It’s Imbolc, one of my favorite non-Kemetic holidays: the Day of Fire.
I sing for Brigid, and I light a candle in the darkness beneath Her cross, next to a necklace that makes me think of Her spirit and a dark-blood stone from Sekhmet’s altar. I let the flame burn a while before returning Brigid’s cross to my throat, and I contemplate the fire of winter.
There’s a lot to be said for burning away the chill, but I live in Texas right now, and it’s not so very cold and snow-drenched.
Instead, I focus on the light itself. It has been a very dark autumn and winter, and I want to make February a month of bringing back the light. So I will think of small, tangible ways in which I can do that.
For now, I leave you with this from my private journal, which mentions Netjer but embodies Brigid’s spirit as well:
May the work I do
by voice, limb, and hand
be strong in structure,
stable in foundation,
beautiful in form,
and long in longevity.
All creations are art
and all art is my work,
my good work, born by my flesh,
sacred to me.
May it all bring honor
to Netjer, Who blesses me
and provides me the world(s)
in which I create and serve.
Like they did last year, my non-Kemetic partner celebrated Wep Ronpet in fabulous style by feasting on the flesh of evil. (They make such a good Kemetic ally.)
Sidenote: If you are new to Wep Ronpet, it’s the Kemetic new year. One can celebrate by creating a symbol of the new year’s potential badness, illness, misfortune, etc, and then ritually destroying it in order to break its power over the new year. In the past, I’ve done pansnakes at home with my partner and snake-cake at Tawy House with my Kemetic Orthodox family.
Behold, the delicious destruction of Ap-p in the new year!
Sometimes the most sacred thing I can do is take care of my home and my family.
I serve with my hands and my feet, my mouth and my mind. I serve with vacuum and skillet and incense and embrace. I won’t make it into shrine tonight, but I have taken care of my partner, who has the flu, and I have taken care of our home. I have taken care of all of our animals.
And in sitting still for a little while, eating blueberries and listening to Scottish music, I am taking care of myself.
Sometimes I forget that pushing myself beyond my limits in an effort to do All The Things is not ma’at. It is not desired nor requested by my spirituality or my gods. Burnout is not the goal.
Ma’at is, in part, balance. Restoring my house to cleanliness and health is restoring ma’at, and that is my worship today.
It is enough. I am enough. Nebt-het taught me that. I am not as unworthy or insufficient as I so often feel.
Dua Netjer! Help me recognize and honor ma’at in the mundane Seen world.
I slink back into shrine like a teenager returning home well past midnight, guilty and full of half-valid excuses. Overtime at work for weeks on end leading up to early April, then burnout, then there was this other project, and I’ve been meaning to dust off the altar…
My Netjeru have been in my prayers every morning as I drive to work, but I feel the lack of seeing Them in shrine—of offering Them water and incense—like a hollow pit of nervousness. Too long “apart,” and I start to wonder if They even want me back.
Nonsense, of course. But still, I tiptoe around the edges of my shrine, washing my hands before I dispose of old candle tins and incense ashes. I place fresh candles and incense, gather simple offerings of cinnamon and chocolate, and take a breath.
I pour water for my akhu, my family, my ancestors. Happy birthday, Grama—I’m really sorry I missed the actual day.
I light a candle for my gods so I may see Them and They me. I love You, my Mothers, my Beloveds.
The smell of incense transports me instantly. There is no sense of time with scent-memory, and it’s like there’s been no long absence at all.
I recite Sekhmet’s heka and look at the firelit faces of my gods, grateful for Their continued presence in my life and for Their immortal patience. And it won’t be so long before I return again to this physical housing of my spiritual practice.
The horned serpent has fascinated me since I was but a wee pagan, and its associations with Cernunnos, regeneration, and abundance have only helped its image in my eyes. I’ve doodled horned and antlered snakes for well over a decade, and it was only a matter of time before they showed up in my newer forms of art.
The above is a slice of tagua, vegetable ivory, a renewable resource and durable material for jewelry and other uses. The horned (well, antlered) serpent upon it is woodburned, freehand.
There may be an entire series of these to come. :)
PSA: Did you know I’m a commissionable artist? If you’re interested, you can drop me an email at itenumuti at gmail or find me at my Etsy shoppe, Mythic Curios.
My boss brought me back a solid metal dragon from Singapore, about six inches long and three tall. (Bonuses of working for a global travel company. :D) It is gorgeous, and I know very little about Chinese dragons, so I looked up appropriate offerings. Whether or not there’s a spirit associated with the statue, I felt the urge to give offerings as a token of respect and welcome—and being pagan, being polytheist, I tend to heed such urges.
After some cursory research, I collected seven Malaysian jade beads and three gold freshwater pearls (both numbers specifically chosen to be culturally-positive). Malaysia contributes quite a bit of culture to Singapore, as does China, so offering a Singapore dragon Malaysian jade seemed particularly fitting. :)
He’s so handsome:
Last weekend, I had the incredible pleasure of attending two small concerts by one of my all-time favorite musicians, Alexander James Adams. His music has, without exaggeration, changed my life.
So much love for him and his changeling predecessor, Heather Alexander.
If you’ve never heard of Alec or Heather, I invite you to give a listen; Heather has tons of albums and Alec has a handful, as well (navigate to various albums in the little sidebar on the right). Most of their music is pagan-flavored or fantasy-themed; there’s a sampling of filk, a bit of animalfolk, a hefty dose of Celtic mythology and fae, and overall an amazing depth of voice and lyric. These musicians are a large part of the reason I ever thought I could make music of my own, and their songs have been models for how one person really can fill the room with magic and sound.
If you have only time for one song each, then take these: Alec’s Creature of the Wood and Heather’s March of Cambreadth. (March of Cambreadth is more SCA than pagan/polytheist, but it’s arguably one of Heather’s best-known tunes, so it’s a great place to start! I’m also slightly more fond of Heather’s version of Creature of the Wood, but Alec most certainly does it justice in his way.)
So much love for these musicians and their work. I hope you enjoy the music!
I’m on day two of a low-level migraine, so instead of a lot of words, have some photos of my gods instead:
All my love and adoration to Nebt-het, Hethert-Nut, Sekhmet, and Ma’ahes, my Netjeru in the heavens.