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

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#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!

#2120

After completing the Bast FAQ I wanted to write one for Inanna. For all that She was an extremely important goddess in the ancient middle east, She doesn’t seem to have much of a following anymore – and often when She does, She just gets lumped in with other similar goddesses. It’s hard to find anything modern about Her worship so I hope my experiences can help anyone else who has been called by Her or is considering working with Her. Again, the following is all based on my own UPG (unverified personal gnosis).

What’s Her personality like?

Inanna shows Herself to me as a copper-skinned woman with dark red hair, very reminiscent of the Gerudo race from The Legend of Zelda. Her fierce warrior essence and proud sensuality give Her an alluring “don’t fuck with me” vibe that’s definitely intimidating – She is the Queen of Heaven and you won’t forget it when you’re in Her presence! In the beginning I saw mostly her warrior side, that part of Inanna which rejoices on the battlefield and destroys entire mountains for not bowing to Her. This aspect must be respected; Inanna’s temper is short and Her memory long. Over time, however, I have come to see Her ‘softer’ aspects more clearly. As a goddess of love and sexuality, She embraces all regardless of perceived flaws and encourages self-love and self-care. Though She may lead you through the underworld to face your deepest fears and secrets, She will also lead you back out into the light. Inanna is the embodiment of tough love, which we all need sometimes in our lives. She will expect a lot from you but never more than you can give.

How did She come into your life?

About two years ago I dreamed about a goddess who was totally white – white skin, white hair, white eyes, like a marble statue – and who had a white snake coiled around Her neck so that it looked almost like ram’s horns. In the dream She asked me, “Why have I been summoned?” in a resounding, thunderous voice, and when I woke I had the name Inanna on my lips. I didn’t know She would be a real goddess; I’d never heard of Her before nor knew anything about the Sumerian pantheon. When I googled Her, though, I found out She was THE goddess of the ancient middle east, powerful and greatly worshiped for ages, and even connected with the earliest named author (a woman!!) in human history. Talk about intimidating…

What does your devotion to Her look like?

For the first year or so of my devotion to Inanna it was a lot of “hurry up and wait”. She indicated She had plans for me, but that I wasn’t ready yet. Therefore, for a good portion of that time I just had a small altar for Her at which I would pray and offer food weekly. Every month or so I’d check in to see if things were moving – and sometimes had Inanna AND Bast tell me I wasn’t ready! At the beginning of this year, 2018, things started to pick up. Inanna indicated She is in my life for two reasons: one, to help me better love myself (especially my body) and two, to assist me as I take up witchcraft. So lately I’ve been trying to honor Her by being kinder to myself physically, mentally, and emotionally, as well as allowing myself to really dive into my interest in witchcraft. Basically any time I stick up for myself or feel like a truly capable, badass person, that’s a tribute in part to Inanna.

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

Since Inanna’s expertise covers such a wide array of topics – love, sex, war, government, knowledge, the underworld, fertility, freedom, gender equality, queerness, joy, wrath, courage, magic, and more – just about anyone could follow Her as long as they weren’t actively working against something that falls under Her purview. However, I believe certain groups are especially under Her protection and care, including women and queer people. Inanna has historical connections with gender-swapping, androgyny, and trans-ness, and Her role as a goddess of love and personal autonomy make Her a strong ally for anyone who’s queer or otherwise marginalized by society.

How do I go about initially connecting with Her?

Inanna is scary – and it’s okay to admit that! She wants to be scary. She wants to be intimidating. She wants to know that you’re ready to put the hard work in and that you can handle Her at Her toughest. Never forget that She’s a goddess of war who asks a lot from Her followers. Set some time aside to focus before you reach out to Her, then light some candles, offer up something nice (that won’t break your bank, of course), and introduce yourself. While you don’t need to grovel in the dirt or anything, try to remain formally respectful. Use some of Her epithets and state your intention politely. Inanna isn’t a goddess to go to with instant demands or only when you need a quick fix; everything with Her takes time. If your first connection is weak or it seems like nothing “happened”, just wait and try again. Perseverance will get you far with Her.

How should I communicate with Her?

Everyone will have their own method of communicating with a deity so experiment and see what works for you. I usually use tarot to speak with Inanna when I want a more in-depth answer and this works fine for me – though She can be very blunt! She is partial to the swords and pentacles suits and identified Herself to me as the Strength card. I have also had Her communicate with me through signs like finding crow feathers, certain songs, Day of the Dead imagery, and even several fictional characters. Once you make contact with Her, you might be surprised at all the ways and places She suddenly pops up.

What kinds of offerings does She like?

Inanna is a little picky when it comes to offerings, I’ve learned. While you can get away with the basics (bread, water, etc) if that’s all you have, She definitely knows when you can do better and She’ll make sure you know She knows. For Inanna quality is definitely preferred over quantity. Buy or make something for Her specifically and you’re much more likely to earn Her approval than if you make Her share an offering with other gods or give Her something thoughtless. Don’t worry, though, She’ll be sure to tell you when She wants something!

Some specific offerings I know She likes include: dark chocolate, baked goods, kombucha, apple cider, pomegranates, rose quartz, carnelian, garnet, lapis lazuli, flowers, skulls (especially bird skulls) or skull motifs, candles (I go with something spicy like frankincense and myrrh), bullets, nails, statues, raven figurines or artwork, moodboards, red and gold, witchcraft-related items (athames, cauldrons, mortar and pestle, etc), celestial motifs, dancing, and jewelry (especially snake-themed).

Does She require ritual purity?

Inanna has never required me to be ritually pure to approach Her altar, though I usually already am because I cleanse myself before talking with Bast. That being said, it’s probably not a bad idea – Inanna expects and appreciates respect, and adhering to ritual of any sort is a good way to show respect.

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

Not only does Inanna come from a very large pantheon, She is heavily associated with other goddesses such as Ishtar, Isis, Venus, and Aphrodite. Given this connection, I don’t think She would have any issue with a follower of Hers worshiping other gods. That being said, I’ve noticed two pet peeves of Hers. One, She doesn’t seem to like sharing altar space if it can be helped – She is much happier with Her own dedicated space. Two, She wants to be recognized as Inanna Herself, not just a carbon copy of Ishtar or other similar goddesses. Every time I considered getting a statue of Ishtar for Her, since finding one of Inanna is rather difficult, I received a very strong NO. I think the similarities between Her and other goddesses can be appreciated and drawn upon in your practice, but you should remember that Inanna is Her own entity and not just an offshoot of any other deity.

I hope this helps!

#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!

#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.

#2091

Seven gates. Seven gates and seven items. Seven gates and seven items surrendered as payment to pass through until at last the goddess Inanna stood naked before Her sister’s throne; no dress, no crown, no jewels to mark Her as the Queen of Heaven, just flesh and bone and bravery. Yet still She was Inanna, even crownless, even when Ereshkigal struck Her dead and hung Her corpse on a hook for three full days. She knew what waited for Her in the underworld and yet She went there anyway in order to know Herself better. To follow Inanna’s path I too must pass through the seven gates, and thus I too must relinquish the seven aspects of my identity with which I define myself. But what are those seven aspects, and who am I without them? Will I like the person I meet beneath the layers of armor and artifice? I do not feel nearly brave enough for such a confrontation, yet I am taking my first hesitant steps along that path all the same. The first gate approaches.

#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.