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

Sobek and Neutrality

The High falls to the Low
The Low fills its belly
Not a ripple marks their passing

This is the post I wanted to write earlier today, but I felt this way of writing needed an introduction first. That, and I got distracted.

After yet another night of too little sleep, I asked Sobek how to do what he and the crocodiles do. How do I slow my heart and sink under the water, letting nothing disturb me? I felt my skin grow tough and thick. I imagined rough bumps and scales that would slide effortlessly through the water.

He talked to me about neutrality. Not the neutrality of not getting involved in a war, except I guess it is that too. The Names often seem to take words I think I know, and find new ways to apply them, or even make up new words altogether. He also spoke of devaluing things. Again, the context he used was a little different from what I’m used to hearing.

He told me to listen to the sounds outside. Those sounds were neither positive, nor negative. They were neutral. Then he told me to devalue the sound. There was no value, good or bad, to be placed upon it. It is not threat, nor food. That’s easier said than done when the thumping of bass speakers invades my sanctuary.

In the Foundation post I mentioned the need to return to neutral, to rest. It’s a practice I need to learn.

By constantly valuing the high above the low, reaching ever upward, we eventually reach a point where the wave collapses, and the resulting trough is filled, as in the poem above. Sobek also grins and tells me it is a poem about catching birds.

What is a mystic’s role in the Kemetic community?

The idea of various roles in the Kemetic community has surfaced recently. I fully support the idea of each person contributing to the whole by their own talent and skill set. There are scholars, artists, crafts people, performers, storytellers, administrators, technicians, ambassadors, priests, mystics, the list could go on as people find their various places. I am a mystic. My work is often solitary and intangible. What offering can I bring to the communal table?

I seek knowledge and experience. It is a different kind of knowledge than that of the scholar. It is more of the heart than of the head. Or, in the older way of thinking, more of the gut than of the heart. My seeking of such knowledge tends to be self-serving. It is a desperate search for answers to problems that plague me from day to day. I do serve the Names, but, I have reasons for doing so.

So again, how does this serve the community? Community is a shared thing where all are strengthened by interaction with the whole. Knowledge, whether of the heart or of the gut, does no one any good unless it is shared with those who may benefit. So, I will make an effort to get over my nervousness at being that strange person who walks in strange places. I will try to drag knowledge from under the waters, dry it off and present it, hopefully without too much river mud stuck to it. Yes, I will clean it up a bit, because you really don’t want to know where I’ve been!

But I’ve been known to pull up a few treasures, things like community, loyalty, family, ma’at, compassion, and other things like ruthlessness, creative conflict, impartiality, mourning and the end to mourning. I seek the wholeness of Heru’s eye, and I’ve wandered through many places in my search. But what good is it unless it is shared?

Standard disclaimers apply. What I write is simply my own belief or opinion at the time it is written. It might change as I go along. It might not even be my only opinion. These are merely intended as thinking points, examinations of ideas as I turn them over in my head. You may take them, leave them, or grab the ball and run off in another direction. Right up front, I will admit a bias in favor of community and making a community work, and yes, I mean the greater Kemetic whole, not just one tiny corner of it. We serve the same deities. We are stronger together than we are by ourselves. Let’s do the things that make community work and avoid the things that tear it apart.

These types of posts will be sorted in their own category as Kemetic Mysticism.