#1939

“Tangaloor, fire-bright
Flame-foot, farthest walker
Your hunter speaks
In need he walks
In need but never in fear”

– First-Walker prayer, Tailchaser’s Song

As Fritti Tailchaser spoke this prayer into the darkness of his final moments, goosebumps crept up my arms. Though ancient texts do not name Tangaloor Firefoot or his brothers as children of Kemet’s Bast, in the moment I read that passage Her presence was overwhelming. I felt compelled to memorize the prayer, should I ever need to call on Lord Tangaloor’s aid, and I have been mentally repeating it like a mantra for days. I can’t seem to let it go; its words slip over my tongue like prayer beads and bring me as much comfort.

The experience has me considering the role fiction can play in our worship, and in the wills of the gods themselves. After all, the gods speak to us in myriad ways. If we listen, we find their messages are everywhere, in forms and faces we might not expect. I think it is thus with Bast, who can be found in the religion of the felines in Tailchaser’s Song (Tad Williams) and the creation myth in The Wild Road (Gabriel King). Rereading these books as an adult, I finally recognize Bast’s purposeful influence in these stories. Their authors are extremely talented, and I don’t mean to say they couldn’t invent such a story on their own, but Her role is too obvious for me to overlook. When I mentally smack my head for not realizing the connection sooner, I hear Her gentle laughter. She made these stories come into being. She wanted them to be read. She wants them to mean something to me. They feel like scripture, like missing pieces, but I can’t yet figure out where they fit. If my thoughts seem scattered and incomplete, it’s because they are. I’m going mostly by feeling, here.

Below are the creation stories from both Tailchaser’s Song and The Wild Road. I feel compelled to preserve them somewhere, to make them available to other followers of Bast. Do with them what you will – and let me know if you feel the same power within their lines as I do. Luck dancing, friends!

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#1933

Dua Bast, Lady of the East, of the Flame, and of the Truth
Dua Bast, Goddess of the Birth Chamber, Giver of Life
Dua Bast, Vengeful Eye of Ra, Protectress of Family and Home
Dua Bast, She Who is Without Equal
Dua Bast!

Mother of Felidae, I sing Your praises
on earth Your children dance in Your light and hunt in Your shadow
in the land beyond, they rest in Your arms and feel neither fear nor pain
Mother of Felidae, Your children touch all corners of the world
everywhere they step, You are glorified in their grace
everywhere they live, You are exalted by those who serve them
Mother of Felidae, I sing Your praises!

Mother of my Ib and Nurturer of my Ka, I sing Your praises
as a child You protected me and taught me to navigate the world
as an adult You guide me and teach me to uphold Ma’at
Mother of my Ib and Ka, I come to you as daughter and servant both
everywhere I go, I glorify You above all
everyone I meet, they see Your fierce light burning in my eyes
Mother of my Ib and Nurturer of my Ka, I sing Your praises!

Dua Bast, Lady of the East, of the Flame, and of the Truth
Dua Bast, Goddess of the Birth Chamber, Giver of Life
Dua Bast, Vengeful Eye of Ra, Protectress of Family and Home
Dua Bast, She Who is Without Equal
Dua Bast!

[ Since my human mother doesn’t like celebrating Mother’s Day, I’ve decided to use the holiday to celebrate Bast, my spiritual mother. Dua Bast! ]

#1908

The unbelievers ask, Where are the gods? If they really existed, wouldn’t they intercede to stop our wars, our destruction?

To them I want to throw my arms out and say, The gods are all around us. They are always here, always watching, always caring.

The unbelievers ask, Why do the gods not take matters into their heavenly hands, if they care so much? Why do they let us suffer and cause suffering in our turn?

To them I want to say, Why should they? Look what we have done with their gifts! Look how we show our gratitude! My Mother weeps for Her children who are hunted, drowned, poisoned, tortured, who are raised in mills and die in lab cages. What the gods have given us, they cannot and will not take back so lightly. For better or for worse, this is our world and our responsibility; we humans control the fates of countless lives. Thus my Mother can lend me the strength of heart to care for Her children, but She cannot simply unmake the evils which plague them. Human evils must be countered with human goodness. 

#1891

I close my eyes and imagine a room. The whitewashed walls are open on three sides, the high ceiling supported by curving columns decorated in painted carvings of 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.

#1837

There is a story I want to tell.

This might not be surprising to you; I’m a writer, after all. I tell stories all the time. But you see, I transcribe those stories. I don’t invent them myself – the stories come to me when they need to be told and I simply do the telling. This time, though, I want to tell a story that hasn’t come to me first. A story that currently is nothing more than a few wisps of concept; a story with no voice yet, no presence or intention, like a dream I can’t remember at all.

I only know how the story begins (though was that even the beginning, or was it the middle?). I only know the story is about a certain young kitten, called Thomas by the shelter but with a true name in a language far older than English. I know he will go on a difficult journey and face terrible choices. I know Bast will guide him. I know only these things and nothing more. The story won’t unfold for me (yet?), so I conducted a tarot reading to see if I could clarify at least some major aspects of the story. The cards pulled and my interpretations/thoughts are below.

Your character’s primary goal and motivation: SIX OF CUPS. A childhood cut short? Seeking a new family, or trying to get back to the one that was lost? Searching for a place to belong?

Your character’s greatest fear in relation to this goal: EIGHT OF CUPS. Fearing it wasn’t meant to be? Something about the lunar cycle – that inevitable give and take, or death itself? Not wanting to say goodbye?

The internal conflict your character has to conquer along the way: FIVE OF PENTACLES. A lack of faith? Physical health problems? Despair. Needing to let go of the past. Maybe being too attached to the Six of Cups’ idyllic world?

Protagonist: WHEEL OF FORTUNE. Change. Fate. The world will turn and destiny will come whether he is ready or not. Time cannot be stopped; there is no going back.

Antagonist: JUDGEMENT. Hard choices.  Life and death. Rebirth. Fear of regret, leaving, shouldering responsibility. Is this a corporeal antagonist, or is the antagonist his own misgivings?

Theme: TEN OF WANDS. Great responsibility. Help given freely. Owning one’s fate.

Beginning: THE EMPRESS. Mother. Union. Family? Child birth? Is this the beginning of his story, or is there something that comes before him? Is this Bast Herself?

Middle: PAGE OF SWORDS (reversed). Not understanding commitments?  Asking too many questions, coming up with too many excuses. All talk, no action. Being too hasty in decisions?

End: NINE OF SWORDS (reversed). Facing inner fears. Letting go of guilt and regret. Stress and sorrow are easing. Ready to face one’s fate with an open mind and heart. Is this the end of the journey itself, or the beginning?

The reading confirmed some of the nebulous ideas hanging out on the periphery of my mind. Thomas had to leave, for some reason. Not because it was his time, but because he was needed elsewhere. Staying would have been selfish and unfair… but to whom? Who needed him more than we did? For what reason would Bast reclaim one of Her children at so young an age? What was, is, his destiny?

#1784

There is nothing more beautiful, nor more humbling, than an animal’s trust. You are such a fragile little thing, and yet your clear green eyes gaze up at me without fear. Despite the language barrier between us, despite the fact that your young life is just a candle flicker in my hands, you trust me without reservation. There is no concern in your gaze for how easily I could break you, but surely your instincts warn you of my size, my weight, my ability to become the predator. Your innocence, instead of being foolish, is astoundingly wise; your trust, instead of making you vulnerable, makes you a powerful player in not only your own destiny, but mine as well. We cannot communicate in our native tongues, yet so much understanding seems to pass between us. You see me, Little One, more fully than any of my own species. To be recognized so clearly, to be blessed with your whole and absolute trust as I cradle your tiny form in my hands, is a gift like nothing else. If anyone ever questioned your sacredness, they need only experience this moment of understanding which needs no words to awe and humble. Surely only the divine can grant such an honor.

#1759

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