In Which I Ramble and Make No Particular Point

Let’s get the normal stuff out of the way first. My kid is finally eating solids, though I’ll admit it’s not much, but she’s actually trying foods and eating them. She still nurses entirely too much and I know she’s bored but I’m much better at entertaining older kids. Being a parent is tough for weird reasons. I was in physical therapy for eight weeks and it actually helped, and then they discharged me and so now I have to self-motivate to do my exercises at home. I haven’t done any. In the meantime, I’ve got an appointment to see an ophthalmologist and my ears are being weird. I’ve had problems with both ears, but the right ear in particular, feeling stuffed and painful for a while, but lately I’ve felt like I have trouble hearing sometimes. I’ve also got to make appointments to get some imaging done: MRI of lumbar spine, ultrasound of thyroid, and I need to visit the Dizziness and Balance Center because ten years of dizziness deserves its own specialist apparently.

Moving on.

I’ve always had this issue of wondering if I’m daydreaming or astral-ing. When I was a kid it didn’t really matter, but it’s like, where is the line? (Trick question, there is no spoon)

I wondered about it specifically this evening because sometimes my “daydreams” change rather abruptly and can sometimes go someplace entirely different than where I was directing it. It often connects to some of the work I’m puzzling out Over There and today’s redirect connects possibly to a fuzzy dream that I can’t remember nearly enough of. I was also discussing this with a friend and my assertion that my writing is supposed to help me with my work Over There somehow. I had an idea today but I’m not sure where that will go. Mostly it’s to deliberately write what is happening in the astral. Give it more direction than what I can typically accomplish in dreams. Perhaps trancework or meditation or something.

The other thoughts I’ve been having lately revolve around Kali. Honestly this whole thing with her is causing me stress. She’s from an entirely different culture, and that culture, the people who created it and live it, and She herself, deserve the respect of me adhering to it. The culture is so big though, and I am sick and lazy and exhausted. I can’t even worship the netjeru properly. I want to. I want to worship her and Anpu and Aset properly. It makes me sad. I feel like I can’t even try, like there’s no point. I feel like I shouldn’t even ask Her for anything.

Being sick sucks. Capitalism sucks. I spend half my day working to come home and have four hours with my kid, where I struggle to give her attention and entertainment because I’m worn, and struggle to see my physicians. And I still have to feed everyone and clean (my bathroom is disgusting and you only can’t tell because the tub is pink) and go to bed. Thank the gods Zolfyer is not a chump and cooks and cleans.

Back on topic, I know that a lot of astral work tends to start with self improvement. TheTwistedRope is currently going through therapy and that has popped up in my head multiple times recently. I don’t know what I’m going to do about that. I can’t afford therapy, I can’t afford another specialist. It’s 35$ per visit to see my specialists. I spent almost $200 in November and October on specialists. I’m spending another 35 next week. I also just don’t want to. I make jokes out of it, of having All the Specialists. I use it to empathize with patients at work and let them know “hey, it’s ok, it sucks but you’re not alone”, but I hate it. I absolutely hate it. I despise it.

I lose my mind a little. I saw a post on tumblr today that was entirely too real. A relatable post about psychosis, or something. Too many “lol yeah” reactions. And another one after that. Now, to be fair, I have a lot of friends on tumblr who suffer from dissociation and psychosis (I myself had derealization and dissociative episodes in severe depression), but it just….ironically makes me paranoid.

I know some people who have essentially done some “therapy” with their gods and I get the feeling that’s the angle one of Them (or all of Them, those three have always pushed shadow work) is going for. I know for a fact that my spiritwork is about healing, specifically healing Dapper (he’s got enough strength back to run around thank the gods), partially since he’s right in front of me. Learning to heal others tends to require healing yourself, or at least knowing where you’re broken and how you break, and I know that from watching Ekunyi do her fantastic work as a counselor.

Winter always drags up the ghastly creature of depression. It hasn’t got a full hold on me, but oh how it loves to jump up and bite me. I know that I’ve still got unhealed trauma, though part of that is I still have it inflicted on me. Being sick is a trauma in itself. I’ve never been the pinnacle of health, the epitome of stamina and whatnot, but man I miss my body from before high school. I never wept for my youth, slapped and punched and verbally poisoned out of me. Parts of my brain are still stuck there, still run away, or lash out viciously, at least in my head and behind closed doors.

My body is driving me nuts this year. Having doctors continuously tell you “I can’t find anything.” “Your tests are normal.” “I don’t know what’s wrong” (and those are the kind ones, the ones with compassion and bedside manner, rather than the ones who deliberately tell you, through your chart or implied, that you’re crazy and nothing’s wrong) makes you doubt. God and goddesses above I wonder every day if I’m just doing this to myself. Is it for attention? Would everything get better if I got therapy? Surely that’s cheaper than seeing five specialists. What am I going to do if the next test is normal too? Why can’t anybody find anything? Why isn’t any of this working?

I had two tests recently looking for vitamin deficiencies. One came back normal and the other came back low. So I’m getting treated for the low one. I desperately wished for the other one to be low too. It’s easy to treat these. It would make most of my problems go away. I’m not getting any better even treating the one. I’m crushed. I really am. Do you know how easy it is to treat a vitamin B deficiency? I could do it myself, or ask my coworker. But I’m not deficient in that, only in vitamin D, and that just requires a once a week supplement for 8 weeks, followed by a regular supplement. My life with my health has never been that easy though.

I know it’s normal, but in so many things I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know where to go, or what to do, or how. I see myself getting pushed to go back to school for social work, but honestly how? I cannot quit my job for school, I barely see my kid as it is and I am sick and fatigued. I often stay up entirely too late so I can spend some quiet time with Z, if only to watch some tv or listen to him rant at his games with his friends. (I find it comforting and mildly amusing most days, though sometimes I wish he’d stop playing sooner so he wouldn’t get so worked up)

I wonder sometimes, if I could just will myself better. Rheumatologist thinks I have fibromyalgia, but that doesn’t explain everything, but my neurologist can’t find anything either. I’m tired of looking, but I know average diagnosis time is 10 years for most chronic diseases. It’s only been three. It’s disheartening. I find myself hoping my gods forgive my weakness and negligence and comfort me. I don’t feel worthy of it, so I often don’t ask. I wonder what’s the point sometimes. I feel like I’m walking in darkness sometimes. I guess that’s why my daydreams are so often about a traumatized person getting pampered and loved by someone with unending patience.

I know Z would do the same, but I’ve never been very good at communicating what I need or am looking for. He’s not a mind reader. Although apparently he’s getting very good at hearing when I’m thinking! Maybe he’ll be a mindreader in another eight years!

I’m going to bed now, I’ve rambled enough and only partially got my ideas for astral crap out of my head. I used to be good at this writing thing, but lately I feel like my brain is full of heavy darkness, semi solid and hungry for my words. It makes me feel stupid and looney. Guess I am depressed after all.

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Decisions and Health Update

My health isn’t significantly worse than the last time I wrote on here (knock on wood). Mostly just more persistent, pronounced weakness, that apparently greatly dislikes stress because it often gets worse when I’m anxious and running around. More muscular pain and joint pain as well, and the numbness and paresthesia are now in all four limbs, though it doesn’t affect my arms and hands as much.

 

My neurologist still doesn’t know what’s going on, she did another MRI of my brain, and did one of my cervical spine, zilch. Now I’m trying physical therapy and trying to get in to see a rheumatologist. Physical therapy assessment posits me as having hyperreflexia, balance problems and a couple other things. It’s nice to have objective proof that something is wrong and I’m not just crazy.

 

The last month I’ve been struggling with some decisions though. I very much want to go back to school, but I’m not certain about it. I can’t do another round of health breakdown, fail/drop out. I would be crushed to face that disappointment, waste of time, energy and money, again. I really want to be a nurse, but I’m no longer confident that I could finish a program. I was thinking of doing an LPN program, they’re typically a year, but even then. I’m not even sure there’s one that I could do evenings. The ones closest to my residence are day time, and I work a full time job.

 

I started thinking about social work or psychology/counseling. Yes, they need a master’s degree, but I imagine that’s less intense than nursing school. I’ve also been doing research on being a nursing student with disabilities, not that it’ll matter if I can’t get a diagnosis before next fall. At least if I do social work I can start in the spring. I like mental health care and just helping people in general, but I also really enjoy clinical work, which is why I like being a medical assistant. I don’t know what to do or how to do it. I just really need a clear, indisputable, unignorable sign about which direction to take myself school wise.

 

In the meantime I have been considering how best to set up my house so I can start my practice back. With a toddler I want to be careful about smoke and low lying objects, but I also need it to be low spoons, especially since Kali is deserving of my attention and I’m sure Anpu has work for me to do. It’s hard trying to find resources on culturally correct, low spoons, low budget (cuz I’m broke and can’t afford to not eat offerings) worship of the Devi.

Big Changes

I mentioned briefly in my last post that there’s a lot going on for me. I started work full-time as a medical assistant for a large hospital network (despite being fairly rote I am delighted with my job). Zolfyer just got hired full-time at an insurance company, which, while not being his field, makes him happy because it’s with one of his best friends. Now, for those of you in the know, this is totally the fulfillment of one side of a bargain.

In March I had a dream of Kali smirking at me. I’ve mentioned before that she’s been stalking me for years, and if you’d seen the smirk you’d have done what I did. Alright, fine, I’ll stop being a wimp, what do you want? We can do this.

She was fine with that response. She was winning. I told her, if you can get me and Zolfyer jobs, good jobs that’ll enable us to pay all our bills, including our loans, and still save, I’ll worship you. I’ll do it as properly as my poor, chronically ill self is able, in a way I can actually keep up with. I’m not doing it halfway, so we probably will have to compromise, but that’s the deal.

Well.

Here I am.

With jobs and trustworthy, cheap childcare, and it’s looking like our new home budget will be more than enough, especially if we get into this one apartment complex we’re after.

So now I’m trying to find reliable sources on the lay worship of Kali Maa, preferably with accommodation for sick folks.

And you know what? I’m delighted.

So Much Change

I had a baby everybody! She’s adorable and is 8 months old, currently trying to stand without help and ignoring solid foods. She really just isn’t interested, and I only care because it makes it harder to let anyone babysit since she’s breastfed and stopped taking bottles. Also, the potential for anemia, but I think she’s ok right now. She’s getting two more teeth, for a total of six, four up top and two on the bottom. She’s also super chubby and I love it, and she looks like a pudgy version of her father. It’s great.

On the religion front, things are all over the place. Not really, but it isn’t the same situation as last year. Anpu and the other netjer have been fairly distant and unreachable. A friend suggested that there might be something going on in the Duat keeping their attention away. I’m inclined to agree. In the meantime, that’s left me in a bit of a pickle faith-wise. Kali, who has been poking around and saying hi regularly for a couple of years, popped back up. I have resumed my research into Hinduism as a result.

This is fine for the most part. I don’t have a lot of space and have to be careful with things like incense and food, so I’m doing more research than what most people might initially do, trying to find acceptable alternatives and get my life together. I know, get my life together, at 25, how naive right? But I’m gonna try! So here’s to trying yes?

Not All Polytheists

The Twisted Rope

This past weekend I noticed a thread on tumblr circulating about a new post over on Gods & Radicals about extreme-Right politics and it’s appearance in Paganism/polytheism. When I first saw the thread, I skimmed through the post, shrugged my shoulders and moved on. To me, there wasn’t anything particularly earth-shattering written in said post. It discusses some of the hallmarks of authoritarianism, and how it can manifest in people’s ideals, and then goes over some people and groups that have been shown to have these ideals and/or purport them. It then discusses how the New Right might be influencing certain groups, which groups are possibly more at risk than others, and then discusses some ways to (possibly) combat Fascism in our communities.

I don’t know that I agree with all aspects of the post and I don’t know that I would have written about the topic in the…

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Being a Pagan of Color- Cultural Appropriation in Kemeticism

Hi ladies and gents and those in between, I’m back! For a while I’ve been trying to figure out this thing called life and religion, so my blog has run quiet for a while now. I’ll try and be more up to date, but I make no promises. I got this idea today to write about being a Pagan of Color, specifically a Black Pagan, since that is my primary identification and experience. If you have any suggestions for posts, feel free to ask and I will get back to you.

Today, however, I specifically wanted to talk about this accusation of cultural appropriation in Kemeticism. I really hate white people telling me what to do, but I hate it even more when they ignore my existence. See, in the community, especially on Tumblr, it seems like we have at least one person trolling some newbie Kemetic’s blog and telling them they’re racist and appropriating because they’re white. Or rather, because it’s assumed they’re white and that only white people are trying to be Kemetic. Um, no, for one thing I and many other black people exist in this community thanks.

Second, you can’t culturally appropriate from Ancient Egypt (modern Egypt, on the other hand, is a different story). Here’s why: first, Ancient Egypt was an open culture. They were so open a jumbo jet cargo plane could do loop-de-loops through it and not hit a closed door. Any closed doors were closed for reasons other than what culture you were from (like educational level). Second, Ancient Egypt didn’t have a modern concept of race. You were either foreign or you weren’t, and if you did the legal citizenship thing you were Egyptian. Sometimes you didn’t even need to do that, just assimilate enough of the culture and bam, Egyptian.

Let me just pause to make a particular point. The Ancient Egyptians were not black. Technically speaking, no one born and/or raised in Africa is black. They’re African. This is a very important distinction and the terms African and Black are NOT interchangeable. I am Black, I am not African. I will never be African and will always be black. My family tree stops at plantations and native tribes, with two branches reaching into the Philippines and Germany. I will never know my African heritage or anything about those ancestors, that is the legacy of slavery. I have been severed from that continent and can never connect with it again, not as an African, not even as a black person. What would I connect with? How? Africans may experience racism when they move to America, but they are not black. Their experience with racism and blackness is separate. They and their families didn’t go through slavery and the stripping of their culture and history, at least not at the hands of American slavekeepers. They cannot connect with Black culture the same way. Further, Africa has thousands of cultures and identities within it, you erase those when you equate Africans with Black people, just the same as you erase the heritage of Black people when you call them African. This is why most Blacks call themselves such, instead of African-American. If you meet an African immigrant or the children of said immigrants, you had better mind yourself and ask them what country/tribe/identity they hold and call them that. Do not insult them and erase their heritage by calling them Black. You’re proud of your Italian or Irish selves, they’re proud of their Yoruban, Eritrean or Nigerian, etc selves.

But the Ancient Egyptians were not black. Besides the fact they didn’t have the same concept of race, genetic studies have shown that they weren’t very different from modern Egyptians, who are Arabic and Semitic and otherwise Mediterranean. During ancient times, they were considerably mixed, due to their open culture and imperialistic ways (kind of like America, we’re a melting pot partly because we keep invading other countries and forcing them to assimilate our culture) as well as their relations with Nubia, parts of Europe, the Ancient Near East and parts of the Middle East. On the by and large though, they were Arabic and Semitic, just like they are now. Claiming cultural appropriation on these grounds is just ludicrous. They wanted their culture spread and weren’t black, no matter what Afrocentrists say (newsflash Afrocentric people, you’re not actually afrocentric you’re just obsessed with Egypt. There are thousands of supremely awesome cultures, both ancient and modern, in Africa that actually had what we would today consider of African descent, like Nubia, just to start with. You’re trying to erase history and a modern culture, and take something that was never yours, while ignoring and erasing the rest of the continent. Knock it off. Look up Shaka Zulu or something).

Next, Ancient Egypt is a DEAD culture and DEAD religion. It would be one thing if some part of the culture or religion was still alive, being used by modern descendants, but the culture died out in its entirety and was replaced. Extinct cultures are more eligible for use by modern people of all stripes. Further, the people of Ancient Egypt were not subject to modern issues of racism, oppression, imperialism and colonialism. It isn’t stealing and spitting in their faces, treating them and their culture like a commodity, a shiny thing, a unique thing to be used like paint to spruce up your life or be special. It isn’t ignoring their protests, their history, their suffering, it isn’t exercising privilege and disrespecting and discarding what they have to say and how they feel about their culture, or how their culture is viewed and used. It isn’t stereotyping and simplification, it isn’t stripping their identity down to a couple points and wearing it like makeup. Especially since their culture was open and imperialistic, meaning they wanted it to spread.

Lastly, there are black Kemetics! There are Kemetics of other races! It ain’t just white people looking for some shiny thing they can stick their hands in. It is true that we have some white members of the community who are racist and act grossly, but on the by and large white co-religionists do their damndest to be respectful and socially aware.

I’d also like to make a comment on this accusation that we’re disrespectful to our gods because of the Kemetic Fandom. Mind. Yo damn. Business. We don’t have hubris in Kemeticism. Our gods can defend themselves. And have you seen the Ancient Egyptians? They put puns in their hymns and prayers. They literally threatened the gods. They bribed them and identified as them for spellwork. They would identify each part of their body as a god to be even more powerful. Dick jokes are everywhere. They drew porn on walls for fuck’s sake. They were banned from practicing law in Roman courts because they weren’t serious enough and made too many jokes. Leave us the fuck alone and mind your fucking business. Why don’t you focus on your own divine relationships and religious practice instead of wasting your time trying to boss us around? Keep in mind that just because you see a lot of jokes doesn’t mean we’re not serious behind the scenes, or that we don’t take our gods and religion seriously. We do, but we’re not obligated to show that to you or tell you about it, especially when you barge in bossing us around according to your standards and disrespecting us and treating us poorly. You aren’t the be all, end all of religions and piety. You don’t have a right to define anyone’s practice or judge whether someone is “serious enough”. Handle your own business and we’ll handle ours.

So that’s my take. Questions, comments and concerns are welcome, and if you have suggestions for other topics (keep in mind that I am primarily black and will not write about other races and their struggles as pagans, nor will I comment on lgbt issues as a straight passing bisexual) say so!