it’s a worn metaphor, the moth and the flame, but truly there’s no better way to describe the way my heart begs for immolation in the white hot core of your being
I am a living flame of Bast
None shall harm me or mine!
I call down fire in the name of Sekhmet
I call down fire in the name of Mafdet
I call down fire in the name of Maahes
I call down fire in the name of Bast!
It was never about the girl or her grandmother or even the woods; all that was incidental. It was always about the wolf and the hunter. They are brothers, after all, twin apex predators caught in the same orbit. Only one may rule the forest at a time and so the dance continues as the sun and moon revolve endlessly overhead. On another day it might have been the hunter who caught Little Red unawares and the wolf who came to the rescue just to rob his enemy of a nice meal. After all, are they really so different? When you’re walking along the forest path and hear the snapping of a twig, can you tell what manner of monster follows you from the shadows? And does it even matter once you’re sitting in its stomach?
Dua Bast, Lady of the East, Lady of Flame, Lady of Truth
Vengeful Eye of Ra, Protective Mother Cat!
Dua Het-heru, Lady of the West, Sweet Sycamore
Bearer of Joy and Bringer of Prosperity!
Dua Wepwawet, Opener of the Way
Shepherd of the Path, Unique and Adorned One!
Hail Inanna, Queen of Heaven, O Radiant Star
She Who Descended and Arose Again!
Hail to the Morrigan, Phantom Queen and Prophetess
Sovereign of the Battlefield, Carrion Crowned!
Hail to the Sun and Moon, Lords of Darkness and Decay
Lords of Light and Love, of Sacrifice and the Solstice!
Hail and thanks to all!
Bast is the Lady of Joy, yes, and the Lady of Love, and yet She is also the Lady of Mourning. These are not such disparate concepts. To be a goddess of joy is to weep at its loss, to feel every cruelty and injustice in the world as if they were done to you. To be a goddess of love means to be a goddess of mourning, for there is no love without life and no life without struggle and death. Bast is beside every cat in need, though Her children number in the hundreds of millions. This means every starving stray, every sick or wounded feral, every abandoned pet waiting in some high-kill shelter for euthanasia. This means every cat caged for breeding, for research, for torture, for extermination. This means every cat who right this moment suffers from pain and terror and loneliness. Think how many precious, sacred lives that is! How endless the tide of grief! To be a goddess of love is to be present in those moments of greatest agony so those you love are never truly alone, and thus Bast remains with all Her children in their need. What could be the result but continuous mourning?
Oh Mother, who holds You in their arms when You weep? Who lifts the burden of the world from Your shoulders so You may rest for a moment? I am no goddess, I cannot carry Your mantle of responsibility for You, much as I dearly wish I could. Yet I am Your daughter; I can at least share a portion of Your grief so You need not mourn alone. Let me weep with You; let me wail with You; let me bear witness with You. For those of Your children whom I cannot save or offer solace, let me at least acknowledge their pain so someone on this earth mourns their passing. We will grieve together, Mother.
I am a scribe who knows not what she serves. If Tanim and Daren are gods in their own right, they are long lost to time or choose to remain unknown to any but myself. If they are gods already established in the world, with followers and historic traditions, then why take these strange forms just for me? Why choose new names and stories? Perhaps they are not gods, then. I thought them once ghosts but if so they enjoy an unbelievable influence over the physical world for mere spirits. They can alter the environment, after all, even to the point of manifesting items or stealing them away. Such powerful abilities, combined with an apparent penchant for fire and a string of literally Hellish dreams on my part, suggest perhaps they are fallen angels or demons. Again, though, they would either have to have chosen new identities for our interactions or have never been recorded before my meager efforts. The first option seems illogical; why keep up the charade for over fifteen years? The second is, unfortunately, more or less impossible to prove to the satisfaction of all doubt. They could of course simply reveal the answer, but they enjoy my confusion too much to do so. I’m left then with vague theories and labels which never quite fit: “sun”, “moon”; “gods”, “angels”; “spirits”, “phantoms”. All I know for sure is that I serve they who call themselves Tanim and Daren, whatever they truly are.
So I’m folding laundry in my bedroom while thinking about how Tanim and Daren, the gods/angels/demons/whatever-the-fuck I serve, have been virtually silent the last year. Sure, they’ve made themselves known every once in a while in trickster-like fashion by stealing lighters and setting off our fire alarms, but that hasn’t happened in months. These days I can barely summon a whisper of their ghosts when I’m listening to their music, let alone channel a whole sentence of prose in their words. Maybe, I’m thinking as I ball up socks, it would be better to just give up, to finally accept they’ve moved on for good. Apparently they don’t require my services anymore. Fine.
Clothes folded, I walk into the kitchen, whereupon I smell something burning. For a moment I think I’ve left the electric kettle on the counter, but no, that’s not the source of the scent. I turn in a confused circle, half convinced my nose is playing tricks on me because I see no flames, no smoke, no sign of danger. Then I see the red glow. Somehow one of the large stove-top burners has been turned to the highest setting, and already it ticks with heat. I’m home alone and haven’t been anywhere near the stove all day; there’s no way I could have unwittingly turned on the burner, nor any way the cats could have somehow done it themselves given the placement of the dial. It’s not just unlikely – it’s downright impossible.
This isn’t the most comforting of signs, but beggars can’t be choosers so I guess I’ll take it. Just please don’t burn the house down, guys.