Category Archives: Gods

Still Silent Voice

5998-011I have been hanging out with Christians over the weekend. Now, this isn’t unusual, I live in a heavy Christian area. Most of my family, co-workers, and acquaintances are all Christian – in one form or another. But over this past weekend, I was in a seminar about faith – and I was the only non-Christian there. My anxiety and privacy kept me from self-disclosing this, but I participated in some of the actions and hoped I brought a bit of a non-Christian paradigm. While I was there, I noticed something – that many of the ladies in this group experience god very similar to the ways I do. That particular way is through feeling or what I sometimes call, the heart.

For me, religion has always been about feeling, and not necessarily beliefs or knowledge. I am sure I took this from the way I was raised. I was brought up in a Pentecostal church, and several of the ideas stressed was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, living life filled with the Holy Spirit, and following ones feelings over rationalization of the mind. This “still silent voice” in the heart was the ultimate authority on what was right and wrong. God gave us this tool in order to better communicate with Him, because no matter what we believe or intellectualize about the divine, we could never truly know God. So it is through feeling and the heart where we best can know His wishes, communicate with Him, and learn about Him.

I still believe this. When you are young, and you rebel over the many things your parents wanted you to be. However it seems to trace back when you get older. I will be hitting 40 in a few months, and I realize that my relationship with god has grown since I was a small boy, to the man I am today. But the basic belief that god loves me, and wants me to live fully is still here. Yes, it has waxed and waned with my particular paradigms occurring, but yet here I am. My beliefs are secondary – and I have believed lots of different things. It really isn’t important what I think about life after death, the nature of wrong and right, understanding who god is and what his or her name is. None of things things matter as much as that feeling of heart.

Is this a Christian concept? Most definitely, and I accept that. It is not a bad thing. Is it particularly something that previous believers in my faith practiced? It’s very doubtful. But it does make me who I am, and it fulfills a need that I have. It doesn’t make me any less Kemetic Orthodox than the next person, but I am aware that not everyone needs this or has this.

In closing, I would like to share a Pentecostal Altar call hymn:

“In the Savior’s brow;
His head with radiant glories crowned,
His lips with grace o’er flow,
His lips with grace o’er flow.

“No mortal can with Him compare,
Among the sons of men;
Fairer is He than all the fair,
Who fill the heav’nly train,
Who fill the heav’nly train.

“He saw me plunged in deep distress,
And flew to my relief;
For me He bore the shameful cross,
And carried all my grief,
And carried all my grief.

“To Him I owe my life and breath,
And all the joys I have;
He makes me triumph over death,
And saves me from the grave,
And saves me from the grave.”

Listen to that voice in your heart. Grab that feeling that grows. Know that that is god talking to you and he wants you to know that you are never alone.

 

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An ending to the year; hope for the new

images (1)It has been a while since I sat down and wrote a blog. Life has been a bit crazy. Today I wanted to discuss the end of the year. End of the year? But it’s July.

For members of the Kemetic Orthodox faith, we are quickly approaching the end of our religious calendar, and beginning a new on with the celebration of Wep Ronpet (also known as the Opening of the Year). Wep Ronpet celebrates the rising of the star, Sirius, over Tawy House (the official residence of the Nisut). Tawy House is the central temple of the Kemetic Orthodox faith. Like secular culture, we celebrate an end to the bad and rotten things which have occurred in the previous year, and welcome new brighter events to occur.

Personally it cannot come too soon.

This has been a rough year for me, which can be seen from my absence on this blog. Over the course of this year my mother has an accident which led to her needing surgery two different times. I was let go from my job of 7 years with the explanation that I was not effective after I asked for a less responsible position. This caused financial hardships which lead to all other sorts of problems. I had a family member attempt suicide, another taken away from cancer, and other family members making life a living hell for all the others.

It has been a tough year.

But something happened to me this year which has never happened before. I did not give up on god.

Usually when tough things happen, god is the first to get the blame. I lose faith, don’t want to talk to god, and blame the gods for allowing these things to happen. I abandon god, and rightly so because obviously god has abandoned me.

But our gods are not omnipotent or omniscient. Sometimes it just hits the fan and there is nothing that particularly caused it.

For the first time, instead of retreating from god, I ran toward god. I poured out my heart, my disappointments, my own failures. God heard me and even though things did not magical become better, I knew I wasn’t alone. God was there holding me, comforting me. God sees every tear that ever ran down my face and knew my heart and what I endured. I even when I felt alone and that they world sought to destroy me, I knew I was secure in god’s arms.

It is hard to believe, especially when chaos invades our lives. It is a struggle. I am writing this blog so that people can understand that just because I write on this blog a lot about my relationship with god, that that relationship I have is not perfect. I fail sometimes. I don’t believe. But I don’t believe that faith and a relationship with the divine is a linear process. It is on a continuum. Sometimes I have more disbelief than belief and sometimes I have am 100% sure of the divine.

I thank god for this gift that was given to me. It took 38 years for it to come and some very difficult life events which made me feel helpless, hopeless, used, unimportant, and like general garbage. But I wouldn’t take it back. It taught me the reliance I need.

Over this past year several positive things happened as well. I graduated with my master’s degree and started a doctoral program. I found a new job which I love, and got full time hours and a raise. I learned who is really important to me and how much I really do love them. I learned who my friends were and who didn’t care.

As Wep Ronpet approaches, and we perform the ritual to destroy the isfet of last year, I will be there. I will look at that pot, place a mark of all these events on it, and then smash the hell out of it. Never to dwell on these events no more, but to look forward to the great possibilities of what is coming.

This year was of Nut, and she offers hope. I have that hope and it was a difficult journey for it to manifest. Who knows what the next year will bring, but I do know that I will have that hope which I will carry forward into it.


Mysteries of Wesir, Day 1

Today begins the return of one of the most sacred times of the year. It marks the opening of the great festival which the ancients called the “Mysteries of Wesir.” Specifically it marks the beginning of the festival of Sokar-Wesir. It begins a week-long celebration of life, death, unexpected change, and hope.

When I decided to blog again about the Mysteries I decided I didn’t really want to repeat myself. So if you haven’t read my previous blog about the Mysteries, please do. The posts are still relative, and I plan on rereading them and contemplating on them once again this year.

https://raheriwesir.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/mysteries-of-wesir-day-1/

Wesir is intrinsically linked to both the gods Ptah and Sokar. Ptah-Sokar-Wesir is a continuum of existence for the Good God. Ptah is seen as the living embodiment in the Seen World. Sokar is the moment of change. When the god becomes something else. Sokar exists in all of us. We experience Him daily, we are just often blind and deaf to Him. Wesir is dead in our eyes in the Seen World, but is eternal in the Unseen.

Think about it. Wesir is the Lord of Forever, but He is also the cycle of change. Look out your window. Here in the Northern Hemisphere the leaves have fallen from the trees. The cool wind chills to the bone. The Sun burns brightly, but the days are short and no heat is found. I see the bountiful life of spring and summer dissipate. Winter is at hand, and Wesir is leaving us again. The cycle of change is here.

In shrine this morning while tending to the holy icon, I am reminded of change. This Mysteries for me, along with this year is about change. Over the course of the rest of the year, I can see much change coming in my life. Change can produce anxiety. It is not certain. It is unknown.

I pray that I follow the path of my father, and I voluntarily accept that change. He accepted it, no other god before Him did. He did not know for certain what would happen. He accepted death. And as I meditate on His acceptance, I can say I am open to change and I seek it, but am I as accepting as He was. If death was tomorrow, would I surrender to it without hesitation?

So for me, this holy season will focus on change and acceptance. Acceptance of my life and my mortality. Am I living as the person I want to be? Am I doing what I want to do? Is my life worthwhile? I think we all have asked these questions before.

So join me on this experience. Question if you can be like Wesir this season. Can you open yourself up to that change? Can you stare into the eyes of honesty? And can you make that leap of faith and dive head-first into the unknown?


Year 20: Year of Nut

We are a few weeks now into the new year. Wep Ronpet has come and with it a new hope and perspective. For me, an exciting year is planned. On a secular side I am in a new house, starting a semi-new position at work, going into a new semester, and potentially applying for doctorate programs to enhance my career and education. Spiritually it is a new and exciting year as well. I just received ordination in the House of Netjer and have an awesome role to fill working with my fellow priests and my teacher. I received a new name and have the awesome responsibility of living up to that. I am receiving a few more degrees this year in Scottish Rite Freemasonry and am finally going to get to spend more time in Lodge since my class schedule agrees this semester. Yes it is defiantly a new and promising year.

Last year, many things were built. Ptah taught me to lay strong foundations, so as to prepare for that future. This message is still present. I may have laid those foundations in the past, but new foundations will constantly be laid.

This year is Year 20 of the reign of Hekatawy I in the Kemetic Orthodox Faith. The Netjer presiding over this year is the goddess Nut. Nut is my first Beloved, and she has always been a slight mystery to me. I think it is because of her vastness. She is such a large, somewhat abstract name. She is the sky, but not just the blue thing above us, but the expanse beyond that as well. For me she holds the stars, quasars, asteroids, nebula, galaxies, and universes. She is huge. She is beyond simple human understanding.

She is the one who holds our ancestors within her belly. The stars decorate her. She holds them within her womb like she held her 5 children. She nurtures them, loves them, cradles them, and protects them. One day I too will be held by her and experience that sweet embrace.

For me, Nut is about feminine love, the kind that comes from a mother. Love which is different than what a father, brother, partner, or friend can give. Her love is different. It just isn’t unconditional love, but love that knows no bounds at all. It is encompassing and complete. Look towards the myths and you can see that love. The love she had for Geb, which was so intense it required their father to separate them in order for us to live.

The Oracle this year promises balance. After foundations are laid, we must understand what things need to occur next, so as to make sure the structure we are building will stand for a long time. We must constantly thrive for this. If we are lazy, weak, or disinterested then what we hope to accomplish will not last for long.

So I look to Nut this year. When I feel overwhelmed with tasks I have agreed to take on, or when I feel like hiding under a rock and running away for the world, let me look to Nut, for she never tires. She constantly holds the balance for everything to exist. She separates herself from her deepest desires. However she is not alone. She has the help of her father, and so do I. When I feel I cannot go on, may I remember the strength of Nut and how to ask for help when I am in need of it.

“O my Mother Nut, stretch Yourself over me,

that I may be placed among the imperishable stars which are in You,

and that I may not die.”


Happiness is…

I was directed to share a message today, and I cannot say it is something easy to do. But you shouldn’t ask god if He has any messages if you don’t want to talk about it. The subject is happiness. So I ask you a question. Are you happy?

I am not talking superficially or just making chit-chat. I am talking about looking deep inside your heart and answering,” Are you happy?”

I am a bit of a melancholy person. It tends to be a bit of my personality. Throughout my teenage years and into my mid-twenties I struggled with depression. Today I am in a much better place than previously, but every now and then a little dysthymia creeps in and tries to take over my world. I can be trucking along just fine that then some damn pothole throws me off. Have you ever felt like that? If this stupid little thing didn’t happen, things would be great. If so-and-so didn’t give me attitude I would not have lost my temper and been fine. If that idiot hadn’t been brown-nosing my supervisor, I would still have a job. If people were more the way I want them to be, I would be fine…

Sometimes we get stuck in our own thinking. We get stuck on blaming someone, or rationalizing why we feel the way we do. Sometimes nothing happens and we just feel bad. We start to lose our connections with others, are relationships falter, and we stop talking to god. When we feel this way, it is so hard to get out of this thinking. We are stuck. It becomes our world, and then it is part of us. The idea of a “real” happiness is anathema. It is an unrealistic fantasy. It is hard to see that there is something wonderful and awesome around the corner when you can’t even see the street.

I want to share this story which I was directed to read this morning. I have never read it before, but I was called to pick it up, open it, and read the message that was given. It involves the Hindu gods but really hits the essence of what I think happiness is…

“There is a story,” writes Swami Vivekananda, “that the king of the gods, Indra, once became a pig, wallowing in mire; he had a she-pig, and a lot of baby pigs, and was very happy. Then some gods saw his plight, and came to him, and told him, ‘You are king of the gods, you have all the gods under your command. Why are you here?’ But Indra said, ‘Never mind; I am all right here; I do not care for heaven, while I have this sow and these little pigs.’ The poor gods were at their wits’ end. After a time, they decided to slay all the pigs, one after another. When all were dead, Indra began to weep and mourn. Then the gods ripped his pig-body open and he came out of it, and began to laugh when he realized what a hideous dream he bad had; he, the king of the gods, to have become a pig, and to think that pig-life was the life? Not only so, but to have wanted the whole universe to come into the pig-life!

– “How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali” translated by Prabhavananda and Isherwood

It is hard to think that happiness is right there, outside the pig mire. We get so focused on what is here and tangible. The bills need paid. I have to work a job I hate. I hate to mow the lawn. But if we look beyond those things we can see that happiness is here right now.

There are many things I am disappointed with in my life. Believe 10 years ago I would not have seen myself here where I am right now. Whenever my negative thinking starts about my life I stop, and focus on what is good. I have a wonderful man in my life that brings me joy every day. I have a dog whose eyes look to me with huge amounts of love. I have friends that I can turn to if I am in need. I have a religious community that actually feels like family.

Happiness is right there. When those negative thoughts attempt to destroy your happiness, treat them like the squeeling pig. Rip them away and burst forth in the radiance and glory that is you. Have your own personal zep-tepi. If you need to do it every day or even every hour, then make it yours. Happiness is right there inside you.


Love

(For simplicity, the masculine pronoun will be used to refer to god unless to specify the feminine aspects)

As I talked about earlier in this blog, I was raised in a Pentecostal church. I was taught from childhood that god loved me, and even further than that, He loved me unconditionally. I was taught god lived in my heart, knew my wants, and could destroy my sadness. No matter what I did, god would love me. When puberty occurred I started to have sexual feelings for the same sex. It did not feel wrong, it felt real. However as we well know, most Christian churches denounce homosexuality and state it is an abomination unto god. This means that my innate feelings of love were considered vile, shameful, and detestable to god. God hated me for this and I would burn in eternal hell for such feelings.

What happened to His unconditional love? I become a teenager and all of a sudden my church does a 180. God’s love isn’t as unconditional as I thought. He loves me, but only if I don’t do this. That then makes His love conditional.

So why do I bring this up in a blog called “Love?” Through the trials of my life I have discovered something wonderful. I know today, that god does love me unconditionally. I believe that. My mother and grandmother were right. Not only does He love me unconditionally, but He loves you unconditionally as well.

As I was returning this past week from Pantheacon in San Jose, I had a very profound meditation. As I looked out of the plane’s window and gazed over the mountains, Netjer spoke to me and asked me to carry out this message. Someone out there really needs this right now.

I know that god loves me. I feel it. I do not doubt it. He fills my heart with His love so completely and offers it without condition. His love is absolute.

Some of these beliefs may sound familiar. Am I just carrying them over from Christianity? I don’t know, but if I do carry them over then Christianity has given me a wonderful gift. It gave me a god who loves all His children unconditionally. He does not place sanctions or limits. The only one who does is me. Sometimes I use excuses, such as “How can god love someone like me?’ or “I am not good enough for god to love.”

He is always there for us, closer than you think. I do not need to invoke Him, draw Him down, or call out for Him to hear me. He is here in this very moment, as I type these words and as you read them. He resides in the invisible reaches of our soul, every moment of the day.

I know there are times when I disappoint Him, but He still loves me. Sometimes He wishes I would listen more, but He still loves me. The gods love me. Netjer loves me a poor small man filled with anxieties and fears. There is no greater gift than this love that is given.

So when you doubt, when you are filled with sorrow and tears, when you don’t think you can take another day, realize that the greatest friend and love you can ever know is right there with you. Always.

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” – St. Augustine

“May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long ,how high, and how deep His love really is” -Ephesians 3:17, 18


Faith

Faith is a dirty word in modern-day society. When we talk about people of faith we tend to have our minds go to those people who follow every belief blindly and without question. They follow every dogma without regards to reason, repeating parrot-like responses. These individuals do indeed exist, however their faith is quite superficial. It is a product of laziness, ignorance, and fear. We all know these people. They can be family, friend, co-worker, or stranger. They will speak that they know the truth and anything but acceptance of this is unquestionable.

But this is not true faith.

Some people talk about how they have been given faith in their belief system by their Higher Power. They talk about how faith is a blessing. But faith isn’t really a gift either…it is more of a choice.

You see, no messenger has ever appeared to me. No god has every knocked on my door wanting to visit. I do not hear voices speaking to me in shrine like I am taking a telephone call. I do not wake up in the morning expecting magical awesome super-spiritual things to occur.

Everyday I wake up and I make a choice. Today I choose to have faith. I choose to believe. I choose to believe in the gods. I choose to believe in the ancestors. I choose to believe in the spirits. I choose to believe in my faith community. And it isn’t always easy. Some days it is very hard. Some days I think I am a fool. Some days I wonder if I am just crazy and deluding myself. Is all this true? Is it all worth it? Am I just as dumb as the next fool?

True faith is not dogmatic. True faith is open to reason. True faith is open to doubt. True faith is provisional and flexible.

True faith is like a tree. All it takes is a seed. That is all you need. Once the seed is planted it takes a long time before it grows into a strong and tall tree. Sometimes as your branches grow they may come in contact with an object, such as a house or wall. Someone without true faith will say, “Wall move! House get out of the way!” They expect that wall or house to move or their branch will slam right through it, not realizing how strong that house or wall is. But someone with true faith is like the tree that will see something in its way of growth, and go around it. It will continue to raise its branches high in the sky.

In the New Testament, Jesus tells his disciples that they only need to have faith the size of mustard seeds to move mountains. Even though I am not Christian I still see the wisdom in these words. Making the choice to believe can move the mountains in your life. I look and see what I have accomplished because of my faith, and I swell with love and pride.

Do you question your faith at time? I do. I am not perfect like the saints of old. What matters is making that choice.