Great resource on how to look for credible sources. My only problem is that personally I used to focus more on the academic than on the lived and experiential. I’ll be working on this for myself, but meanwhile I hope that as many people as possible can read this and incorporate this knowledge into their own personal practice, and most importantly, be conscious of and develop their critical thinking skills.
Originally posted on Shadows of the Sun:
Hello once again, gentle readers! It’s your friendly neighborhood Medievalist and former Classical/Near Eastern Studies-ist Sarduríur Freydís Sverresdatter, here with some tips regarding proper sources, academic discernment, and citation. Now in a super-informal colloquial format! Huzzah!
Historical research is a major part of many Polytheist communities. Whether a Revivalist or Reconstructionist, to a lesser or greater degree, we all turn to the written word of History at one point or another. History is the backbone of all we know and understand about ourselves as literate, self-aware creatures. However, many Polytheists have not had formal University training in the professional field of History to any extent. Quite a number of Polytheists, both seasoned practitioners and “newbies” alike, feel lost in the stacks — whether they care to admit it or not — and don’t know where or how to begin to sift through the thousands of publications on any given subject.
How do you know when an author, or some stranger on the internet, is painting you as accurate a portrait as humanly possible of the subject you’re trying to investigate? How do you know when someone is spoon-feeding you total bullshit? Worry no more, gentle readers. I’m here to help.
It’s a bit late, but I wish everyone a happy holidays. And as far as a Kemetic slant goes, do check this blog post out.
A while back I purchased an eBook from Biddy Tarot called Tarot Foundations. I like that it’s in eBook format because I get to put it in my Kindle and take it with me wherever I go. However due to other priorities I haven’t really been able to do much more than read it. This is more like a workbook than a book that lays all the meanings down for you. It provides activities to help deepen your understanding of the tarot. There are a lot of good ideas including creating a keyword chart (really gonna have to work to find time for this one) but I thought I’d enjoy part of the last day of my four day weekend doing one of the activities, albeit out of order.
This exercise is about focusing on the imagery and symbolism on the cards to create a story about what is happening in the cards, thereby integrating apparent images with intuited rationalization. I was supposed to choose three cards randomly. With the first card I’m supposed to write about it using the Scene – Action – Outcome – Moral formula to build a story from the card. With the second card I’m supposed to write a fairytale story starting with “Once upon a time…” And finally with the last card I’m supposed to write a story about myself using my present day circumstances, writing about work, a relationship, an event, or even make believe. While I think this activity is wonderful in theory, I’m pretty daunted by actually doing it. Oh well, here goes!
I purchased this deck months ago and also did a divination using the same spread that I used with my Anubis Oracle Deck, but for some reason never got around to fully interpreting the results and posting it on the blog. I think it’s about high time I did that, considering I’ve been wanting to develop my tarot reading skills, so now I’ll be posting my results here along with my interpretations of the cards that came up in the spread. I’ll be using the same spread provided by Dusken at her blog as I did last time. Here are the primary cards that came up:
You may remember this post that I wrote on Monday about my religious crisis and not being able to feel Bast’s presence in my life despite repeated attempts to understand her and what role she should play in my life. Although I had been concerned about this for quite some time, it had always stayed on the list of “things I need to take care of just as soon as I stop having too much stress from current life concerns” which includes things like working so that I could put food on the table and clothes on my family’s back since my husband is unemployed. That blog post was sort of a last ditch effort to assimilate and try to digest what it was that was happening to me, because the religious lack in my life was only part of the problem. Well, I’m happy to say that just one day later, I received an answer in the form of messages embedded in articles I found online. Once I realized she had listened, I was filled with a peace that I hadn’t known in a long time. Bast didn’t give me peace- she led me to it. She showed me the door, and waited for me to walk through. She shows me the path and I walk ahead in joy, in thanks.
I think the catalyst was particularly this post found on Fanny Fae’s blog. It talks about how relationships take work, and it’s the same with a relationship with Netjer. It also mentions how many people only try to speak with the gods when they need something. This is an immature way to approach the netjeru and I realize this is what I’ve basically been doing. I mentioned before that I’ve changed and grown as a person but unfortunately my relationship with Bast didn’t reflect this. She led me to see that post in order to communicate this to me.
I asked myself before what kind of relationship I wanted. Fanny Fae talks about why she works with her gods:
Relationships take work. I am willing to do the work, make the effort, not just because I want something, or that I hope to get anything out of it except a clearer sense of myself and where I am going, the world and how I can be in it and assist others, not just myself.
Remarkably this is exactly the reason why I do Reiki, and am interested in developing myself spiritually further than where I’m at right now (I’ve also found a very useful guide on how to maintain the body of one who practices magic or uses energy). The relationship I have with Bast is part of this process. I don’t usually come to Bast with something I want her to fix or want her to give me. It’s mostly a matter of “I’m stuck. I don’t know how to move forward. Show me the way so I can help myself.” And from Fanny Fae’s post I found another post speaking from a Christian p.o.v. but no less useful. I found particularly helpful the questions included at the bottom of the post. It’s as if Bast is showing me that she understands my analytical mind, and even went so far as to provide me the questions I need to ask myself in order to have a good idea of what I want from our mutual relationship.
But I think the most important takeaway message that she’s given me was that relationships take work- something I’ve always been rather dim witted with even with just other humans, let alone divine beings. She wants me to include her in more of my every day life concerns. Because even though it’s clear that I am to respect her, that doesn’t mean that she can’t be a part of my daily life. And I heartily agree. From here I will be taking small steps to commune with her, appreciate her influence in my life, and let her know how I’m doing, while providing offerings of food along the way. I think what she’ll value the most, however, is my offering of time. I dedicate very little of it to myself compared with all the demands that outside influences make of me, so this, for me, is a difficult thing for me to do. But I’m just glad that I’ve gotten somewhere. Now the real work begins.
In a dream. Mother but not her. The body is different but the essence the same. The body shifts, melds, there she is. She smiles sadly. She wants to talk to me, tell me many things. She can’t say much, something pulls her away. It’s always the same. She tells me she misses having her senses. To see, to touch, to taste, to hear, to feel.
In that place between dreaming and waking I wonder, how can you see me without seeing?
I know I haven’t posted recently, and I suppose my religious activity has taken a backseat to a lot of very difficult life events. It’s sad that that’s one of the first things to go when other priorities come calling. Actually, recently (by recently I mean sometime within the last few months) I had yet another one of those screaming, crying, Bast my goddess won’t you help me in SOME way type breakdowns (I’m sure some of you may have experienced this at some point), and for the first time I in a LONG time I got a clear response from her.
In her typical distant, unattached way, she asked me a very good question that was also like a slap in the face.
“What do you want?”
And of course my immediate response was something like “WELL SOME KIND OF EMOTIONAL SUPPORT OR SOMETHING. FUCKING ANYTHING. ANYTHING BUT COMPLETE SILENCE WOULD BE FUCKING NICE.”
But after a few seconds it got me thinking. I wasn’t actually being that clear on what I wanted from her. From the beginning, she had been clear with me that the type of relationship we had was I was to grovel, she was the master. She was the supreme, I was the peon. And I admit, in this kind of relationship I don’t see any cuddling. Actually. my akh grandmother has been a HUGE emotional support to me in these troubling times, much more than Bast has been. And I suspect that Bast has helped me in her own way, giving me opportunities and leading me to advance without actually making it very obvious that it was thanks to her. But I really need to ask myself as clearly as she asked me…what do I want from her? What kind of relationship do I need with her? What am I willing to put in? What should my expectations be? I mean, should I even bother at all? How far does faith stretch until it snaps?
That question has been posed and I have yet to answer it. And I wish it weren’t that way, because serving her in the past has been a source of great spiritual fulfillment for me. However, my life has changed, my circumstances have changed, my priorities have changed, my resources have changed, and I think I’ve also changed. I need to be honest with myself about what kind of place Bast has in my life now, whether that place is still warm and welcoming, or is actually becoming strained. In no way, shape, or form am I denouncing her. I guess this would be more like a break than anything else. (fuck, how juvenile, but there you go)
I still love Bast. I still believe she forms an important part of my life. She’s a touchstone for everything religious that I believe in. She’s the glue that holds my belief in Ma’at, in the forces unseen, in the paragon of the Silent Man together. Without her existence, my world wouldn’t make any fucking sense.
But does that mean we have to be buddies? Do I have to be close to her? Do I need to consult her in my daily activities? Do I have to tend my altar as a home if she’s never going to stay in it? Because I still believe that a relationship is give and take, and I’ve seen myself giving but never even having her answer the damn godphone. I’ve had enough of people blowing me off and as awesome as she is, I’m not cool with her doing it either. Perhaps I haven’t been clear, either, in what I want from her. She told me that with that one powerful question.
Fuck, if I ever figure it out, I’ll write it here. But I have a feeling this will take some time.