On Spring

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First of all, I really want to thank the commenters who replied to my last post. I’m a shit at replying, but I read and deeply appreciated what you had to say. Thank you so much.

It’s been a while since I last made a post on the blog; I always seem to forget that I have a blog immediately after writing a post. I’m terribly bad at maintaining this thing; I suppose one day, I’ll forget completely, and that’ll be the end of it.

Until then, I have some things to add to it.

*

So, some notes on my religious front. The snow up here is melting, and I felt that makes it a good time to welcome Marsava back into my life. I associate her heavily with spring, and money, and wealth in general, and that makes it the perfect time to ritually bring her back. She always gives me the impression of a hardworking, quiet, farmer— someone who does her work faithfully and without fanrare.

I used to worship Apollo, or a being I thought was Apollo. That recently shifted into Aphrodite. I suppose that reflects, a little bit, my transition— what was thought male is actually female—and I wonder if that was something planned by someone upstairs, or something that just happened to happen. It’s not a parallel that I thought of until just now, at any rate. I associate her with the ocean— I miss the ocean sometimes, and hope to live near it again someday.

Sobek has, as always, been an ever increasing force in my life. I associate him, too, heavily with spring, and heavy rains (or, the inundation from the river of the sky). I also associate him with rivers (unsurprisingly), but I haven’t gotten a chance to go near one in a really long time. I’ve been… busy.

*

I used to want to work with entire pantheons; it’s what I thought paganism was. I thought that, over the course of the year, I’d go to a multitude of different deities, each of whom I’d have a special relationship with. It seems laughable now; but in a way, it was a good thing, because I got a lot of exposure to things that I liked and things that I didn’t like. Right now, I’m content just worshipping my household deities, and applying them to different parts of the year. There are, of course, deities that I go to only for Very Special occasions— I keep a small image of Giltine up during October, and I worship the Netjer of Wep Ronpet like most other Kemetics— but beyond that, I enjoy just working with the deities I’m comfortable with. Who they were used to bounce around, but they’ve solidified into seven; three “main” deities, and four “secondary” deities. (Secondary isn’t really the right connotation, but it’s the only word that truly works)

Saule, Sobek, and Aphrodite, are my main deities. I haven’t really worked with Aphrodite a whole lot, though, and Saule grows really quiet in the winter, so it’s mostly Sobek right now. And I have four “secondary” deities; Marsava, Meness, Sutekh, and Heru. It’s kind of dumb to list them all out like that, as if I’m collecting deities; but it’s taken me years to really solidify what, exactly, my practice looks like, and I enjoy laying it out to see.

*

It’s almost spring. I can feel it in the air. For the first time— for the first time ever, I’m truly excited to see what’s going to happen next in my life. I feel better about my self— about my body— than I can ever remember feeling.

And, as I work to create a body and a life that I love, I try to remind myself to be thankful. There’s no reason that I should be blessed with my pills, my job, my friends— but I am, and for that, I am grateful. I am grateful; I am grateful; I am grateful.

And… now I have forty minutes to get to work. Thanks for reading my blog, guys. I appreciate your company.

Queen of Swords

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I am in pain.

I don’t know how else to start this off. I’ve tried to write this seven or eight times, often weeks apart; it keeps falling flat. It never says quite what I want it to say; I never feel like I’m capable of communicating quite what I’m feeling.

It’s a pretty universal problem in my life. I can’t speak well; often, when I find myself in conflict with other people, I stop being able to speak at all. I start, and halfway through my sentence, my voice dies. I can’t help it; it’s a part of me that I doubt I’ll ever be able to fix.

*

…So, I’m transgender. It’s not really something notable, I don’t think; not within pagan circles. I feel as though half the pagan blogs I cycle through are written by LGBT people of some flavor or another.

And it’s not really notable, I think, that my parents are having a hard time with my transition. It’s not really odd for parents to misunderstand; it’s not really strange that a transgender person’s parents might be a bit apprehensive. It’s not really odd that this attitude has spread to my siblings either; not odd in the slightest, unfortunately.

And yet. It still hurts. It hurts to know that I go against “every moral fiber” that my family has. It hurts to listen to them try to convince me not to “damage” my body. As if my body wasn’t already damaged by the hormones that puberty sent through my system.

It hurts to know that I’ve failed them. Because I wasn’t straight enough. Because I’m too… queer.

And what am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to not transition? I’m in pain living my life the way that I’m “supposed” too. I am transgender, and I have gender dysphoria. I can’t go on living the way that I was; I’d rather die.

I told them that. They think I’m exaggerating. Maybe I am. I don’t want to die; at the same time, I don’t want to live, either. Not as my assigned gender.

I can’t.

*

And they expect me to understand them. That’s the worst part. They refuse to understand me, or where I’m coming from; instead, they try to tell me how much I’m hurting them, how much I’m going against their moral grain. Because they’re cisgendered, and they’re straight, and at the end of the day, they will never have it in them to even try and understand- a fact that has less to do with their cisgender, straight status, and everything to do with their resistance to anything queer.

And I hurt so much. I feel so betrayed. It’s so stupid, too, because I knew how they would react.

I just didn’t think it would hurt like this.

*

And more and more, Sobek and Saule are fading to the background. I haven’t spoken with Saule in ages; I don’t know whether she’s still around, or whether she’s become someone else. I don’t know what’s going on.

…And, at the same time, more and more, Apollo rises to the foreground of my thoughts. I think about him all the time. I don’t know, exactly, what’s going to happen, but I trust that he’s going to stay.

And.

I don’t know what I’m going to do from here. I don’t know what my regular life is going to look like, or what my religious life will look like, or what’s going to happen between me and my family now that I’m finally- finally- on hormone replacement therapy. I don’t know anything that’s going to happen.

Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe I don’t want to know. Maybe I’m better off not knowing.

*

But I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to continue fighting for myself. I’m going to continue getting up every day to go to school. I’m going to keep working at my job. I’m going to keep on going, because right now, that’s the only thing that I can do.

I’ve committed. And there will be no backing out.

*

Because, see, as hellish as my family life is right now, I am much happier on hormones. I feel so… normal. Taking hormones feels like I’ve put out a fire in my head that I didn’t even know was burning. It feels like sinking into a cool bath on a hot day, or coming into a warm house out of the cold. It feels normal and natural, as if it’s exactly what my body needs to function correctly. (Which, honestly, it probably is)

I wonder, sometimes, if this is how cisgender people feel all the time without hormones. I wonder if they know how lucky they are to have bodies that produce the hormones they need naturally.

And I wonder at how lucky I am that I’m even on hormones; that I’ve been given this gift of salvation, despite all the obstacles in my way; that, every day, I push dysphoria a little bit further away. I’m fortunate, and I’m lucky, and I’m blessed, and all the other good things.

My family doesn’t understand. But. I. still. have. my. pills.

And for now, that’s going to have to be good enough.

ETA: Also, here’s a shout out to my friends for supporting me through my transition. It’s had its ups and downs, and it’s been truly difficult sometimes, but there are a few good events that I wanted to highlight before I call this post “over”.

  • My best friend and her boyfriend went on a road trip with me to get the prescription for hrt.
  • I have two friends (both transgender) who’ve offered support through their incredibly kind offer to drive me anywhere I needed to go.
  • One of these two friends also gave me the number of a local doctor who takes in transgender patients, just in case things go sideways with the hrt.
  • My old roommate, the first person who I told that I was transgender, giving me nothing but love and support (and also a sundress to borrow and a shirt to keep, which was super kind of her)
  • The local PFLAG giving no shits about how I indentify.
  • My friends from Washington state, who told me that I could identify as a purple headed people eating monster and that they’d still love me.
  • The clinic that I got my hrt prescription being nothing but professional and kind during the whole process. (It was Planned Parenthood, for what it’s worth. They’re a good bunch)
  • My friend in Europe who, without question, changed the name and pronouns that he used for me.
  • My aunt, who told me that she was proud of me for having the courage to be who I was.
  • My uncle, who despite being confused about what, exactly, transgender was, took it in stride and proceeded to ask question after question to better understand where I was coming from.
  • My other aunt, who told me that she would love me regardless of whether I was her niece and nephew.

It’s hard, sometimes, to for me to see all the support and love that I’ve been given. But I’ve been given so much of both, and I’m more grateful for that than words can ever describe.

Floating Through Deep Waters

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“I’ll update my blog tomorrow”

I lied. I’m sorry about that. It’s been a really long time since I updated this thing, and- I’m not gonna lie- I really considered deleting it. I’m going through a transition in my life- yet again- and there’s been a lot of pressure on me, from myself and from others, to Know What I am Doing.

I don’t know what I’m doing, guys. All I know is where I want to be headed.

I’ve been working with my deities on and off, but right now, most of them seem to have stepped away from my life. I didn’t even celebrate the Autumn Equinox this year. Normally I’d be appalled, but right now, I just need time with myself.

I feel very alone right now. It’s a good feeling, to be honest. I enjoy being alone; it’s the only way that I can feel my thoughts taking shape. I feel as if I know myself better when I’m alone, because when I’m with others, I can feel myself bending to be the shape they want to see.

I’m a liquid, ya’ll.

I know that many people would see that as a strength, and I think that it is, in many ways, but I also think that I need time to… well… freeze. I feel like a hypocrite most of the time; I tell people the things that they want to hear, tell them that I’m doing the things I’m supposed to be doing, that I’m being the person that they want me to be.

But that’s not what I want. I want to be who I am, and that means that I’m going to do things that other people think are “wrong”, but that I think are right.

Nothing morally wrong, of course. At least, nothing morally wrong from my perspective.

It’s hard, see, because there’s so much that I do in my life that others would instantly consider to be immoral. I’m queer; so queer that I’ve had to come out three times to my parents. Our culture still sees that as deviancy (though it’s changing, thank god), and that makes me a deviant irregardless of how I live the rest of my life. I live in the knowledge that, no matter how good of a person I am, I’m still going to be Other than the rest; to many (perhaps most), I will always be regarded as second class- the exception to the norm, something that Should Not Be.

But I AM. I AM and I SHOULD BE and the Gods and Netjer MADE ME AS I AM. That’s my Heka; the words that I use to remind myself that, no matter how others see me, no matter how much they wish I was Not, I Am. And I’m trying so hard to find my Ma’at; that balance between accepting how others see me, and accepting how I am, and living in the discrepancy therein.

And that’s hard. That’s really, really hard. I can feel the weight of culture pressing against me; the knowledge that there will always be that sadness on the part of so many of those close to me, the wish that I could be someone different, that I could be just like everyone else.

And that’s also the reason that I need the time alone. I need to harden, a little bit. I don’t need to be ice; I have no desire to freeze myself completely; but I need walls, and barriers, and protection for my heavy heart. Without it, I’m afraid of being swallowed up by the Nothingness inside me.

*

…I read, once, that humans are the universe made miniature; that we contain all the elements of the world inside ourselves. It’s compelling. I can see my sun goddess- an aspect of myself-, giving life and heat and warmth to the life that is me; I can see Sobek encouraging the strength of my heart and mind; my resilience is Menuo made manifest; and my health and sickness are regulated by Apollo. I am at their mercy.

And then there is the nothing in my soul, just as there is nothing in every person’s soul. It creeps up to swallow me; it makes me afraid of the people I love, and threatens me with turbulence; it knows what will make me weak, and it seeks to break me.

And in between the nothing and myself, there is Sutekh.

Sutekh, the red god, the one that I should fear, but don’t. For someone so afraid of the world, I’m deeply attracted to the fearsome deities; the wild ones, the ones that threaten the order of the universe simply by existing. Sutekh is made present through my turbulence; my lack of stability is part and parcel with my drive to continue existing, to continue being. He is my panic; my attempts to continue being despite everything, to be involved with everything, to work myself until my body and my soul both hurt, my drive to exist, exist, exist, even though no one thinks that I should.

And then there’s Heru. And Heru stabilizes Sutekh. He is made manifest when I put down my spear, when I’m done working, when the nothingness is vanquished for one more day. He is the rising sun of my hope; he is the calm of my sleep, the bond between me and my friends, and the reminder that yes, I do exist, and no, I don’t always have to fight just to Be.

I’m going through a transition right now, and it is both more lovely and more frightening than anything that I’ve ever known. I have support; I have my friends, and I have my gods, and I have Myself, most importantly. And I know that, because of my efforts, and despite everything that’s being thrown my way, I am going to be okay.

I’m going to be okay.

Wep Ronpet (Part One)

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So tonight, I’m celebrating Nebt-het’s birthday; the very last of the birthdays before I jump into Wep Ronpet itself tomorrow night. This is my second annual celebration of Wep Ronpet, and like last years, it’s been very lovely; a good time to think about what I’ve achieved and what I’m striving for in the future.

So, to start. The first birthday I celebrated was Ausir’s. He, like last year, struck me as deeply peaceful. It’s not something that I can completely explain; he’s a sort of calm that settles into your bones. I sat with him for a while after, before heading to bed. (I do all my rituals just before I sleep- it’s just the best time of the day for me to do them.)

The second birthday was Sutekh’s. Now, Sutekh’s was intense. He wanted all of the other deities off the altar, and he wanted a lot of red candles, and he wanted specific decorations. And then, working with him… well, he wanted to walk through the shadowed parts of my soul, and did a lot of unearthing. He was honestly terrifying when I started the ritual- working with him is like dancing on hot coals; you never know when you’re going to be burned.

The third birthday was Heru the Elder’s. (And I’m given to realize that I celebrated His and Sutekh’s birthday out of order, but… well, what happened happened. They didn’t seem to mind.) He was very different from Sutekh; far less intimidating, and a little bit minimalistic. I suspect that I’m going to end up working with both him and Sutekh; we’ll see how it goes down, though.

The fourth birthday’s was Aset’s. And I don’t have a lot to say about working with her. It was very business-like; I recited a prayer honoring her and her many titles, she gave the deity equivalent of a “thank you”, and I called it good after that.

And tonight I’m going to be working with Nebt-het. I’ll let you know how things go down; I’ve only worked with her once (last year’s Wep Ronpet, actually), but things went well then, and I have no reason to believe they won’t go well now.

Happy Wep Ronpet, guys! 🙂

On Baltic Deities: Marsava

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Let me tell you about Marsava.

First of all, if you want to find her on the internet, it’s really hard to do. Like, it’s really hard. Honestly, the only thing that I do know for certain about her is that she’s a goddess of fertility, associated with black beetles and grass snakes.

Unsurprisingly, I end up using a lot of upg with her. Like, a lot.

So. Marsava, according to my sources (which I will leave as a link below), was worshiped in Latvia. She’s a goddess of fertility and is associated with black beetles and grass snakes. She is linguistically related to Mara, and whether they’re the same goddess or not… well, all I can say is that I worship Marsava, who might also be Mara.

Now, beyond what’s known, I personally associate her with bees and flowers (purple ones especially) and have a perpetual shrine set up to her- literally a bowl filled with coins. She’s been fairly involved in my life; I’m honestly convinced that she’s the one behind my receiving my last two jobs. I see her as a provider of sorts; she gives bounty and plenty and is the force that drives things to grow.

She’s the goddess I go to over anything involving my financial well-being, as I do see her as a provider of plenty (and in today’s world, having “plenty” often means “financially secure”). I’ve been working with her for a couple years now, almost as long as Saule, and

I see her as a provider. She’s the goddess I go to over anything involving my financial well-being, as I do see her as a provider of plenty (and in today’s world, having “plenty” often means “financially secure”). I’ve been working with her for a couple years now, almost as long as Saule. I don’t work with her often, but I do sometimes leave her flowers or burn a candle to her.

So, you know. I’m not writing anything too insightful today; I just wanted to talk about her, since she’s such an important part of my life, and yet so unknown in the wider world. (And you should totally check out the resources below- particularly the bottom three since they’re shorter and easier to read.)

A very long article about Baltic gods, with a section about Mara and Marsava

A very short article about Mara as the goddess of milk

An article on Laima that touches on Mara

An article on Baltic mythology that includes Mara

On Nut and Geb’s Pain

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In order for there to be life, in order for there to be space on Earth for life to be, Nut, the sky, was ripped away from her husband Geb, the earth. She is held in place above us by her father and mother, Shu and Tefnut. But despite this, Nut struggles to get back to her husband; she struggles so hard that her mother is sometimes brought to tears.

Nut is the mother of the netjeru; of Ausir, Sutekh, Heru, Aset, and Nebhet. Because she was cursed by Re, she carried them long past her due date, suffering until Djehuty finally found a way to relieve her pain. Even then, her pain still wasn’t over; Sutekh himself was said to claw his way out of her.

Nut’s separation from Geb, and the pain that she subsequently felt due to it, is something that I think about every time I see the night sky.

And it sometimes strikes me that she must be very selfish; she needs Geb so badly that she tries to reach him, ignoring the potential consequences to life on earth.

But most of the time, I think of her being in a lot of pain; so much pain that she can’t think beyond herself. And if that’s the case, think of how cruel Re is towards her; forcing Shu and Tefnut to hold Nut away from Geb for eons, regardless of what that means she goes through.

Or, maybe it’s all of it at once. Nut is being selfish, Nut is in pain, Re is being cruel, and everyone is suffering, but at the same time life on Geb’s body must be allowed to continue living.

Perhaps I’m overthinking the myth. But it really strikes me what an ugly system that is; that, mythologically speaking, the world only exists because of Nut and Geb’s pain. I mean, taken metaphorically, what does that say about the nature of our world? Of the worlds that we build around us?

Maybe that “The nature of the world is pain”. I think that’d be a fair assessment, honestly. But I think a better assessment would be that “creation is the result of pain*”. Nut and Geb’s separation had a point; it wasn’t done senselessly, it was done in order to make the world habitable.

And this is something that I can see applied to our lives. For example, if you’re with a partner, and ultimately, that  person is more harmful to you than beneficial (whether they mean to be or not), you have to pull yourself away from them, no matter how much that hurts. Or if you’re in a job that’s going to prevent you from doing what you want to do, so you have to quit.

OR it could be just another expression of how much the world sucks sometimes. I’m down with that too.

Anyway. That’s all I’ve got on that right now. I know this is pretty short, but thanks for reading. I appreciate your time. 🙂

*I mean, unless you’re Atum masturbating the world into existence, in which case, whatever; you do you. (haha, do you see what I did there?)

Worshiping Saule: Summer Solstice 2016

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Today is the time for one of my favorite holidays- summer solstice, a day devoted to Saule and her daughters. I don’t really have much planned, but I’ve already left her the first cup of coffee of the day and given her an offering of water, and later I’ll be lighting candles to her and her daughters Zemyna and Ausrine. Truthfully, she has more children than that, but I only have so much room on my altar. I’ll probably light an extra candle that’ll be for her other daughters.

…Truthfully, she has more children than that, but I only have so much room on my altar, so I’ll probably light a fourth candle for the rest of her daughters.

Saule’s been with me for a good two or three years at this point. My relationship with her started… maybe two weeks after my relationship with the Norse gods ended? I didn’t really take my time in moving from one pantheon to another, which is something that I sometimes regret but mostly don’t.

In retrospect, it would have been nice to pick and choose more carefully where I wanted to go religiously. But I was sixteen or seventeen, and making slow careful decisions wasn’t a huge priority. It still isn’t, if I’m honest with myself.

In my experience with Saule, she’s a very energetic deity. She’s a very cheerful deity too; she’s very encouraging, but also very hands off. She doesn’t try to control anything about my life; she doesn’t really ask very much of me, to be quite honest. I’m more than a little grateful; I’m still struggling to be and act like an adult, and I appreciate the time to figure out where I’m at.

Anyway. Here are some of the traits of Saule that seem particularly important to me:

Saule is associated with apples. Apparently, this especially applies to yellow ones, but I associate her strongly with red ones, myself.

She also has a boat. So mythologically, after she gets over debeskalns, the heavenly mountain, she ends up sleeping on a boat that takes her under the earth, over the underground sea, and back to where she starts the day. Kinda like Ra’s barque, I guess, except with more sleeping and rest and less Constant Threat of Universal Destruction. This boat is piloted by Perkunatele, who is a goddess that we really don’t know much about.

…At least, those of us who speak English.

In Lithuanian mythology, Saule is the mother of the planets. I’ve said this before, but it just seems so COOL to me that I’m going to say it again. The sun is the mother of the planets? Doesn’t that just make all kinds of sense? space-1414114_1920

In Latvian mythology, she and her daughters court Deivs and his sons. In Latvian mythology, she has approximately two daughters (father unknown). Dievs, the god of the sky and (probable) creator of Everything has two sons (mother unknown). These families court each other, but to my knowledge, no one actually marries.

In Lithuanian mythology, she and Menuo (the god of the moon) are separated. However, because they both love Zemyna, the earth, they’ve split their time in the sky in half so that both get to see their daughter. 

I’ve always been uncertain about Menuo and Saule’s marital status. So, the rundown is that Menuo cheated on Saule with her daughter Ausrine* (goddess of the morning star), Perkunas sliced him into pieces for his betrayal of Saule, and the two of them parted ways after that.

However, there’s some indication that the two of them are still, in some way, married. Menuo is described as continuing to cheat on Saule with Ausrine, causing Perkunas to perpetually cut him into pieces as punishment. (He’s put back together by Ausrine, by the way. This explains the phases of the moon.)

And there’s also a really cute myth that describes eclipses as being when Saule and Menuo kiss. See, it gets dark because they throw a blanket over themselves so that Zemyna, their daughter, doesn’t see.

…But there’s also the possibility that I’m mixing myths from different areas of Lithuania together. SO. Keep your salt with you, guys.

Saule really likes coffee and hot drinks. This is in no way supported by any mythology or archeology. It’s pure UPG. But in my experience, she likes tea, and I gather that she likes coffee as well, so.

 

Anyway. That’s my piece for today. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope that your solstice is beautiful and enchanting.

*For the record, I’ve never seen any indication that Ausrine was Menuo’s daughter, and I’ve seen a little indication that she’s Perkunas’s daughter. So. I don’t think incest has much to do with the story, though I could be mistaken.