Upholding Ma'at

Journeying through the modern world with ancient ways.


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PBP: B is for Belief

I would be lying to myself if I said my beliefs haven’t been shaken to my core in recent months. Loss of a loved one, even during a break up like I’m experiencing, really does that to people and I’m no exception. If that wasn’t enough the constant loss of last year took a lot of my resolve out of me. The way I’ve dealt with my crisis of faith is a bit different from what I’ve seen others do or advised by others in my life.

 

One thing I’ve realized after being dumped was that I have immense trust issues. It became clear when I spoke to people about my feelings. Most of my friends noted how they’d never seen me in this state and implied, whether they meant to or not, it seemed like I wasn’t capable of feeling such emotions like heartbreak and despair. I guess “incapable” is too strong of a word; it was more like improbable. They mentioned how I always seemed cold and distant. I found it odd because I imagine myself to be an open book (it comes with blogging, I feel). However that was what I kept hearing from friends I even considered close friends. When it’s a pattern like that I can’t avoid it anymore. Already I had one belief challenged.

 

It seems silly to look at how I believe friendships work into a religious blog, but after examining this one issue I saw how it applied in other places in my life. Naturally I looked at my religious beliefs. I felt like I failed the gods, the gods failed me, or They abandoned me, or hated me in some fashion, and other forms of doubt. All of these feelings are normal with loss and I’m thankful I know that. What I wasn’t prepared for was how to proceed with my feelings. Most of the time I was advised to abandon my beliefs since they caused me pain. It occurred to me as an option. I’ve most certainly felt let down in so many ways I’m having to make changes across the board. Others wondered why I stuck with it in the fist place as it seems I have suffered so much since pursuing Kemeticism. I left Christianity because I felt it brought me great suffering, so why should I stick with Kemeticism?

 

The question of whether I should stick to my beliefs was one I couldn’t answer, nor do I feel I can adequately answer right now. I can say when I put my religious practice aside for a bit so I could work on other things in my life I realized how important it has been to me so far. When I came to Het-Hert initially I had a new lease on life. What I didn’t realize at the time was part of renewing one’s life means healing from the life that inflicted so much harm. I’ve cried a lot and was placed in many situations where I had to face those wounds inflicted by my past. Many of those situations have occurred in a spiritual or religious environment. In facing my inner turmoil I also found healing even when it was healing provided by others. That’s because even in situations like therapy the solutions were common: keep to my religious practice and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The only thing my therapist added which others didn’t was to find healthier friendships. Combining these notions helped me heal at various points in my life. I had to examine why I felt none of this was healing me at this point in my life. In that examination I hoped to find out if I needed to leave my religion behind.

 

During the contemplation of what served me I reflected on why I left Christianity. The very beliefs of Christianity didn’t help me as I felt I could never measure up, as if the very structure set me up for failure. I know others disagree, which is their right. It’s just my experience with it, and I left because of it. I know that because of it I felt like God hated me. Even if my experience didn’t account for anything there was still how I felt I couldn’t believe in the fundamentals of it. I never believed there was only one way to peace or happiness. I didn’t believe all of a religion’s tenets were timeless regardless if the gods seemingly change their mind or not. The idea of how someone erased all of man’s sins yet somehow we were still born with it until we become Christian made no sense to me. I couldn’t believe in a practice that used manipulation to bring in followers. So what made Kemeticism different for me? Why do I believe in the Ancient Egyptian gods enough to keep practicing and researching how to practice? In Ancient Egypt there wasn’t really much in literature to tell the laymen how to practice and behave. We have some idea thanks to archaeological evidence and surviving wisdom literature. However, there wasn’t really a set of rules for laymen. In fact they had no word for “religion” as the Ancient Egyptians saw no separation of religion and everyday life. I could easily argue I wasn’t practicing, yet I still wanted to believe. What makes this belief strong?

 

The word “belief” stumped me repeatedly. Why did I believe in something that is not serving me? I am at a place now where I feel like I don’t measure up in my practice and on some level I felt the gods hated me. Why am I still holding on? It didn’t hit me until I found myself crying and praying to Het-Hert. I was still asking Het-Hert to get me through the pain of losing my partner in one of my moments of sorrow. I found myself praying to Her knowing She was there and I trusted Her to help in my healing. I still held on because I believed in Her. I’ve found a lot of peace and healing with Het-Hert and other Ancient Egyptian gods. I trusted Them to help me even with my faith shaken. I found a practice that bettered me and gave me new tools to be the person I want to be through worshiping Them and through my own work devoted to learning how to worship. It’s those experiences which convinced me this was a true path for me all these years. I’ve been through a lot, but it’s through those moments I’ve seen how much I’ve grown because of nothing else than believing in the gods and in some way believed in myself. I believed in myself to make the best decision. Even if I ended up choosing poorly I trusted myself enough to grow and learn.

 

It was during that contemplation I kept running into articles which reminded me about belief and belief during moments of crises. I was reminded how sometimes bad things happen without rhyme or reason, and sometimes it’s a cluster of bad things. Not every bad thing has a pattern to it. Have I made poor choices that contributed to my problems in the past year? Yes. I’m human. I’ve also had problems that were no fault of my own as well. It’s something I say a lot on this blog, but even I need a reminder every so often that sometimes bad things happen for no reason. The gods most likely aren’t mad at me or punishing me. It’s just the series of unfortunate events combined with questionable decision-making. While I thought I was making a truthful and wise decision at the time it didn’t always prove for the best. Life happened, and I happened with it. That’s where I differentiated my beliefs with Christianity all those years ago. While contemplation of one’s faith and relationship with God was theoretically encouraged the practice was far different. The pastors never encouraged me to trust my feelings about my relationship with God. I was supposed to trust God’s decisions for better or worse on a say-so. I felt like I was constantly let down and that trust eroded. Since my trust was gone my beliefs went with it. That has not happened with my belief in Kemeticism. On some level I still trust Them.

 

Belief, to paraphrase the definition, is about holding something to be a truth. Beliefs can change, but it’s usually because we find a new truth for ourselves. As in all exploration the way we discover our truths is by trusting it. Sometimes we have to test it in order to find it believable. After all trust is earned. Since the gods have earned my trust I’ve slowly worked into my practice again. I am slowly working myself into daily offerings again. It’s a slow effort, but one that will build up with trust.

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Kemetic Round Table: Happy Multi-Holiday Observance Time!

When anyone converts from a belief in which they were raised to a new one there’s always conflict. If it’s not reconciling old beliefs with new ones it’s reconciling old religious traditions with new ones. I’ve been down this road in many ways before converting away from Christianity. I grew up thinking having to change tradition was a norm. My family is apparently very odd, yet very American, in that respect.

 

My father worked for a German company during my teens, which meant lots of traveling for him. He traveled so much I lost track of which country he was in most of the time. I’m sure my teachers suspected he was running out on us (it was one of those small towns that made Petyon Place look like Mayberry) since they grilled me often about his whereabouts. Awkward school situations aside it meant having to adjust holiday traditions. Since my father was out of the country a good portion of the time he missed out on holidays often. Holiday gatherings that once took place as a family had to be adjusted. Christmas gifts weren’t always opened together as a family or they arrived late. We stopped watching certain movies or specials because they were specific ones he requested and wasn’t there to request them. My father, since he still travels, ordered a Christmas tree this year instead of following tradition of picking out one at a tree farm.

 

Sometimes because my father travels new traditions were added or halfheartedly added. One summer my father insisted we observe Bastille day after coming back from France and missing Independence Day, even though we have no significant French ancestry nor ties to France. What happened was a confusing disaster and a house smelling of cheap wine. All but my father were against this practice for obvious reasons and felt it saw it for the contrived attempt to excuse poor wine choices. We gave up and left him to his cheap liquor. Despite this disaster some other traditions have been introduced with greater success, like a new holiday decorating tradition or a new holiday dish. After all, we’re Midwesterners and easily bribed with food.

 

There were times where family traditions changed not just because of absent family members, but due to changing circumstances. It used to be an Easter tradition to dye eggs for a family Easter egg hunt. As the children grew up there was less need to keep this tradition: we were at an age where we didn’t want to do it and there weren’t any children around for whom to keep the tradition going. There are others, and most changed because the tradition was no longer practical to keep. However gorging ourselves on food is still a family tradition.

When I moved away from Christianity not much changed, though there was some controversy over how I would observe holidays. It wasn’t so much of how my family felt my faith nor theirs would prohibit observation. I lucked out in that respect. My father’s side of the family are predominantly atheist so there was no issue about faith and the holidays. I grew up not attending church as a family, let alone on holidays. While we knew the religious significance my family raised me to observe it as a secular holiday. The issue of my faith stemmed from the holidays I wanted to observe coinciding with theirs, and the dietary restrictions prove to be an issue. My mother knew how to adjust to the family members who converted to Catholicism, but she wasn’t fully sure how to adjust for Kemetic practices. Luckily this is only an issue around Thanksgiving as that’s when I observe Ka-her-Ka and practice the rituals more rigorously. At first I was adamant about my dietary restrictions. As years have worn on I’ve grown too tired of the heated culinary debates and relented. I just do what I can and hope for the best.

 

When I’ve looked at this issue of overlapping holidays I’ve lucked out compared to the stories I’ve heard about Pagans and fellow Kemeticists. Most families are not multi-faith and tend to be hard nosed about what will and won’t be observed during the holidays. My family has made adjustments where possible but also knew what needed to be in which corner. As long as I’m not forcing my family to sit for long periods of time while I perform rituals in front of them they’re tolerant. My Catholic family members don’t expect the rest of us to attend Mass. The Baptist and Lutheran family members attend services and then spend time with the rest of the family. My atheist family members treat holidays like Christmas as secular holidays. The key for us is to understand when it’s time for someone to be religious and when it’s time to celebrate as a family. It’s probably why I don’t have any issues but personal ones about holidays.

 

I think what is key for my family is also the same advice I’d give anyone about celebrating multiple holidays: just know the time and place. Know when it’s time to celebrate family and being with family, and know when it’s time to celebrate it as a holy day. Don’t expect your family to burn a yule log if it’s never been done just because you observe Yule. Don’t look at the family attending church service as religion being shoved down your throat because you’re not Christian or Catholic. I know it’s hard not to look at that situation as forced, but understand to them it’s also an important family tradition. Even though sometimes traditions change there’s usually a new one in place where the whole family can enjoy it. Sometimes finding that new tradition for everyone will take work and tolerance.

 


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Why I’ve Been Quiet

This is atypical for my posts, but I feel it’s necessary. As I’ve stated before I tend to take on a lot of projects at once at the cost of biting off more than I can chew. This is another one of those moments.

The short of a long – and without going into too many details to keep everything separate – I agreed to join a project. It seemed like a nice way to keep certain skills and creative juices going so I could apply that creativity in other aspects of my life. That project has taken off in less than a month. Since it’s flying as fast as a rocket that means I’ve had to give the project more time and focus. I’ve since left the project due to a few reasons. One of the big ones is creative differences, namely in the form of old artistic habits of mine cropping up. I tend to be very hard-nosed about things and given how relaxed others approach these things I felt I was going to ruin the dynamic. The other main reason was because I couldn’t devote to it on the same level as others involved since I had other projects simultaneously.

There’s also been an issue of life showing up. It’s just the way it is. I have bills I need to pay like everyone else. That also means, in addition to scraping up money for bills, scraping up money to fund other projects. Most of them are coming together at roughly the same time and I need to look at which budget is feasible in order to decide which one comes first. That means expect me to plug my etsy store more often to raise the money. I tried to keep that happening for a while because I felt it would get in the way of my goals with the blog, so I tried to stave it off with ads on the side. That hasn’t been working out well. I apologize for the massive pluggery ahead of time.

I’m honestly excited about these projects. Currently all of them are chapbook, but will pave the way for something I can’t wait to get started. That particular project will take some time as I try to research the very scant information about Ancient Egyptian literature. Once I have enough information gathered I’m going to create a chapbook specifically aimed at combining modern Kemetic elements of religion with what we do know of Ancient Egyptian literature. There are other projects in the works, but I’m dealing with those as they come right now as well.

I also took some time for myself. I’ve been highly stressed and overwhelmed lately and wanted to take some time off. I feel while I’m not fully recharged I am more capable of tackling what’s necessary. I’m still going to take it easy, which means posting infrequently will continue for a little bit longer. Hopefully it will be sorted out soon. Until then hold on and keep checking for updates.


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Inspirationial Tuesday: Go Die in a Fire, Namaste!

Mandatory Disclaimer:  This is just my personal take on some of the passages and may or may not pull from academic sources.  In other words, this is just my interpretation of things.  Take it or leave it.

“O Disturber who came forth from Weryt, I have not been hot-tempered.” -translation by R.O. Faulkner

This passage is listed in another document as coming from the sanctuary and with one version saying the confessor hasn’t been heated in his or her words. While I can’t seem to figure out which god is addressed in this confession, this blogger suspects it’s Hatmenhit. I guess all that matters is the idea of the confessor being in control of their emotions. I see it can go to some outrageous ends at times to appear in control. The most often way I see it is through the words used and their real intentions.

All too often I see people who will say the most hateful, vitriolic things to a person followed by some form of well-wi480317_10151292098577371_1483434193_nshing. It’s the strangest concept to me because I don’t understand how a “blessing” will somehow negate the fact one said some hurtful things. When I discussed this with my partner to get some perspective I ended up poking fun at the concept with the phrase, “Go die in a fire, namaste!” It conveys the very idea of some of these behaviors.

We tend to say hurtful things when we’re angry. It’s why it’s important to watch ourselves when we’re angry because we may come to regret it. It may be out of personal remorse either. Sometimes there are social ramifications. You could lose friends, you could lose respect, or you could lose your job or business over it. We’ve all been in that situation where a friendship was ended because of an argument that spiraled out of control over something said in a moment of passion. There are also times when we say something hurtful because we misconstrued the context. I’ve seen all too often on the Internet where discussions turned into hateful shouting matches. I saw one debate generating into a shouting match with a person leaving a forum, and it turned out the person who left was misunderstood due to missing punctuation.

I was taught when I studied Japanese that the Japanese won’t generally say something outright hateful to a person’s face. An example of this is instead of saying someone is “an interesting person” as a euphemism for a derogatory name. I’m not fully certain of the origin of this practice, but I saw it in my experience with working at a Chinese restaurant as well. When I studied Chinese in order to speak with my co-workers the explanation written in the book was it helped the offending party save face. According to the book making someone look bad is a major social faux pas in Chinese culture.

The common pattern I’ve seen with hateful phrases masked with good intentions stems from the same idea as “winning” a shouting match (I use “winning” loosely because no one really wins a shouting match). It’s about looking like a socially upstanding person. It’s understandable; no one wants to look like that(!) person. Even in the Maxims of Ptahhotep it’s advised to not be that person:

If you find a disputant arguing, one having authority and superiority to you, bend down your

arms and bow your back […] If you find a disputant arguing, your equal who is on your own

level, let your virtue be manifest against him in silence when he is speaking ill […] If you find a

disputant arguing, a humble man who is not your equal, do not be aggressive against him in

proportion as he is humble; let him alone, that he may confute himself.

It’s ill advised to argue with superiors for obvious reason, as is for someone “beneath” (with the implication they may not be on the same standing in various ways as you) or equal to you. In the case of not arguing with someone equal to you, not saying anything is the best defense. Depending on the situation it could prove unfavorable. In the case of spouting vitriol followed by some “loving message” it’s problematic because it’s not actually averting conflict to look good. Whether someone realizes it or not it’s actually ending up making oneself look just as bad to take the approach.

In addition to looking disingenuous and equally childish I have to wonder who is really convinced such behavior is acceptable. Obviously the person engaging in it finds it acceptable. They may even trick themselves into believing this is considered healthy behavior. It isn’t, and it’s a behavior which needs to be addressed. I understand pointing this out is now considered “negative”, but I figured people who use dismissive language as this have their own issues. If it’s an issue an individual wants to address there are way which work for me.

Look at your real intentions with such a statement. Why are you really saying this? Are you trying to look like “the better person”? If so, why bother making this statement at all?

What really needs to be said? Sometimes we say things a certain way just because we can. It goes back to the phrase “die in a fire”. We want to say it because it sounds clever without realizing we’re wishing a painful death on someone.

What are the consequences of saying this? We all mess up this one from time to time; we say something without thinking of the consequences. Sometimes we say something for the sake of puffing up when really we’re publicly deflating ourselves.

Does anything need to be said? Sometimes the only way to have a dignified comment is to not dignify something with a response.

It’s just a start of things to consider, and what you’ll need to consider will change depending on the situation. Thinking about our word choices will influence how we view others as well as how we’re viewed by them. It also plays a role in how we view ourselves. When we start looking at how our words reflect on this we can evolve with it.


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New Year, Take Two

Tuesday morning I observed Wep Ronpet, and how I managed to not burn down the house is a mystery to me.  Almost everything that could go wrong did.  Water spills, incense not lighting, candles not lighting that should have, natron spilling, cascading statues– or maybe they were jumping ship–you name it.  I’ve had bad rituals before.  Anyone who has been on this type of path has at least one bad ritual.  Mishaps are common.  This bad ritual took the cake and a good chunk of my patience.  That wasn’t the worst part.

The grand finale came after all my rituals.  A cup of coffee I had on my craft desk got knocked over.  Almost everything got drenched on top of the desk, my cellphone in a compartment got hit (after a day in rice it works again), books ruined, and all I could do was stare.  The only silver lining is my computer’s harrowing escape from the coffee inundation and how no library books were in the flood plain.  When I found my cellphone wasn’t working right  and have to listen to family call me a loser behind my back.   I lost it and was too exhausted to care.  I’m self-soothing as I type.

It’s funny because I had originally intended to write about starting a new stage of life, about something to anticipate.  I’m not going to lie and say these events put a huge damper on it.  I was going to write about the new hopes for employment, or at least my etsy store taking off.  Either way being able to pay my bills would be nice for a change.  I’m angry and out of patience at this point with everyone and everything.  After some poor sleep and a failed attempt to improve my mood (though chocolate and hugs helped a bunch) I decided to examine my emotional exhaustion.  These past few years have been very unkind to me in almost every way and is only compounded by my anxiety disorder.  Trying to create a peaceful life has been a challenge, and one that sometimes I can’t meet.  Days like this one really strike a blow to trying to live a peaceful life.

On days where I fall flat on my face all I can do it get up.  I pull out the proverbial toolkit and examine the situation.  I understand I reacted the way I did not just to a ritual gone awry or the coffee inundation.  I’ve found after some contemplation that like my views on grief, I find stress is cumulative.  I’m not stressing about coffee inundations alone.  I’m stressing about everything going on in my life and my focus was that stressor.


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Inspirational Tuesday: Grief

This post is a little bit different from the others. This past Friday my parents put down their cat, Mage. While legally she was my parents’ cat, Mage always picked me as “her human”. We bonded in a way I’d never bonded before with a pet, so her loss was devastating for me. I wailed and sobbed, I cried to my gods, I apologized to Mage profusely. It was the first time, be it human or animal, I had ever experienced such grief.

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It isn’t that death is unfamiliar to me. On the contrary I’m quite familiar with that type of loss. Even though I’m almost 30 years old I’ve lost numerous family, pets, and friends. I’m familiar with how I grieve, but I tend to be a little more private about it. I kept my feelings mostly to myself in the past. During those times I usually was the rock others around me needed. I was afraid if I grieved they would feel lost or my emotions would be used as some sort of weapon. I was afraid of being vulnerable.

Mage’s death was different for me in many respects, one of them being the care I provided. She grew ill due to what the vet diagnosed as an ear polyp (though we suspect now it was something much worse) and she grew depressed despite our efforts. Since I felt a close bond to her watching her health decline was difficult. I’d tell myself she was getting better, or the declining health was a temporary setback. There were good days and bad days, but I couldn’t deny she was too tired to move. I cared for her to the best of my ability and tried to spend as much time as I could. I’d sit and eat with her, I’d make sure she’d evacuate, I made sure she was comfortable and had her needs met, I’d help keep her polyp clean while making sure she didn’t scratch through her Elizabethan collar. I’d sit and talk to her and reminisce.

Despite our care and our best intentions it wasn’t enough and my parents couldn’t afford surgery. Mage’s health declined and the polyp worsened. Finally the moment came when, as a family, we knew it was too much for the cat and to keep her alive would cause her great suffering. We had done her an injustice in keeping her alive, if that was the case. It was time to rectify it. My mother informed the entire family the next day Mage would be put down.

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I knew this day would come, but I wasn’t prepared for the flood of anguish. Tears fell while I held Mage and I muttered my apologies. I put her down to rest and I fled to continue sobbing. I was inconsolable except for the occasional moment of rest between sobs. After I regathered myself somewhat I set out to make her final moments as comfortable as possible by providing for her in any way I could. I held her so she could watch thunderstorms (a favorite pastime of hers), cuddled with her as she slept, provided her canned cat food (her favorite food), and provided what I could between sobs and apologies. I even played her favorite music while I sobbed. I knew this was part of the grieving process, but knowing this process I’ve learned doesn’t brace anyone for the impending flood of emotions.

I went with my mother to put Mage down. After she died I sat outside the veterinary clinic sobbing. I prayed to Bast to take care of our departed cat. I apologized further for my perceived shortcomings and failures. I sought comfort from my partner over the phone. I confessed every minute thing where I felt I made her sad. I knew this was part of the anger and bargaining stage much later, but I was too far in the throes of grief to notice or care. I cared only about my pain.

After I left the clinic I tried to hide from the world. I posted a couple of pictures of me with Mage and then isolated. I was still afraid to be vulnerable. What happened next I never expected. I got an outpour of condolences from acquaintances, friends, and friends I hadn’t spoken to in a while. I thought I didn’t want to talk to anyone, but I found myself pouring my heart out who gave me an audience. They listened and shared their experiences as well as sympathy. They checked on me regularly. Sometimes, as in the case of my partner, all that was necessary was knowing someone was there while I cried.

I’m thankful that I had people around me during this time because my thoughts were a mess. Despite the anger and intense anguish I felt, I learned a lot about myself during this moment. I learned in the support groups I attended how grief accumulates. I wasn’t mourning the loss of Mage alone, but all the other loved ones in my life. As I cried and processed my emotions I found grieving loved ones wasn’t the only thing. These past 5 years have been very tough and I’ve lost a lot. I’ve lost friendships, the life I was building, my hopes and ambitions, and everything I planned. Mage had been there for me during most of those times. She cuddled with me, she’d try to soothe me, and even in her selfish desires for attention during those times I found comfort with her.

I learned something important in that moment. I learned while my friends and loved ones could sympathize with my grief over a loved one’s death and not over my other losses it wasn’t necessarily due to a lack of sympathy. The grief over the loss of a loved one is more tangible than the grief over the loss of more abstract concepts like job loss. People can relate more to losing a pet than to losing a dream. It’s why with the grief over a death some people cope better by being around loved ones; the compassion and sympathy are there. All those times where I thought I had to guard my emotions were just that: thoughts. I had no need to feel vulnerable or be anyone’s rock. I just needed to be there and sympathetic.

In some of the tombs in Ancient Egypt some poems were written called the Harper’s Songs. I was reminded of it when I set up a spot for Mage on my akhu shrine. In particular I was reminded of the passage that was in the tomb of King Inyotef. Part of the literature consists of talking about celebrating now because:

220px-Maler_der_Grabkammer_des_Nacht_001[…]The Weary-Hearted does not hear their sobbing,

Their sobbing cannot save the heart of a man from the tomb.

Make holiday,

But tire not yourself with it.

Remember: it is not given to man to take his goods with him.

No one goes away and then comes back.

No one knows what lies in the afterlife, if there is one from the Harper’s perspective, and we can’t take anything with us despite how tombs were prepared during that time. Crying will do no good because it doesn’t bring loved ones back to life. For all we know the dead can’t hear us on any level. I’ve learned in not only living my life to the fullest it means celebrating the lives of those who touch mine. Part of that is allowing myself to feel the grief of their loss, as well as the losses tied to it. I can’t forget, however, to live my life. That doesn’t mean I forget the ones I love, but I don’t have to stop my feelings of love for them. It also means that I don’t have to stop my world for it either, but take the time I need to heal by celebrating their lives.

My family have been sharing our memories of Mage. I’ve reminisced with my partner about her. I’ve set up a place for her on my akhu shrine. While I’m still grieving I know I no longer have to be anything I think I need to be. I am allowed to feel what I feel. It doesn’t make me a weak person. It makes me someone who’s grieving a loss.


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A New Perspective: My Channeler Checklist

I read a blog post recently that reminded me of this post I made some time ago. To make a short of a long I’ve had a few bad experiences with people “channeling” and “speaking on behalf of a Higher Power” when really they were spouting their opinion using a Higher Power as a shield. I have a bit of skepticism about people who channel or claim to speak on behalf of a god as it is, so it didn’t help matters when I went through that time. I decided to do some research to prevent it from happening to me again. I compiled this from a few websites as well as my life experience. There are some major ones that if occur I disregard the channeling and channel altogether, but otherwise if three or more show up I disregard the channeling. Depending on if one of the major ones for me occur I may disassociate with the person.

 

What are my feelings about the channel or reading? This is one of those where if I get an off vibe I ignore the session completely. Even though I have some skepticism towards channeling in the first place, if something doesn’t feel right it’s probably shady.

 

Are the channelings about “doom and gloom”? While not every channeling is probably a nice message, not every message should be about the latest apocalypse scenario. One former friend had almost a weekly doom and gloom channeling to share. In retrospect I feel she was either tricked by a spirit or used this as a plea for attention.

 

Is the message empowering? How? The same friend who channeled the doom and gloom scenarios also channeled people who had nothing nice to say to me. There was also another person who claimed to “have messages” from the Universe only to give her opinion and have an excuse to say it to try to humiliate people. When I researched channeling I found this was a key point: higher beings in New Age beliefs, beliefs on which many channeling practices are based, emphasize a message that brings love and uplifting feelings. While I’m sure not every message is going to be loving, I’m keen on the idea a Higher Being would have an empowering message. It’s hard to believe Higher Beings have nothing better to do than berate me. I found with the latter channeler very often only had these alleged messages of love when I vented. I learned later she had a difficult time being around “negative” people. After some time it became apparent she wanted to control others in her life via these channelings. If it isn’t presented in a way to show you how to better yourself or overcome something it’s probably a person’s attempt to be controlling.

 

Is the message an exclusive one? All too often these alleged channelings were messages meant for specifically me. While that doesn’t rule out the possibility of something it doesn’t work in favor of my believing it.

 

Does the channeler make grandiose claims? I received channelings that not only made incredible claims about the channeler (the channelers were pretty much painted as the next messiah) but also grandiose claims about me. Anyone that’s willing to feed anyone’s ego should be avoided, hence why this is a deal breaker for me.

 

Does the channeler handle criticism well? This is pretty self-explanatory and another deal breaker for me. If the channeler doesn’t seem to understand why you can’t trust a message it’s probably not a message worth paying any mind. I put in any response to any criticism with, “but it’s a message from the Universe / deity / Ascended Master / etc” in this category as well.

 

How do the channeled beings respond to questions or comments? I’ve found gods don’t really argue with you; They drop you on your keister until you get it. Other Higher Beings don’t waste the time and effort in arguing with you in my experience as well. It takes too much ego for some of those beings. If you encounter a Higher Being who can’t take the heat, it’s time to get out of their kitchen. Someone is cooking something you shouldn’t eat.

 

Is there a possible agenda? This is another red flag to get away for me. If it seems there’s an ulterior motive behind a message there may be one. This is especially true if they’re asking you to do something which compromises your morals or is outside your comfort zone. Make sure, however, you’re not projecting something that isn’t there. It’s why it’s important to ask questions.

 

Is the message consistent with other, similar channelings? The former friend who channeled the borderline abusive Higher Beings channeled some Ascended Masters. One she loved to channel in particular was one that was the most persistent. When I finally researched the Ascended Master I found he was reputed for his messages of unconditional love and never spoke harshly or hurtful. The messages, tone, and language were so inconsistent with other channelings of this Ascended Master I had to call it into question. If it’s inconsistent with whatever or whoever is channeled leave immediately.

 

When did the channel occur? Were you physically present for the channeling? This is another deal breaker for me, mostly because unless I’m there to witness the channel I have no way of determining if the person didn’t look something up and author their opinion with the being as a mouthpiece.

 

How often does the person channel? This seems pretty esoteric, but from what I’ve read for the average person channeling takes quite a bit of energy. My former friend channeled almost daily to a point where we couldn’t have a conversation without channeling. I imagine channeling that regularly wouldn’t work out so well if she was regularly channeling Ascended Masters given the amount of energy that would take.

 

I’ll probably add on to these and take others away over time. I do feel it adds some groundwork for me to assess in alternative faith circles who’s more likely to be channeling and who’s trying to mask their opinion as the “word of a Higher Power”.


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When Ma’at Means Hotep

I thought for the first time ever I’d participate in the Pagan Values Project. I’ve always wanted to participate, but something always came up and I couldn’t post in time. This time I have a chance and no excuses.

I think the main value Kemeticists strive for is to uphold Ma’at, and I’m no exception. Given how there isn’t a direct English translation of the word—though it’s usually something like “order”, “cosmic justice”, or “balance” just to name a few major ones—I’ve seen the idea of upholding Ma’at take many forms. For some it means serving the gods. For others it may mean community service. There are plenty who interpret upholding Ma’at to mean something beyond service. The latter applies to me in some respects. There will always be a part of me who will strive to help someone in need because I know what it’s like to wont. I also enjoy seeing people living up to their highest potential and try to help them achieve it in whatever way I can. I’ve also come to understand sometimes the best community service starts from within.

In Ancient Egyptian the word for peace was htp. One thing I try to focus on my blog is my interpretation of the Ancient stay calm within chaosEgyptian religion and peace currently plays a major part in it. People even in the Pagan community don’t fully understand why I’m not focused on living a positive life, and people outside of the community will try to construe peace to still mean positive. I feel there’s a difference between what I’ve observed as positive living and peaceful living. I’ve observed those who live positively (and truly positive lives, not just ignoring that bad things happen) don’t let adverse situations define them nor let it get them down. While one does that with a peaceful life as well, I’ve found the difference lies in the approach.

My way of approaching a peaceful life differs from how I’ve seen people handle living positively in the approach of finding opportunity in an adverse situation. To illustrate my point I’ll use meditation because of one common problem of poor concentration due to noises. When I lived with my partner we lived across the street from a college campus. One thing about college campuses is they have some bell (or like my alma mater a steam whistle) to signal when classes were over. This would go off regularly and posed a bit of a problem with meditating. When I discuss this scenario I found people trying to live a positive life were more inclined to look for a different spot to meditate. I found a pattern, on the other hand, with the bell and incorporated it into my meditation. I learned to do this with the other noises eventually. While someone living positively may also incorporate the bell I started to incorporate it with other noises. I found peace in finding the patterns to noise and turned it into music. I’ve found living peacefully mean learning to work within a situation as well as making the situation better.

meaningofpeaceI find Ma’at in peace because it isn’t about making the most of a situation. I’ve found in finding my balance peace is essential, and part of my peace is seeing a situation for what it is. In ascertaining what the situation seems to be I look for a solution. I try to do this with as little judgement and personal biases as possible. Sometimes I perform a Tarot reading to help me in removing those biases. Sometimes I will meditate before my Het-Hert shrine. I will read wisdom literature at times. Sometimes I sit down and try other methods, such as confiding in a friend. Whichever method I try I keep my aim at upholdling Ma’at by finding the solution which gives me the most peace without compromising my integrity.

I’ve found when I’m willing to compromise myself rather than compromise in a situation for the sake of peace is deceptive. If not for the fact I’m fooling myself it’s the feelings afterwards. I’ve found if I compromise myself I tend to feel resentful towards anything and everyone involved in the situation. The only thing I can do at that time is examine the situation and learn from it. Sometimes I need to vent before I can examine it. I run the risk of ruining my peace if I don’t clear my emotions. I’ve taken to the passage of the Maxims of Ptahhotep of letting someone vent in these instances.

[…] A man in distress wants to wash his heart
more than that his case be won. […]
Not all one pleads for can be granted,
but a good hearing calms the heart.

Even though this passage is reference a court case and letting people air out their grievances it also applies in my case. Sometimes to regain my equilibrium I need to vent and move on. If I can’t move on after venting I can then look at the situation and learn from it. I understand how this isn’t always possible as well.

learn to surfThere will always be something that throws us off. There will be that person at work who’s attitude is something we internalize, or inexplicable anxiety sets in, or a myriad of other things which could ruin our peace. It’s why I don’t see peace as something stagnant; just like bop bags our peace gets knocked off center from time to time. We lose our peace as we flail about to regain our center. Part of regaining that peace for me is to practice my faith. When I go to my shrine to regain my peace I find myself first at my shrine before Het-Hert. I feel calmer when in Her presence at my shrine, one that is loving and often sympathetic without coddling. When I calm down I regain my peace either with that act alone, or it calms me down enough to figure out what I need to do.

Finding my peace is an integral part of my values. In finding peace I learn about myself and find ways to examine my religious practice within that value. It’s reminding myself of my tools like the wisdom literature. Sometimes it’s reminding myself I can breathe and move forward. Whichever way I use I go forward in my peace as one of my ways to uphold Ma’at. In that I regain my balance.


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Keeping an Eye on Recovery and Healing

uadjat

I know I’ve gotten very quiet again, and it’s with good reason. I’m still catching up on projects, but I also had life show up in a way where I had to put some things on the backburner. One of the wonderful things to happen is I caught a bug going around. During this time and when I needed rest another life event showed up. My partner decided to casually drop a huge bomb on me.

Without going into further detail about my partner’s history he had a few problems with drugs. He cleaned up, and I’ve known him during that process. I had full knowledge about his addiction and his recovery. I found that admirable compared to the other men I’ve dated who weren’t so honest with me nor themselves about their own addictions. In fact I supported him in his path of recovery and saw how much stronger he became and developed through it. It came as a surprise to me, then, when he casually admitted to a drug relapse.

I wasn’t completely blindsided by the relapse itself as I’d seen it coming down the road. I’ve found addiction isn’t whatever the fixation of the addiction is alone but the behaviors around it. As he headed down the road to relapse I saw the signs. He would fixate on trying drugs “one more time, just to be sure” (to which my answer was usually something to the effect of why stick beans up your nose twice. Plus it’s never “just one time”). He hung out more with people who regularly drank and used drugs (some people can handle their recovery and hang out with people who use drugs, but my partner is not one of them). The biggest sign, however, was how distant he grew with me. Even when we were together he was never fully present. At first I dismissed it as other behaviors, such as his ADD, but it grew distant in ways such as not being completely honest with me. We agreed from the beginning of our relationship that we’d try to open and honest with each other. I saw these signs and denied to myself there was a relapse. I was blindsided by his confession to relapsing as an aside rather than the topic of a conversation. I ran a gamut of emotions after his flippant confession. I felt betrayed, angry, gullible, lied to, hurt, self-blaming, but mostly angry. I knew these were natural emotions, especially for someone like me.

When I first entered a relationship with my partner I was willing to try a 12-step program. I felt given my dating history there was a common factor: I was picking these men. I felt if I entered a 12-step program for codependents I could support him and maybe learn more about myself. I also figured it would help in my recovery from bulimia and problems with self-mutilation. Even though I wasn’t purging at the time I relapsed in a previous relationship. I wanted to sort through the cause of my eating disorder so I wouldn’t relapse again and overcome my urge to self-mutilate. Neither of these behaviors were ones I wanted in my life and I didn’t want them to own me.

not selfish

I did find a support group at first thanks to the help of a friend. There were still some problems, namely how I felt like an outsider. I was always encouraged to try a different group in a different town and couldn’t really find a sponsor to guide me through the steps. Still I found it comfortable to be around namely supportive women with experience in the program and bearing on their life. When I attempted to dress my age they complimented me on my efforts. They comforted me when a family pet died. Some invited me to their going-away parties or to hang out after a meeting. I was encouraged to call some of them. They also focused on spirituality in its fullest as it was hosted at a Unitarian Universalist church, and most of the group attended or were members. Very rarely did someone actually identify a particular deity and left it at “Higher Power” or “The Universe”. When I was open about my faith I wasn’t judged, but encouraged to explore my connection to Het-Hert. I developed a very positive opinion of 12-step groups despite the drawbacks and even bought a book that examined Al-Anon literature each day. This changed after moving in with my partner.

After my partner and I moved in together we attended mostly NA and a few AA groups. There were some things I attribute now to culture shock since I moved from Kansas to Virginia. I expected some of that but I didn’t expect what is called in NA and AA “sick behavior”, which is best described as dysfunctional behavior. Though some of my issues with the heavy Christian focus were unrelated to the “spiritual but not religious” program of NA and AA it unnerved me regardless. There were times where the church hosting the group practically served as a church group, which is prohibited by NA and AA guidelines. The Lord’s Prayer was used pretty often, though the Serenity Prayer is a fairly Christian piece as well. One member actually said point blank that people who don’t worship Jesus will never recover and shouldn’t bother coming to meetings. While people verbally chided the man for stating this their actions agreed with his sentiment. As I opened up more about worshiping Het-Hert and wearing my Eye of Horus pendant to meetings people grew distant. I’m sure part of this behavior was because I felt standoffish about the strong Christian bias, but the response wasn’t helpful either at that time. The more I read the Al-Anon book the more it taught about the Christian submission that women were supposed to exhibit. It assumed that the co-dependent reading it was a woman. Other literature I encountered chided people for not being Christian and insinuated they wouldn’t get better without the Christian god. I couldn’t stomach the Christian bias and reduced how often I went. My partner continued attending as frequently as before, and I encouraged it as he still got something out of it. When I decreased my attendance at these groups the behavior got worse.

Some of the sickest behavior came when a couple of groups tried to break up my partner and I and hook him up with a group member, usually someone new. This led to emotional turmoil as I gained an incredible amount of weight and blamed his obliviousness on it. I thought if I lost the weight he’d listen to me more, maybe I could find the confidence and self-assurance I needed to know he wouldn’t leave. As my insecurities grew my resolve weakened. I fought self-mutilation; were it not for my partner arriving just in time I would have failed in that struggle a couple of times. Amongst other struggles it was growing too much for me and teetered on relapsing with bulimia again.

At this time I was a member of the Kemetic Orthodoxy, but I hadn’t felt drawn to practicing that way after my move. I still kept in contact with fellow members, many of whom were very supportive and loving during those times. While I had a community that I needed at the time I didn’t have a practice. I felt as if the more I tried to practice one of the member shrine practices, called senut, the more disconnected I felt from Het-Hert. I felt compelled to research the daily morning ritual as practiced in the temples initially out of curiosity. I found an outline and began to piece together how the rituals worked based on what information was available. I hadn’t completed my research at the time, but I started to practice with the little information I pieced together. Despite an incomplete ritual I found serenity in the few parts I could act out. I felt the presence of Het-Hert and Her love again in those moments. On the days where I could practice this makeshift ritual I didn’t have the urge to cut or harm myself.

meaningofpeace

In due time I had to move out of my partner’s apartment due to finances, but I found a comfortable stopping point with my research and continued my daily practice. Sometimes I didn’t perform all the stages because I needed to keep it at a bare minimum due to time, my emotional needs, lack of resources, or something else entirely. My shrine ritual didn’t always keep some urges at bay, but I found the serenity I couldn’t find in NA or AA. The literature of those groups were replaced by wisdom literature which I read so often the pages fell out and I had to rebind myself. I found the tools I felt I needed until I slipped into self-mutilation again.

I self-mutilated during—what I will call for now—a panic attack. My partner found out and encouraged me to seek help. Given this was around the time when I discovered my pulse was through the roof during a doctor’s visit I realized he was right. My anxiety was part of the problem and I didn’t have the tools to handle it. I sought mental help. I spoke with my therapist, worked on a few exercises with him, researched other methods to handle these issues, and added more tools. At one point, though, I couldn’t afford personal counseling. My therapist suggested a support group, but didn’t feel comfortable with that option due to my foray into the12-step program. I got the boot afterwards.

I’ve found prayers that work for me during my attacks and encouraged myself to visit my shrine during those times. I won’t into exactly which methods worked for the time being, because those methods can change. I also want to encourage people to seek professional help as I know with the little I got I was pointed in the right direction. A toolbox of methods that a therapist helped me devise and discuss my research helped my on my road of healing. I’ve made some peace with the idea I will never see myself as the person I want to look. It doesn’t negate my loveability. I learned new ideas and started falling in love with myself. Even though I sometimes need the encouragement of my partner he’s there.

As I worked on my healing my partner grew tired of NA and AA. He got tired of the improprieties, the strong Christian overtones, the general group drama, and read about the inefficacy of these programs. He decided after some time he would quit attending despite my protests. There was some backlash and the groups blamed me for his decision. Even though I was mildly annoyed at how much power they assumed I held over my partner, I dismissed it as ignorance. At first he looked into alternatives to 12-step programs, such as the SMART program. Looking into them was all that came of that endeavor. It was about that time he considered trying drugs and alcohol again. After our discussions, and the assurance he would discuss the issue further with me before any further action, he tried them behind my back.

His actions reminded me of what I experienced with the previous man I dated. He’d act in ways which were quite questionable about his fidelity during our relationship. The only reason I knew about it is because his family told me he did things behind my back. It wasn’t just that behavior alone. He’d drink every day, get into fights with me, use that as an excuse to break up, then date someone only to make up after it didn’t work out. I had an extremely poor self-esteem at the time and took him back only to re-experience the draining cycle. At one point I stopped trying to discuss with him and just screamed into the phone because he’d accuse me of something or put me down for every minute transgression. It was clear the guy wasn’t interested in changing. This is what it would always be. I would never pass snuff and he’d find some way to harm me even if he didn’t touch me. Alcohol was only fuel for his abuse. When I finally came to the realization I could do better he and I were going through another cycle. I felt nothing. No anger, no hurt, no emotion whatsoever. I knew then I was done and broke up with him. Many chide me for how frank I was about it, but it was the only way I could do it.

In some ways my breakup reminds me of a common question I’m asked. I’m often asked as a worshiper of Het-Hert how I reconcile the aspects of Her and Sekhmet. My answer has been very much based on Their epithets of the Eye of Heru. While one is not designated to certain associations with the Eye of Heru over the other I’ve found in my experience I associated Sekhmet more with not only protection but making a way, albeit a more violent and chaotic way, for Ma’at to prosper. While Het-Hert can also protect I found I associated Her more with protection in the sense of preserving Ma’at. It’s something I’ve felt I’ve never expressed well, but it seems to work and it’s something I understand enough. I know that when I need to remove things in my life which go against Ma’at it must be quick and oftentimes without mercy. Sometimes this serves me, but with people it’s been trickier. Sometimes it’s because it seems hurtful and is an emotional affair. In the case of my partner it led to my own personal turmoil.

Finding one’s own understanding of life is always a challenge, but it’s an even bigger challenge when it’s understanding life in the context of addiction and religion. There is no fable or myth which fully addresses this behavior (while sometimes it feels like someone is married to an addiction, conflating infidelity and addiction is fallacious), there’s no passage about it in any wisdom literature which focuses on it without conflating it with gluttony, nor is this addressed in the Negative Confessions. I had to trust myself to make the best decision. I consulted a friend about my issue who advised I wait until I’m healthier to decide. Even though this was sound advice I couldn’t put the issue out of my head long enough. I had been down this road far too many times before and knew it like the back of my hand, but I couldn’t emotionally figure out if my partner was willing to change. Part of me wanted to believe the relationship could be salvaged. Part of me didn’t want to bother.

I contemplated everything I experienced with addiction and living with others’ addiction. I turned myself into pretzels and committed other mental gymnastics. I wavered on one decision after another. As I distracted myself with no real avail by focusing on other tasks I found myself finally admitting I had no idea what to do. In that desperation an epiphany popped into my mind. What am I ready to do? Am I ready to walk away from someone who may prefer to live as an addict? Am I willing to hold firm on ending the relationship, no matter how much I loved him, for my health and possible safety? This rolled around in my head for some time. I admitted to myself while I wasn’t ready to walk away I was ready to do what was best for myself, and that meant I might have to end my relationship.

That night we spoke on the phone I told him my intentions to end the relationship. I got many of the canned responses of how he wouldn’t do it again, how he loved me and needed me, etc. He plead for me to stay. Not expecting an answer I asked him what his plan was to make sure he didn’t relapse anytime soon. I didn’t hear a plan outright, but I heard him fumbling about to piece together an answer. We argued. I couldn’t express myself rationally at one point and let all of my emotions take over. I broke down crying. He broke down crying because he didn’t know how to start over after years of recovery. We tried to find the words through the tears and came up with thoughts while unintelligible struck an emotional chord.  I had a few breakthroughs in that moment.

During all of that time when I was working on myself it never occurred to me that he needed support in his recovery as much as I needed support in mine. I assumed with at least the 12-step groups and the various sponsors he had someone was looking out for him. I assumed that encouraging him to go and to keep on his path to healing was all I needed to do. I also assumed I was fair to him by feeling I needed to walk away after his first relapse while in a relationship with me, whereas I’d messed up several times in my own. I remembered all those times how I felt I failed myself and how I wasn’t always certain how to regroup. He could have left during any of those times and he didn’t. My struggles with an eating disorder and self-mutilation took a toll on him as well despite never voicing it. He tried to be strong for my sake. He stuck by me while I tried again. What I chose to see at that time was only the healing that focused on me. I also realized because of this I was not ready to leave at all.

Do Not Take Folks for Granted

I’m staying for now. We decided we’ll take baby steps in moving past the relapse. We’ve agreed that since he’s had his “trial” with drugs and found he couldn’t manage they were completely prohibited. If I find out he’s tried them again I am gone. It’s true he may still relapse and try to hide it from me. I honestly have no guarantees about these things. He knows it will take time for me to rebuild my trust provided it’s not irreparable. I’ve asked him to be more vocal about his needs. I’ve also agreed to give him a guest spot to write about recovery from the perspective of an alternative faith because he knows there isn’t a lot of information about it from an alternative faith perspective. I’ve prayed a lot about guiding us through the best outcome and to write what needs to be said.

I know that recovering from addiction isn’t an easy road, and it’s one that is toiling at lightest sometimes. This is provided someone with an addiction is willing to get help. If they want to let addiction rule I encourage the person in the addict’s life to leave. It doesn’t get better in those instances. I know from experience a person with an addiction—be it to alcohol, drugs, or whatever—will drag everyone in their lives down with them. It will take lots of healing even in the hands of a therapist. It can be done, and it’s scary. It requires feeling around in the dark, but you will find a light source that will help you see.

As I’ve prayed to find the best way to write this blog post I keep focusing on Het-Hert.  One of Her epithets is the “Eye of Ra”, and it led to my contemplation of the Eye of Horus in a roundabout way. Some people associate the Eye of Horus with healing. It amuses me not only because I wore an Eye of Horus pendant to NA and AA but for other reasons. There are some theories how the Eye of Horus was also the model for fraction measurements for things like medicine and land. I’ve found my way of healing consists of many pieces and methods cobbled together.  The same could be said about my partner’s healing and recovery.  It’s been fractured and incomplete at times, but the different parts he managed to make work pieced together cohesively as a whole.  My medicine has consisted of many attributes and possibly fractured, but I managed to make my way whole.

steppingstone


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A New Perspective: My Love-Hate Relationship with the Law of Attraction (and How It Affects My Kemetic Path)

When I first wrote about my experience with the Law of Attraction I was very mixed about it. I saw its potential as a psychological motivator, but found it disdainful for spiritual growth by itself. I agreed with the criticisms where the belief promotes spiritual lethargy and an undeserved sense of self-entitlement based on my experience with those who practiced it. I also saw a problem with moral and cognitive dissonance, especially when one is confronted with issues like human trafficking and genocide. I questioned from where the Universe pulled to provide whatever one wished to manifest. If I manifested money did my manifestation make a person or group of people poorer? What if someone who wished to harm used the Law of Attraction? If the philosophy behind it is a person wills a bad experience on themselves, does it mean someone must be willing to cause harm that is in alignment with the Universe? All of these questions (in addition to my criticism of the just world fallacy) aside I still felt in the mind of someone with a strong sense of self and realism the Law of Attraction is beneficial.

A couple of years later I dealt with quite a few people who strongly adhered to this belief. The more I dealt with them as people who happened to believe in the Law of Attraction the more I saw a disturbing trend. Apparently someone, somewhere decided the best way to attract positive vibrations was to “root out” every minute negative aspect of one’s life. The nebulous idea of to what extent and how negative was never addressed because even something as innocuous as a lolcat could trigger “negative vibrations”, or so these people informed me (I’ve yet to determine what constitutes negative energy as opposed to offending one’s sensibilities). I’ve since rooted or distanced myself from those people. I’m sure their vibrational energies are better for it. I know mine are.

I was thinking about this old blog post a few days ago when I saw a trend in the Kemetic community quite similar to seeking out negativity as I observed with the Law of Attraction. Instead of calling it negativity it’s been labeled “isfet”. For those who don’t know isfet is the Ancient Egyptian word for “disorder”. It is considered the opposite of Ma’at. One conversation which finally led to this post’s revival was a discussion about familial issues with one person’s faith. This caused a bit of controversy in the group as some believed that the person shouldn’t rock the boat too much since the person was dependent on the family on a very small level and such a disagreement in expressing beliefs could bring disorder into the home. I and a few others found this problematic thinking for a couple of reasons, the main one being how much any disagreement causes disorder. Disagreements and even squabbles are bound to happen; that’s life. Should one be held responsible for isfet for any and all disagreements?

I found, and still believe, the issue of rooting out any and all isfet almost as extreme as rooting out all negative vibrations. I saw from looking at those who wanted to root out negative vibrations how obsessed they became with negativity. They surrendered self control to a formless entity they believed could potentially ruin their lives. Even the most innocuous slight earned someone the title of “negative person” and “psychic vampire”. Adherents to that extreme quest of a positive life may as well label the general population with such names. In a way of self-fulfilling prophecy and irony these people manifested a dark attitude about living a positive life. They became passive aggressive, hard to deal with in everyday conversation, abrasive, and outright unsupportive. I guess some people forget the Law of Attraction teaches that if one focuses their energy on a certain idea it’s what manifests.

Focusing on certain behaviors and the resulting behaviors isn’t something Kemetics should ignore. In The Book of the Heavenly Cow Sekhmet’s original focus was to eradicate those who plotted to kill Ra but ultimately targeted mankind in Her rampage. When She sought to eradicate mankind this became isfet. It created disorder and had potential to kill everyone. What started off as eliminating all of one form of isfet became isfet itself. Just as one seeks to remove all isfet from one’s life, this bears potential as its own form of isfet. It turns into an obsession, anxiety over minute issues and missteps, misanthropy, disdain towards a growing number of things, all of which the person internalizes. It gets toxic quickly from my observations.

I do believe, though, one should try to live in accordance with Ma’at and part of that is culpability for our response to isfet. It doesn’t have to manifest in a form as never offending nor abrasive reaction. Sometimes the best way to slay isfet is through changing a behavior or response. In an ideal world when a family member disapproves of a faith the family member can live and let live and even learn about the beliefs. More often than not it’s ideal to not bring it up in conversation. Have a plan of action for when it’s necessary. As an example, I have a father whom I consider a rageaholic. My plan of action when he seeks conflict is to note the circumstances and politely ask him to not engage until he can calmly discuss an issue with me. Sometimes I remove myself from the situation completely. I politely acknowledge his point and say nothing else at times. It doesn’t change his behavior, but I’m not feeding the situation. I’ve fought isfet in this situation because I didn’t let the situation degenerate. At times, though, his desire to seek conflict requires an offensive response. I’m not perfect at it as there are times where I let my emotions take over or I go overboard with my response. I’ve had to learn from it and try not to do it again. Yes, there will be a gamut of emotions in that process. Growing isn’t easy and is usually a painful process. It goes back to my belief of upholding Ma’at is to sometimes learn from it, tackle those processes, and grow into something stronger.

There are times where I find the best way to handle isfet in my life is to dismiss it. I may feel the person who cut me off in traffic contributed to isfet, but responding with road rage is also isfet in my opinion. I can let it go and continue with my drive. I can breathe and be thankful I didn’t hit the offending person. I can ignore someone’s habit of putting their elbows on the table while others are eating. It’s a faux pas, one I could argue is isfet as manners are meant to uphold social order, but it would cause more isfet to embarrass the person depending on the circumstances (yes, there are exceptions. If for some reason the faux pas causes major problems, I will speak up). I don’t need to slay every isfet in my life because it doesn’t necessarily need slaying or addressing.

The way I look for the isfet to slay in my life is the same way I look for negativity: I don’t. It will find me and I will have to decide how to deal with it when it shows, if I deal with it at all. Instead of killing it I may sedate it and reorganize my behaviors and thoughts. Ra reorganized the world after He sedated Sekhmet through drunkenness. In that regard I still give the Law of Attraction some leeway because at its core the focus is about reorganizing one’s behavior and thinking. The approach to it is something I find toxic as it encourages dysfunctional behavior and thinking. Sometimes isfet, negativity, etc., ends up more trouble than its worth to address it. Sometimes it’s not even something attracted. Forgive my vulgarity, but shit happens. There are days you will step in it, and there are days when you find the asshole responsible for leaving it. Not every asshole needs you to wipe it, but you will have to clean yourself off. I feel that dealing with negativity and isfet isn’t so distinct in that respect.