Chop Vegetables, Build with Water

I’ve been spending time with Clifford lately. Clifford is not his real name, but I needed something to call him. Clifford is the big one. He’s my life’s work, or maybe I am his. He was the first Heru I ever met, Heru-on-the-cliff. He is a branch off of Heru-sa-Aset, who became Horus, who became that broken mess of a god who watched it all fall down and drown under tons of blowing sand. What good is a king when the country is gone? The Apocalypse has already happened as far as he’s concerned. Of all the great and mighty gods out there, how did I end up with this one? That’s a stupid question. Remember the post about shards? Mine came from Clifford. If I was in it for the ego boost, I really should have “chosen” someone else.

What am I going to do with Clifford? What is he going to do with me? I invited him into my house (More like kidnapped and dragged back, but he let me do it.) awhile back, and I remember seeing him there, dressed in casual jeans and a button down shirt with his dark curly hair, chopping vegetables at the counter. He seemed quiet and interested in grounding himself in mundane tasks. What was he thinking?

I jumped inside his head recently. The clothes, the vegetables, they were just empty gestures, but he wanted to appear “normal.” His mind was deep and quiet, and not very human. (It was this same inaction and passivity that allowed me to drag him away from his cliff. He didn’t lift a finger to stop me.) He saw me desperately flailing around, trying to fix things while having no idea what the hell I was doing. He thought I was a lunatic, but that wasn’t necessarily meant as an insult. I caught on to his word game. Lunatic came from “moon sick,” being affected by the phases of the moon. Heru’s wounded, and healed, left eye is also the moon. I see what you did there.

He also said that my thoughts and ambitions were too shallow. Too shallow how? He saw me as this chaotic flash of colors near the surface, while he sat below the ground like the giant magma chamber under Yellowstone. Up here on the surface, all we’re able to see is the occasional plume of steam. (To think that I “dragged” him anywhere! Ha!)

So answer me this, if the gods were there the whole time, biding their time underground, then what’s with the whole depression act, Clifford? Obviously I’m still missing something.

We’ve been dealing with themes of destruction of home and rebuilding. He can’t go back to his wasteland because I planted trees there and told him not to go back. He remodeled my apartment, and I’ve been having trouble getting back there. Fair is fair I guess, but there’s more to it than that. He wants me to explore these lessons further. I started playing Landmark again, which is a building game like Minecraft, but with better graphics. I had been working on an ocean resort, but then he told me to delete it and start again somewhere else. He wants me to practice this. Build, destroy and build again. Another place, another cliff, this time with a waterfall. More green, more gardens. Playing with light and shadow. Why destroy? He doesn’t want me to get attached to the wrong things. The right things will come back in the next build. What is worth rebuilding and what isn’t? We’ll study this together.

 

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Momma Aset

“You are insane, my son. I’ve always known that,” she told me.

It was a relief to hear her say so. I waste so much effort pretending not to be, especially to myself. “It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an I.” I don’t know where that quote originated, but I’ve seen it floating around and it always seems relevant.

My “I” is not very strong. Maybe that’s not completely true. When I complained about being weak, she argued. Afterall, I am still here. I just have other, stronger priorities. When I open my heart to discover what it really wants, I find the Netjer, ALL of Them. It is a love that is too big for my body. It is too big for my “I.” I inhale Ra’s fire and I want to bring that warmth to all of them. Then I ask, “What’s that burning smell? Oh, right, it’s me.” Aset cools me. She cares more about my “I” than I do. I cannot and do not want to live without them. Somewhere in my soul is a memory of that nightmare when they faded from sight.┬áDie for them? Kill for them? Whore myself out? Why not?

But Aset says no. At least, not that first one.

Back in college I had a dream where I was at a party. We were celebrating Gandhi’s enlightenment and ascension. I found him sitting alone on a blanket and he looked sad. I asked him what was wrong. He said, “My mother won’t let me die.” No ascension for you then. I understood how he felt. There was the story of Aset and baby Heru when he was poisoned. She stopped the sun in the sky to make him live. I imagined Horus in those later years watching his family fade away and secretly hating her for the magic that would not allow him to join them. “My mother commanded me to live,” he told me.

But they’re not gone. I can feel them. This new seedling is small, and I don’t know if it will live, but that is how all seedlings begin. It seems healthy and that gives me hope.

Aset loves me in the same way that I love Them. Years ago, I prayed to a winged blue goddess. Part of me knew it looked like her. Part of me wasn’t willing to admit the connection, so I called her by a made up name. I kneeled before her with my fist over my heart. I told her everything. When nothing else in my life made sense, I knew that the blue goddess loved me.

When the sunlight burns too hot, she cools me. Ra is the crown and Aset is the throne. I am not myself without either of them. She asked me to wear her pendant so she could keep me cool. The necklace broke a few weeks ago. I replaced it with another one with a falcon head. Wasn’t it time for my own god to take care of me? Wasn’t it time for me to take care of myself? Meanwhile, my energy started running wild again. Sunrise felt like torture in a way that it hadn’t in a while. I’m wearing Aset’s pendant now. I thought I could handle it on my own. I tried covering my heart, denying it. I wanted to pretend that “I” was strong enough. But, I’m not. I still need her. She lets me follow my heart. She helps me handle Ra’s fire without tearing myself apart.

So Mom, what do you think? Can we do this? Will you show me how to breathe fire without tearing myself apart? Can we keep them warm?

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?

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.

Sunset

I followed Heru down the winding stairs. He brought me to a room where the other gods waited and watched. He handed me a blindfold. Did I trust him? Of course. I put it on. He told me to follow him. I could feel his presence leading me as I put one foot ahead of the other. I couldn’t see with my eyes, but I knew where we were going. I crossed the chasm on a narrow plank. Honestly, if my eyes had been open, that crossing would have been much harder to handle.

In the next room, he removed the blindfold. I saw my heart set out on a platform. Then it was sliced in two. He handed half of it to someone I couldn’t see at the time. He kept the other half. He and I couldn’t do it alone. That other person I couldn’t see was part of this too.

That’s why I was not surprised when another name, Ra, followed Heru’s during my Rite of Parent Divination. I hesitated a moment because I had a history with him, and not exactly a good history. Still, I could not deny that he’d had a major role in my life. It seemed inevitable. So I went along with it. I made the promise to serve them both.

I tried hard to keep that promise. I worked to get past my anger and my lack of trust. At first it was duty, nothing more. Then I started opening up to him. Then I loved him. I wanted his approval. I wanted to serve. He got me through a difficult time and made me stronger. I became dependent on him.

A couple days ago, he asked me to use that strength. I didn’t think about what I was doing. I only thought about serving him, gaining his approval. I was proud to be able to do this for him, but the usual safeguards and worries and concerns were absent. It seemed ok to put those aside for him. Not just set aside, because that assumes I thought about them at all. I didn’t. I was just following orders, nothing more than an extension of his will. Isn’t that what all servants are after? Erasure of self for the greater good?

Yeah, Heru was pissed. He said it was time to leave. Djehuty explained to me that it was a breach of contract. Heru’s claim came first, and what happened tried to negate that. No worries about repercussions from the promise made. I did my best. My legal backside is covered.

That’s the easy part. The hard part is that I loved him, or I think I did. Our relationship was never very clear. It was wrapped up in a tangle of duty, and service, and being angry for what he took, and being grateful for what he gave. And being ashamed of requiring what he gave. How did I get to the point where his approval meant more to me than my own values? Because that’s where we ended up.

I was addicted in a way. Heru and the others threw me a cold turkey party. I wrapped myself in a blanket on the couch. I felt cold. They hung around, offering comfort, reminding me they would still be there for me. I looked over at Sekhmet and I saw it. I wasn’t the first, or the only, or probably even the last. He just does that to people without even realizing it. I hope he doesn’t realize it. I don’t think he meant for this to happen. He actually apologized for a change. He is the sun, a star, a giant gravity well that turns us in circles. Not one of them blamed me for getting sucked in.

So, what now? A name change might be in order. Shezep is still just as true as ever. The dawn is still part of me. The bright white light is like the white fire I wield in the astral. The white fire deserves more respect. It is a tool for purification and healing. It is not for indiscriminately rooting out the source of paranoia. The white fire deserves more respect. Shezep deserves more respect. I deserve more respect. But the Shuty part is no longer valid. It’s not Two Feathers anymore.

Why am I telling you all this? Is it a cautionary tale about blind faith? No, I still trust Heru that way. He’s never given me any reason to doubt him. Ra gave me plenty of reasons and I tried to work around them. I succeeded, and that was a bad idea. It’s not a cautionary tale at all, because those don’t work. I thought I was doing the right thing by keeping my promise. Maybe I shouldn’t have made the promise? I wouldn’t say that either. The struggle itself taught me a lot that I wouldn’t have learned any other way. I think I’m just writing to say that there are no easy answers. Life happens.

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.