Blue is Red

The trip out had been full of storms, which both delayed us and made me fret about whether the beach would be open, because my daughter was demanding, at irregular intervals, if we were at the beach yet, and explaining disappointment to the four-year-old birthday girl is difficult.

When we got there, at eleven, the clouds were thinning, though the wind had a chilly bite to it at times, and the parking lot was nearly empty. We spilled out of the van, all seven of us, and claimed a spot on the beach, dividing the labor of minding the children and each taking our turns at other occupations.

I spent a while building fortifications out of sand, and watching them collapse into the moat (though the tide was heading out, digging would suddenly reveal the sea resting like the Nun under the sand).

Eventually, covered in sand from these diversions, I made sure that the kids were watched, and I walked out into the Bay. The sea had receded to reveal one sandbar, and I crossed that and kept going.

There was a patch of red water a bit further out, as if the sea had been stained with blood that never dissipated, and I waded out to it, finding a brick-red sandbar hidden beneath the waves, and I sat on that, letting the water come up to my ribs, contemplating. My foot dug into the sand, and the redness gave way to perplexing swirls of purple and green.

By the later periods, storms had been also bound to sea, and I thought about that, and thought about the way the storms of the drive had kept a place for us on the beach, and many other things besides.

Schools of little speckled fish, moving like my memories of guppies (because they were that size, and thus they move like fish of that size) eventually gathered around me, swimming fiercely this way and that in the various currents of the receding tide. The waves slapped me with gentle force, and once I saw a hermit crab marching the length of the sandbar past me (as the children playing elsewhere in the water occasionally cried “Hermit crab” and charged in one direction or another in pursuit of similar sightings).

A helicopter buzzed overhead, an odd and artificial menace, and I watched it go; when it was gone, the waves resurged more firmly, as if to remind me that there are more dangerous things in the world than men.

When I stood up, the fish scattered, suddenly terrified that the immobile feature of the sandbar that was myself had shifted and cast a different shadow on the sea.

“Everything’s a storm to something,” I thought, as I walked back to shore.

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Black is Green

These are the days of ablutions.

The water is drawn, the beer poured in, tracing patterns of color in the tub. (The tub is not large enough for this, but one makes do with what one has.)

The beer bath is for curing the evil eye, they say, and the echoes of bad will and jealousy and ill intent. Whatever might have accumulated in bits over the year can stay with the old year, and here in the between times, it is washed away.

Under the water, with closed eyes, it is dark, and in the blackness the seeds take root, they sprout, they brighten, they fade. Here in the Hall of Doors, life and death blend into each other, until here is the grain, here is the beer, here are the drowning waters.

Dua Wesir, fair of face.

Short, Philosophical Ponder on the Mysteries

One of the assignments I was given as part of my Craft training was to study my seasons of the year. This is an interesting project and I recommend it to others (I had to develop a six-beat cycle rather than follow a four-season or eight-sabbat model in order to get something that both made sense and was functional, myself). When do you tend to fall in love? When do you tend to fall apart? When are your uptimes, your high-energy high-creation powerhouse moments? When are you quiet?

Winter is a quiet time, an incubatory time, for me. When my various illnesses are particularly bad, I mostly become torpid and want to sleep through the whole damn thing; the rest of the time I am nurturing the quiet until – come the warmth again – everything pops free and I have a tendency to engage, engage, engage, making everything grow until I crash in late summer.

So here we are, in the quiet conclusions of the Mysteries, with Nehebkau gathering the souls together and binding them in transformed state.

The seed is planted. I come back to that – I come back to the one communication I have ever received from Wesir: “All things must grow in the dark until their [time of emergence/spring].” (The word for the season of growing, which we are now entering in the Egyptian calendar, is ‘Peret’, which literally translates ’emergence’.)

The seed is planted. As Wesir goes into the Duat, as the grain is concealed under the Nile silt, as the sun spends more of the day in darkness, the seed is planted. It goes to spend its time in the dark – and as these things are given into the dark places and the quiet ones, the entombing that is the planting time – they are given their space to grow, until their Peret does come.

What are you planting now? What is being given its chance to incubate?

A worthwhile ponder to be having.

(This portrait of Wesir is from the interior art for the Traveller’s Guide to the Duat. By Michaele Harrington.)

Poem Break with the Twin Souls

Given that The Traveller’s Guide to the Duat is partially written in poetry, perhaps I should have a poetry section here. So, a poem.

This is a pantoum, which is a poetic form I was introduced to in high school in a creative writing class. I loved the pantoums; I probably wrote at least fifty of them. I still write them irregularly. The form on this one is kind of loose; the repeated lines should be identical, strictly speaking.

This one I wrote in 2008.

In the Ear of Heru-Sa-Aset

Self-rule is the first thing:
To know the length of your arm
Is to know the scope of your reach
And the limits of your strength.

Know that the length of your arm
Spans the width of your governance
And the limits of your strength
Hem in the boundaries of solitude

Span the width of your governance
With all the hands that serve your shoulder
Hem the boundaries of solitude
Beyond the skin of your embodiment.

With all the hands that serve your shoulder,
Self-rule is the first thing.
Possess the skin of your embodiment,
Know the scope of your reach.

Figs

We all know how it begins – sit up straight! Breathe! Imagine your spine as the trunk of a tree…

Back up. Let’s start over.

Your spine is not the trunk of a tree. These trees are not slender, gently curving things; they are great columns, their heavy bodies broad and fat with life. They spread their roots, sprawling, across the earth, building arches of them to support their titanic selves, like the sort of tree you might imagine marks a gateway between worlds.

Your spine is a slender hint of heartwood hidden in the depths of the tree. Your body begins to flesh it out, but you are not broad enough to hold that much life. Settle yourself firm upon the earth where you sit, and feel yourself broaden, your roots grasping the earth like so many wide-spread fingers, gathering in life. How much girth can you encompass, how many years?

Follow your roots as they plunge beneath the soil, down into the darkness beneath. Let them find the secret ways into the hidden places of the world, the deep wells. Let the cathedral arches of your questing tendrils mark the caverns of the spirits, twining like columns in the vastness of the blessed lands. And here beyond they touch groundwater, and you drink it up, drawing the sweetness of life with it. This is the benevolence of Nun which you taste, the richness of possibility, the concealed flow that opens the potential for life under your roots. Draw it up, bring it to light, through your roots, past the gate of morning which is made of yourself and your shadow twin as you shine like green turquoise at dawn. Let it run through you, your sap sweet as milk, able to feed those you bring close.

Bring the water up into your heart, the well of possibility, the potential that roots in the great sea of maybe-this-shall-come-to-be. Draw it up and let it expand outwards, unfurl your branches, bringing the well of life just that tiny amount closer to heaven. Drink in the sunlight that you welcome up out of the depths at dawn; let the heat of noon shape the potential that rests fluid within you into forms and names.

The light flows into you, gathered into the embrace of your branches, shimmering illumination down the water you have gathered. You take and hold the solar fire, letting it flow through you, mingling with the milk you carry within. As your leaves slant towards the beautiful West in the evening, bring forth fruit: where the water of the possible is illuminated by the actual, taking form in sweet, moist golden spheres, rich to the tongue and cleansing to the bodies of your children, who rest in the shade of your branches and are sustained.

Hold this place, your roots deep in the moist depths beyond even the world of the spirits, your branches spread to take in the light of heaven. Become broad and fat with life, for you have what is needed: the generation of water and fire and the sweet breath of the wind.

In The Name Of Your Light

Have you ever considered the possibility that you are a star?

Consider the many forms of the Creator. How many of them are solar? How much rests in the becoming light, the regal noon, the aging ram, the midnight rebirth? Are the words of Creation emerging on the waves of daylight, their vibrations another form of energy, each photon a cosmic word? When we understand that the Powers, their skin luminous gold, come in a cloud of perfume, are we just speaking of the effects of Their glow?

But we, too, speak. We too have emanations, our words vibrating like light, emerging from us, creating, shaping, and illuminating the world.

When we have wisdom, we radiate it forth.

When we have knowledge, we radiate it forth.

When we have love, we radiate it forth.

When we have truth, we radiate it forth.

When we have comfort, we radiate it forth.

When we have contentment, we radiate it forth.

We want a universe filled with all good things, arrayed to the right and to the left. We must seek goodness within ourselves, so that we can illuminate it; sustenance, sustainability, security, all are things that we can only illuminate as we are sustained, fed, stable.

You are a star.

You can only shine what you have.

He Before Whom The Sky Shakes

Where is the point at which you say “No”?

Where is the place at which you say “Not another step”?

When will you stop and say that you will not tolerate the universe taking another piece of you, you will not accept being held back, you will not stand for this any longer?

When have you had enough?

When will you stop accepting being diminished and stand up? Where are your borders, your boundaries, the places past which you will not be pushed?

When do you stop being accommodating and start standing up for yourself, for what is right, for what you need to do, and start doing your work instead of everyone else’s, looking after your needs rather than trailing after someone who can give you approval, and having your life rather than waiting for someone to deliver it to you?

What does it take for you to say “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”?

What will make you break the patterns that bind you, the routines that hold you back, and the illusions that show you there is no other way?

Think.

Now answer this:

Do you need it to get that bad before you start to move?