April 20, 2014
A closer view.
Here I am being all festive and wearing a seshed-band. Because Wenut told me to.
Dua Wenut! Nekhtet!
A closer view.
Here I am being all festive and wearing a seshed-band. Because Wenut told me to.
Dua Wenut! Nekhtet!
My new state icon has arrived — right on Onion Day! I’m so excited.
These are the three different icons that have been used in my state shrine over the years. The first was the black-and-gold Summit Collection Bast on the left — just resin, and not the lion-Bast that I usually “get,” but this was a good icon for me. On the right is the bronze that I’ve been using lately. It’s a copy of the Bast from my set of Seven Arrows. Lovely, but a little too small. The new one is in the center, striking the balance betwen them.
Here She is in close up.
And a clearer view, taken by the foundry.
She was created by Lena Toritch of Young Fine Art Studio in Salt Lake City. I can definitely recommend Lena’s work!
Dua Bast — nekhtet!
Kissing the ground before Ra and the Eye of Ra:
Hail to You, great ones, who shine in the heavens!
May You be kind to me, may You love me,
may You embrace me in the course of every day.
Today marks the beginning of the fourth and last month of the season of Peret (Growing), and it’s also the beginning of a whole clutch of Bast festivals. Today through March 4 is the Feast of Ra and the Eye of Ra; March 4 is also the much-beloved Day of Chewing Onions for Bast; and March 5 is a Boat Procession of Bast. Add to that the fact that I’m having my annual Onion Day get-together for local House of Netjer members next weekend, and it’ll be a very busy week.
Today I made many offerings: a new candle, lotus incense, and a sun-dried tomato bagel in the morning; flowers at noon; a steak dinner and jewelry (new bracelets and anklets) in the evening; and mint-chocolate-chip cookies for dessert. Tomorrow I plan to work on some heka crafts, and also to go outside and spend some time under Ra’s sky before the oncoming snow storm buries us again.
On Tuesday, Onion Day, I’m planning to offer my “Eye of Ra salad”: greens, onions, oranges, feta cheese, and either chicken or duck. (I had this at a restaurant once, and realized that it was in fact the perfect salad for Her.)
On Tuesday, I’m also expecting to receive my new bronze state shrine icon, which was finished and shipped out last week — synchronistic timing!
Wednesday through Friday I’m taking off work in order to thoroughly spring clean the house before the Onion Day get-together. (Wednesday I’ll probably do something to mark the Boat Procession, though I don’t yet know what.)
And then on Saturday: fellowship, shrine-building and offerings, heka, and a big old bloomin’ onion.
What a week! Dua Ra! Dua Bast!
Daisies — day’s eyes — for Ra and the Eye of Ra.
Writing today, and the Rite, and I came out of the shrine room floating on the squee of my Mother’s love, despite the fact that I hadn’t quite been able to get all of the story babble out of my mind. She understands.
I went to put my jewelry back on, and accidentally (or not) picked up the bracelet that signifies my shrine service to me, along with my Shemsu-Ankh scarab necklace. I haven’t been wearing the bracelet lately, on account of feeling that my service wasn’t all it should be, but in my giddiness I thought, yes, today it seems appropriate, especially since it sort of presented itself to me. I put the scarab necklace down while I put on the bracelet and then my silver pendants. And when I went to pick up the scarab again, and I saw how I’d randomly (or not) put down the necklace. In the shape of a heart.
Hail to You my Mother, Mistress of Joy.
Sharing pizza with the Lord of Storms during the Procession of Set and His Shemsu, on the eve of Winter Storm Hercules.
He got a song, too. (My microphone is still pretty awful; sorry.)
I feel very clear tonight, more so than I have in a long time. I got the balance right today, more or less: morning into afternoon of writing; state rite and some blog catch-up at night; and throughout, plenty of rest and kitty love-loves.
Kneeling before the shrine, it was right, it was good, I was content. And then my mind nearly got away from me, scattering off to make plans for all the many, many things I could potentially spend my gradually improving energy on (crafts! book reviews! buying shiny things for Bast!). But I pulled it back. Not that I’m not ever going to do those things, but — right now I need to be very circumspect, very careful. Let’s make sure I’m balancing these two plates — writing and temple service — consistently before I start trying again to spin a dozen others all at once. And when I do start reaching out, instead of busy, overambitious plans that are likely to overwhelm me before I even start, I want to keep it very simple — just one thing at a time, just what’s right before me in the moment.
I have, not a superstition exactly, but more like a principle, that whatever I spend the turning of the secular year doing will reflect how I spend the rest of the year. I did well this year, I think, writing at the turn of midnight last night and doing just what I wanted to today. So may it continue, and may 2014 be a good year — for all of my readers too, as well as for me.
Happy New Year, and Bast bless!
Around the middle of October, I performed a predawn ritual for the Saq-Khmun festival. The focus of the ritual was on a primordial form of Wenut, Wenut at the time of creation — a UPG/inspiration “discovery,” so I have no idea whether there’s any connection to ancient Kemetic myth or practice, but, well, She is definitely a Force. As I described in the earlier post, the ritual was designed to evoke creative energy and to help me get back to writing. And that energy came, all right, but I made two major mistakes: I didn’t have a specific project in mind into which to channel that energy, just a nebulous desire to do something; and I hadn’t addressed what was blocking me from writing. So there was this tremendous surge of creative force that had nowhere to go. I ended up driving around that afternoon for two aimless hours, then went home and went completely mental for the rest of that month. I’m not terribly proud of that period.
At around the same time as I conceived of the ritual, I commissioned a pair of statues from Nicolas of Shadow of the Sphinx, a primordial Wenut and an apotropaic/Eye of Ra Wenut. It took about a month and a half for us to work out all the details and the statues to be completed; they arrived at the end of November, and on December 1 I welcomed them home with offerings. During the time they were being worked on, I was in a sort of retreat, concentrating on rest and on clearing the way of all kinds of anxiety and overwhelm. By the time they got here, I was poking at some story ideas. And I knew that having invited primordial Wenut into my home, I was going to have to engage with Her power in a more constructive way.
This was confirmed when I did a Wepwawet Stone Oracle reading for myself around the end of November. I’d been having that feeling of being stuck in my life, and I asked Him, What should I do about this? Is there Someone I should talk to? How can I move forward? And the reading…could not have been more explicit if glowing words had appeared on the divining cloth. Only one stone landed in the main part of the cloth: the ben-ben, the primordial mound of creation, face down, signifying blocked creativity, lying where Tefnut and Shu, the heart and the mind, are reunited and seek reconciliation. The other four stones all drift in the Nun, the sea of possibility, not currently manifest: the journey toward sweetness (sun barque near Nefertem), perfection’s becoming (four near Khepera), the constructive engagement with the critic-shadow (ibis face down near ram-headed Ra), the fulfillment of service (copper near Atum).
Well. So that was where I committed myself, that writing had to be my priority. And since then, and since Wenut came home to me, I’ve been working, making real progress for the first time in…I can’t even remember how long.
(When I say “writing,” what I mean is not the songs, the rituals, the blog posts, which are all certainly writing and worthwhile creative endeavors. I mean fiction writing, the dance with the characters, the sharing of their stories, that kind of falling in love.)
I’ve been on part-time priest service for the last couple of months while I figured all of this out. And I’ve been trying to work out where my service is going to go from here.
Even before this whole journey of crash and burn and renewal, I had known this: that if for some reason I could absolutely not do both and had to choose one, writing or priestwork, I would choose writing. Some people would probably say that this makes me a terrible and unworthy priest of Bast. But it is what it is. Bast knows, and She has not ever judged me for this. Writing is my service to Her too; She who subsists on joy is made glad by that which brings me joy.
But I want to try to balance them. I truly do. (And I’m not really sure why it’s so hard.)
So for right now, I’m seeing how well I can maintain with part-time priest service and with intensive writing taking place mainly on the weekends. (Of course, I’m off-pure at the moment, so the balance issue is less immediately pressing.) If I can manage to get back to full-time service that would be a plus, but I’m not going to stress out over it.
I’m looking forward to this upcoming year; I think 2014 is going to be a turn-around point for me. It’s definitely going to be dedicated to finishing at least one novel-length original fiction work. (And some long-abandoned but fun fanfiction works as well.) FYI, I do my writing progress reports and other related babble on my Livejournal, if you’re at all curious, though I only started posting there again recently.
So anyway — here’s to a year of creativity!
Dua Wenut in Your Name of Lady of the First Time! Nekhtet!
My two commissioned Wenut statues. Primordial Wenut: head of a lion, ears of a hare, body of a snake, coiled about the egg of creation. Apotropaic Wenut: lion-headed woman with the ears of a hare, carnelian sun disk, and uraeus, holding a knife. There are more and better pictures at Nicolas’s store. He has done some amazing work, but I think he really outdid himself here.
Shrine for the Feast of the Lioness Goddesses, with steak offering.
A close-up of the statues, taken pre-offering.
At the Procession of Nebt-het earlier this month, each person present drew a ribbon with one of Nebt-het’s names or aspects written on it, as a sort of oracle. Mine was “Lady of Renewal.” I was fortunate enough to win a free painting as part of a promotion for Mythic Curios, and I ended up asking the artist for a meditation on that theme. Here is the lovely result!
This is a funny story from a while back….
My housemate had made an apple pie, and I was offering a slice of it in the State Rite. Suddenly I “hear” Wenut from the Seven Arrows shrine behind me:
Omigod, I want that.
(Of course, Gods don’t actually say “omigod,” but it gives you some idea of the sheer intensity of want.)
So after the Rite, I went and got another piece of pie — the last piece, as it happened — and offered it to Her, which made Her very happy.
All the other Gods in my shrine room: …WE WANT PIE.
(This is where I perform an anime-style facefault.)
And shortly afterward, from my Akhu, when I reverted some of Bast’s offerings to them: We have pie! (said with great glee)
I swear, my shrine room….
So one of these days, I need to get a whole pie and make a general offering of it to everyone in the room. I just hope they don’t stampede and wreck the place.