How things have changed over time

At the beginning, I wanted so badly to make the world a better place. Instead, I was pushed to focus on making my own life better. Sure, social and environmental issues are important too, but I don’t have the ability to do anything about them, and worrying about it was just making me feel awful all the time, which only hurts me without fixing anything. Better to focus on my own happiness, selfish as that may sound.

There were many other instances where I wanted to go one way, and was advised to go a different way, and sometimes back and forth.

At one point, I needed to take a break from social media, blogs, and people in general, and focus just on myself, without any other voices in the room. I need that from time to time, to be alone with myself for a while, but this time I needed it for much longer.

Then it was the opposite: I was encouraged to spend MORE time with people, put myself out there and interact more with people I don’t know well, as well as spend more time with friends.

Do more, do less, do more again but don’t go overboard. Avoid stressful situations–then go INTO stressful situations and deal with whatever needs dealing with, but be careful to only take on as much as I can handle. And so on, in every aspect of life. I didn’t always understand, but I went along with most of it, because it felt right.

After a couple years, I’m starting to see where all the little nudges have been leading me. I’ve been going in a certain direction for some time, but as things keep shifting around me all the time, I keep having to adjust various things to maintain a balance.

I still struggle with some things, especially things like asking for help when I need it, but I’m slowly getting there.

And all the little things that seemed unrelated to anything else? They all fit together. Like the moment when you realize that all those boring hours of practicing scales have given you the skill needed to play a song, and the seemingly pointless repetition now makes sense. And even though there’s still a long way to go…that moment of understanding, that’s something.

Well, that’s the generalities. In looking at specifics, this is what has stuck with me most:

“Choose life, every day.”

Wep Ronpet 2015

Yesterday was Wep Ronpet (Kemetic new year) for me. As all new years, it is a new beginning, a time to throw out bad things and start again at making a good life.

I did an execration of sorts, but not the way I usually do it. This time, instead of writing on paper or a clay pot, I typed it all on the computer, saved it to give it some solidity so it could be destroyed, and then deleted it while speaking my intent out loud. “I am putting an end to [harmful things], they have no hold on me any more, I have destroyed them!”

Then today I came across this quote, and it’s very relevant right now:
tumblr_nt3pntWpZO1rnsok6o1_1280

There were things that I needed to execrate, but I’m more focused on building the future I want, and that is making a huge difference. Getting rid of negative things feels good, but building something positive is the best feeling.

The other aspect of new years is that they are times of celebration, and Wep Ronpet is no exception. So, I went into it with the intention of celebrating and feasting, but apparently I’m just not very good at that. I shared my dinner with my gods, but while it was nice it was not anything special. Sadly I didn’t have the energy to do any serious cooking that day.

I am good at taking time for myself when I need it, but yesterday I went all out. I think a good quarter of the day was spent on taking care of my health. I gave it however much time it needed and didn’t worry about how much that is. If it’s needed, then it’s needed.

Then, some hours after dinner, I remembered that I had gotten some caramels specifically for Wep Ronpet, so I re-lit the candle and they got a belated treat as well. I am happy about the caramels.

Maybe next time I should put up some decorations. I think it would make the space more festive and set it apart from a regular day. I also think that the act of decorating a space can put you in a more festive mood. So that’s an idea for next year. For now, I’ll just keep working on “building the new” because that’s the most important thing for me at this time.

 May this year be a good one.
And it will be if I have anything to do with it!

Something resembling a plan

Wep Ronpet is a week away for me. I have decided that I’m not going to celebrate the intercalary days this year. I don’t really get anything out of it, and I feel like it’s unnecessary for me personally, so I’m just going to skip that this year. I am still definitely doing something for Wep Ronpet, though!

I also want to do something for Lokabrenna, which would technically fall on the same day, but I want to have it on a different day so I can devote a whole day to both holidays. Well, probably not a whole day; we’ll see how that goes.

Since the date would fall in the middle of the week for me, I’m moving my holidays to the weekend. I couldn’t decide if I should do it the weekend prior or one after, so I’ll do one of each! August 9 for one, and August 15 for the other. I haven’t decided which is which, yet.

The 9th will be the end of this week, so I need to scrape together at least a general idea of what I want to do. I’m also behind with school work, so I’ll be busy with that too. I was considering doing August 15 and 16, to give myself more time, but nah, I like this setup. I’ll just…I have no idea. I will do SOMETHING, and it will be great!

I have been embracing the chaos for the past few months, and that’s been going really well for me. I don’t need to have everything planned out, I just need to have a general idea of what I want, and go for it. I’ll figure out the details along the way. 🙂

Sirius rising

I am such a nerd. I spent an entire day looking up coordinates for various cities and calculating the heliacal rising of Sirius to see if there’s a pattern. There is. Here’s what I learned:

The heliacal rising of Sirius varies by latitude (how far north or south you are). Longitude doesn’t affect the results. You still need to enter your longitude when doing the calculation, but if two cities are on the same latitude, they will get the same date regardless of their longitude. I thought elevation was supposed to be a factor, but it didn’t make any difference for any of the numbers I checked.

Anyhow, the long and short of it is that the date depends on latitude. For most of North America, we’re looking at mid-July to mid-August.

If you are farther north, it will be later in the year. If you’re up in someplace like Alaska, it could be as late as the beginning of September.

If you are farther south, it will be earlier in the year. It could be as early as the beginning of June. So it’s a pretty big range.

If you want to calculate the heliacal rising of Sirius / Lokabrenna / Wep Ronpet for yourself, I made a walkthrough here.

Dates may vary a bit from year to year, but it will generally be very close to the same date. (I got the exact same date 3 years in a row.) So if you just want a close estimate, here’s a cheat sheet to look up the most likely date based on your latitude.

45°S = 1st of June
42°S = 4th
40°S = 7th
37°S = 9th
35°S = 12th
33°S = 13th
31°S = 15th
29°S = 17th
26°S = 20th
23°S = 22nd
20°S = 24th
18°S = 26th
15°S = 28th
12°S = 30th

9°S = 3rd of July
7°S = 4th
5°S = 5th
2°S = 8th
1°N = 10th
3°N = 11th
6°N = 13th
9°N = 15th
12°N = 18th
15°N = 20th
17°N = 21st
20°N = 23rd
22°N = 25th
25°N = 27th
28°N = 30th
30°N = 31st

31°N = 2nd of August
34°N = 4th
37°N = 6th
39°N = 8th
41°N = 10th
43°N = 12th
46°N = 15th
49°N = 18th
51°N = 20th
54°N = 24th
58°N = 29th
61°N = 3rd of September

As I said, I got the same date 3 years in a row. I have not looked farther into the future. If the dates start to shift in future years, I will update this page, but I expect it to be fairly accurate for quite a while.

Personally, I don’t feel the need to celebrate holidays on the exact day, so having a close estimate would be good enough for me, but I’ll still do the calculations, because it’s fun!

KRT: Akhu basics

Akhu means “shining ones”. (The singular is akh.) Akhu are those who have died but can still remain in contact with the living. It’s often used interchangeably with “ancestors” but you can honor any akh, not just those who were related to you.

How do you work with the akhu (shrines, rites, etc)?
How do you set up an akhu practice?

If you decide that you want to have an akhu practice, I would start by identifying which akhu you want to venerate. These could be people who were related to you, or not. They could be friends, pets, people who have inspired you. You can even just honor “your ancestors” in general, even if you don’t know their names.

Once you know who you want to venerate, it’s helpful to have some kind of shrine. If you have pictures of the people you want to add, that’s a good thing to put on there. In my case, I don’t have pictures of any of my dead, and that’s okay too. Other things you might want on your akhu shrine: things that belonged to the dead, things that they liked, candle(s), maybe flowers. Cool water is like the basic offering for any occasion, but you can also give them other things.

Don’t just get stuck on the physical trappings, though. Spend some time with your akhu, get to know them better, remember them. You can pray or simply talk to them, you can write them letters and leave those on the shrine.

Something that others have pointed out: Since akhu used to be mortals, they have a better understanding of our daily lives than gods do, and people who liked you when they were alive would likely want to help you if they can.

~

Akhu in my personal practice:

At first, I did not think I would have an akhu practice at all, because the only dead relatives I know are people I didn’t like, and I couldn’t think of anyone else I would want to venerate. But sometimes life takes some unexpected turns.

I did find one dead relative with whom I get along well, and then I had a pet who died, so I made a shrine for the two of them. However, I couldn’t think of much to say or do, so I didn’t really do anything until almost a year later, when I was suddenly presented with many more dead who needed attention.

Since then, my akhu practice has mainly centered on the forgotten dead. I remember and honor those those who have no one else to remember them. I’m not sure why it happened, I just got the call one day, and couldn’t say no. Maybe it’s because I know what it’s like to be alone, to not have any family. I want to take in all the lonely souls.

In practical terms, what I generally do is put out a cup of cool water, light a candle, and invite those who wish to come. A note on safety: Be careful who you let in. I have wards in place, and when inviting people I don’t know, I make the invitation to “those who have no ill intent” or something along those lines, and that has worked fine for me.

I’m not sure what to say about rites; as far as that goes, I’m just making it up as I go along. So far that’s mostly been “try to do a little something extra” (a nicer spread, special flowers, whatever seems appropriate at the time). I usually don’t know what I’m going to be doing until I start preparing, and then it somehow falls into place. I know that’s not very helpful, but I don’t have it figured out either, I just try to go with what feels right and maybe I’ll figure it out along the way.

~

The Kemetic Round Table (KRT) is a blogging project aimed at providing practical, useful information for modern Kemetic religious practitioners. For all the entries relating to this particular topic, take a peek here.

I think Sekhmet wants more

I think I’m gonna have to step up my game.

I am very casual in my interactions with my gods, and they have always seemed happy with that. One of main reasons that I like these gods is because they’re so laid back.

But now Sekhmet is here, and I feel like she wants more formality in my interactions with her. First off, I tried to put down a flowery altar cloth, and got a big NOPE. I ended up using a plain cream colored altar cloth; that felt right. Later I switched it out with a plain green one, and that was also good. So I guess colors are fine as long as it’s something classy.

My other gods never complained about their colorful altar cloths. They’re festive!

Apparently that sort of thing is not Sekhmet’s style, or at least not what she wants from me. That’s okay, I can do things differently, and would be happy to, I’m just not sure how.

So I’m feeling a little bit lost now, because I honestly don’t know HOW to do formal. A cloth is easy to change, but being more formal in my actions? I don’t even know where to start with that. I think offerings are fine the way they are, but there are other things I need to work on. I’m trying to think of a form of address that’s more classy than “Hey, how are ya doing?” but not so stuffy or archaic that it would sound stupid coming out of my mouth.

I never expected this to come up, since all of the gods I’ve honored up until now have been ones who didn’t care about formalities. I’m in unfamiliar territory without a map…

I guess it’s time for some research and brainstorming.

ETA: The feeling I’ve been getting from her is not disapproving, nothing like that. What it is…it’s like she’s standing there looking at me like “Is that the best you can do?” Pushing for more without being unkind. There’s nothing wrong with how I do things, but there’s a definite push to take it up a notch.

Sekhmet

One year ago, I took charge of my life, based on some advice I got from Sekhmet. Best thing that ever happened to me. Shortly after that, I thanked her, and told her that I admire her greatly and appreciate what she did for me, but I don’t think we would work well together.

I don’t think she’s more intimidating than many other gods, so it’s not that. It’s that we have very different personalities, and just wouldn’t mesh. So I told her I like her but don’t want to work with her, and we went our separate ways.

And then at 4 am last night / this morning, as I’m trying to fall asleep, this happens:

random thought: hey, tomorrow is our anniversary.
me: um, it’s the anniversary of that event. It’s not “our anniversary”, we don’t have a relationship.
S: uh-huh.
me: …
me: shit it’s our anniversary and I have nothing planned.

(Once again, I don’t get words, I’m just translating impressions into words.)

In hindsight, I may have been getting hints for a week or two, but sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake.

Well. Normally I don’t care about anniversaries. Usually I don’t even know when they are, but in this case, seeing as it was such a life-changing event, I feel it deserves some recognition. Last minute planning, GO!

I feel like the odd one out among Sekhmet kids, when my reaction is “Okay, this is happening, let’s do this!” (as opposed to the resistance I see from everyone else) but it’s just the way I am.

The other thing I want to say is how much I am in awe of her. I didn’t want to work with her, didn’t think I could, so she left me alone to do my own thing for an entire y e a r. If that’s not patience I don’t know what is. I mean, I know a year is probably not very long for a deity, but when other people talk about this sort of thing, they always either get dragged in, or walk away. So while I have no doubt that gods could wait if they wanted to, it’s simply not something I ever hear about. But this was exactly what I needed, to know that we would get along.

And now I’m happy to have her in my life. It’s not even a matter of choosing; there’s nothing to choose, it’s already a done deal. It’s an interesting feeling, because on the one hand, this was kind of unexpected, but on the other hand I feel like, of course this is how is, how else would it be?

Recognizing hieroglyphs

I see a fair number of photos of Ancient Egyptian temples on tumblr, and lately I’ve noticed that I can recognize some of the Netjeru’s names in hieroglyphs! I guess if you see something enough times, it eventually sticks in memory.

So far I can recognize Wepwawet, Geb, Aset, Wesir, and Sekhmet. I can recognize Anup and Bast if it’s pointed out, but probably wouldn’t pick their names out of a wall-full of glyphs on my own.

I’ve been wanting to learn about hieroglyphs, and have a list of recommended books…somewhere on my computer. It’s a low-priority goal right now, so I don’t expect to get to it anytime soon, but it’s on the list.

There’s not much else to say, I am just so delighted to realize that I can recognize some names 🙂