Don’t Be A Dick

veggiewolf:

Seriously, don’t be a dick.

Originally posted on Dawn of the Two Feathers:

This is the official unofficial Kemetic motto. We should embroider it on doilies and carve it in stone. If nothing else, write it on a note with a marker and stick it on the edge of your computer monitor. Go ahead and draw a dick on it to go along with the message. You know you want to.

“Don’t be a dick” is a modern interpretation of the idea of living in ma’at. There are many interpretations of what exactly ma’at entails, but I see it as the balance that holds the world, as we know it, together. It keeps us alive and healthy. It keeps our communities strong. It makes for a well-tuned ecosystem, among other things. We rarely achieve perfect balance, because the world isn’t perfect, but as long as we live, we can keep working on improvement.

One of the central images of Kemeticism is the image…

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The Elder Scrolls – Leki

It’s amazing how little information is available in writing about the Yokudan pantheon.  I can only suspect that the Redguards pass most of it along amongst themselves, and as I’ve not been to Hammerfell I suppose it makes sense that I wouldn’t find it easy to gather the information I usually do for these posts.

What I was able to gather about Leki, who is apparently one of the most popular gods in Hammerfell, is this: she is the daughter of Tall Papa (Ruptga), who is the chief deity of the Yokudan pantheon.  Her bailiwick is aberrant swordsmanship which, on its face, seems to mean swordsmanship that diverges from the standard…and that strikes me as interesting because the Redguards are martial by culture and are schooled in the arts of war at a young age, and so I wonder what sort of technique they consider to be aberrant.

It is said that, during the Mythic Era, Leki introduced the Ephemeral Feint which stopped the Na-Totambu (Yokudan royalty) from fighting among themselves so that war with the Aldmer could begin.

There do not seem to be worshipers of Leki outside of Redguard culture (that I can find record of, anyway), and while I don’t understand the ins and outs of the Yokudan pantheon or, really, the roles and spheres of each deity within in, and I don’t advocate cultural appropriation, I think there’s something for non-Redguards to learn from Leki even with the little we know of her.

Let’s look at aberrance for a moment – deviating from what is considered proper or normal.  I write about this thing a lot on both my blogs because so much of what I do and how I live is considered to be aberrant.  I’m an adherent of a non-Abrahamic religion, I’m pansexual, monoromantic, and polyamorous, and I’m a practitioner of situational ethics.  Although I pass as a poster child for societal norms (WASP background, middle class, married female with child and corporate job) and have the privilege that goes with it, I am aberrant.

What’s more, I am aberrant even in groups of other aberrant people.  At Paganicon, for example, I stand out in my jeans and t-shirt while others get their pagan velvet sequin flowered fringe on.  In polyamorous circles, I stand out in my search for friends-with-benefits rather than romantic relationships, and in my need for sex rather than love while not wanting a series of one-night-stands.  As an ethical slut, I am having less sex than the label implies.

I am deviant.  I am (to use an overhyped word) divergent.  I am aberrant, and comfortable with being aberrant even if it is sometimes a huge pain in the ass to walk around with the equivalent of a neon sign on my forehead.  I can’t imagine being anyone but who I am…and that brings me back to Leki.  Leki teaches us to embrace our aberrance – to take it, accept it for what it is, and use it to improve ourselves and our communities.

Embrace what makes you you.  Embrace your aberrance, and spread it across the Universe.

The Elder Scrolls – Kyne

Whether someone believes Kyne is Goddess in her own right or Kynareth by another name depends largely on the pantheon they follow. The Nords of Skyrim consider Kynareth to be a “pale shadow” when compared to their beloved Kyne, while those that follow the Nine Divines know that Kynareth transcends such things as names, and to them Kyne is but another aspect of the strongest of the sky spirits. As my readers should know by now, however, I am a hard polytheist and I routinely rail against the idea that a deity from one region is merely an aspect of a deity from another region – Aphrodite is not Venus, Set is not Typhon, and Kyne is definitely not Kynareth even though their spheres and names are similar.

(I suspect the Nord readers are cheering right now.)

Funnily enough, the debate surrounding Kyne and Kynareth is also ongoing outside Nirn, although to a lesser degree. I routinely use two online sources when researching all things Tamrielic (along with others, of course), and I find it interesting that one of those sources clearly takes the position that the two are the same, while the other disagrees. While the information from each correlates from the other, there’s nuance present that clearly defines the point-of-view the writer holds…and I’ve had to take that into account when deciding what information to use and what information to toss out. But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit to being biased in my own right and so I encourage my readers to take what I say with a grain of salt if you need to.

So, who is Kyne? She is the most revered of the Nordic deities and considered to be chief of the gods since her husband’s passing. Kyne is Goddess of the Storm and controls the wind and rain in all their fury…and all their gentleness. As the Mother of Men, she breathed upon the Throat of the World to birth mankind, and the Nords consider themselves to be her sons and daughters. She is the Warrior-Wife, widow of Shor the Hidden God, and favored for worship by warriors and those who do battle. Kyne is the Kiss at the End as she leads the dead to Sovngarde where her husband dwells. She gave the Thu’um (the Storm Voice) to men; before this, only the dragons could Shout. In fact, Kyne’s name (Kaan) in the dragontongue is a Word of Power and soothes the wild animals that are also considered to be her creations.

I do not worship Kyne, although I’d be tempted to do so if there weren’t other gods that fill those spaces for me. I see the allure, though – she is so many things in one deity, and it is clear that she cares for her own. We’ve entered storm season this week, and I could see Kyne in the thunderstorms that hit on Monday although, to be honest, He Who Owns My Ass is Lord of Storms and I know I’d have a difficult time balancing the two. However, just because Neb.y is the Storm doesn’t mean that Kyne isn’t also the Storm…it just means that she’s not going to be a good fit for me.

For those interested in worshiping Kyne, look to the wind and rain for clues to her nature. Ask for her aid in battle, be it physical, mental, or emotional – one can be a warrior without holding a physical weapon, and Kyne is beloved of warriors. Try perfuming yourself for her – there are several rain-inspired scents available, and I think something like Rain by Demeter or D.S. & Durga’s Pale Grey Mountain, Small Black Lake would please her.

(Both fragrances are available on The Perfumed Court as decants, by the way.)

The Elder Scrolls – Julianos

“Come to me, Julianos, for without you, my wit is weak to sort the wheat from the chaff, and my eyes should neither know the true from the false, nor sense from folly, nor justice from prejudice and interest.”

I have to admit that I’ve not paid as much attention to Julianos as I have some of the other Divines.  Some of this is because I tend to spend my time on other gods, but some of it is also due to his bailiwick being that of Law and Order (or so I thought) and much as I like TV shows with that name I was not particularly interested in deities who oversee such things…unless they are also involved in upholding ma’at.

I say was in that last bit because the things I’ve learned about Julianos in researching this post have changed my mind a bit.  Or, rather, the things I’ve learned have convinced me that there is more to Julianos than meets the eye.  You see, Julianos’ purview includes that of wisdom, and history, and literature, and contradiction.  Oh, and magic – it is not uncommon for those who work magic to call on him for aid, or to worship him.  But…a god of contradiction?  That’s an interesting concept to explore, really.

There are a number of definitions for contradiction, and I won’t list all of them here because my readers are perfectly capable of their own acts of Google-fu.  I will give you my favorite one, though: logical incongruity; a situation in which inherent factors, actions, or propositions are inconsistent or contrary to one anotherMerriam-Webster.com.  Aside from the fact that I enjoy the sound of ‘logical incongruity’ when it is said aloud, there’s something that tickles me about logic being out of whack, so to speak.

Including contradiction in Julianos’ bailiwick makes sense when I consider the other things he presides over – wisdom, literature, law, and history are all areas in which contradiction is standard.  It’s routine for one piece of wisdom to contradict another, for example, or for laws to be contradictory.  I’d even take it a step further and say that exploring contradictions leads to greater understanding since you are taking all angles into account…which, ultimately leads to greater knowledge and, dare I say it, wisdom.

Julianos’ decree to man and mer is to “Know the truth. Observe the law. When in doubt, seek wisdom from the wise.”Ten Commands: Nine Divines.  I like this decree, especially the bit about observing the law; note that he does not say OBEY.  Observing the law includes understanding how it works both on paper and in the world around you…and recognizing that all things have the potential to reach failstate.  Observe, if you will, the law of frisk as case-in-point.

As I mentioned earlier, I do not worship Julianos and, at this point in my life, I probably won’t be adding him to my regular pantheon.  However, I can say he is one who upholds ma’at, even though he may not know the word itself.  Writers, lawyers, advocates, scholars,  and anyone who works with written or spoken language might do well to look on Julianos as a possible patron, and those who use magic routinely may benefit from calling on him.  I also have a hunch that Julianos is one of those deities for whom actions are the best offerings; dedicate your work (life’s or otherwise) to him and I’m certain he’ll be pleased.

The Elder Scrolls – Jode, Jone, and Ja-Kha’jay

This is less an entry documenting specifics of the Khajiiti pantheon, and more of a commentary on the Khajiit themselves; as the Khajiit are bound to the Lunar Lattice, called Ja-Kha’jay.  The Lunar Lattice is a mysterious force related to the phases of the “twin moons” of Nirn, who are called Jode and Jone by the Khajiit.  “Twin moons” is a misnomer for the relation between Jode and Jone, however; if one looks closely, it is apparent that Jone actually orbits Jode.

Jode is the Big Moon God aspect of Ja-Kha’jay, and is known to non-Khajiit as Mara’s Tear, or Masser.  Jone is the Little Moon God aspect, known outside of Elsweyr as Secunda or Stendar’s Sorrow.  According to myth, Jode and Jone are what remain of Lorkhan after he was destroyed in the creation of Nirn, and are meant to remind Lorkhan’s man-creations of his duality and related struggles.  In addition, the phases of Jode and Jone affect the form a Khajiit takes in life.  These two things are the main reason the Khajiit are so devoted to worship of Ja-Kha’jay.

The manner in the Khajiit worship Ja-Kha’jay and its aspects are largely bound up in morphology – as each form of a Khajiit is tied to a different set of moon phases, so are the rites and veneration of the moons tied to those same phases.  There are rumored to be “more than twenty” forms of Khajiit, but foreigners (those who are non-Khajiiti) will find it difficult to locate records on most of them.

Since most of my readers are neither Khajiit nor live on Nirn, I’ll note that worship of Jode, Jone, and/or Ja-Kha’jay is best suited for those who are directly impacted by Masser and Secunda in one way or another, or for those who prefer to add a note of realism into their role-play in Tamriel.  I felt, though, it would be inappropriate of me to ignore the Lunar Lattice in my writings this year.

Impulse Control

For someone whose mind is occupied with as many things as mine is, I actually have excellent impulse control.  This is demonstrated by all of the socially unacceptable thoughts I have that I’ve not acted on.  For example, I’ve not had sex in my workplace, or set a building on fire, or told the CEO of my old company what I think of him.  I’ve also not yet cut my brother’s brakes so he careens down a hill and then dies.  Of course, this could be due to the fact that I’ve not been alone with his car.

Then again, I also don’t know where the brake lines are or how to cut them.

I jest, to a point.  I don’t consider myself a murderer despite having thoughts to the contrary, but I also don’t live in a world where my thoughts are made manifest.  If I did, impulse control would have an entirely different meaning and perhaps we’d end up like people out of Harrison Bergeron from sheer necessity.  Okay, yeah.  Not sure where I was going with that last bit, to be honest.  Anyway, my thoughts, like those of all human beings, can be quite random and unexpected, and I (mostly) don’t act on the ones that show up out of the blue or that I deem unwise.  It’s the mostly that counts there, I think; all human beings are going to end up doing some things they later regret, and some of those things derive from impulse.

So, why the fuck am I writing about this stuff on my religious blog?  Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about random thoughts and impulses and how we as humans control what we do, when we do, and I decided to try and take a look at it from a FlameKeeping perspective.  This included talking to Genevieve Wood, founder of FlameKeeping, to get her opinion on the topic.  Once she stopped laughing and referred me to Skippy’s List (specifically, number 87), she noted that impulse is reaction rather than action, and that “impulse should be run through the filter of “is this a bad idea” before acted upon.

Now, what I think is a bad idea may (and almost certainly does!) differ from what you consider a bad idea…but I think that’s the point, really.  Regardless of what society as a whole may put forth as optimal (in)action, everyone’s experience of life is different and, except on rare occasion, each individual should be able to determine what is a bad idea from their own point of view.  Sometimes that aligns with what society says, and sometimes it doesn’t, but that alignment isn’t a meter stick – to measure someone up against societal norms alone is to ignore the larger picture.

I’m rambling again, aren’t I?

Here’s the thing – controlling my impulses might make my own life smoother, but it doesn’t make me a better person than someone who doesn’t control them or can’t control them.  I am not a good person based on the fact that I haven’t cut my brother’s brakes; there’s a lot more desire not to spend time in prison than there is benevolence.

We are all Divine – you, me, the tree, the rock, and my left shoe (ESPECIALLY my left shoe!).  That Divinity is not erased when we give in to our impulses, nor is it bolstered when we control them.  Relax, take a breath, and run your impulse through your personal filter…and if it looks good, leap.