My ongoing battle with the mystic hit a snag some time ago, but I only realized what it was after attending a talk at Paganicon this year. Basically, it boils down to this: I’m afraid to have my head bitten off because I don’t trust that it’ll be put back again. In other words, I’m terrified of TEETH.
Here’s the back-story:
In 2010 a number of us in the online community I frequent had a shared experience that appeared to be related to a goddess we ended up calling the Lady of the Stars. For some, she was a specific deity; for others, she represented a goddess role or concept. We attempted to work in a group to explore her but a variety of issues arose and, eventually, the group work was stopped and the group fell into ruin.
Several of us saw the Lady of the Stars as (potentially) Nut and we created a smaller, informal group to focus on her in that title/role. During this time, a friend doing the same type of exploration linked me to the paintings in Seti I’s temple at Abydos and the glory that is a Nut ceiling (or the Book of Night). I was instantly fascinated and began reading all I could on the topic and, eventually, came upon Alison Roberts’ book My Heart, My Mother.
(The book, incidentally, is a must read.)
Here’s what is so amazing to me – the journey of the newly dead through the Duat mirrors the journey of the Sun through the Night…which mirrors the way the year unfolds from Wep Ronpet through to the Epagomenal Days (or Days Upon the Year). They’re all the same journey – different in the passage of time, perhaps, but through the same obstacles and challenges. This THING alone makes me wish I had better calendar foo and I totally understand why people are so focused on working with calendars. Because, it is a THING.
Anyway, reading My Heart, My Mother helped me realize that I really wanted to work through the Book of Night as a journey I could take (without first having to die, of course). I wanted to focus on each Hour, spread throughout the year, and spend Nut’s monthly festival in contemplation and exploration – one Hour per month, for twelve months. I helped to set up a group, as I said before, that had this type of work as one of its goals and I happily read, and learned, and “translated” things into lay speak and then, when it came time to take the first step…I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it, because although the first Gate (Hour) is the entering Nut’s arms and being embraced…in the second Gate you enter her mouth and are torn asunder and have to trust that you’ll be put back together again later.
Now, I’m no stranger to transformation work, but the idea of trusting that the damage that will inevitably occur upon the second Hour will later be repaired, especially after seeing the original group with whom I hoped to do such work crumble around me, well, I just couldn’t do it. And I still can’t. And I’m stuck here, waiting, before the first Gate because once I go through it, there’s no coming out until the end.