#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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#1934

Dua Wepwawet, Opener of the Way
Dua Wepwawet, Lord of the West and of Jubilation
Dua Wepwawet, He with Sharp Arrows, He Who Loves Ma’at
Dua Wepwawet, Shepherd of the Path, the Unique and Adorned One
Dua Wepwawet!

You whose domain is the in between places
the roads, the rivers, the rails
I ask Your protection as I make my journey.
Let no harm come to me as I travel to my destination
let no harm come to me as I return home again.
Lord, I sing Your praises!

You whose domain is all things in motion
the wind, the water, the world
I ask that You travel beside me as I make my journey.
Let my path be easy and my troubles light
let me return home safely so I may give my thanks to You.
Lord, I sing Your praises!

Dua Wepwawet, Opener of the Way
Dua Wepwawet, Lord of the West and of Jubilation
Dua Wepwawet, He with Sharp Arrows, He Who Loves Ma’at
Dua Wepwawet, Shepherd of the Path, the Unique and Adorned One
Dua Wepwawet!

[ A prayer for safety in travels, directed to Wepwawet, the Kemetic god who guards the ways of both the living and the dead. ]

#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! ]

#1802

While I’m thinking about religion, about those who would tell me I can’t worship my goddess because of the color of my skin, Bast interjects:

You humans set so much store by appearance! She sighs a sigh only the Felidae can manage, pitying and frustrated and patient all at once. A tiger’s stripes help her hide when hunting; they aren’t chosen for their beauty. Why must you complicate your lives with such paltry issues? Can a black cat not bear a white kitten? Does a mother not nurse whatever babe cries in hunger? I love all my children equally, regardless of their appearance. If I can love you awkward, gawking humans in all your foolish complexity, then I certainly can love you no matter the color of your pelt. Her frown is as telling as the twitch of a cat’s tail. No mortal will determine who may follow my path, and certainly no mortal will tell my children whether they are deserving of my love or not.

I’m left a little speechless; I don’t often see The Lady with her fur up like this. All I can think is, go mamma!

She smiles. Thank you.

#1796

oh Lady of the Flame
help your servant to uphold Ma’at
help me to not utter lies
to make none to weep
to not be angry without just cause
to not act or judge with undue haste
oh Lady of the Flame
I vow to uphold Ma’at!

oh Lady of the Truth
help your daughter to uphold Ma’at
help me to not stir up strife or disturb the peace
to not pollute myself
to not shut my ears to the words of truth
to wrong none, to do no evil
oh Lady of the Truth
I vow to uphold Ma’at!

#1793

I don’t know you, little one, and you don’t know me. You will probably never even read these words, but I am sending their ripples out in the hopes you may feel their touch. I don’t know you, but I can guess some things about you. You are young, but you feel old. You long for home, even though you’re already there. You are trapped in a closet, and yet you feel as if you’ve been running all your life. You scream but make no sound; you hurt yet show no marks. You say you don’t believe. You pray to something anyway.

I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, but I do know this: you aren’t alone. The Lady of Truth is with you, and She speaks comforts in your ears. The Lady of the Flame is with you, and She brings you warmth and light in the darkness. When you need to be sad and quiet, She is strong arms and a rumbling purr; when you need to be angry and loud, She is bristled fur and bared teeth. Her love is the love of a lioness for her cub: unconditional, unlimited, unyielding. The world is dark and dangerous, but you do not traverse it alone. Bast walks beside you, ever patient and ever loving.

#1768

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