Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ritual and Space-Time

Sometimes, when I'm in a particular mood, I will remember a quote from a close friend of mine. It is accompanied by the gesture of throwing one's arms up to the sky, spaced slightly wider than one's shoulders.

"My life is a black hole!"

I say this when things seem to be especially bad or terrible, or when two or more things on my Checklist of Life are going badly for some reason:

Checklist of Life

[ ] school
[ ] social life
[ ] horse (he deserves his own category)
[ ] religion/spirituality

Normally I would make another category and title that one "writing" but that is an ongoing process, and even if I am stuck with writer's block, I don't view that as bad. More like an obstacle in the road that I have to remove in order to live. How does this relate to Kemetic Orthodoxy? Whenever I feel like quoting my best friend, I remember my name, and that my Parents love me no matter what. When everything is being sucked into the vortex, and nothing is visible, there is no light, and even space-time is warped and dying--I remember to smile, and pray.

Ritual to me means Senut. Sometimes I am afraid of getting to attached to Senut, to the daily structure and deep feelings it inspires in me, because Senut does require tools. Some of these tools are not mandatory, but preferred in my case, such as statues of my Mother and Father. Others are required; incense, natron, candle flame, water. There are ways to get around this if these things are unavailable--natron can be replaced with kosher salt, incense with perfume, candle flame with those little electric candles. Pictures of the Names can be printed out and taped to the inside of an Altoid tin, along with a small vial of perfume, a couple of grains of salt. Water and bowls can be found anywhere. I am worried that I will come to rely too much on the shrine, the material objects of my faith. I will meditate on this, but it is something that I have been thinking about for at least a week now.

Space-time can be applied to Kemetic Orthodoxy*. The "space" of a shrine, of a seat of divinity, is sacred and the more time spent revering Netjer in one space, the more one can feel the sense of holiness and divine love in that space. (Partly I believe this is because humans are creatures of habit, and if you feel Netjer in one space, soon you will begin to associate that space with Netjer). The "time" is the time spent praying and listening to Netjer, whether or not you are in shrine, sick, bleeding, or traveling (all issues to consider). I have also noticed that the more I pray, the more I remember to pray. Before, when I would half-heartedly sit in front of my shrine and talk at Netjer, I wouldn't feel Netjer's presence, or remember to pray throughout the day. Now that I am developing a daily practice, learning how to infuse my day with moments and glimpses of Netjer, of the divine in everyday life, I pray all the time. I pray before I drive anywhere (to Wepwawet, Opener of the Ways), in the shower, at school, during lunch break, in class before a test, and random moments in the day. I barely have any hymns memorized, so usually I will just whisper things to Netjer, little things about my day, or what I'm feeling. And I feel Them more now.

Another favorite quote of mine was dictated by KI Sesha from the goddess Seshat:

"Time is a reversion offering."

The definition of a reversion offering is an offering that is given, then taken back as a form of offering from the one offered to. Say your friend gives you a piece of cake. After eating the cake, you give her a piece of cake. This embodies the concept of a reversion offering, except in Kemetic Orthodoxy, when food and drink are given as offerings, the Netjeru don't physically consume the offerings--They consume the spiritual essence of the food and drink, which is then turned into a reversion offering once we consume the physical part of the offering. In terms of time, however, it is more simple. Seshat meant that the amount of time you spend with Netjer, the more time Netjer will spend with you.

Stephen Hawking might strangle me.

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