I’m Behind

I know I’m behind on my blog posts.  I’ve been slowly acclimating myself to Tumblr, in part to be more involved with the Kemetic community over there.  It is definitely a whirlwind.  I’m learning a lot about what different polytheists think, as well as exploring some unrelated topics which interest me.  My shipment of books on Ancient Egypt came in.  I’ve started reading Egyptian Mythology by Geraldine Pinch.  I’ve barely started How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs by Mark Collier and Bill Manley.  My drawing skills are minimal at best, so I need to learn the transliterations of the symbols into letters sooner rather than later.  I’m still trying to draw out the symbols too, but I simply haven’t put much time into it yet.

I spent part of Sunday in a coffee shop reading about Loki, trying to get a better feel for why I am drawn to Him.  Starting out, I didn’t think I would learn much.  I felt that I had already exhausted the online sources.  However, I managed to find some that I had missed and learn more about His different aspects.  In addition, I read some prayers for Him in hopes that it might spark me to rewrite the very basic prayer that I wrote for Him a while ago.  Last night I ad-libbed a prayer to Him instead of reading my usual one, so I think I’m making progress.  Maybe in a few more days I’ll feel ready to write something new.

More information about Hekate has also been crossing my path this weekend.  I don’t know if it’s a signal for attention or simply coincidence.  I should spend some time reflecting on Her, since I’ve been receiving guidance from Her from the start.  The new moon is quickly approaching, so maybe I’ll see if I can arrange something for the 28th or 29th.  Oh.  The 28th is today.  I guess I should arrange it quickly.  I work overnights, but I could do something for Her on the morning of the 29th.  I think the new moons hits around 1:00 AM that morning.  I am usually distracted when the new moon comes around, and I miss it.  It’s a special time for Djehuty, too.  Maybe I can plan something special for Each of Them.  I’ll keep you posted if I do something.  I actually took off my necklace for Sekhmet on Sunday (I had been wearing it for a while) and put on my owl necklace for Hekate instead.  I’m not sure why.  It just felt like it was time.

Hekate continues to stress the fact that I need to make choices.  The push to let go of the old to make way for the new is also constant.  I need to start physically getting rid of some stuff.  I’ve been putting it off for a few months, so She is probably not to happy about that.  I did some cleaning tonight, but I have far to go.

Healing persists in coming up in the cards, though I’m still in the dark as to what that is about.  I’ve had some positive readings of late, which have left me both happy and suspicious.  Plans, transformation, and success are all topics that keep coming up.  I see myself changing internally, but I don’t know how that is going to affect my outer life.  I don’t know how or if it is affecting my relationships with my Gods.  I seem to be going in the right direction generally, so I’m just plugging along.

I have started to tell my friends that I’m a polytheist.  Religion isn’t important to most of them, so the reveals are probably only a big deal to me.  I have yet to talk to the few who might actually care about my change in beliefs.  I am still on the fence about whether or when to tell my parents and my sister.  My brother came to town for a brief stint, talking to him about my religious experiences was as good as always.

My job has been a little frustrating.  I’ve contemplated looking for a new one, but I think I might take some classes online first.  I don’t want to overload myself, though, so I haven’t committed to anything yet.  I should find out about whether I got into the House of Netjer’s intro class the second or third week of May.  The college classes I’m looking at start in June.  May is only a few days away.  I guess I should get to work on learning some hieroglyphs.

For anyone interested in anime, Kamigami no Asobi is a reverse harem anime centered around Gods from different pantheons.  The first four episodes have been released online thus far.  It is about a human girl who must teach certain Gods about humanity.  It is rather silly and cheesy, but I have found it to be addicting.  I’m a sucker for silly anime.  I have begun to ramble, so I’m going to post this now.  Soon it will be time for my offerings and then bed.  Happy Monday. ^_^

Advertisements

My Devotional Routine

I have a daily devotional routine that I do before I go to bed in the morning.  I don’t always manage it, but I try.  This post is a brief overview of what I do for those who are interested.

Preparation: Brush teeth, shower, pull hair back, put on dress clothes, put on religious jewelry, prepare and bring my offerings down to my altar (it’s in the basement), put incense stick the holder, and open my notebook to my prayers.

Devotional Routine:

(Standing)

I light the candle(s) and incense.

I call to Djehuty/Thoth, Sekhmet-Mut, Hekate, Anpu/Anubis, and Loki by Their names and a few epithets.

I have written a prayer for each of these Gods.  I read the first prayer and offer a libation to the God.  If I’m using tea, I prepare it ahead of time and lift the cup instead of pouring it at the altar.  Other liquids I pour at the altar.  Each Deity gets a separate cup.  I try to give my Deities the liquids of Their choice, so Djehuty might get tea while Someone Else gets juice.

After the prayers and the libation offerings, I offer food and state my other offerings (candle flames, incense, thanks).  I ask for continued guidance and blessings.

Then I sit and chat.  My altar is low to the ground, so sitting brings me level to it. I also like to be more informal when I talk about my day and what I’m doing.  I perform different forms of divination.  Usually this is to determine what I need to focus on in the day ahead.  Sometimes these turn into conversations.  If I have a specific question, I will divine for that instead.  I have a tarot deck that I use for Hekate (the New Mythic Tarot) and a deck that I use for the Egyptian Deities (Book of Doors).  (Hekate loves to point out what I’m avoiding or need to work on.  Sometimes these “conversations” turn into all out fights, though She ends up being right. >_<)

I record my offerings and divinations in a notebook.

I rise, thank the Deities individually, blow out the candles, and take the offerings upstairs to consume them.

My Hestia statue is upstairs.  I have a LED candle that I keep on unless I light an actual candle for her.  I leave a libation of water at Her statue and pour it outside the next day.  I currently don’t have a specific prayer that I say to Her.

This is my general routine.  I’m slowly trying to add some meditation time into it, though I haven’t been consistent as of yet.

How I Came to Polytheism from Catholicism

Someone asked me to write about my spiritual journey from Roman Catholicism to polytheism, so here I go . . .

I was raised in a loving home with a family of practicing Catholics.  My father spent a few years in the seminary, though he never took orders.  My whole family is very involved in church life.  I thought I would be a devotee of the Christian God all of my life.  I grew up as a monotheist with strong beliefs.  I was 13 or 14 years old when I went through confirmation.  I remember having a spiritual experience in my backyard the night before my confirmation and thinking, “This is it; this is the Holy Spirit.”

I grew up in a household that taught me to be accepting of others.  My father was always open to discussions about different religions and Catholicism, the good points and the bad points.  I was taught to think for myself, and I was a voracious reader as a child with a strong interest in different religions.  My senior year in high school (17-18 years old), I took a world religions course.  It was always in my mind that the Christian God loved everyone, even people who believed in different Deities.  At one point, I thought that perhaps He encompassed All of Them in some way.  I just could not comprehend that so much of the world would be totally wrong in their forms of worship.  (I realize that this is a rather weak argument, a large group of people can be wrong, but it is how I felt.)  This always sat in the back of my mind, although I still considered myself a monotheist.  I even taught Sunday school when I was in high school, and I felt a great joy in going to mass.  I talked with my guardian angel and with the Christian God on most days (no, I didn’t hear anything back, but I felt things).  I was comfortable.

As I grew older, I realized that I felt uncomfortable around the concept of Jesus.  I couldn’t relate to him.  I’m sure some of my discomfort came from worsening symptoms of my bipolar disorder and some outside events.  I felt a disconnect.  I studied other religions, but I kept coming back to Catholicism.  I think this was partly because of the memories of my youth and partly because I couldn’t find anything else that fit.  Feeling a stronger connection with the Christian God the Father than with Jesus, I explored Judaism.  Talking to a rabbi, he asked me, “How do you know that our God is the God that you want to worship?”  At the time, I was still a monotheist.  I thought that the God I was connecting to was the God of the Old Testament, the only God.  I didn’t realize how insightful his question was.  My anxiety got the better of me, and I never went back to talk to the rabbi again.  I never tried practicing Judaism or any other religion on my own until I became a polytheist.  I didn’t yet understand that experience teaches.

Last year, my issues with the Catholic Church became too much to overlook.  As a bisexual who has spent most of my life hiding my sexuality, I could no longer overlook the Church’s view on homosexuality and bisexuality.  It had never sat well with me, but it became such a big deal to me that I felt I no longer wanted to identify myself with the Church.  I had never thought that the Church was infallible.  My father taught me to be objective and to use my better judgement.  When I was younger, I wanted to be a priest.  I never understood why women weren’t allowed to do so.  I accepted these issues as things that needed to be changed from the inside.  Last year, however, after questioning my connection with the Catholic Church, I started questioning my connection with the Christian God.  I used to feel very close to Him.  I believe that He helped me out a lot over the years, but we grew apart.  My spiritual life felt empty.  I felt like I was not giving or getting enough.  Things just didn’t fit.

My mind went back to my wedding in the Catholic Church in 2008.  I knew my family wanted me to get married in the Church.  I had always grown up with the same feeling.  I felt a disconnection to the Christian God at the time, but I knew that I wanted some Deity involved in my wedding.  It finally hit me, five years later, that this was a polytheistic thought.  I had wanted a Deity at my wedding, not the Deity.  I thought of the little I knew of Hinduism and how I always believed that so many for so long couldn’t be wrong.  Hinduism is much more complicated than just the strict polytheism that I initially thought it was.  I don’t feel competent to discuss the details of Hinduism, however, so I am going to leave that to the reader to investigate as desired.

However simplified my ideas of Hinduism might have been, it opened me up to the idea that there are other Gods out there.  I wondered if I could possibly fill my spiritual needs with One or Several different Deities.  When I realized that I believed in the existence of other Deities, I was stunned.  It is still something with which I’m coming to terms.  I have always believed in spiritual beings.  I cannot say that I have never had my doubts, but at my core I have a deep faith that spiritual beings exist.  The idea that the Christian God wasn’t omnipotent was harder for me to swallow.  Was the God that I had been talking to throughout my life the Christian God or Someone Else?  Did my guardian angel exist, or did I just imagine all of the help I thought I had received?  Was it just a random being that liked helping me out?  I’m still trying to come to terms with some of these questions.  I’m also trying to comprehend the idea of the Gods not being omnipresent but still being many places and available.  All I can say is that the world seems to make a lot more sense now that I have acknowledged my belief in multiple Gods.

I want to be of use.  Towards the end of my years as a Catholic, I felt like I had nothing that I could give the Christian God.  I want to find Deities and a community whom I can serve.  I want to feel needed and wanted.  I am still exploring which Deities I want to serve and to Whom I can be of use.  I want a religious practice that honors One or Many Gods Whom I love and respect.  I respect the Christian God and have many fond memories, but it was just a relationship that grew to an end.  I wasn’t getting what I needed and I felt like I didn’t have anything to give to Him.  I currently honor Gods Whom I love and respect.  I am trying to see if I can be of use to Them.  They have helped me in different ways, and I feel a connection to Them.  My tarot cards and other divination methods have also helped me to feel like I have more of a connection.  I sometimes wonder if I had started divining when I was still Catholic if I would have felt more of a connection to the Christian God.  However, I am happy where I am.  I am exploring my relationships with different Deities, and a whole new world is opening up.  I am not just learning more about different Deities, I am also learning more about different people and about myself.  I’m taking better care of myself and standing up for myself and others more.  I know that some of this is simply from getting older and having experience, but I truly feel that my Deities are pushing me to be better.  This is where I want to be.  My journey is just beginning.

If you want to know anything else, please ask in the comments.  Thank you.

Drawing Closer to Sekhmet-Mut

I seem to be drawing closer to Sekhmet-Mut.  She gives me strength, helps me to reign in my temper, and comforts me.  She is truly like a mother.  I feel Her warmth coming through the cards.  I wore Her necklace the other day to work because I happened to already have it on, and I ended up touching it without thinking every time I became upset.  I felt Her strength, Her love, and Her warmth.  She is opening my heart.

Oracular Session and a General Update

Satsekhem periodically does a limited number of oracular sessions for Sekhmet.  I asked her to do one for me this time concerning my relationships with Djehuty and Sekhmet.  I wondered if there was something else that I should be doing to build those relationships.  According to the session, They view me with caring and affection.  My worry about the relationships is needless, but it will impact those relationships if I keep pressing it.  There were a few other minor points, but those were the major take-aways.  It leads back to the fact that I need to trust in the Gods and Their love.

I also need to trust in myself.  Some of the points brought up in the session are points that have also been popping up in my cards.  I don’t fully understand all of it, but I have to trust that I am able to receive communication through my cards.  I have to trust that my love for the Gods and my striving to do better will be enough.  If it is not, I have to trust that They will let me know.

Now that I am feeling more secure in my relationships with my Gods, I need to spend sometime contemplating other aspects of Kemeticism and religion in general.  It is time for me to do some serious thinking about what ma’at is and how it relates to my life.  I see ma’at as a type of balance, but I’m not sure how that applies to my life.  What is balance for me?  That is what I need to examine.  I also need to look at developing some kind of ethical structure for my life.  I want my religion to reflect more than just my relationships with my Gods.  It might be helpful to go back and reread some information about the ethical systems of the Heathens and the Hellenics since I include Loki, Hekate, and Hestia in my practices.  I should go to a coffee shop and do some writing to process my thoughts.  I just wish it wasn’t so cold outside.

In other news, I received a few books on Loki and His family that I’ve been reading through.  Getting myself to sit down for meditation is still a struggle.  I’m not sure why I’m fighting against it so much, but I will continue to try to take some time for it.  I also need to focus on the mundane parts of my life a little more.  Cleaning, family, and writing need a little more time, though not necessarily in that order.  My car has been making some unhealthy sounds, so I should probably take it into the shop.  My time at work also deserves more attention.  I need to do my yearly reviews.  Contemplating Deities and life is a little more interesting than sweeping and paperwork.  Religion has usually held a central place in my life, but I need to remember I can attend to the Gods and still get my day-to-day stuff done.  I guess it’s all about finding balance.

H is for Hestia

Hestia is the Greek Goddess of the hearth and home, and my Goddess of the home.  I feel like I’ve been neglecting Her recently, so I decided to do this post about Her.

Hestia is the first Daugher of Cronus and Rhea and the eldest Sister of Zeus.  She is a maiden Divinity, Who, when pursued by Apollo and Poseidon, swore to remain a virgin forever.  As a Goddess of the hearth, Hestia is associated with fire.  In the Hellenic tradition, offerings to the Gods were fed to a fire.  She is often invoked first when giving any sacrifices to the Greek Gods by those following this tradition.

I have a statue of Hestia in my living room with an LED candle that I always keep on for Her unless I light a real candle to offer to Her.  I have recently started to leave her a libation of water in the morning which gets poured outside into the garden the next day.  Orphic hymns were often recited as offerings to the Gods. I am going to try to read Her Orphic hymn or write Her a prayer to read to Her in the mornings when I come home from work, before I do my “nightly” devotions at my main altar.  I also offer my cleaning efforts to Hestia.

Note: Below contains some of my UPG.  YMMV.

I’ve been getting a sad feeling of sadness from Her recently.  I don’t know if it is guilt from me neglecting Her or neglecting my house, but I plan to work to change that.  I find Hestia to be a gentle and loving Goddess.  I have heard Her referred to as a loving Aunt by other devotees, and I think this description fits Her.  She inspires me to battle the apathy that comes with my depressions in order to take care of my surroundings.  The chaos around me affects the chaos of my mind, and She wants only peace for me.

Purity, Community, and Magic

As I have mentioned before, I started out approaching my nightly devotions from a Hellenic perspective.  The purification that I do involves khernips.  Some people do khernips a little differently, but for me this consists of washing my faces and hands in water that contains kosher sea salt.  I’m getting the nudge that I should be doing something else.  I usually don’t do a full shower before my devotions because I do the devotions after work/but before bed and my hair just takes too long to blow dry.  I either sleep with a wet head, or I give my hair several hours during the day to dry itself.  Part of this is probably laziness and part is probably the fact that I’m just not very good at that kind of stuff.  My husband jokes that I’m the only person he knows who uses two towels upon leaving the shower but who is still wet when she leaves the bathroom.  Some how, I just never got the hang of drying my hair.  I’m getting a hint, however, that my pre-ritual teeth brushing and khernips (and I always pull my hair back, another ancient Hellenic thing) are not enough.  I feel that I’m supposed to be focusing on purity, so I could totally be wrong by focusing on my purity during my devotions in particular, but it’s my best guess.  My nightly devotions are fairly laid back in general, but I guess I could try taking a shower first and then just tying my wet hair back.  I get that I’m not in my cleanest state after spending each evening in the microbiology section of a medical lab.  Maybe it’s time I start trying to change up my purity routine for devotions.

Another thing that I’ve been feeling nudged on is introducing myself to the Kemetic community.  The fact that it’s a good time to meet people has been coming up a lot in the cards.  I am not good at introducing myself to people, especially people whose practices and insight are way more developed than mine.  I can’t think of anything that I would bring to the relationship, so I just don’t introduce myself.  Have I mentioned that I’m an avoider?  I regularly follow a number of blogs, even before I created this wordpress account.  I set up a Tumblr account just so that I can catch some Djehuty-related information, but I never post or respond on there.  Actually introducing myself and saying “Hey, I think you’re great.  You seem to have solid relationships with your Gods.  I’m still pulling stuff out of my butt and hoping that my responses aren’t just my ego, want to be my friend?” scares the crap out of me.  SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF ME.  Posting on e-Cauldron’s forum took me awhile, but at least that is a forum set-up.  I wasn’t going up to specific people and getting in their space.  I’m not sure how exactly I’m going to go about this.  I told Djehuty that if He could send me a sign to help confirm it was Him, that might be a helpful confidence booster, or even an icebreaker.  I’m not holding my breath, though.  I don’t know anyone well enough to ask for a divination, and I don’t even know how you would divine that.  I just feel poorly prepared to venture out into the Kemetic community.  I did send in my application for the beginner’s class at the House of Netjer (Kemetic Orthodoxy), and I could just hide until that starts in mid-May (assuming I get in).  I have a feeling, however, that I’m supposed to be doing more than that.  Maybe I’ll ask Sekhmet-Mut for a little confidence, send a few e-mails, and then hide in the corner with my computer turned off.  I’ll have to think about it.

I’m trying to figure out if I’m actually being nudged to learn more about magic.  I know approximately nothing about it right now, so I kind of hope I’m not.  I do have to admit, however, that I have asked both Hekate and Djehuty to work with me in general.  Do to my lack of research when I started out, I didn’t even realize that These Two had associations with magic, or if I did I thought they were small.  I’m also wondering if this is somehow tied into the purity thing.  If They do want me to work on the magic thing, They are going to have to be more vocal.  I have other things ahead of it on the waiting list.  That reminds me, I should go work on my meditation for today.  That way I can check something off.

Previous Older Entries