June 19, 2011

Thoughts before the solstice

Posted in Being Kemetic, Netjeru, Tending the Shrine, Thoughts and Reflections at 8:37 pm by

I spent a little time outside today, enjoying the dappled sunlight under the trees, the gentle wind, the sweet, green smell of early summer. It’s nearly the solstice, the peak of the Eye of Ra’s presence before She turns toward the south. And although my Mother isn’t the face of the Eye who departs for other regions, Her presence was strong today as well.

As I sat outside, I was thinking and writing in my journal on what my work for Her truly is. My train of thought was inspired by reading Dver’s blog post on mysticism as vocation. I’m one of those who struggle to balance priest work with the demands of being a home owner and having a full-time job. (I don’t have family commitments to further complicate the issue, fortunately, but I do have four rather demanding furry children, in the persons of my cats.) And I often wonder, should I be making other choices? Is it possible to be a real and proper priest under these conditions, when in ancient times being a priest was a full-time vocation? On top of that, I’ve been badly off-kilter the last few months, wrestling with galloping anxiety that’s affected all aspects of my life, to the point where I was barely functional on any level and was seriously considering leaving the priesthood. But somehow I’ve hung on, and with a new therapy program and medication I’m slowly beginning to regain that precarious balance, and to be able to think again about where and how to best put my energy and attention.

What I hold onto is that Bast seems to be satisfied with my service. There are things that She would like me to do, but as far as the more complicated ones are concerned, She appears content to wait until I get other parts of my life sorted out. And as I’m getting better, my ability to hear Her directives has been improving once more — and this time, so has my will and focus to actually follow them! At least this is some progress on the path.

Speaking of the path, what is it, then, that I need to be doing in order to be Her priest? Trance work, spirit work, oracles and prophecy don’t seem to be my primary tasks. I’ve been through an ordeal of late, which has taught me lasting lessons, but my work isn’t the work of ordeals. I’m not the edgewalker, bridging the liminal gap between worlds. I read the blogs of other people, who do perform such functions, and I sigh with relief: This is someone else’s task, not mine. It’s a good feeling to realize that I don’t have to do everything, that there are many ways to serve as there are practitioners, as many as there are Gods.

So what work does Bast desire of me? Tending this place, my home and Her temple. Making my offerings. Blogging for Her. Lighting candles — bringing the flame into my life, and the sweetness of perfume. Praying for the benefit of others. Bringing Her Name before the ears and eyes of all the people.

The last couple of days, Bast has wanted me to dance in shrine, to be present there in movement and in great joy. This is the most important thing, I think — to move, to live, to love life, to dance to Netjer’s song of creation. And this, I think, I can do — I only have to remember, to open the space in the midst of all the other commitments and complications in my life. If I am truly living, alight with my love for Her and my appreciation of all Her gifts, then I am indeed serving as Her priest. In fact, I can do nothing else.

O Bast, may I live, may I dance for You, may I serve as Your priest in Your temple, now and always!


  1. Soli said,

    June 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Dua Bast!

    I need to reply to Dver’s post, once I sort out my own thoughts. One thing I will say, too many people seem to think of the modern pagan/polytheist priesthood as either fun and games, or something automatic, mostly from the model of Wicca. The only priesthood to which I ever aspire is a priesthood serving my Gods first. It’s not an easy task at all. Your life will be distilled in ways you can never imagine, and it takes a lot to make it through that process. I think it’s too easy for people to have even one slight bump in the road come their way and then say “no, I can’t do this, it’s just too tough, this isn’t that important to my life.”

    (and this was a little disjointed, I will try to pull something more coherent together soon)

  2. Shefyt said,

    June 20, 2011 at 6:41 am

    Zat: I agree; it’s not easy. There’s a reason why, when Bast suggested I should go for Imakhu, my first reaction was, “Oh, fuck no.” But I did it anyway, and I don’t regret it, even when it’s been hard.

  3. Chas said,

    June 22, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    To be a priest is to serve a god/dess. You are doing that. You can do it for yourself, for one or two others, or for a large group.

    To be a minister or pastor is something else all together.

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