“Religious to Excess”: The Ancient Egyptian Worldview of Polytheism and Piety

“They [the Egyptians] are religious to excess, beyond any nation in the world.”                                           –Herodotus, Histories, Vol. II (Euterpe): An Account of Egypt

The View from Postmodernity

What is it about ancient Egypt that captures our hearts and fascinates us through the millennia? Continue reading

The Road to Mana: Re-Membering Soul Loss, Restoring Forgotten Gods

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.

–T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets (“Little Gidding”), 1942. Section V

Epilogue, Part 1

Chicago, Illinois

Thursday, July 9, 2015

“Anna, my spirit guides told me this: ‘The place where this all started [Hawaii] is what’s going to heal her.'”

Continue reading

A Ninefold Kemetic Worldview, in Honor of the Holy Ennead of Heliopolis

Circle Sanctuary’s 35th annual Pagan Spirit Gathering gets underway this weekend, and I’ll be presenting two Kemetic-themed workshops/leading group rituals there for the second consecutive year. In my preparations for one of the workshops, a Kemetic Reconstructionism 101 primer aimed at an adult audience of mostly eclectic Pagans and perhaps (hopefully!) a smattering of Reconstructionists from other traditions (Hellenismos and Heathenry, for the most part), I thought it would be useful to fully articulate not just what Kemetic Reconstructionism is, but what it most decidedly is not: Tameran Wicca, which, I suspect, many people in the audience will be coming from as a frame of reference. After delineating what strike me as the most crucial distinctions between the two Egyptian-oriented traditions, I devised what I’m calling a Ninefold Kemetic Worldview; it appears below.

Continue reading

Sleep Paralysis, Sitting Ghosts, and the Use of Words of Power to Undo Magickal Fetters

“That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe,
       And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form
       Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm,
       Were long be-nightmar’d.”–John Keats, “The Eve of St. Agnes” (1820)
I hadn’t experienced any night terrors in years. Between 12:30 and 4:30 CDT this morning, however, I experienced no less than a trio of related nightmares, all of which included a malevolent, shadowy being crushing my chest so that I was incapable of rising from my bed and helping whoever it was that needed help (my father in the first nightmare and Hela, my one-eyed kitten, in the third) and that horrible inability to scream when you really want to scream. I found myself incapable of articulating any semblance of words, not even “NO!” nor “Help!” nor my father’s nor my kitten’s names. My dreaming self/night-journeying, free-roaming soul/ka–whatever you want to call it–could neither move nor speak. It was truly as though an entity had placed fetters upon me, one of the most dire forms of binding magic that can be placed upon a person.

Continue reading

In Praise of Anubis, Neb-ta-djeser: Lord of the Sacred Land

What an auspicious and delicious Friday the 13th this has been, and I haven’t even left the office yet to begin my lovely and leisurely three-day Valentine’s Day/Presidents’ Day holiday weekend!  (Io, Aphrodite!) I’m just giddy that this is the first easy-going Friday I’ve had at my job in months. And while much of my focus, die-hard romantic gal that I am, is centered on the joie-de-vivre that my bodacious beau Daniel and I are sure to experience tomorrow at the Lyric Opera production of Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” (let’s get medieval!), February 14 is also a very special day for me because in the old Cairo calendar, it’s the Feast of Anubis, the jackal-headed son of my Patron Goddess, Nephthys. The Egyptian god Anpu or Yinepu–Anubis to the Greeks–has been making His presence known in my life in major ways in the past couple of weeks, particularly by offering His services as a spiritual guide and protector, so I’ve decided to set up an additional shrine to Him here at my office desk just now! (Crazy colleagues and clients, be gone!)

 

A serious contender for my next tattoo! I love how majestic Anubis looks but check out that fierce and fabulous Ammit towering above the scale! Gotta love that "Eater of Souls"! Rawr!

A serious contender for my next tattoo! I love how majestic Anubis looks but check out that fierce and fabulous Ammit towering above the scale! Gotta love that “Eater of Souls”! RAWR!

Continue reading

Go to Hel, Part 1: How My Polytheistic “Dark” Goddess Proclivities and Seriously Weird Wyrd Opened Wide the Gates to Hel

Theologically speaking, as a hard polytheist, I believe that the Deities I love and serve objectively exist and have distinct, independent personalities with likes and dislikes, preferred/time-honored ritual offerings, and unique bodies of lore surrounding Them. They are not mental constructs/Jungian archetypes drawn from some collective Unconscious well. Continue reading

Sekhmet and the Ma’at of Letting Go: Reflections on My Sekhmet Ritual at PSG 2014

Editorial Comment: I am extremely pleased that the essay you’re about to read below has been accepted for publication in Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s forthcoming anthology on the goddess Sekhmet entitled Daughter of the Sun: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Sekhmet. My essay is being published under my legal name and I will retain all copyrights to it. The book is being released next month; I’m so excited!


 

“Sekhmet and the Ma’at of Letting Go”

Just prior to leaving for the 2014 Pagan Spirit Gathering, held June 15-22 in Illinois, I had been seeing, due to its popularity among several of my friends, a recurring post on my Facebook News Feed—one that irked me.

Continue reading