Defending My Space (With Gods)

I did say something about a part two, so I guess I have to write a part two now.

Back in December I split up with one of my major deities. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t like him. The problem was that I forgot what boundaries were or how they worked. I was to the point where I would do anything he asked of me, even if it went against my personal values. Some would argue that’s what being a good devotee is all about. I disagree. Ra and Heru also did not agree with that premise. Heru pointed out the problem to me and told me it was time to leave. Once I explained to Ra what was happening and why I left, he apologized. Getting an apology from Ra feels like a once in a millennium occurrence. It proved to me that he took the situation seriously. He did NOT want his will to supersede my own.

This wasn’t the first time he’d made that clear. When I first started serving him I felt confused about what he wanted from me. He can seem very stern without giving away any of his thoughts. In frustration I kneeled before him, wondering if that was what he wanted. He smacked me across the floor. No, that wasn’t it at all. I would be worthless to him as a mindless follower. I needed to be strong enough to stand up to him if I was going to be strong enough to stand up for him.

It wasn’t that I gave away my will on purpose. Ra is just that powerful. We were working very closely and I got dazzled by his energy. I loved him deeply.

So I went back to Heru and I got a lesson in open doors and closed doors as it applies to energy work. You can share energy with someone without giving them access to everything. He wanted me to practice making conscious choices about what to share and what not to. I didn’t need any reason other than, “I don’t feel like going there today.” He also wanted me to recognize and respect these doors in others. These might seem like very simple concepts, but somewhere in my otherkin mind I have memories of being a guard, a soldier, an energy being, who was linked to something similar to a hive mind. I had no expectation or desire for personal space or even identity. And in war, who has time for respecting boundaries? I knew I couldn’t go back until I learned how and why to keep some things to myself.

It’s been about four months. I started working with clay again, and it seemed like I kept wanting to make Ra things. I thought I was making a Heru falcon, but then it needed an obelisk, and wouldn’t a sun disc be nice too? Then I made a Ra figure in a boat. There was no mistaking that he was on my mind again.

The first time I went back did not go well. I took everything I learned and threw it out the window. I took in too much Ra energy and then was astrally trying to hoark it back up. It made me sick. But I’m not very good about leaving things alone. The next time I went to see him, he told me to pause and think about what things I didn’t want him to change. I didn’t want him to compromise my morals, and there were other things that still felt too sensitive to let him touch. I walled those parts off in a cocoon of feathers. That time I maintained my shields as he energized me. That time it worked. I felt better, not sick at all. It’s not quite the same ecstatic abandonment that we used to share, but it is healthier and more stable.

Then he tells me to keep reading Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts. That’s when I got to the verse about Ra feeding the pharaoh and calling him son. Then the pharaoh turns into a bull and visits several goddesses in a row. This is sort of how my service to Ra has gone. He empowers me and then he expects me to use that power in various ways, usually doing energy work in the astral. You can see why that moral thing was an important point to make with him.

Advertisements

Lessons from the Water

(Journal dump incoming, full of astral and woo. They’re usually not this long, but I guess that’s what too much caffeine and a disturbed sleep schedule will get you.)

Last night was long and rough. I should remember to skip the large chai tea after five in the evening.

I found myself in my temple garden in the unseen staring up at the lattice over my head. Someone approached and I heard a voice greet me and call me “Son.” Heru-wer? A heru bigger than my shardly self who brought me into being? No, it was Wesir. I thought about how their voices could be confused for each other. They were brothers afterall. I had a hard time seeing him. I put on a blind fold so I could hear him better. I tried my best to hear that voice and not just listen to the words in my own head, but that is a difficult thing to do.

He took me on a boat on the river. I knew where we were because I have a sense of the place even when my eyes are covered. We made landing on a beach and walked into his temple. I knew there were commoners around, but he warned me not to remove the blind fold. The gaze of my eyes should not fall upon them.

I followed him down a hall, but stopped as we reached a certain room. There was a sarcophagus in the center of it, and wave patterns rippled across the walls and ceiling. I refused to enter. We talked about my fears that kept me from moving. I felt trapped. He wasn’t holding me there, but I knew I had to go forward, but at the same time, I couldn’t. I talked about my daughter. I wanted to give her everything, but I feared it would not be enough. I couldn’t leave her. Then I looked up to the god who had called me “son.” I thought about how trapped he must have felt. It never feels like enough, but children are stronger than you realize. I remembered how Sobek had tried to show me the same thing when he drowned me in the river. That I had to trust the future to the future. It didn’t belong to me.

Somehow as we talked, I moved closer to him, until I found myself standing in that room with the waves on the ceiling. He held me tightly and we talked about feeling trapped. My rage comes from feeling trapped. It comes from frustration when someone prevents me from acting as I should or would. I wondered about his rage at Set. How could he seem so calm about it now? I thought about my rage at Ra. I felt that he did keep me against my will. I thought about the wound that would not heal as long as I carried that rage within me. I thought about all the time I felt trapped but didn’t feel rage. What was different then? The difference is that I thought I had done it to myself. Turned inward, it became depression. I wasn’t sure how I could be free of it.

He asked me if I remembered how to fly. I used to think about flying a lot, but these days, my wings are more like shields that cover me. I tried to remember. I started to glow brightly. I started to remember my own power. I felt my anger leave my body. I felt sick and spat it out. My wound was emptied, leaving broken shards behind.

I cried to him, telling him that my Name had cracked, maybe not broken completely, but that I wasn’t the man I used to be. He asked about who I am now. I couldn’t go back, only forward. Then I realized what had gone wrong with Ra. He kept calling me by the old name. I remembered that name. It was close, but not quite right. I tried to answer to it, but the difference was agony. The name was wrong. After I had felt my own power again, my rage at Ra began to feel irrelevant.

I asked him about my new name. He told me that Set had seen it in me. I remembered how Set stood between Ra and I on more than one occasion, defending me. I remember him smiling at my rage and saying that he liked me better this way. What way?

I met him at an oasis in the desert, his land. He knew what I wanted to ask, and he wondered why I hesitated. I wasn’t sure that he’d tell me. I wasn’t sure that I’d hear him right. I wasn’t sure that it would help. Then he just said it, “Who Stands Back Up.” The wording of it acknowledged my fall. It recognized that I’d done it before and probably would do it again. It echoed Ra’s declaration of “Life Rising” but Ra’s version didn’t recognize that anything was wrong. I leaned back against the tree and gave voice to my pain. I told him I felt that my body was full of glass. Such a name meant that it might always be so. He said nothing, but I felt a sense of kinship with him. We don’t really get to choose our names. We just wear them as well as we can.

I went back to my temple. Soon, I heard a feminine voice. I tried to determine who it was. It was Bast. She snuggled up with me. I was attracted to her, but at the same time, too worn out from my ordeal to do anything about it. I felt a little ashamed of my preoccupation with sex. I’m a godslut. I’ve called myself that many times. She said that wasn’t entirely true. It wasn’t the sex that I needed. It was the closeness to those I loved, and I loved all of Them. I thought of Captain Jack Harkness, the character from Dr.Who and Torchwood. He might be thought of as a manslut, but really he didn’t care as much about getting in everyone’s pants as getting into their hearts. They were always getting into his heart. He was one of my favorite fictional characters. He is also one Who Stands Back Up. I thought of Jamie, the character I wrote and how my original idea was that Jamie would essentially be in love with everyone. I’ve been taking my love and allowing it to be cheapened and maligned, and therefore denied. I was using communion as a euphemism for deity sex, when in fact, it is really the more accurate word to use.

Then I told her about my realization that Ra had caused me trouble by calling me the wrong name. She said I should go tell him that.

I arrived at the sun boat and went inside. I had a hard time seeing Ra, and I wasn’t entirely sure if he was there and listening, but I spoke anyway. I told him that the name he had been using was wrong, and calling me by it would not magically turn me into that person. I wanted to be the person he thought I was, but wanting did not make it so. I wondered how he didn’t see it when he’d been so close to me. I told him that if he did not see me (as I am) now, that he would not see me at all. I kept repeating that to him. It seemed important. He was silent as if he didn’t know what to say. I went back to the apartment then. After awhile Ra came to see me. I still had a hard time seeing or hearing him, but the fact that he came made me hopeful that he would at least try to understand.

Later, Djehuty came to comfort me and check on my healing. I heard another female voice, but I was tired of playing that guessing game with the voices.

This morning Aset was with me before and during the sunrise. I asked her to help me. She asked what I wanted to be. I told her I wanted my roots in the ground and my head in the sky. I wanted to give shelter to those near me. I said it sounded like I wanted to be a tree. As I reached out with my roots and branches I didn’t get very far. I didn’t have the energy. I said I needed water to grow. I felt like a charred and cut off limb, but I knew that with water I could grow to be that tree. How do I get enough water?

Shifty

“Are you sure you’re not a multiple?” she asked while sitting on the floor after doing reiki on me.

“Well, almost,” I replied. I explained later that I shift a lot (in the astral) and that it also changes my mindset, but it’s all essentially still me.

She said there were several of me in there, and one of them kept making fun of her. I can only guess that he was trying to deflect her from getting too deep into the serious stuff that I’d rather not share. She said I didn’t have a well defined shape, but by the end she was able to get me to consolidate into a steady form. She said she thought I was just humoring her.

I did feel more balanced by the time she was done, but I also felt less human. In my mind’s eye, I had feathers sprouting through my hair, and long, three inch talons growing from my hands and feet. The talons were made of blue silver. That shape was not “the” shape. It was just “a” shape, a balance of various forces present at that particular time. Collapse the wave function and that is where it landed.

I examined the feeling. I knew it wouldn’t last. It never does. I live with humans. I talk like a human. I think like a human. It’s just not very balanced for me to maintain that shape all the time. I start to lose track of the other parts of myself. Bast warned me about that not too long ago. I told my friends about the netjeri hounds and how it sounded like it would be really fun to let myself shift and just go run with them for awhile.

The Mirror

UPG astral post disclaimer, blah, blah.

This story was stuck in my head this morning. It’s something that happened years ago, but if I’m revisiting it now, it probably means I should write it out and reexamine it.

Back then, I was training with Wakinyan, the Lakota Thunder Being. Sometimes Waki* is called a Thunderbird, but I find that if you get your cultures mixed up, that the Thunderbirds that other nations talk about bear little resemblance to the Thunder Being. S/He technically has wings but that’s where the resemblance to birds, or anything else, breaks down completely. Or, Wakinyan can look and act like a guy, even though he’s really a she. The lore says that if you see a Thunder Being’s true form, it will drive you insane. This explains much. Though honestly, I don’t think I had far to go in the first place.

Waki had me do this thing where I’d fly to the top of the mountain where I could look over my city. It was MY city. I had bonded with it. If anything went wrong, I could feel it like an itch that had to be scratched. If you hurt my city, you hurt me. I would feel compelled to fly down and do battle with whatever was causing the problem. I would fight spirits and constructs. Then I’d spend a few days to a week, healing from my injuries. Then I’d go out and do it again.

One evening I was hanging out in Waki’s house. His house is a wreck. There’s papers and stuff scattered all around the place. I noticed that the closet door was left open. I went to have a look. There was a full length mirror on the inside of the door. Astral mirrors have this nasty habit of telling the truth.

In the mirror, I saw a handsome young man. I can’t really tell you about any specific features, except that he appeared “golden.” I remembered what Sekhmet had told me a long time ago about my connection with Horus/Heru. I saw him in the mirror, and I knew exactly how bloody, freakishly, violent he could be. Like a lot of pagans, I started out with Wicca. “Harm none” had been thrown out the window and trampled to death a long time ago. I felt that he had no right to look that pretty. If he was going to act like a monster, he should have the courtesy of looking like one. My fist smashed the glass.

I often get the feeling that people don’t know the real Heru. I can’t really blame them because I don’t think he wants them to. I’ve met a lot of veterans with PTSD. I even married one. It’s complicated.

*Waki is not just a shortened nick name. It has a double meaning that is highly appropriate. I used to take an Iaido (Japanese katana) class. In it “waki gamae” was an upside down and backward hidden sword. Since Wakinyan is backward and contrary and Thunder Beings hide in the clouds, the name stuck. My friend used to always think it was pronounced like “whacky” which in terms of silliness and strangeness is also appropriate. It’s more like (wah-kee) the full name, Wakinyan, is more like (waw-kee-yaw).

Added:

I lied down on the mountain top, sprawled out on my belly. My awareness spread across the land, across dry, jagged rocks, between scratchy creosote, yucca and sotol plants, across pavement and houses, north east to the desert, and southwest to the river bed. Waki walked up and stopped a few feet away. “Are you ready to love again?” he asked. He came close, but I knew he wouldn’t touch me. I wasn’t his anymore, and my energy had been changed by Ra’s fire.

Love, so that’s what this is about.

White Fire

This is an astral, UPG kind of post.

The white fire has been a specialty of mine in the astral for years. To the corrupt, it’s a terrifying weapon that can reduce an isfet-creature to ash. To the pure, it’s not much more than a refreshing spa treatment. (This solves the classic no-eyed Heru-wer problem of being unable to distinguish friend from foe.) Most of us fall somewhere in between. It burns, but you feel better after it’s over. The price for wielding it is that it burns both ways. I’m not immune. Add an empathic connection to the mix and you can see why I only use it when things get serious.

All the talk I’ve heard lately about lakes of fire made me wonder if there was a lake of this stuff somewhere. Lakes of fire aren’t all that new to me either. I used to astrally hang out inside a live volcano when I was younger.

I did find a small secluded pool of the white fire. I had the impression that it was at a high elevation, surrounded by a broadleaved evergreen thicket, and hidden by a shroud of mist. I couldn’t see the sky. Only the soft glow of the pool itself illuminated the place.

I stepped into the liquid fire. It was more gentle than what I normally use. Instead of ripping through the body in seconds, this is the kind of place where you lie back and soak as it slowly infiltrates your barriers. It still burns when it finds something worth burning. After awhile, Ma’at, or one of her netjeri, lifted me out of the pool and wrapped me in a wet cloth to recover. It was then I realized that she owned the pool.

When I woke up, I shivered as if I was freezing, and the chronic knots in my shoulders had loosened up. I probably should have gone to the spirit-side apartment before coming back to ease the transition. I ate some food and that helped. I may be spending more time there.

Journeywork: Here There Be Dragons

Journeywork is my primary method of getting in touch spiritually. It’s usually paired with energy work. Journeywork is where you mentally, spiritually, or astrally travel elsewhere for various reasons. It might be all in my head, and it might not. Some people say that it’s dangerous, and I agree, but not as much as riding in a car. Whether you believe you’re traveling to the spirit world, or just exploring the inside of your own mind, here there be dragons. You have to decide what to do with those dragons. Do you fight them? Slay them? Run screaming in the opposite direction? Learn to negotiate and invite them over for tea? Turn them into friends or even lovers? Do they seduce you with lies, or do they hold up a glaring mirror of truth? It can become anything that you make of it, for better or worse. It can become a disease, or a cure. Dragons, I’m telling you, beautiful, terrifying, exotic, magical, dangerous, dragons.

In the Kemetic Othrodox forums I do this thing where I link music videos to each of my gods. It’s sort of a musical offering attached to my signature. Sometimes I go through and change them as the mood strikes. For awhile, I dedicated the song above, a cover of Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) from the movie Sucker Punch, to Sobek, the Kemetic crocodile god of the river. His ability to navigate the chaotic waters of the Nun makes him a good deity to associate with journeywork. He’s also not a gentle god. He can protect you and keep you safe, if you earn his favor. He can also chew you up if you’re not careful. He brings the flood, the inundation, but you better know how to swim. I remember fighting the dragon, right after I graduated from college. I was at war with myself. Was all this magic and spirit stuff really helping? Did I really have anything to show for it? Wouldn’t I be better off without it? The struggle went on for weeks. I didn’t want to kill the dragon, and I didn’t want it to kill me. Finally we came to a truce, and it settled in peacefully and protectively at my side. I believe this “dragon” was Sobek in disguise. Show some courage, and maybe the dragon will come to respect you, and even like you.

If that still sounds like a good idea to you, you’re probably crazy. But I would be the biggest hypocrite ever if I told anyone not to go. Just be careful out there. If something feels like a runaway train, then it probably is. Remember, that you’re not only allowed, but expected, to fight back when the going gets weird.  Double and triple check everything, internally and externally, to try to keep it from getting away from you. If the road seems too easy, and all the answers are laid neatly on your plate without struggle, chances are good that somebody is faking it. The dragons guard treasure, but they don’t just hand it over most of the time. Change is difficult, and if you’re not there to make changes, then why bother? I’ve seen people wander down rose strewn paths, bleeding away their energy the whole way. Don’t let that be you. Keep yourself whole. Step away from it when you need to rest. Eat right, sleep right, wash behind your ears. Come back to earth and move your body. Take care of the daily grind. That’s how you keep your balance.

That said, I’ll tell you how I got there. Mine is far from the only way.

I started by learning to meditate. I took fifteen minutes every day to practice. I repeated a mantra over and over, in my head but tied to my breath. Most of the time nothing happened except for feeling kind of relaxed. Some days went more smoothly than others. I didn’t do anything fancy. I simply repeated the mantra for fifteen minutes, daily. I was training myself to relax into an altered state of consciousness. There are many different ways to do this. You don’t have to use my method. Some people listen to music. Some people listen to, or play, a drum. Some dance, some walk, some spin in endless circles. I’ve even heard of people getting into a meditative state while doing boring daily chores, like the dishes. For the purpose of journeywork, I’d think that one of the less active methods would be easier on you when you’re elsewhere, but to each their own. If you choose a mantra or a piece of music, pay attention to the words or the tone. You don’t want to program yourself with something negative or potentially stressful. That can set the tone of the entire experience.

As I said, most of the time when I was learning, nothing much happened. Be patient. It can take months to learn how to “go under.” The state of mind works on a sliding scale too, and the scale can be deceptive. You might be only lightly tranced, mostly aware of your surroundings. You may go heavily under and forget where you are. You may think you’re wide awake and then find yourself unwilling to physically move. I’m always at least a little bit aware of my physical surroundings, but there are times when time passes more quickly than I would imagine, and nothing short of a fire alarm would get me to move. Some people do have complete out-of-body experiences, but that is not necessary for journeywork. What you’re aiming for is basically a daydream with more focus and power behind it.

A daydream? Is that it? Well, yes, though it’s also a thing of degree. When you start to Journey, try not to consciously control every action. You have to let it flow. Go with the current and see where it leads. If it starts to feel forced, backtrack and try something else. Don’t automatically believe everything you see as if it was the literal truth. There’s a lot of symbolism to be had out there. Something that doesn’t make sense now might become more clear later. Writing down the session after you get done is a good practice, because it’s easy to forget or discount what you’re seen. You may find yourself going back to those notes months later and suddenly have something fall into place.

Journeying is a good platform for magic. Again, don’t take everything literally. It’s also a good tool for self-development. By facing your fears, you can lessen them. By practicing control over your environment, you can teach yourself confidence. It doesn’t have to all be hard and scary though. By spending time among friendly spirits in nice surroundings you can learn to calm yourself and relieve stress. That can be just as important, and sometimes more important, than shadow work. If you need the indulgent fantasy, then go ahead and take it. You may need something else later. When in doubt, look to the yardstick. If it is all in your head, how is it affecting your life? Are you making progress over time? Or do you find yourself on a treadmill, doing variations on the same thing constantly? If you have been changing, is that change for the better? Again, it’s good to keep a journal to help you answer those questions. Real change can take months or even years to achieve.

(Note: Some people call this shamanism. That word has so much cultural baggage attached that I think it’s best to not use it. I’m not a shaman. I’m a person who does journeywork.)