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!

 

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-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?

 

When Ma’at Becomes Isfet 2

The funny thing about life is how easily things can turn around. One day you’re totally doing the right thing, the next you realize you’ve made a horrible mistake, or what you’ve been doing backfires spectacularly. Maybe you were using a routine that worked perfectly, and now find it doesn’t fit you anymore. This certainly ties into my last post, and I’m starting to think I’m in that changeover phase. I’ve realized things are no longer working how they were before, and it’s time to change. Will that mean that I’ll permanently not consider myself a Kemetic anymore, even though I still strongly identify with the religion and its tenets? Possibly, or this could be a pressured sort of situation.

By that I mean, multiple things have come together to force the old out and cause change. I’m a little complacent, yes, quite lazy at times, just as much as I’m dealing with a broken brain and an uncooperative body. Last night I was pondering meditation and came upon why, even though I can meditate, I don’t like to. This train of thought was born of reading a post by someone else (another point I’m going to make later was inspired by reading a post this evening) about movement and dance. Ironically it was not, in fact, Devo, but a witch I follow on tumblr. It made me realize that I also have difficulty quieting my body, much moreso than quieting my mind. It’s not that I can’t sit still, it’s that I have physical problems that make it uncomfortable to sit or lie in certain positions for extended periods. Further, while I can quiet my mind if I try hard enough, I don’t actually want to.

It is almost physically painful for me to quiet my mind. I am a thinker and a dreamer. I have a very loud brain, and it loves to craft ideas. More importantly, it’s depressed and anxious, it’s also angry (that’s what happens when you are told repeatedly that your emotions are too intense, invalid, shouldn’t exist and then heap abuse on top of it). It’s quite painful to have my brain sit still for any extended length. Even when I’m going to sleep, it’s busy. It’s also boring, but that’s something else entirely. I never really considered it that deeply before, but there it is. Am I willing to do it? Yes, I’ve meditated successfully before with visualizations. Even then, however, we can see that I’m not sitting in the total silence, blank mind sort of meditation.

As I said in my last post, I don’t intend to drop Anpu. I don’t intend to completely abandon what I know and love. Perhaps I should do some divination (something I’ve been avoiding because I’m nervous. I can tell that I’d get better readings if I worked intuitively instead of with the cards’ ascribed meanings, but I know I have sock puppet syndrome sometimes, and yay anxiety for making everything hard). Perhaps I should just poke around or toss a flare into the netjeru’s space. Lost puppy to a good home. Bakes. Has cat. Stubborn, not terribly consistent, easily bored, skittish. It would certainly be something, but I don’t know yet.

Starting on a new path and maintaining it was ma’at. It is now becoming stale, burdensome and useless. Isfet. I must either change my path or abandon it entirely, I must maintain ma’at.

I already elaborated on the biggest pain in the ass part of my life. I’d like to touch on some other things here. First about this movement as meditation part. I don’t know if that’s a good alternative for me. For one thing, I don’t have a lot of space, and anyone who has ever done yoga with pets knows that they get in the way. My kitten, for example, loves to be underfoot for reasons we can’t comprehend. We’ve nearly hurt her more than once because she walked right up behind us and under a raised foot. Really though, lack of space is a big factor, along with self-consciousness. I was thinking for a while that I could sing, but that takes more effort than one might think, and I’d potentially be doing it for several songs. Even just the change over would be distracting. Then I was thinking meditating with my plants, which I will likely give a try at some point. I’m going to keep trying to come up with other ideas as well.

Then there’s still magic. I plan to work more extensively with my plants and hopefully find info on devas and individual spirits. Water is a harder one for me, I don’t live objectively close to any bodies of water and I know that physical proximity helps me a lot. I recently found some nice sigil resources and need to go through those. I’d also like to learn more about clairsentience (touchy-touchy me) and other touch-based magic, therapies and divination. I also need to play around with what I’ve got, since I can feel in my bones that I’d get better readings from my cards if I did it by intuition.

Shadow work. I know I need to do shadow work. I will be honest and say I’m afraid. I’m also stubborn, because in some ways, for some things, with certain people, I don’t want to let things go. Very common thought process, I’m sure. Perhaps this is also why my practice and relationship went sour. Anpu did mention shadow work quite frequently. Even Dapper has scolded me for avoiding it, not that he should talk. I have very intense emotions. For someone who wasn’t taught healthy ways to handle intense emotions, trying to confront them and the fact they’ve been pent up and compounded for years is terrifying. It’s also angering, because I shouldn’t have to do this. I shouldn’t have to do this and the people who hurt me should be sorry and should have been sorry sooner.

I see why Kali wants me. She certainly knows all about getting carried away by strong emotions. Anpu is a god of change, which I brought up a few posts ago. Perhaps these things will get sorted out once my house is whole and calm and aired out.

I mentioned that there was another post I had read. This was about cocoons and change. I wasn’t expecting it, but it was certainly timely. It described reasons why one might feel a witchy change, a witchy cocoon phase, would be happening and the “symptoms” you might feel as it happens. I certainly feel like I’m going through that right now. It’s difficult.

I still feel like I’d benefit from a louder, more active god and more structure. It’s hard to find structure that works when your mind is very fluid. It’s always moving and always wants to move. Crochet is probably the only thing that really matches both structure and fluidity, but at the same time it’s very stimulating and creative. I suppose I could try that, since I do like making simpler things with the knowledge I know as opposed to following complex patterns. It depends on my mood. It just seems both difficult and silly to really meditate or even try to astral while crocheting. There are moments of focus necessary, even with simple designs and stitches. Won’t hurt to try though right?

Any suggestions for me out there? For example, where can I get a decent, tiny cauldron? Like, just bowl sized or something. Also, someone remind me to get cheap red pots as well, and a red pen, and ingredients for baking and yummy foods. I intend to celebrate wep ronpet this year, because I honestly feel like I need to. New year, new path, new god, new me. I may also reach out to Aset, I hear this is a special week for her. I haven’t talked to her in a while, and perhaps she or one of the other goddesses can help me here. I admit freely to being too scared of Kali to work with Her, it has kept me out of shrine honestly. They say all goddesses are one goddess in Hinduism, and there is quite a bit of overlap. I imagine it won’t hurt to ask Kali to be a little less frightening, or gentle, to give me a nudge or something in the right direction. A few hints perhaps of where or how I should look for information. (HINT HINT KALI, HINT HINT ANPU, HUMANS ARE HARDHEADED)

I love this religion a lot. I love these gods a lot. I love this community a lot. I just need more help. Something to go on, some direction, something that even my stubbornly fluid, lazy brain can happily latch on to and do. Or at least relentless pursuit and nagging until I get shit done (jk, that doesn’t work that well). I’m tired of long ass Fallow Times. I’m definitely tired of being unable to contact Dapper. I am tired of this cluttered apartment in this cluttered city where my windows view concrete and asphalt. Where are my plants, I need leafy hugs.

I do wonder what I’ll accomplish if I start working with my plants. Finding information on working with plant devas and individual plant spirits is a pain. Most green and plant magic is all about herbs and oils and whatnot. While I don’t mind that, I don’t have the luxury of doing that type of spellcraft, because I don’t have space for the plants and I don’t really cook with fresh herbs. My typical seasoning is mixed, so kitchen witchery is kind of weird. I can’t afford to just buy things willy nilly either. It’s so hard to really figure out what I want and what I need. I really just don’t know what I need and can’t articulate it.

Until then I’ll play around and just focus on planning for wep ronpet. Mayhaps I’ll finally join the KO beginner’s class. I don’t like their application honestly. I can understand it, and understand the reasoning for the questions on it. I just don’t like being asked those questions. They’re difficult to answer (which I suppose is the point), but they’re also often used to judge me and make things unnecessarily difficult. Sort of like “why do you want to work here” at job interviews. I’m lost and need help, y’all have pre-established structure and stuff. It may be time to break out Eternal Egypt again. Been a while since I read that. I’m ok with that though. Now if only I was any good at song-writing or music making and then I could sing.

I’m also wondering if I could make it a habit to pray or otherwise give offerings at sundown or something. Sundown is a little inconvenient, if only because it often happens around dinner time, which would be good for offerings I suppose. There’s always dawn and sunrise, but I’m not a morning person, and further I’ll be starting school soon. Sunset may be better. We’ll see, I may give it a try. 21 days to build a habit right?

Now it’s getting early, 5:33 am. I’m gonna play with my plants and cards for a bit, because why not? I am a horizon child, this is my time.

Wandering Around Like a Lost Puppy

It’s my MO really. I get that line a lot, because I’m an insomniac and walk around the house looking for something to do or some way to sleep. Well, really the phrase I get is “stop wandering around like a lost soul” but I like mine better. Lost puppies get free food, water and hugs when somebody finds them. Lost souls tend to get shooed away, if they get noticed at all. I need some free food and hugs right now.

So, I know you all saw my last post, about figuring out what to do to get out of this spiritual rut I’m in. I did the one thing I know will always help. I asked my sister for advice. We’re twins, you see, but she was born first and we have a much more big sis-little sis relationship than one might expect for people born two minutes apart. We wanted it that way from the beginning (no lie, ask our parents) and it serves us well. Even so, we still also display the typical closeness you expect from twins, though we are very much our own people. The point being, there’s been very few times that asking for my sister’s advice has ever gone wrong, and it’s usually related to getting caught drawing on the wall with crayons or touching our dad’s speakers when we know we’re not supposed to.

I’m very lucky to have her, and she didn’t let me down with this advice either. So, I asked her to do some readings for me (she’s my go-to diviner) and they were kinda weird but they made sense after I thought about them. She also gave me her big-sis intuition advice which was basically, she doesn’t think Anup has an issue with it (my own divination on the matter implies the same) and that I should approach Kali before I lose the opportunity. I’m probably gonna do it. I’m still gonna take my time, and not rush headlong into anything, because I have to keep up whatever I start, and rushing into a really excited fervor ended up being unsustainable and is part of the reason I’m where I’m at now. That was something the reading she did for me mentioned, to be careful how much effort, excitedness and whatnot I put into my endeavors, because I’m going to have to maintain that once my initial excitement and energy is gone in order to maintain whatever I gain. It’s not an invitation to be lazy, but just to be aware of what I can reasonably sustain long term.

Ironically, I also ran into two posts by friends today (thanks dashomancy) that kinda help. Neither of them were about me, obviously, but they were really coincidental. One about working with a chaotic god and learning how to be passive and how to be aggressive, how to surrender and how to push forward (I am both really good and really bad at being aggressive and pushing forward, not so good at the surrendering part) and I think I know where I’m at and what Anpu is trying to accomplish here. I could be wrong, but what I’ve got makes sense. Right after I see my other friend’s post, and well it reminds me that I’m always feeling like I’m wandering, and I’ve always been the house wanderer. IRONY, COINCIDENCE, I HAS IT.

So, off to research, and we’ll see what goes from there I guess?

(I feel I should point out, that I’m scared shitless. Kali scares me, for reasons I’ve outlined before. She’s much more forward than Anpu, much less gentle. She reminds me very much of Sekhmet, and though I’m not terrified in the sense of a bunny before a tiger, I am scared. I’m afraid of what will happen next, of not knowing, of going down a new path, of fucking up. I’m scared of not being able to go back at all. I’m ok with going back changed, I guess, but I’d like to still come back to that supremely patient Jackal with gold eyes and a stern face that sighs and pats my head. I don’t like new things with no backstory, no warning. I don’t like not having a preface or an outline or even just a goal or expectation. I’m not good at making decisions, or thinking ahead and I freeze in the moment. I’m so anxious and foggy-headed all the time. This is scary, but I guess change always is. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I don’t want to be a disappointment.)

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.