Upholding Ma'at

Journeying through the modern world with ancient ways.


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PBP: F is for Flame

I read once that flames were part of the offering in Kemetic rituals. I’m not sure how much I believe it, but I can certainly see why the person asserted that about flames. Harold H. Nelson mentioned how a torch was listed in the offerings given my Thutmose III for Ptah in Karnak. Besides mentioned in the offerings of one king there are other things to consider why someone would consider flame as part of the ritual offering. Flame not only has direct ties to ritual significance, but also religious implications.

Fire is an important element in Kemetic ritual. Flames open up Kemetic rituals. There are formulas for lighting lamps (or candles for most modern Kemeticists) and extinguishing them after rituals, assuring the flame will still exist for the deity. The practical element of having flame in ritual is apparent given the darkness in some areas of the temple, which has symbolism in its own right. The flame, as with many elements in Kemetic ritual, also shares a symbolic element. In one translation of the flame being extinguished the flame is paralleled with the Eye of Heru as well as the Ra’s death and rebirth in the form of the sunset. In this respect not only is the flame “kept alive” but it is also associated with the light of a deity. Fire served another purpose besides a lighting element.

Outside of lighting purposes fire plays an important role in rituals. Flame is mentioned in the formula for lighting the incense. In one formula for incense (Utterance 269 of the Pyramid Texts, R.O Faulkner’s translation) the flame is mentioned as kindled before the incense is even said to be burned. While this is obvious as to the importance of flame in incense it also hints to the connection between the flame and its sacredness in ritual. In the rituals of Amenhotep there a few connections made with fire set up for a brazier and the spit roast in connection to Heru or the Eye of Heru. The formulas for the two not only connect to the Eye of Heru, but to other deities and even the king. The possible connection to flame with the Eye of Heru further enforces not only the practicality of including the flame in ritual, but its significance to the gods. As mentioned with the flame in connection to lighting with the Eye of Heru providing the light within a deity, the Eye of Heru in this instance provides nourishment and life to the gods. In turn the gods are able to provide these necessities for their followers.

Flame when connected to the gods serves as a practical as well as religious significance in Kemetic ritual. It was a way of ensuring the gods provided vital necessities to the followers by providing for Them. Part of that is accomplished by relating the flame to a deity or the Eye of Heru, while another part places emphasis on the flame in terms of how it provides for the gods.

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Pagan Blog Project: C is for Censer

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Incense is an important part of religious practice for many Kemeticists. It’s used in offerings and purifications, though this was usually demonstrated as a way of perfuming the gods. In its purpose of purification the priests used it to purify themselves before rituals. Even the pharaoh had to be purified before enacting rituals, and he too was purified through incense. Just as important as incense was the censer.

 

The censer had a few forms, but two are most commonly seen in tombs and in art. One form was the arm-shaped censer. This was a censer with a long handle shaped as if it were an arm with the cup holder shaped like a hand. The incense cup rested on the hand. There are variants of how the arm-shaped censer looked, such as the end of the handle shaped like the head of Heru or Sokar and with some censers having a compartment for incense pellets. The other form of censer most commonly scene was the jar censer, a censer with an eponymous shape held in one’s hands during the incense offering. This was most often seen in art rather than in practice.

 

The censers had extensive ritual use as evidenced by how many formulas in rituals call for incense. It’s used to perfume, purify, and end the ritual. Using the censer was so vital it had its own series of formulas to purify it before use in any ritual. From there various resins and incenses were used throughout the span of a ritual. These ranged from simple resins like frankincense to more complex ones like kyphi. Almost every stage of a ritual has an incense to go with it.

 

Modern Kemeticists don’t necessarily use any particular censer. Some may use stick incense with an incense burner. Some don’t use incense but an oil burner or a room spray. Other Kemeticists may forgo incense or fragrance oil due to health concerns. There are many options today for Kemeticists. If you’d like ideas on incense and an incense burner I have a blog post to assist to that end.


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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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Pagan Blog Project: A is for Ancestors

I’m a little late in starting this project, but I thought I’d give the blog posts correlating to each letter in the English alphabet a whirl. Some of what I pick I’m sure I’ve gone over before, but sometimes I’m not as creative as some of my fellow bloggers. I’ll try to have sources on hand where possible, but most likely I won’t. If you want to know a source feel free to ask me in the comments.

In Ancient Egypt there was ancestor veneration. I’m using “veneration” because many people feel the term “ancestor worship” gives the wrong impression about how ancestors were treated at this time. Tombs were visited regularly, offerings were provided by the family to a statue of the ancestor, or offerings were provided hired clergymen. Some had stelae with the offering formula listed, so upon recitation the deceased could be provided the necessities. All of this was done as a way to ensure the deceased were cared for in the afterlife and would survive. Just as a body needed things in the living world a soul required the necessities to survive in the afterlife. The consequences could be dire if the ancestors weren’t provided the essentials. A departed soul, if neglected, could haunt the living if the deceased felt neglected. We know this based on letters written to the dead found at excavation sites, as writing letters to the deceased was common. While there were letters begging the dead to stop tormenting the living most of these letters consisted of asking for assistance in some manner.

In modern Kemetic practices in a similar vein as the ancients. However there are some major differences in the modern practice. Many keep the offerings quite simple. In lieu of statues being presented offerings or reciting offerings from a stela many Kemeticists use a photograph of a loved one. Not all ancestors have an image dedicated to them, and some ancestor shrines are set up in a general manner so not any particular ancestor is offered. Food and drink offered to the ancestors in general aren’t ingested as it’s considered ingesting the essence of the dead by some, which has ill implications for those who do ingest offerings. The reason behind it is if ingesting food and libations from the gods is like ingesting the essence of a deity (for the lack of a better term) and thus the life-giving qualities of a deity, then ingesting food and libations from ancestors would mean ingesting the essence of a dead person.

There are some modern Kemeticists who don’t offer to their ancestors period. The reasons for this vary. Some Kemeticists do not feel a connection to their ancestors. There are others who don’t feel the practice is necessary for their personal religious practice. There are other reasons, and some have multiple reasons for not offering. In my case I was averted to offering to my ancestors for personal reasons, but reconsidered my stance after problems in my life after some tribulations in my life. Whether a modern Kemeticist offers to their ancestor or not – in my opinion – doesn’t affect the validity of their religious practice. It is a matter of the individual’s choice and their comfort level.

If one wants to learn more about the practice from a modern Kemeticist’s perspective I recommend Richard Reidy’s Eternal Egypt. There are quite a few other Kemetic blogs which discuss the matter as well. At the core of offering to the ancestors consists of providing food, a libation (water being the most common), incense, and cloth for images of any ancestor. If providing offerings is an issue I highly recommend making a hotep tray with images of what should be offered. To get ideas on how to make your own I have a tutorial on how to make one from clayboard.


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Daily Ritual (My Abridged Version)

I originally posted this as a link to an outline on the Daily Morning Ritual from the Temple of Karnak during the 22nd Dynasty.  I thought it was a great outline to share at that time, and I still believe so.

Over time, though, I realized that people may not want to work on plugging in their own wording or look up what was said.  If that’s the case I recommend Richard Reidy’s book Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern World.  I also realized some folks will feel obligated to follow through every step of the temple ritual.  If you don’t have time, that’s cool.  Based on the aforementioned ritual outline I linked here’s how my morning ritual tends to go.  You can adjust it accordingly.

Preparations

Formula for lighting the fire

Formula for taking the censer

Formula for placing the incense on the flame

Formula for proceeding to the sacred place

Another formula

Opening the shrine

Facing the image – hymns to the deity

Formula for kissing the earth

Formula for placing oneself on one’s stomach

Formula for placing oneself on one’s stomach and stretching out

Formula for kissing the earth, face down

Another formula

Incense

The offering of the goddess personifying What is Right Maat)

Formula for the offering of Maat

Food Offering

Libation

Incense

Reversion of Offerings


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Craft Friday: Sokar Mummy Net

In preparation for the Sokar festival this past month a mummy was made to look like Sokar. Each year a new one was made and the previous year’s mummy was given a funeral. Part of the preparation for that funeral included wrapping the mummy of the previous year in a net made of lapis lazuli. I try to recreate it not only for personal use, but so others may have an idea of how to make this net too.

I wasn’t sure on all of the details and I had to make adjustments as well. I couldn’t afford lapis lazuli beads at the time so I made some very crude beads and painted them to look like lapis lazuli. I wasn’t certain what type of cord was used for making the net, so I went with my waxed linen thread. I figure as long as a strong, plant based beading thread is used it should hold.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Lapis lazuli beads
  • Scissors
  • Waxed linen cord
  • Ruler (optional)

1.  Cut the thread out to roughly 8 to 10 inches. Arrange the thread so it makes a cross hatch. I cut as many strands as I have beads since I’m using so few, so I ended up cutting 10 strands. In hindsight it would have been better to base it off the intersection points. I’m also very aware that my lap desk is in sad shape.

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2.  Make a square knot at each intersection point. When adding a bead make a square knot, string the bead, then make another square knot.

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3.  Repeat until finished.

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There are a few things to keep in mind when making this. Work on a flat surface and try to keep the strings in their arrangement to avoid the eventual mess up I made. I used the measurements for the length of the strings because my Sokar mummies tend to be small. Adjust the length according to comfort and size of the mummy you’re making.


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Craft Friday: Linen Amulet (a Cooler Version)

I know I have a linen amulet already made, but now I have a chance to create a more contemporary amulet to my liking. I used the same passage from before  and extrapolated which gods were represented. I really enjoy this rendition and I hope you do too.

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What You’ll Need:

-12 pendant blanks (I actually recommend 24 bezels if available)

-2 strips of linen, 3 1/2 feet each (this is for a 22 inch necklace)

-scissors

-decoupage glue

-dimensional adhesive

-black acrylic paint

-detail brush or toothpick

-brush for decoupage glue

Pendants

  1. Take a strip of linen and cut out 24 pieces to fit the pendants. NOTE: I did this because I wasn’t using bezels but pendant blanks. If you’re using bezels you’ll need 24 of them.

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  1. Paint one image of a deity per piece. Size as needed.

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3.Apply decoupage glue onto the linen and place on the blank or bezel. Let dry.

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4.  Apply the dimensional adhesive as directed. Let dry. TIP: If using the pendant blanks let it dry completely then reapply if it’s too thin.

5.  If using pendant blanks repeat steps 3 and 4 with the leftover pieces on the other side.

Necklace

1.  Take the thinner linen strip and size as necessary. If it’s still too thick for the pendant loop, fold the strip in half.
String a pendant through the strip.
2.  Tie a knot roughly 3 inches from edge. The knot should be tied so the pendant is behind it. If you’re using bezels string 2 bezel pendants onto the strip. This knot will serve as a place marker.

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3.  Tie a knot roughly 2 inches away from the other knot. I ended up untying the first knot after step 5 in order to complete the necklace.

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4.  Repeat with another pendant until all pendants are strung and 11 knots are made.

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5.  Tie the ends together to make the 12th and final knot.

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As I’ve said before the aforementioned passage was recited over the linen amulet during the Epagomenoi and on Wep Ronpet.  This was to ensure protection from Sekhmet and the demons of outside the year.


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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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How to Deal with Needy Reiki Clients

It’s inevitable in any business one will have a needy client. It is very common in alternative paths to encounter needy people. Sometimes they come in the form of energy vampires, people who lack self-assurance or reliance, people traversing a new path completely foreign to him or her, or even just overly demanding. They may demand the session go exactly as they want (as they hand you a detailed outline), constantly call or email you with questions (it’s good to have questions, but not when it disrupts your business), habitually ask you to forgo your policies, or unabashedly criticize your practice. Whichever form (or forms!) this client manifests it leaves you, the Reiki practitioner, exasperated, drained, imbalanced, and sometimes ill. Ultimately no one truly gains with an unchecked needy client.

I will admit this isn’t really the focus of my blog, but after dealing with a few needy clients I decided to look up how to handle it and found little for Reiki practices. While I found quite a bit on dealing with energy vampires not every needy client is an energy vampire. Some people are just excited to find someone to help them they get overzealous.  I feel there isn’t really much in respect to this for Reiki practitioners or energy workers, and it’s one that would have been useful a few times. I decided to take it upon myself to provide some ideas that worked for me when I had to deal with needy clients.

1. Set clear physical boundaries. It seems silly and obvious to suggest it, but energy workers are sometimes too willing to help a client that this area is neglected. Sometimes we go to great lengths and will circumvent our own boundaries to that end. The willingness to help isn’t necessarily a weak trait, but it leaves energy workers vulnerable to needy clients. It doesn’t take much to set up physical boundaries. Things like clear times you will answer emails (and setting up away messages when not available), business hours, and a clear policy will mitigate some issues.  Some boundaries, however, you won’t realize need establishing until a situation arrives that could violate it.  I had to set up a boundary with one client because she was so enchanted by our session she wanted to camp in my yard and study Reiki under me.

2. After setting the boundaries keep firm on them. Everyone has or will experience both sides of the “but can you make an exception for me?” argument. Exceptions can’t always happen, and it’s important for the practitioner and client boundaries exist.  When the client who wanted to camp out in my yard I established a boundary with referrals.  I don’t teach Reiki at this time (and that incident is an example as to why) and set up a list of referrals of people I know who do teach and find superb.  If you must, explain why the boundary exists, but in most cases reiteration is only necessary.

3. Shield. This is another seemingly obvious one. With Reiki it seems unnecessary since we aren’t using our energy as well as counterintuitive. It doesn’t matter with energy vampires. I found some use Reiki sessions as a backdoor. If one identifies as an empath it also adds another level of protection from the client’s emotions.  Creating an energy shield for yourself is just another level of creating a boundary.

4. If a client sucked energy from you, check your body. Despite all precautions some needy clients manage to get your energy. I had an experience where one client managed to drain me of my energy during a session. I knew this because I suffered a headache well into the next day after the session.  If you’re unfamiliar with Reiki a practitioner shouldn’t feel drained after a session.  If one does it’s usually a sign personal energy was used.  When the client complained I didn’t use “enough power” I had my confirmation. I left a professional reply and then performed energy work on myself. Sure enough I found a cord tied to this client. Once I removed the cord the client left a surly last word and ended contact with me (though I suspect I would have received a surly word anyway). Even if the needy client doesn’t use similar methods I advise performing energy work on yourself after an encounter.

5. Give the client tools to self-empower. This advice is especially useful for the needy client who isn’t self-reliant or feels insecure. It provides you another boundary, it provides the client with a tool to better his or her path, and it is a wonderful professional move. It also upholds part of the purpose of any work in this field: to give people a method of empowering themselves. I suspect at the heart of every needy client is that lack of self-empowerment. These self-empowering tools can be anything from a breathing exercise to as complex as showing them how to make a stone grid.

6. Know when to end the relationship. You’ve shielded yourself, you’ve set clear policies and business hours, you’ve done everything imaginable for the client. The client still insists it isn’t enough and the client-practitioner relationship is going nowhere in a best case scenario. If you’ve done everything you can and the client isn’t happy it’s time to cut your losses. You’re not able to provide what the client wants, and it may not have anything to do with you or your practice. If you can send them off politely and professionally such as, “I’m sorry but it seems you are looking for something which I can’t adequately provide you. At this point I’m ending our relationship.” Give a refund if necessary. If you can refer them to other practitioners, do it. If the client chooses to end it before you can,  let them. It’s not important to have the last word. Ending it as professionally as possible not only helps the client, but sometimes leads to more business in the future.

The gist of dealing with a needy client is to honor yourself, honor your work, and honor the relationship. While needy clients exist in all fields with Reiki and energy work it’s essential to utilize more safeguards against them not only for ourselves but to work for the ultimate good of all clients.


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Budget Thursday: Herbs

I have to finally accept that when it comes to herbs and spices I’m not exactly frugal. The way I keep finding packets of myrrh resin is proof positive in my mind that I’m solely responsible for the over harvesting of the plant (I have no recollection of ever purchasing that much myrrh is the scary part. I swear it’s around a pound. What on earth possessed me to buy so much?) I can at least say after several years of poverty this, purchasing every ounce of myrrh and all, is a dying habit.

I know many of my readers just grow their own herbs and spices to save some money to this end.  I don’t at this point in time and I am in good company.  When I first posted this a reader noted they would like to see some suggestions for herbs and spices without having to grow their own. I drafted some stuff for my book concerning how to buy incense supplies (maybe that’s how I ended up with so much myrrh?  No, that’s counter-productive…) on a budget.  Despite my copious amounts of myrrh I’ve learned a few tricks with thriftiness behoove me more than just buying it when I can. Hopefully, you can apply these ideas in your life.

Check the grocery stores. Many herbs and spices used in witchcraft and incense are still used today to flavor food.

Discount stores, such as dollar stores, also sell many herbs and spices for a deeper discount. You may have to check for freshness, though I’ve found many discount stores supply the same quality as grocery stores.

If there’s a certain herb or spice you use more than others (or certain resins like myrrh) find where you can buy in bulk. Buying in bulk allows you to get as much as you need and more often a cheaper price.

Get the herb fresh, dry it, then store. I will admit this is one of the tougher ones. However many folks will sell it at farmer’s markets, out of their own garden, or even at the grocery store. Don’t forget to also…

Harvest it on your own. If you live in an area where it grows wild, get permission from the owner, and know exactly what is or isn’t sprayed you can collect certain plants in your own environment. I recommend keeping a book on identifying plants handy ( though bear in mind this isn’t fool proof for identifying plants.  Many plants look similar so it’s easy to mistake that dog’s mercury for parsley, for example) and advise when to harvest a plant (some plants aren’t good until a certain time of the year). Don’t forget that harvesting it on your own also requires some discretion on your part. Over harvesting a plant means you may not get to harvest it at that place next time. Take only what you need. Bear in mind also that government property (such as a park) is off limits, period.  If harvesting on private property be sure to clear it with the property owner, preferably in writing (and keep such writing handy).

Trade with a friend. You may find a friend has an excess amount of an herb or spice you want. If you have something in excess they want-say, myrrh-a trade is a viable option.

Sales are a great place to save. Just remember to check for the expiration date, defective, or possibly tampered product.

Buy only in small amounts if it’s a new herb or one you don’t use often. It’s common sense but it’s always worth repeating. Either way if something goes awry there’s no major financial loss.