March 22, 2012

F is for fighting

Posted in Pagan Blog Project 2012 at 2:05 pm by

For the Pagan Blog Project:


As for the mountain of Bakhu on which the sky rests, it is in the east of the sky….

A serpent is on the top of that mountain; it is thirty cubits long. Eight cubits of its forepart are of flint, and its teeth gleam….

Now after a while he will turn his eye against Re, and a stoppage will occur in the Sacred Bark and a great vision among the crew, for he will swallow up seven cubits of the great waters; Seth will project a lance of iron against him and will make him vomit up all that he has swallowed.

— Spell 108, The Book of Going Forth by Day


“Mama, I don’t think I can do this.”

I’m prostrated in front of my shrine, my face buried in a pillow. I’ve found that it helps to cover my eyes when I’m in the midst of an anxiety attack — if I can’t see anything, I’m less likely to be triggered. But the nonstop circling rush of thoughts continues.

I don’t want to do the Rite — I want to but it’s too hard — this wall I can’t break through — something’s wrong with me — I need to take a break — maybe I could go back to part-time priesthood — that’s bullshit, I’m just slacking, weak, lazy, there’s no real reason I can’t do my daily service — I’m a priest, I can’t just tend the God when it’s easy or convenient — come on, come on, come on, fuck, get up — I’m a failure — oh, Mama — how can I be Your Eye in this world? —

And then the stunner, the paralyzing thought that stops my breath, that brings everything to a jarring halt:

If I don’t, does that serve the Uncreated?

It’s too much for me, that horror running up against the implacable wall of inertia. Silence then, the leaden weight of despair, of nothingness, as I lie face down on the floor of the shrine room.

It’s not determination that gets me up at last. It’s not courage, or duty, or defiance, or the vows I’ve spoken. In the midst of that utter silence, from out of nowhere, I remember: warmth. The memory of quiet joy, the heart opening as I kneel to light the candle and begin the Rite. That tiny, glowing, melting flame alive inside my chest, a sphere of pale, shining gold in deepest darkness. And in the darkness, all I am is that little flame.

It’s the thought of that joy that lifts me to my knees, and then to my feet. After the anxiety and the depression, after the bitter strife, after the tearing anguish and the heart-eating rage, like hope at the bottom of Pandora’s box, somehow joy remains. I don’t know how or why. It’s not something I’ve earned — nothing in this fight against myself has won me the gift of joy. I’ve only battled myself to exhaustion, defeat, and collapse. And yet, at the end of the war, amid the desolation, that single flower blooms, small and simple, but exquisite.

This is what is left when I have nothing left.

This must be Grace.

And perhaps this is why, that time when I asked Set for strength, He turned me back toward my Mother. The strength of iron, resistant and unyielding, doesn’t serve me well. Instead, the strength to dance, to fall, to bow and stretch, to release, and to be still, waiting for the moment — this is what She teaches.

I kiss my fingertips to the shrine, then turn to collect my W’ab bowl and prepare for the purification.

Hail to You, Bast, most beautiful Lady of Grace. Thank You.


  1. helms said,

    March 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Shefyt- this is stunning and inspiring. Thank-you.

  2. Kiya Nicoll said,

    March 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Neb.y Set said to me once, “Fear is how we measure ourselves.”

    There is the thing we conquer. The thing we meet. The thing that we struggle to overcome. The thing that, in the end, is too much to face. This is the scale that we have, in the end.

    But here: you measure yourself against the Uncreated, and you are the greater.

  3. Emky said,

    March 22, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    This is incredibly touching and meaningful. Thank you for writing this.

  4. Link: F is for Fighting | Kemetic Reconnaissance said,

    March 23, 2012 at 11:50 am

    […] F is for Fighting […]

  5. RaasAlHayya said,

    March 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    This is inspiring…thank you for sharing your story!

  6. Soli said,

    March 24, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Blessings to you, sis.

  7. Anonymous said,

    March 24, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Very inspiring. : )

  8. Gold of the Valley, Lapis of the River » Falling into Fallow Times said,

    February 22, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    […] at last my brain shuts down, and I collapse. In my exhaustion, I give up the fighting, let go of the fear of success and failure, of right and wrong paths, of all the potential […]

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