This post is one of a series examining the individual steps in Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey” model....
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The crafting of a life is an epic journey, the story of which has been told around the world for as long as we have memory. For the ancient Nile dwellers, survival was exquisitely poised on the banks of that great river, where the mysterious flood arose each year, bringing new fertility to all the land. This is the time of year when the flood used to peak. But the Egyptians also carried the understanding of how this life is linked to the next one, the deep mysteries of life, death, rebirth and new, transformed life.
The story of those mysteries comes to us from numerous writings preserved in the royal tombs and temples: the Book of Going Forth By Day; the Book of Gates; the Book of Caverns, the Amduat, and several other afterlife texts. Each of them is a variation on the 12-hour journey of the sun through the netherworld, or Duat. Each hour requires passage through a gate, each hour is a stage of personal transformation for the soul. The journey culminates with the re-emergence of the sun - the transformed life - in the brilliant light of dawn. In ancient times, priests of the temple played the role of the gods in the story, as well as reciting and chanting praises and prayers. We know many of these today through the so-called Book of the Dead.
Traces of the Egyptian mysteries were preserved in the books known as the Hermetica, and the process shows up again in the work of the medieval alchemists. Our ceremony tonight is based on the Book of the Night, found in the Osireion at the Temple of Sety in Abydos. The goddess Nut, with her lapis-blue star-spangled body, spans the ceiling of a transverse chapel of the Osireion. There we see the sun in its solar boat beginning the journey through her body.
The afterlife books are filled with layer upon layer of myth and meaning, hundreds and hundreds of years of allegory and symbolism. Sometimes the dying and reborn god is Ra, and sometimes Osiris; the goddess may appear as Hathor or as Sekhmet. Sometimes the goddess Maat is the divine woman wearing a feather on her head, and sometimes maat is the abstract principle of truth, justice, balance, right living. But the central figure is the soul of the dead, whom we will here call Ani, navigating through the dark in the solar boat. Whether a pharaoh or one of us, that soul begins the afterlife journey at the death of its physical body, is rebirthed in the Duat, and emerges as Horus, the powerful shining one who soars like a hawk across the daytime sky.
As we embark on another cycle through the dark time of the year, may your journey bring you to the eastern gates, transformed into an akh, a shining one.
...After my post last week wherein I talked about my deep love of the Pacific Northwest and feeling like I've come home here and intending to spend the rest of my life here... life threw me a curveball.
For reasons I won't get into here, I am having to move back to New England, and am looking at doing so before the end of 2014 (not immediately, but in the not too distant future). While this is not what I wanted, it also could be a lot worse, and I accept what is - there are also some serious pros to the situation, including being able to bring my cat with me, getting a chance to focus on my writing and art career, and I have a bigger support network on the east coast than I do out here....
Now that I've obtained a bigger basket, let's talk about about sacrifice. Over forty dollars a week is now going into this work, and I'm definitely feeling the pinch. I've got to think twice about choosing a slice of pizza over preparing a sandwich at home. Not only isn't there as much money for little treats like that, I can't make shopping decisions on the fly like I did a few months ago. If I need kitty litter, I can't just grab a bag when I'm in the neighborhood, because it costs as much as my weekly savings nut (I get the wheat-based litter, because trust me, clay may be cheap but it's far more costly to us all). Instead, I must plan ahead, budget for cat litter, and watch for sales.
This is the toughest part of intentional spending for me -- planning ahead. Letting go of the impulse, rather than acting upon it. Looking to the future, instead of living in the moment....
Continuing my story of my personal journey, this post is about my father’s death. Here I’m going to talk about visiting dad before my junior year of college, which happened before the events of the previous post in which I became a sworn priestess of Freya, and then go forwards to dad’s death at the end of my junior year. His funeral was on Father's Day, June 17, 1989.
I had a problematic relationship with my father. He abused me in many ways. His death was one of three three traumatic things that happened right after my dedication to Freya, and I think she removed him from my life so that I could eventually heal. But he was still my dad, and his death affected me in more ways than getting a toxic person out of my life. He was not only the dad who touched me sexually while telling me I was too fat to ever get a man; he was also the dad who taught me to fish. He was not only the dad who hypnotized me and tortured me in ways that he had picked up from his North Korean captors during the war; he was also the dad who taught me how to communicate with the land spirits.
In today's Faithful Friday post, the Pagan News Beagle brings you: a secularist convention; yoga: fitness or faith; UK law enforcement confronts witchcraft accusations; does higher education lead to less religious behavior? and five Hindu words for love.
Richard Dawkins and his fellow secularists are having a convention this week, concentrating on the rise of religious fundamentalism, especially in the Middle East....