Category Archives: akhu / ancestors

On being a woman and why politics matters

I don’t often talk about politics. I try not to wear my beliefs or anything else like that on my sleeve or publish it on my blog. This post will be the rare exception to the rule. I hope those of you who are regular readers, especially those who re more than a little sick of all the political din will at least hear me out. It’s important, no matter who you vote for, which I personally believe should be according to one’s conscience.

Recently, in this present election cycle, there have been certain politicians who have said things about women and women’s issues that have me more than a little concerned. First we had the candidate for the Senate, Todd Akin (R-MO) make some sort of claim that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” What exactly is a “legitmate rape” vs. an “illegitimate” one? No one has been able to answer that one for me yet.

Then within the last couple of weeks, some other dim bulb by the name of Mourdock quips, “….I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.”

Seriously. What is wrong with these people? Have the last fifty years in women’s rights not taught us anything? Did our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and colleagues that bravely went before us fight for nothing? Is it really inevitable that women will never truly attain equality? Was all the progress we made in the sixties and seventies and even into the eighties with regard to civil rights for everyone in vain? Why are there still small pockets of people, mostly corporate plutocrats, who honestly believe that women, minorities and those of different sexual orientation are somehow inferior? Thank the Gods for a generation who mostly know that all the rhetoric and cited scripture or legal precedent used to discriminate against others is just flat out wrong.

I do not and cannot share the belief that any Creator of any credibility whatsoever would ever approve of the heinous crime of rape. You can couch it and rephrase it any way that you like in order to soften it, but it really boils down to an act of violence against a woman is committed. And according to these men’s’ personal religious beliefs, she should be required to give birth if she is unfortunate enough to become pregnant as a result. This of course goes to an even deeper issue that women are somehow not people, or they are of less value or violence against them can be ultimately excused or hushed up or even discounted. If a man raped another man and could potentially become pregnant, do you think the reaction to the situation would be any different?

Not on your life!

Many politicians within the GOP keep abdicating responsibility for acceptable social behaviour and passing it off onto their religious beliefs. There is a holier-than-thou false morality that seems to want to turn back the clock to the 1950’s. They acre continually trying to push for it as if somehow, if we can just manage to get the genie on women’s issues back into the bottle, then everything will be so much better socially and economically!

To that I say, “Bullshit!”

These people don’t (or won’t) ever say it out loud, but it is really quite clear that they would rather that women would mostly be back home, in front of the stove, taking care of the kids and accepting whatever hand that the men in various positions within her sphere want to deal her. Really when you look at the rhetoric that is being espoused on the campaign trail, some of it may as well have been a statement made by the Taliban. To my mind, there is really very little difference between the Talibn and what I not-so-lovingly refer to as the ‘Christoban’.

In past elections, I always made my voting decisions along the lines of the things that politicians did with regard to First Nations / Indigenous issues. It is something that I grew up with my whole life. I cut my teeth on the Mohawk Nation’s paper, Akwasasne Notes and also the Cherokee Advocate. I was reading those sorts of “radical rags” from age 9 onward. I watched what was happening then, and I remember the riots and the siege at Wounded Knee II. Seeing the perspective outside of mainstream media was deeply ingrained in me long ago. Civil rights for everyone is an issue that cuts deep within me. I am always shocked when people from my generation or in the rare instance, of those who are younger, act as if these things should somehow be up for debate. I was raised within a culture that is largely matrifocal and matrilineal. No man or woman can be Chief within the Nation without the approval of the Clan Mothers and the Grandmothers, and they can remove him or her if they feel that he or she has betrayed the People. To my mind, that is the way it should be. If we had that sort of checks and balances in place, we might not have half the issues that we do right now in the realm of politics. No doubt certain people would never hold public office!

As a woman, and a divorced, single mother, things are tough enough without some men in public office, many of whom make many times over what I have made in the last ten years, deciding whether or not I am “worthy” to be able to choose for myself what I can do with my own body, whether or not I can see to my healthcare through an organization like Planned Parenthood, who not only provide birth control, but also preventative care for women of all ages, including mammograms, pap smears, and other preventative care. As a woman I am also deeply concerned that my child, now an adult, will get to stay on my healthcare plan, and that he can finish his education and I can finish mine. I cannot fathom how in the 21st Century we are even entertaining the possibility that these same men could potentially take away many of the choices that we women have taken for granted for at least the last 30 years.

This year, when I cast my ballot. I will have made certain to take a look at the voting record on how every politician voted and introduced legislation not only for Indigenous First Nations issues, but also with regard to women’s, LGBT, student, the poor and all other forms of civil rights. I would encourage everyone, if they have a bit of time, to do at least a little research in that area and make sure the candidate of your choice really does have your best interests at heart, or if they are just conveying a message that they hope will be just enough to get them elected.

7 Comments

Filed under akhu / ancestors, business, indigenous, pagan, politics

The Spiritual Art of Letting Go

recumbant lion
I have been having a few thoughts about letting go on 9/11 of this year. This of all days, on the anniversary of 09/11 – a day that is indelibly etched in the minds of most modern adults. Like when JFK was shot or when Challenger exploded, we can never forget where we were or what the day looked like or how we felt. On that day, 11 years ago, I was with my mother, who was dying of terminal cancer. Less than a month from that date, she would pass to the Beautiful West. That day, I got an email from a gentleman whose YouTube videos I had commented on and was so impressed by that I wrote to his private email address late last month. His production values were very high, and I thought it was a definite standard that I hoped my own work could rise to. I was very interested in talking to him about my documentary project.

Three weeks after I had sent that email, and thinking to myself that that he was probably just too busy to answer, or just not interested, I shrugged and didn’t think any more about it. On Tuesday, 9/11, I received a return email apologising for having not replied sooner but was undergoing treatment for a terminal illness that was making him feel, quite understandably, rather crappy. He went on to ask for forgiveness but should be ready to send me a proper reply in a week or so.

I felt completely chastened and humbled by that email. It made me think about an earlier interview I had seen on Youtube on Karagan Griffith’s ‘Witchtalk’ video blog, where he interviewed John of Monmouth about his involvement with the Royal Windsor Coven and the Regency. Both organisations were very closely connected to Robert Cochrane and later traditions, such as 1734 and Clan of Tubal Cain and others that had evolved from Robert Cochrane’s work. In the interview, there was a definite emphasis toward a “letting go of the artifacts”.

As someone who is Kemetic Orthodox and who has felt the pressure that many reconstrictionists feel that you must find only the authentic bits and ditch all recreations and deviations from what is known and archaeologically or scientifically verified, as well as things gained through unverified personal gnosis or abbreviated simply as UPG. You can definitely do this, and I most certainly did for a number of years. However, what you have is a rote set of rites and a list of “shoulds” or “should nots” and there is very little left that speaks to our greater connection to everyone and everything else.

For myself, I searched for many, many years for some semblance of good, solid ritual the way it was intended for the various Egyptian deities, Sekhmet in specifics. What I found was a whole lot of new age bullshit that somebody channelled. I wanted the real deal, not made up nonsense.

My reason?

Because with over 4,000+ years of residual energy surrounding any deity, I have found that it pays to take at least a little bit of historical context into the equation. If you don’t, you’re just flat out being inaccurate. Those energies, particularly the ones considered as volatile and dangerous, have proscriptions in place for very specific reasons. It pays to at least attempt to figure out what the reasons are. Yes, there is always a bit of UPG involved – and it is good to make that differentiation about what part is based in antiquity, and what is adapted vs. what you pulled out of your own consciousness. In the past, I got extremely enraged over a certain, well-known author, married to another well-known author who wrote about Sekhmet and was essentially selling Priestess initiations for the cost of dropping acid and sleeping with him In all of my years of researching Sekhmet and her worship from the extant writings from antiquity and from other egyptologists, et al, those kinds of requirements were definitely not how things were done. He and I had many extremely heated arguments on this topic over the years. Now, several years after his passing, I have let go to the outcome. All I can do is re-educate those who have had the misfortune of reading the book and thinking that is all that there is.

I find that everyone tends to gets their own version of whatever deity that they find themselves connected to. But of course, we as humans can’t make it just that simple. Even reconstructionists in the attempt to try to get to a place of connection find that the rites that went before are there as a guideline. Wanting to connect with those guidelines should not be considered a disease or dogma. It’s just another form of devotion – of being completely enamoured of a particular Deity, whether it is Jesus or Buddha, Allah, Sekhmet, to care enough to want to find out all that they can. Devotions tend to be highly personal for everyone, and no one should dictate that to another.

Another key point in the interview with Karagan and John of Monmouth was about real power is not just the empty, hollow rituals but the real raising of energy and that can only happen when tuning into and experiencing the Rites that you really go beyond description. Language falls far short, and yet so many of us try. The consciousness of interconnection between Self and all that is, is something which is sought in almost every religion, and yet it seems to be a constant battle for people to keep it all pertinent and real. Such an opening does not tend to happen when relying only on what has been set down by others, or by a list of instructions. Each person is unique and therefore while spiritual experiences are in some way similar to one another, they are not ever going to exactly the same for any two people. Also, some of the experiences in any faith, particularly when you do let go and follow it, go far beyond words. There is that occultist’s adage, “To Know, To Will, To Dare and To Keep Silent.” The bit about “Keeping Silent” isn’t always because it is taboo to discuss these experiences, but rather it can also be taken to mean that it is near to impossible to adequately articulate them to someone else. Certainly they are never going to benefit from the telling as they weren’t there and have no frame of reference. Any attempts to do so, more often times than not, fail miserably. Several have done a pretty good job, but those things are very rare and only touch the surface. Still, it is very difficult to look at the works of someone like Hildegaard of Bingen, whether it is her art, her music or her herbals or the art of Michelangelo, the poetry of Rumi and not feel some sense of each of their having really connected to the Divine and everything else on some deeper level.

When we let go of the push toward the logical mind, the part of the brain that must always maintain control, we open ourselves to things that we never before experienced or even imagined. Getting to that place where you are at peace with yourself, that either comes with practice, or maybe it a matter of time. I would like to think that wisdom can be gained not just by simply getting older.

1 Comment

Filed under akhu / ancestors, kemetic, pagan, sekhmet, traditional witchcraft

Spiritual Musings from the Edge of the World

the Faery UniverseYou can talk to the Divine at any time with varying degrees of formality. practice your faith when just about everything becomes a prayer. You can offer your efforts in cooking a meal as thanks to Netjer for what you have been given, offering a portion of that in shrine. You can pray to Netjer behind the wheel of the car (and I often do that, myself!) or you can go out into nature and just appreciate the infinite variety of manifestations in Creation that shows the Divine to us. Really, it is about your personal relationship and the things you do personally to connect to the Divine. Proscriptions about doing A, B and then C, ad infinitum are ok, but nothing beats the internal, intuitive dialogue that only you can have with your Gods.

The so-called Pagan “community” can be a very petty, very cliquish, undisciplined lot, filled with opportunists of every stripe. Conversely, some within that community can be really wonderful, giving people. I gave up dealing with “groups” outside of the House many, many years ago and prefer to deal with individuals. I have some very close friends who are Elders in the Wiccan, Asatru, Alchemist, Ceremonialist even Diabolist ranks. Each one of them on their own are great people whom I think the world of. However, some of their “buddies” in the groups that they are affiliated with I wouldn’t eat or drink with them because, (let’s face it) they are absolute jerks and are not my kind of folks. So,taken with their customary dish of salt, the groups have their uses.

Some of us would be offended at the Pagan label. Just because something is not of the big three (ie. J, C or I) does not mean it is “Pagan”. Call some Native American religious traditions’ Pagan’, and they will show you the door in very short order. Some Hindus and certainly Buddhists also bristle at the term. Pagan has become a convenient catch-all for those who are not in the Big Three, and that really diminishes them. As Kemetic Orthodox, I do not like the term. I am not a Pagan. I am a monolatrist (not monotheist- there is a huge difference that I won’t go into right now). The bottom line is it is all about everyone having the right to self-identify. Some Satanists call themselves Pagan – and yet, watch the ranks within Wicca, et al scream at the temerity of those bleeping Satanists for doing. The neopagans love to insist that the Satanists and Diabolists are “little more than misguided Christians in rebellion”. That is far from the truth. Nothing is ever that simple that one pigenhole applies. 99.99% of those who believe that have never truly ever asked anyone from those ranks what the core beliefs are or taken the time to learn.

There is no absolutism that it is monolatry vs. paganism. I can see Kemetic Orthodoxy as both. That is the beauty of having polyvalent logic built into one’s spiritual belief. I personally dislike the term “Pagan” because it has for the most part been used as a derisive term against any belief system that does not toe the line or match up with what whatever dominant culture has as its core belief system. I honestly don’t think that the ancients thought about, “gee, if I worship Aset or Mithras or Tausi Melek, would I be considered a “Pagan”?” I find it interesting that modern culture needs to parse it so much. It really is ok, in my view, for people to not really have a name for what it is that they believe. Certainly the ancient Egyptians didn’t.

As a devotee of Sekhmet, I have found that there are those to whom when you do actually take the time to explain to them what it is that you believe, already have preconceived notions over what your beliefs and practices are. This is not at all unlike members of the big three. Pagans like to include you under their spiritual umbrella, especially if it will tend to bolster their numbers. They will also think nothing of conveniently ignoring your protestations about being lablled “just like them” in terms of belief and practice, when in fact, you aren’t. On one hand they are correct – on another hand, there is quite a bit of confusion at any possible objection to being put into the pagan box on the part of those who are not J, C, or I. It There is often also confusion that those who work magic(k) must be, by default, pagan. If we go by the idea that all prayer or focused intent is in fact heka or magic, then that would include every single religious and spiritual belief under that umbrella. In Egyptian belief in magic(k) or heka, it is very much a part of the belief system and is completely integrated into the lifestyle. Every act, ideally, becomes a prayer or heka. However, I think mainstream magical folks seem to have a decidedly different idea of what that means at times than what we as Kemetic Orthodox do!

It isn’t that people find the term Pagan incompatible with Kemetic Orthodoxy. It is just that the ancients really had no concept of parsing religious beliefs down as much as modern people insist upon doing today. Plus, there are many of us within Kemetic Orthdoxy who will never forget that it was Roman Pagans(*gasp*!!) who destroyed ancient Kemet’s religion – not the Christians, as so distressingly many in the Pagan community insist on believing. It’s all too easy for group minds to sink into a sort of meme of “us” vs. “them” mentality and then slap labels onto other groups which those groups would not dream of calling themselves. Those very terms may in fact end up insulting them in the end and yet pagans often seem oblivious or incredulous to this. Pigeonholes and preconceived notions are things we should be at least a little mindful of this. You can never go wrong by asking someone how they prefer to be called and then honouring that request.

But there is always some sort of perceived discrimination on the part of others because you do not follow the norm of the status quo.

So, while I am from the school of thought that our secular lives, though we integrate our religion into it; I still wonder why would anyone choose to advertise it? First of all, it is against the law for anyone to even ask, or discriminate based on that. I am not saying that it doesn’t happen- I sometimes think that people really bring on a great deal of the prejudice against them upon themselves. Wearing pentagrams or ankhs the size of manhole covers is nothing less than advertising. You may as well climb up onto your desk or climb the walls of your cubicle with a megaphone and shout it to all and sundry. Really, with any faith, there needs to be an awareness that wearing loads of crystal, symbols and amulets around one’s neck and a large, pagan-themed ring on every finger might make someone who does not share your beliefs just as uncomfortable in the workplace as you might be seeing an open Bible or Q’aran on the desk of a coworker. Faith is a fine thing. However, putting out a neon sign proclaiming it even to those who have not asked or have no care one way or another really does nothing to foster understanding, either.

As a Servant of the Eye of Ra – Sekhmet / Hathor, the Divine Feminine, and as someone who knows who Amun-Ra, Durga, Aset and Azazel are, and having been down a road where the dominant, herd culture likes to paint the things it does not understand in the worst light possible, I can say without hesitation nothing is ever as simple as people make it out to be. Layer upon layer of lies, deceits, manipulations of half-truths and outright falsehoods designed to mislead people from thinking for themselves, doing for themselves and realizing what their birthrights truly are, still permeate the consciousness of the majority of people outside of our collective groups.

Let’s face it: ‘The Goddess’, be it Sekhmet or Hecate, or the God, whether that be Osiris, Set, Lucifer / Satan, Azazel / Malek Taus, et al, were vilified by the dominant culture in an effort to increase the territory that the Church and the attached governments controlled in all aspects of people’s lives. This was true over the course of current common era (CE) history. My only suggestion is that today we need to take a large step back and look at who the real deceivers were and their motivations for having done so in the first place. The so-called “Beast” is ignorance and complacency and the forgetting of who we truly are and our responsibility to the world and our place within it. We must ask ourselves, what is it exactly that have we learned about the whole of it all? These are the question which bear some serious consideration on all of our part.

2 Comments

Filed under akhu / ancestors, kemetic, pagan, sekhmet, traditional witchcraft

A is for Akhu (Ancestors)

Over the years I have often said to any who would listen that our ancestors are the foundation upon which we build our own lives. We stand upon their shoulders to see not only with our own eyes, but with theirs. We carry their hopes, their dreams and their prayers within our very souls. Our blood relations, or as author Raven Grimmasi calls it, the ‘Red River of Memory’, is within each of us.

The Ancient Egyptians had the belief that our akhu or ancestors, once they passed to the Beautiful West, or underwent their 70-day long journey to that place and passed through the Halls of Ma’ati, were closer to the Netjeru or the Gods than we on Earth are. From the place where they passed to, they could more easily intercede on our behalf. Nearly everyone in antiquity did some practice of honouring their ancestors. From having household shrines, to visiting the tombs and having a family picnic outside of it in order to invite the departed to partake with them. There have been found letters to the dead as well. There has always been a necessary human desire to reconnect with those who did build the foundation upon which we stand.

The idea of venerating ancestors has been misconstrued by those outside the practice as “ancestor worship.” Honour and worship are, to my mind, not at all the same thing. Leaving tobacco or food out on a stone or putting up a shrine to our ancestors or akhu is not any more eyebrow raising or difficult than our ancestors having had a telephone table where they would sit with the telephone and chat during the times of the week when the phone rates were the cheapest to talk to family and relatives, about what’s been going on – sometimes for hours at a time. They would simply dial the number and the person would be there on the other end of the line. Passing to the West, as we call it, is a bit like that. Death, in spite of its inevitabilty and sense of never being able to see a person or interact with them again, does not necessarily have to be the case. The person who leaves this world of form is not necessarily gone, but has rather moved to a different address and changed their number. The forwarding contact information for that person, their essence in the regard that we interacted with them is still available and at the very least, still inside of us.

You don’t need to believe in the fact that the dead are not “gone” any more than a plant needs to actually ‘believe in’ photosynthesis in order to turn green. That connection does not leave in spite of death’s finality. Cultures the world over know that ancestors are there to assist and to guide us. Sometimes they can provide answers to us that we might not have considered otherwise.

According to Celtic scholar, Caitlin Matthews, we have ancestors that are closest to us by family and those who are ancestors to all of us, collectively of humanity. If we go back a mere seven generations, then we have over 200 people in just our immediate, or father / mother, grandfather / grandmother line. That does not take into account the aunts, uncles, cousins and others that are alongside. When you think about it, there is an army of people in our ancestral background to whom we can go for insight and guidance. Then there are the ancestors to whom all humanity has a kinship. These are the men and women who have changed the world and have inspired us over history. These persons have continued to live through the generations and veneration that they receive by those who have come after.

It is immaterial whether we can sign on to a site such as ancestry.com or anywhere else, or send off with a DNA sample to prove that somehow we have superior ancestors. Too many get caught up in the trap of what I call Blood Quantum B.S. There will always be those in the world who will ask you to “prove” or cite your lineage, or to produce some sort of documentation outside of the colour of your skin or the shape of your features in order to ascertain that you are in the right spiritually, or that you are not trying to culturally misappropriate the ways of another Clan or Tribe or Nation. There is nothing wrong with saying,’Thank you” to the departed who have sometimes become part of the spirit of a specific place regardless of your heritage. Anyone who tells you otherwise, more often than not, is a bigot, most likely insecure in their own heritage and spirituality and should be ignored.

In my own practices, I leave offerings of food and water, and sometimes alcohol and tobacco for the akhu. Sharing a conversation and maybe leaving an offering of something that the particular ancestor liked in particular is perfectly fine. In Mexico on Dia de Los Muertos or the Day of the Dead, family members will share a meal with the departed, setting a place for them, or even venturing out into the cemetery to sing songs, stories or even food with them. The key, according to a close friend of mine, is “to make sure you have a good relationship with your dead people.” The spirits of the dead, whether you believe in ghosts or not, can make the life of those left behind easy or in some extreme cases, can cause headaches for those still amongst the living. Saying, “Hello,” offering water, or just remembering who they were to us and what they gave us is one of the most important gifts we can give to ourselves as well as to them. Someday, all of us will be ancestors to the ones who come after us. It’s good to have such traditions in place and to keep those lines of communication open.

Note: This was supposed to be a part of the Pagan Blog Project. However, since I have been so occupied with school and work it is a bit late and obviously did not make any of the official deadlines . With that in mind, I am doing what I always do: This will be on my time, in my way, and according to my own parameters. That’s what being an independent practitioner and independently minded person is all about.

Illustration of Merytamun by me. Copyright Ma’at Publishing.

Leave a comment

Filed under akhu / ancestors, kemetic

Blessed Lughnasadh & Di Wep Ronpet Nefer*!

This is the time of year where we celebrate the harvest. For some this is the old Celtic festival of Lughnasadh. For people like me, who follow the ancient Kemetic (Egyptian) religion, we call it Wep Ronpet, the ancient equivalent of New Year when the Helical rising of Sirius also occurs. For several days we celebrate the “non days” where the Goddess Nut gives birth to Wasir (Osiris), Heru Wer (Horus the Elder), Set, Aset (Isis) and NebtHet (Nephthys).

Then on the sunrise after NebtHet’s night, as we Kemetics affectionately call it, we smite the Apep (Apophis) Serpent and beat back the enemies of Ra. The climax of this comes in the form of an execration ritual where this malevolent being of Un-Creation is destroyed and turned back through the efforts of both humans and the Gods. When it is all done, then there is much feasting and rejoicing.

Since coming to the very first Retreat for the House of Netjer in 1998, it has always been a time of intensity, of getting to see folks that you may only get to see once a year. It is an event that is a mad scramble up to the end no matter how much planning goes on the year before, and it is one where the days melt by far too quickly. Sadly, I missed this year and last. But I have a renewed hope in the coming year because of the Deity that is linked to be over this particular year; the Goddess Nut.

Nut

Nut has been seen within the ancient Egyptian symbolic language since the earliest times of its history. She is also sometimes depicted as the Celestial Cow, which is a form of Hathor. With this year comes hope and creativity, diligence and ultimately of contentent. To quote another Shemsu (follower) in the Temple, ‘…these things are her gifts to us.’ In these uncertain times I like the sound of that.

* Di We Ronpet Nefer = Happy New Year (Ancient Egyptian)

Leave a comment

Filed under akhu / ancestors, kemetic, pagan

A is for Akhu (Ancestors)

Over the years I have often said to any who would listen that our ancestors are the foundation upon which we build our own lives. We stand upon their shoulders to see not only with our own eyes, but with theirs. We carry their hopes, their dreams and their prayers within our very souls. Our blood relations, or as author Raven Grimmasi calls it, the ‘Red River of Memory’, is within each of us.

The Ancient Egyptians had the belief that our akhu or ancestors, once they passed to the Beautiful West, or underwent their 70-day long journey to that place and passed through the Halls of Ma’ati, were closer to the Netjeru or the Gods than we on Earth are. From the place where they passed to, they could more easily intercede on our behalf. Nearly everyone in antiquity did some practice of honouring their ancestors. From having household shrines, to visiting the tombs and having a family picnic outside of it in order to invite the departed to partake with them. There have been found letters to the dead as well. There has always been a necessary human desire to reconnect with those who did build the foundation upon which we stand.

The idea of venerating ancestors has been misconstrued by those outside the practice as “ancestor worship.” Honour and worship are, to my mind, not at all the same thing. Leaving tobacco or food out on a stone or putting up a shrine to our ancestors or akhu is not any more eyebrow raising or difficult than our ancestors having had a telephone table where they would sit with the telephone and chat during the times of the week when the phone rates were the cheapest to talk to family and relatives, about what’s been going on – sometimes for hours at a time. They would simply dial the number and the person would be there on the other end of the line. Passing to the West, as we call it, is a bit like that. Death, in spite of its inevitabilty and sense of never being able to see a person or interact with them again, does not necessarily have to be the case. The person who leaves this world of form is not necessarily gone, but has rather moved to a different address and changed their number. The forwarding contact information for that person, their essence in the regard that we interacted with them is still available and at the very least, still inside of us.

You don’t need to believe in the fact that the dead are not “gone” any more than a plant needs to actually ‘believe in’ photosynthesis in order to turn green. That connection does not leave in spite of death’s finality. Cultures the world over know that ancestors are there to assist and to guide us. Sometimes they can provide answers to us that we might not have considered otherwise.

According to Celtic scholar, Caitlin Matthews, we have ancestors that are closest to us by family and those who are ancestors to all of us, collectively of humanity. If we go back a mere seven generations, then we have over 200 people in just our immediate, or father / mother, grandfather / grandmother line. That does not take into account the aunts, uncles, cousins and others that are alongside. When you think about it, there is an army of people in our ancestral background to whom we can go for insight and guidance. Then there are the ancestors to whom all humanity has a kinship. These are the men and women who have changed the world and have inspired us over history. These persons have continued to live through the generations and veneration that they receive by those who have come after.

It is immaterial whether we can sign on to a site such as ancestry.com or anywhere else, or send off with a DNA sample to prove that somehow we have superior ancestors. Too many get caught up in the trap of what I call Blood Quantum B.S. There will always be those in the world who will ask you to “prove” or cite your lineage, or to produce some sort of documentation outside of the colour of your skin or the shape of your features in order to ascertain that you are in the right spiritually, or that you are not trying to culturally misappropriate the ways of another Clan or Tribe or Nation. There is nothing wrong with saying,’Thank you” to the departed who have sometimes become part of the spirit of a specific place regardless of your heritage. Anyone who tells you otherwise, more often than not, is a bigot, most likely insecure in their own heritage and spirituality and should be ignored.

In my own practices, I leave offerings of food and water, and sometimes alcohol and tobacco for the akhu. Sharing a conversation and maybe leaving an offering of something that the particular ancestor liked in particular is perfectly fine. In Mexico on Dia de Los Muertos or the Day of the Dead, family members will share a meal with the departed, setting a place for them, or even venturing out into the cemetery to sing songs, stories or even food with them. The key, according to a close friend of mine, is “to make sure you have a good relationship with your dead people.” The spirits of the dead, whether you believe in ghosts or not, can make the life of those left behind easy or in some extreme cases, can cause headaches for those still amongst the living. Saying, “Hello,” offering water, or just remembering who they were to us and what they gave us is one of the most important gifts we can give to ourselves as well as to them. Someday, all of us will be ancestors to the ones who come after us. It’s good to have such traditions in place and to keep those lines of communication open.

Note: This was supposed to be a part of the Pagan Blog Project. However, since I was so occupied with school and work it is a bit late and obviously did not make any of the official deadlines . With that in mind, I am doing what I always do: This will be on my time, in my way, and according to my own parameters. That’s what being an independent practitioner and independently minded person is all about.

2 Comments

Filed under akhu / ancestors, kemetic, pagan, traditional witchcraft

Update

First of all, a New Year’s wish for everyone:

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” – Neil Gaiman

The above quote was from a LJ friend, and I thought it was one of the finest I had ever seen. I think I am starting in that direction in a big way. Yesterday I started applying gesso to an Egyptian winged disk plaque that is about 24″ wide by 8″ high. I want to paint it according to the ancient canon as far as colours go. The illustration shown here is not quite right.

The parts that are white should also be yellow or gold. I am seriously thinking of going with gold leafing on this one just because I can. I will need some crown moulding to make it perfect, and those have an artistic canon as well. That project, since there are two of them, should keep me busy off and on. There is no push on it. But it is nice, relaxing, busy work when I need a break from writing.

Speaking of..

Everyone does their new year’s resolutions, and of course, I am no different. I resolve that I will write daily, at least the three page per day minimum via the “Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I have been encouraged with some recent comments that it might well work and I can get my work out there, uploaded to Kindle Digital Platform.

So what is the hold-up?

I am scared to death of the damned thing because after having uploaded the Rune book to KDP, and immediately having to take it down because the illustrations didn’t get uploaded really made me nervous. I need to check and see if there are online tutorials on YouTube or something just for me to get over my primary fear. No doubt I can generate content. I just have to edit it and make it make sense to a readership that would be willing to follow what I write. One of my friends who writes mystery novels said that a book that was previously rejected by the six big publishing houses netted him over $7K in a single day this holiday season. In three weeks from Christmas onward he made $100K No. That is not a misprint on my part. JA Konrath really did make that much, and the Amazon sales figures bear out he has been in the top 100 Kindle downloads for a number of months. Tenacity pays off – as does good cover art, free downloads from time to time and value-added content. Self publishing is for me, as it is for so many others these days. Writers, artists and musicians now have control over their own content in a way like never before. I say it’s about damned time!

As for the rest, I am going to be finishing up my final semester this spring and then transferring to the University of Iowa. I want to finish out my degree in Communications / Media, specializing, particularly in cinematic arts, because I truly love it. Gimme a camera, let me paint with light and a non-linear editor. In the midst of all that, I still continue to write. I have to. It’s like breathing, really.

My problem is, I have far too many blogs on far too many platforms. I have a blog here on WordPress and blogs on Dreamwidth, Blogger, Livejournal and Pan Historia. I need to be better about crossposting between them. Then again, I have my preferences for each for various reasons.

With the start of the semester tomorrow, I am going to have more than enough to keep me busy both in assignments and also my own personal writing goals each week. Two friends on my Dreamwidth reading list mentioned the below blog project and I have to say I was intrigued.

Things have changed for me spiritually, professionally and academically. I can’t really go into it right now because I have had a good long think about it but haven’t reached any conclusions. I am still devoted to film and media as I ever was. It is just focusing on my own projects as never before. But this Pagan Blog Project seems as if it would be right along the lines of helping me get back into writing in a magical sense. Those who know me know how much a part all of that is to me and to my life. Fictionalising it is not a stretch and if anyone fears that I would give away any “oathbound” material, suffice it to say, I know what to do and what not to do – and the Mysteries DO protect themselves.

Anyway, here is the link for any who would like to join up themselves.

Leave a comment

Filed under akhu / ancestors, pagan, traditional witchcraft, writing