#1974

I am in a dark place right now. I shut my eyes because I couldn’t tell what was real; I was afraid to believe in a lie. I covered my ears because I heard too many voices; I was afraid to realize they were only echoes. I stopped my feet because I couldn’t tell if I was on a path at all; I was afraid to lose my way. I am in a dark place, afraid to look, afraid to listen, afraid to follow. I am in a dark place and I am afraid, above all, that I am alone here.

But I am not alone. Even as I shut my eyes, my Mother’s flame reddens my lids. Even as I cover my ears, my Mother’s voice rumbles in my chest. Even as I stand still, my Mother’s hand pushes me gently at the small of my back, urging me to take a step. Even as I hide in the darkness out of fear of finding nothing beyond it, my Mother stands beside me.

I question everything, yet still I find myself turning back to Her. The altar is dusty, yet still I turn back to Her. I wonder if She is even real, yet still I turn back to Her. Wherever I go, whoever I am, however I feel, Her presence surrounds me. She is infinite patience and infinite love; She is a light in the dark and a voice in the silence.

#1896

[ I wrote this prayer in response to the Trump administration’s reversal of the transgender youth bathroom directive. It could easily be adapted for someone who IS trans and wants to invoke this protection personally, of course. ]

Inanna, walk with them; show them that no matter what they must give up, their pride cannot be taken. Show them how to hold their heads high even as they descend into darkness, for You have walked that long road and wait for them on the other side.

Bast, walk with them; show them each step is a piece of a precious dance and every breath a note of a sacred song. Show them they always have a home and a mother in You, for You are the lioness who protects Her children with tooth and claw.

Wepwawet, walk with them; show them there is always a way forward, if only they can muster the strength to take the next step. Show them they never walk alone, nor can they ever be truly lost, for You are ever their shepherd through both life and death.

#1891

I close my eyes and imagine a room. The whitewashed walls are open on three sides, the high ceiling supported by curving columns decorated in painted carvings of plantsĀ and leaping animals. Thin linen curtains blow in a breeze scented by lotus blossoms; as they move, the sunny courtyard with its pools and gardens beyond flashes in and out of sight. The floor is cool marble covered in thick, brightly colored carpets. A graceful bed shaped from dark wood takes up the one wall, and near it stands a matching table inlaid with mother of pearl. On the table sits a collection of delicate bottles, some glass, some stone, and some carved from pure crystal. The perfumes inside send their subtle scents into the air; myrrh, frankincense, jasmine, rose, lavender. Only one sound disturbs the peaceful silence. Like myself, others pass through this place, seeking its comfort for a momentary respite or for as long as pain needs to ease. Cat spirits sleep curled up on the bed and carpets, and stretched out on the stones outside in the hot sun. Their purring fuses into a lazy drone that rumbles through the very walls and floor, a sound more felt than heard. It is a wordless prayer of thanks and love; a call to rest and heal away from the hurts of the corporeal world.

And She is here as well, sometimes, in my daydreams: the Mother Cat, whom I am blessed to call Mother as well. This is Her room, Her quiet place of retreat to comfort, to mourn, to regain strength. I imagine She holds Her arms out to me and I sink into them like a young child (here we are all young, for we will forever be Her kittens). She holds me close as I cry for all the terrible injustices in the world. For Her children who suffer at the hands of my species; who live and die in factory farms, who are killed for sport and profit, who are discarded like inanimate objects. For the earth we continue to ruin in our greed, leaving behind a wasteland in which nothing beautiful can live. I know Bast cannot make these things go away – no deity, no matter how powerful or determined, can undo the whole extent of man’s wrongs. But Her comfort and shared sorrow feed the little flame of Hers in my chest and give me enough strength to go back out into the world and fight. When I imagine how many of Her children are suffering right this moment, hurting and dying without ever knowing the kindness of a human bond, the truth crushes me. But She helps me instead to remember those of Her children whom I have touched, each little ember that grew into a flame and has a chance, now, for a life of love. She reminds me of what I have given, what I still have to give, and of how many are in need. In this room, She lends me the strength to face another day, to make whatever difference in this world I can.

#1845

Mother, I fear.
Mother, I grieve.
Mother, I rage.
Mother, I hurt.

I want to keep hoping but reality’s too bleak. I want to keep dreaming but I can’t deny the truth. All my life I have watched humanity poison its home and wondered, even as a young child, if I would live to see the end of the world. Back then the wars that needed fighting felt overwhelming yet hopeful; now they just feel impossible. Hope dies under the tread of police vehicles. Hope dies from pesticides and poisoned air. Hope dies in jail cells and refugee camps and factory farms. Hope dies at the stroke of a pen. Hope dies to applause, and I feel so old.

You have seen the earth turn for countless ages, Mother, and can look into a future that makes me tremble. What I can only feel approaching like a stormfront, You watch with the clarity of divinity. Do You fear, Mother? Do You grieve? Do You rage and hurt and weep for this species that is so determined to be its own undoing? Yet I feel Your spark burning in my breast and I know that even as You weep, You stand tall. Even as You rage, You teach me how to direct my anger like Your shining, burning arrows to pierce evil’s darkness. Your spark pulses inside me and I remember I am, above all else, a Daughter of Bast. Lady of the Flame, Lady of the Truth, Your strength and wisdom and ferocity are woven deep within my soul. Like You, I will love. Like You, I will fight. Like You, I will use my teeth and claws and righteous anger to protect my home. My home, this earth. My family, every living thing upon it. I am a Daughter of Bast and I do not bow my head.

In the face of darkness, Mother, help me be a source of light.
In the face of chaos, Mother, help me be a force for good.
In the face of surrender, Mother, help me be a source of strength.
In the face of bigotry, Mother, help me be a force for love.

In the face of tomorrow, Mother, help me survive today.

#1802

While I’m thinking about religion, about those who would tell me I can’t worship my goddess because of the color of my skin, Bast interjects:

You humans set so much store by appearance! She sighs a sigh only the Felidae can manage, pitying and frustrated and patient all at once. A tiger’s stripes help her hide when hunting; they aren’t chosen for their beauty. Why must you complicate your lives with such paltry issues? Can a black cat not bear a white kitten? Does a mother not nurse whatever babe cries in hunger? I love all my children equally, regardless of their appearance. If I can love you awkward, gawking humans in all your foolish complexity, then I certainly can love you no matter the color of your pelt. Her frown is as telling as the twitch of a cat’s tail. No mortal will determine who may follow my path, and certainly no mortal will tell my children whether they are deserving of my love or not.

I’m left a little speechless; I don’t often see The Lady with her fur up like this. All I can think is, go mamma!

She smiles. Thank you.

#1796

oh Lady of the Flame
help your servant to uphold Ma’at
help me to not utter lies
to make none to weep
to not be angry without just cause
to not act or judge with undue haste
oh Lady of the Flame
I vow to uphold Ma’at!

oh Lady of the Truth
help your daughter to uphold Ma’at
help me to not stir up strife or disturb the peace
to not pollute myself
to not shut my ears to the words of truth
to wrong none, to do no evil
oh Lady of the Truth
I vow to uphold Ma’at!