Divinity

I lit the candle, which heated the incense. I put half a beer and a chocolate chip cookie on the shrine. I said my Hotep Netjer*, and started up the music. I’m back doing shrine, but it’s nothing fancy.

I sat down and soon got the impression of Heru-sa-Aset sitting across from me. He wasn’t doing anything fancy either. He appeared in my mind’s eye as a young skinny guy wearing a white kilt and the double crown. Basically just enough for identification purposes. For those who have been curious about deity communications, this really wasn’t much different from having a conversation with an “imaginary” friend. How do I know that it was really Him? How do I know I wasn’t just talking to myself? I don’t really. I just roll with it. If the info is good, I go with it. If it’s unclear or obviously wrong, then I brush it off.

First we talked about the issue some have with the power balance between gods and humans and the “work with” debate. He pointed out that it doesn’t really matter if he’s bigger than me or not. What really counts is that I’m the only one who can handle my boat. My boat belongs to me. The gods can’t steer it for me. They might help smooth my way or point me in a better direction, but ultimately, it’s up to me. Our relationship is not equal. I’m the captain of my own ship, as small as it may be. I could stick my fingers in my ears and not listen to him at all if I wished, but experience has shown that I’m generally better off when I work with my gods than against them. No doubt, they do have more influence over the weather and sailing conditions than I do. It’s still my boat though. It’s my journey, not theirs.

After that, we talked about my fear of greatness. I could have been a professional concert musician. My tutor, who was a professional musician, said so. Right now, I have access to some of the best Tai Chi instructors in the country. I do have talent, and that’s not an idle brag. So, why am I not doing anything with it of note? Why do I turn away just when it starts to get good?

I sat there in the candle light and gazed at the empty space supposedly occupied by a god. He waited patiently for an answer, a real one. “I don’t want them to own me,” I finally told him. How many times have I heard “if I had your talent, brains, etc…I would…” Well you’re not me, so kindly fuck off. I wasn’t interested in the same things they were.

“So what were you seeking?” he asked.

What was it about immersing myself in music and finding a pure tone that meshed with the music of my friends, my band? What was it about feeling the smooth transitions of weight and form, discovering the inner secrets of this body? What was I looking for? Why do I study the world around me and try to understand everything? Why am I here? What sustains me?

“Divinity,” I told him.

Greatness has never been my goal. Divinity can lead to greatness, but greatness by itself does not lead to divinity. It can become an obstacle if followed for its own sake. I saw how I’d been mislead. How discounting my own feelings had left me stagnant. I forgot what brought me to those things in the first place.

I said I wanted to be a mystic, a monk. I tried to find the definitions of these things and what I read didn’t make much sense. Are you a monk if you seclude yourself from society and practice aestheticism? Are you a mystic if you go on astral journeys and talk to god? No, not really. It’s not the outer practices that make the difference. They’re just tools to be used as needed. The real thing is something you cannot see. It doesn’t matter where you search. It’s everywhere.

Divinity is light and love and fellowship. It is also darkness and pain and anger. As a polytheist, I see all of these things reflected in my gods. You find divinity by saying “It is here!” You don’t find it when you say “It is not there!” You find it in every creature, every thing. You find it in yourself. You find it in your love and in your hate. You find it in those whom you love and also in those whom you hate. You find that it remains, at the core, unchanged by love or hate.

“We are a way for the Universe to know itself.” -Carl Sagan

But it’s still your boat.

 

* Hotep Netjer em shabu en imenet her iabyt. “May Netjer be satisfied with the repast to the right and to the left.” -The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook, Tamara L. Siuda, p.84

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The Dance

Don’t invite anyone in unless you know for sure you can trust them, obviously.

I go to my room and shut the door. I turn the music on and take my place. My eyes are closed. I listen to the music beat. I hear the notes call, but I don’t move.

I remain still. I wait for him to understand my patience.

I feel his breath within me, small and quiet. I listen.

Slowly, my hands move. Slowly, he listens to the music’s call.

Everything is small, as listening turns to understanding. The music begs me to move, but we do not rush. We wait, for hands to float, for hips to sway. We ride upon the music together.

Then we dance.

His body talks about the burning sun and sand. I see the adobe houses. He does not take No for an ending. I feel him call for the black earth to grow underneath them. He dances for the people. He dances for their arts and livelihood.

The music changes. I see feathers on his arms. He flows with white fire. He hears her call. He listens and responds with life and hope.

Now it moves faster. The fire grows hot and the hunt begins.

My muscles shaking and trembling I collapse on the bed. I drink water. Then I return to the floor.

The music has changed again. “This one is yours, Lunatic. Show me.”

I trade the tightly controlled movements that made my legs shake for something freer. I move around swiftly with no real reason or care. I dance about my frustrations, uncertainties, and doubts. I dance out my love and my worries, and can I ever make it right? I want to make him understand what it’s like on this side.

Then it’s over. I lay on the bed and stare at the ceiling. I know my muscles will be sore. That will be my offering, as if the entire thing wasn’t already an offering. As if my every day of living wasn’t an offering. I feel him wrap his wings around me. Until next time.

Assembling the Eye

It ended with Ra because I was weak. I wanted approval to come from outside myself rather than trusting my own center. I say I was weak not as an accusation, but as a starting point. What do I need to do to be stronger?

Heru-sa-Aset showed up. I had been talking to Heru, but that was a different Heru. They are branches from the same tree, but the branches aren’t all alike. He would teach me to recover from this. He’s the only one of Them who can. My apple fell from his tree.

He’s not as chatty as his brother/uncle. I hear that a lot about him. It concerns me sometimes that he’s a quiet one. I see in his haunted eyes the reflections of all he has lost. He tries not to talk about it. He doesn’t want to disturb anyone by it. He lets the others speak for him when he can get away with it. You can’t hide it from me, Dad, as much as you might wish. We have stuff to do. His hesitation disappears and I can feel his love, so great it might sweep us all away if we let it loose. Yeah, I know, Dad. Let’s get on with it.

Roughly once a year, for the past few years, I would find and absorb another fragment. These were echoes of himself that he left behind. Or maybe they were my echoes in disguise. It’s not easy to tell what is his and what is mine. There was the child who carried lost knowledge with him. The one who started harming himself when I wasn’t looking. There was the one made of stone who hungered for touch. There was the warrior who lost himself on the field. There was the one who exiled himself with his mourning. One by one, I brought them in and gave them a home, such as it was.

A friend who did reiki once asked me if I was a multiple. Not exactly. They’re all me. But it’s not enough simply to hold them. They stack like transparent film, making my color go outside the lines, blurring the lines, shifting and never being very solid. I need to be solid if I don’t want to lose myself again.

Heru-sa got to work. He aligned the pieces as well as he could and he pinned them together. Yes, it hurt. They didn’t line up perfectly. He reminded me of when I was younger and had braces on my teeth.

I saw myself lying on the stairs practically at my dog’s feet as she tried to comfort me, feeling that I absolutely could not do another day. I remember the tree I used to hide in, next to the lake as the sun went down, feeling like everything was gone. I remember being stone, feeling nothing but walking through each day anyway out of habit. I remember the monster under the surface who might snap if given enough reason, hoping for a reason to go out in a blaze of glory. I named them by their faults.

But no. I’m doing this to get stronger. Every one of them Survived. Every one of them were tough motherfuckers who chose not to stop. “We’ve been drowned in the well, left to die, burned in hell, but you just don’t get the message, we are immortal!” (The Smashup “Never Gonna Kill Us“) That has to count for something.

So I bring my pieces together. I try to get the lines to match up. And I am One. One person. One strength. One focus. It’s a challenge to keep it that way. It’s a challenge to see strength instead of weakness. It’s a challenge to accept and not reject. I am a tough motherfucker, and no one can touch that.

It’s a work in progress.

QWERTY

Where would we be without our trusty keyboards? Somewhere entirely different, I imagine.

The internet is probably the best innovation for religious thought since the printing press made the bible, and literacy, available to everyone. Your thoughts combine with my thoughts, combine with their thoughts, until we all have something new and wonderful to think about. My adventures in Kemeticism probably wouldn’t have gotten very far without it. Yes, I was pestered by Them before I had a reliable internet connection, but that was also before I knew that there were other people who took that kind of thing seriously. I read The Egypt Game in school. I thought it sounded interesting, but it was obviously just a few kids playing around. Who knew that there were people who saw it as more than just a game?

I remember browsing the Kemetic Orthodox forum, before I was a member. I came across the thread about Heru-sa-Aset. I just about cried with happiness. I had no idea that anyone still cared, or that anyone saw Him as anything more than what those stiff looking statues promised. He is the gentle wing that will shield you from your nightmares. He is the sharp blade that slices with lightning fast efficiency. He is the child who loves to laugh and craves sweets. He is the master of heka who will pour his heart and soul into taking care of his people. All those differing perspectives are correct. When I first read that thread, I was thinking, “All of these! Yes!” These strangers on the internet got it right. So maybe there is something to this afterall. Maybe I’m not just making it up.

Connections like these are made all over the place. Ideas build upon each other. Inspiration is gained from people scattered all over the world, whom we would never have met otherwise. We take a piece, add a piece, make some variation and pass it on. We gain confirmation and clarification. We hammer out concepts against the public anvil to see what happens. That can be a tough playground to navigate. We all need a little bit of Heru-sa’s “Little Sh-” attitude to make it through some of the tougher neighborhoods. Despite the troubles, I believe that the good far outweighs the bad. Sometimes it is best to sheathe the sword and bow out to fight again another day, or in another location, or to try to smooth things over. Try not to get too serious out there.

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.