Contemporary Polytheist Theology: Does Geography Curtail the Gods’ “Outreach”?

It’s not often that I begin my day composing a Facebook post asking for pensive responses to a theological question of mine, but that’s how my morning started. Twelve hours and 100+ comments later, I’m reflecting on my musings, my Facebook friends’ insights (to the ones that overlap as readers of this blog, thank you for your input!), and it’s time to craft a blog post around it all. This was my inquiry for discussion:

Serious theological question for my fellow devotional Polytheists: Do you believe that the Gods you serve are limited in Their ‘outreach’ based on geography? Case in point: during my years in Hawaii, my contact with worlds-wandering Hekate and the Kemetic Deities I serve never abated (the Latter Group loved Hawaii, from my experience), but, try as I might, neither Odin or the Vanir were accessible to me out there. However, whenever I visited Chicago, my ‘line’ to Them was instantly reestablished. Upon returning to Hawaii, the spiritual phone line ‘went dead’ again until I moved back home permanently.

What have your experiences been with Gods and spatial/temporal boundaries?

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Tempest in the Desert: A Devotional Group Ritual to Set

For a long time, it was the conviction of scholars that the fact that one and the same deity might display divergent and sometimes even contradictory qualities could best be explained by assuming that such a god had resulted by a historical process from several simple deities. This train of thought is based on a rationalistic misunderstanding and a failure to appreciate the nature of religious experience. In essence, each important god comprises all possibilities. Gods can not be sorted out like buttons.

–te Velde, Herman. Seth, God of Confusion: A Study of His Role in Egyptian Mythology and Religion. Leiden, The Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1977. pp.101-102.

Tempest in the Desert: The Ritual

(c) 2015 A. Applegate / aka Katakhanas

 

Opening Song in Egyptian

Reҳ hᾱᾱiu                                                                    I rejoice

Ma a-ᾴ paut neteru                                                   May I look upon the company of the Gods.

Nuk ut’a tep ta ҳer Rᾱ mena-a nefer                      I am strong upon the earth before Ra,

Ẋer Ausȧr                                                                   May my arrival be happy before Osiris

Nuk t’a pet                                                                  I have sailed over heaven

Nuk ȧȧh                                                                       I am the moon

Ba-ᾱ pu neteru bai u en neheh                   My soul is the Gods, who are the Souls of Eternity

Au-ȧ ab kua neteri-kuᾴ                                              I myself am pure, I am mighty

A net’-hra-k Neter Set Ankh Ka                                  Homage to Thee, Set of the Living Ka

A net’-hra-ten nebu heh                                               Homage to Thee, Ye Lords of Eternity

Nuk ab per em seҳet                                          I am the pure one coming forth from the field

Ȧn-na en Ɵen netersenƟer                                          I have brought you incense

[BOW BEFORE SET’S IMAGE; ARMS IN OSIRIS POSE]

Tu a Suti                                                                          You are Set

Urt-Hekau                                                                       Mighty One of Words of Power

Ta-k-na uat seś-a em-hetep                                    Grant to me a way that I may pass in peace

Ȧn-na kert ᾱb-kua                                                          I am silent, I am pure

Ĺ-nᾱ, ҳerk-k neb Ra                                                       I have come to Thee, O my Lord Ra

Reҳ hᾱᾱiu                                                                        I rejoice

Reҳ hᾱᾱiu                                                                        I rejoice

[BOW AND SHAKE SISTRUM]

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A Devotional Ritual for Nephthys to Bless and Protect the Dead

This past Saturday at World Tree Healing, I led a workshop on “Loving and Serving ‘Dark’ Deities.” It was a well-attended workshop and for the first hour, I engaged the participants in a series of discussions based on the following prompts:

  • How has staving off criticism from mainstream religions made Paganism afraid of its own shadows?
  • How do you help outsiders to your tradition distinguish between “darkness” and “evil”?
  • Has anyone ever had an experience of invoking Dark Deities in a group ritual context and then been castigated for invoking Them?
  • How is the function of the Trickster valuable to a society? Who is devoted to Trickster Gods?
  • In his Manifesto for his powerful Apocalyptic Witchcraft, Peter Grey has declared: “We call an end to the pretense of respectability.” What are your thoughts on this? What do Pagans lose by attempting to claw their way to the interfaith table, begging for scraps of acceptance from Abrahamic religions?

It was a great discussion that appeared to make two people with Abrahamic allegiances very uncomfortable, so they left after I had announced that we’d be taking a short break before our ritual to Nephthys would begin. Good riddance, I thought. I certainly didn’t want the miasma, or spiritual pollution, of their presences to spill over into my devotional ritual to my Patron Deity. The major risk of hosting a public Pagan ritual is that you never know what kind of people may show up, especially folks with overtly hostile ideologies (read: patriarchal monotheists) who attend solely to destabilize the gathering, which is why I absolutely favor doing private ceremonies in the company of fellow devotees I can vouch for.

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Loving and Serving “Dark” Deities: My Next Workshop at World Tree Healing

Mark your calendars, Chi-Town readers! My next Polytheist-centric workshop at World Tree Healing metaphysical resource center in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood will take place on Saturday, April 15 (the day Venus goes Direct!), from 5 to 7 p.m. Behold, my glorious marketing copy: Continue reading

Devotional Ritual to Sekhmet with Spellwork to Reverse the Evil Eye

This past Saturday evening, I had the pleasure of leading a workshop on ancient Egyptian magic at World Tree Healing bookstore and metaphysical resource center here in Chicago. Called “Hands-On Heka,” the workshop I devised featured an overview on the three types of magic, as I classify them, that we know that ancient Egyptians of all social strata practiced: funerary magic, ritual magic, and everyday (sometimes referred to as “crisis-mode”) magic. From this latter category, I devised a devotional ritual to the great goddess Sekhmet, Lady of Power, which featured a historically verified spell meant to reverse the Evil Eye. The spell involved the creation of a papyrus talisman, which we did together as a group based on a hieroglyphic prayer I created to evoke Sekhmet’s aid for spiritual protection. However, there was follow-up work for the ritual participants/workshop attendees to do once they returned to their homes: once activated, the papyrus talisman had to be “put to work” in what is arguably history’s oldest form of the Witch Bottle.

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I’ll Be Teaching a Workshop on Ancient Egyptian Magic at World Tree Healing in Chicago on March 18!

Mark your calendars, Chi-Town peeps, and anyone who may be visiting the city on Saturday, March 18 who may be interested in learning about ancient Egyptian magic! I’ll be leading a two-hour “Hands-On Heka” workshop at World Tree Healing metaphysical resource center in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood from 5 – 7 o’clock that evening.

Behold, the power of marketing copy:

“Hands-On Heka: Magic in Ancient Egypt”

For centuries, much of the world agreed with Clement of Alexandria (3rd century C.E.), who referred to ancient Egypt as “the mother of magicians.” In this workshop, Rev. Anna Applegate, a legally ordained Priestess in the international Fellowship of Isis, will give an overview of magic, or heka, in ancient Egypt, focusing on the three main divisions of funerary magic, ritual magic (performed in temples), and everyday magic. Participants will get to experience hands-on heka by creating papyri talismans to keep.

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I’m Teaching a “Kemetic Polytheism” 101 Workshop at World Tree Healing in Chicago This Saturday!

Aloha and Happy New Year! I’m back in wintry Chicago, having recently returned from my dreamy destination wedding and honeymoon on the magical island of Maui (where I took the gorgeous Kihei sunset photo you see as the featured image for this post). Yes, my Bodacious Beau™ Daniel and I finally tied the proverbial knot! Huzzah! And now that planning workshops, public rituals, and other magical events for the year has begun in earnest, I’m happy to announce that I’ll be leading a two-hour “Kemetic Polytheism 101” workshop at World Tree Healing metaphysical bookstore in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood this coming Saturday, January 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. CST.

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