I am a living flame of Bast None shall harm me or mine! I call down fire in the name of Sekhmet I call down fire in the name of Mafdet I call down fire in the name of Maahes I call down fire in the name of Bast!
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.
Sometimes I forget devotion doesn’t have to be a ceaseless uphill battle. Dedication isn’t solely proven in the offering of blood, sweat, and tears, nor can love even grow in such salt-sown soil. The gods don’t require us to suffer to earn their love; they offer it freely and value only that which is given freely in return. In my quest to better myself, to uphold Ma’at and minimize the isfet I put out into the world, I forget devotion can be as simple as spending a quiet moment with the gods over a cup of tea. I don’t need to lash myself bloody in penitence or spend every moment analyzing the darkest parts of my psyche to make spiritual progress. In fact, my entire framework for the concept of spiritual progress is probably questionable – why do I imagine it as a path leading in one direction, instead of a vast land in which I could go any direction or even stop for a time? If there’s no end goal in mind, no specific destination, why do I feel so pressured to hurry forward? I can rest. I can sit in the shade and enjoy the moment without worrying if it’s helping me become a better person. I feel my connection to the divine like an unbreakable tether from my heart to theirs. Our hearts are one; I am right where I am meant to be.