Monthly Archives: March 2013

Getting Hung Up on Hathor

Send It [Your Eye] down as Hathor.
This goddess indeed went [and] She slew people upon the desert.

…..Thus did Sekhmet come into being.

-(Translated by Tamara Siuda using the reproductions found in Piankoff’s Shrines of Tutankhamen and DeBuck’s An Egyptian Readingbook. The entire inscription can be found HERE.)

As a daughter of Sekhmet, I understand that some of us get hung up on the idea that our beloved Sekhmet, the Great Mother of ferocity and the very personification of Sekhem or Power (with a capital “P”), could ever be connected to another Goddess. This would be especially true with one like Hathor (HetHert) Whom folks just don’t think of as being so very powerful at all. Sure, Hathor is all about sex, drugs and rock and roll…but really?

I do understand this. I was in once in this place. Years ago, to my mind, Hathor was all about fluffy, motherly, nicey-nice, pinkness and love and squishy sweetness. To me, Hathor was a Strawberry Daqueri when I really wanted a f***ing Hurricaine or a good stiff shot of tequila! The fact that the daughters of Hathor of my acquaintence were mostly very, very nice people, didn’t help overcome my misconceptions about Hathor. In my Sekhmetian logic, I took that niceness for being weakness somehow. Besides, there are those who think Hathor is way too expensive.

Needless to say, that idea is completely wrong. But it took me several years to arrive in the place where I could accept these things.

If we but look at the two animals that represent each Goddess. Sekhmet, represented by the African lioness, is the epitome of ferocity. Nothing is more deadly than a mother lioness protecting her cubs. You get what you deserve and then some if you try to get in the middle. Besides, no one should ever forget that the Lioness Who comes to visit is the one who has most definitely come to eat you.

Then, when one thinks of Hathor, the thoughts immediately go to cows. Oh, those benign bestowers of dairy goodness that are so benign, wholesome and calm as they placidly graze and chew their cud on farms throughout the land. That is the image that you might think of, however, until you try to come between a cow and her calf. If the bovine matron in question in fact happens to be a buffalo, I can tell you from firsthand experience, you had better run very fast, because, baby, if you don;t you are toast! Cows / Buffalo, most mothers, really, do tend to react in the same sort of way. Just don't do it if you want to live.

Animal analogies and symbolism aside, Hathor is one of those goddesses that really represent all that womanhood is. Some of us are very comfortable with our so-called feminine side. We can wear dresses or skirts in the summer and that's perfectly fine. Hell, we might even paint our toenails at the first sign of Spring! Others of us will deny, deny, DENY anything that makes us the least bit feminine or "girlish". We do it because it is too often equated with weakness. There is a tendency to think these things constitute a sort of feminine dishonesty. We’ve all heard the comments: "She wouldn't have gotten nearly so far if she hadn’t worn something that showed off her cleavage, or her butt, so that any males in the vicinity would start thinking with the little head and get stupid." It’s the kind of catty snideness that women seem to say about each other far too often.

With Sekhmet, on the other hand, a woman (or man) can be balls-out, a kick you in the backside, Dominatrix in leather who essentially has the aura of, "Don't you EVER forget WHO you are dealing with!" kind of presence. Sekhmet is about as weak as a pair of four inch, razor sharp stilettoes offered in a swift, unapologetic kick to the groin. She'd eat you as soon look at you – and there will be no apology or shame for having done so. Sekhmet IS Power, and sometimes such power only comes via blood and violence and ferocity. Even birth is a bloody, violent process, and we Sekhmet kids tend to have no problem dealing with that aspect of it.

Hathor well….you know…. How can you hope to appear to be powerful when you're busy being motherly and comforting and …..nice?

What I am about to say now, however, is regarded as secret amongst ourselves. These are things that I have either learned about myself or about my fellow siblings. If it doesn’t fit for you, that’s fine. We don’t have a one-size-fits-all type of Faith. Those that are upset that I would reveal these things and want me to simply shut up, will get a response of a single raised eyebrow.

If you are in fact a true Sekhmet child, you will undoubtedly know what that expression means without me needing to explain.

Sekhmet’s devotees tend to be those who have experienced some soft of personal pain. We Lions and Lionesses are pretty squishy in the middle and so we don’t reveal that vulnerability to any who might be thinking of harming us. We never, or rarely ever, let down the tough facade. By the GODS! We have to make sure that if someone is stupid enough to poke a lion or lioness, they pay…and they pay dearly! It’s best to have that protective exterior to save us from such inconvenience of having to deal with the unpleasant heartache that may result of that vulnerability. However, if it is needed….there can be no room for doubt, and the ferocity can be both a mask and a shield. Soft? Feminine? Sexy? NICE?! How dare you even suggest such a thing!

The other side is certainly true. I have met several of Hathor’s devotees or kids who were almost scared witless when having to confront Sekhmet. She is too much, to hard, too heavy, or just too BIG to deal with. And so they resist Sekmet in favour of something softer, more pleasant and palatable that they see in Hathor. I cannot blame them. Sekhmet can be big and ferocious and scary and more than a little overwhelming. She can be quite frightening.

Speaking for myself, I honestly did not “get” Hathor in the beginning. I wanted as little or nothing to do with Her and placed Her in the “Ignore as Much As Possible” file. Then I went to meet the late Ma Jaia Bhavavati at Kashi Ashram during her birthday celebration. Though Ma was devoted to Kali, I have never met another Sekhmet child that I knew that quickly on first sight. Shortly after returning home from the Ashram, I had a dream about both Hathor as Lakshmi and She handed me a lotus. The one thing that I noticed was Lakshmi/Hathor’s pierced nostril.

Four days later I pierced my own nose as a devotion to Hathor and in acknowledgement of that dream and understanding that side of myself. It is also interesting to note that in the medical practice of Ayurveda, the piercing of the nostril is not just one of ornamentation for women. It has a practical aspect in that it can ease both menstrual cramps and childbirth. I didn’t really realize this until I noticed that I no longer suffered from cramps since then. ME! The one who has spent so many years studying both Ancient Egyptian medicine and Ayurvedic medicine and the cultural exchanges between Egypt and India didn’t even think about it! DUH!

Cranium, meet the Cosmic Clue By Four.

The Hathor and Sekhmet dichotomy, I believe, in some ways represents the totality of emotion and the Power that those emotions and all of those various functions we have to fulfill in our lives. This applies to us, not just as women, but as human beings in the greater order of things. The balance of the Two Goddesses, who seem to be absolute polar opposites on the surface, actually are very well suited to each other. These two help, I believe, come to grips with who we are and to be what is necessary or appropriate at its proper time. Sometimes our anger, our ruthlessness, our ferocity can serve us, and at other times, softening our stance can open doors that would have held fast against a battering ram of unchecked aggression. They balance each other out and balance within us is where Ma’at starts and we can radiate that out into the world.

There are those who have explained Sekhmet as being an “aspect” of Hathor. I have never used the word “aspect” with either deity, and never thought of either Sekhmet or Hathor in that way. Although the Two are in some ways two sides of the same coin, They Both have the capability to at once be both connected and separate. The term, “aspect”, in my view, sells both Ladies quite short in the same way that explaining that Lakshmi and Swaravati are two aspects of the same ideal. If you look at it that way, but most Hindus that I have talked to, really don’t explain it that way. Why mostly Western teachers choose to explain such complex spiritual ideas in such a fashion is mystifying. Perhaps polyvalency just doesn’t come that easily to people after a lifetime of deities and ideas that mostly deal in polarities.

To those who are devotees or children of one or the other of these two Ladies, I would say, be patient. Be patient with both Sekhmet and Hathor and with yourself. It can take a very long time to completely fathom what one or the other side can teach us. However, I do know that it does come.

Relevent Websites & Blog Posts

Hathor: The Original MILF
Hethert Dot Org

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An open letter in which I challenge the members of the so-called Kemetic “Community” to either put up or STFU.

An Open Letter to the Kemetic Community

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March 28, 2013 · 1:03 pm

An Open Letter to the Kemetic Community

Normally, I would open a letter with the words, “Em Hotep”, which most of us know means, “In Peace”. What I am about to write today has absolutely nothing to do with ‘peace’. It has nothing to do with giving lip service with a greeting that at times seems to have very little meaning to some of the people within its so-called Community of adherents.

What I am trying to say is this: Some of you, quite frankly, leave a whole lot to be desired by way of community. Some, I can safely say, suck as human beings. Some of you really suck as friends and with those kind of friends…..well, I’m sure that you know the rest. All I can say is that it really must suck to be you.

This is the only reason I can come up with for the nevernding vitriol against established Kemetic temples with which a person may or may not agree. It isn’t enough to just simply disagree in practice and opinion, but the poison is spread from forum to forum. Not that anything any of the venomous vipers say makes any sort of a difference. The best revenge, I find, is in success. Large successful organizations or very well-funded projects go a long way to stirring up the nest of vipers, apparently. I wonder how long it will be before they get their own projects going, or they are able to write better books or just get a clue.

I’m certainly waiting to see it happen.

My motivations for saying these things are manifold, and my point of view has been gained through years of experience and observation both from inside the “community” as well as from outside of it with other non-traditional faiths. I have found more camaraderie, kindness and decency among those who do not espouse Kemetic beliefs than I have in the 25 years I have been a member of this one. I am mystified as to the reasons why this might be. Why do so many Kemetics find it necessary to act this way? Usually, such hateful maliciousness is a product of a lifetime of woes. Regardless of those woes, those past indignities, one would think that finding others with like-minded beliefs would be a very positive thing.

I have watched far too many try to waltz into established temples and try to glean what they could from the experience, then turn around and establish their own temples or publish books with the information that they raided from elsewhere with absolutely no attribution, no acknowledgement whatsoever as to where they actually got their “years of experience” from. I have seen so much pettiness, cruelty, backbiting and lies that I often wonder whether some within our community really fathom, let alone know, what ma’at is all about. Rather than coming up with projects, books and organizations that could bolster the community, the infighting, pettiness and character assassinations of others continue unabated.

To be fair, I have been sitting on this post for a fairly long time. As a rather cantankerous old lioness who is no longer under the obligations of priesthood to “play nice” with the assholes in the community, I am also someone who no longer gives a bloody damn what anyone thinks of me anyway. So, I thought that it was high time that I said it.

If, by chance, any of the above makes you uncomfortable, then perhaps you should take a step back and ask yourself just why that might be.

There are some within the Kemetic community who use every waking moment to bring about unity. They make certain that their blog posts, their board commentary and the videos they upload to YouTube are inclusive and thorough. Those shared works, thankfully, do not contain thinly-veiled snarkiness about groups and or teachers with whom they might personally disagree. They know how to write. They are very good at making their points and are exemplary in citing their sources. To those people, and I am certain that they know who they are, I extend my deepest gratitude and acknowledgement as a fellow Kemetic practitioner. Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for being an inspiration, a light and a beacon. I stand with the efforts of those who are determined to create a Kemetic community that shares and glorifies in its diversity and I will give my every effort to ensure that it comes to pass, despite the detractors who find it far easier to tear down what others have tried so hard to build.

To the rest, well, I can only say that hate, poison and jealousy have an incredible way of eating a person from within. Trust me when I tell you, based on my own first hand experience, it is no way to live and it can be a horrible way to die from the inside.

Being Kemetic is supposed to be about the celebration of Life and the furthering of Ma’at in the world. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all focus a little bit more on that?

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Life is for Adventure

A very timely reminder:

” If you have been feeling stuck and stagnant, trapped and scared, I plead with you to choose adventure and to say yes when you’ve always said no. Kiss the girl, go on the trip, work for yourself, write the book, go to the party, the festival, the ritual, the concert…..” – Sarah Lawless, The Witch of Forest Grove

Life is for Adventure.

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The True End of Privacy As We Know It

In our digitally connected world, we are experiencing ever increasing erosion of our personal privacy. Every aspect of our lives is becoming an open book to our employers, our governments and even complete strangers who certainly don’t have our best interests at heart. In the ‘perfect world’ that tech companies such as Google would make, we could no longer use pseudonyms to protect ourselves from those who would do us harm. Personal safety and security is not their concern. Cashing in on what marketers want revealed about your private life is.

Blogger Mark Hurst at Creativegood.com has given us a glimpse of that world that is sugar coated with the latest in tech aps. The prospects are frightening. I do confess: I like my Gmail and G+ and Google Calendar. However, the thought of someone with contact lenses being able to record conversations, etc. without the other person’s knowledge or permission is an invasion of privacy in the extreme.

The Google Glass Feature No One Is Talking About

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Di Inferi – The Gods Below: Of Contact, Dream and Memory

Di Inferi – The Gods Below: Of Contact, Dream and Memory.

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Signal Boost: The Ancient Egyptian Daybook

One of the fastest phenomena in how to raise funds for various projects is crowdfunding. The latest edition of The Wild Hunt by Jason Pitzl-Waters discusses how within the pagan and alternative faith communities crowdfunding is now successfully being used to raise funds for the projects and causes we think are important. The democratization of media that has been brought about by the digital revolution and ot is the perfect opportunity for us to get our books, films, projects and causes off the ground. It’s nice not to have to grovel to the legacy publishers and production companies just to get them to even glance at our ideas. In my view, it is a natural fit for us.

One of these projects featured in The Wild Hunt blog is that of Tamara Siuda, egyptologist and founder of the Kemetic Orthodox Faith, author of the Ancient Egyptian Prayer book. Tamara has launched a very successful Kickstarter campaign to help her publish the Ancient Egyptian Daybook. The book will be in both print and eBook form with plans for a phone aps as well. The initial goal of $3,000 was reached within two hours of the project’s launch, and the amount with approximately ten days left in the campaign is nearing the $9,000.00 mark.

In spite of the fact that Tamara is a member of my family, the godmother of my son and the founder of my Temple, this is a worthy project and really is not Kemetic Orthodox specific. It would be of benefit for all Kemetics that are out there and can be tailored to the individual needs of the group or individual. Even if folks do not want to get involved in this specific project, it will have demonstrated quite clearly that crowdfunding can work and incredibly well. It also serves as a great example for others within Paganism how to go about gaining success for their own projects.

I can tell you, successful crowdfunding takes much more than just making a video, tweeting about your project on Twitter or plastering links to it all over your Facebook wall asking for money. It is a lot of very hard work. There are books that have been written about it and it takes tenacity and organization. That we have someone who is close by, accessible and so very generous in sharing with others in the community as how she was able to do it so that they can do something similar can be nothing but a good thing for the overall community. You can check out the video here and get involved, too, if you so desire.

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Sekhmet: The Beauty and the Terror (Update)

The Goddess Sekhmet
A bit ago, I decided I was going to actually publish the work and research I have spent the last ten years doing on Sekhmet. Right now, I am in the final editing process. I am tweaking the formatting and images, getting the cover to look more professional.

As for the work itself, it will be a combination of both scholarly and what I ever-so-affectionately term as “Mystic Woo-Woo”. You see, Kemetic religion draws two distinct groups of people. Those who are into the strictly scholarly and reconstructionist aspects of it, and those who are a little more eclectic and far less precise in the ways which they choose to honour the Netjeru. While it is impossible to be all things to all people, especially when you are a writer, I have divided the book into two sections. There will be citations of ancient work, and the other portion will contain hymns, invocations, rituals etc. that are based off of those in antiquity but are clearly either my creation or those which have come from others.

Sekhmet: The Beauty and the Terror is a labor of love. It is rooted in both ancient and modern practices of both myself and of others who count themselves as Sekhmet’s children. If this labor of love can help someone or give them insight to what Sekhmet is all about, then I am happy. If it does what many other books and projects within the Kemetic community do and sparks dialogue, incites debate or even ignites jealousy – all of which have this wonderful tendency to place a flame thrower to the arse of others who believes they can do it better, then I will definitely have done my job!

I am publishing this book myself as an independent publisher with my own publishing company. Ma’at Publishing, which was officially founded in 1994, but I had been using the name long before that. This work will be exclusive to Amazon for the first 90 days, after which I will release in other forms including on sites such as Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Smashwords, Kobo, and the like. The cover price is projected to be $9.99 USD regardless of platform.

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