G is for Good Food and Drink

I know, “offerings” starts with O, but I’m fudging here a bit.  Working between pantheons, I struggled with how to dispose of my offerings.  When I started in the Hellenic pantheon, I just offered liquids and poured them out front in the garden.  A side note, be careful to aim for the actual dirt because red wine on the garden wall will leave stains.  As I got more involved with the Kemetic pantheon, I considered reverting offerings and eating/drinking them.  I spent a while trying to decide.  Should I just revert the Kemetic offerings?  If I give the Kemetic Gods food, then I should give the Others food, and what do I do with those offerings?  I eventually decided to revert almost everything.  Occasionally I’ll feel a pull to pour something outside, but usually what gets offered gets consumed.

So, what do I offer?  My standard nightly devotion includes wholegrain bread with honey.  I started off offering crackers because that is what I had, but I don’t think that went over too well.  The bread seems to satisfy Everyone.   I’ll add or replace it with strawberries, grapes, black olives, a blueberry muffin, or chocolate.  I think Sekhmet-Mut really likes the strawberries and the chocolate always seems to go over well.  The black olives are mainly for Hekate’s preference.  I offer my food on a small plate.  I don’t currently have a plate that I keep separate for food offerings, though maybe I should.  I don’t have specific glassware set aside either, though the wine glasses and coffee/tea mugs that I use don’t actually get used for anything else.  Initially, everything got offered into the same cup.  Then I felt pulled to other pantheons and felt separate cups between pantheons was required.  (“Felt” . . . Sekhmet-Mut insisted . . . one of those things.)  Finally, it just seemed like Everyone wanted Their own cups.  Five cups, every night, unless there are “Guests”.  There hasn’t been a “Guest,” however, since Anpu showed up, and He has become one of the regulars.  Djehuty, Sekhmet-Mut, Hekate, Anpu, and Loki.  They don’t get filled all the way up because I have to drink them, but Everyone gets a bit.

What do They like to drink?  Well, it depends.  Sekhmet and Hekate usually get V8 V-Fusion Light Pomegranate Blueberry juice (yes, it’s red) or red wine.  Everybody has had the juice or wine at some point, but I don’t think either is Everybody’s favorite.  Occasionally Sekhmet will get a whole Killian’s Irish Red beer.  I bought some red roobios tea to try with Her, but I haven’t yet.  Hekate and Sekhmet got straight pomegranate juice once, but that tasted awfully strong to me, so I might save that just for special occasions.  Hekate seemed to really like it.  Djehuty prefers chai lattes.  He seems to like chai tea a lot, but before bed (which happens to be early in the morning since I work overnights) I drink it in latte form.  If I have straight tea during the day, I’ll offer him a cup.  Sometimes the latte gets split with Loki and Anpu, though Loki prefers caramel coffee.  I usually won’t drink coffee before bed unless it’s the weekend, so sometimes I’ll go out during the day and get one.  Also, I’m not made of money to go constantly buying lattes and coffees.  I had a bottle of Rum Chata from Christmas, so sometimes Djehuty, Loki, and Anpu will just get a shot each from that.  Loki really seemed to like the Rum Chata when I put it in his chai latte.  I’ve also offered water, though that’s not usually my standard offering.  I try to stick with juice, but it seems that there is rarely a night when Everybody is on the same page.  I suppose that is another reason for the separate glasses.  I just go with my gut and what I have on hand.

Individual Deities will get offerings during the day, depending on what I’m having and Who wants it.  Right now, though, my “nightly” devotions are usually when Everyone gets Their offerings.  It definitely makes going to the grocery store more interesting.  When I go out to eat, occasionally I’ll order something with Someone in mind.  One Saturday morning after work I wanted to celebrate, so everyone got a full allotment.  A 20 oz chai latte, a 20 oz caramel coffee, 2 beers, and some wine.  I spent the whole next day (Saturday afternoon after sleeping) reverting the offerings.  It takes a long time to drink that much liquid.  I don’t think I’ll ever offer that much all at once again.  My usual drink of choice is Diet Coke, so I’ve had to expand my palette to appease the Gods.  Who knows, maybe one day they’ll even get me to cook.

Spoons and Kemeticism

I had a few nights recently where I “fell off the wagon.”  I didn’t do my nightly devotions.  I can blame my bipolar symptoms and stress at work, but they were still choices that I made.  Maybe I just didn’t allot my spoons well for those days.  I’ve been finding recently that I’ve run short of spoons a few days.  I don’t expect it, and Wham!  I need to be better at planning out my days so as to avoid that.  I don’t always know when a low mood or a rush of anger is going to hit, so I should keep some in reserve.

Anyways, I’ve been reading up on Kemeticism lately.  Ma’at, “Don’t be a dick,” being involved in community, and all that jazz.  I think I would like to incorporate more of that into my life.  I’m not sure exactly how to do that.  I guess preparing for low spoons days would be part of ma’at.  Writing this blog and being a member of eCauldron is about all the kemetic community that I’m doing.  I read a bunch of kemetic blogs and follow a few people on Tumblr, but I never actually respond to anything.  I don’t want to label myself as Kemetic unless/until I feel I’m really living that lifestyle.  There is a general ritual written by a kemetic that I thought I might try, though I need to do some prep work for it.

I’ve been thinking about trying to divide my practice up again by culture.  I would like to honor Everyone by Their cultural standards.  It just takes a lot of spoons.  I’ll have to think about how to slowly adjust to it.  I really need to just try things.  Thinking about them only gets me so far.

My New Tarot Deck Arrived!

My new tarot deck, The Book of Doors, arrived four days early!  I drew a card just to see what I got and drew Mut.  Maybe this deck will help me in my communication with Sekhmet-Mut.  I ordered it with the hope that it would help me connect/communicate with the Netjeru.  Life stresses and personal anger have been bubbling up again, so any help from Sekhmet-Mut would be much appreciated.

F is for Foundations

Lately, it has become apparent to me that I have spent a lot of time comparing myself to those who have spent years building their relationships with their Gods.  Buildings require solid foundations if they are to withstand the tests of time, and relationships are no different.  There is one relationship of which I am proud, and that is my relationship with my husband.  We have been together for 11 years and married for 5.    A solid relationship is like a building, it requires a good foundation.  My relationship with my husband takes continuous work from both of us, and though it is never perfect, it brings us both joy.  Looking at how I have built my marriage, I can use it as a guide to building meaningful relationships with Deities.

Part of the foundation of a relationship for me is working on myself.  The more I face my fears and faults, the more I open myself up to the Gods.  No one is going to achieve perfection, but I can always strive to be better.  This requires both self-work and asking for help.  Sometimes improving oneself is knowing when to ask for aid from others.  A second part of the foundation is learning about the Deity.  This includes research about the culture and myths, talking to others who have relationships with that Deity, and simply trying things to see what works and what doesn’t.  Learning to trust my intuition is a third part of a solid foundation.  It is my relationship, and there are certain parts that only I will be able to judge.  This requires a level of discernment, but that can be learned.  Time is a fourth part of the foundation of any relationship.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  Even people who get “thwapped” have to take time to build a productive rapport with the Deities who contact them.  Time is the hardest part for me.  I’m not a patient person.  I want an end product.  Relationships, however, are constantly changing and growing.  I have to take my time and realize that building a stable foundation for my Deity relationships will make the future that much more rewarding.   Some of the best things in life have taken time to develop.  From what I’ve seen, it’s worth the wait.

Trust in the Gods

In a recent tarot conversation with Djehuty, it was pointed out that I need to trust life more.  I need to trust the Gods.  I asked for aid recently and was given it, but I didn’t realize it at the time.  I spent time blaming and doubting, when I should have been rejoicing and thanking.  I feel that others are deserving of divine love and divine attention, but I question why and if They care about me.  Part of the reason is that I’m not god-bothered.  I don’t hear the Deities.  I wish I did.  I realize that I don’t know how challenging that makes life, but that doesn’t make me want it any less.  I need to understand that I can be just as loved by the Gods as someone who is god-bothered.

I am constantly telling people that you can have a fulfilling spiritual and religious life without being god-bothered.  I should follow my own advice.  I need to look at the positives that I have.  I have my tarot conversations.  I have the occasional nudge or feeling.  I have the blessings that I have been given in this life.  I need to trust that They hear me.  I may not hear or like the answers, but being heard is over half the battle.  Loving the Gods has its own rewards, even if They are quiet.  Sometimes just listening is what I really need Them to do.  I need to trust that the Gods are listening.

Either way, I am working towards a truer self.  Do I really need concrete evidence that it is the Gods who are helping me?  All evidence of this kind is debatable, so I’m not sure what I expect.  I need to accept that some things will always be ambivalent, but that doesn’t have to make them less true or have less impact for me.  I believe in the Gods.  My life is affected positively by my belief and love.   Now I just have to trust Them and trust that I am worthy.

At Work

I’ve been honoring Loki for a short while now and been wondering why He hasn’t seemed to make His presence known more.  I’ve misplaced a few things, but, though it could be Him, it’s nothing new to me.  The other day, my coworker came by and flipped the layout of my computer screen and then nonchalantly walked away.  So there it was, a sideways screen staring back at me, when I realized that I work with Loki.  This new friend has come into my life full of laughter and pranks.  While I prayed to the God of Mischief, He sent one of His own.  My friend isn’t a pagan, and I don’t mean to infer that he is a follower of Loki.  He simply possesses a few of the trickster characteristics and has brought laughter and fun into my life.  Loki knew that I what I was really asking for was a friend, and He provided.  Hail, Loki!  Praise to the God of Mischief!

Bookshelves and Wax

I got new bookshelves.  All I had to do was to wake up and answer the phone at 10:30 Saturday morning, tell my mom yes, buy the bookshelves, and help my husband move them in that night.  Two tall bookshelves for a total of $20.00.  I have been wanting and needing them.  I finally got to move my pagan books out from under the futon.  I’ll probably put my other religious books (Catholicism/Judaism/Buddhism et al) on them as well.  I might use a shelf or two for shrines.  Right now, everything is combined together on my altar, which is a large but low plastic storage box set against the wall.

The spare room is slowly turning into my shrine room/library.  There is some random storage going on in part of the room, but I hope to change that.  The scattered framed artwork sitting against the walls needs to be hung or moved elsewhere.  I’d like to move the ironing board out (since I don’t really use it) and put a desk or more bookshelves in, but we’ll see.

I have to figure out what to do about candles.  Right now I just have a small one in a holder on my altar.  I had a bunch of full size candles, but the wax got everywhere.  I know my Gods like the flames, but five lit regular size candles on an altar with an assortment of everything else was getting to be a bit of a fire hazard.  Besides, Everyone seemed to want Their own candles, and Hekate wanted two.  Having one for Everyone seems to even the field.  I wouldn’t mind using a bigger one than I have, though.  Maybe I’ll look for a tall candle in a container.  A really fat one would probably be too big, but I think I could handle a tall one with a bigger flame.  As long as there is something to keep the wax from going everywhere.  I ruined my altar cloth with wax, but I’m too sentimentally attached to change it out for anything else yet.  It is red and black, and I picked it up when I was in Tanzania in 2005.  Eventually I’ll change it out, but it has to be for something meaningful.

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