2 of Wands: Integration & Feeding the Ka

So I’ve taken to a daily draw. But unlike many other sites, I am not going to rattle off a number of meanings. There are plenty of good sites for such things, and I doubt I could add any new material to the conversation. Instead, I will attempt to link the card to my own practice: how it fits into Ma’at, what lessons it could hold, whether I found it to be at all relevant to the day or whether its randomness proved useless.

The other day, I drew the Universe. Upon exploring those themes, integration was one that came up.

The following day, I drew the 2 of wands. As the title of the post betrays, I found integration here as well. However, in doing a little research for this card, integration and balance are often taken as a separate meaning alongside others for this card. Two popular meanings include a time of productive waiting when planning may be done, and/or a time where you want to act but must wait (possibly restlessly). Other sources also cite balance and, according to Kleigman (1997), the integrating of the inner life/desires with the external life/desires. But the “balance/integration” themes are often juxtaposed to the “waiting/planning/restless” themes. But I can see where the planning is the integration, and you are waiting for the integration to occur.

In some interpretations, the 2 of Wands asks you to integrate the desires you may have for your outer world with those you have with your inner world…making sure your goals stay true to your values, for example. It asks you to make sure everything you strive for is congruent with all you have done and all the other things you hope to achieve.

In my Kemeticism, there is a theme of wholeness. Udja or wedja (the second term in the phrase, Ankh, Udja, Seneb), is often taken to mean “prosperity” in the farewell phrase. However, it also means  “to be whole, intact”.  Wholeness is also associated with strength and health. Heru’s eye, symbolized as the moon, becomes whole over time, before slowly losing itself once more. Dismemberment is a common danger in the Duat. Osiris was scattered across the Nile, and his two sisters had to make him whole once more.

I personally think of the “ka” as the gene pool and the “soul pool”…its the collection of DNA as well as the spiritual fount from which we all come. Our spiritual fount includes the experiences of our ancestors. For example, if patience and hard work was a value to our grandparents, that value can affect our parents and, eventually, us.

If a grandmother had many miscarriages, it might breed a fear of pregnancy or an emphasis on child-rearing that can influence the generations to come. I’ve never really come to a conclusion on whether there is a spirit within our physical selves. I often oscillate between the two opinions, and then oscillate between whether its existence is objective reality or purely metaphorical. But if there is such a spirit, be it real or metaphorical, then that spirit or energy also comes from the familial ka. Our “ka” is plucked out of the Duat from our family tree and is created using the gametes which survived the generations to form us. All of our families’ past experiences came together to create the person we are, their love or cruelty, their victories or losses. With our own actions and unique stories, we add to the familial collective as well as the genetic pool, particularly if we decide to have children (but not only if we have children). If we have souls, they come from the familial source in the Duat. Our ka’s are no more than the continuation of all our ancestors, a newer version of the old, brought to life once more. And when we die, we return to that source, dissipating back into the universe and rejoining with our familial ka, so that some other part of that force might be given to a future generation. When we die, we thus return to that familial ka and make it a little more whole. Please note that this isn’t what all Kemetics believe…just my own thoughts.

In my own life, I find I have a number of “masks” or “selves”. The self I am at work. The self I am around my friends. The self I am around my family. This isn’t to say these selves are completely different…across all contexts, I espouse the same values, I try my best to be kind and responsible. But there are small differences, how talkative I am, how likely I am to share my thoughts, how likely I am to share different parts of myself. I also separate my focus. Until recently, it wasn’t common I would think of spiritual things at work, much less bring them into my work space. I never thought about how my interest in things like environmentalism and social justice could be directly involved in my career. When I was younger, I hid a lot about my self, particularly from my family, but from others as well. It made for a further sense of separation.

I’ve come to question, recently, the need for this “separation”. I’ve been finding way to bring social justice and, in some ways, environmentalism, into my career as a focal point. While I do not feel the need to tell everyone exactly what my religion is, I do have the privilege of living in an open-minded environment. The people around me wouldn’t likely gawk at the things I do (though they may need some explanations and time to truly understand it). So I’ve toyed with the idea of being less obtuse about it when asked. I haven’t, and probably won’t, come out. But I’ve taken to putting little inspiring quotes on my wall (they are pretty secular, and no one notices them anyway as they are often lost in a sea of reminders and schedules, but that’s a big step for me). When the topic comes up during socializing, I will admit that I meditate. Again, its excluding a great deal of the other things I think or do, but I’ve found its made me feel less like I’m hiding something…which feels good, for whatever reason.

Its this desire to pull myself together, to make sure my logic isn’t circular, to ensure that my behaviors and values are congruent, to ensure that all of the above is consistent across experiences, that I see in the card. Sometimes, the planning for a goal isn’t always in the gathering of material resources. Sometimes, for the next big step, there must be a gathering and sorting of mental resources, a gathering of strengths and self-reflection, that are needed not just to achieve our material goals, but self-actualization as well.

This integration…it feeds my ka. It makes me feel as if I am being truer to my roots. I feel like there is a good deal of hiding in my families…hiding feelings, hiding thoughts, hiding secrets. I’ve hid things about myself, certainly. But when everyone feels they must hide something, trust is lost. And trust leads to a lot of things, like security, feeling loved, feeling supported. That’s not the leaf I want to place on my family’s tree. I want to create an atmosphere of love and comfort. I want the people around me, not just my family, to feel like they will be respected and accepted for whoever they are. That’s what I would want. I feel like this integration is my way of being the change I want to see in the world.

And I’ve noticed that, while sometimes being honest or more open or more integrated can cause a temporary discomfort… the end results are delightfully surprising.

Before I move one, I have to be a little more “whole”, a little more integrated. I have to wait until that’s done before I can really move forward. Sure, I can reach my goals. But my perception of those outcomes, the ability to truly enjoy those outcomes, they will be enhanced if I could become more comfortable with integrating the needs of my inner life with the supplies of my outer life.

 

Court Cards and Their Associated Elements

Source: Court Cards and Their Associated Elements

2016: Resolutions and a Change of Pace

I’d be lying if I said one of my resolutions was to blog more often.

But, I do miss it.

So far, I’ve kept most of my resolutions. They aren’t too hard to keep…I’ve set the bar low to encourage success. More

Lady of Praise, Lady of Power…the Aset Hymnal

Fiercely Bright One

aset hymnal cover by Andrew Meitz. Art by Barbara Richter.

The Aset Hymnal is almost complete!  I am almost done with four years worth of research, translating and other work involved with creating a book.  The book will be titled Lady of Praise, Lady of Power:  Ancient Hymns of the Goddess Aset. 

The book in question is a compilation of ancient hymns to the Goddess Aset from various temples and papyri.  I’ve translated much of the material from French and German, but other Egyptologists (or their publishers) have also graciously allowed me to include their work in this compilation.

The temple with the largest amount of material included is from the Temple of Philae with about 100 or so hymns.   Other hymns come from the Temples of Behbeit el Hagara (Isiopolis), Aswan, Esna and Edfu.  Other material included comes from the Book of the Dead, various Demotic papyri and various other sources.  Also…

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Mulled Wine

Atheopaganism

It begins where the smoke hits your eyes: smouldering peat,
Mutton stew on a broad iron hook,
Deep snow. How can it ever have been summer?
Apples wrinkling and mice in the barley—
With so much to fear, thank the gods for company!
We’ll tell our tales, remember how we passed the cold
Last year, and that before. And those who couldn’t.

The grape leans across
The seasons, clasps the hand of summer’s
Dried rind, dreaming the new fruit,
Calling the sun back,
World without end amen.

                                           —Mark Green

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Music for the Wheel of the Year

Humanistic Paganism

Our own Bart Everson has put together eight music playlists for you enjoy for each station on the Wheel of the Year. Enjoy!

yuleYule (10 tracks)

CandlemasCandlemas (22 tracks)

vernal equinoxVernal Equinox (23 tracks)

may dayMay Day (13 tracks)

summer solsticeSummer Solstice (16 tracks)

lammasLammas (23 tracks)

autumnal equinoxAutumnal Equinox (25 tracks)

samhainSamhain (8 tracks)

The Mix-Master: Bart Everson

15361388775_0be73debd1_z-2In addition to writing the A Pedagogy of Gaiacolumn here at HumanisticPaganism, Bart Everson is a writer, a photographer, a baker of bread, a husband and a father. An award-winning videographer, he is co-creator of ROX, the first TV show on the internet. As a media artist and an advocate for faculty development in higher education, he is interested in current and emerging trends in social media, blogging, podcasting, et cetera, as well as contemplative pedagogy and integrative learning. He is a founding member of the Green Party of Louisiana

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I taught myself to live simply

Source: I taught myself to live simply

Possible posts, a Neopagan/Earth-centered grad student support community, and the lack of time to do it all

I have a few posts I’d like to make…

One about how I’ve been looking into atheopaganism, naturalistic paganism, and exploring my thoughts on theism and agnosticism in general.

One on change and self-transformation, a lesson given by chlorophyll and autumn, regarding how leaves that change color aren’t leaves that die but trees that adapt.

One on mindfulness and anxiety.

Another on how my practicing is changing in a really, really good way…how I’m finally blending my love/reverence for nature with my Kemetic paganism in a way that is meaningful to me.

One on how I am learning to be myself at a time when my sense of self is challenged.

Another on how my spirituality, loved ones, and honestly counseling are helping me to navigate the changes grad school and love are making in my life.

But…that grad school thing is an awful time-sucker. I thought many times about starting an online group for grad students who also practice a neo-pagan and/or earth-based spirituality. It can be hard to branch out from the people you see at the office…because you spend that much time there. I know a woman who is also Kemetic who lives just an hour away. She and her husband are the sweetest people…when I moved up here, they truly and generously extended their welcome and kindness. But I struggle to find time to clean my house, speak to my relatives, and engage in self-care. Sometimes, I feel guilty that I haven’t had more time to visit her. But, due to the internet, we can keep in touch via other online groups.

Its not that I need the support for spiritual reasons. Its just nice to have others with similar spiritual outlooks who are also in a similar spot in life. Grad school is one experience that can challenge you in a lot of ways, and its good to have a few support systems. In some ways, academia is its own, strange sub-culture. You learn about your field and who you are…and that can challenge the structures you’ve built in your head. Its good to talk about that cognitive dissonance…or at least have the resources to straighten it out. The internet is a blessing, because if used properly, you can pull a truly diverse group of people together who share a common interest or two and a few shared experiences.

I’m not sure there are enough people who would desire such a group. It makes me wonder if there is enough “demand” for it…because without that diverse sample, there’s little point, eh?

Day of the Dead Meditation: “Spirits” by Birago Diop

Humanistic Paganism

Listen to Things
More often than Beings,
Hear the voice of fire,
Hear the voice of water.
Listen in the wind,
To the sighs of the bush;
This is the ancestors breathing.

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The Powers of an Atheopagan

Atheopaganism

They aren’t gods.

They aren’t self-aware, and thus have no agency. They don’t communicate.

They simply are. Irrefutably.

And they are not “worshiped”. They have no egos with which to soak up adulation.

They are here. They are real. They are honored, revered, contemplated with humility and wonder.

They are the Powers of this world.

Earth. Sky. Sun. Moon. River. Ocean. Mountain. Desert. Forest. 

Yes, we Atheopagans can speak to these. We can tip our heads forward to rest upon the cool rock, or plunge shrieking into the cold water or climb to the airy summit, knowing we are small and temporary and they are…well, also temporary, but large, and well out of our time scale. Knowing that in doing these things, we are communing with the vast, the practically eternal, the capital-T Truths of life on Planet Earth. We find revelation in encounters with the Powers: wisdom, humility, poetry…

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