For any of us who write, we all are quite familiar with the truth that we can find a million reasons not to sit down and write. There’s a house that needs cleaning, kids and spouses that need attention, things around the house that need to be repaired, homework assignments, and a myriad other things that pull us in a hundred different directions. The hardest part is to consistently make our way to that place and time where we can just let the words flow.
Writing, as far as I am concerned, is a magical act. It is an act of Will and attention and focus. To reach in deep inside or out to other places while maintaining a center is a powerful thing indeed. For far too long I have been out of the center, allowing myself to be tugged by distractions both great and small until the sanctuary lies neglected and cluttered, covered with a thin film of dust from disuse. Still, it takes so very little to sweep away the dust, light a candle and make a small offering, a libation or a bit of hand crafted incense that you manage to have on hand just for moments such as this.
Last weekend, the year turned again to the Mabon. In the Kemetic (Ancient Egyptian) religion, this date marks the departure of the Eye of Ra – Hathor or Sekhmet to the South, where She wanders. It corresponds with the departure of most Goddess cultures where the idea that the beneficence of the Goddess departs for a time. Persephone descends into the Underworld of Hades and the rest of the world is left to lament Her absence. It is a time of desolation and death. These things, too, are a fact of life. They bring us to the knowledge of the Circles of life, Death and Rebirth over and over again. We come to expect them, we prepare for them, but every single rotation of the Circle is different from the last or the ones before it. Now, we enter the Opet Festival, when Amun, Mut and Khonsu are celebrated. Like that festival in antiquity, we are reminded that life’s cycles will always continue.
When I started down my Path, I imagined that it was Egypt alone that called to me. When I was Wiccan, I inserted for the Goddess and the God, Isis and Osiris. Then, as I believed that I had arrived at the destination that I had asked for – to find the Source of Ancient Kemet’s religion, it was Sekhmet that filled up ever single nook and cranny and part of my awareness to the exclusion of all else. It was profound, but it was a limiting world view. There is a greater whole that cannot be claimed by any one culture, by any one spiritual Tradition or an unwavering adherence to a set dogma. I am grateful for the lesson, and now, as the Path goes toward a more wholeistic one, I find my brothers and sisters in many places, both Pagan and Monotheist of one kind or another – or neither. Spirituality is a lot like musical taste; we all have differing opinions as far as to what works for each of us and what doesn’t. I am convinced that it is a different answer for every one of us.
So far, no developer on Facebook or anywhere else has ever been able to figure out what each of us is about simply based on a set of algorithms. I sincerely doubt that they ever will. However, that doesn’t prevent them from endlessly trying to figure each of us out in order to more effectively market to us and get them to follow a set of behaviours they want us to go in. Usually it is of a commercial benefit for some corporation or political entity or media company that wants us to purchase whatever it is that they are selling – be it a product or an idea. Historically, however, religions try the same sort of tactic. That sort of struggle has been going on for centuries, and no doubt, there will be those who will always try to crack the code and find that one magic formula that will make us all go in the same direction. Sometimes the threat of pain, death and eternal damnation is used. Fortunately, however, that sort of tactic in the name of whatever God seems to work less and less these days. The Circle of Life, however, can go both Sunwise and Widdershins as the situation calls for and sometimes it wavers back and forth a bit. Like the cycles we are all a part of, we do the same thing. We change over time. If we didn’t, we’d simply fall into a pattern of stagnation. In that type of scenario, nothing grows. And witout that, we really can’t call it living, can we?
It is a time of cutting back and harvest. It is a time of preparing for winter, setting up stores and lighting the hearth. Pulling in our families and keeping off the chill as we descend into the Darkness of Winter. In the Norse and the Indigenous American cultures, communities would pull into their longhouses and lodges and share warmth food and stories to pass the winter months. Have we really evolved so much since then? The Holidays, which seem to come sooner and sooner every year, are punctuated by gatherings of friends and family, with the ideal being of shared warmth, food, stories, camaraderie and yes, sometimes gifts. One listen to the news and it is clear that we seem as if we are currently descending into an underworld on a global scale. We need to share the warmth, the food, the stories, and the many gifts that we each have. None of us individually knows nearly as much or can do nearly as much as all of us collectively and therein lies our strength. Why then do we insist on trying to do it all ourselves or refusing to help others where but for the grace of the God/dess, there we would also be?
The harvest is a time of shared efforts and celebrating the bounty of collective effort. For now, that’s just enough to keep thoughts of the winter chill away.