A Personal Consideration

Since I was young I liked my hair. Barrettes, bandanas, hair pins. If I could convince my mother that it was worth her arm strength and time, I got her to do my hair with decoration. I still like decoration, but I do my own hair now and realize the heroic efforts she went through.

Something I never did tell anyone was that I liked covering my hair too. Bandanas were a fan favorite, especially in middle school when I really didn’t know how to handle my hair and was often too lazy to bother with it. Whether I had braids or plaits, a ponytail or had it out, I liked to pin my hair up and back or cover it. When I got older I started to notice others covering their hair too. Of course, most were doing it for religious reasons, but their scarves and hijab were cute and chic.

I never thought much about how or why I’d like to cover my hair. Now I know more. It’s cute and fun, or it looks that way to me and I’ve always covered my hair for those reasons (or to hide a bad or lazy hair day). I’ve covered once or twice for religious purposes, after all long, curly hair can get in your way and isn’t safe when working with candles. I liked it the couple times I did it. I see more examples, cultural and religious, and love it more. For the most part I really can’t explain why I have this affection and desire to cover. None of my gods have asked for it (though they also aren’t opposed) and I don’t really have a moral imperative since I dress modestly and behave similarly as a personal affect. Still, I have certainly seen many fashionable and beautiful styles and have been learning more about the religious and cultural reasons that people cover their hair.

My only hesitation is others. Non-religious covering, especially cultural or “random” covering, is largely ignored and therefore unknown as a thing in America. More than enough people don’t even know that it isn’t just Muslims who cover. Really I just don’t want to explain myself to anyone but Z and my sister about why I’ve got on a head covering. Especially my grandparents, who don’t even know I’m not Christian anymore.

I think covering would be fun, except perhaps figuring out what to do with my hair beneath it, but then again I barely know what to do with it any other time so it won’t be much of a change. I also think it would be nice to do to protect myself from the energy of others. As a public transiter I find my personal space squished and smushed as well as other auras and energies barging into mine. I’m still fairly bad at shielding and warding my person (though I can ward others and places just fine), and it could be a nice experiment. I got that idea from someone else by the way. On another note, I think it could potentially help ease my crowd anxiety. I’ve been accosted a few times in public and I have issues with intrusive, repetitive thoughts. I like light, close things, they are calming to me, hence my love of hugs from people I associate as protective.

While we’re on the topic of hair, I want to get mine cut fairly short. It’s currently mid-back to waist length and I’ve never had it short. It’s quite curly so I can’t look to my twin who has shoulder length hair but a completely different texture. Really I’d like mine to be chin-length. That’s quite a difference for me. I likely will start with shoulder length to get an idea for how it will behave. I’m looking forward to that change.

Things Suck

I feel like writing right now. Things are going, interestingly in my life. Kali has staked a claim, Anpu maintains his, and whether or not Kebechet and Aset stick around is still up for grabs. School is set to start in September and I’m registered for classes, and I still haven’t decided what nursing school I want to go to. The reason that’s important is because some school have a spring semester deadline and i need to make sure to apply. In other news my bathroom and kitchen ceilings got rained down. Today and yesterday (as well as last week) there were torrential downpours and it finally fucked the roof last night. I am not looking forward to cleaning my bathroom of the foul water that sluiced through the ceiling vent. And yes it was necessary for me to say sluiced.

I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I’m stressed. I can’t even sleep in my bed because the bathroom is disgusting, so I’m at my grandfather’s. On top of that, Z is struggling. His job is really sucking the life out of him. I’ve been praying, he’s been praying, others have been praying for us, and he’s been searching hard for a new job. Yet no dice. It’s incredibly frustrating. He’s becoming depressed, though he would likely deny it, but I know the signs. What do we have to do to get a little luck around here? I can’t even make offerings and pray at my shrine. This sucks.

 

Why Priesthood is Pointless

Originally posted on The Twisted Rope:

It seems like discussion about priesthood is an almost yearly thing. That at least during some point of the calendar year, we Kemetics feel obligated to discuss what on earth it means to be a priest, and how we can define it, how do we know who is a priest and who isn’t… and and and. And every year, we kick the idea around for a bit, realize we don’t really have any answers…. and we put it back up on a shelf to stare at until next year. I’m not sure what causes this revolving door to occur, but if you sit around long enough on various non-temple affiliated forums, you’ll find that it crops up almost like clock work.

The debates that arise from discussing what is necessary for priesthood can get pretty heavy. There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to clergy…

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Regarding Spiritual Arrogance & Racism

Originally posted on Fanny Fae:

arrogance“Do not be arrogant because of your knowledge, but confer with the ignorant man as with the learned for the limit of skill (art) has not been attained, and there is no craftsman who has fully acquired his mastery.”  - The Maxims of PtahHotep

Sooner or later, we all have to come face to face with the spiritually arrogant.  It may very well be, that we ourselves have bouts of spiritual arrogance of our own to contend with.  It can be as simple as looking down our noses as to why we are right in our beliefs and the other party or parties are wrong.  The whole phrase, “Religious tolerance”,  is not the same as religious acceptance.   Tolerance infers that we are putting up with something, and yet all the time view our way as being superior.  Acceptance means that we can accept the differences in how others do things…

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Broken

I used to fly on gossamer wings of ice
Until the sun struck me down.
It cut me open and watched my heart bleed
On the sky, the clouds, the wind.

It wove my life into ruby vines
That touched a golden ocean,
And stained the cerulean fibers
Various shades of purple.

The clouds were dipped into the paint
The paint that was my soul
And now their wispy forms are red and blue
And gold.

I fell to earth and shattered,
My wings of ice destroyed
And everything about me torn out and used as toys.

Brutal god of wonder
Vicious god of light
How cruel you are to rob me of my flight.

Too Much, Not Enough

Yesterday was a busy day intellectually for me. Interesting things were read, interesting things were discussed. It makes me wonder if I’m trying to do too much, or if I’m not doing enough. What started this cascade of thinking was this post by Briar on The Jackal’s Dance. I had come to wordpress to write a post musing on the implications of finding too much reality in your fiction and saw her post. I jumped right on it since I have a bad habit of not checking my reader enough. Her post punched me in the limbic system and I stared at it for a few minutes, wondering what the heck I was supposed to do with it. All I could think for those minutes was “why is your post in my head!”

It stomped all over exactly what my problem has been for these last two years (holy shit it really has been that long hasn’t it?). Worry, comparison, looking for too much to do and not enough at what I needed. Briar’s post is about her dealing with the thought that maybe she’s not supposed to get special work, and being ok with that. Not everyone is going to look like Devo or Aubs, who not only have a lot of work but different gods.

Then came the flailing about what he wanted from me.  Loving myself, loving him, the poetry–that was all good, but wasn’t there Work of some kind?  Work that would go back to the Kemetic community–was I meant to be a priestess, or divination worker, or [insert role here]…something?

“Loving yourself is work enough,” Anubis would tell me.  “Don’t model you relationship with me after others’.  Those others are not you.”

-Quoted from The Jackal’s Dance

This particular part of her post is really what resonated with me. All of my pagan friends have Work. Or at least, the ones I talk to the most and consider my mentors do. So, naturally, I wanted work too. It’s like being the four year old little sister, you follow your big sisters around, trying to do what they’re doing. I poked and prodded and whined until something was given to me, and it isn’t really going anywhere. Perhaps it’s not going anywhere because it isn’t really meant for me, at least not yet. I’ve been feeling like I’ve missed points for a while now, like I’m lacking something. I always figured it was Work, something to do, but now it seems like I’m missing the point that something to do is just as likely to be devotion.

I’ve been slowly reading the book What is Hinduism? by the Himalayan Academy. In case anyone missed the memo, Kali has come calling, banging on the door. Anpu let her in, which is fine, the only reason I avoided the Hindu pantheon is out of worry that I’d be disrespectful to the people who worship those gods and to the gods themselves. Either she’s more patient than I expected or Anpu is a hell of a diplomat (I’m wagering both, but especially the latter) but she has insisted I learn. The book talks about the four major sects and some of the yogas, including bhakti. Right now I’m only on chapter 3, which discusses the nature of god, the soul and moksha. I actually asked myself what I was aiming for, in general. I wasn’t aiming for any of this stuff was I? This complicated mess of Work and community and such? Was I even aiming for moksha? No, I really wasn’t, I just didn’t want to feel left out and lonely, a problem I’ve had for years. An unnecessary fear, because my friends are cooler and more loving than that.

I think, also, that I’m worried I’m not doing enough. I’m not looking for drama or spectacular stunts. Nor am I seeking praise or status. I just want to feel like I’m actually doing something to please them, and I was taught to please a god you do more than just worship. There’s jobs to do, there’s stuff to get done and you’re supposed to ask for it. Not getting it usually means a shortcoming of some kind, either you’re not ready (technically not in itself a shortcoming), or some other problem. I don’t know. But, thinking on it, most people are not priests or holy women or anything special, they just do what they can and devote themselves how they will. Ma’at is not all about the fancy rites and special heka, right action comes in little things too. Devotion to the gods is just as important on the small scale. Though I still feel like I’d like a job to do, I need to take a page from Briar, and just focus on me and my relationship to the gods.

Coin Toss

“Last I checked, your entire practice was about being dual-natured.”

Anpu has thrown me for a loop, as one might expect from the Master of Secrets. The conversation that led to the above statement was about learning healing magic from someone who is rather destructive and possesses powerful abilities to take things apart. Of course, being a smartass about learning healing from an unlikely source to a god who is Himself a contradiction in terms and fairly sassy would get me a decent comeback. (In fact he even went *cough* god of death, healing god *cough* really obnoxiously)

This begs the question, what exactly is the dual nature of my practice? I honestly have no idea. Humans are not dual-natured, at least, not continuously. As a species we tend to be rather dichotomous. Either/or, this or that, here or there, black or white. If I am right then you must be wrong, if neither of us are right there must not be an answer, etc, et al. Humans don’t deal with gray or both answers. We are not very good at being dual-natured, though we are quite good at being dichotomous (you can see this when you consider the way small children think. You are either all good or all bad at that particular moment, they believe you are there or you are not, you are nice or you are mean, they cannot consider the world as being both yes and no at the same time until they get older and are taught).

I think part of this is that I don’t really have a…purpose of sorts to my practice. I am not “doing” anything besides worship and going about daily business. I’m a bit of a busybody and get easily bored, throw in a not-always-advantageous brain (like right now, it refuses to cough up the word I really want and keeps giving me advantageous instead) and I can’t focus easily. I don’t know what Anpu means by saying my practice is dual-natured, what’s so double-sided about it? Something about Him is the key to this particular puzzle. Him and his plans.

Of course, this also makes me wonder if I could choose the nature of my practice. What would I choose? Even as I consider it, I think in dichotomies. Separate categories, opposites, instead of continuums, venn diagrams. For instance, thinking of Anpu’s comment made me think, well healer and warrior, but I’m not a warrior (upon thinking that I heard uproarious laughter). But what else? What else can I do? What else do I like? What else could I stand? I will have to think about this.