Upholding Ma'at

Journeying through the modern world with ancient ways.


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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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Devotional Tuesday: Trying to Find the Words

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 Pale One who came forth Heliopolis, I have not babbled.” -transl. R.O. Faulkner

 

I’ve been pretty quiet this past week. Some of it has to do with getting stuff together for the etsy store I run. This quietness, however, is not necessarily an uneasy one. I just haven’t had the time to write as I wanted due to getting some projects together in addition to the work on the etsy store. I’ve felt compelled to write, and I didn’t know about what. As I read through the negative confessions I found this one.

 

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog regularly knows I have a language disorder called cluttering. One of the biggest problems with this disorder is trying to express myself in a concise manner. This leads to a lot of unnecessary talk. Despite my lack of word economy I seem to convey my point well enough, but I fear that I’m not always successful. That’s when my insecurities arise.

 

There are ways that I can get around this, and sometimes they help. I won’t go entirely into my methods because overall it’s irrelevant to the topic. What is relevant is how sometimes I still babble not because of the disorder but because I’m human. Sometimes we want to fill the silence because of our assumptions, such as silence used to express disapproval. This is where learning body language and situations help me. Sometimes the other person feels I may have said something rhetorical. Sometimes they feel I may not have said everything I need to say and are waiting for me to finish. In that case it’s consistent with a passage from the Maxims of Ptahhotep:

 

If you are a leader, be pleased when you hear the speech of a petitioner; do not rebuff him until

his belly is emptied of what he planned / to tell you; the victim of wrong prefers the venting of

his feelings to the performance of that for which he has come…

 

While I disagree that people would prefer to air their grievances rather than remedy them it does convey the point how sometimes people need to “let it out”. When they’re clearly done and need a response, give it. Honestly, this is another area where I still trip up; I either give a response that’s too cool or inappropriate in some other manner. I know, though, part of the reason this occurs is because I misread a cue or because I misread the person’s intentions. My current remedy for this is to live, learn, and get to know the person a bit better.

 

Apart from getting to know people to curb my need to respond inappropriately this skill also teaches me when to listen. It teaches me to listen to the person’s context as well as content. It taught me when to ignore them because they’re waxing poetics or talking (or writing) without substance. I also learned incessant talk also brings with it gossip, and these days I have little time for rumors. I still stumble in these areas, but since I’m aware of my tendencies I can learn from them. I can avoid people who gossip or prattle on about esoteric things. I can avoid most places where that type of conversation occurs. I don’t need to read tabloids or about the latest celebrity breakup since most of that has no bearing on my life.

 

The relevance of one’s words to another person is probably one of the keys of avoiding babbling. I don’t need to waste my time or another person’s time with something that doesn’t interest them. If they find my company overall to be undesirable I can go where I’m welcome. I don’t need to incessantly speak to someone who will most likely never approve of me. I’ll save my words for the time and company for which it’s appropriate.


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Silence

Except for a couple of posts a week I’ve been incredibly silent. Some of it is life being hectic due to the holiday, other projects, and completing other tasks, not to mention other real life duties.  At the end of my day, though sometimes that isn’t until the middle of the next day, I’m sometimes too tired to update blog posts.  I feel as if I’ve nothing to say because of it.  What started off as too tired to say anything one day spanned to several days.

I felt unnerved at first by how much time lapsed between my last actual blog post.  I felt a strong possibility I wouldn’t update and revise my past blog posts.  I felt I wouldn’t contribute anything new to my blog.  I was afraid I said all I wanted to and my blog was dead before it even began.  I found this silence uncomfortable.  It was the type of silence I hated for so long because of my personal associations with silence.  For the longest time silence meant condemnation, disapproval, or derision.  It was the awkward silence after a heated argument, the anger that hung between people and the impending fear another argument or worse would explode.  I learned silence was in itself an act of intimidation.

I admit silence wasn’t always used for intimidation, but if broken the same consequences would ensue.  If silence was broken during reading periods or during a performance it meant I disrupted someone and met derision.  Silence always indicated proper conduct during prayer or as a sign or respect for those who paid the ultimate price.  In those instances if it was broken there was a punishment, and it usually consisted of a silent glare at least.  Silence was considered a precious commodity with unclear boundaries.

I didn’t clear most of my fears of silence until my early adulthood.  I’m not sure if there was just one event or a series of events, but I know it revolved around a Reiki circle.  Early in my spiritual journey I studied Reiki and attended a Reiki circle to hone my practice.  During those times we didn’t always speak to each other.  When we did we joked, shared experiences and knowledge, and discussed anything having to do with those moments at the circle.  It was the silence that really impacted me.  No one was punished with silence, only once can I recall someone forced into silence (the person was more of a nuisance and got in the way often).  Silence happened and when it did everyone honored it.  It was honored even when I visited other members of the circle in their home.  Sometimes it was a lull in the conversation, sometimes it was because we were moved to silence.  Sometimes it’s because nothing needed saying.

The moments of silence with friends from the circle are the ones I remember best.  I remember the drowsiness with eating with friends and the ensuing nap we took on the floor in one incident.  There were many times when on road trips we sat in silence and enjoyed the moment.  The silence became a means for introspection.  It was a moment of peace and stillness.  The silence proved a means to remove the distraction of conversation so I could live in the moment.

It was in those moments I learned silence is perfectly fine.  I can enjoy silence and appreciate everything without a sound.  I don’t need to speak to fill some imagined void.  Not every moment needs words or sounds.  Later I learned while a member of the Kemetic Orthodoxy that “silent” and “wise” were pronounced the same way.  I haven’t studied the language with enough rigor to say either way, but I feel it applies to lessons like this one.

The same silence it took me so long to embrace is one I feel applies to writing my blog.  Sometimes I don’t have anything to write.  It doesn’t mean my blog’s abandoned.  I’m saying what I need to say when I feel the moment’s best.  I’m choosing my words over prattling and honor both moments of speaking and moments of silence for myself.  I practice wisdom.