[ A prayer to Bast for protection over a dwelling/property. I like to imagine a shining yellow light outlining the space I want protected when I say this prayer, and sometimes even something “bad” (I usually use shadow figures) trying to cross through the light but being repelled. ]

Dua Bast, Lady of the East, of the Flame, and of the Truth!
Dua Bast, Glorious Goddess and Protective Mother Cat!
Dua Bast, Vengeful Eye of Ra, Lady of the Ointment Jar!
Dua Bast, She Who Is Without Equal!
Dua Bast!

Great Lady, I ask You to protect this house and all who dwell within;
let nothing that means harm step onto this property
let nothing that means ill cross over this threshold.
This dwelling is a safe space for all who we welcome here;
may this place be sacred to You and all who enter be under Your protection.
Goddess of Family and Home, secure our borders with tooth and claw;
tear apart that which would harm us and let pass through only that which is good.
May this offering and my love bring You strength as You safeguard us
and may the family we create here bring You much joy.

Dua Bast, Lady of the East, of the Flame, and of the Truth!
Dua Bast, Glorious Goddess and Protective Mother Cat!
Dua Bast, Vengeful Eye of Ra, Lady of the Ointment Jar!
Dua Bast, She Who Is Without Equal!
Dua Bast!


Mother, if I stop to think how many of Your children are suffering or dying right now, right this very moment, I nearly drown. The grief is an unseen tsunami and the hopeless part of me wants to get it over with, let the wave wash me out to sea. How can I have any faith in this world when Your children are tortured, hunted, abandoned, experimented on, killed by a thousand different heartless methods every day simply because their lives are not valued? When they are born in cages and die in cages, having never once felt the sun? I want to reach out, to find and be with them in their dark places, their last moments, but their reality’s terror cripples me. I ignore the truth like an open wound I cannot tend – the only option is to keep going until it heals or hurts too much to move. All across the world Your children do the same and I am their sibling, after all, though unbelievably lucky to have been born in a body and place that ensure me basic rights. Your children have no rights anywhere. No right to live and breed freely in the wild; no right to be the masters of their own bodies; no right to be seen as a living creature at all, let alone an individual with wants and needs and a soul as valuable as every other.

People will say I’m exaggerating. I’m not. You know I’m not. Help me, Mother. Teach me how to shield my heart so I don’t have to harden it. Show me how to embrace the pain without making it part of myself. I refuse to be ignorant; I refuse to be uncaring; I refuse to be hopeless. But it’s so hard to face a future that feels inevitable and a truth that seems too heavy to bear. I have feared all my life that it would be my fate to watch Your children perish by the species, and thus far I have been given no reason to think it might be otherwise. So what do I do? How do I move forward? Help me, Mother.


I need to stop being lazy and start actually recording my tarot readings and other pagan practice stuff, so HERE GOES:

I’ve been in a deep, months-long religious funk, but last week I finally knelt down at my altar and spent time with Bast. Meekly, I laid out my cards to check in with Her (meaning “ask if She was angry with me”). I laid out the following reading:

Question: How do You see our relationship currently?
Card: 3 of Wands
Interpretation: Bast gave me this card back when I first started to work with Her and had asked a similar question. I’ve pulled it a couple times since, and it always gives me a feeling of adventure and excitement. The Shadowscapes deck’s picture is of a traveler standing on the edge of a cliff, overlooking a deep wooded valley splashed with sunlight. At their side stands a small cat, which gazes into the future with them. It’s a very uplifting card, and I was very relieved to pull it. She’s not mad!

Question: Where do You want our relationship to go next?
Card: The Emperor
Interpretation: A major arcana card. Of course. I haven’t drawn The Emperor before, so my understanding of it isn’t solid. I sense an emphasis on structure, concrete goals, and rationality. There is also an urging to be neither too rigid nor too flexible. My exploration into the clair- senses will require more studiousness and planning than I have employed previously. Sounds like tough but rewarding work ahead.

Question: What do You want me to do to accomplish this?
Card: 8 of Pentacles
Interpretation: The pentacles are, for whatever reason, my least favorite suit and I have to work to overcome my dislike of any pentacle card I pull. In this one I read an emphasis on returning to a novice state, to nurture learning and maybe seek a new skill to learn. This may be encouragement to learn new styles of divination and intuition, or perhaps a more physical skill or hobby. I’ve been meaning to mess around with my pendulum…

I’m also interested in developing my psychic senses to better communicate with my gods and other entities, so I conducted a reading about this with Bast and drew the following:

Question: What is blocking my third eye?
Card: The Hermit
Interpretation: A major arcana, no surprise there. I’m not totally sure how to read it, though. Does it mean not enough patience and introspection, or too much? I sense it’s maybe indicating a lack of wisdom and experience, that I don’t yet know how to go about building my psychic powers and that’s why I feel like I’m blocked. At the same time, though, I feel like it’s also cautioning me to not become too much the hermit in this process – that I need to seek out the experience and knowledge of others to help me grow.

Question: How can I unblock it?
Card: 9 of Wands
Interpretation: In the Shadowscapes deck, this card shows a line of sentinels standing ready to defend their land. It speaks of defense, strength, vigilance, perhaps even some final battle for which energy must be reserved. In this context this might caution diligence and vigilance, which makes sense considering I’ve been hoping for an easy and quick fix.

Question: What will the outcome of my current path be?
Card: Queen of Cups
Interpretation: I grinned when I flipped this card over. The Queen of Cups is a card of intuition, emotion, and psychic ability. If she is where my path eventually leads, then I must be doing something right. I think I need to be studious, patient, and retain my strength for this road.

Coincidentally (NOT), I recently offered Bast a fortune cookie and the fortune inside said. “Rome wasn’t built in a day, be patient”. So thanks, Mom, for hammering that lesson home.

I also attempted my first meditation intended to open or unblock my third eye. I’m not very good at quieting my mind, so the session felt unproductive. I did have an interesting mental image of an arrow being fired into the center of my forehead, right into my third eye. It reminded me of the dungeons in Ocarina of Time where you have to shoot the eye icons to make doors open and close. Afterwards I didn’t feel any different or more magical; however, I was kinda woozy and one ear seemed oddly plugged when I sat up. My stomach also hurt the rest of the night, but my stomach always hurts so I can’t read much into that.
Thoughts, anyone?


Kitten Fostering as Service to Bast

My wife and I have been fostering kittens for over two years now. It all started one night when she called me during her shift at the local humane society and said hesitantly, “So… I’m bringing a kitten home,” as if I might refuse. Right – me, refuse a kitten! The little ball of black fluff she brought home was only a few weeks old and had been dropped off at the humane society after hours. With no one else to care for her over the weekend, Chriselle had no choice but to take the kitten back to our apartment. We named her Phedre, and she lived with us until she grew into a two pound monster who loved chewing on her foster moms – at which point we sent her off to her forever home and took in the next kitten. And the next. And the next. In the last two years we have fostered over forty kittens and that number will only keep growing. For Chriselle, it’s just who she is; she works to save animal lives all day, and it’s only natural to her to come home and keep doing that. For me, it’s about service to Bast; I know the cats She brings into our lives need us, and I could no more refuse Her than I could refuse Chriselle that very first time.

This service isn’t always easy, though – nor does it always end in a kitten finding their forever home. Sometimes it ends with us losing the kitten. Thanks to Chriselle’s veterinary skills and a little extra luck from Bast we’ve only lost three kittens so far, but each time hurts like they’re one of our own children. It’s so, so difficult to lose a foster. You blame yourself no matter the circumstance, because at the end of the day you took charge of that tiny life and ultimately let it down. It doesn’t matter that the three we lost all died of unknown and untreatable diseases – I will always carry the guilt of that failure. It’s just who I am, and who Chriselle is too. Animals are our world and we’d willingly lay down our own lives for any of them. We carry the memory of our lost ones close, and I know we remember them each time a foster has a close call.

After the loss of a foster, I have to remind myself that Bast brings each kitten into our lives for a reason. With the fosters we end up losing, I believe that reason is two-fold. One, I believe it’s because She knows we will properly mourn every little life and will never forget a single one of our fosters, even those who were only on this earth for a matter of days. They deserve remembrance, and they will remain in our hearts forever. Second, I believe it’s because She knows the loss won’t break us. We’ll cry together, yes, and deal with our anger and guilt in separate, probably not totally healthy ways, but we won’t stop fostering. We’re prepared for the hard parts of fostering kittens – the loss of sleep and free time, the fleas and vomit and diarrhea, the potential at any moment for a life to gutter out no matter our efforts – but not everyone is. A lot of folks who foster only want older, healthy kittens who will provide the most amount of cuteness for the least amount of effort. And during “kitten season”, when the shelters are all overrun, that’s okay! Thousands of healthy, happy kittens need foster homes until they can be adopted. But we know, and Bast knows, that we’ll always opt to take the risky little runts over the sure-bets any day. It’s who we are, to both our blessing and our detriment.

I absolutely couldn’t do this work without my faith in Bast, and I absolutely couldn’t do it without Chriselle. I’m so lucky to have a partner who is strong, patient, and an endless well of love and caring. Her veterinary knowledge and dedication make it possible for us to foster day-old kittens who need hourly bottle feeding or sick kittens who need constant care and vigilance. She provides the medical support – I just provide the love and prayers. Together, we seem to make a pretty good team. It’s a tough road, no lie, yet I still kneel at Bast’s altar once a week and tell Her, let me do Your will in this world. And this is how She responds.

2017-10-19 20.05.52.jpg

Twix (left) and Candycorn (right) who we lost within days of each other.

2015-12-26 19.13.43

Thomas, the first foster we lost. 


Wherein I Visit a Psychic and Leave With More Questions Than Answers

As you can tell from my previous pieces, I’m not doing so great in the life department right now. A deep spiritual crisis has somehow perfectly coincided with both a supremely busy time in my life (getting married in 25 days, holy shit) and what feels like the worst depression I’ve ever experienced. I’m not just questioning my spiritual path – I’m questioning whether anything beyond the scientifically provable even exists, and whether there’s much point in our existence if it doesn’t. I feel listless and apathetic, and I’m really only getting the absolute minimum done in all aspects of my life. It’s not fun! Super not fun.

All this is to say that for the last few weeks, I’ve pondered seeing a psychic. I thought that if a psychic could tell me something they would have no way of knowing or really guessing, that would be my proof that the spiritual side of our world actually exists. At first I thought the idea was silly, or at least a waste of my money and time, but I finally grew desperate enough to make an appointment. Before I met the woman, Jody, I removed all of my jewelry so she wouldn’t have anything to work from and I could feel confident that her conclusions weren’t biased or just good guesses. I’m not naturally suspicious of psychics, and Jody certainly didn’t give me charlatan vibes; I just knew my pessimistic mindset would magnify any little flaw or uncertainty. So with some trepidation, but also hope, on my part, Jody began the session.

  • Past lives: Jody told me I have lived many, many past lives. Among the ones she touched on were lives in which I was an ancient Egyptian, a monk with a special affinity for animals, a shepherd, an old Irish man with a wolfhound, a young girl who loved horses, an Italian man who spent most of his time sailing, and a Native American tracker who spent much of their time alone in the woods, exploring and bringing back news and discoveries to the tribe.
    • I asked for clarification on the Egyptian life and Jody told me I was an Egyptian man who did energy work (possibly in a religious capacity?). She said I would “hold” energy, and in example of this she raised her arms up as if offering a large bowl to something taller – perhaps a statue. This evidently became my demise, as someone I trusted and for whom I was or had held energy took my life. It was a brutal end to a rather short life, according to Jody. She also said my connection with cats comes from this life, which isn’t surprising but still nice to have confirmed.
    • The Italian lifetime struck a deep chord with me, as it reminded me strongly of my father. Judy said she kept getting “Italian” vibes as she read my past lives, which could have been a good guess based on my hair but would also make sense due to my strong Italian roots.
  • My spirit: Jody conducted what she called a “rose reading” of my spirit and told me it looked like a purple rose so open that its petals were nearly falling off, which she interpreted to mean I have been in a time of development and change for the last three years, but it is coming to a close. I found this particularly interesting since my spiritual path began almost three years ago with Bast’s calling me to Her service.
  • Spirits/Companions: Jody seemed surprised that I had a whole gaggle of spirits with me during the reading. She noted at least three that were spirits of those who had passed on, several animal guides, and a few others of the deity/spiritual entity persuasion. Among the gathered were the following:
    • An older woman who was laughing, evidently amused and pleased by the entire event. Jody didn’t describe this spirit much, only saying that she liked her. I wondered if this might be Bast, as She often gives me the feeling of an amused, loving mother watching her daughter stumble around when learning to walk.
    • The Archangel Raphael, whose presence definitely surprised me; I have very little connection with the Abrahamic religions and if I was going to be visited by an angel, I’d think it would be Lucifer. Jody said he was with me in a healing capacity, which made sense from the rest of her reading. When I told my fiance about this, she pointed out that Raphael is known for bestowing sight to the blind. Ah, I see what you did there, Universe.
    • An old woman who reportedly told Jody that I can’t hear her, though she is always with me. Jody told me this woman had known me when she was alive, but that I hadn’t known her. I suspect this spirit was my mother’s mother, who died when I was just a baby.
    • Two spirits of cats I knew or had known in my life. The first she said I had known many times, which didn’t surprise me; I have often felt that my cats were reincarnations of the same spirit visiting me again and again. Jody described the other cat spirit as large (personality-wise) and extremely loving but kind of doofy. I laughed out loud at this and asked if the spirit could be living now – it sounded exactly like my cat Lorne, who we call a “precious gift” when he does anything remarkably silly or dumb. It was so nice to know he was sitting beside me for the reading, like he wanted me to know I wasn’t alone.
      • Strangely enough, though I got home much later than usual and way past our cats’ dinner time, they greeted me at the door in patient silence instead of their customary starved howling. It was like they knew I was going to be late but that it was for an important reason, so they gave me some slack.
    • An animal guide in the form of a large black panther. There were also two other animal guides with me, but Jody was apparently warned (though I forgot to ask by whom) that she couldn’t tell me what they were – I either needed to discover them for myself or I knew their identities on a deeper level. I wondered after the session if they took the forms of a raven and coyote, as I’ve always been drawn to those animals.
    • Jody also identified what she called my “sister spirit”. She said we had been together in many lives, and each time traded off who was more reserved and who was more lively. We always found each other and brought each other companionship, support, and love. This could honestly match any of my closest friends, so many of whom feel like sisters to me, but I think she could also have been indicating my fiance. For years I’ve longed for this abstract someone, always female, who felt like both a lover and a sister, and I knew pretty much the moment I met my fiance that she was that person. On top of that, my fiance longed for exactly the same thing – though she called this person her “Stranger” while I called them “Shakespeare’s Sister”.
  • My father: The first and main spirit Jody identified was very clearly that of my father, though she originally identified him as a friend and said we had been together in many lifetimes. She told me he kept showing her things I had written about him and told her he was proud of me. She also saw him placing something around my neck, which she later interpreted as him giving me his “pearls of wisdom”.
    • He also had with him a female spirit (we both sensed this was his mother) and a male spirit who seemed like friend or brother. My father’s brother is alive but they weren’t very close, so I don’t think it was his spirit. I suspect, but would love to confirm, that it was the spirit of my fiance’s father. We often feel as if one or both of our fathers are present, and they would have gotten along in real life – it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to think they hang out as spirits.
    • In addition to the two other human spirits, my dad also had two dogs with him, which Jody said made him very happy. When I was a kid we had two golden retrievers whom my father cared for, so I think they are with him in the afterlife as well.
    • Jody indicated that my father had died unexpectedly from something like an illness, but she seemed hesitant to define it further. Considering my father was originally hospitalized for a stroke, but died of complications related in part to his treatment by the hospital staff, this uncertainty makes sense. More importantly, she said my father knew (either consciously or subconsciously) for about a year that he would be passing soon and was okay with it. He felt ready to go, and lived that last year to its fullest. This detail was particularly comforting, and seemed to be confirmed by actual events – that year was my parents’ first without any kids in the house, so they spent a lot of time together doing new things, and my father actually became sick while on a family vacation with myself and my mother. Jody also told me that my father was happy as a spirit, because he could go anywhere he wanted and wasn’t confined to a physical body. She told me to hang up wind chimes as a way for him to signal his presence, which I will definitely do.
    • Jody told me my father wants me to write. He said I have a book inside me that I need to write, possibly because it might help people. This statement originally confused me, since my preferred writing style is very short and discordant – not exactly the stuff of long novels. Jody seemed to think my father meant some sort of spiritual or self-help book, possibly based on my own experiences, but this didn’t feel correct. I’m not a huge fan of those kinds of books in the first place, and am not yet in a place emotionally where I would feel comfortable acting like an authority on, well, anything. But then a few days later I remembered that I had indeed been pondering a book idea! I gave it up immediately because I couldn’t fathom how to go about researching the topic (paranormal activity in relation to natural disasters), but it sits at the back of my mind anyway. Could this be what my dad was indicating? He definitely would have found the concept interesting, and would have encouraged my research. I’m super intimidated by the prospect, though, so I’m not sure yet what I’ll do.
    • To top this all off, I came home and found my dad’s keychain on the floor of my room. I keep it on a bookshelf where I have set up a kind of ancestor shrine to him. It’s not impossible for my cats to get onto that shelf, but they usually knock more down when they do because it’s a cramped space. This time, though the keychain was on the floor, nothing else had been disturbed – even the cloth underneath that would surely have been rumpled if a cat had jumped onto it.
  • My aura: Jody conducted an aura/chakra reading, in which she reiterated that I was doing a lot of healing on different levels (indicated by the color green). The most interesting thing she mentioned during this reading, though, was that my crown chakra’s aura was a light lavender speckled with stardust, and that this indicated that I am able to “know” things without knowing why. The combination of lavender and stardust, which I immediately imagined as freckles, made me think of Bast. She is associated with the color purple and lavender in general, and I always imagine her dusted with freckles. That this particular aura was also associated with my spiritual connection and this “knowing” which I can feel but never explain felt like a jolt of desperately needed evidence. Jody never named Bast or otherwise indicated Her presence, but when she told me about the state of my crown chakra, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of rightness.
  • Overall: Jody emphasized throughout the reading that I am a healer and empathetic person who has difficulty shielding myself from the pain of the world – the understatement of the century, if my general mood through 2017 is anything to go by. Jody told me I can give too much of myself and must make sure not to take on others’ pain or sorrow, but to try to lift them up with my own light. This is actually something I’ve worked on with my therapist, but haven’t made much progress; it’s very easy for me to adopt someone’s bad mood and incredibly hard to retain my good mood if I’m around someone negative.
    • Jody indicated my third eye is just barely opening, and that I need to nurture it through confidence and faith in order to open myself more to my spiritual guides, companions, and messages from the universe. She told me to listen to my dreams, look for signs, and take chances on things I want to do or learn, especially if they are creative activities.
Overall, the session left me reeling and totally uncertain as to how much I believed and how what I believed would shape my spiritual path. Unfortunately, my general malaise hasn’t lifted yet, making it even harder to do the soul searching and difficult mental processes necessary to sift through everything to find the valuable bits. The session was definitely interesting, though, and I think over time I will get more and more out of it. Right now, though, I’m still processing. There are questions I never got even remotely close to answering – where were Tanim and Daren in all of this, for example? or Inanna? – and answers to questions I don’t yet know how to ask. Part of me wants to go back to ask for more detail, to dig deeper into whatever Jody can find, but part of me knows that could be a dangerous slope. It’d be so easy to accept everything she said at face value and operate accordingly, yet I don’t think even she would support that tactic. So I’ll be sifting for gold dust for a while, I guess, and trying to shut up that voice of doubt I can’t ever be totally rid of.

If you actually read to the end of this, wow, damn. I’d love to hear your feedback or insight!


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.


[ 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.


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 plants 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.


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.


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.


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!



Sometimes I feel I must burn like a torch in the darkness, lit from within by divinity’s gift, sunlight and moonglow and starshine pouring out my eyes, my open mouth, my skin all aglow and hair stirring in the heat. Sometimes I feel I must be overflowing with love, radiating the hot fire of my devotion so brightly that moths dance in my light, cats drowse in my warmth, and those around me can’t help but notice my incandescence, even if they cannot comprehend the source. Sometimes I feel I am born of fire, shaped by stars and moonlight, and the love with which I flare is infinite, a blessing to embrace and then release back to the universe in a never ending cycle.

[ The above image was created by my amazingly talented frienemy Inno! Her art is beautiful, as is her writing, and she takes commissions! *hint hint* Visit her Patreon to see more, and consider supporting her! ]


working with a mother goddess means
watching Her bear Her claws at your enemies
so you learn how to bear yours next time;
working with a mother goddess means
standing up to bullies and bigotry
and feeling Her warm smile on your skin;
but working with a mother goddess also means
saying something cruel or thoughtless
and feeling Her chilly disappointment;
working with a mother goddess means
stumbling like a cub for a time
so you can one day run like a lion


nothing to say for a while here, just a great stillness within and maybe the merest ripples on the surface, just the wind playing over the water, though, not anything of any real consequence passing beneath, but last night at least a precious gift from the Mother, two of the lost ones, most faithful and beloved of sons, and my dream tears as I held them in my arms and thanked them for coming, for visiting, for reminding me I am never alone and that they watch over me always, spirits that walk all worlds, souls that reach through time, and even if I have nothing to say this morning I am still grateful for that, for them, for Her


How do I know any of this is real? What proof do I have that can stand against the test of science? None. I have no proof you can hold in your hand; I have no evidence you can examine in a lab. I have only this joy bubbling up in my throat, this gratitude that brings tears to my eyes, this love so much bigger than myself that it feels like a sun trapped between my ribs. I have only this feeling of divinity’s presence and an instinctive knowledge that I am not alone – that I have never been alone. I can’t take a picture of it. I can’t measure or weigh it. Yet I know this is real because I feel the Lady’s love pulsing through every cell in my being, urging me to dance, to sing, to laugh and cry and yell. To embrace Her path. To embrace life. If that’s not enough evidence for you, I understand. But it’s enough for me.


Dua Bast, Lady of the East!
Dua Bast, Lady of the Flame!
Dua Bast, Vengeful Eye of Ra!
Dua Bast, Protective Mother Cat!

You who are Goddess of Family and Home
become home for this one who has nowhere to go
become family for this one who has no one to turn to
may Your claws rend their enemies, oh Tearer
may Your tongue soothe their wounds, oh Lady of Truth
may Your love be light in the darkness, oh Fiery One
You who are warrior and mother both
teach this one to be their own champion
teach them to be their own caretaker
walk by their side, Invisible Paw
so that Your presence may bring them hope

Dua Bast, Lady of the East!
Dua Bast, Lady of the Flame!
Dua Bast, Vengeful Eye of Ra!
Dua Bast, Protective Mother Cat!
Dua Bast!

[ A prayer for anyone in need, but intended specifically for children and women in bad situations. ]


I can hear the Lady’s laughter as I look back through years and years of writing. See? She says, voice rich with amusement. You have always been writing to me. You just didn’t know it at the time. And She’s right; it’s all here. Prayer, supplication, veneration, burning questions and stubborn faith. I knew Her, just not Her name or true form. I thought it was Providence, that remote and unfathomable concept, which moved the universe on the grandest scale, when all along divinity walked right beside me. I wonder, did She mind my ignorance? No, She answers, ever the patient mother, I knew you would see me when it was time. As a kitten begins its life with eyes closed and must move through the world blind for a time, so too must you. Do kittens rush the journey to sight? Of course not. Your eyes opened at the proper time and now you can explore your world with a new sense. I think, that’s very metaphorical. She purrs through Her laughter. It’s not a metaphor; you’ve always been a cat. Physical form doesn’t matter to the spirit, or to a mother.


Before the Great Mother Cat, let yourself become as a cub. In times of struggle She takes the four-legged form which best wields tooth and claw, a lioness rampant who will defend Her child from all enemies. Let Her curl around you, little kitten, and be lulled into peace by the beat of Her eternal heart. The Lady of the East is mother to all Her children, feline and human alike. Embrace Her protection and love as only the child who trusts unconditionally can. What sorrows you bring to Her breast, She will ease; what spirits approach with ill-intent, She will bare Her teeth against. Trust the Lady to know when to hold you close and when to let you explore, and you will come to no harm while under Her watchful golden eye.


The goddesses who have sought me out are so different from me. Bast and Inanna both are goddesses of love, of sensuality and sexuality, of hot desert days and cold desert nights. What do these aspects mean for me, the one who guards her body like a sealed tomb and yearns always for the rain? You’d think such deities would want nothing to do with someone like me. The desert calls to me but it’s not a place in which my soul could take root. I can find pleasure in flesh but it never feels completely effortless. I feel the urge to sing and dance but can barely even bring myself to do them when I’m alone. These goddesses are both so unbridled, so unashamed, so free! I envy them the nerve to waltz into the Underworld, the ferocity to tear down their enemies, the confidence to embrace love in all its forms. I envy their self-assurance and ease in their immortal bodies. It’s hard to imagine either could ever be afraid or weary or uncertain. Do they realize they’ve picked some anxious little asexual girl with absolutely no rhythm who overheats when the temperature tops sixty-five degrees? I want to make them proud, I do. I just wonder how such goddesses could ever be proud of having someone like me as a follower.


I don’t know if I’ll see you again, Little Flame, and the thought breaks my heart. I’m sorry I can’t be by your side while you struggle to live. You must be so scared, so lonely. I feel like I’ve failed you and The Lady both, though I know the situation is out of my control. Still, I worry and I pray and I try not to lose hope. I know you’re in good hands; I just wish you were in mine instead. Whatever happens, I promise I won’t forget you. If you must return to The Lady’s arms, then so be it. I would rather you pass on to the Eternal Land than suffer in this one. Visit me, though, will you? We only had a few days together, and may not have any more, but I love you and I’ll miss you terribly. If you can’t come back to me in this life, then at least stop by from time to time in the next. I’ll be looking for your bright coat and listening for your gravelly voice. You’ll always be welcome in my home, be you living or spirit. I’m with you, Little Flame, even if I can’t be by you physically. Remember that even if your time here is brief, you are loved greatly. You will not be forgotten.



I am hesitant to approach, to even write or utter Your name, but still I sense Your vast, ancient presence all around me. Great Lady, are You truly reaching out to me? Humble though I am, I can understand why The Lady of Flame called me to Her path; I have walked it unknowingly my entire life, seeking a bond with Her children that I could only have with the Mother Cat Herself. I was awed by Her choice, but it made sense after some soul-searching. You, though? How is it possible a deity so powerful, so grand even deigns to notice my single, solitary little life when all the world and heavens bow to You? I hear Your call yet I still think this must be some mistake on my part. Perhaps You seek the ones for whom I am scribe, and I am only misinterpreting Your appearance in my dreams. The Lord Sun and Prince Moon may be worthy of Your focus, but me? Surely not. I am only the scribe; what could the Queen of Heaven want with me?


I often wonder what Bast, ancient and vastly worshiped goddess that She is, thinks about Tanim and Daren. Does She look upon them as lesser gods, little upstarts who could never hold a candle to Her great flame? Does She see them more or less as equals, at least within the realms of this one human’s heart? Or does She see them as unworthy of notice, just figments or ghosts or words? I haven’t asked; I suppose I’m afraid to know the answer, lest I find She’s unhappy with their presence. I don’t think that’s the case, though, or I would have heard about it by now. No, instead when I imagine Her interacting with my prickly boys, maybe standing in the same room as them or watching them the way She watches me, I sense the amused patience of an adult cat to a kitten. I think Bast likes Tanim, though She recognizes in him the need for a good swat upside the ears – in a motherly way, of course. Bast is very supportive of accepting, even embracing, who and what you are; since Tanim struggles most with these exact issues, I think She may have a small soft spot for him. Daren on the other hand… where Bast might see Tanim as a kitten who respects her seniority, I think with Daren She sees a feral tomcat trying to stare down a mountain lion. I don’t get the sense that She is offended by his animosity or bold challenge; in fact, I think She may find it amusing. She doesn’t see him as a threat (as he certainly does with Her), but neither is She going to let down Her guard so he can get a swipe in. They will never be friends, if beings like them could ever have such bonds, but they may learn to politely ignore each other. Perhaps coming from such an extensive pantheon has given Bast a more well-rounded, accepting view of sharing a devotee with other gods. Or maybe She’s like the older cat who tolerates the younger ones until they get too close, and then puts them in their place with a lazy swat.


I remember that moment like it’s preserved in amber or under glass: sunset deepening rapidly to blue twilight, the air humming with insects, a hot day turning over into warm evening. I remember stepping into the darker shadows of the trees, tall pines perfuming the air with their sharp scent. Even just standing beneath the trees, it felt like stepping out of civilization itself, into another time and place undisturbed by humanity’s presence. And then, before even my feet touched the dirt path, I saw it; coming down the path from the direction of the mountains, footfalls silent, the bobcat approached me as if I were part of its everyday sights. I froze, not daring to take even a breath for fear the sound might shatter the impossible moment. I had never witnessed such grace and beauty than this wild feline; I doubt I ever will again, unless I’m lucky enough to witness another of its kin. Such a small body, to contain such power and wisdom! The creature padded down the trail past me with barely a glance for the clumsy human watching in awe and disappeared into the dimming twilight. I let out the breath I’d held and pressed my hand to my heart, whispering a thank you to whatever force sent this beautiful sign to me that night. Back then, I didn’t know the source of such a blessing, but now I do. Now I know this was just one of many signs from Bast, patron goddess even before I knelt before Her altar. I didn’t recognize the sign for what it was, just as I failed to recognize other signs She sent me over the years – perhaps I just wasn’t ready to hear Her call or follow Her path. She was patient with me, though, and I heard Her when I was finally ready for the journey She offered. Still, I thank Her for sending such signs throughout my life, a mother cat gently nudging Her child in the right direction while still letting her pick her own path.


Oh Lady, You must shake Your head at me sometimes, smiling fondly the way a parent does while watching a stumbling child. I never mean to doubt You, truly I don’t. It’s just that the world is a big place, a scary place, a cruel place. I can hardly bear to let any of Your children out of my arms when I know what dangers await them beyond my home; predators, poisoning, abuse, sickness, abandonment… I try not to let the endless possibilities run through my mind but it’s so hard when I know what my own species is capable of. I can’t help but think I can protect each tiny kitten if I just keep them forever. But that isn’t Your wish, is it? You don’t send Your children my way so I can shelter them from the world; You send them to me so I may help them grow, learn, heal, and then pass them on to their destined homes. I know You are teaching me many things in this process: patience; surrender; acceptance; trust. I know I must trust You to watch over Your children when I no longer can, and trust You to know to whom they truly belong. Like a parent sending their child off to college, I must trust I have done my part in preparing them for the world beyond my door. These little ones aren’t mine to keep – they belong to others out there, to children like themselves who will love and grow with them for many years. I know that’s right. I know that’s how it should be. And I do trust You. Forgive me when I stumble, Lady. If I fear too greatly, it is only because I love Your children so greatly as well.


[ Writing prompt via my arch nemesis: “Mage does a pilgrimage through a desert temple” ]

This is not your land, the sandstorms wail. This is not your place, the blazing sun hisses. Turn back, turn back, the dry winds moan. You will not survive here, the jackals howl.

But still she walks. Across savannah grasses, rocky outcroppings, desert sands. Over dried streambeds and through wide, still rivers. She walks across the entirety of the dark continent, a solitary traveler beneath a wheeling cobalt sky. She could have sailed her slim black ship up the Great River and to the very doorstep of her destination, but then it would not be a pilgrimage. Every step she takes is a sign of her respect for another creature, so unlike her and yet… similar. She recognizes the similarities between them, few as there are, and it is for these reasons she makes the pilgrimage. There are few she truly respects; this is one.

In time her journey brings her finally to the first branches of the Great River, and these she follows north for countless miles as they flow into the larger artery and toward the distant sea. In this way she comes to the goddess’ city, surrounded as it is on three sides by wide canals. In this reality the city stands brilliant and whole, a wonder of ancient architecture and affluence, and yet also stands empty of human inhabitants. No civilians, no guards, no royalty or merchants or farmers. Even the grand temple, sharp and new as if it has just risen from the desert sands, is tended by no worshipers or priests. No music or chanting float from its dark corridors. This is not a place for humans.

This is a place for cats. She steps carefully as she makes her way through the city and toward the temple at its center, for everywhere lay felines of every size and color, basking in the hot afternoon sun. Some are small, domestic cats with triangular faces and pointed ears. Others are much larger, wild cats with paws the size of dinner plates and teeth made for breaking bone. They seem to exist together in perfect harmony; kittens dance and play between groups, crawling over sleeping lionesses and tagging cheetah cubs into the game. The heavy air thrums with the buzz of a thousand cats’ deep purring.

The cats pay her no mind until she reaches the temple’s entrance; here the doorway is guarded by two wild felines larger than any she has passed, one the tawny color of the desert and the other black as night. They watch her keenly as she approaches. When she bows her head to them in acknowledgement, they move aside silently. Inside the temple is dark, the cats needing no torches to see the way – and luckily neither does she. She moves as surely and softly as any feline, following the hallways and antechambers deeper into the structure. Finally she comes to the altar room, a masterpiece of architecture and beauty, and approaches the giant statue at its far end. More cats nap at its base, curled up on the stone feet and nestled in the crook of the statue’s lifted arms. One even bats idly at the ankh held up in one stone hand.

“Greetings, Lady of Flame,” she says to the statue as she bows her head respectfully. “It’s time we talked, you and I. I believe we have an acquaintance in common.”

The statue begins to glow.


Dua Bast, Lady of the East, of the Flame, and of the Truth!
Dua Bast, She Who is Without Equal!
Dua Bast, Fierce and Protective Mother Cat!
On this night I come before You to remember those who have passed,
to honor the memory of Your children with whom I shared a life
and who now reside with You in the Eternal Land.
With this candle I remember Fluffy.
With this candle I remember Barny.
With this candle I remember Trouble.
With this candle I remember Adam.
With this candle I remember Charlie.
With this candle I remember Merlin.
With this candle I remember Deuce and Drucilla, wherever they may be now.
With this candle I remember those who yet live; Bruno, Abby, Phedre, Hannibal, Fezzik, and Inigo.
May this offering of flame bring You joy as You watch over their spirits;
may this offering of food bring You strength as You protect Your living children.
On this night I honor You as the Mother Cat, sharp of claw and strong of heart,
keen of eye and fierce of love,
and all of Your children in this world and the next.
Dua Bast, Lady of the East, of the Flame, and of the Truth!
Dua Bast, She Who is Without Equal!
Dua Bast, Fierce and Protective Mother Cat!
Dua Bast!


You were in this land too, weren’t You? Under a different name, a different guise, but You were here all along. Instead of arid desert sands You stalked temperate forest floors; instead of standing at the banks of the great river You stood on the shore of the great ocean. You were known to the people of cedar and salmon just as You were known to the people of temples and pyramids. To them You were the ghost in the fog, silent predator with eyes of amber and haunting scream that echoed through the mountains. Did they dance for You around sacred fires? Did they summon You in rites of life and death? Or were You too much a mystery, a flash of firelit eyes or fleeting shadow, a creature to be feared and respected? When I seek that place of peace inside me I see You sitting before me in this form, fur tawny gold and eyes ancient and wise. Mountain lion, puma, cougar, You have as many names in this land as epithets in the land of Your worship. To see You in this form, to know You in this place… it honors and humbles me greatly.