April 9, 2012

Windsong and words

Posted in On Writing, Stalking Beauty, The Wild Sky at 11:51 am by

I love to hear the wind whistle outside my office window, to see the blowing cherry petals flashing bright-dark-bright against the eggshell blue sky and the few slowly sailing, fray-edged clouds. If I lean forward at my computer, I can see an arch of the weeping cherry itself, the branches lashing like horse tails and then falling still, the flowers catching light. The wind flutes again, long notes like a Japanese shakuhachi; something about the angle of the corners or the windows here bows it, makes it sing.

A tiny dark spot moving across a cloud, impossibly high — a bird? I glimpse something golden that might be sun on wings, and then it leaves the cloud’s face and I lose it against the blue.

Another cloud growing larger, growing closer, almost seeming to descend as it fills my window, as if it were about to collide with the building…and then it passes over and is gone.

Now my office mate has her window open, the blind flapping, and I can feel the wind as well for a few moments before the blind flies up suddenly on a strong gust, and she hurries to close it again —

— * —

So I went out for a walk over my lunch hour (the wind was too much to resist), around the athletic fields, picking my way through drifts of violets, the sun’s warmth coming and going on my skin — walking into the wind, spreading my fingers like flight feathers and feeling the air curl around and behind them to lick against my palms. Feeling as if I could lift off and fly.

Walk, my Mother urges me. Write. Again and again. The things that I know are good for me, that lift me out of anxiety and depression. That turned my weekend around, from apathy and exhaustion to engaged activity. Clothes sorted, yard work accomplished, blog posts made, weekly offerings and prayers presented, and all because I put pen to paper and let the words flow, because I got outside, into the open air, beneath the sky. Breath of the wind and breath of the words, both raise me up, both raise up my heart.

O Bast, may I remember. The wind. The words. This wonder.

December 14, 2011

Ten Days of Joy (2011): Day Three

Posted in Ten Days of Joy, The Wild Sky at 3:35 pm by

Today’s joy: Standing outside at 5:00 in the morning, transfixed by beauty — watching the moon soar in a ring of rainbow haze, the thinnest plumes of cloud passing before His face.

Dua Khonsu-Heru, son of Bast, sailing in glory!

June 10, 2011

Fire in the west

Posted in Netjeru, The Wild Sky at 7:26 pm by

Last night, the drive home in a thunderstorm, the sky above dark rosy gray, split by threads of lightning, and in the west the eye of the sun blazing red through the clouds, turning them to carnelian: the fire of the goddess, dangerous, fierce, and fulfilled. Tonight, strong heka: a silver bowl filled with white sand, with flame and incense, words spoken ringing to the sky. It’s time for change.

O Bast, put your Strength into me, send Your strength into me, may I live in Your gaze, in the sight of the Eye of Ra. Dua Bast!

February 14, 2011

The breath of the Great Ram

Posted in Netjeru, The Wild Sky at 10:20 pm by

Another extraordinary sky this morning, a fleece-soft blanket of orange-rose drawn across half the heavens, patterned in cloud bands and wisps of vapor, shifting later to become the crisp blue clarity of a sunny near-spring day. The snow has already drawn back in places to reveal damp earth and flattened grass, a hint of yielding underfoot as the ground begins to thaw, and one can feel life force starting to move, the grip of winter’s stasis gradually weakening. This evening the wind has picked up sharply, blowing with fierce exuberance, and in the moving air, in the excitement and gathering energy of spring’s promise, the Great Ram tosses His head and ramps, exulting in the vigor of His own surging energy.

In my efforts to deepen my connections with my various deities, I’ve been experimenting with setting a monthly focus. The traditional Kemetic calendar dedicates each month to one or two Gods, but the relationship between God(s) and month and among the Gods themselves has been obscure to me. (My guess is that it reflects some balance of regional or political influence specific to the ancient Two Lands.) For my own personal practice, then, I’ve selected a God or group of Gods that mesh with either my experience of the month in question or my special relationships within the Kemetic pantheon.

The God of this month is Heryshef; I made offerings on His festival (which is definitely becoming a regular and favorite event), and I plan to honor Him again at the full moon this Friday. This list of monthly Gods is very much a work in progress — Heryshef is the first one I’ve celebrated, but He certainly has been making His presence (and His appropriateness) felt!

Tonight, guided by Bast, I made spontaneous offerings of flame, incense, and cool water to Her Seven Arrows, and Heryshef was there as well, his image anchoring the back of the shrine while Nefertem’s bouquet of flowers held the front.

O beautiful Ram Who lives in beauty, Whose breath is the wind that stirs the trees, Whose face gazes down from amidst the clouds, Whose hooves tread the icy snowmelt into fertile mud, may You bring life for us all! Dua Heryshef! Nekhtet!

December 29, 2010

In all Their Names

Posted in Netjeru, Stalking Beauty, The Wild Sky at 9:37 pm by

On Monday, shoveling my driveway after the season’s first blizzard, I paused to look up into a sky of the most extraordinary blue, only a couple of shades lighter than lapis. I murmured a prayer to Hethert, the Lady of Heaven. Only a moment or two later, I glanced up again to see a hawk riding the tumbling currents of the air, the pale undersides of its wings flashing as they flared first to one side and then the other, like a dancer’s fans.

Dua to Heru, dwelling in joy in His House; dua to She Who Takes Wing as the Female Falcon.

Yesterday, as I was driving to work in the morning, the sky was overcast with rumpled red clouds, like a sailor’s warning. The sun hadn’t yet risen, when from behind the eastern horizon a pillar of red light reared upward, striking across the face of those clouds like a searchlight’s beam.

Dua to Ra in His sun barque; dua to Set standing upon the prow, spear raised against the uncreated one.

This afternoon, on the way to order more tile for the ongoing bathroom project, I was stopped at a traffic signal, and the westering sun blazed in through my car’s rear window, pouring the warm beauty of its light across my dashboard. I reached out to cup a handful of gold.

Dua to Tem in His completeness; dua to the Peaceful One, His firstborn Daughter.

Hail and praise to all the Gods, who ensoul the world.

Dua Netjer! Nekhtet!

December 15, 2010

Ten days of joy (2010): Day 2

Posted in Stalking Beauty, Ten Days of Joy, The Wild Sky at 7:54 pm by

Today’s joy was the sudden touch of sunrise light falling on my face — both the simple beauty of it, and the wonder of its uniqueness. Every morning on the drive to work is different — sometimes gray, sometimes gold, sometimes silvery pale, sometimes struck with piercing brilliance or with flushes of deep, vivid color — transforming the daily commuting routine into a celebration, a meditation. Every day is Netjer’s gift.

Dua Netjer! Dua Bast! Nekhtet!

October 7, 2010

Driving the river road

Posted in The Wild Sky, Thoughts and Reflections at 9:09 pm by

Today was such a beautiful day, I decided to take the back way home. I love that moment when I make the turn from the main road, and suddenly the sky opens up wide above the trees and the roadside weeds. The clouds sit seemingly motionless, suspended in the sky, like some perfect cloud-tableau. I can imagine how they might feel underneath my hands, cool, silken-wet, evanescent, and I’m a little bit high, driving with my head in the clouds, or the clouds in my head. All the traffic falls away before and behind me, and there’s just me and the road as it bends with the winding river, pale sunlight streaking the pavement, falling in between the trees, the floodplain grasses rippling delicately, shimmering, and the sky almost too real overhead.

Someday peak oil, or old age, or any of a hundred other changes in life circumstances may make this drive unthinkable, a dream of a vanished past. But in the moment, none of that matters — only the light and the movement and the ecstasy of the endless reaches of the air. And maybe in some way that moment, remembered, will live forever — somewhere in djet, eternal time, I’ll forever be taking that curve toward the river under the brilliant sky of an autumn afternoon.

O Heru, You of the restored Eye, may You spread Your cloud-painted wings out over us. May we live in freedom and wholeness, forever and ever.

October 3, 2010

The Gods in glory

Posted in The Wild Sky at 9:50 pm by

Sunset Super-8 motel

As I was leaving the gym one evening last week, just getting back to my exercise habit after letting it lapse for most of the summer, the sky was an extraordinary spectacle, as if the Gods themselves were in procession, slow-moving sails of cloud-veil against a backdrop of palest blue and gold. And as I drove home, the glory of the sky only deepened and intensified: darkening bands of rose, orange, and purple as the sun sank into the West and night began to spread over the land. Such awe-inspiring beauty that I could only stare in utter delight, trying to drive and drink it all in at the same time.

In the uplift of the endorphin high and the satisfaction of finally overcoming my inertia, it was as if the Gods were rejoicing along with me. And indeed, perhaps they were.

Dua Atum, resplendent at the close of day, lord of satisfaction! You are at peace, you are at peace; may I too be at peace.

Photo of the Super 8 Motel (formerly owned by the Ivory Tower Motor Inn chain) and Route 202 overpass against the sunset sky, taken from my car while trying to pull out into the Somerville Circle — which I definitely don’t recommend and don’t plan to do again.

August 22, 2010

Rain and fire

Posted in The Wild Sky, Thoughts and Reflections at 9:40 pm by

Rain gold skyRain all day today, drenching at times, so for the most part I did indoor things: dusting and vacuuming the shrine room, making my weekly offerings, catching up on the House boards and reorganizing my email accounts. A good day, a gentle day — not the most productive ever, but peaceful. Among other things, I finally set up my shrine to the God of the season, Ra, which was long overdue.

In the late afternoon, though the rain kept on unabated, the sun came out, a transfiguring golden light washing over everything, filtered through the watery air. The photo does no justice to it, that heart-stopping luminosity like a glimpse of another, transcendent world, although you can catch a trace of the mystery: the mist, the shimmering rain drops, the sun dazzling through the curtain of trees in the west.

The candles glow in the shrine room; born from the flood, Ra burns with a soft, numinous flame; and my year of beginnings is finally ready to begin.

Dua Ra! O Shining One, hail and praise to You!

May 28, 2010

She Who roars

Posted in Netjeru, Rituals, Songs, Poetry, and Prayers, The Wild Sky at 7:50 am by

Last night, driving home from the gym after work: the windows rolled down in the unexpected coolness of the evening, honeysuckle perfume like the scent of incense layering the air, the horizon ahead dark with stormclouds, like driving into a steadily deepening twilight — and suddenly, Tefnut, lynx-eyed and watchful, powerful, awesome in Her presence in the gathering storm. I’d never thought of Her in connection to storms before — typically that association belongs to Set — but there She was. Maybe it was something about the closeness of the storm: the very low, dark clouds, the cool, flower-scented breeze presaging a humidity-breaking change of weather, the looming shadow of the approaching rain.

And as the storm broke it made me think of the meeting of the Distant Goddess and the one Who seeks Her, of Tefnut and Shu (or Mehyt and Anhur). The wrathful, growling Goddess, the charged air finding its release in the flashes of lightning, like the flash of fiery claws, and then the slow quieting toward Her pacification as the rain falls — the thunderstorm as an encounter, as a love story, both intimate and glorious.

Dua Tefnut! O You Who roar, You are in the living breath of the wind, You are in the night-black shadows beneath the trees, You are in the burning river of gold, the lightning that splits the gray-green sky, turning it to amethyst and rose. Your feet are upon the earth while Your mighty voice resounds in heaven. O Tefnut, release Your waters! May You be at peace, may You come in peace for me — may Shu’s love pacify You, may the cool water and the bright flame pacify You, O Beautiful One Who lives in beauty, O Terrifying One Who is soothed by love.

Dua Tefnut! Nekhtet!