How I Finally Said No to the Summons

Alternate Title: Saying Goodbye to an Abusive Goddess

Disclaimer: This is just me finally putting the experiences I’ve been struggling with over the last several months/years to paper. This is not an attack against Kemetic Orthodoxy, or against anyone who happens to worship the goddess who abused me. Please do not let this taint your view of either. I know of so many people who have had nothing but positive experiences with both groups. Also, this is very stream of consciousness, and all written up at around 3-4 AM, so please bear with any typos.

Long time no talk. I honestly forgot this blog existed. In the last (roughly) eleven months since I’ve posted on this blog, I’ve had a lot go on in my life, some of it good, some of it not so good. Least of all, I went through a period of massive spiritual upheaval that almost led to me cutting the netjeru out of my life for good. I started to feel really distant, like they were drifting away from me, and alongside the general frustration regarding certain Kemetic Orthodox things I grappled with, I wondered if the path I was on was really my best choice. I started looking into other paths. I started to build a relationship with Ninhursaga, of the Sumerian pantheon. I started to introduce myself to various Roman gods and goddesses. I was looking for the sense of fulfillment that I just didn’t seem to get from Kemeticism anymore. It felt like the Netjeru were drifting away from me, and gods that I had been close to prior to my RPD and Shemsuhood didn’t seem to come around anymore, didn’t seem to respond when I called, none of that. As such, I was starting to get disillusioned with the whole thing, with Kemetic Orthodoxy and Kemeticism in general, and I couldn’t quite figure out why.

It took me coming back to this blog, stumbling across it one day stashed deep in my mobile browser’s favorites, to realize what the deal was. Rereading this post after a period of distance made the warning bells ring and the red flags to shoot up. What I had thought was just “tough love” for so long was anything but. It was abuse.

Let me start by naming my abuser. And this will be the one time I write her name on this post, because it’s pretty well-attested, both in historical sources and in modern personal gnosis, that voicing one’s name, or writing it without taking proper precautions such as strikethroughs or dividing up words with sl/ash/es or the like, will give the entity spoken or written about more power. My abuser, if you couldn’t guess by this point, is Aset. And from this point forward, I will be referring to her only by “A.”

Now, my relationship with A has never been a particularly sunshine and roses relationship. There have been times where she has been gentle with me. I don’t deny that one bit. When my grandfather, the member of my family I loved above all others, passed away back in July 2017, A was the one who stepped forward to console me. But, in hindsight, that was probably the only time she ever showed compassion toward me.

My first encounter with her was back in 2014, during my time in college where I was an edgy Dawkins-esque atheist who would share my undying devotion to Talos and the Flying Spaghetti Monster to the annoying wandering evangelicals. Before that period of atheism, I was a disillusioned catholic that had started to reach out to the Netjeru, before I got dragged through the mud by someone claiming to be a priestess of Bast, abusing and manipulating me into doing things I, in hindsight, am very ashamed of. But that’s not the point. When A finally showed up, her first action was to show up in my dreams and beat me within an inch of my life as proof that the Netjeru weren’t dead. Oh, no. They were very real, and, according to her, they wanted a relationship with me. And so I took her at her word. I started reaching out to Anpu again, and I started worshipping A in the process, too. In time, others showed up. Hethert. Djehuty. Seshat. Ra. And they were all, for the most part, very warm and supportive. Except for A. A was always aloof, cold, hard to please. She had her standards and wasn’t willing to lower them. Quick to criticize, but equally quick to praise when I did something right.

I never considered A to be the god I was closest to. That always went to Anpu, or Hethert. But yet, somehow, despite that, A always remained prominent in my worship–that never changed. Even if she was never first and foremost in my heart, she was always a very close number two. I loved her, as I thought she loved me.

If anything, I felt my RPD and subsequent Shemsu naming is where everything started to go downhill.

A was divined as my “mother.” At that time, I think I was so hopped up on the adrenaline of the RPD process that all I felt was excitement and sheer bliss. One of the goddesses that had been with me since almost the very beginning had chosen me as her daughter. I couldn’t believe it! I had heard so many scary things about people feeling like they were all so wrong, and at that point in time, mine felt nothing but perfect!

Then, at my Shemsu naming (a brief insight for those not familiar–people who make the vow to become Shemsu, by accepting their RPD results and agreeing to put their parent god/s first above all others, get a new name at their “initiation” ceremony, which the parent god apparently gives to Rev. Siuda through meditation or something), where I got the name that meant “the one A summons.” I was overjoyed for a while over the name. It was my name, and it was the name my divine mother gave to me!

And then that joy crashed. When I started to see the names other “children” of A were getting. Their names were things like “pleasant to A,” or “A embraces me,” or “A is my protection,” or “delightful to A,” etc. Those felt like names that would come from a mother who genuinely loved her children. Meanwhile, my name felt so…distant.

It wouldn’t be until just recently that I realized what my name really meant. I was the one A called on because she knew I’d come when called, without fail. That’s all I was good for, apparently. I was good at coming when called. I wasn’t beautiful in her eyes, or one she hugged, or one she protected like a mother should. I was the one she called on when she wanted me to do something. I wasn’t a daughter. I was no better than a servant.

Anyway. After my naming, things just started to spiral downhill. Now, A has always been pretty demanding. She was never particularly flexible with offerings, as all the others had been. But after I took the vows, things started to get out of hand. I had been on the ketogenic diet for about six months at the time of my naming, and it was doing wonders for me, but a good portion of my diet was meat, which, given its low cost, meant a lot of fatty things like sausage, bacon, and pork in general. It’s apparently pretty common that A doesn’t accept offerings of pork, and that became painfully clear when she confronted me about it. The exchange went something like:

A: Don’t you dare eat that stuff. It’s offensive to me.
Me: But my diet hinges on this stuff, it’s cheap and it’s fatty enough to help me reach my daily goals.
A: Ugh, fine. Then eat it, but don’t you dare offer it to me, and don’t you dare come before me during the same day you’ve eaten it.
Me: Okay, but that means I probably won’t be able to come before you very often. I usually have pork for at least one meal a day.
A: Fine! Eat it, but you better purify yourself inside and out before you come anywhere near me. If I can smell it, you didn’t do a good enough job.

She gave me a specific way she wanted me to purify. In addition to the ritual purity requirements for Kemetic Orthodoxy’s daily ritual senut, A wanted me to also use water and a little bit of mint to purify myself before going before her. That meant washing with water with a tiny bit of mint mixed in, as well as drinking some water with a little mint. I modified it, and it turned out drinking things like mint tea, or swishing with mint mouthwash, were “not great, but good enough” substitutes. I did it dutifully, because I found out when I didn’t do it well enough, I’d get the cold shoulder, or I’d get to speak to her, but only after she ripped into me for not being able to do one simple task. And this went for all sorts of things. I stopped asking for her to guide me when doing divination because of how she would berate me when my interpretation didn’t fit her standards. I stopped asking her to take me to the Duat because whenever I went, I wouldn’t be able to do anything for myself because she’d have me doing things for her, right alongside the beings she had serving her as it was.

It eventually got to the point that I stopped going to my shrine at all. I stopped doing senut. I stopped speaking to her, but I kept up my connection to the other gods. I prayed regularly to the other three gods of my RPD (Djehuty, Anpu, and Hethert), as well as to other gods I had connected with prior to my RPD (Seshat, Ra, Nebthet, and some others). At that point, I knew I was breaking my Shemsu vows, because I wasn’t putting my “parent” god before all others, but at that point, I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with that. I started drifting away from Kemetic Orthodoxy at that point as well.

Then those connections to the other Netjeru went dead. I started noticing it back in November–gods suddenly stopped answering me. I’d reach out, and I wouldn’t get a response. No “busy signal,” no “voicemail,” nothing. It was as if they had all just walked out on me without so much as a word. I could still feel A there, tapping her foot, but no one else.

So I figured the Netjeru had walked out on me, so what else was there to do than pack up and move on? I started looking into other pantheons. I did brief stints venerating Mesopotamian gods, Roman gods, even looking into Celtic and Gallic polytheism.

Last week, I found the post I linked above. I reread it, and my time apart from the Netjeru made me realize what I had been enduring, the intimidation, the yelling, the belittling, all the things I thought were “tough love” from a goddess who “was ruthless and did things by any means necessary,” were anything but love. That post was written by someone who was so fundamentally brainwashed that she couldn’t even see that abuse was abuse.

So, almost a year later, I’m calling a spade a spade. I had been abused, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it had probably been going on since the very beginning.

So, one evening not too long ago, I confronted her. I told her enough was enough, and that I was no longer going to venerate her, and I no longer wanted her in my life. I told her I was done with her abuse, and I wanted to move on without her. I was worried. I was scared out of my mind. What if she retaliated? This is a goddess who could, and would, kill other gods if it got her what she wanted. What about some human child who no longer wanted to put up with the abuse? She could incinerate me if she wanted, right?

But she didn’t. She just…left. She didn’t say another word. She just huffed, turned around, and left. And almost immediately, the other gods started showing back up. Djehuty. Hethert. Anpu. Seshat. Nebthet. Ra. Along with others I had never venerated before. Heru. Set. Ma’at. And I’m feeling like there are others I haven’t properly identified yet that are trying to get hold of me, too. I’m convinced now that she was blocking, or intercepting, or otherwise fiddling with the connections I had to these other gods, whether I knew it or not. But now that she’s gone, it feels like I’ve come back home. The Netjeru have always been my family, it feels. And it feels so good to be back to them.

I desperately hope A is now gone from my life now. I worry that her power and persistence will mean she will try to come back, but I feel like I’m better-equipped to handle it now. I’ve got so many on my side that I feel like strength in numbers will help a lot.

So that’s why I’m leaving this blog, and that’s why I’ve packed up my things and left Kemetic Orthodoxy. There’s no chance for me to redo the RPD, as convinced as I am now that A probably messed with the results to make sure no one else got to me, so there’s no way I can, in good faith, remain a shemsu and keep the vow that puts my abuser above all other gods. As much as I wanted to stay around as a remetj, I just didn’t feel I would get a warm reception from the community if I said “hey, I want to step down from shemsuhood because the goddess divined as my mother has been abusing me since she came into my life and I didn’t realize it was abuse until now.” For all I know, that could be totally wrong, but given Rev. Siuda’s assertion that all gods love us (a position which I can now no longer agree with), I feel me speaking out would just lead to confusion, and perhaps even hostility, rather than understanding.

I doubt anyone reads this blog anymore. But if you do, and you still want to keep in touch with me, contact me. It may take a while to get back to you, since I might only check the email this blog is connected to maybe once every couple of months (if even that often), but I’ll get back to you eventually and give you my Discord, my email, or my tumblr.

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Mother’s Day Musings on my Mother

Divine Mother, that is. Aset. My Mother that I love with all of my heart, mind, soul, body, spirit, ka, ba, etc. etc. I love Her a lot.

(Disclaimer: This post draws a lot on my personal experiences with Aset. YMMV as always.)

Aset is one of those goddesses that so many people want nothing to do with. They’re afraid of Her, intimidated by Her, think She hates them.

I can understand, to a certain extent. The amount of power She has can come off as intimidating! She is the goddess who had literally zero qualms about poisoning the King of the Gods so He would give up His true name to Her. But She didn’t do this on a lark. She got that name so She could help Her son to ascend to the throne. She loved Her son so much that She was willing to take the risky endeavor of poisoning Ra Himself so She could hopefully get His true name. She went to the extremes to ensure the very best for Her son.

In working with Aset (particularly the Weret-Hekau aspect), I have found that this is a myth I keep coming back to. Aset knew there was no other way She would be able to give Her son the true name of Ra without forcing it from Him. She was going to get that name by any means necessary.

“By any means necessary” is a phrase I feel a lot when working with or even just talking about Her. She is calculating. She is ruthless. She is the Queen who will take no prisoners if that’s what She feels will be the best course of action. She is not a coward who will shy away the moment something doesn’t go Her way. She is not the diplomatic sort that will try to avoid stepping on toes and shrug Her shoulders if She doesn’t get what She wants. She will readily stomp on toes, while screaming in someone’s ear and beating them over the head with a baseball bat, to get Her point across. She will use all of her power, all of her cunning, all of her strength of mind and magic, to help those She loves. Her magic can cause gods so much pain that they will spill their deepest secrets. The fact that She can and will cause harm to get what She wants might be scary to some. I get that! The first time I read that myth even made me recoil a little in a sense of “whoa WTF, that’s messed up!” But Her magic can also bring the dead back to life. She is the one who is said to have brought the Nile floods! Her power is overwhelming, but remember that She is so much more than “Head Bitch in Charge.” Can She be like that? Absolutely She can (and I’m saying this in the most respectful way possible).

But take a moment to think about this. Why does She do these things? Why does She show up yelling in your ear? Why does She grab hold of you and shake you and whack you with the Cluebat? Because love. If She comes to you, regardless of whether it’s with a tender hug and gentle words, or yelling through a bullhorn right into your ear, think about how much She loves you! She loves you so much that She wants to see you be the best you can be. And there’s a lot She can do to help you get there, but ultimately, it’s up to you to implement the changes. And if She seems strict, if She seems like She’s angry with you, there’s a good chance She’s seeing something in you that you aren’t, and gentle nudges haven’t worked!

Think about this. If She didn’t care, if She thought you weren’t worth Her time, do you really think She’d bother with you? If anything, She’d probably refuse to have anything to do with you. Why would She, the goddess who has endless power, waste her time making Joe Random spill his morning latte the moment he drives away from the window at Starbucks? She’s got better things to do than looking menacing and causing mischief to make people afraid of Her. She’s got children, loved ones, devotees that She adores, to care for.

She loves you. All of you. But love is not all snuggles and warm blankets and “i wuv you uwu.” Love can sometimes be pushing someone to do their very best. Love can sometimes be yelling and intimidation because you can see someone going down a path that isn’t good for them, or see them acting in a way that doesn’t reflect who they truly are.

And that is Aset. She is love. A lot of the time, it’s tough love. I don’t deny that. And that can be scary. But to all the people who say She scared the piss out of you the first time you encountered Her, remember the emphasis on the love. She loves you so much that She’s willing to take the time to reach out to you, to shake you, to swing the Cluebat. And a lot of the times, in my experience, there’s always a gentle hug, a word of praise, a sense of comfort and care, that follows. Because She knows pushing someone too hard is never good. She knows that sometimes we need a break, sometimes we genuinely need Her to let up a bit, and She understands. The Gods always give us what we need, and if they give us more than we can handle? I’ve never had a time the Gods haven’t come to me when I’ve called to Them for help.

In conclusion, Aset is tough. But She is love. She has high standards for those She loves. She will not lower those standards. But, in my experience, She has never, ever refused to give me a boost when I’ve needed it and asked for it.

May the Great Words of the Weret-Hekau Protect and Guide You Always.

Tanisiaset
The One Aset Summons

 

 

RPD Musings

Okay, so I’m just gonna throw my story out there because I feel like I’m being told to tell it. Why, I’m not sure, because my story is basically the same as any other shemsu in the House of Netjer, but you know what? I guess one more story out there won’t hurt anyone.

When I first came across the House in 2012-ish, I was very turned off of the idea of the RPD. I was very turned off of the thought that I could not have full control over who I could devote myself to. The idea made me sour, as a baby kemetic who had great experiences with a handful of gods, terrible experiences with another handful, and barely any knowledge of all the rest. With my propensity towards terrible luck, I just knew that I would end up being divined as a child of gods I had awful experiences with, and then would be expected to devote myself to them as if I didn’t have the choice to say no. I can remember griping to my girlfriend about it, saying I’d never ever consider joining a community where someone else had the power to “choose” the gods I was going to devote myself to.

Well, uh…as you can see, things kinda changed.

Fast forward to 2017. I had been a solo kemetic for several years, and quite frankly, I hated it. I hated how difficult it was to find community, and how difficult it was to make connections in communities like tumblr. The House of Netjer was the only community I could see that was active and seemed close-knit. I still wasn’t totally settled on the idea of the RPD, but knew I didn’t have to rush into it, so what was the harm of at least becoming remetj? So I took the beginner’s course.

I actually ended up really liking it and stayed on. I didn’t think I would, and I was convinced I’d find something that wouldn’t click with me and that I wouldn’t be able to reconcile, but surprisingly enough, everything made sense. It also helped that everyone I talked to, whether it was established members in the community, or my fellow beginners, were all really nice!

So I completed the beginner’s course and went on to become a Remetj. I learned that Remetj had to complete six consecutive months of regular senut in order to be eligible for the RPD. I guess people had rushed into it too much in the past, so Hemet decided to set a time limit. I respected that and performed Senut as regularly as I could, knowing that I was going to have to wait until at least January 31st (exactly six months from the time I performed my first senut) before I could send it off.

The way I saw it, I was going to give myself those six months to think about what I was going to do if I did commit to the RPD as soon as I could. I began to wonder what might happen if the gods I had been working with for years weren’t there, or if gods I had severe problems with to the point that I didn’t want to acknowledge them did show. What if I was faced with the other aspect of a god, like the Sekhmet side instead of the Hethert side, or the Serqet side instead of the Aset side? What if I was faced with someone obscure Name I had never heard of before, and even Hemet didn’t know much about? What if I was faced with a lot of them? It didn’t help that I did a lot of reading of the forums, too, and saw that sometimes people come out of the RPD without beloveds (no matter how rare it might be)! I began to fret. What if I was faced with the reality that I was the daughter of the god I refused to acknowledge ever again after some bad times in my life, and didn’t have any beloveds to take the edge off of that?

But then, one day, something hit me. I was sitting in my shrine, when a sense of calm came over me. I thought to myself, you know what? I feel pretty good about this. What will happen will happen. The gods who are supposed to show will show. If they’re who I expect, if they’re Aset and Hethert and Yinepu and maybe some others I’m on good terms with, awesome. I’ll take the Shemsu vows, I’ll receive my name, and I’ll see where life takes me from there. If they’re not the gods I’ve built those relationships with, maybe it’ll take some time to get through the confusion, the change, the anxiety, but that’s what this community is for. I’ll figure something out. And if there are irreconcilable revelations that I just can’t accept, then I can just go back to flying solo. I’ve done it before, I can do it again.

I filled out my RPD questionnaire soon after. I can still remember the names I put. Aset. Hethert. Djehuty. Seshat. Yinepu (though I wasn’t sure He would show–He introduced me to kemeticism, but He stepped back a lot after I became acquainted, and later grew in my relationship with Aset and Hethert). There were a lot of others mentioned, names I was curious about but not necessarily close to.

Now, it was still like, a month in advance of the earliest date, and so I finagled with the questionnaire for a couple more weeks before putting it on my senut shrine somewhere around the 20th of January after I thought I couldn’t perfect it any more than I had or else I would postpone the whole process. The moment I could send off the questionnaire and the payment, on the evening of the 31st of January, I did.

And then I waited. And waited. And waited. I waited upwards of three weeks until the email to schedule came through, early in the morning on February 20th.

February 26th at 4 PM. Those days in between were murder. I had a terrible nightmare the night of the 20th that turned the excitement into anxiety, before it slowly transitioned back into excitement.

I can remember the 25th and 26th were the hardest, though. I can remember my stomach being in knots as I counted the hours down. I rambled on to my girlfriend on Discord about my anxieties, my what-ifs, all the worry and fear of what might happen if those names I was worried about showed. I wasn’t necessarily anxious about the names I loved not showing up–I knew I could keep those relationships going, no matter what. It was if names I didn’t know anything about, really obscure names that showed up, like, once and were otherwise lost to time, or names that made me anxious to hear them spoken, names that brought up bad memories.

But finally, the time came. Hemet and I sat down in a Google Hangout. We exchanged pleasantries, she performed the Akhu divination (which was eye-opening and comforting, if a little awkward because they low-key called me out), and then she asked if I was ready to move on to the next part. The part that had been on my mind in one way or another for years now.

At that point, there was such a sense of confidence. It was as if all the anxiety had just washed away. I was ready.

The log below is what happened. Please bear with my keysmash awkwardness. I get emotional, don’t judge me.

Rev. Tamara Siuda
Em hotep!
You have a Mother and three beloveds, Nekhtet!

Domina Noctis
Nekhtet indeed!

Rev. Tamara Siuda
Would you like to guess, or shall I just tell you?

Domina Noctis
Oh my gosh I want to guess. My dreams have really been pushing me towards Hethert or Aset lately, but that’s all I’m going to guess!

Rev. Tamara Siuda
Aset-Serqet is your Mother. 🙂

Domina Noctis
BRB CRYING
(I’m still here, BUT STILL CRYING)

Rev. Tamara Siuda
Specifically I got some reference to weret-hekau or “Great of Magic” which is an epithet for both Aset as Aset and Serqet as a form of Aset. 🙂 So that is something you want to look into

Domina Noctis
(DON’T MIND ME)

Rev. Tamara Siuda
aw 🙂
you’re good!
So if you want to refer to Her as Weret-Hekau you can, otherwise on paper it’s Aset-Serqet
but the idea of Aset-as-Magician is what She’s getting at here
(not that you’ll never have relationships with other Asets, but that this is the one that is specifically speaking up to claim you)
Beloveds are three, and in this order:
1. Djehuty
2. Yinepu-Wepwawet
3. Hethert-Mut (Hethert as the queen/creator)
this makes you a child of Aset-Serqet, beloved of Djehuty, Yinepu-Wepwawet, and Hethert-Mut. And that is fairly amazing. 🙂 Nekhtet for you!

In hindsight. I don’t know why I was worried. I mean, I know why I was worried, but I guess I had read so many of the posts disgruntled kemetics wrote about “my RPD was wrong, I know Bast is my mother but she said Heru was my parent” or “I’m afraid of Sekhmet and she’s my mother” that I was convinced that, despite all of the wonderful and happy stories, I would be that person with the awful luck that was going to be faced with a god that dredged up awful memories, or be the first divined child of some super-obscure aspect of Heru that only appears in footnotes of big long academic encyclopedias of the gods or something.

Now, Hethert-Mut is obscure. She’s very obscure. As far as I can tell, I’m one of three in the House right now that has Her in their lineup at all (the other two have Her as their mother, I’m the only one I can see that has Her as a beloved). But the other three are names I’m comfortable with, names I have experience with, and names I’m ecstatic to devote myself to fully.

These things work out in their weird sort of ways, I guess.

So if you’re considering the RPD, considering the House of Netjer, remember this. You aren’t beholden to anything. You can do the RPD and say “nope” to the results if they don’t jive with you. You can stay with the community as a divined remetj, or you can turn right around and leave the community and never darken its doorstep again. You are not forced to become shemsu. You are not forced to devote yourself to gods you are not ready to devote yourself to. You are not forced to do anything you aren’t ready or willing to do. The RPD is a big step, but it’s not a permanent step.

May the Great Words of the Weret-Hekau Protect and Guide You Always.

Tanisiaset
The One Aset Summons