my daily prayers (redux)

my daily prayers (redux)

Approximately five hundred times, I’ve mentioned the fact that I say daily prayers. I’ve shared them on this blog before, but it’s literally been years, so I figured it might be nice to re-share and explain a little.

These are morning prayers; I usually say them on my commute into work.

Good morning, Netjer, Netjeru, and akhu.
Thank You for all good things of yesterday,
for the wonderful souls I’ve been blessed to know,
and the Zep Tepi of each new day.

Thank Nebt-het for compassion and grace,
Hethert-Nut for joy and creativity,
Ma’ahes for strength and affection,
Serqet for guidance and protection,
Sekhmet for will and rightful action,
Wepwawet for journeys and options,
Bast for light and loved ones,
and thank my akhu for family and life.

I offer to You a thousand of all good and pure things:
a thousand of bread, a thousand of beer, a thousand of water.

May today be positive and productive.
May I walk with Ma’at in compassion, peace, strength, and joy.
May my moods, attitude, and energy levels
be positive and pure, resilient and sufficient.
May I and my loved ones be free of pain, injury, and illness,
this and every day.

[silent freeform prayers]

Today is good. Kheperu. Dua Netjer!

…you know, it seems much longer when I write it out like this.

A few (okay, a lot of) notes on why I chose specific things to include:

I greet Netjer (the One), Netjeru (the Many), and akhu (the Shiny–er, I mean, the blessed dead) each. I try very hard not to leave my akhu out of things, because I tend to get gods-focused and my akhu are really awesome.

I say “wonderful souls” instead of “wonderful people” or similar because I’ve been very grateful to know a wide variety of wonderful entities, from human people to animal people to animals, from gods to akhu to netjeri and spirits. Not all of them would be considered “people,” but I consider them all to have souls. ♥

The list of deities is mostly unsurprising, I think, and I thank Them each for Their gifts and the traits I strive to embody that I attribute to Them or Their influence in my life. Nebt-het and Hethert-Nut are my Mothers; Ma’ahes, Serqet, and Wepwawet are my Beloveds. Sekhmet is my Other, to Whom I’ve been devoted for over a decade now. Bast recently got added to my personal deities because She seems present during those mornings as sunlight lioness, and since She’s a Mother or otherwise important goddess to literally most of my closest people, I figure it would be good to say hello to Her, too. (Also, my partner commutes with me sometimes, and they are an unofficial Bastling, and it fit.)

The verbal offering is, in large part, to make up for my lack of physical shrine time over the past couple years. I personally prefer giving physical offerings, but verbal offerings are acceptable and far better than nothing at all.

The “May…” prayers are very specific to my personal needs. You can tell the kind of person I am by the first three lines, quite honestly–they include most of my primary values and how I want to be each day. Depression and fatigue and anxiety make the third line about “moods, attitude, and energy levels” kind of necessary.

My freeform prayers tend to include statements of gratitude and requests for specific help or protection, as well as silly “ILU NETJER” statements. Sometimes I talk to Them a bit about what I hope to accomplish that day. It’s generally a one-way communication–it’s hard for me to listen super-well for feedback while navigating morning rush hour in Dallas. Sometimes, though, I will get visual impressions or ideas that come very quickly and clearly (and usually from left field).

Lastly, I finish with a heka statement and a dua. All but the freeform parts are said aloud, and when I’m alone in the car, I usually say the freeform parts aloud, too.

It’s interesting (to me) to see how my prayers have evolved over the years. They used to be much simpler, and there used to be an evening/good night version. Now, however, they’re so firmly memorized that an interruption will make me nearly start all over, because the rhythm was lost. (“You threw off my groove!” “I’m sorry, you’ve thrown off the Kemetic’s groove…”)

Do you have any regular prayers that you use in your devotion, either daily or in shrine or just when you need them?

thoughts on love

thoughts on love

I attended a discussion on this year’s oracle tonight, and I want to mark down and expand upon some of my thoughts.

Do you not understand how much you are loved?

This is the first sentence to my favorite part of the oracle, and the paragraph that resonates most deeply with me each time I read it. This is a reminder to those who have forgotten they’re loved–and a challenge to those who will not or cannot believe they’re loved. This is the fierce love of Netjer, the insistent love, the love that exists whether or not it is acknowledged or accepted. This is the love that our prayers call on, the love that shelters and soothes even when it is invisible to every eye.

Creation is the love of the creators for the created.

When I was but a wee little Wiccan, one of my favorite modern-born creation ideas was that Divinity created the universe and everything in it in order to experience creation, to experience life. The associated idea was that we are all God and Goddess, because we are all little pieces of the huge infinity of Divinity, experiencing life on behalf of the universe itself.

This line reminds me of that idea. This line makes me think of Netjer, Who loves so powerfully that creation came about just to house and embody that love. Love is the hand holding the cookie cutter, that presses unique shapes out of something homogenous and flat. We are all alive in order to experience love, in order to receive love, in ways that are just slightly different and wonderful in that diversity.

See to it that love continues. It is left to you to tend this work. We cannot do it for you alone. You too must serve.

You too must serve.

One of the reasons I love Kemeticism is because our gods are not all-powerful and all-knowing. Our gods are pretty big, but They are not infallible and omnipotent. They need us to help Them uphold ma’at and suppress isfet. This work that maintains the balance and rightness of all of creation is not something that only gods do; we do it, too, in our own myriad ways.

Likewise, this love that Netjer bears for us is not solely for Them to give. They can’t do everything for us; it’s a relationship, not divine servitude. We have to do the work, too. We have to open our hands, open our hearts, and extend love to one another. We have to reach out and form community, family, tribe. We have to hold the space for each other and make it safe so we can be vulnerable and real and raw with each other.

And this is important to me in particular: Just as Netjer can’t do it all for us, so we cannot do everything for each other. Each of us participates. Each of us chooses to be here, a choice that most of us make again and again from moment to moment. I cannot live for anyone else, and I cannot expect anyone – human or god – to live my life for me. It’s mine. I give ma’at and receive ma’at. I give support and receive support. I give love and receive love.

Open yourselves, open your hearts, and accept the help that others will give. None of you are alone.

one Wep Ronpet celebration

one Wep Ronpet celebration

Continuing the tradition of my non-Kemetic partner celebrating Wep Ronpet by slaying pansnakes and then texting me the story + images, I present to you this year’s victorious battle:

T3h 3v1l!

Pansnakes!

Annnnnd… SMITE!

Pansnakes! Smite!

J00 are smited, 3V1LS!

Pansnakes! Smiteberries!

3V1L! Now with extra SMITE!

Pansnakes! Nomnom!

Tasty tasty smiteberries.

thoughts on the changing year

thoughts on the changing year

I could wish that I’d had a chance to reflect on the previous Kemetic year during the Epagomenal Days, but alas and alack, I did not. So I’ll do it now.

The previous year, Heru-sa-Aset’s year, was spiritually not great for me. I did very very little in terms of shrine time, research, community fellowship, service, etc. I managed to keep saying my daily prayers, and that’s about it. I thought of my gods, and usually felt self-created pangs of guilt that I wasn’t doing almost anything for Them.

The year was similarly creatively fallow. I didn’t even participate in NaNoWriMo because I was traveling too much of the month. I don’t think I made any jewelry, probably didn’t do any paintings, and didn’t write any songs (I think). I managed some pen sketches and doodles that made me happy, but beyond that? Nada.

Secularly, though, it’s an entirely different story. Last year, I found a psychiatrist and started the very long road of figuring out the right meds to treat my debilitating depression. I changed and mended a very close relationship, and I started another new relationship, which also had a change-and-mend stage later in the year. I left a dysfunctional job and started working at the most accommodating, genuinely kind workplace I’ve ever experienced. I retired my beloved decade-old car and got a new baby who could take me on long roadtrips again. A local friend and I rescued 40+ snakes and rehomed all but 3 successfully. (I also got … significantly more snakes for my own household.)

It wasn’t all roses: we lost two of our cats, the youngest to cancer and the oldest to age. My self-care necessitated dropping basically all of my projects and sorely limited the time I could dedicate to other people, so many of my friends didn’t hear much from me. My health continued to suffer from depression and other crap, even with meds starting to help. And, of course, world news and social justice issues just exploded.

All in all, the year was turbulent but produced some really important and positive changes to my personal life.

Now I leave behind Heru-sa-Aset’s influence and welcome the child god energies of Khonsu and Yinepu. This year, I want to get some of my own light back. I want to get the meds optimized, so I’m not always so tired and so flat. I want to re-engage with my beloved Kemetic community, and I want to have the capacity to re-engage a little more with my local secular community, too. I want to pick up the pen and write more stories and more songs. I want to step back into shrine and keep the dust off my gods.

The oracle talked about love, about service, about doing the work and keeping an open heart. Nebt-het talked to me about service, too: service to Ma’at and my community. (And balance between service and self-care, because that too is ma’at.)

So that’s what I’m looking forward to. Gently and gradually picking up things I had to drop last year. Respecting the limitations of my current health, while not letting myself sink into total stillness. Reaching out and helping where I can, without breaking myself in the process.

It’ll be a good year. Kheperu. Dua Netjer!

Happy new year!

Happy new year!

Heru-sa-Aset’s year is over. We welcome in a year shared by two child gods: Khonsu and Yinepu (Anubis).

Do you not understand how much you are loved? Creation was born of love. Creation is the love of the creators for the created. This love is in your being. This love will never leave you. This love must be protected at all costs. This love is the best of you. This love is your birthright and your promise. See to it that love continues. It is left to you to tend this work. We cannot do it for you alone. You too must serve.

It is not done. It is not lost. It is not gone. Look to the horizon. It has merely been forgotten in some places and left behind by others. Do not despair. Love is what we offer you and love is what you need. There is love in the light of the dawn and in the firing of every star. There is love in the sky and the sea and the tomb. There is love everlasting. Seek it with both hands open to receive. It is your gift in this year of light, this year of delight.

It is time for love.

Read the full Year 24 Aset Oracle here.

Dua Khonsu! Dua Yinepu!

everyday

everyday

“How do I protect them?” I asked, looking out at the pale smear of post-storm clouds across a strained blue sky.

The answer filtered through in feelings, not words. The kindness offered to stranger and friend alike. The patience when it is all too easy to be impatient. The willingness to stand up and address the tiny things that are wrong day to day – the judgment, the derogatory jokes, the bigotry, the fear-turning-to-anger-turning-to-hate.

This is everyday ma’at, these small acts, these few words. This is the ma’at that goes on to combat isfet and slowly shift the balance, drop by drop, grain by grain.

Gandalf

Gandalf has it right. Even though most of us don’t individually wield great power, we can together still make the vital difference.

just keep swimming

just keep swimming

My once-familiar haunts are strange to me now; I have been away too long. They repainted the walls and changed the furniture, and everything is brighter and different than I remember. I linger outside in the shadows, awkward and uncertain, listening to the roar of happy conversation that spills out the door like yellow light spills out the window. It is too much to enter, so I turn around again.

My work is full of baby steps now, an inchworm’s efforts. I am still Kemetic, devoted to my gods, but my practice has shrunk down to a tether of daily morning prayers, which I say faithfully. I cleaned my shrine of dust, but have not sat before it yet. I light incense. I bring a flower that my partner gave me for offerings. I do not yet kneel and still my mind to listen. Receptivity is so hard for me right now.

But I reach out in small ways. If I cannot stand the boldness of the main hall, I can at least say hello to individuals as they enter or leave, so I am not alone. I can sit at my own table and welcome a few others to join me, in my own space, which is quieter and gentler, until I can manage to go back to the light and the bustle.

I offer my dinner, my tea. My breath and my love. It is not as much as I want to do, but it will suffice. My gods and my community are not disappointed in me; the only disappointment is my own, and that is an emotion I can work through.

how it feels

how it feels

I sit with a feeling I have missed, a feeling I’ve barely felt in over a year. It had come in hints, wisps, little blips on my spiritual radar… but now, the door is open, and I can hear it. I can smell the wind through the woods. I can feel the sunset, the sunrise. The moon’s many silvered faces are no longer strangers. The clouds are a daily miracle of art.

I can feel my gods, my spirituality, calling.

And this feeling stretches beyond Kemeticism, beyond the burning sun and the painted sky, beyond the touch of light on stone and sand and silt. I can feel streams in loam under shadowing trees. I can feel moss and ferns and fallen leaves turning to wet mulch. I can feel cool breezes through a willow’s young boughs.

I have been pagan for longer than I often realize, and this sense of the world – this ability to sense the world – runs deep now. And as depression starts to lift, as I feel a little more human and a little more me, I can stretch out and remember what the rest of the world feels like.

It’s all an echo chamber, a familiar song that I have very much missed, and I find myself humming along. Sometimes off-key, sometimes forgetting the melody, but this lullaby will never be fully alien to me.