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.”

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.

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?

Update

I wanted to post an update but was too tired to write it up last night.

First of all, I stopped worrying about doing more for Loki, so that’s good. I got several helpful suggestions, and I’m going to try some things, but I don’t feel like I have to do stuff.

What I really want is to have more of a connection. When I have things to talk about, that’s probably the biggest thing that helps me build connections. But I haven’t had much to talk about lately, so that’s been an issue. I’m going to try writing and see if that works better.

I liked physical offerings because that gave me something to do even if I had nothing to talk about. The music suggestion was especially helpful as an alternative or additional thing I can do.

So yesterday, we listened to some music, and that was fun. I was just sitting on my bed with the laptop, but it kind of felt like a party. I was also suddenly feeling playful, and there was lots of laughter. I think I may have been picking up on his mood.

Thanks for the playlist, Corannhena. I liked most of the songs, and I was commenting on things as they came up, so that also gave me something to talk about. It was mostly just things like, “I like this one. Don’t like this one. Oooh, this one’s nice. I really like this one!” Then there was one that was like, wtf is that, and I turned towards Loki’s shrine and said “Okay, that’s just weird,” and laughed. Dude has some weird tastes 😛 I’m happy that most of it was stuff that I like too.

Today I didn’t do much. I was tired and took a nap that lasted ~6 hours~ :/  I think things are good, though.

Settling in

On the subject of learning to juggle multiple deities…

I feel like it’s coming together. The first few days [after I first reached out to Them] there was much flailing. Then I got some advice, did some reading, adjusted how I approach the whole thing, and I don’t feel so off-balance any more.

Sometimes I feel like Anup doesn’t get enough attention, but I don’t know what to do for him. It’s easier with the others, since I have some idea of what they might like, but with Anup I’m like, “I don’t really know what to do for you. Here, have some chocolate.” But I don’t feel so lost as before.

Right now, my practice is: Offer a cup of water every day (just started doing that), and talk about stuff. I like the daily offering of water, because it’s something I can give them even if I can’t do anything else that day. I got two nice cups specifically for Their shrines. I also share meals sometimes, but that’s not a regular thing.

Sharing meals got a bit more complicated with Loki in the mix. If I’m offering a treat, like chocolate or fruit, I’ll put some on both shrines, but when I’m sharing my meal, there’s just one plate. I hope they’re okay with everyone sharing a plate, because I don’t see any other alternative.

I’ve also played my drum for Wep, since I read a thing that says he likes drums. I can neither confirm nor deny this, since I don’t get any impressions from him, or from anyone else.

I don’t get anything, but that’s okay. It would be easier if I at least knew that they were there…not being able to feel their presence at all was the main reason I felt so unbalanced at the beginning. That sorted itself out after I changed the way I think about my relationship with Them:

How do I interact with someone who doesn’t interact with me? I can dedicate actions to Them. Even if they never ask for anything specific, I could think of things to do that they would probably like. Even things like cleaning can be an offering. There’s a wide variety of things I could do, and it doesn’t have to be anything big or difficult.

It’s interesting. I believed in the existence of gods before, but having them be part of my life has changed things. Even though they don’t talk to me (or I can’t hear it) I often think about them as I go about my day. From the outside, my life looks much the same as before, but on the inside everything feels different.