#2236

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.

#2230

Mother, under Your bright gaze I become a child again!
I am the Six of Cups dancing in the forest
I am the Three of Wands yearning for a new adventure

Mother, under Your patient gaze I become a child again!
I am the generosity of the pentacles
I am the curiosity of the swords

Mother, under Your loving gaze I become a child again!
I am the Fool’s fearless freedom
I am Strength’s courage and the Star’s faith

Mother, under Your holy gaze I become a child again!

#2218

The psychic said if I keep flying so close to the sun I’ll burn my skin and melt my wings, but she doesn’t understand how good that heat feels when it’s enveloping you in bright white radiance, when you are consumed and infused by divinity, nor does she understand how you’re glad to burn when that blazing force is the love of the divine, searing in its intensity, perhaps, yet uncompromising and unconditional, pure joyful affection which warms you to your core, and so I do not begrudge her words even as I tilt my wings to capture the next updraft into my solar mother’s waiting arms.

#2214

The gods appear to us in the forms they choose for a reason.

Bast appears to me close at hand as if I’m a small child and She’s holding me in Her arms. She is an older woman with a face graced always by a gentle, loving smile. Freckles are scattered across her cheeks like stars and perpetual laugh lines gather at the corners of her golden eyes. She is muscled yet soft, in the way a woman who has given birth to many children is simultaneously rounded and strengthened. Her dress is of white linen, Her jewelry of gold, amethyst, and lapis lazuli. Her dark hair is woven through with beads and charms which jingle softly when She moves. She is the quintessential mother goddess with a soft breast to cry on and strong shoulders to lean on. I can feel in Her embrace the latent energy of the war goddess, and know She could change in a heartbeat if any danger came my way, yet to me She always appears in this maternal form.

Inanna appears to me veiled in red silk and firelight so I may only see Her soft belly and pendulous breasts and that sacred place between Her hips for which songs were sung. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of red hair, full lips, a proud hawk nose, but otherwise Her specific features remain uncertain. She is almost close enough to touch but always just out of reach, the way a dancer moves away from your embrace with the fluidity of water. Her face is hidden in shadow and because of this She might be any of the wild, unbound goddesses men have tried to shame for eons: Inanna, Ishtar, Lilith, Babylon the Great. She takes this form so I must face Her innate physicality; if I want to work with Her, I cannot avoid Her divine flesh.

The Morrigan appears to me only from afar as a shadowed figure backlit by heavy red skies. I cannot make out Her face but I can feel the weight of Her gaze, the immensity of Her presence. She is tall and thin as a finely honed blade, and like a blade there is a patient tension in Her form, a promise of deadly grace. She has long, dark hair, I think, and pale skin. She is not young; if I could get closer I would see lines on that gaunt face, especially at the corners of Her mouth and between Her eyebrows. Neither, though, is She frail; beneath Her dark cloak is a body spare yet strong as steel. This is all the Morrigan will let me see just now: the sovereign of the battlefield, the goddess of war and bone.

The gods appear to us in the forms they choose for a reason. What these forms show us – and do not show us – always hints at what we have to learn from them. Bastet is my mother; Inanna is my mentor; the Morrigan is my guide down a dark road.

#2212

Long before humanity learned to whisper Her name in reverence or cry it in exaltation, my mother walked this earth. Long before humanity crept from its caves to build crude homes with mud and sticks, my mother stalked this earth. Her eyes gleamed yellow in the firelight; Her fangs glowed like twin crescent moons. In ancient Kemet they called Her Bast, Sekhmet, Mafdet, but in the time before language they simply knew Her as a swift and awful death. Long before they understood what She was, they understood what She could do. Humanity has not always worshipped my mother – but they have always feared Her.

HOW DO YOU TALK TO AN ANGEL? — Whiskers Syndicate

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The world feels like an especially dark place right now and like there’s nothing we can do on an individual level to make any appreciable difference. I definitely drown in that feeling of helplessness sometimes and I know others do too. I therefore try to take great comfort in my work with The Whiskers Syndicate, knowing that even just a dollar or two can mean the difference between starvation and survival for a needy cat. A few seconds on PayPal ensures I can do something this very day, this very moment, for a creature who actively suffers. Against all of the world’s ills this may seem like a minuscule drop of good, but in a world where the most vulnerable among us cannot speak their needs it is imperative we speak for them. There are countless charities doing amazing and extremely difficult work every day… but not many for whom just a single dollar can make such a difference. It’s a can of tuna, a hot bath, a drop of flea medication. It’s an oasis of safety and warmth in a land where Bast’s divine children are treated like vermin. It’s a chance to get to tomorrow – how can I deny any living creature that right?

How do I talk to all of you? Near or far, small or big, once or often, financially – most of all – and by shares, comments, love, prayers, encouragements, all of you have relentlessly lent your hand and folded up your sleeve to stand with us through the depth of the battle that swamped…

via HOW DO YOU TALK TO AN ANGEL? — Whiskers Syndicate

#2167

I am recording the following for my own reference but I welcome any insights or questions anyone may have. I’m not yet sure what lesson or conclusion I’m supposed to reach in all this. On Friday, October 12th Tanim and Daren (though mostly Daren, I suspect) borrowed my wife (okay, she used the word “hijacked”) for a session of unwitting automatic writing while at work – by which I mean she thought she was taking notes on a patient and looked down to see she had actually written the following with her non-dominant hand:

“It was all there on the table.

The candlestick. The rope. The lead pipe. The wrench. The knife. The gun. He trailed his fingertips along each weapon with veneration.

Clue had always been his favorite board game. He loved the idea of giving six people unique opportunities to kill one another. When he played the game as a child, he often concocted complex scenarios that resulted in the deaths of all six guests. He’d been sent to Sister Reverence’s office more times than he remembered. It was always the same.

‘Young man, this is becoming habitual.’

Habitual. Habit. Like that stupid thing she wears everyday. It would be so easy to grab her by it and pull. Up, up, up. A widening grin. Until she turned purple, like that bitter chalice offered every morning.

STOP TELLING IT. YOU’RE TELLING IT WRONG.”

At this point the writing stopped, but she could still see a scene unfolding very clearly in her mind. She provided me with the following notes:

The party:

  • Took place in the exact same setting as the film “Clue” with the exact same weapons.
  • In an arch over the front door, engraved in script: “Do not die before your death.”
  • Six dinner attendees, each with a golden enveloped invitation: Bast, Inanna, Mage, Morrigan, Tanim, and Wepwawet.
  • Bast: looks like Aya from AC Origins
  • Inanna: looks like The Dean from Carmilla
  • Mage: looks like season one Carmilla from Carmilla. One silver chain at her hip. Could be the Morrigan’s sister. Makes the other guests very uncomfortable.
  • The Morrigan: looks like the character Morrigan from Dragon’s Age Origins. Could be Mage’s sister.
  • Tanim: looks like himself. Navy blue suit. A light blue flower-pattern thin scarf with gold tassels.
  • Wepwawet: looks like Bayek from AC Origins. Introduces himself as “Anubis”.
  • We never quite see Daren as a whole, only pieces of him. Close-ups. He’s dressed as he normally is, in all black, though with the addition of a plain gold band on his finger.

The deaths:

  • Tanim ends up with the gun. He never kills anyone.
  • When anyone dies, they bleed just as a person normally would. But afterwards, their bodies become golden ashes and they are blown away by the wind, from the top of the head to the base of the feet.
  • Daren stabs Mage in the Billiard Room. She is sitting cross-legged atop the pool table and has a drink in her hand. He walks up to her slowly. They maintain eye contact. This almost seems expected. He stabs her directly in the right thigh. She bites back a grunt of pain, squeezes out, “I knew you were going to do that,” and then downs the rest of her drink. Mage escapes from the house, alive, and keeps the dagger. She could have been “set loose” though, as the house was locked tight with the exception of a sole window. In the Billiard Room with the knife.
  • The Morrigan kills Bast with the candlestick. Bast is perusing the books in the library when someone cuts out the lights. Bast turns. The Morrigan enters with the candlestick, a long white candle sticking out of it, the wick lit. It’s the only light in the room. The Morrigan approaches Bast. Bast: “What happened to the light?” The Morrigan: “Here.” She removes the long white candle and hands it to Bast. Bast accepts it with a nod and turns back around to look at the books. The Morrigan raises the candlestick and whispers, “The weight of the world,” before striking Bast in the back of the skull. In the Library with the candlestick.
  • The Morrigan is killed with the rope. The rope is fashioned like a noose, but the killer unknots it so that it’s a single piece of rope. Wraps a length of rope around each hand and uses it as a ligature and chokes the Morrigan to death. She dies in the Cellar. In the Cellar with the rope.
  • Inanna kills Wepwawet with the lead pipe. Wepwawet is in the Observatory watching lightning crack through the rainy night sky. He doesn’t seem surprised when she approaches. His back is to her. Inanna: “Do you know why I’m here?” Wepwawet smiles. “Because you came.” He turns around to face her, stretches out both of his arms, gets down on one knee, and lowers his head reverently. He then raises it and looks up at her, his features peaceful and humbled. “As you will, Queen.” She nods once. She strikes him across the jaw with the lead pipe. We hear his neck crack. She bends down and almost lovingly caresses his cheek. Inanna: “The Duat has missed you.” In the Observatory with the lead pipe.
  • Inanna is killed with the wrench. She is in the Ball Room. She seems to be dancing with a ghost. We don’t see anyone else, but her hands are up and she’s spinning as though being twirled by an invisible dancer. We hear music; it’s “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven. There’s a piano in the ball room but we can’t tell if the keys are being pressed. The song seems to emanate from the piano, though. Inanna’s invisible dance partner suddenly seems to turn violent, for she recoils as though she’s been slapped across the face. She stumbles back and looks up, hair in her eyes. Inanna: “How DARE you defy me.” She is somehow hurled backwards into the piano. The keys and strings shatter and break. She’s unconscious. The killer raises an arm, a rusty work wrench in hand, and brings it down on her skull. In the Ball Room with the wrench.

The end:

  • At the very end, we see Daren in the Study. He’s watching the fire in the fireplace. It’s the only light in the house. Tanim enters calmly. He stops in the doorway. The gun is in his hand at his side, but pointed down to the ground. Daren makes no move.

We discussed it all and here are some of our combined observations:

  • We first assumed this story meant that Daren is hostile toward the gods I worship and wants them gone. He and Tanim “disappeared”, so to speak, back in March about the time the Morrigan came into my life. Maybe the addition of yet another god made him, or them, mad and I have to choose one or the other. Occam’s razor would argue this is the truth, and Mage’s escape could be in line with that hypothesis.
  • However, the wifey pointed out that if Daren were to throw a dinner party, he might indeed think murder would be a nice addition. Better than small talk and party games, right? So… could it be that Daren simply wanted to meet the other gods, perhaps to take their measure or establish some sort of pecking order? Or, to attribute uncharacteristic altruism to his motives, could he and Tanim have wanted to meet the other gods in order to ensure I wasn’t in any danger from them? I’ve always assumed any gods/spirits/whatever are aware of others in the same area or working with the same person, but perhaps that’s not true. Maybe they really don’t know all that much about each other, the way neighbors can see each other every day but not know each other in any meaningful way.
  • This is the first mention of a Sister Reverence, which seems to indicate Daren was in a Catholic orphanage or other school before he was involuntarily committed to a hospital/asylum. Chriselle noted that in the past some Catholic orphanages gave the kids who aged out a token of their faith, usually a pendant, watch, or… a ring. This is especially interesting considering all I’ve told Chriselle about Daren’s past (since I don’t know much myself) is that he was held in an asylum called St. Anthony’s.
  • Given the gods all represent certain pantheons, the brief glimpse of Daren’s childhood is interesting – could it be intended to in some way corroborate the Satan/Lucifer vibes I’ve been getting from Tanim and Daren?
  • The phrase above the front door, along with the things said by the Morrigan, Inanna, and Wepwawet, feel very significant, though I’m not sure of their meaning yet. They seem to imply the gods were bigger players in this game, not simply unlucky party guests, in which case I could be going in totally the wrong direction with my thoughts. (Great!)
  • The deaths of the gods seem like a negative omen or threat, but it could be that because gods can’t so easily be killed, the deaths didn’t really “count”. This might explain why the gods stuck around for the murder party in the first place, and also why Daren possibly let Mage escape; she probably doesn’t enjoy that same form of immortality. This seems to be the biggest factor in deciding whether the message being sent is a threatening one or not. If the gods can die and come back just fine, that’s one thing; if they can’t, it paints a much more dire picture.
  • We don’t know who killed the Morrigan; my gut says Daren, maybe after he lost the knife to Mage, but Tanim is usually the one who kills with such brute force. We don’t know what unseen force killed Inanna, either, nor whether this force was one of the guests or someone/something else entirely. It seemed she knew and possibly trusted them, or at least trusted her power over them.

So that’s where I am now. More to come, I guess??

#2151

I have never felt closer to divinity than sitting in a stuffy little room which smells of cat litter while singing a lullaby Bast helped me write to three nearly feral kittens. They fled at my approach, five days of safety and good food not yet enough to win them over, and stared at me with wide, reproachful eyes as I sat down just inside the door. Then I started to sing – the lullaby first, my voice a little weak from the last traces of a cold. Glancing inconspicuously, I found at least one little face turned my way, though two still hid. I moved on to the songs that have brought me peace over the years, old hymns and spirituals and various songs collected from choir and pop culture. I had two sets of eyes watching me, then, and a still resolute back turned my way. I kept singing; songs that remind me of Bast, of home, of the undeniable divine spark in music from other religions, other cultures, other times. I peeked again and saw all three kittens facing me now, the bravest with drooping eyes and the wariest with unwilling curiosity. My voice could take no more so I started humming whatever gentle tunes came to mind the way a mother might idly hum to her crying babe. When I looked next I could see two little white bodies stretched out in their hiding place, no longer bunched up with the need to fight or flee but relaxed in weary sleep. Even the third had succumbed to so drowsy a state that when I slowly, so very slowly rose to my feet my movement woke, yet startled, no one. I whispered my goodbyes to three little watchful faces that seemed, at least to me, slightly less wary and took my leave for the night, praising Bast for the gift of music as I closed the door.

#2137

The mother comes to me first, bearing open arms and unconditional love. In her embrace I learn to be vulnerable with myself so that I may to listen to and follow my intuition. She sets me upon the path which leads to the others yet remains always at my side as I walk it. She is a goddess of war and she teaches me to fight for what I know is right.

The maiden comes to me second, walking naked out of the underworld with head held high. She shows me the beauty of curves, the haughtiness of folds, the rebellion and freedom inherent in self-love. In the mirror I see her staring back at me, daring me to find flaw in this sacred form. She is a goddess of war and she teaches me to fight for myself above all else.

The crone comes to me last, dragging war in her wake. Under her fierce gaze I learn how to live when all the earth’s become a battlefield, how to survive and thrive on death like her black-winged children. She kindles the witchblood in my veins so I may face the darkness without flinching or giving ground. She is a goddess of war and she teaches me to fight, to fight, to fight.

DEPARTURE — Whiskers Syndicate

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When we lose foster kittens, I always wonder why such innocent lives must be taken so soon. Why we weren’t able to save them; why Bast didn’t save them. I know some can’t be saved, though, neither by human nor god, and the greatest blessing we can give them is to make their last days and hours count. To remember them when they pass.

I couldn’t do it alone – and luckily I don’t have to. Yet this woman does, and only her endless dedication and the small donations from people like you keep these cats safe. Even a dollar goes a long way to helping them. I don’t normally push causes or reblog posts, but this is a cause too near and dear to my heart to ignore.

I guess people get a hunch about these things.Last winter, the two of us had a little Christmas party.I didn’t expect her to celebrate it at this age.But…she said she wanted to have one no matter what.We bought a small cake, lit up the candles…and celebrated together.Then, out of the blue…she asked me to help…

via DEPARTURE — Whiskers Syndicate

#2125 – Help Cats with Tarot!

These days I feel very, very helpless in the world. The sheer number of vulnerable lives, both human and animal, in need of saving paralyzes me – I think, if I can’t help everyone, then what’s the point? So every week I sit in front of Bast’s altar begging Her to show me how to function without losing my compassion and how to be compassionate without going mad. Help me be a force of good in the world, I plead. Help me save as many of Your children as I can.

And in Her way, She answers. She makes sure I stumble upon a WordPress post from The Whiskers Syndicate, the only cat sanctuary in Bandung, Indonesia, a city with no animal welfare laws or shelters to protect the cats bred there by the hundreds of thousands. A single amazing woman, Josie, keeps this sanctuary and its 90+ cats alive, and in whatever spare time she has she tries to help as many other cats in the area as possible. Spaying, neutering, life-saving surgeries, even just a little food or a dry place to sleep – these cats rely on her to protect them as no one else in the city will.

I can’t do much for these cats from 8,400 miles away. I can donate money, though, and I can urge others to do the same with a dedication of time on my part. To that end, I’m officially opening up paid tarot readings! It’s the least I can do, and hopefully this will help spread the word so others learn about this vital organization. My guidelines are as follows:

– The readings are on a donation basis, please pay what you think is fair and I promise my full dedication to your question or issue*
– You can donate directly to the organization and send me a screenshot of your PayPal receipt
– I will also accept donations to other cat-focused organizations (humane societies, etc)
– I’m happy to communicate in whatever method is easiest for you, we can swap emails or you can find me on Tumblr or Twitter
– You are welcome to remain anonymous, I just need a nickname or pseudonym for the reading

I am also open to creating custom sigils and prayers for those who are interested, or other witchy-type services/trades. Don’t hesitate to ask. I hope that together we can bring a little brightness into the lives of all the Whiskers Syndicate cats!

(*Please be aware that PayPal donations to foreign countries may carry a larger fee than those made within your home country)

 

#2122

A prayer for Bast’s children

Dua Bast, Mother and Protector!
I pray for Your children across this earth:
for Your wild children whose habitat is shrinking
may they never experience man’s violence, only freedom;
for Your feral children who struggle to survive
may they know much kindness and mercy;
for Your children who are lost or abandoned
may they be welcomed into warm homes and loving hearts;
for Your children who are sick, hurt, or old
may they find healing in this world or peace in Your arms;
I pray for Your children, Mother
and I send them each my love and strength
may they know only joy and light!
Dua Bast, Mother and Protector!
Dua Bast!

#2119

From time to time I get questions about worshiping Bast and so I thought I’d write up a little FAQ, so to speak, in case anyone might find it useful. The following is all based on my own UPG (unverified personal gnosis), though a lot of my experiences align with what I’ve heard from others who work with Her.

What’s Her personality like?

For me, Bast is 100% Cat Mom. I don’t really ever see Her more sensual/sexual side, though I know it’s there and respect it as an integral part of Her. To me She is a middle aged woman, regal and wise, with laugh lines around Her gold eyes. She embodies all the positive aspects of motherhood – unconditional love, patience, guidance, protection, comfort, and when necessary a dose of tough love. Her sense of humor is never cruel, nor does She withhold affection if She’s disappointed or angry. Like a mother cat, She provides guidance yet knows when to let Her devotee stand on their own. She’ll let you make mistakes along the way because She knows they are an important part of growing up. And believe me, if you’re a follower of Bast then you always have more growing to do, no matter how old you are. That’s a parent for you!

How did you start worshiping Her?

One day back in January 2015 I woke up and just had this inexplicable knowledge in my head that Bast wanted me to work with Her. I know now that it was claircognizance – clear knowing – but at the time I felt a little crazy. I didn’t identify as pagan and knew basically nothing about paganism. Hell, I didn’t even know people still worshiped the Egyptian gods! After a few more mental nudges, though, I bought a statue of Her and a book about working with the Netjeru and started my journey into Kemeticism. Every step I took, whether that was making an altar or buying a tarot deck, felt so incredibly right. It felt like coming home. I quickly realized Bast had always been in my life, yet had chosen a specific moment to make me fully aware of Her presence.

What does your devotion to Her look like?

I usually conduct what I call my “devotions”, or more structured worship, once a week. This involves formally sitting at Bast’s altar, opening and closing with a specific prayer, and offering something edible we can share. I use this time to thank Her for the blessings She’s given me, to talk out any current anxieties or struggles I’m facing, and to ask questions via tarot. Except for the specific prayer and some phrases I usually weave in, this feels much like sitting down with my mother over a cup of tea. The formal structure is nice, though, because it makes this time feel more sacred and sets it aside from the times during the week that I casually interact with Her.

Bast is very much a part of my everyday life as well. I always wear two rings dedicated to Her and often wear other devotional jewelry as well. I’m always lurking in the Kemetic tag on Tumblr, liking and sharing posts, and often save images that remind me of Bast on Pinterest. I say little prayers for any cats I see, as well as prayers for any dead animals I drive past. Most of all, I’m also incredibly lucky in that I am able to foster kittens and cats through our local humane society. During “kitten season” (spring through fall) my wife and I always have a litter of kittens who we keep from anywhere between one and three months until they’re old enough to find their forever homes. We have fostered over fifty kittens already!

Can I worship Her if I’m [insert race/orientation/diagnosis/etc]?

As I said, I came into paganism with very little knowledge of what that path actually entailed. I worried Bast wouldn’t want to work with someone who was asexual and sex-repulsed, or that I wouldn’t be able to work with Her given Her more sensual aspects. I also worried She would get angry if I didn’t pray or give Her offerings a certain number of times each week, or if I missed some because of my depression. My fears were all completely unfounded, of course. Bast doesn’t care about things like race, sexual orientation, or other aspects you can’t control; She primarily just cares if you try to be a good person. I’ve also found Her to be especially supportive and protective of women, children, and queer people. As She said to me once, cats birth kittens of all different colors and they love them all the same – and Bast loves Her followers no matter what society says is wrong with them.

How do I go about initially connecting with Her?

I get this question most frequently and it’s totally understandable – how do you say hello to a god? It’s not as scary as it seems, though, I promise! I usually suggest lighting a candle, setting out a simple offering (water is fine), and introducing yourself. Chances are Bast already knows who you are and why you’re coming to Her so the interaction won’t feel uncomfortable or awkward. If you don’t feel like you’re getting a response, try changing your methods of communication. I doubt Bast will completely ignore you unless you’re being rude or demanding. Just remember, every new relationship takes time to develop. Give your relationship with Bast the time it needs to grow without being forced or stunted.

How should I communicate with Her?

Every follower will have their own method of communicating with a deity and you should find what works for you! I prefer to use tarot to communicate with Bast when I need advice or a more in-depth conversation – She loves throwing major arcana cards at me. In just my day-to-day life I usually talk to Her in my mind and might get an external sign or internal feeling in response. Some of the signs She’ll give me are cats (duh), changes in a candle flame, particular songs/images, or things that just can’t be written off as coincidences. I often look back on something that happened last week or last month and have that “Aha!” moment when I realize it was orchestrated by Bast.

What kinds of offerings does She like?

In my experience, Bast is a fan of all the offerings you can find listed online for Her: chocolate, tea, fruit, alcohol, water, jewelry, precious stones, candles, etc. I like to offer Her chocolate or tea and then share the offering with Her during my devotions, usually while I’m reading a tarot spread or meditating. It brings me joy to give Bast offerings so I do it often but that doesn’t mean She demands them or will scorn you for not offering something often enough or fancy enough. For Bast an offering is all about intent. One thing I have found is that She isn’t happy with lazy offerings. If all you have to offer is a cup of cool water given out of love, Bast will be much happier with that than some random item grabbed out of the back of your pantry and given without any prior thought or intention.

More specific things She likes include: lapis lazuli, fluorite, amethyst, citrine, rings, necklaces, lavender scented or flavored things, sweet black teas (especially those with lavender or rose petals), dark chocolate, baked goods, kombucha, apple cider, scented candles (I usually go for lavender, vanilla, rose, citrus, or other sweet scents), lotuses, roses, sunflowers, The Lion King broadway musical, books with cat main characters (see my top 10 list here!), Geoffrey Oryema’s music, cat figurines, catnip and cat treats given to Her children, donations to cat rescues, purple and gold, moodboards, devotional art/writing, and for whatever reason the song Cosmic Love by Florence + the Machine.

Does She require ritual purity?

While Bast has never required me to be ritually clean or pure before doing anything with Her (devotions, tarot, spells, etc), She does prefer it when I have the opportunity. I usually take a shower before I do my weekly devotions; this gives me time to wash away any stress or lingering anxieties and get into the right mindset so that I feel calm and focused. When my schedule is tight or I need to unexpectedly stop by Her altar, though, I never feel like I’m breaking the rules. I also don’t change any of my habits when I’m menstruating; I’ve never had any issue with it from the goddesses I worship (except maybe to be told I should be resting!).

How does She feel about Her followers worshiping other gods as well?

Bast is my patron and the first deity I have ever worshiped and thus will always hold the “top spot” in my own personal pantheon. That being said, She hasn’t had an issue yet with those who have come after Her (namely Inanna and Wepwawet) and is always encouraging when I reach out to someone or something new. I do have a separate altar for Her, but that’s partly out of simple courtesy and partly because I keep buying more stuff for it! I think that Bast knows we need different teachers and companions in our lives to help us on our unique path, and the only time She might balk at a new relationship is if She believes it will be harmful.

I used to work with Bast but I haven’t in a long time; will She get mad at me or not want me as a follower?

Bast is the epitome of a good mother; Her arms are always open to you as long as your intentions are good. She understands the need to question your spiritual path and wander onto other paths, and will be there if you turn back to Her. Likewise, She understands the many ways our lives might temporarily fall apart – mental and physical health, family issues, work, relationships, etc. While Bast won’t approve of purposefully lax or disrespectful devotion, She has infinite patience for those who are honestly struggling. And if you find another path fits you better, you won’t incur Her wrath. Every kitten needs to go their own way, after all.

I hope this helps someone!

#2117

A curse for those who harm Bast’s children

Dua Bast, Lady of the East, of the Flame, and of the Truth!
Dua Bast, Vengeful Eye of Ra, Tear-er and Devour-er!

Harm has come to one of Your children, Great Lady
may their tormentors be forever punished!
May all these villains love come to ruin
and may they know no peace, only devastation!
May You rend them with your claws and teeth
and throw their hearts to Ammit to consume!
Take my rage, Great Lady, take my sorrow
and use them to avenge Your child!

Dua Bast, Lady of the East, of the Flame, and of the Truth!
Dua Bast, Vengeful Eye of Ra, Tear-er and Devour-er!
Dua Bast!

#2109

A spell to help an animal find their forever home

Tools:
Mortar and pestle
Cauldron (or other fire safe container)
Matches
Writing utensil

Ingredients:
1 bay leaf
Catnip (for Bast)
Lavender (love)
Thyme (courage)
Orange peel (luck)
Mint (travel, protection)

Open the spell as you would normally (casting a circle, etc). Grind together a pinch of catnip, lavender, thyme, mint, and orange peel while focusing on the intent of the spell. Write the animal’s name on one side of the bay leaf and the sigil on the other. While reciting the words below, light the bay leaf on fire and set it in your container with the other herbs.

“Hail Bast, Lady of the Flame, Great Mother Cat! I ask you to lend Your energy to this working and help [animal’s name] find their forever home, a place where they may live out the rest of their life in love and peace. I send them the hope and strength to complete this journey and find their rightful family. With these words I release this energy to fulfill its intended purpose. Hail Bast, Lady of the Flame, Great Mother Cat!

Let the mixture burn itself out, then close the spell as you would normally.

Some suggestions: While this was written to work with Bast, you could easily change the wording to use another deity associated with the animal of your choice (while perhaps trading out the catnip for an herb they prefer). You could also try writing the name of the rescue/shelter instead of a specific animal if you wanted to perform a more general spell.

#2098

Tarot reading with Bast regarding how helpless I feel in the world right now, and what I personally can do to make a difference.

Question: Do this to be a force of good in the world
Card: The Fool
Interpretation: I’ve been pulling this card a lot lately, so I’m definitely not surprised to see it again. The Fool urges me to take chances, to be brave and optimistic, and to try to see the world in a new way. Dwelling on the past will only hold me down; if I want to do good, I need to let go of my (many) fears and anxieties and force myself to jump into the unknown.

Question: Stop doing this to be a force of good in the world
Card: Temperance
Interpretation: Cat Mom’s calling me out – I need to stop being the peacekeeper in tense situations and start standing up for the side that I know is right. My instinct is always to smooth things over, to avoid conflict or at least keep out of it, but that’s not always the right choice. It’s important, of course, to understand others’ viewpoints and the role opposites play in balancing out our world; however, hate and ignorance need to be met with courage, not neutrality, and there are plenty of situations where right and wrong are very clearly defined. As someone who is as non-confrontational as humanly possible, this will be… challenging.

Question: Remember this as you go forward
Card: 3 of Swords
Interpretation: There is a time to mourn and a time to heal, and I need to give myself the space to do both properly. Like pruning a tree, I need to recognize where branches have died and cut them away so new branches can grow. I shouldn’t try to ignore all the awful stuff happening in the world; I just need to remember to process my anger and sorrow in a way that helps me to take actionable steps to enact change.

#2087

Top 10 Fiction Books with Feline Main Characters

If you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of a cat person. Next to queer literature, cat literature is probably the genre I read most. When it comes to cat fiction I’ve read a good number of the non-children’s books out there and so I know the genre has some real hidden gems. Therefore, I want to share my top ten cat books so other cat lovers out there can check them out!

10. Warriors – Erin Hunter

If the immensely popular cat series Warriors had existed when I was a kid it would have been my number one obsession. Even as an adult the books hold a certain charm despite being marketed to readers less than half my age. The first set of six books center around Rusty, a pet kitten who finds himself thrown into the world of the “clans” – tribes of feral cats who live in unsteady alliance in the forest beyond his home. Our protagonist desperately wants to leave his comfy “housepet” life and become a warrior, cats who defend their clans and are therefore respected and admired. But is there more to this majestic, adventurous life than meets our young hero’s eye? You’ll have to find out for yourself!

These books can feel a little formulaic after a while, but characterization and action keep them interesting and the first six, which compose the first main plot line, are quite worth your reading time. Despite being aimed at young readers, though, these books have some gruesome and painful moments. The life of a feral cat isn’t easy, and the books thankfully don’t sugarcoat this issue too much. They’re a good balance of whimsy, reality, and that special something that all animal books seem to share.

The first book in the series is Warriors: Into the Wild.

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9. Ghatti’s Tale – Gayle Greeno

Remember in the late 80s and early 90s when fantasy novels went through that popular phase of having human characters bonded with magical animals? And it was amazing because who doesn’t want to communicate telepathically with their animal BFF? Well, this craze produced the Ghatti series, which involves the bonding of humans stranded on the planet Methuen with alien creatures which look like very large housecats. These creatures, called ghatti, can read human minds in order to sense emotions, deception, etc. Bonded pairs therefore have become an integral part of society called Seekers, traveling from town to town to solve disputes and crimes. This first trilogy follows the human Doyce and her ghatta Khar’pern, who are being targeted by an unknown force hostile to the Seekers. Detailed world-building and loveable characters round out an interesting and well-executed sci-fi/fantasy concept in this series, one that fans of similar books like The Heralds of Valdemar with come to love as well.

The first book in the original trilogy is Finders-Seekers.

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8. The Incredible Journey – Sheila Burnford

Here’s a little factoid about me: Homeward Bound always makes me cry. Always. I can probably make myself cry just thinking about it, honestly. I can’t even watch the scene when Sassy goes over the waterfall, even though I know she’ll be okay. So I was a little nervous about reading The Incredible Journey, the book on which the movie is based. I’m pretty sure the book made me cry too, but it was so worth the read. The animals don’t talk like our trio in the movie, but the book still captures their personalities, determination, and the magnitude of their adventure. The Incredible Journey is a must-read for anyone who likes the movie, and is a powerful (if fictional) testament to the devotion of our beloved pets.

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7. Catfantastic – ed. Andre Norton

In the 80s and 90s anthologies called “[insert noun]+fantastic” seemed to be very popular in the sci-fi/fantasy community. Of these series, Catfantastic was obviously the best because it was about cats. The collection of five anthologies features sci-fi/fantasy stories from a variety of well-known authors who approach the feline subject in a myriad of ways. Unlike other anthologies, many of the stories in the Catfantastic books build on earlier stories, giving readers a chance to revisit favorite characters and settings. Like all good anthologies, the stories in these books run the gamut from humor to horror, hard sci-fi to high fantasy, and everything in between. They’re hidden jewels you’re likely to find in your local used book store; if not, you can get them off Amazon for real cheap. Totally worth the cost of shipping, I promise!

The first book in the series is Catfantastic: Nine Lives and Fifteen Tales.

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6. Yeshua’s Cats – C.L. Francisco

You’re wary of that title, aren’t you? You’re wondering why I, proud pagan and (newbie) witch, am reading Christian fiction. Well, obviously because it has cats in it and you can’t be too picky about your cat fiction. I’m so, so glad I have this series a chance though. The first book in the Yeshua’s Cats series is told from the point of view of a cat named Mari who is healed by Yeshua after a vicious dog attack. She then travels with him for many years, including the year of his crucifixion. Through her we see the (obviously fictional) origins of a lot of his teachings, and the Yeshua painted by C. L. Francisco is one of immense patience, love, and understanding. The book is beautiful, touching, and at times heart-wrenching, as are all of its sequels/prequels. There are currently five books in the series, some focusing on other cats whose lives have been touched in some way by Yeshua, and I’ve loved each one.

Before you ask, the books really aren’t that preachy. As a follower of Bast, I was highly sensitive to anything in the books that felt judgmental of pagan religions and was overall pretty satisfied with how other religions are handled in the books. The “mother goddess” believed in by the cats of this world is explained as simply a different face of the Christian god, instead of something fake or demonic. This is still Christian fiction, of course, so it’s not entirely free of Christian themes, but I think non-Christian cat lovers will still enjoy these books and appreciate this particular cat-loving depiction of Jesus.

The first book in the series is The Gospel According to Yeshua’s Cat.

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5. Tomorrow’s Sphinx – Clare Bell

Tomorrow’s Sphinx is a rare book, even when used, but so worth tracking down. I probably checked it out from the library a hundred times as a kid; some scenes from it are forever branded in my mind. The book is set on a far future earth and follows Kichebo, a black cheetah whose unnatural coloring causes her to become alienated from her family. When she discovers an abandoned human toddler and chooses to care for the creature, she’s thrown into a strange psychic link between herself and another black cheetah – one living during the reign of Tutankhamen. Kichebo must understand how and why this bond exists while protecting her new cub not only from other predators, but from the strange creatures in the sky.

Tomorrow’s Sphinx sounds super weird when you try to explain the plot, but it comes together masterfully in a strange, beautiful tale of the bonds possible between human and animal. If you get the opportunity, give this book a chance; you won’t regret it.

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4. The Named – Clare Bell

Clare Bell is on this list twice for a good reason: her books capture the essential wildness of big cats while establishing feline characters and societies as believable as our own. She is probably most known for her Named series, books set on an unspecified planet during a prehistoric age in which the top species are not humans but large, highly intelligent cats who call themselves the Named. The series follows Ratha, a young adult who is banished from her clan when she accidentally discovers how to tend and wield fire – what she calls her “creature”. Her journey will take her to very dark places, both physically and emotionally, but she will come to lead the Named into a new era. For a book about prehistoric cats, this series manages to touch on a variety of different issues such as xenophobia, PTSD, abuse, betrayal and forgiveness, mental illness, and what it means to be part of something bigger than yourself. These books are absolutely a must-read for any cat lover – but I’m warning you now, you’re gonna cry.

The first book in The Named series is Ratha’s Creature.

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3. Varjak Paw – S.F. Said

You know how you sometimes read a children’s book as an adult and think “this is way more disturbing than it should be”? That’s Varjak Paw. The book is aimed at third through seventh graders, but the content is creepy enough (including the illustrations!) to not only satisfy an adult reader, but to help it stand out among its competition. Varjak Paw tells the story of young Varjak, a kitten who lives with his family in an idealic house away from the rest of the world. However, when a threatening gentleman takes over the care of the cats, Varjak escapes the house to find help and winds up in the middle of a mystery bigger than anything he could imagine. He must use the newfound powers given to him by his ancestor and the assistance of an unlikely group of friends to save his family and all the cats who have been disappearing without a trace.

Varjak Paw is book one of the duology; be sure to check out its sequel, The Outlaw Varjak Paw, which is a direct continuation of the events in the first book. Varjak is an unforgettable protagonist who will have you cheering for him from page one.

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2. Tailchaser’s Song – Tad Williams

If you’re a cat lover, you knew this book would be on the list. And it deserves to be; it’s a beautiful, heartfelt story that masterfully weaves fantasy, horror, and adventure into a tale worthy of Tolkien or C.S Lewis. Fritti Tailchaser, our courageous young hero, goes on a quest to find his friend after she disappears. Much like Varjak, Tailchaser uncovers a mystery much bigger than any could have expected – one that will have him facing off with the gods themselves to save his very species.

Like many of the other books on this list, Tailchaser’s Song is partly so engaging because it builds us an entire world for our feline protagonists. The book includes vocabulary, religion, and social etiquette unique to the cats of this world that feel completely real. Despite being thrown into an entirely different society from the first page, the reader lands on their feet (pun intended) and becomes entirely immersed in the fantasy world Tad Williams is building.

I utterly love this book, but it does come with a warning: it has some seriously dark themes and several disturbing scenes. It’s a hard read sometimes, but one that will leave you in that perfect post-book daze.

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1. The Wild Road – Gabriel King

I’ve seen this book compared to Watership Down, which is fair in the sense that they are both sweeping epics focusing on the lives of everyday animals and both are astoundingly good. The Wild Road, however, employs fantasy elements in a way which Watership Down does not, making it more comparable to Tailchaser’s Song. Also like Tailchaser’s Song, this book is dark. Not just dark for a kid’s book, I mean DARK dark. It deals with the topic of animal experimentation, after all, and the villain known only as the Alchemist is as evil as they come. However, the blend of fantasy and horror, combined with an unforgettable ragtag group of animals who must band together to stop the Alchemist, makes this book beautifully heart-wrenching in all the right ways. Like Tailchaser and Varjak Paw, little Tag must leave the safety of his home to save a world he knows nothing about – and to do so he will grow and change in so many ways.

The Wild Road is my #1 absolutely must read cat book. Definitely read its sequel, The Golden Cat, as well to see how the story plays out.

Caution: Apparently two more books came out in the series last year, much to my surprise. They have no reviews on Amazon, though, and seem to focus on human characters with pet cats, so… read at your own risk, I guess. Seems fishy to me. The first two books are AMAZING, though, and you should probably end there.

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Honorable mention: The Unadoptables –  Margaret Chiavetta

I promote this fledgling webcomic on every social media site possible because it deserves so much more attention and acclaim that it receives. The story centers on a cat cafe where all the resident cats are up for adoption. The twist, however, is that the cats are what most people would consider “unadoptable” in some way; too sick, too old, too aloof, pair bonded, etc. The story follows both the cats and the humans who run the cafe, where all are hopeful that the next visitor will take one of the kitties home. The cats are all loveable characters in their own way, of course, but the human characters shine as well (and are some great POC representation, too) and in general the comic gives you a lot of warm fuzzy feelings. It has its tenser moments, though, as you’ll see if you check out the first story arc!

Check out The Unadoptables and consider supporting them on Patreon to get a sneak peek at new pages, character designs, and other cool behind-the-scenes stuff!

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Think another cat book should be on this list? Let me know, I want to read all of the cat books that ever existed!

#2082

Tarot reading with Bast and Inanna because my brain has been in a semi-frantic state of wondering, “Am I witch? Do I want to be?? What does that mean???”. Introspection is great, but sometimes you need to get out of your own head by seeing what the cards have to say.

Question: What will identifying as a witch bring me?
Card: The Fool
Interpretation: I doubt I could have pulled a more archetypal card for this question. Clearly, choosing to identify as a witch will open up a whole new journey for me, hopefully one of adventure, personal growth, and satisfying rewards. The Fool in the Shadowscapes deck is a very joyous card, one that celebrates the possibilities inherent in any new venture even while acknowledging the hard work ahead. As a harbinger of how this choice may affect my life, I find The Fool to be a very positive prediction.

Question: What, deep down in my heart, do I truly want to do?
Card: Page of Wands
Interpretation: I have always identified most with the suit of Wands and so I wasn’t at all surprised to see a Wand card in this position. The Page of Wands indicates a desire to embrace creativity and confidence, to finally take action, and to delve within yourself to seek opportunities that seem frightening or otherwise impossible. The Page of Wands is comfortable in their skin and has almost mastered their craft, which allows them to meet new challenges with grace and intuition. I long to reach this stage in my spiritual journey and I think this card illuminates a desire inside me to learn more, to do more, that I haven’t acknowledged before.

Question: What advice does Bast have for me?
Card: 9 of Swords
Interpretation: Bast urges me to set aside the fear, doubt, and anguish that currently keep me from feeling worthy of the title witch. She reminds me that I am already a creature of spirituality and magic, and that the only thing holding me back is myself. If I want to walk this road, all I need do is take the first step and leave my uncertainties behind. This response is very in character with our relationship; a lot of Bast’s readings with me are basically, Stop worrying about the thing, honey, you’re fine. Still, the answer is comforting because I know that if She did see an issue with me delving into witchcraft, She would not hesitate to tell me. This card indicates not only Her approval, but also Her future support.

Question: What advice does Inanna have for me?
Card: Queen of Pentacles
Interpretation: The Shadowscapes Queen of Pentacles shows a naked red-headed woman emerging from the trunk of a great oak tree with arms outstretched. She stares directly out of the card at the reader, exuding pride and authority. When combined with this card’s meanings – security in material aspects of life, abundance, confidence, and the ability to help others – this image seems to indicate Inanna Herself. I believe She is telling me that She will be by my side for this journey, which supports the “witchy” (for lack of a better word) sense I’ve been getting from Her lately. This may be the natural extension of the path She wants me to walk; if so, witchcraft may play a role in my shadow work and self-care goals.

#2073

Two-card tarot reading with Bast:

Question: Where am I on my spiritual journey?
Card: Ace of Pentacles
Interpretation: You’ve planted the seeds and are working hard to nourish their growth. Many possibilities are open to you and you can achieve your goals if you continue to dedicate yourself to learning and expanding your practice. You’re still in the early stages of your journey, but that’s okay; it’s a journey that will last you a lifetime.

Question: What’s next on my journey?
Card: 3 of Cups
Interpretation: Slow down, daughter! Let yourself take a moment to review the work you’ve done so far and what work will be needed in the future. Celebrate the steps you have already taken; you’ve come a long way in the last three years. Use this time to also reach out to your community, to grow your connections with others who share your beliefs or practices.

– – –

One card reading with Inanna:

Question: What lesson do I need to learn from You next?
Card: Knight of Cups
Interpretation: You haven’t finished learning the first lesson yet, so slow down. You need to focus on building your intuition and through it your other psychic senses. You will need to hone all of these senses in order to continue down my path, and especially to acknowledge and accept the darkness you will find along the way.

#2042

There’s a War on Christmas – In My Heart


Oh Christmas, what a strange holiday you have become. Some say you have your source in paganism, others in Christianity, and still others curse you as a capitalist conspiracy. Regardless, you have centered yourself in the American mindset as the most important holiday of the year, so important in fact that you overshadow your competitors – Hanukkah usually gets a polite nod, Kwanzaa the occasional tossed crumbs, and as for the rest, well, they have to be content with “happy holidays”.  But I don’t hate you, Christmas. In fact, up until the last few years Christmas was one of my favorite holidays. I love how cheerful everything looks covered in evergreen boughs and twinkle lights; I love holiday foods like stuffing and pumpkin pie; I even love the old Christmas hymns like We Three Kings and O Come Emmanuel. This time of the year hearkens back to all those happy Christmases of my childhood, filled with choir performances, homemade decorations, and the nervous excitement of trying to fall asleep on Christmas eve. And yes, I’ll admit, I am certainly a fan of getting lots of gifts.

That being said, I’m just… not feeling it this year.

Actually, it’s more than not feeling – I’m downright bah humbug. I know my lack of enthusiasm is from a mixture of the usual reasons so many people hate the holidays: family drama; monetary stress; no two weeks of freedom like when you were in school. It can be hard to recapture the magic you felt as a kid when you’re unwrapping a tofu press instead of a new toy, or giving a gift to someone you are obligated to interact with but don’t actually like. It’s even harder when you’re in a committed relationship and either have to slight one family in favor of another or spend the holiday apart. So yeah, partly I’m being a grinch because Christmas as an adult isn’t nearly as easy and fun as when I was a kid. There’s more to it than that, though. I think. My feelings are very tangled right now, but when I try to work out the knots and get to the problem in the center I get the feeling it’s not just about family drama. It’s not just because I miss kid-Christmas. It’s because Christmas… isn’t my holiday.

Uh, DUH, you’re probably thinking if you know me. You’re pagan, of course Christmas isn’t your holiday. And yeah, there’s the rub. Up until 2015, I was a pseudo-agnostic content with celebrating a Christian holiday which has forced itself into the secular world. After all, almost everyone I know celebrates Christmas regardless of their spiritual beliefs, and in America it is very much assumed that you celebrate Christmas too. Sure, some folks go to church on Christmas eve, but many others just stay home and have cocoa. No one questions why you would celebrate this particular Christian holiday if you’re not Christian, and so you grow up not questioning it either. After all, most of us got baskets of candy on Easter, too.

But this year I find myself tripping over that “Christ” in Christmas. Despite how secular Christmas has become in our society, this year its religious connections seem to chafe me. Don’t get me wrong, I think Jesus was a great guy – but he’s not my savior. Why am I celebrating a Christian holy day? I’m proudly Kemetic, so isn’t that a little insulting to both Jesus and Bast? Somehow, celebrating Christmas as a pagan feels less okay than celebrating it as a maybe-agnostic, even though in both situations I’m still celebrating the secular version of the holiday. I feel like the guest no one invited to Baby Jesus’ birthday party, you know? Some friends dragged me along and now I’m standing awkwardly in the corner while Mary’s asking Joseph who the fuck I am.

To clarify, I don’t think I’m getting these vibes from either Jesus or the Netjeru. I don’t think anyone is angry or feels ignored, or is trying to push me into a decision I’m not ready to make. I think this is just the next logical stop on my spiritual journey; where I go from here is up to me. That’s kinda scary, though. What if I decide I don’t want to celebrate Christmas anymore? Does that mean I have to start explaining my religious beliefs to everyone who asks? Does it mean our family traditions have to change, or that I have to forgo seeing them on the holidays? What would my wife tell her staunchly Catholic family? What would I tell my fairly atheist family?

I know I have a lot of options no matter what decision I finally make, and Christmas 2018 is quite far away. Still, I think these feelings mark a turning point, and I’m both excited and scared to see where they take me. I’m pretty unapologetic about who I am – I’m fiercely queer, fiercely feminist, and fiercely geeky – but pagans don’t get a lot of respect in American society. People who embrace my queerness might mock my belief in Bast behind my back; people who support my rejection of Christian morals might draw the line at worshiping actual pagan deities. You just never know, and that unknown makes me anxious. Right now I fly below most people’s radar, even with my ankh ring and tattoos. Am I ready to be seen as pagan by everyone and to possibly defend my faith to family and strangers alike?

#2023

[ 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!

#2020

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.

#2017

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?

#2015

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.

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

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Thomas, the first foster we lost. 

#2007

Dua Bast,  Goddess of Family and Home! Bless this marriage and keep safe the family we build together. Lend us the strength to be loving and kind even in times of turmoil.

Hail Inanna, Lover and Beloved United As One! Bless this marriage and help us to stand strong against those who would judge us. Lend us the courage to stand hand-in-hand for all the world to see.

Dua Wepwawet, Shepherd of the Path! Bless this marriage and guide us safely as we embark on this journey together. Lend us the patience to face whatever life’s road may ask of us.

Dua Bast! Hail Inanna! Dua Wepwawet!

#1994

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!

#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.

#1957

Dua Bast, Lady of the Flame!
may we be protected by this light
and sleep safely through the night

[ My girlfriend insists on leaving the porch lights on at night so any murderers can’t see where they’re going. I realized I could turn the use of those lights into a sort of protection prayer/spell, so above is the simple prayer to Bast I’ve started using each night. ]