friend, not even Kemetic, who often has dreams about flooding in times like these.

I’ll offer the same words of comfort for this as I did in my Fallow Time post. It doesn’t last forever. Eventually the flood passes, leaving rich fertile ground behind. That’s when you plant your seeds and bring all those new and exciting ideas down to solid earth. If you were paying attention during the flood, and hopefully taking notes, you will have a lot of material to work with.

The inundation is a time when things seem out of control. You might be tempted to fight against it, to childishly stick your fingers in your ears and sing loudly, pretending not to hear. You might want to discount the entire thing and call everything that comes out of it crazy. There’s a reason why the Army Corps of Engineers decided to put the Rio Grand inside a concrete cage with earthen barriers on both sides.  It seemed like the obvious thing to do to avoid those pesky floods. In doing so, we lost a lot of our wetlands. When I moved here, I was surprised to think that this place used to bear long stretches of trees that were once home to a wide variety of wildlife. Now, we only have a few representative park areas left. The original Nile no longer floods either. We traded life’s diversity for security. Sometimes that’s a good trade, and sometimes it isn’t. If you are in real danger of doing things you will regret later, security is a good answer. If you’re having a spiritual breakthrough and are simply nervous about not being “normal” then let the waters flow! (If you’re not certain where to draw the line, when the words “hospital” “fired” “broke” or “police” have the potential to be involved, then you need to seek help. Those lines you do not cross.)

Heyoka and Heka

Trigger Warning: A Native American spirit appropriated me. S/He does that.  This particular one is rather famous for spirit-napping people, actually. It happened. It was the focus of my life for some time. I’m gonna talk about it.

Note: This post is, um…well…hell, I give up.

Prior to becoming Kemetic, I spent a few years as a fool, or maybe as that other H word that I’m too white to mention in polite company. (This was originally going to be a post about Heka and the power of words, and then…I got lost on the way to the post?) (Wakinyan loves me anyway.) Ok, ok, the proper term is Thunder Dreamer, but when has “proper” ever been a relevant concern in this area? Seriously, think about it. Ask a Thunder Dreamer to be politically correct? That hurts my brain to contemplate.

I became a student of words in that time. (I originally started posting about words that are sacred and powerful, really I did! Heka! Dammit, Waki, hijacking the post…) I knew which words hit like hammers, and which ones whumped like pillows. I knew which ones would paint a big target on my chest, and I knew which ones would let me duck nimbly to the side. I didn’t always duck. I often secretly cheered for the ones who took swings at me. It was a fun and crazy time. I learned a lot from it.

I learned that sometimes things need to be said even when they make you unpopular, even when you know they will start taking swings at you. I learned that even if you have hammers in your arsenal, it’s better to use the pillows, unless you really need the hammer. If you use the hammer, be prepared not to duck. Take it on the chin and smile.  It is wrong to use the hammer. Balance requires that you are seen paying for it. I learned to take responsibility for my words. Underneath that veneer of recklessness, I had some high standards to maintain. It’s hard to keep the sacred in the fool. I was not allowed to lie, unless the lie told the truth better than the truth could. I fought ideas, not people. I didn’t hold a grudge even, or especially, when they fought back.

I could see that the shadows they thought they were fighting weren’t actually me. It takes only a few words to summon their demons from hiding, but the demon isn’t me. I let them fight me in the demon’s place, so that they could gain strength in the fight. You want to fight the white girl who dares to speak of power? Go ahead, I’m right here. It will make you feel better. Need more ammunition? I’ll hand you some to use. Go for it. Eventually they said it wasn’t worth it. “About damned time you figured that out,” I thought. It’s not worth it. It’s just a game. Go do something better with your time and energy. You are better than that. I believe in you. You want to be holy? Stop getting distracted by Fools and imaginary demons and go do it. I couldn’t tell them it was ridiculous. They wouldn’t have believed me. I had to show them.

(There, are you done now? Can I have my post back PLZ?)

I sort of do miss that time. It wasn’t my choice to leave Waki. We got done what we needed to do. I remember sitting on the rock next to him and smoking the cheapest, dirtiest, cigarette he could get his hands on as we watched the corpse of the old me sink into the earth. I work for Ra now and the difference is like Storm and Sun. Waki didn’t teach me anything about being Native American. I don’t pretend to be that at all. Waki taught me to be myself, giving me the courage to embrace both the good and the bad of it.

Words of Power, right. Sometimes you say the right thing and no one responds. Don’t get discouraged. Just because they didn’t say anything doesn’t mean it wasn’t read. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t remembered. If they argue, even better. It proves that they read it. The seed was planted. Let it just be. You never know when or where it will sprout. Most people want to live in the right. If your words align with Ma’at, they will see it, even if they don’t admit it. If the one you’re speaking to doesn’t see it, the others on the sidelines will.

The things you say have power to heal and to harm. When in doubt, don’t use the hammer. Use the pillow. Be kind. Plant good seeds without trampling upon them. Don’t be distracted by fools or by your own shadows. Don’t assume the worst in those you meet. They’re just people, like you. Don’t be too proud to take a hit when it’s required. Remember that it’s better to be right with Ma’at than it is to be correct.

The truth is that the words hide as much as they reveal. Use the words, but see beyond them. See that there are people there, not good people or bad people, but living people. If you think you know that person, chances are you’re seeing your own shadow instead. When you find your shadow, don’t blame them for it. Take it out back and shine some light on it. Why do those words have power over you? How can you free yourself? If you learn to defeat your shadow, then the words no longer hurt you.  (Note: I never said that was easy. Wakinyan kicked my butt hard and often, for several years, until I got it through my thick skull.)

Words can never hurt me? Not exactly. Words both hurt and heal. The words that have power over you, especially those that are repeated often, especially those that you repeat, cause you to hurt, or heal, yourself. Be aware when you hear them. Be aware when you use them on others.

Inadequacy

Do you ever feel inadequate in your practice/personal devotions, and of so, why? How do you handle these feelings?

Thoughts of inadequacy do seem to run rampant in the Kemetic community. I’m not entirely sure why that is, except that perhaps we are trying to compare what we have now with the glory of the old Kemet. Our practice does seem pretty small in comparison. It seems that there is just too much work to do and we’ll never see to it all.  We want to please the Names. We want to bring back what They have lost ASAP. Judged on that scale, then, yes, we are inadequate. That scale is unfair and unreasonable. We can’t fit a thousand years of work into a decade. We have to let that go. That doesn’t mean stopping our efforts. It simply means being more reasonable with our expectations.

When I study where my feelings of inadequacy come from, I find that they are either products of my own mind, or absorbed from other people around me. Not once have the Names told me I was inadequate. If anything, they seem to give me more credit than I think I deserve. If we’re doing this for Them, shouldn’t Their opinion be counted first? They know what obstacles we face, both internally and externally. They have a better idea of what to reasonably expect from an individual. Not everyone in old Kemet was a priest, but everyone did add to the kingdom in their own way. If the Names are hounding you to do a certain thing, then you should probably do it. If they’re not, then don’t get all uptight about it. They may have other plans. The energy you waste trying to do what you think you “should” might be better spent doing what you love. A “dry” offering is not received as well as one that comes from the heart.

I have a cat, in my lap, who thinks I have written enough words.

Prayer to Heru

Our enemies are circled by the hunters

They are marked by their deeds and cannot hide

They do not escape our talons

Their hands are bound

They are brought before the scales and meet their fate

.

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Is it bad that when it comes time for prayer, this is the one that comes to mind first?

Heru-sa-Aset (Horus, Son of Isis)

“H” is here, how could I not write about the first of my two divined fathers? But I doubt this post will go down easily. It’s that old cliche about asking a fish to describe water. Heru-sa-Aset has been with me since I was born, maybe longer than that.

I was born six weeks premature. They put me in a pure oxygen tent because they didn’t know any better at the time. I could have been blind. My mother made a habit of checking on me in the middle of the night just to see if I was still breathing. (Another fun fact: My mother was once elected as a “Queen” in a Masonic organization. Yes, I do find that hilarious. The Masons remember the story.) I actually did suck my finger, not my thumb. I grew up with asthma, allergies, chicken pox, pneumonia, and a general lack of endurance. My god started off with a similar rocky start in life. The list could and does go on. Living alone with my mother by the water’s edge where the lotuses bloom. Being told by the Powers that Be that I wasn’t good enough. Losing my father. There was even that chaotic jerk of an English teacher who stood between me and high school graduation with the suspiciously familiar name. Kingship is not in my future, unless, maybe when I turn eighty. Other than that, Heru and I have an understanding going on. I feel for him, and he knows exactly where I’m coming from.

Heru-sa-Aset is not a great god because he was born great. He’s great because he never gave up. He fell down, brushed himself off, and did it all over again until he got it right. He was the underdog who won. He knows what it’s like to lead an imperfect life, because he’s been there. He is not a perfect god, but somehow his imperfections make him even better. All of his experiences combined have made him into a kick-ass warrior, a magician, a healer, and a king. I have no proof that the word “Heru” turned in “hero” over the years, but it should have.

When most people think of him, I think they see the “happily ever after” version of him. That’s certainly not a bad thing. He worked hard for all that power and acclaim. He deserves it. He is not the most powerful of the gods, but he uses what he has in the best way that he can. He fights smarter, not just harder. He’s not afraid to make sacrifices to get what he wants, and what he wants is for the kingdom, and all of its people, to be strong and happy. It’s an impossible job, but impossible doesn’t stop him from trying.

Happily ever after is a myth. Life never just stops there. There is no point where you can declare that you’ve made it and just slack off. Kingship is a hell of a lot harder than it looks. Any time you get a sufficiently large enough group of people in the same place, disagreements will break out. You can’t please everyone no matter what you do, no matter how much you want to. One minute you’re fending off foreign invaders. The next minute you’re trying to keep it all from tearing itself apart from the inside. Yes, the King is flawed. Life is flawed. It goes with the territory. It doesn’t mean you stop trying.

Once upon a time, it did tear itself apart. It was overrun by foreign invaders. The kingship did fail. It fell, and that time, it didn’t get back up again.

Heru has been with me my entire life, but I didn’t really meet him until I was in college. It was not the happiest of reunions. He was on his knees, gazing over the sands, telling me it was all gone. I could feel his grief. I want to put a smile back on that face. I want to tell him that it isn’t over. I want to tell him to get his ass up off the ground and try it again, because that’s what he does best.

Grins Feed Your Ka

Why so serious?

I’ve noticed one thing since stepping into the public blogosphere waters in January. Everything seems so serious. I’m not sure what causes the lack of grins. Our deities seem to have a very healthy sense of humor. Maybe I should have waited for next week and posted about humor, but I’m feeling stuck today on topics. There are more to grins than jokes though. There is also sitting back and enjoying life. There is gratitude. There is the pleasure of seeing something done well. There is pride at doing something well. There are puppies and kittens too. Grins are small things that are often overlooked. Being small is a virtue, because they’re not too hard to produce if you’re looking for them. Just about anything can set one off. All those little grins add up to a ka well fed. They nourish the soul. Just for the heck of it, make one now. Turn those corners up a little. The physical act of doing so can slightly improve your mood even without any other cause.

I guess there are some grins that aren’t so good. Like grinning at another’s discomfort or misfortune, or grinning when you get away with doing something wrong. Those grins feel nourishing too, but ultimately, they bring down your emotional health, and subvert your community spirit. Maybe that’s what they mean in the Coffin Texts when they kept talking about not eating feces. I just got a copy of Faulkner’s translation and I was amazed that was such a huge concern in the afterlife! I’ve been puzzling over that for a couple days. If you are feeding your ka with grins, it would make sense to feed it with the good kind of grin and not the crappy kind. Is that what they meant? I have no idea, but the idea seems to hold value on its own. Nourish yourself with the good stuff.

Have you grinned today? Have you made someone else grin? When was the last time you had a really good one? What can you do to fit a few more grins into your busy schedule?