Talks with the Jackal

Everyone knows Sunday was Easter. For most this means chocolate, special Easter church services, fancy clothes and misinformation about Ostara and the pagan origins of Easter. Oh, and ham, because that’s a big thing. Personally I don’t eat much pork, don’t really like the smell or taste, but everyone else ate ham. It’s a little sad because with my family of bakers there was way more desserts than real food.

Anyway, Easter is a day focused on family and rebirth. Ostara is a holiday celebrating spring and the rebirth of the land, Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. So, of course the Jackal has an opinion too. Anpu isn’t just a god of funerary rites, primarily because He’s just boss like that, but also because in ancient Egypt the funeral and the rites that go with it weren’t about the end of life but about rebirth into the next life. It was all about being prepped for the next life. As such, Anpu wants me to write about rebirth and resurrection and his role in it. That’s gonna take a few weeks because I need to do actual research instead of talking out my ass. And I still have homework.

Yesterday I came home from school and heard Him from the shrine. I was tired and didn’t feel like kneeling, so I just reclined on the mat on the floor. It was absurdly comfy for being the floor, I probably could have fallen asleep if I wasn’t chilly. I closed my eyes and there he was in the temple.

“What’s up?” I asked.
“How are you feeling?”
“Tired.”
“Yes, well, that would be because you aren’t sleeping.”
“That’s not my fault.”
“Are you done being babied yet?” (He said this in reference to my break after being hospitalized)
I scoff, my feelings hurt. “I’m not being babied!”
“I know.”
“So why did you say it?”
“Because I need you to be driven.”

I got a flash of the anger I felt and the purpose with which I moved after finding a cockroach in my kitchen.

“I’m not driven like that. I’m not a very driven person.” I say sourly, avoiding the word “ambitious” because that’s what I actually mean.

“Yes, well you need to be. You need to get over this avoiding your anger. Scorpio has Mars in it too. Serket is not a harmless goddess.”

I raise an eyebrow. That was a very interesting and specific reference to make.
“Are you into astrology Anpu? That’s new.”

He puts his hands on his hips, frowning. “Not the way you humans are. Of course the stars do have some influence, but I see it differently. You take something with a lot of nuance and subtlety, something that is complicated, then you overcomplicate it while missing all the details and over apply it in a simplistic fashion.”

I know what he’s getting at, but I poke fun at him anyway, until he manages to make his sentence shorter and clearer.

“I want you to learn about being driven. About your Mars.”

I shift uncomfortably. “Who would teach me?”

Anpu crossed his arms. “I’d like Sekhmet to teach you, but she has her own agenda and can be greedy.”

I yawn, mentioning again that I’m tired.

“Well, perhaps you should pray to Aset or Serket before bed for restful sleep.”

I squint at him. “Why Serket? I tried before and it didn’t seem to go anywhere.”

“You weren’t trying for long enough, and for a specific reason, for heka. I always wanted you to talk to her.”

“Well you certainly didn’t say one way or the other when I was asking you.” I snap.

He pets my head and takes my hand in his, drawing shapes on my palm with his thumbnail.

“I’d like to restart your shadow work.”

“That’s fine.”

“And you promised me a blog post.”

“I know.”

He called Dapper, who appears from above me. The wolf loves to come down from ceilings.

“I’d like you to teach her shielding and energy work.”

Dapper hums to himself, looking at the floor. “I’d rather teach her healing.”

“I think the first two are important for that don’t you think?”

I could see that Dapper wanted to disagree, but he said nothing, just nodded.

Anpu turned back to me. “I also want you to start working with your tarot cards again.”

“I’m not very good with that.”

“That’s because you ignore your intuition for the book instead.”

“Well why wouldn’t I? I can’t confirm my intuition.”

“Then practice, and make sure you thoroughly examine your intuition. It doesn’t need to be so complex. You think too much. Besides, would you rather go back to trying scrying?”

I shook my head, thinking of how hard it was. I got a vague feeling the tarot issue was related to something else, to other Jackal kids.

I change the subject. “I want to work on bonds I think.”

[Portion of conversation redacted for personal privacy]

“So, you want to sever cords of attachment but keep bonds of affection?”

“Yes.”

“I think we should also consider why these things bother you so much. You have quite a few irrational fears.”

“Yeah I know. I can’t help it, some things I had ingrained growing up.”

He sighed. “No wonder humans are so myopic. You can’t take the long view if you’re so busy worrying about what’s in front of you life after life.”

I shake my head. I can’t really argue with that. Instead I ask about something else.

“Where is Aset?”

“I don’t know. Her actions are her own.”

I narrow my eyes and he rolls his.

“Listen, you are mine. You dedicated yourself to me first and I intend to honor that. I don’t know yet if I’ll go as far as Sekhmet with her.” (I would later find out what he meant by that.)

“You’re not kicking her out are you?”

“I promised you I wouldn’t if she didn’t violate my claim to you.”

“You promised me you wouldn’t period.

“Yes, but she is not respecting me. If she leaves it will be she can’t cooperate of her own accord.”

“Why is she so upset anyway?”

“She doesn’t like how I plan to go about your shadow work. She thinks I’m going to be too harsh. After you got sick she was very upset.”

I folded my arms, half pouting. I didn’t like this. Why couldn’t these two play nice?

“You’re not kicking her out right?”

“Like I said, I’m not sure yet if I’ll go so far as Sekhmet.”

“What are you even having me do anyway?”

“I can’t say, but shadow work is good for you in general. I need you to be more stable.”

“Well no duh, but what are you trying to prepare me for?”

“It won’t matter if you’re not ready in time now will it?” Anpu said impatiently.

“And if I’m not?”

“We’ll see. It depends. You may end up pushed into it anyway, but I can’t say for certain.”

I scoffed, of course he couldn’t. I wondered what he could have planned and if Aset would ever come back. If she couldn’t abide by Anpu’s claim he would likely push her away and it seemed a lot like she couldn’t. I felt a vague sense that this might have been what happened with someone else’s goddess that I had heard about. I also wondered if Serket would actually answer me this time if I reached out to her.

“You could always reach out to Aset as Serket. They do syncretize sometimes, Aset absorbs her as it were.”

I had read somewhere about that, but I had a more pressing question. “Would you even want that?”

Anpu looked away from me. “No, I’ll be honest I’d prefer you not deal with Aset at all. I have staked my claim on you, I can’t have others disrespecting that.”

I didn’t answer, instead deigning to go to sleep.

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