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Author Topic: Religion Remains Elusive at Present.  (Read 5761 times)
Satsekhem
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« Topic Start: March 02, 2010, 05:53:11 am »

Have you ever felt like things were finally coming together again in your religious life, only to have it blow up in your face?

Recently, someone else posted on here about how he was experiencing a religious dry spell. I commented on this entry and told him that I was going through the same thing--it tends to happen. Personally, I'm finding it difficult to worship the sun disk while working third shift. I know a lot of people on this forum commented on that entry with the same bit of advice: things like this tend to happen and we can only get through it to the best of our abilities.

Anyway, as I said, my current problem is that I'm having issues celebrating the Kemetic sun deities since the sun is, of course, anathema to me. However, I was finally coming to grips with this. I had begun instruction with my son on the Kemetic deities (well, religions in general) and it was making me feel like I was finally slipping through the gorge in the middle of my path. So, tonight, I felt especially connected to netjer and was going to do... something... with that feeling. So, I went to do something with it and... I find myself back in the religious desert I was screaming about/cursing about only a week ago.

So, have you ever thought you were finally getting out of your dry spell only to realize that you were bypassing an oasis instead of having actually come to the Promised Land?
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« Reply #1: March 02, 2010, 06:44:21 am »

Anyway, as I said, my current problem is that I'm having issues celebrating the Kemetic sun deities since the sun is, of course, anathema to me.

Honestly, I think these things can be cyclical.  I know that I've gone through several cycles...although it's really difficult to put any kind of descriptors of the various parts of the cycle.  I guess it goes something like: epiphany --> reinvigoration of daily practices --> calming down and settling into a groove --> getting a little too comfortable in the routine --> questions about whether the practices really mean anything or are worth it --> some kind of feeling of spiritual crisis --> reexamination --> epiphany...  Like anything else in life, it doesn't always go like this, but there does seem to be at least some consistency.

So, for me, the questioning that goes with the dry spell is a necessary part of my growth process.  I think.  Cheesy

FWIW.

I wanted to mention something that occurred to me while I was reading the bit I quoted above, about your difficulties relating to a sun deity when your schedule forces you to be nocturnal.  I don't know much about Kemetic practices, so this could be way off base, but would it help for you to find something symbolic of the sun or that particular deity that you could carry with you when you work to help keep you mindful of the sun? 

F'ex, I'm a flamekeeper in a couple of cills dedicated to Brighid, and I can't always have an actual physical flame lit during my entire shift, either because I can't be at home the whole time or because I'm sleeping.  So I have a particular pendant that I wear during my shift that reminds me to stay in "shift" mode.  My pendant has a couple of charms and a small silver bell, which is the part that does most of the reminding Wink but that's not really the point.

Anyway...just a thought.

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« Reply #2: March 02, 2010, 07:53:39 am »


Might it help to think of the moon as a reflection of the sun, or focus on nocturnal/nonsolar deities? (Nuit and Thoth jump immediately to mind.) If the solar imagery is part of the problem, why not work around it?
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« Reply #3: March 02, 2010, 09:40:50 am »

Honestly, I think these things can be cyclical.  I know that I've gone through several cycles...although it's really difficult to put any kind of descriptors of the various parts of the cycle.  I guess it goes something like: epiphany --> reinvigoration of daily practices --> calming down and settling into a groove --> getting a little too comfortable in the routine --> questions about whether the practices really mean anything or are worth it --> some kind of feeling of spiritual crisis --> reexamination --> epiphany...  Like anything else in life, it doesn't always go like this, but there does seem to be at least some consistency.

So, for me, the questioning that goes with the dry spell is a necessary part of my growth process.  I think.  Cheesy

FWIW.

I wanted to mention something that occurred to me while I was reading the bit I quoted above, about your difficulties relating to a sun deity when your schedule forces you to be nocturnal.  I don't know much about Kemetic practices, so this could be way off base, but would it help for you to find something symbolic of the sun or that particular deity that you could carry with you when you work to help keep you mindful of the sun? 

F'ex, I'm a flamekeeper in a couple of cills dedicated to Brighid, and I can't always have an actual physical flame lit during my entire shift, either because I can't be at home the whole time or because I'm sleeping.  So I have a particular pendant that I wear during my shift that reminds me to stay in "shift" mode.  My pendant has a couple of charms and a small silver bell, which is the part that does most of the reminding Wink but that's not really the point.

Anyway...just a thought.

I think you're right about the general gist of a dry spell. It does seem to come after an intense period of extreme religious devotion, which slowly cools.

I like your pendant idea. I'm going to start looking into something that says, "Sekhmet" and "sun" as soon as I log off this website. Thanks!

Might it help to think of the moon as a reflection of the sun, or focus on nocturnal/nonsolar deities? (Nuit and Thoth jump immediately to mind.) If the solar imagery is part of the problem, why not work around it?

I do have connections with a few of the nocturnal deities, Djehuti in particular, as well as his consort, Seshat. I'm also become slowly but surely connected with Aset, which I think stems from reading about Cleopatra so extensively/being a mom. However, my primary deity is Sekhmet. Therein lies the problem.
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« Reply #4: March 02, 2010, 02:52:56 pm »

I do have connections with a few of the nocturnal deities, Djehuti in particular, as well as his consort, Seshat. I'm also become slowly but surely connected with Aset, which I think stems from reading about Cleopatra so extensively/being a mom. However, my primary deity is Sekhmet. Therein lies the problem.

I'm not Ellen, but I wanted to respond to this.

Brighid is also a solar deity.  When I've had problems, in may case the problem is simply functioning during the day (which is most of the time, because of migraines), I've had some luck reconnecting through lunar associations and through the moon itself.  Basically, as Ellen mentioned, I just remind myself that moonlight is nothing more than reflected sunlight.  So looking at the moon is (metaphorically speaking, if not realistically) very much like looking at the sun in a mirror.

YMMV, of course.  Smiley
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« Reply #5: March 02, 2010, 09:50:25 pm »

So, have you ever thought you were finally getting out of your dry spell only to realize that you were bypassing an oasis instead of having actually come to the Promised Land?

Working the "graveyard shift" might be a great way to connect with Wesir or Anpu....

(sorry, bad joke).

I do not believe that the Gods go away just because we can't observe the natural phenomena associated with them.  Maybe you can't see the sun, but you can feel the air getting warmer as spring arrives.  Without the sun we would not have life as we know it.  I believe that me just being alive and human and breathing is a gift from the Gods, as the sun is one way that their presence manifests.

Also, the days are getting longer.  Pretty soon you'll at least be able to see the sun set as you wake up in the evening. 

My primary deities (Wesir and Djehuty) are lunar but I still feel their presence on a cloudy night.  It's nice to have a visual reminder that they're there but it's been important for me to stay connected with them when their presence isn't that obvious.  A relationship with a God is often compared to falling in love.  I think it's a good analogy, and not just because of the highs people get when the relationship starts.  The honeymoon doesn't last forever.  I've committed to a relationship with my Gods.  Like a long-term relationship, it requires me to do the regular practice regardless of how I feel about it.  I need to make dinner.  I need to clean up their house.  I even have to deal with occasional arguments.  I've found the relationships to be worth the work, but admittedly there are days when I'd rather just slack off and play computer games. 

I still go to my shrine because I can feel their love in subtle ways, if I listen quietly.  And even on the days when I can't...I know that it matters to them.  They've made that pretty clear, and they don't always like it when I make them repeat themselves. 

Also, Sekhmet isn't just a sun Goddess.  She, like all of the Netjeru, is multi-faceted.  My primary connection with her is in her aspect as a healer.  Perhaps it would be helpful to explore some of her other attributes. 

I do have connections with a few of the nocturnal deities, Djehuti in particular, as well as his consort, Seshat. I'm also become slowly but surely connected with Aset.

Aset is actually solar.  The disc that is on her head between the two horns is actually the sun, not the moon.

http://www.philae.nu/akhet/aset.html

Common misconception Smiley
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« Reply #6: March 03, 2010, 12:05:52 am »

The honeymoon doesn't last forever.  I've committed to a relationship with my Gods. 

Heh.  Almost sounds like I fancy myself some sort of priest and I don't.  Sometimes I wish for that but I'm not in the position where I can give up having the option to take a day off when I have to.

The point is that I think some type of regular commitment is important, even when it's not easy.  It doesn't have to be anything big, either.  I don't know what your practice looks like right now.  Just lighting a candle and addressing the Gods in your own words is enough to keep that connection IME...just so long as you're making it a point to set some time aside for the Gods on a regular basis. 

Hope that makes something resembling sense. 
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« Reply #7: March 03, 2010, 12:06:42 am »

If you're having trouble connecting to the actual sun, take a moment when you step out the door to appreciate its affects. With Sekhmet as a matron, seeing how the sun causes change may come naturally. Feel any lingering warmth in the summer, or see how the snow has melted and refrozen.
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« Reply #8: March 03, 2010, 12:25:06 am »

If you're having trouble connecting to the actual sun, take a moment when you step out the door to appreciate its affects. With Sekhmet as a matron, seeing how the sun causes change may come naturally. Feel any lingering warmth in the summer, or see how the snow has melted and refrozen.

Herumetem,

Please remember to quote the post to which you're replying when you post (as I've done above).  Our rules require using the quote function so we have the linkback code, which can be important to moderation.

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« Reply #9: March 03, 2010, 01:32:27 am »


I do have connections with a few of the nocturnal deities, Djehuti in particular, as well as his consort, Seshat. I'm also become slowly but surely connected with Aset, which I think stems from reading about Cleopatra so extensively/being a mom. However, my primary deity is Sekhmet. Therein lies the problem.

As someone else has stated, Aset is a solar goddess and the disk is the sun, not the moon. 

In my experience, Aset is more of a tough mother, than an "all-mother" type of goddess. 

Sekhmet is also a healer, a destroyer and a goddess of appropriate action.  She's also associated with fire, so lighting a candle especially at night may also help you connect to her more solar aspects. 

Aset has a festival once a year that especially begins at sunrise called Aset is Awakened by Ra's Majesty.  If it is cloudy, or raining and I can't bring Aset's statue out to the sun, I light candles instead to symbolically bring the sun to her. 

I hope this helped.
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« Reply #10: March 03, 2010, 10:09:25 am »

Heh.  Almost sounds like I fancy myself some sort of priest and I don't.  Sometimes I wish for that but I'm not in the position where I can give up having the option to take a day off when I have to.

The point is that I think some type of regular commitment is important, even when it's not easy.  It doesn't have to be anything big, either.  I don't know what your practice looks like right now.  Just lighting a candle and addressing the Gods in your own words is enough to keep that connection IME...just so long as you're making it a point to set some time aside for the Gods on a regular basis. 

Hope that makes something resembling sense. 

I wouldn't say that it sounds like you think of yourself as a priest or anything. I think the metaphor of being in love works out appropriately. That, or someone who is extremely dedicated. Of course, being in love and being dedicated are kind of the same thing.

I'm taking this under advisement. I think before bed, I'm going to light my kyphi candle and do some form of communication, either meditation or merely a running commentary to Sekhmet. (This did make sense.)

As someone else has stated, Aset is a solar goddess and the disk is the sun, not the moon. 

In my experience, Aset is more of a tough mother, than an "all-mother" type of goddess. 

Sekhmet is also a healer, a destroyer and a goddess of appropriate action.  She's also associated with fire, so lighting a candle especially at night may also help you connect to her more solar aspects. 

Aset has a festival once a year that especially begins at sunrise called Aset is Awakened by Ra's Majesty.  If it is cloudy, or raining and I can't bring Aset's statue out to the sun, I light candles instead to symbolically bring the sun to her. 

I hope this helped.

I have no idea why I thought Aset was a lunar deity... I recall everyone telling someone else that she was a solar deity in the KR SIG. I guess I'm just having a lapse in memory? Also, when I imagine Aset, I think of her as one of those all-encompassing, loving mother deity types. I'm not saying that she let's her children get away with everything, but she seems kind of indulgent over things. F'ex, giving sweets to a child even though they didn't finish their entire dinner.

When I worship Sekhmet, I worship all of her aspects. However, I particularly worship her in the role of keeping all of creation in ma'at. I am very careful when I think of her as a destroyer goddess since, although it is a part of her, she likes to remind people that she isn't all "bad." This is part and parcel why I never thought of reminding myself that fire is an association of hers: I entirely associate it with her destroyer half instead of just... as a part of her. I guess this is a personal hurdle to overcome and hopefully, wishfully, thankfully, I can do that.

Thank you. You did help.
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« Reply #11: March 03, 2010, 10:38:52 am »

I have no idea why I thought Aset was a lunar deity... I recall everyone telling someone else that she was a solar deity in the KR SIG. I guess I'm just having a lapse in memory? Also, when I imagine Aset, I think of her as one of those all-encompassing, loving mother deity types. I'm not saying that she let's her children get away with everything, but she seems kind of indulgent over things. F'ex, giving sweets to a child even though they didn't finish their entire dinner.

As I recall, Isis is a lunar deity- perhaps you were simply conflating some of their aspects? I also think the mothering you're describing is more in line with the traditional depiction of Isis. It also reminds me strongly of Het-haru, but I don't really know Aset that well.
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« Reply #12: March 04, 2010, 08:55:48 am »

As I recall, Isis is a lunar deity- perhaps you were simply conflating some of their aspects? I also think the mothering you're describing is more in line with the traditional depiction of Isis. It also reminds me strongly of Het-haru, but I don't really know Aset that well.

I don't know Het-haru well, myself. I think of her in a strictly sexual manner, although I know that's not the only aspect of her as a deity.
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« Reply #13: March 04, 2010, 11:09:22 am »

I don't know Het-haru well, myself. I think of her in a strictly sexual manner, although I know that's not the only aspect of her as a deity.

Darkhawk would probably be better suited to talk about Het-haru, as she has known her much longer than I have, but: my understanding of Het-haru is that she is the joy of ma'at, the reveler in all things beautiful and good and in accordance with order. So sex does come into it, but so does beauty and music and laughter and dance. She can be indulgent, she is a mother (of Ihy at the very least) and I believe she was one of the deities invoked during childbirth/early motherhood.
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« Reply #14: March 06, 2010, 07:38:52 am »

Darkhawk would probably be better suited to talk about Het-haru, as she has known her much longer than I have, but: my understanding of Het-haru is that she is the joy of ma'at, the reveler in all things beautiful and good and in accordance with order. So sex does come into it, but so does beauty and music and laughter and dance. She can be indulgent, she is a mother (of Ihy at the very least) and I believe she was one of the deities invoked during childbirth/early motherhood.

Huh. I didn't know any of that. Thanks!
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