Reflections from Wesir: Cultivating Wisdom

As I mentioned before, I’ve been looking at particular themes on each of the epagomenal days and contemplating them in relation to my own perceptions. Last night, I thought about ways I might cultivate wisdom. I came up with 10 things I feel I should keep in mind.

1. Be self aware. This means knowing how I act, feel, and think in certain situations, as well as how my actions and words are affecting others and myself. Knowing my behavior is integral to reflecting on it.

2. Have experiences. Experiences provide me with the opportunities to gather new information about the world and ourselves. At times, experiences come easily. Opportunities and challenges present themselves when I wasn’t even looking for them. At other times, I might become “stuck in a rut”. At these times, it behooves me to seek out experiences and provide myself with fodder for growth.

3. Reflection. Its not enough to simply have experiences. Those experiences have to be thought about, particularly using self-awareness and the new things that the experience has taught. Reflection also entails meditation.

4. Honesty. Being honest with my self as well as others can often expedite understanding. I do feel that honesty should be tempered with compassion.

5. Humility. This should be balanced with confidence and self-assuredness. Remembering how small I am in the grand scheme of things, and at the same time, how connected I am to all the grand things can be uplifting and humbling. Remembering how little I know allows me to reflect on the possibilities and to check my own bias (hopefully).

6. Patience. Experience takes time to occur. And often, the lessons of experience take time to settle in. At times, those lessons may only be understood when enough maturation has occurred.

7. Courage. Because being honest and having new experiences can be scary.

8. Appreciation. Taking nothing for granted reminds me that all things are worth inquiring about, and that most things can be awe-inspiring and wisdom-bringing.

9. Being flexible while remembering your values. While some values should be the foundation of my life, even these are subject to change. Remembering to adapt, to go with the flow, and to take life as it comes is a lesson in and of itself. This can be hard when I prefer predictability and control to unforeseen obstacles…which dovetails into the next post I’ll be making.

10. “Keeping to your center”. I’m not sure how else to say it. I feel best when I’ve discovered a place of peace inside, one that remembers what is truly important, has most things in their proper perspective, and is both content and also disciplined enough to push forward. To remain tethered to this realization of calm and joy is so integral to my search for wisdom, I often wonder if it isn’t at its heart. Meditation and regular practice helps to cultivate this in my life.

 

What about you all? What are some ways you cultivate wisdom?

Days Upon the Year: Game plan & Attempting to cultivate wisdom

I’ve been waking early in order to celebrate the epagomenal days. Yesterday was Heru-wer’s celebration, and today was Wesir’s. I think I may post a picture on the day of Wep Ronpet. I may also type up some of my reflections from each day and post them as small “mini-posts” (compared to the diatribes I usually post). I am pretty psyched. This is the first year I have a full and planned calendar beyond Wep Ronpet, and I have an awfully nice structure going as well.

Each day consists of offerings, praise, a short song for the occasion (no…its not “Happy Birthday”…not the traditional American “Happy Birthday” anyway), and a contemplation.

Recipe for Celebration: The process for creating and completing the contemplation/meditation is as follows:
– I looked at the myths, epithets, and themes surrounding each Netjer. I came up with 4 to 6 words embodying those themes for each epagomenal day.

-Using those themes, I wrote 4 to 5 questions for each day to guide my reflections on that day. The questions invite personal development. For example, two of the themes for Heru-wer’s day were “victory” and “courage”. From these, the questions, “What do I fear?”, “What are my goals?” and “Why I will succeed anyway(what are my strengths)?” were born. These overlap with the other two themes as well. Making sure questions address multiple themes ensures that I had only 4 to 5 questions, and not 50.

-For each celebration, before eating the offerings, I meditate. I contemplate the themes. Then, I read the questions, think about them, and write the answers on small strips of paper. I placed the paper in a jar I painted a sickly green (in my head, Apep/uncreation is a sickly yellow-green and/or blueish black).

-On Wep Ronpet, I will write the “positive” things and things that give me direction (e.g. plans to overcome any negatives) on card stock. I’ll refer to them regularly during the year. I’ll rewrite the “negative” things on paper strips and put them back in the jar.

– I’ll soak the papers in a little wine in that jar, screw the lid on tight, and write the major themes from the “negatives” with a black sharpie on the outside of the jar while the paper soaks up the wine.

– The jar goes in a ziplock bag with the air squeezed out (and placed inside another bag in case any rips happen). I’ll smash the jar and its contents with a hammer. Finally, I’ll throw the whole mess away. Execration complete. Enjoy cake.

Thoughts on cultivating wisdom. Today, some of things I thought about were “How can I cultivate my own wisdom?” and “How can I be more just/live Ma’at?” I came to the conclusion that wisdom is largely a product of (a) having experiences (which may mean actively seeking out experiences), (b) being self-aware and observant during those experiences, and (c) reflecting on the experience afterwards. I don’t think its a failsafe plan, but I think its a good place to start.  After some reflection, I also concluded that a large part of justice often entails kindness. I want to collect these thoughts and make a separate post on them later, but I figured they were worth mentioning now.

Self-awareness. During both today’s and yesterday’s meditations, I realized how much the experiences in the past year have changed me and made me aware of the full extent of some of my traits (good and bad). A different environment highlights different aspects of the self that were before unseen or peripheral. While we all grow and change constantly, the next year or so of my life will possibly expedite this process, painful as it may be. And yet, I’ve come to find that this painful pushing often lends itself to an overall well-being and sense of happiness, accomplishment, and confidence.

Setting a date for Wep Ronpet

More links to help you set Wep Ronpet, and some helpful thoughts on the process.

cleargreenwater

For the past year, I’ve been following the Kemetic Orthodox calendar, and it’s fantastic as a guideline because good friggin lord are there a lot of holidays.

As for when the New Year starts, though, I’m jumping traces for the next few days from their calculation to one for my own area.

I don’t actually know what I’m looking at on these things, but I’ve used the websites below to arrive at a ballpark:

http://astro.unl.edu/classaction/animations/ancientastro/heliacalrisingsim.html

This one you choose your star, town’s latitude, choose the start of twilight, and the click around the dates bar. I like this one as a start because it’s visual data, you can see the fade that represents twilight.

After that getting the most likely few days, I went to this one:

http://www.timeanddate.com/sun/usa/new-york

It gives 3 seperate types of twilight, astronomical twilight, nautical twilight, and civil twilight. Civil twilight it’s already too light, so I…

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Creating a Calendar: One Possible Method

Introduction
I’ve gone quite a while (7 years) celebrating just a few, sparse holidays: Wep Ronpet, an Akhu festival, and a moment of reflection at the two solstices (while not inherently Kemetic, I am a nature lover at heart and always incorporate a few natural cycles into my practice). Needless to say, my religious year is a quiet one. During the year, when secular or Christian holidays were celebrated, I had always thought it would be nice if they had some religious meaning for me. Without holidays that are religiously meaningful, its up to the holidays of my country and/or culture to celebrate and remind me of my religious values or events via their own themes (which may or may not be directly important to me).

The idea of creating my own calendar was daunting, for the reasons outlined in this post. If you don’t know too much about the Kemetic calendar, I recommend you read that post before continuing to this one; it will give you a reference point. This morning, I FINALLY sat down and created my own calendar. For those of you hoping to do this yourselves, I’d like to share with you how I did it, just as one possible approach you might have at your disposal. For those of you have who have already created their calendar, if you have any input, I would really love to get it. My method uses some UPG and less strictly-reconstructionist methods, but I’ll tell you when that occurs and you can decide what you think. More