The Jackals have been on my mind a lot lately*. By that I mean I’ve thought about Anpu and Wepwawet. I know, I backed away from Wepwawet for a while. I felt like He was backing away too, but lo and behold He seems to be back in my head! It’s cool though, I like Wepwawet just as much as Anpu (though for different reasons I’ll admit). I wonder about what they’re all doing up there above my head though ya know? Four Netjer just talking about their myriad humans under their care. Although, with the Mysteries of Ausir going on now, I wonder if they’re talking about Him? I have never had the pleasure of interacting with Ausir, but I am privy to the attention of His wife, brother, and friend. I wonder if they’d have me do something, or tell me Interesting Things. Probably not, but one can ponder can’t they?
I’ve been thinking a lot about my path and my gods though. I don’t feel as close as I’d like to be and I really don’t know what to do about it. Yesterday I attended church with my Pop-Pop and realized a lot of things about Christianity and some jealousy I had. I mean, they have a lot of stuff set out for them that I lost when I turned away from the church. They also have a lot of stuff I’m glad I left. And there’s a lot of stuff that I realize they have problems with that I still struggle with now.
For instance, Christians have a living tradition with a plethora of songs, music, and various ways of praising and ritual. Want a LOT of ritual? Be a Catholic! Need singing? Baptist! Liturgy? I actually have no idea! Yeah, I only know a couple of the stereotypes for a couple of denominations. The point here is, you can easily get community and music and song (did I mention I love singing for deity and that it kills me that I have nothing to sing for them?) and as a bonus there are instructions for life and such that are reasonably easy to understand much of the time. Not supreme ambiguity for how to live rightly. Then again I suppose that’s up for grabs in a lot of ways.
At least on the outside of it, being Christian is easy. A lot of the outer things are laid out for you. Of course, this means nothing for depth of spirituality or relationship with the Divine, but there’s already a framework for laypeople. Prayer for instance, since that’s the main thing on my mind. I learned how to pray at a young age, but it’s only now that I realize the limited type of prayer I was taught.
The main type of prayer I learned is petitionary prayer. I figured this stuff out yesterday because it was on my mind and I had just finished reading various people’s opinions on religion. This is the prayer where you’re asking for something. Money, healing, a job, blessings, help, etc; they all fall under petitions to the gods. This type of prayer is easy, it’s a request form basically. Maybe it has a loan clause where you offer something in return for the petition or the deity gives you a command or request in return for granting your petition. But the point is that anyone can do petitionary prayer, but, as someone said yesterday in my reading and conversations, that sort of prayer doesn’t really open the way for two way communication or lend itself to deepening the relationship.
Then there’s what I call praise prayer. This is the type where you’re offering praise and thanking the deity for anything and everything S/He has done for you. Just like any conversation and any praise, this can be anywhere between shallow and flattery to deep and sincere. I’m sure that they do like it, but again it doesn’t seem much of a way to get a dialogue going or necessarily deepen the relationship. I came to the realization last night that I really only know how to do these types of prayer. I mean, sure I’ve talked to my gods outside of praise and petitionary prayer before, but I wouldn’t say it’s easy at all, and often it’s been out of frustration that I feel lost and alone and uncared for. Frustrated tears and rescue operations don’t exactly encourage either.
This is part of my frustration. I don’t know how to just talk to Them and something I had as an epiphany earlier in the month is that I don’t know how to listen either. As much as Christianity lauds and encourages talking and getting close to God, they don’t teach it very well. Sure, you’re told to pray and read the Bible, but that doesn’t help a lot of people get close. It doesn’t tell them as much as they hope, it doesn’t make them feel connected and it doesn’t teach them how to connect or to listen. I think we can see this by the amount of people (me included) who lament over not literally hearing the gods they are trying to talk with. There are all sorts of reasons you may not literally hear your god, including the god not being very talkative to that just not being the best way to communicate. I have a quiet god, sometimes it is a little frustrating that He doesn’t just come out and yap at me for being a dork, or tell me to be patient cuz He heard me, or just saying “Stop worrying, I’m still here” or brb. But, I also know that may not be the best way to talk to me, along with the fact that He’s just the strong silent type.
Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t and don’t want to learn how to have a dialogue with Him or Set or Aset or Wepwawet. Dialogue and relationship isn’t always about literal talking, but that doesn’t mean I know how to expand that sort of thing. I honestly don’t know how. Keeping up ritual and offerings is one way, but as my experience in Christianity demonstrates, that may not help or fill the need I have and meet what I’m looking for. Honestly I don’t know what I’m looking for to a full extent, but I know that I didn’t leave Christianity to still be as distant from my gods as I was as a Christian. I want to be close, I want to have dialogue and a relationship with my deities. And I want to know they’re around somewhere.
When I was a kid I always wondered what God’s voice sounded like. Whenever the preachers would talk about how they talked to God and got an answer, or asked for His help and was told what to do and what to say, I always wondered about that. I knew to some degree that it was intuition while reading their Bible, but I wondered how much of His voice they heard? And I wondered what it sounded like. I wonder what my gods’ voices sound like. I wonder what it feels like to have that clear intuition and a close relationship. I wonder what it’s like to be able to talk and get a response back so clearly? I’m sure my doubts and anxiety has something to do with the blockage, and probably laziness and such. But still, I genuinely want to connect here, and I don’t know where to even begin.
*Initially I had wrote that “[they] have my mind a lot lately” instead of they have been on my mind and I noticed it to correct it later, but I think that’s also pretty accurate of a mistake too.