Anubis in “American Gods”

I’ve read Neil Gaiman’s book and loved it, a reminder that the gods are always with us in one shape and form, although not always in familiar guises! It raised many questions. Do the gods fade into nothingness when our worship and faith cease to be? Do they become phantoms lurking in the recesses of the World Mind waiting for an acknowledgement, some sign that we still love them, fear them? This isn’t either a review of the book or series, but a whisper of something lying hidden within me. Perhaps the gods are asking where I’ve been and where I’m going…

I was brought up in a different spiritual path to the one being practised now and this scene resonated strongly with me. Although the ancient Egyptian gods were always  a source of fascination even when I was a little child. If we give them a place in our thoughts and memories they will not forget even beyond death. Hopefully His Nibs, as I like to call him, will meet me at the portal when my time approaches. The actor playing Anubis was well chosen.


As for the next scene, what emptiness and hopelessness she has within her! One wonders whether the character truly believes that there is either no hope or possibility of something better beyond life. When the Scales don’t balance the possibility looks bleak…

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Road Trip to Hades

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Image: Pixabay

It’s been rather difficult thinking of suitable subjects to write about lately, then it hit me, I need an adventure to get my teeth into. The Shed’s rather quiet at the moment as most of the lodgers are on their holidays. Anubis has been absent for a while, probably engaged in guiding duties. Not in the Egyptian Underworld but in Bloomsbury, central London. I think he’s got a pretty good gig going on there. The place is crawling with denizens of the underworld. I had my suspicions for years but could never prove it. Odin and Sekhmet are on a walking holiday in Crete. Apparently Odin has distant relatives living there. Who knew? As for the White Rabbit and Mad Hatter, I prefer not to think about those two at the moment, they’ve caused enough havoc. Azrael, the Angel of Death and Cerberus are coming back from their respective road trips soon.

Reflecting on past encounters with the above archetypal figures, it seems evident that these individuals appear as “heralds” in our life. Joseph Campbell comments in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” that the appearance of such beings acts as “the call to adventure”[1], precipitating the Hero into life changing experiences. Of course there have been many occasions when I’ve refused “the call to adventure”, only to face inertia and negative situations.  The gods will only take so many refusals before making an offer that can’t be refused.

When the call is accepted supernatural aid appears at the right time. Enter stage left Azrael, Anubis and Cerberus. Two chthonic deities and the angel of Death assigned as planetary angel of Pluto in Qabalistic and medieval magical tradition. The power of Three consolidated. Containing within themselves the beginning, middle and end, past present and future, body, soul and spirit.

“Quite a lot to think about, isn’t it?” A voice mutters from stage left.

I turn to face three figures grinning at me from the shadows. Azrael gives a thumbs up and the canine terrors wink like mad. Not what you expect from these entities, beings traditionally associated with death, initiation, and dissolution. They also embody secrets and wisdom hidden deep within the Self. That’s been my experience, I can’t speak for anyone else.

“You want adventure and here we are, ready to offer you an experience of a life time as the cliché goes” Azrael comments quietly.

He watches carefully, eyes sliding to the fire escape. An eyebrow lifts in question. What are they up to? Cerberus pulls back a curtain to reveal a rather sweet looking VW van. It screams road trip. He then flourishes a sign with something scrawled on it. It’s written in beautiful copperplate script. HADES. Be still my beating heart! Is this the offer that can’t be refused?

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Image: Pixabay

The Road Beckons

The van is packed and this strange band of travellers gets underway. I’m not sure where they got the vehicle from, it’s like a Tardis inside. Anubis puts a toy Dalek on the dashboard and mutters something about the three of them being Dr Who fans. Azrael is outside checking his motorbike. The Angel of Death is a biker, well, well. We finally depart after a few minutes. The green landscape of North Wales flash by and then the road towards Ruthin and Llangollen is taken. The landscape changes soon after as a detour is made towards the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran in Llangollen. A portal opens near the ruins and the van whizzes through. We face an endless road in a desert landscape. The sky is bright and cloudless, the air is still, almost filled with expectation. Feet up, I’m busily scribbling my impressions in a notebook. How’s the journey so far?

It feels like we’ve been travelling for hours but it’s only been half an hour. Time moves in strange ways in this place, wherever this ‘place’ is. There are a variety of figures walking on either side of the road, one is holding a large clock, and its hands appear to be moving in an anti-clockwise direction. They smile at us and carry on walking. Each figure that passes bows their head in deference. Our exalted companions are the focus of their attention. The bleak but beautiful landscape is soon interrupted by a building that suddenly appears on the horizon. It’s an American style diner. Quelle surprise!

We disembark and find a booth to sit. The clientele are an odd assortment, consisting of shades of the dead and what appears to be the cast of “Frozen” ( I loathe that cartoon). Azrael greets a striking looking woman adorned with beautiful tattoos. She hugs him enthusiastically and kisses my other companions with as much energy. Finally she approaches me, her stare being quite intense. I stare back, kindred souls it appears. Hail mighty Ishtar!

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Image: Pixabay

The image of the figure holding the clock appears once again and the great river of time washes over us. The Goddess retells the story of her descent into the Underworld over a cup of coffee. Her hands and eyes convey the passion of her experiences, poignant and illuminating by turns. Her story is the story of our Soul, mirroring its many losses, regret, sorrow and moments of understanding. Her descent into Darkness, dissolution and eventual ascent into the Light show the way to new beginnings. She pauses and winks. A small box is pushed across the table, it’s a gift for us. Nestled in blue velvet is an eight-pointed star. An important gift, we must take note of its symbolism. She advises me not to eat or drink anything that’s offered in this place. Although this prohibition doesn’t apply to the Psycho-pomps offering me anything though. “Remember” her voice whispers in our head. She blows a dramatic kiss and then disappears. The other diners are still entranced by the tale of the Goddess, emboldened even by her resilience, also saddened at the prospect of no return. They eye Cerberus and his companions nervously.

At this point I’m thinking “if Cerberus is here, who’s guarding the gates of the Underworld?”

Cerberus pipes up “my cousin Cyril’s doing me a favour. I haven’t had a holiday for, oh, five thousand years. Sorry, I lied. There was that time when Anpu and I went on a bender at New Year several years ago.”

Wish he wouldn’t read my mind! I remember that incident, it was rather embarrassing trying to break the news to Hades. The canine terrors had to perform community service in a dance studio in Buenos Aires, teaching tango.

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Image: Pixabay

As soon as we leave the diner it vanishes into thin air. A memory of things dreamt of by a younger world. Such phantasms litter the highways of the inner landscape, being stopping points for weary travellers. Dylan, our VW van carries on down the road. Azrael now leads, a magnificent presence enshrouded in divine light, all-powerful, all compassionate. Such beings rarely show their true appearance. It would mean certain annihilation for our spiritual and material forms, such is the magnitude of their power. Cerberus is chatting away with his adoptive brother, they laugh briefly. A few minutes later we hear cursing from outside. Cerberus has his bottom stuck in the window, it seems he was mooning at a passer-by. Well, Herakles had it coming, fancy kidnapping Cerberus from the Underworld as part of his Twelfth Labour. I think they’re even now. Dylan kicks into life and zooms down the road. We hold our collective breath, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions after all…

From a distance we spy a lone figure pushing a huge rock uphill only to see it roll back down again. Sisyphus, king of Ephyra (Corinth) was condemned for all eternity to carry out a futile task for his hubris, deceit and egotistical nature. We decide not to stop and make our way past Sisyphus. The fields surrounding the king are filled with Datura plants, a bad omen indeed. A warning is issued by our companions not to be deceived by this individual. The crimes he was condemned for in life are still valid in the afterlife, such as it is. He cheated death at least twice but was eventually dragged back to the underworld by Hermes.

Rituals, Blessings and Farewells

Dusk is falling and the night sky is now filled with gleaming points of light. We stop to camp by the roadside, no sense in travelling any further as it’s the dark of the moon tonight. There are rituals to be performed for the dead, one of many before we enter the Underworld proper. We sense them gathering around us, so many that are known and unknown. Prayers are said, offerings made, and respect given. Many have passed through the transition alone and unmourned, even unloved. For them these rituals are a balm and blessing. A release more importantly.

Azrael censes me with incense, for this night is significant for me as well. I must finally relinquish my old self, make the descent and lay her to rest. The Universe peers at me from his eyes, which are like stars blazing in a lapis lazuli sky. Azrael is considered the Angel of Death in Jewish and Islamic angeology, but there is no reference of him named as such in the Christian Bible. Additionally some scholars have disputed the name Azrail being used in the Qu’ran, the angel of death is simply called Malak Al-Mawt. He transcends religion and dogma, the sense is that he WAS before time began. It’s not the biker that stands before me now but something profoundly powerful, infinitely compassionate and gentle. Not to be feared at all. As for my Muse, His Nibs (Anubis) approaches next and rests his forehead on mine. We haven’t had much time to chat, which I don’t mind. He and Cerberus rarely meet and this is a special time for them. He chuckles. Damn! This mind reading trick does annoy me at times.

No sleep for the wicked tonight. We sit around the camp fire and eat dinner, except for Azrael. His nourishment is, well, not sure what he eats and drinks. He looks at me with a wicked gleam in his eyes and mouths “smoothies”. How can I respond to that? This is a moment I’ll treasure, for the companionship, laughter, and silences.

The Sun rises and our merry band of explorers continues on the last leg of the journey to Mordor, sorry, I mean Hades. The landscape becomes even drier and the skies are bathed in a peculiar orange light.  A huge cavern appears in the distance, this is it folks. I glance over at Cerberus, his three pairs of eyes mist up at the scene. Homesickness. I wonder what his cousin Cyril looks like? The van is parked near the cavern mouth and we make our way slowly into the depths. The tunnel is wide enough to avoid being claustrophobic thankfully. There is illumination provided by torches lining the tunnel, which is a little strange. My companions don’t question this, so I take their lead. The presence of dread is absent, for our journey is one where there is a return, an ascent into Light again. I mutter a prayer silently, for myself and she who bids farewell to this life. She shall face Persephone and Hades beyond the waters of Lethe, but I won’t be sipping its waters.

The three heads of Cerberus rise eagerly and give out an ear-splitting cry, but I’ve come forewarned and already inserted the earplugs. There’s an answering howl and a large Blue Roan Spaniel rushes out of the gloom and greets Cerberus. This is cousin Cyril. A Spaniel guarding the gates of the Underworld, why not? Cerberus and Cyril remain at the gates, to prevent the “inmates” from escaping they say. What jokers they are…

Our obols are ready for Charon the Ferryman, all we’re waiting for now are the priests of Hermes to accompany the deceased as we can’t go any further. She’s anointed with perfumed oils and dressed in a linen shroud. Obols are placed on her eyelids. I kiss her forehead and offer a blessing for the journey ahead. A blue lotus and heart scarab are placed on her chest, a remembrance of the homeland. She’s entitled to that at least. Our priests arrive with a bier and place her on it. We hand the obols to the priests as Charon approaches in his boat. So the journey begins and ends here. How prosaic it sounds!

The living have no reason to linger in these dread halls, so it’s time for me to leave. The smell of decay and forgetfulness linger in our minds. How I yearn for fresh air and sunlight to banish the stench of death! My wish is granted as we soon pass the two canine guardians and emerge into a changed landscape. The ominous light has disappeared to be replaced by bright, sunny skies. The desert is blooming and the road is rather busy. Dylan starts up immediately and we speed off towards the horizon. Home is a welcome sight as we emerge through the portal into Llangollen. By now a huge number of crows have massed in the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran, witness to our emergence. I’m looking forward to having a relaxing holiday, my companions are in agreement and we head down south to get the ferry from Dover to the continent. A holiday in Greece beckons! Suitably disguised we sit out on the hotel terrace watching the sun set into the ocean. Bliss.

[1] Campbell, J. The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Princeton University Press, 2004), “Part One, The Adventure of the Hero, Departure: Call to Adventure”, Chapter I, 46-47.

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Image: photo credit: DCphotography_ Tracy Chan-137 via photopin (license)

Possibilities

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Image: Pixabay

I was speaking with a friend of mine earlier this afternoon, we’d known each other from the age of 12 years. It’s been a long friendship, both of us are now (mutters incomprehensibly). Perhaps our ages aren’t so important eh? There have been several job changes, illnesses, bereavements and relocation of homes. Let’s just say it’s been a full and interesting journey for both of us. Our childhood ambitions were and still are creative endeavours; alas this was not to be and we ended up in different professions. Both of us are at another crossroads in our lives, considering a variety of options and assessing the possibilities. 

Possibilities. A word worth its weight in gold. Much like Hope, it can sustain us when all appears bleak on the horizon. Our youthful selves were fired with energy and great expectations. As adults our experiences have tempered those expectations, that’s only natural. Hindsight is a great teacher, realistic but not unkind.

My younger self believed she could make a difference and create a better world for all of us. I passionately believed in justice, fairness, tolerance and equality. Still do. I’m going to come out of the wardrobe, fall out of it more correctly and admit to being a Socialist. Still am at heart but its nuances have changed slightly but not its heart. I’ll go to my cremation as one. Protest marches were a staple for me – against apartheid, racism, erosion of employment rights, sexism, etc.  I’d grown up in a culturally diverse part of London, attended a primary school in Soho that had children from many different ethnicities. Secondary school was a little different but still great.

That’s not to say there weren’t tensions in society. London at the time was a place of political and social turmoil. Nothing has changed! The 1970s, 80’s and 90s saw profound upheavals, many necessary. Additionally the activities of Far Right groups like the National Front (and other more extreme groups) created an atmosphere filled with violence, fear and tension. It seems humanity’s atavistic tendencies are once again rising to the fore. The gates of the Underworld have been loosed and the inmates are on the rampage dear friends. One hopes they’ll be dragged back to their cells soon.

Culturally it was an exciting time from what I remember, well, it was neither boring nor safe in terms of output. I do get nostalgic at times for the spirit of those times, more due to the people who I’d known and met. Each one of us has a different perception of that era.

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Image: Pixabay

As for this entity called Possibilities. His Nibs (Anubis) advises that I should network and when am I going to book in a meeting with it. I reply ‘soon’ and look away furtively. He lays a hand on my shoulder and squeezes. Oh boy, the Opener of the Way knows me so well. ‘Check your calendars’ he says firmly. It seems I’ve been too long in the company of certain rogues and low life, namely Procrastination, Fear, Ill health, Being Unfit (call me Cuddles) and the two worst of all, Inertia and Lack of Confidence.

He looks at me for, oh, ages. There is only kindness and sympathy in his eyes. I smile at him in thanks. My spirit needs re-energising. Writing contributes to a sense of great well-being and this blog is a blessing as are spiritual studies/training. I serve both Anubis and Thoth in spirit and reality, the power that is Ptah is never far away. What I don’t serve are other people’s unrealistic expectations of me and the beast of ‘living to work’. Although the latter does have me in a headlock. A bummer as they say.

Back to scheduling this meeting. His Nibs has passed me a list of ‘To Do’s and admitted they were only reminders as I knew what needed to be done. I scrutinise it, fair enough. Clear and simple objectives, the fine detail will require work. Not a problem. To travel between the different planes of consciousness one has to be fit in more than body. Mine needs a little maintenance admittedly but the mind, even if I say so, is resilient. It can be a little wayward, stubborn and undisciplined at times but still manages to survive adversity.

To travel through the landscape of the Collective Unconsciousness requires foolhardiness, a level head, resilience, self-insight and trust in oneself. Many falter, deceived by manifestations of their own Shadow and human longing. We also have to acquaint ourselves with the lexicon of symbols needed to engage and converse with the inhabitants of this other Universe. A guidebook of phrases and possibilities you might say. Keep your wits about you at all times, for the soul and mind can be seduced by all manner of suitors and enemies.

Most important of all, a Guide is vital. So far I haven’t upset His Nibs (and hope I don’t).

“I’m not going anywhere, if I do there will always be another one of us with you. Even if your angelic friends want to come along” he mutters interrupting my thoughts. I’m vastly relieved and don’t think it’s wishful thinking. “Have Trust” he loudly responds. Of course. The vista opens up before us. We sit down and take our time looking at the strange sights appearing out of nothingness. Images from my life, one after the other. Regret, unhappiness, happiness, anger, loss, fear, manipulation, capitulation, success, failure, hate, love.

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I also see the ancestors amongst these many aspects of myself. We all need release it’s evident. My hands are clenched, holding on to much. He kneels before me and takes my hands in his. I can sense the power and gentleness within them, as does my heart. We wait, breath held in, silent. My fingers are uncurled one by one until both palms are facing upwards. We see the remains of things that were long gone and begging for freedom. Smoky wisps, rising and falling. He breathes upon them, chanting incantations. There is no other sound except for his voice. He gathers them up and deposits them in a barque that’s appeared to one side. Their journey now begins to the Duat (ancient Egyptian Otherworld).

I sense the release of the many from all my line, we are being unburdened one by one. My eyes close, seeing the world as it appears to the inner eyes. It ebbs and flows, inhaling and exhaling, communicating in ways that I didn’t think were possible. In silence can we hear the Universe as it unfolds its mysteries.

As Khepri rises in the sky so do we feel our own Coming into Being, that oft repeated phrase holds a wealth of meaning, highly symbolic. How we forget the beauty and magnificence of the stars, the Imperishable Stars, holders of memories from the birth of our existence. What of the light that’s journeyed for millions upon millions of years? Possibilities upon possibilities exist, why not take note and draw in that light into our own being? Bathe our cells in its essence. My thoughts scatter in all directions, seeking, questioning. How fare the ancestors? Of like mind it seems, all respect to them. Yet, I also understand that their burdens and history, good and bad have been passed down the line to end with my siblings and I. Do we accept their legacy?  Not if it perpetuates further negativity and damage to body, mind and spirit.

Anubis is still kneeling before me. I return to the present, time for the introspection to end. The evening light casts a golden glow on everything in the garden. It feels so peaceful and still. I sense the Opener is still here, watching. “I agree to do it” is all I say to him. Where’s my diary?

Coming into Being: Waiting at the Threshold

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Image: Pixabay

It’s been months seen we last faced each other. No, not quite true. Each morning I greet one aspect of him guarding our porch and again on return in the evening. The statuette sits on the window ledge, as did a previous form, a gentler persona this time. His Nibs (or Anubis) as I affectionately call him, has seen me through calm and turbulent times over the years. I’ve occasionally neglected our association and focussed on other matters. Perhaps I wasn’t ready at those times to see his true message. The gods choose us rather than we choose them. This much I now understand. Continue reading

The Storyteller Returns

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Image: Pixabay

The Storyteller and I parted ways some time ago; amicably it has to be said. Only a temporary situation you understand. We both relish our personal space and the time apart reinvigorates the spirit. We share the same corporeal form but encapsulate twin creative souls. Some writers adopt a pen name to create works in a different genre to their main output. It seems I’ve gained another Muse to perform that function. Her true name is yet to be revealed. This is deliberate, for a name is a thing of power and more so one’s true name. Only the Jackal God and the Storyteller are privy to such a secret. Her journey is my journey; we seek each other and meaning in the trials and tribulations of our chosen goal and path. We also seek them in the moments of stillness and joy. I invite her to partake of tea and conversation.  Continue reading

Whispers of Ancestral Voices

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Fellow bloggers and old friends who attended the recent Silent Eye workshop, The Feathered Seer, have written far more eloquently than I of their experiences.  This is my attempt at making sense of the weekend’s events, my guide Anubis will walk beside me as I recall all and perhaps nothing. I ask my Muse and Guide, The Opener and Walker between the Worlds what he makes of this tapestry woven from our histories. He gives me an inscrutable look (haven’t seen that one before) and whispers:

We carry in our DNA the sum of all existence and memory, from before time existed and beyond the ending of worlds. Linking with others to form gigantic DNA chains in the body of something beyond comprehension. Purposefully flying towards evolution and completion. Harmonious and beauteous in all ways. All return to the point of origin, from whence they came. Then there is no-one and no-thing, we just ARE but our conscious minds are unable to understand this concept except only in dreams and moments of true insight. Continue reading

Conversation with the Jackal Shaman: In the Hall of Ma’at and Weighing of the Heart Ritual

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White Rabbit looks into the distance, deep in thought. The Jackal Shaman and I watch him. Rather than break the silence we converse in signs and symbols. You may well ask how that’s achieved. Pens and pieces of card. Neither mystical nor magical. Or is it? Ancient sigils imbued with mystery and knowledge, they open gates that are closely guarded. Those giving access to our secret selves, our subconscious, our memories.

White Rabbit turns round and mutters, do you know one aspect of magical Taoism is to guide the soul of the dead to the underworld? This is based upon the belief that the soul can get lost if it isn’t accompanied to the right place. A situation that can be dangerous; as the region between the living and the underworld is inhabited by malevolent spirits, demons and ghouls. Their prey is the soul of the dead, who is allotted forty-nine days to reach the underworld. If this isn’t achieved, then all is lost and they join the ranks of these predators. The Sorcerer’s task is to ensure the soul is safely guided through this dangerous terrain. Much like Anpu and Hermes. Continue reading

Conversation with the Jackal Shaman: In The Hall of Ma’at and Introductions

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photo credit: israel gutier The way to the color via photopin (license)

The Jackal Shaman crosses the great expanse to bring word of further challenges. Must be something important for him to make this long journey. Our encounters of late have been brief but meaningful. Dear reader, this ancient Egyptian god is not to be underestimated. I know the phrase has passed my lips many times but the warning still stands. The Psychopomp isn’t just for death but for the rest of life. How appropriate I smirk. Rather like puppies aren’t just for Christmas but for life. Ha, ha. Okay, stand up comedy isn’t going to be an appropriate career choice. Doesn’t help laughing at your own jokes.

I’m glad you said that and not me, His Nibs gently comments, there are alternatives. Perhaps we can discuss it over tea?

We both consult our diaries. His Nibs look fabulous these days. Younger even. Must ask him what he uses on his skin. The ancient Egyptians loved their perfumes and precious oils. We have a lot in common. Both of us are aware that beneath the superficial musings a heavier issue lies waiting, waiting to be acknowledged. My heart and I debate the matter passionately, should we proceed with this adventure? His Nibs can see the battle raging within and smiles reassuringly.

The Heart plays an important part in the ritual we’ll witness later. It’s been an important symbol in human civilisation from early times. Our language is littered with references to this organ, “disheartened”, “follow your heart”, “heart of the matter”. The heart’s been a repository of all our sorrows and joys. Raising us to sublime heights in moments of utter beauty and clarity; then dashing all hope against the rocks to leave our lives in pieces. Apart from its biological functions it serves us in other ways, being a symbol of love, compassion and a centre of spiritual consciousness. It’s the life essence of our being. Take a moment to think about how you project yourself in the world, where does the sense of Self reside? How does your heart speak to you?

He offers a hand, time to begin the journey to the Hall of Ma’at. The hypnotic sound of drumbeats surrounds us; it bends time and space to create a portal. The bone oracle feels heavy within its pouch, singing a song of longing, of joy and pain. We enter a Khem that predates what’s known as Predynastic Egypt. Please forgive me for blurring the line between fact and fiction. It’s a necessary action in the Shaman’s journey to the land of ancestors and spirits. After all, the inner Universe is a vast and mysterious place waiting to be explored. It’s also a place with shifting boundaries, filled with traps for the unwary and foolhardy. The exploration of such landscapes requires a trustworthy guide and protector; a task His Nibs is most capable of performing.

What of the scene before us? A simple hut constructed of mud brick and reeds, situated on top of a large mound. Sound familiar? I glance at His Nibs, my raised eyebrow provoking a blank expression from him. Oh well, onwards. The doorway is small and necessitates a crouching posture in order to enter. The interior is dim and lit by simple lamps, small pottery saucers filled with fat and thick wicks. There appears to be another doorway opposite the main entrance. Steps lead downwards into a corridor. There are other presences in this hut but they offer no threat. Even so, breathing is difficult due to the intensity of the power emanating from these, entities. I’m not sure they’re human. My companion leads the way. It seems he doesn’t want us to linger in this place of transition.

We reach the bottom and find ourselves standing in a corridor that twists and turns, finally opening into a huge hall filled with numerous pillars. Twenty-one lining either side. The Hall of Ma’at. Light streams down from small apertures in the ceiling. It’s a place outside of time, I get a picture of a gigantic heart enclosing this space. There’s a deep silence in the temple. It’s not empty, there’s something in there. Many ‘somethings’ in fact. They’re aware of us. The scent of incense only increases the sense of power and numinosity in the space.

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photo credit: nielskliim Light art in a former water reservoir via photopin (license)

The 42 Assessors stand guard at all time, states the Jackal Shaman.

I understand why the deceased would feel fear in their presence, is my answer. There is nothing more to be said. There is nothing more I want to say.

He stares deeply into my soul and then places his hands on my shoulder, strength pours through to give me support and my heart responds strongly. His strong and sonorous voice then addresses me.

I shall introduce you to my companions, for they are curious to know the one that has come amongst them. Friend of course and not foe. They shall not be named, yet. That is to come later.

One by one the Assessors step forward from the shadows. Representatives of the 42 Nomes of ancient Khem. It feels as if I’m being examined by the very essence of this land. This scrutiny stretches into what seems like an eternity and then they step back into the shadows.

I look at Him. It’s time to go back. We exit the temple and make our way back through the corridor, up the steps, into the hut and back to reality. A little rushed but necessary. The magic of such places can saturate both mind and body. I need a cup of strong tea to ‘earth’ me properly. It also gives me time to absorb all that’s been seen and heard. Anpu bids goodbye and disappears into the great expanse. The next part of our journey will consist of revelation and truth. Am I ready for it? The faint sound of drumbeats can be heard in the distance, it ends soon to be replaced by the rattle of the bone bag. The bone oracle speaks, of what I can’t say

Forged in Fire

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Image: Pixabay

Here we are then, again, facing another year. (Puts on best imitation of Jedi Master, Yoda) challenging it was, unsure we were. I’m determined to review the old year in a frame of mind that’s open and honest. The spirit has been unburdened considerably but there is more to ‘surgery’ to undergo. For this purpose I must call upon an ancient Egyptian goddess, Sekhmet, to help me achieve transformation. Daughter of the Sun god Ra, consort of the god Ptah and protector of the Pharaoh, Sekhmet’s a formidable and powerful presence. A lion headed goddess embodying the fierce heat of the Sun and martial qualities. She’s also a healer. Therein lies the paradox. Much to chew over.

I’ve had reason to call upon her energies lately to combat inner and outer negativity. There’s also the need to defuse the challenging behaviour of a male colleague in my professional life. It’s being managed on a mundane level but still quite irksome having to deal with the issue in the first place. Resolution is necessary though. Fear and insecurity can generate inappropriate behaviour. Some people tend to underestimate me for a variety of reasons; perhaps it’s either my introverted manner or the reluctance to indulge in unpleasantness about other people. My behaviour hasn’t always been perfect. Not proud of those moments. Human nature doesn’t seem to have progressed much over the centuries.

Don’t hold back daughter of Sekhmet, a voice behind me comments.

I pause in mid rant. His Nibs is standing there with a solemn look on his face. The incandescent and wicked gleam in his eyes utterly demolishes the serious persona being projected.

I needed to get that off my chest. Disorder is restored.

He just smiles that mysterious smile and looks at me. Facing the inner demons is one of the hardest things we can do in life. The Mirror of Truth reveals things that are difficult to face, such as soul searing memories that arise from the depths and take flight. J C Cirlot comments that ‘every winged being is a symbolic of spiritualization…Birds are very frequently used to symbolize human souls, some of the earliest examples being found in the art of ancient Egypt.’ The ba has been freed, where’s it going?

The Old Dog, dear, dear Anubis has a way of reaching into the depths of your being, grab insights and bring them to light. He takes my hand and gives it a squeeze. There is reassurance and affection in that gesture. I can feel my spirit unfolding slowly, rather like wings unfurling in the warmth of sunlight. Indigo and tipped with violet, I choose these wings. Forged in fire were the beings of Light, standing guard against the onslaught of darkness and ignorance. The Fall into Matter necessitates additional vigilance due to our free will.

Forged in fire. It evokes powerful imagery. In my mind’s eye I see the blacksmith at work, diligently working on transmuting one material into another. Their art is most ancient, perhaps being one aspect of alchemy. Certainly magical. Forged in fire, deep within the heart of stars. We are after all made of star matter. Forged in fire, strengthened, shaped, to become resilient in the face of stress and adversity. Challenges show us our greatest strengths and areas of vulnerability. It takes courage and trust to show vulnerability.

His Nibs and I look up at the velvet darkness of the sky, now filled with multitude points of light. Nut’s arched body fills us with hope and anticipation. A new dawn waits, bringing new possibilities.

A lovely thought, he says.

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Image: Pixabay

 

 

Party in the Shed: Solstice Celebrations

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Image: Pixabay

Not long to go before the Winter Solstice is upon us. I have to say visitors, long-term residents and the proprietor (moi) of The Shed are rather excited. It’s been a long, dark and emotionally tiring period for all concerned. Finally do we emerge from the darkness into the light. Hope and life return, bringing with them a promise of rebirth. The focal point of course being the birth of a child of Light. An event that has been central to spiritual traditions throughout the world for millenia.

This is also a time for reflection, going into the inner and, and. Sorry, I’m just a little distracted by the sight of Cerberus wearing a traffic cone on his head. Well, the third one to be precise. Hope he hasn’t been given any alcohol. Last time he and His Nibs went out on a drinking spree they ended up incarcerated in Tartarus. The bane of my life those, mutts. You may think me a little disrespectful but they deserve it at times. The Trickster dons many guises in order to dispel self delusional perceptions and behaviours.

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Image: Pixabay

Back to my discourse, may the gods save me from further interruptions. It has been a year of challenges, physical impairments and dissolution of  outmoded mindsets. At times it has appeared as if my dark night of the soul would never end.

‘Do you have more canapes?’

‘What? Do you mind, I’m in the middle of talking to my readers. How very rude!’

The White Rabbit stomps off in a huff. Odin and Sekhmet edge towards me slowly. Both give a thumbs up and then pin me into a corner. They have comical grins on their faces that indicates worse to come. My self pity kicks into action and I am lost. Lost to a world that appears sane, yet the reality is untrue. It is the darkest point before the Sun rises above the Horizon.

Odin is snivelling into a hanky and Sekhmet is rubbing his back gently. This time of the year always makes him emotional. Everyone is expressing sympathy with the One-Eyed One. What can I say? This is turning into one strange celebration. An occasion when all your eccentric and very strange relatives grace you with their presence. You really wish that they hadn’t taken the trouble.

Where’s my sense of humour gone?

As far away from this place as possible. Oh well, I await the Child of Light with joy in my heart.

Then I spot the penguin in the doorway.

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Image: Pixabay