Boxes

It seems that I need to deal with my past.  This theme has come back to me again and again over my short time as a polytheist.  Having had an overall decent life, I’ve never been sure what exactly I was supposed to address.  I think I have a start.  Boxes.

When I see something that I really like, I tend to hold onto it.  I tend to take on a lot, get fearful that I can’t meet expectations, and then put whatever it is in a box.  Sometimes I’m able to open up the box later and help the thing grow with me.  Other times I just leave it to stagnate because I don’t know what else to do.

I need to start going through my boxes.  Old loves (not people) that I have kept wrapped up because I was too afraid I would break them.  Some I want to make grow, others I can probably chuck as simply a passing fancy.  This theme is not just in my spiritual life (I have a ton of boxes in my basement), but that is where I currently need to address.  My spiritual life has been moving quickly of late, and I’ve started to put things in boxes, hoping that I can take them out later and they’ll be perfect or I’ll be more ready.  Nothing can grow if I put it in a box, and nothing will be useful to me if I cannot let it grow with me.

I need to carefully go through each box one at a time.  Some items might have to stay wrapped up for a bit, but even taking them out for a little light and a spin about will help encourage some growth.  Someone told me recently that our only limitations are those that we impose on ourselves.  I’m not sure I fully agree with this, but it does have a kernel of truth.  I guess it is time for me to start opening boxes.

Edit:  As a complete aside, I had . . . a dream? last night that I was in bed and Odin infused me with some of his energy.  It was too much at first, but then it was amazing.  Whatever it was, it was much better than my nightmares about work.  Weird, huh?

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Beltaine with Prairie Shadow Grove and Other Things

Prairie Shadow Grove is the ADF grove of which I am a member.  We celebrated our Beltaine ritual yesterday.  Our ritual was done honoring the Welsh god and hero Llew Llaw Gyffes.  The ritual was small with only 6 adults in attendance, but it was moving.  The incorporation of chants accompanied by a tin whistle to welcome in the kindreds (the ancestors, the nature spirits, and the gods and goddesses) was truly inspiring.  As with most our groves rituals these days, the offerings were made by the four children in attendance.  Sons and daughters of some of our members, these well behaved little ones ask and our granted the ability to help with the ritual when they so desire.  Although we held the ritual indoors (in a garage space because of the wet weather) we were still able to submit what we wanted to expel from our lives, written on pieces of paper, into a burning bowl.  This echoed the purifying bonfires of the celebrations of old.  As a kemetic, however, it also reminded me of execrations.  Aside from burning a bit of my thumbnail, I would say it went well indeed.

The food was delicious as always.  I usually bring something store bought, but my fellow grove members are incredible cooks.  I definitely had a few helpings.  We had a raffle to raise some money for our newly designated grove.  I walked away with both presents from friends and prizes from the raffle.  One of the raffle prizes that I won is a book called The Reluctant Empath.  I have been asked before if I am an empath, and I always go back and forth with this question.  My true answer is that I simply do not know.  I feel things, but determining whether it’s due to empathic abilities, bipolar anomalies, or some other source is something I’m not able to do yet with confidence.

I know that my gods want me to trust my intuition more.  I will continue to try doing so.  As work has becoming busier and more emotionally exhausting of late, I need to work on grounding during it.  I can’t leave early every night because I’m emotionally exhausted.  I need to work on ridding myself of the extra emotions that I’ve gathered, whether from me or from others.

A friend gave me a statue of Odin, which is now on my altar.  Another friend gave me a few books on fairies.  I feel that at some point I may be working with these creatures, though I know I’m not ready to do so yet.  I have much to learn.

Several of my fellow grove members and my friends outside the grove are not artistically inclined.  I am not.  However, I see the power of doing art as a devotional act.  Many of my friends have been making prayer beads of late for their gods.  I think this is a doable project that I could start with.  I joined the ADF Artisans Guild to help inspire me to create.  There is something special to creating things yourself.

I joined a number of ADF groups recently to learn and grow.  I am still pursuing my dedicant’s path.  As I become more active in my grove, I want to become more active in the organization itself.  I desperately want to take advantage of some of their learning programs.  I must do the dedicant’s path first, however.  I think laying out my progress during my grove’s monthly meetings will help to encourage me to forge ahead.  Our Grove’s Senior Druid, who recently became clergy, is very inspiring.  I hope to some day become at least somewhat as success in leadership and scholarly programs as she is.  Everything takes time.  I have to be willing to put in the time to reap the benefits.  Wish me luck!

A Kemetic Journey: A Kemetic Round Table Entry

Kemeticism as a journey- how has your practice changed since you started out? How did you find your place within the Kemetic sphere? Are there things you do now that you didn’t then? Things you weren’t expecting? What have you learned through trial and error that newbs may find helpful or useful?
This post goes along with the Kemetic Round Table, which can be found here. This is my first try at writing for KRT, so please judge me gently.

I start practicing Kemeticism about a year and half ago. Much has changed since then. I’ve developed somewhat deep relationships with Sekhmet and Djehuty. My library of books on Ancient Egypt has grown immensely. I don’t have a godphone, though I have become “god-bothered.” I still read a number of blogs by Kemetics. At times, I still feel like my practice doesn’t line up with theirs. It doesn’t. It doesn’t have to match. I can learn a lot from other practitioners even if we have differences. I am working on embracing my viewpoint within the Kemetic community. No one has to agree with me, but my opinion is important. Learning to let go of others’ standards has been difficult for me. It is important for my growth, however, so I will continue to work on it.

In the beginning of my practice, I was extremely focused on rituals. I like rituals, so this was good for me. It helped me to start relationships with the gods. I fell away from the ritual practice somewhat as my relationships with my gods grew deeper and other things were required from me. Now it is time for me to return to ritual with a deeper love for the gods. Ritual is only one way to connect with the gods, but it is an important one for me. I started out creating my own small rituals from scratch. Now I am learning how to build upon the rituals of others.

My practice is expanding, but fear is holding me back. I am not afraid of the gods, but I am a bit hesitant to invest myself fully into such unknown relationships. When I started, I wanted a godphone so badly. Although some days I still think it would be nice, I realize that there are other ways that the gods can communicate with me. I’ve discounted my intuition in the past, but it is one of my strongest allies. Sometimes I just know what the gods want, even if I don’t want to admit it to myself. Other times, I don’t think even a godphone would help me figure it out.

I mentioned fear. Right now I’m a bit stuck. I can’t move backwards, and I don’t want to. Moving forwards, however, is scary. Part of loving anyone, corporeal or not, is giving up a bit of control. You don’t have to give up all control, and I don’t recommend that most people do. However, you have to give up some control and begin to trust. I need to trust the gods that I choose to follow that in the end I will come out a better person. This doesn’t mean following them blindly, but it does mean venturing into the unknown. I’m not good at trusting with my heart. I have put up many walls to protect myself. I am slowly working on taking some down.

I have learned the importance of ma’at in Kemeticism. In the beginning, I thought Kemeticism was all about the gods. It isn’t. Kemeticism is about living in ma’at and fighting isfet. Both of these concepts are action oriented. I am striving to better understand the concept of ma’at and the little ways in which I can contribute. I am also learning that fighting isfet through execrations is something I want to incorporate in to my practice.

My practice may have hit a speed bump, but that doesn’t make it any less valid or make me any less of a Kemetic. Kemeticism is not the only part of my spiritual journey, but it affects how I see the world. It affects how I view other religions and approach other gods. It is a part of my life, both religious and mundane. Just because my rituals or prayers might not be up to my own standards at present doesn’t make me a bad practioner. It means I’m growing. My standards have changed and what I need has changed.

The two most helpful things to my growth has been reading and finding a supportive online community. Books and blogs are wonderful resources. Books give me the historical perspective, while blogs show me some of the different ways that people are practicing Kemeticism. I’ve gotten good ideas from both. The important thing is to realize that your practice is not going to match up exactly with the next person, but you can still learn from them. The people that I know might practice differently, but they support me in my practice. There are many resources available and people willing to help those looking to develop a Kemetic practice. They are there for anyone who is willing to look.

A Blot and Sumbel, an Execration, and Finding My Homes

I attended my second blot and sumbel with Nebraska Heathens United on Saturday. It was amazing and very interactive. Next time, however, I need to make sure I drink some water after I’ve had the mead. ~_^ My friend performed seidhr. It was her first experience as a public oracle, and she did an amazing job. I finally got a straightforward answer from Odin. I’ve been wondering what he wants from me. I had been told that I already knew and was just ignoring it. That was true. The answer I received during the seidhr confirmed what I had been ignoring from my heart. I’m not sure how I’m going to do it, or how I’m going to fit it in with my love for and practice of kemeticism. I feel as if I’ve been growing towards leadership. The way I answer questions and respond to situations still needs some work, but I am becoming more direct and decisive with each passing day. I’ve never really thought about myself as a leader. A support role or even a loner role is what I’m most familiar with. I still have to come out of my shell more and make a concerted effort to get to know people. Opening myself up more is something that I’ve need to work on for a while. I’ve been putting it off, taking shelter with those whom I already know well. It is time to start branching out. It is time to make myself heard.

Saturday was also the new moon. Some of the kemetics on tumblr came up with the idea of performing an execration every new moon, called “Poopacolypse 2k15” to fight A/pep and uphold ma’at. I am proud to say that I finally participated this new moon, and I plan on participating the rest of the year. Watching the bonfire burn after the sumbel, it hit me that I needed to execrate. Since that wasn’t the place to do it, I waited until I got home and then did some burning of my own. Execrations have never been a big part of my practice, but I feel it is becoming a permanent part.

I have been neglecting my ancestors. I have been avoiding my altars and shrines in general because I have been feeling that I won’t be doing enough. This is a silly feeling. The Gods have made that clear to me. Yet it is a feeling that I will have to work through all the same. I talk to my ancestors somewhat, and they still help me, but I know that I am shirking my duties in honoring them. I want to form a strong bond with them, however, so I need to work through my fears of not being perfect. Trying and failing is better than not trying at all in this particular case.

Here I am, a person with at least two religious homes. Both heathenry and kemeticism feel natural to me, though for very different reasons. I’ve always identified with the liminal, so perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise. I will have to see where the future takes me. I oathed to study runes at the sumbel. I have a pile of books on Ancient Egypt that I want to get through. I would like to complete the dedicant’s path in ADF by the middle of next year. I also have some things to learn about Wicca and Witchcraft in general. It is all interconnected in some way. In the last two years I have made a great deal of progress. It is still slow going, especially since I still have mood swings to deal with, but at least I feel like I’m headed somewhere.

Odin, ADF, My Schedule, Intuition

Odin has been a definite presence in my life of late.  I feel drawn to him.  I am hesitant delve deeply into a relationship with him because I know that he asks a great deal from his followers.  I want to let go and immerse myself.  My kemetic gods are supportive, but they also want me to be careful.  Djehuty doesn’t want me to be completely owned by Odin.  Sekhmet is worried that I will need a lot of healing when I am done working with him.  However, they are still supportive of my interest and wish me the best.  I am still kemetic, but I am also now exploring heathenry.  I prefer to honor the gods in their own ways.  I know that I am supposed to learn independence from the heathen gods.  I also know that goal probably involves some painful lessons.  As someone who doesn’t like pain, I’ve been avoiding asking for lessons.  However, it is time to move forward.  I want to move forward.

I went to a day long ADF festival in Topeka, Kansas, last Saturday.  The head of my local grove was ordained as official clergy.  The grounds were gorgeous with blooming tulips and a large lake.  There was a discussion on theology, a discussion on mindfulness, and a panel by the heads of different groves.  It reminded me how much I love festivals and how much I can learn from ADF.  I want to finish the initial self study program for ADF so that I can take advantage of other classes.  It was very motivating to see all the hard work of my grove leader pay off in her ordination.  I don’t think I am meant to be ADF clergy, but I do feel that moving forward in the organization would help me grow overall.

My schedule is busy these days.  I’m not complaining.  I enjoy having so many religious functions to attend.  I attend an educational session with the Order of the Red Grail on the first Saturday in April.  Then next Saturday was the ADF festival.  This Saturday is a private blot and sumbel that I’ve been invited to attend.  The following Saturday is our local grove’s Beltane ritual.  It is good for me to get out and participate.  Hopefully it will help me to make new friends and break down some of the walls that I’ve built around myself.  It is also good to see how different organizations are structured and run.  If I do decide to try to start a local kemetic group, I will need all of the information that I can get about the different ways to set up and run an organization.

I haven’t spent much time at my shrines or altar recently.  I’ve been worried that if I honor one god or pantheon then the other gods will be upset.  It is a silly worry.  My gods have been supportive of my differing interests.  I need to get back into the habit of a daily routine.  I miss it.  I still talk to my gods on a daily basis, but it is not the same as spending time in shrine.  I’m starting to get back into doing divination for myself.  It has always been my way of communicating with the gods, but I’ve felt unequal to it lately.  I’ve been very dependent on other people’s divination.  Their divination has been wonderful and enlightening, but I need to renew my faith in myself.  I need to trust my intuition.  It has carried me this far.  Along with the gods, it will take me to my goals.

Bipolar Ramblings

It has come up a lot over the past few years in readings done by people whom I don’t know that who I am and what I project are two very different things.  I am not sure how to change this.  I am slowly trying to break down the walls that I have built over the years.  As with most people, there has always been stress to meet certain expectations of others.  I am slowly trying to find myself again, but it is difficult.

I thought I had a life path all figured out, but it went down the drain when my bipolar disorder became too overwhelming.  I picked up some bad habits with negative thinking, fear of failure and fear of success.  Although I have been feeling better recently, my fears have kept me locked in a rut.  I am moving forward, but it is slow and painful.  I’m fighting myself.

In kemeticism, there is a concept called Zep Tepi.  It is a new beginning.  You can find Zep Tepi in every day, every second.  You can and are constantly starting anew.  I need to remember this.  I need to let go of the stagnation, the shame of the past, and the fear of the future.  I need to focus on the now and be mindful.  I need to trust my intuition.  The most important thing for me, however, is to accept happiness.  I have experienced such deep lows that I am afraid to be happy.  I feel undeserving.  I also feel that if I let myself be happy then the drop to depression will be more severe.  This is not to say that I don’t enjoy things, but I do tend to sabotage my chances at harmony and consistent happiness.  I find a great deal of happiness in my relationships with my gods.  I need to focus on what I need and what I want.  I need to celebrate my joy.