Photo Friday

Offerings to Seth and Anubis: figs and raspberries, fresh water, dragon's blood incense cone (I have a bunch of these, all the way from Saudi Arabia) and a white candle anointed with cedar oil)

Offerings to Seth and Anubis: figs and raspberries, fresh water, dragon’s blood incense cone (I have a bunch of these, all the way from Saudi Arabia) and a white candle anointed with cedar oil)

After months of looking, I have found the perfect white frame for the prints from Carolina*. Absolutely beautiful!

After months of looking, I have found the perfect white frame for the prints from Carolina*. Absolutely beautiful!

Two small additions to my collection: a snowflake obsidian palm stone (which I find excellently grounding and calming) and a little red jasper pendat.

Two small additions to my collection: a snowflake obsidian palm stone (which I find excellently grounding and calming) and a little red jasper pendat.

.. which have found their way in my little pouch. Also from Carolina*.

.. which have found their way in my little pouch. Also from Carolina*.

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I’m finally managing to re-instate this series of posts as I’ve managed to solve the phone to laptop software problem I’ve been having for months (Yay!).

Have a great week-end everyone!

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* Check it out here: Camino de Yara

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There grows no wheat where there is no grain.

My dear lovelies,

Time and again I find a recurring tendency to either be asked directly or to come across the discussion about people who seem to be more ‘successful’ in their spiritual lives/magical practices than others. There’s always a bit of ‘how come you can do that and I keep trying but no results?’ or ‘I wish I could do this, like you do’ or ‘I wish I could accomplish that, like you have’.

First off, let’s examine ‘successful’. What would you define it as? Obtaining the desired results from a spell? Meditate easily? Astral project instantly? Have oracular dreams every night?

How does this ‘success’ come about? Is it gathering a few ingredients (or just substituting because you couldn’t find it/it’s too expensive, etc.), making a few gestures, saying some words then obsessing every few minutes on how it’s going to work, if it’s going to work?

Secondly, how do you think the other person reached that point of ‘success’?

It’s a lot of work. A lot of hard work. In some cases years of work.

It is also true that some find it easier than others to do or accomplish certain things. But it still takes work. A lot of trial and error. A lot of mistakes and kicks in the butt, most likely even tears of anger and frustration. A lot of discovering ways how not to do something before getting to the point of knowing how to do something. And doing it well.

And even at that point there’s still a lot of work. It’s always chop wood and carry water. And there’s always more to discover and more things to do.

There grows no wheat where there is no grain.*

And wheat also needs water, sunshine and a caring hand. It needs harvesting and using the grain, and storing some for a new harvest.

I think many focus a little bit too much on the BIG things. A big impressive ritual, a complex spell. That’s not all of it. It can be a part of it, but not the whole picture. The little things tend to add up. Doing small things in a spiritual awareness makes a huge difference. And learning doesn’t have to be all with a pencil and paper (although I will say this again, research is vital). For example when you cook a meal and add your herbs and spices, run through it in your mind like ‘salt is good for this’ or ‘thyme is also good for that’. This sort of awareness doesn’t just help your memory, it helps keeping you connected, it helps you change the way you see things.

Little things like splashing some Florida Water on yourself after a shower, or offering a bit of the meal you cooked to your Spirits, a libation, blessings you give to others, mending some clothes, whatever crafty activities you engage in can make a world of a difference. Do them in awareness and with love. It’s empowering. It may not give you the fireworks you’re after when you work a spell, but it sure helps getting you on the way there.

I’m not telling you ‘this is what you have to do’. I’m telling you ‘these are things you could try’.

When you work a ritual or a spell, don’t just go through the motions. It’s something I tend to keep to have repeating. Understand what you’re using, understand why you’re using it. Understand the words you have to speak or why you have to speak them. Same goes for the gestures and everything else that goes in it. Be truly aware.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Well, I personally don’t think there’s a way of not doing any work but getting the results you wish for.

Not to mention, if you get to the point where you’re always connected to your Spirits but then you stop the work and the relationship cools down sort to speak, don’t be surprised. What happens when you don’t actively seek your friends’ companionship? They will keep calling or writing to you to see how you’re doing. And if you don’t reply or do anything to see them or speak to them? People drift apart. It happens. And it’s pretty much the same with the spirit world. When you stop paying attention and doing the work, you drift apart.

There’s also the possibility that maybe, despite your best intentions and hard work, some things just don’t glue together. Perhaps it’s just that it’s not the thing for you. The best example I can think of right now is the difference in divination techniques. I’ve known people who always wanted to be really good at reading Tarot cards. And they worked at it earnestly. For months and months. And they’re still not any closer. But then they just tried a different technique – like runes or tea leaf readings. And it worked for them. Others just went ahead and developed their own reading techniques. I for one am not great at Tarot readings. I make a lot of mistakes and sometimes miss crucial details. But I do a pretty good job with lamp divinations and dream work. Also I’m currently trying to develop my own technique. And guess what? It’s a lot of trial and error. A lot of work and a lot of frustration. But I know I’ll get there because it’s more comfortable than Tarot and just feels right.

Chop wood, carry water.

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*Ancient Egyptian proverb

Interesting (and relevant!) reads: Spiritual Hygiene Part 1 and Part 2 by Carolina Gonzalez.

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(Yet another) update

Hello my lovelies, I hope you are all doing well.

I have finally managed to get online after over a week of completely being offline. As most of you know I have had laptop troubles for over a month now and this has prevented me from doing a lot of work. Considering the fact we are in between keep trying to fix the old one and just getting a new one and that both options are quite costly for us at the moment I have no choice but to make do and work on what I can whenever I have the chance.

The blog has suffered due to my absence and I’ve also had to withdraw my contribution to the Lunar Wisdom newsletter. Also, I’m taking steps to de-clutter some of my other online activities such as Tumblr. Not only I’ve been spread a bit too thin when my laptop did work properly, now I’m in the position of not being able to keep up at all with things. And so, I’m minimizing online activities until further notice. I know this is very disappointing to many of you and believe me, I’m the most disappointed of all.

One thing I am trying to do is to at least maintain the blog in one way or another. I’ve come up with the idea of actually writing posts and such on paper and whenever I have the chance I will just type it here quickly and publish it. That way at least things will not look completely abandoned.

Best wishes to all of you and many thanks for your understanding!

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Quick Update

As much as I love the benefits of modern day technology, it sometimes fails. As has my laptop last week. The hard drive is failing, my Windows is crashing and my browser messes up.

Until I can manage to fix it (it needs a new hard drive and some new software) I will be online very little. I foresee this taking about two weeks or so.

Whenever I do manage to get online I will try to keep up with blog posts and news from you all but I cannot guarantee I can post much myself. There is some good news at least as I have a new camera and when I do manage to post pictures, the quality will be significantly better than all the older photos. So there’s at least that :)

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Can Anyone Work Heka?

That is only part of the question. The full question would be more on the lines of ‘Can anyone work heka, regardless of their spiritual beliefs/religion?’ This of course, leads to even more questions such as: ‘Can I work with other Gods/Entities than the Egyptian ones?’, ‘If not, can I work with the Egyptian ones even if I don’t believe in/worship/know Them?’, ‘Can I substitute things the way I want?’, ‘Can I work heka along with other types of magic?’ and so on.

The answers are long and, in my opinion, quite open to debate and interpretation.

Let’s begin with the first and most important one (which will lead to answering the others too) The short answers is… well, there is no short answer for something like this. Heka is intimately linked to Kemetic beliefs and mythology. Indeed there are whole rituals dedicated to re-enacting and sustaining the Creation. Some of these were done within a temple setting on a daily basis. Others on a seasonal or yearly basis. As such, I don’t see how a ritual designed for the re-enactment (and protection) of the Solar Boat passing through the gates of the Duat for example would be feasible within another set of beliefs. You could change the names of the Gods or Spirits but what would be the point? It would not make sense at all if it’s not within the Kemetic frame. You wouldn’t keep the form nor the substance of it. So you’d end up with an empty ritual.

Not to mention the very occupation of Magician was reserved mostly to priests. In Egyptian thought, heka was not separate from religious and mundane life. Religion, mundane life and heka formed a cohesive and tight-knit frame of life. Heka permeated throughout all of creation. It could not be separated from it and seen as a force just floating about not doing anything. On the contrary, heka (and Heka the God) came before, was a part of and sustained creation and Ma’at.

The Creative act of Heka is not limited to a single event, for in the Egyptian theology the creation is cyclical, being re-enacted with each sunrise. In company with Hu and Sia (‘Perception’), ‘Heka who opens his two eyes that the two lands might see’ takes his place daily on the solar bark of Re, or is seen in prayer, invoking the separation of heaven and earth. In rare instances, he replaces the air god Shu and performs this separation himself. This creative benefaction of Heka by day is balanced by his role as protector of the bark by night. *

The Magician could claim protection by identifying with the Gods, as for example: I am that pure Magician who is in the mouth (or ‘utterance’) and body of Re… On your face, enemy of Re! I am his ba, the Magician.** With words of power such as these, it would hardly make sense to substitute Re with another deity or spirit. Heka places a very high importance on words and their meanings. Perhaps more than other forms of magic. The words one uses in ritual must be clear and have an exact meaning and purpose (and in some cases symbolism). Where words can create or undo and are full of power, one cannot use them as empty vessels. At best, nothing happens and you’re just wasting your breath.

There are of course  a few types of rituals/magical techniques which can be adapted outside the Kemetic frame, provided there are similar beliefs/techniques in the frame they are transferred to. For example, one can make a ritual to trample their enemy under the soles of their feet work outside the Kemetic frame. It’s possible. Not easy but possible.

Some rituals and prayers were designed with a specific deity in mind. The way these could be adapted within another frame does not come to my mind. However, when you look at some of the magical texts of the Greco-Roman Egyptian culture, there is clear syncretism of different religious and magical thoughts.

So when it comes to questions such as these, there is a great deal of yes, no, maybe and depends. There is a great deal of personal responsibility involved in working magic of any kind, but I dare say even more with heka. Especially since words can (and do) mean a lot. Gestures as well – since they are a language too (body language).

As for the last one, I personally do. But not at the same time, of course (we don’t want those energies clashing or mingling or goodness knows what!). Or for the same purpose. Let’s take a spiritual healing ritual example. I can work either heka with the help of Sekhmet or I can do a let’s say European folk magic spell. I never work two rituals for the same purpose as a rule of thumb (one I have set for myself). I can work the same thing again at a later time, depending on the results I’m seeking, but never two different workings. With that said,  I mostly work heka anyway :)

I realize this topic can spark a debate and I invite you to comment with your thoughts and opinions. And I am aware disagreement can come about but I urge you to keep things civil, thank you!

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Footnotes:

* R.K. Ritner – The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice (.pdf edition), pg. 18

**R.K. Ritner – The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice (.pdf edition), pg. 24

Posted in Food for Thought, Heka, Uncategorized, Words of Power | Leave a comment

A quick update

My dear lovelies,

The lack of posts from my part has been shocking, I know. But with the beginning of Autumn, my schedule gets quite full. However, I’m determined to make up for that in October and that’s a promise!

I wanted to let you all know that starting this October I’ve also agreed to contribute to Lunar Wisdom‘s newsletter: I will be writing a series on practical heka for the modern practitioner. There’s a bunch of wonderful people contributing to this newsletter, including Mystical Bewilderment‘s own lovely Satsekhem. To receive this monthly newsletter all you have to do is subscribe to it on Lunar Wisdom’s site linked above.

I will be publishing all articles on the blog as well, about two weeks after  the newsletter is out so if for any reason you chose not to subscribe or can’t subscribe, you can always read the articles here. They will all be filled under ‘Off-site contributions’ in the blog archives.

I’m editing this because while publishing I got a message from WordPress stating that ‘occasionally visitors may see advertisements’ with the explanation that they some times run ads as to make up for their costs. Which in my view is fair enough. I don’t afford at the moment to upgrade to their ‘no ads’ services so they have to make up somehow for maintaining this blog for free.  So keep in mind if you see any ads, they don’t come from me, they come from WordPress!

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Afternoon Tea with Updates

Since I’ve been on a short break for a while (busy with moving house) I thought I should have my tea with you all and tell you what I’ve been up to.

Moving has been a bit of a physical effort, especially since the place we moved in was in a very bad shape. Before opening boxes we’ve had to clean everything properly and it got to the point where we filled five large rubbish bags. And the heat didn’t help, at one point we had to take a few hours break as we were both feeling dizzy. However all has been cleaned, unpacked and organized and I’ve already started on the garden. I have big plans for that little patch of soil and of course, there will be lots of potted plants as well. The great part is that there’s already ivy on the fences and I absolutely love that.

The previous owners also left us their goldfish. I won’t go into the details of how bad that fish was kept, except that the water was brown and smelly and he was gasping at the surface. Now he’s a happy fish in clean water and with proper food! I still have plans for improving his living conditions even more (bigger tank, plants, an air pump) but that will all have to wait until we recover financially.

There’s a new shrine and plenty of working space and I’ve been writing prayers and started a few articles which I hope to publish soon. I know a few of you have worried about the silence around here but fret not, everything is perfectly fine :)

I hope you are all well and happy! Best wishes!

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