Frustration

I’m very frustrated right now. My health is back and forth rather constantly the last month. I’m not even sure what it could be anymore, although currently MS fits the bill best. Sometimes though, I do wonder if it’s all in my head. Is that such a bad thing? No, not necessarily, but if it isn’t and I ignore it, well that’s a bad thing. My symptoms mostly just don’t add up, or they wax and wane so erratically that I can’t necessarily make heads or tails of them. What’s important? What’s just random? Will this particular symptom stay? Is this a product of insomnia, or albuterol, heat or just because I’m thinking about it? For example, increased heart rate, blood pressure and trembling, albuterol side effects that I’ve had before and readily recognize. Sometimes though, they’re there anyway, even though I haven’t used my inhaler or had any caffeine. Even then, my shaking isn’t usually this bad unless I used my nebulizer, and I haven’t used that thing in literally two years. It actually needs to be replaced. So why is it so much more intense lately? I don’t know.

Then there’s this whole religion thing. I’ve been too tired or sick lately to really get much of anything from anyone. I wish it would rain, I’ve been having a hell of a lot more clarity and calm when it’s rained ever since I started trying to connect more with the weather and water as a whole. I’m also reminding myself that one can be Kemetic without the gods, not that I necessarily want to be godless. I’ve spent several mornings greeting Heqat and Qebechet, because why not? One is my good friend’s “grandmother” and the other is one I’ve always been interested in. Maybe I’ll just surround myself with ladies, because I also thought of Serket. It makes me think of an old dream where four or five goddesses were watching me walk through a corridor. They were observing me like scientists, but also guiding me.

Earlier in the month, I had a dream about carnelian beads, a prayer necklace with a pendulum at the end. I have no idea what the thing as a whole means, but certainly not with the pendulum. I own a pendulum, but it’s quartz, not copper or gold (could have been bronze, it was yellow-y and metal, I dunno) like the dream necklace. There were also statues of a fox, wolf and Anpu. His statue wasn’t the focus, and it was above my head, something important to me because, as a short person, I’m more likely to look down for something than up. I often find things on a lower shelf than taller people and look under things first. They often see things over my head. Basically, it means he’s staying out of the way, where I won’t see him. I only just now thought of this because I was remembering grocery shopping this weekend and completely missing things I was looking for because they were on a top shelf. The fox and wolf statues though, they were just above eye level, where I frequently look for things. They were warped, but the fox was smiling. Zolfyer’s fox promised me help if I was her liaison to him. I haven’t taken her up on the offer.

I honestly feel more receptivity from the goddesses. Perhaps I needed to go through all this frustration and such. I dunno, but this morning I reached out and got Aset. Quite clearly at that. Really, I was poking at Anpu, asking what was I supposed to do now, was I supposed to move on, are you listening? I kinda blew it off, wondering if anyone would listen to me. Low and behold, a familiar feeling, and then Aset. “I’ll listen to you.” Devo made a suggestion when I told her about my dream with the prayer beads/pendulum (which also included my mother telling me she had the same beads, showing me the carnelian string that was twice as long as my actual prayer beads) that I sit with them and see what impressions I get. I haven’t really had the energy or concentration, and I’ll admit that I was rather jaded and ticked off too, but recently I did and I couldn’t quite figure out who or what it was. It felt familiar, and definitely feminine, insistent too, but at the time I was very distracted and exhausted. So, who knows. Another dream comes to mind, a scene of Aset arguing with Anpu about his plans and walking away crying. Perhaps she was upset at his plan to teach me to be self-reliant and look for what I really want and what can genuinely work for me, even if it’s hard and annoying and incredibly frustrating. Even if it makes me feel abandoned.

So many perhaps’ and possibilities. So much frustration.

MoWD- Together

Together we dance, like a parent and child

I stomp my feet, and walk on your toes

You wait patiently as I try to keep up.

I’m terrible at it, pushing and pulling,

swinging and shouting.

Impatient, despite the music being slow.

You’re willing to hold me,

but I want to dance by myself.

So I twirl in circles, and fall to the ground

dizzy and laughing.

I do it again, and then I fall down

crying because I feel sick.

You wait patiently while I try to keep up.

Sometimes you pick me up,

but very often you wait.

Wait for me to call you, in my infinite stubbornness.

Wait for me to ask you, in my infinite hardheadedness.

Sometimes I stick my fingers in my ears,

playing that catchy song, not realizing you could punish me.

Insolent child, patient father.

Sometimes you’re not close enough

and other times, I’m so busy crying I cannot hear you.

Sometimes you just wait until I calm down.

And you are there, when I turn around

Ready to dance again.

MoWD-Who?

Who would have thought, that little me would find You?

That I could reach out, in childishness and excitement,

To find Someone there?

You hear me, You see me, silent and salient.

Ah, the pain of your quietude, how it frightens my noisy mind.

But You are there, You are there, even when I can’t feel You.

The gentlest touch, the sternest expression.

Is that why they call you Strong of Face?

Despite my protests, You return.

Even when I transgress, You don’t turn me away.

Though I am fickle, You do not bite.

Is this why they call you Lord of Ma’at?

I shudder in delight at Your grace, Lord of Knives.

The sunrise hails you, Lord of Heaven.

The sunset praises you, Lord of Light.

Here I am, calling Your names.

Here I am, praising your horizon.

I am here, at your altar.

Never stop forgiving me

Your idiot daughter.

Month of Written Devotion

So, The Jackal’s Dance’s post reminded me that this was happening. I’ll be participating, although I’ve had a lot going on today so I’m going to post today’s and tomorrow’s tomorrow. Here’s the link for myself and anyone who wants to participate as well. Today is a sort of welcome post, the prompt is

  1. Who? – Deity, spirit or chosen devotion for the month

Tomorrow is

  1. How? – How did you become involved with your devotional topic?

 

Quiet Jackals and Silent Wolves

In January I had a very serious mental health crisis. I probably should have gone to the hospital, it was that serious. However, I am poor and black and Z doesn’t know enough about mental health and the health system to know when to take me and how to keep me safe and cared for once I’m there. It was rough. The issue of mental health in the pagan community is a touchy topic. There are a lot of people with issues, and way too much fluffy, bad abusive, nasty or ableist advice for them. There’s good advice obviously, but oh do humans love to fling shit. I avoided this issue by not bringing it up outside of my safe spaces where I’m surrounded by supportive, loving people who know what I’m talking about when I mention my suffering. Yesterday one of those people made an interesting post responding to something on tumblr. One of her suggestions for resolving the problem she discussed is what has finally brought me back to my blog.

One of the problems I had during this severe bout of depression and suicidality was paranoia. Truly I have not felt such powerful paranoia in my short life, especially towards my spiritual life. The fact that I’ve been harassed by a malevolent spirit for two or three months only magnified the issue. I couldn’t discern anything. Was I being tricked? Was I being attacked? Is this really Dapper or Anpu, Kali or Aset? Even though I cleansed and warded and purified, was my house still vulnerable? Was I? Did I cut the link the spirit was using to hurt me? Were Z’s nightmares tied to this? Was Dapper ok? Was any of this even real or a very long lasting and elaborate delusion? Was I sicker and crazier than I ever thought I was? What if I had really done nothing but hallucinate, or worse, I’d been abandoned?

I can attest the post-breakdown Fallow Time is one of the most difficult and agonizing types of Fallow Periods. It felt like everything was wrong, like nothing was real, like I couldn’t be sure about anything. The fact I do derealize when my depression is very severe made it worse. Even the slightest nudge or attempt to contact was muddled and confused. I couldn’t figure out what anyone was saying or what anyone wanted, if I was even sensing them, if I was doing it correctly (I know, silly to think you could feel something incorrectly, but you’d be surprised if you don’t have a sensory issue or mental health problem and have a firm security in your perception of sensations). One thing that still pops up is whether I’m actually even wanted or poking around at the “right god”. Does Anpu really want me? Am I bothering Him or being useful in any way? Should I reach out to other gods? Am I even actually sensing other gods? Do they want me? Would any of this shit I’m thinking about doing be even the least bit useful or beneficial?

Why, oh why, dear gods and goddesses, was it so. fucking. unbearably. horrifically. silent?

Not that it mattered that it was silent. In the intensity of my fear and paranoia that I was being tricked or suckered by an opportunistic spirit or the bitch demon who attacked me made me shove away anything I did sense in abject panic. I didn’t (and don’t) know if my wards are anything more than pathetic little screens, with the gracious help of three and a half plants (cuttings of two of the plants, still just branches with little roots) and a dinosaur. I don’t know if my cleansing and purification, all the magic and heka I attempted, actually worked and will keep that spirit bitch away. I don’t know if her hold is broken. And for whatever reason every divination I’ve done (asked for from others, and not done for myself) keeps mentioning being wary of new help from nowhere and new people.

While my panic has settled down immensely, the worry and concern is still there. Especially because I still don’t know what to do about Anpu. See, it’s not that he’s ever mean or anything, nothing of the sort, I just don’t know what to make of him. I get this sense when I look at him. It isn’t anger or rejection or anything clear and obvious, it’s simply a very uncomfortable and confusing sensation. It incites worry. More like he’s looking at me, wondering what exactly to do with me. I’ve had this feeling ever since I started down this path, and it has made me question my path choice just as much as my god choice. However, I always come back here, because even though plenty of religions make sense to me and have elements I’m looking for, this is the one that works, sorta, and I’m trying not to give up or dish out when there isn’t precisely anything wrong and nothing else is reaching out to me the same way.

I know that Dapper doesn’t come as close, probably worried that his presence is bad for my health or could adversely affect me or attract attention. His concern has some rational basis, I’ve found that I cannot try and actively astral anymore and need to be wary of physical-astral contact or connection. It seems to aggravate whatever it is that causes me to twitch and shake even a year past when I initially went to the hospital. Magic on this plane is also a little harder and wears me out more. Not to mention, Dapper does have enemies and interacts with less than savory characters (his job is not an easy one) and is very strong. His weak, mewling human is an easy target. Especially easy when she can barely control any magic, astral transformations or effectively ward. I wouldn’t be surprised if Anpu asked him to stay back for a while as well.

I mention all this to a purpose, not simply to inform or lament that my mental health sucks (which it does). My friend’s suggestion in that tumblr post was that, a way to help others is write to them about your experiences and how you deal with it. Help others learn to cope and change the narrative. Unfortunately I can’t say I have any sage advice, since I’m only just pushing past the giant wall in my spirit between me and my shrine and still struggling to figure out what I do next. But, I want people to know they aren’t alone in their suffering at least, that I understand such problems, such pain, down to my bones. Heh, even my shadow shudders in pain at times, and I feel my astral wolf self bare fangs and growl. She doesn’t like the pressure and agony of depression either.

Plenty of people will tell you a truth, that it is possible to get through it, that things change and get better. I also understand your truth, that change is a long time coming more often than not, that relief is usually difficult and very incomplete and often rife with fear that it will break again, which it usually does.  I understand the truth that knowing relief will come rarely brings as much hope as we’d like, or eases the stranglehold of our broken spirits. We know it’s supposedly temporary, that our minds are telling us lies so powerful it shakes our bodies, our faith, our souls. We know many truths intellectually. We also know one particularly bitter truth, and that is that the lies feel so intense, so true, that it can be easier to believe them sometimes, or to ignore the truths of hope, because waiting for that hope to manifest is unbearable. Because being told those truths can cause the clamp of our illness’ lies to worsen, because sure we know we’ll get relief in theory, but when will it come? And when it does come, will it last, and will I survive to get there? That is one of the hardest questions to ask, because it is so difficult to answer.

It sucks. To put it far, far too simply. The fear hurts. The doubt hurts. The stifling silence definitely hurts. But you’re not by yourself. Even though the tension is suffocating, I’ve got a cozy blanket and your favorite hot drink. I’ve got your pet and my pet and we can watch them play. Tell me your favorite internet thing and what encouragement you really need and I’ll always show up when I see you suffering with those things. You’ve got a friend here. Misery loves company for many reasons.

Maybe we can try and come up with ways to hold out until the crashing stops together. Or at least I’ll crawl out of my hole and remind you that I care, that I appreciate your presence. That even if I don’t say much I’m peeking out from under my rock, looking at you with the eyes of a kitten, wondering if you’re ok, if you need me to jump out at you and half-startle you into a smile and wrestle with your feet. And if you do, I’ll bring damn near anything I can possibly bring to give you even a smidgen of relief. So, there’s that at least.

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.

And The Road Wanders

With the blessings of Anpu I have officially started learning about Hinduism. It’s been following me around since I learned about it many years ago. There was always something about it that enticed me, and now that I’m really focusing on learning about it and its many, many parts I can clearly see why. It’s beautiful. It’s understandable. It is easy and complex in the ways I need. The way you relate to god is exactly what I’m looking for. It’s like coming home and taking your pants off and chucking your bra across the room. It’s refreshing. I can truly say I resonate with it.

This of course makes me wonder what I’m going to do in the end. Somehow I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to how I was before, but I know I cannot walk completely away from Kemeticism and that path. I also find that I resonate with that path as well, I simply have issues fleshing out the practice. Anpu and I have been talking about various needs and expectations. Mine, specifically. What I need to be a good devotee and a happy human. Which is sort of necessary for His particular needs and expectations to get met. Not that He’s expounded on them any extra than usual, but that’s the Netjer for you sometimes. They are very much like their language: here’s all the consonants you could ever want! But (insert Netjer here) what about the vowels? I don’t know if this is this word or if it’s that word! And what in your name is this word?!  LOL have fun human (chucks vowels at you).

To some degree it’s not their fault. They just have “their ways” just like we have ours. I’m queen of bratty passive-aggression and startling vehemence. Nonetheless, I know I’ll learn some valuable things just by learning about such a gorgeous religion as Hinduism. I’m sure I’ll walk away with some permanent changes and probably at least one goddess (Anpu keeps telling me to hurry up and talk to Kali because apparently she’s annoying him or something). I don’t mind that I think. Oddly enough though, it’s awkwardly hard to find specific information on any of the major sects, but info abounds on Hinduism in general and ultra-basic synopses of the sects. Makes me want to bang my head against a wall. My google-fu is lacking. In the meantime, I’ll work with what I have and look for more.

Coincidentally, Devo wrote a post a couple days ago that is far too relevant to make me not headdesk. Like, clue by four much? I suppose that’s a good thing since I’m a knucklehead anyway. Time to dive in to a new chapter of my spiritual life neh? What I would really like though, is for someone to explain these weird ass dreams to me so that I can make them stop >.> I’m rather tired of zombies and death and apparently the new thing is more breaking laws of physics buildings and trains and shit. Ugh, brain, y u no spek inglis?