Kicking the Hornet’s Nest

I spend a great deal of time poking at hidden things.  I open cans of worms; I kick hornet’s nests; I turn over rocks to see what lies wriggling underneath.  And, I ask questions – tons and tons of questions, sometimes to the dismay of my colleagues, and my family, and my friends.  I hold the flashlight and shine it right into the face of things that are more comfortable in darkness, in the secret places where they cannot be examined.

Some of this is innate – I am a curious person, and examining something from every conceivable angle until I *know* it fills me with the kind of ecstasy most ascribe to moments of a more…intimate nature.   And, don’t get me wrong – I enjoy sex as much as anyone, and perhaps more than many…but the perfect blend of the emotional and the physical that so many of my loved ones ascribe to it is, for me, found in that first perfect moment when I truly understand something new.

This, as one might assume, means that I am sometimes extremely difficult to be around.  When active avoidance of a topic is the MO, I have to deliberately focus to not only not see the elephant in the room, but also keep from asking it questions about how it got onto the elevator.

It also means, though, that I am a Very Useful Tool, and that some of the Powers That Be have a vested interest in keeping me in good repair.  My boss at my day job, for example, knows I will dig deeply into anything he asks me to investigate and bring back every single piece of information available.  My boss’ boss, the head of Quality Assurance for our company, has come to welcome me greeting him with, “I opened another can.”  They both know, as does anyone who works with me, that I will worry a thing until it breaks open and reveals its creamy center, and that benefits almost everyone involved.

Mmmmmm….creamy center….*drools*

Outside of my day job, I remain a Very Useful Tool.  This thing I do, this poking, and prodding, and questioning, and untangling, brought me the attention of the netjeru before I knew that they were available to me as more than a list of Names in a book of mythology.  It brought me Work to Do that was ecstatic and transformative, but wrapped to make it seem smaller and less critical than it turned out to be.  It is the primary way I uphold ma’at, the concept that is so critical to Kemetic practice.  It is integral to my FlameKeeping work – the Dark Flame Wayfinder guides through the nebulous so the seeker can see the infinite potential(s) waiting for them.  It forms the foundation of my web work – how can I know what to untangle and what to leave in place if I don’t ask the question, or at least get right up against the threads to trace where they are connected?

To ask, to kick, to nudge, to pry – these are not without consequences.  For every piece of knowledge gained, for every insight, there is something better left unknown, or untouched.  My head is filled with things I’d rather forget but cannot, and I’m reminded of some platitude about being unable to put knowledge back where it belongs.  Once opened, a box can never return to its unopened state…but then again, I’ve always found Pandora to be a kindred spirit, and wasn’t Hope at the bottom of that box anyway?

I am the one who Questions, and I have no regrets.  The reward is worth a thousand stings.

The Elder Scrolls – Reman

Apotheosis in Tamriel is not limited to Talos, who was Tiber Septim before becoming one of the Nine.  Indeed, Reman Cyrodiil, now called the Worldly God, was known before Ysmir: first as the greatest hero of the Akaviri Invasion of the First Era, and then as the ruler of the Second Empire.  Under his dynasty, the Empire conquered all the kingdoms of Tamriel save for Morrowind…and it was Morrowind, and the Morag Tong, that led to his demise.

(Interestingly, Cyrodiil is not named for Reman as many believe.  Instead, he took Cyrod, the ancient Ayleid name of the heartlands, as his surname.)

There is no obvious cult of Reman these days, but he was worshiped alongside Talos as a conquerer-god, and there is documentation to support this worship dating from as late as the first century of the Third Era.  His rise to godhood stems from the heroic acts of his life – in addition to routing the Akaviri, who called him Dragonborn and swore their loyalty, Reman created the rites associated with ascension to Emperor and is credited with the creation of the Amulet of Kings.  Scholars disagree on whether Reman held or was held by the Amulet, but it none can contest that the process of becoming Emperor is his.

When we look at the cultural god-kings of a prior civilization, it is useful to examine the qualities they embody.  Reman, like so many other deified beings, was a hero who freed Cyrodiil from an invading force and brought prosperity to its people…from the Imperial point of view, anyway.  This raises the question of similarity between practices for the cult of Reman and others – the archaic and classical hero-cults of Greece, for example, or the imperial cults of Rome – and I feel confident in saying that those who desire to worship Reman in such a way will do so with the Worldly God’s blessing.  However, I prefer to think of the qualities not specifically mentioned that nevertheless would have been crucial to his success, and to base my approach to him on those very things.

As an example, consider that Reman is said to have convinced the Akaviri to support him in the founding of the Empire, and the actions documented by historians appear to bear that out.  His powers of persuasion were significant, and the ability to sway others to my cause, to cause them to focus on what I want to accomplish, is something that I use in my work each day.  It should be no wonder, then, that I look to Reman to strengthen my ability to persuade others that what I ask of them is both reasonable and desirable.

(For any who consider me cold for admitting these things, look to the nature of corporate America and understand that the channels I go through to implement processes and programs require this type of action.  I am good at my job.)

For ideas on how to incorporate the worship of Reman into your personal practice, I recommend looking to modern worship of other deified mortals such as Heracles, or Gaius Julius Caesar.

A Return to My (Gaming) Roots

Once Upon a Time, in days both ancient and forgotten, a woman sought to drag her pop culture paganism into the light by writing about the gods of Tamriel for the period of a year.  That project was never finished.  

<cue ominous and tense music>

In reality, not so dramatic.  There were mitigating factors, not the least of which was my online religious community changing in a way that made me leave it and the subsequent fallout from that.  After all, the stroll through Tamriel was part of a blog project that started in that very community.  And those ancient and forgotten days were actually in 2015 and the writing stopped almost exactly a year ago (last post was on Peryite, on the 26th of August, 2015).

Lately, I’ve been spending more time in The Commonwealth than Tamriel, and it was during a brush with the Children of Atom that I started thinking (again!) about the influence of video games on pop culture paganism…and it made me want to start the project up again!

(or, at least, finish what I started.)

I’m planning to complete the Tamriel project by writing about it, off and on, for the remainder of the year.  I started with ALMSIVI in January 2015 – let’s see if I can make it to Zenithar in December 2016.

My Polytheism

I wasn’t going to write about this.

I wasn’t going to write about this, because so many have said it, and said it well: that polytheism is not a monolith; that there is no “culture of polytheism”; that those who put themselves up on some holier-than-thou plinth are likely to have it crumble beneath them.

I wasn’t going to write about this, but…

But.

But, if I remain silent, I subvert my own beliefs and practices.  But, if I subvert my own beliefs and practices, I am allowing others to hold sway.  But, if I allow others to hold sway, I may as well strip the mantle from myself and go back to stepping exactly where someone else steps, and…

And.

And, fitting myself into someone else’s skin is not my polytheism. And, applying concepts that do not fit and adhering to arbitrary bullshit determined by those who do not believe what I do is not my polytheism. And, letting others speak for me rather than speaking myself is not my polytheism.

So.

  • My polytheism is Action – I must do.  I must make active choices.
  • My polytheism is ma’at, but not always Ma’at – I am concept-centric rather than Deity-centric, but both are present.  I keep them close to me in different ways, and they fit together like pieces of an enormous jigsaw puzzle.
  • My polytheism is Malleable – I will not stagnate.  I will not do something unless it works, regardless of how often it is mentioned in “the lore”, or how many others do it.
  • My polytheism is Mystery – I will not always understand what is presented to me, but I will continue to try until it is complete.
  • My polytheism is Personal – I do not expect anyone to believe what I believe, or practice what I practice, and I respect what others do until it incorporates applying a Universal Standard.  I believe there is no Universal Standard.
  • My polytheism is Tangling and Untangling – I will connect and disconnect, anchor and sever, expand and contract.  I will in-know and out-know.  I will set boundaries.
  • My polytheism is Vocal – I must speak up because no one else can speak for me.  I must speak until I am heard, and then again until someone listens.
  • My polytheism is Work – Encompassing all of the above, limited and unlimited by my own choices.

It may not be complete or understandable, but it is mine.

Put it all on Trial

PUT IT ALL ON TRIAL.

Peaceful Awakenings: Reflections of Egypt

Maybe I have the words I didn’t have when I pulled this quote. Maybe. Because maybe it’s enough to blame Set for a natural death, to put the devil on trial there, but there are times this is not adequate, there must be co-defendants. (And I am pondering my thoughts here in relation to this post on blaming the devil.)

On a cosmic level: put the ur-murderer on trial. Sure. Rage and scream and tell Him we hate this and that He has done something we cannot forgive. Let us do our rituals to cast this out onto Someone who can take it, and who can take it away, the holy scapegoat of our tradition.

But we do not live on the cosmic level. And if we listen to Him, we can be certain that He will agree with another chaos force and say, “OH. WELL…

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Sharing: Access and Justice: Disabled Pagan Activism

I highly recommend that everyone who reads this blog go on over to http://stoneontosand.weebly.com/disability-equality-training.html and take a read and /ora listen.  This is topic that, in my opinion, is never discussed enough.

Alternatively, you can hear the talk by clicking the video link below:

 

Slide below posted with permission:4996347_orig

Slacker Gods

Things worth thinking about. Seriously.

The Twisted Rope

It is said that a lot of Kemeticism is based on reciprocity. For those of you who don’t know what reciprocity is, it’s commonly defined as “the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another.” Or in other words, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. I have worded this before in other posts as “we help keep the NTRW full and focused by giving offerings, and in return, they help keep our existence running smoothly”. We help the gods by fulfilling ma’at so that they can survive, and in return, they help make our lives a bit easier (in whatever fashion that that might entail).

Reciprocity is a really interesting concept, and it’s one of my favorite parts of Kemeticism. I love that it’s less about humans prostrating before gods (though you can do that if that’s…

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