Wednesday, July 31, 2013

She Who Has Had Enough of This Crap

I'm annoyed because I've been trying to get to a screen where I can actually write for the last 40 minutes instead of screwing around with websites and browsers and internet connections. Such is the pain in the ass world of writing online instead of by pen and paper, or even typewriter (unless you have an electric typewriter that craps out on you). I have my cute little netbook with me, that unfortunately is full of ridiculousness from Best Buy. I will never buy a computer from Best Buy again. I used to be fairly self-sufficient with a computer. I could do my own troubleshooting, clean up my drives, clear my browser, install my own memory, all that good stuff. Now I can't even remove the worthless garbage Best Buy molests my computer with before I even buy it without crashing the system. I tried to download the Firefox browser today so I wasn't stuck with Microsoft "an IT person would never use because you can fly a Dreamliner through it's security holes" Explorer, but Firefox dumped a bunch of spyware on my computer without actually installing the browser, and now I can't get rid of that crap either. Computers have gone from freedom to bondage, from moving us forward to getting us good and stuck in the mud. I'm not even websurfing or Facebooking and I'm struggling to get anything done.

Today we found out the God of the Year is Heru-sa-Aset (Horus, son of Isis). My biggest interest in Heru-sa-Aset is his focus on JUSTICE. I like justice. I don't feel like I've had a lot of it in the last year. Not only is a lack of justice a big concern for my personal/professional life, but the news of the world is a big part of my world. With Bradley Manning, Trayvon Martin, Bob Filner, Wendy Davis, Huma Abedin, all the nameless faceless rape victims, fast food workers, Moral Monday filling my head from just the last 3 days alone, justice is what I don't see. Last year, our God of the Year was Nut, who was about balance and self-sacrifice. I don't think I was the only one who had a rough year. Nut does not have it easy. She is the sky, and she balances there apart from her brother and consort Geb, the earth. For me, her year was about dealing with weaknesses in my foundation. It was important work, but painful, and Nut holding herself up off the earth is necessary, but painful. Ever try to hold the same position for longer than a few seconds? It's rough, especially if your spine is all out of alignment. My metaphorical spine has been out of alignment all year.

We did some heka today. Heka is magic, but not just magic. Magic sounds like a ritual, but heka is intention. Heka is what you do, what you say, what you think. It is the results of what you put out in the world through your words, your deeds, and the thoughts you manifest in yourself. The heka we did was to bind the negatives in our lives so they won't hold us back in the next year. We bound things like blocks to our creativity, force used against us, and difficulties in relationships. I had an epiphany while we did the heka. One of the reasons Ancient Egyptian religion works for me is that it don't try to sugar coat the difficult stuff. Difficult stuff is a huge part of life, and a religion that goes silent when it comes to grief, anger, injustice, and pain is not a religion that works for me. I can't abide by people telling me to get over my anger and let go of my grief, especially while the causes of my anger and grief continue uncontested. For me, it is not healthy to accept injustice and move on. It is not proper to praise a bird in a cage while a free bird lies dying in front of you. But it is a heavy burden to feel the pain of everything around you. It is not so heavy I'm willing to drop it so I can lie to myself about who I am and who people around me are, and lead a make-belief life. Fighting back against corruption and lies is worth suffering for because I chose to fight back. But I don't need to let the fighting happen within myself. I can push it out into the world where it belongs. I imagined trapping the bad feelings within myself in the heka object. This heka is meant to rile the gods up so they will help you fight and bind these bad things. The gods get angry. We got angry. This is bad stuff and we want to be good and angry when we fight it. Anger can be appropriate. It can be motivating. It can drive you to change things that are unjust.

Then there is grief. We may not want to think of the people we've lost and feel their absence, but the alternative is to go numb to your feelings and forget about who we love, and forget about that part of ourselves. So we remember, and cry, and keep them in our hearts. Just like we open our eyes to injustice, get angry, and we change the world. We are angry and we don't forget.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I iz in Chicago.

Hotel shrine- Seshat, Seshat, Set, Seshat, Ma'autseshat (me!)

I arrived in Chicago yesterday. I'm here for Kemetic (Ancient Egypt) New Year. We have convention every year to celebrate, which I have attended for the last four years. Festivities begin tomorrow morning, but people have been arriving for the last couple of days. Most of our activities are at the Holiday Inn & Convention Center in Joliet (suburb south of Chicago), which is where most of us stay for the week. Those of us who have arrived have been running around the hotel, meeting for meals, and are currently enjoying "Sharknado" with coconut tequila and rum. We suspect that the tequila and rum are critical to really appreciating "Sharknado", although the acting of Ian Ziering and Tara Reid is delightful as usual. We've actually decided the character Nova, played by Cassie Scerbo, is the most competent and sympathetic so far. I could talk sharknado all night. I am convinced that some executive at SyFy has been pushing these fantastical disaster movies since the days when SyFy was actually the Science Fiction channel. He was reaching the point where everyone at the network thought he was crazy for supporting these movies, which he considers visionary but are usually consumed in the form of clips on "The Soup", but "Sharknado" has brought him the recognition that has so far eluded him. Good for him. His persistence has brought us the most enjoyable "wishes it was good enough to be a B movie" movie ever on SyFy, maybe even in the history of cable TV.

I was hoping to start blogging my adventures yesterday, but my travel itinerary was rough. I took Southwest because you can check two bags for free, but I was trying to fit everything into one suitcase. It exceeded the weight limit, so after packing all night I repacked the suitcase three times and then finally transferred everything to two smaller suitcases. Ergo, I was late leaving for the airport and late checking the bags in. I was warned that they might not make the flight. I then discovered the security line was out the door and down the sidewalk to the next terminal. I was so convinced I wouldn't make the flight I called my husband to alert him to turn around and come get me. The line was MOVING though, and I made it to the gate before my check-in group had even started boarding. I made it on the plane in plenty of time, although there were no aisle seats left. I have been insanely nauseous for the last couple days, so I was hoping to be a quick lunge to the bathroom. I ended up between two teenage young women and behind two screaming babies and in front of an occasionally screaming toddler. I picked that seat both for me and the young women since I didn't want to end up next to someone creepy and talkative, and I imagined they didn't want that either. I only had to crawl over the woman on the aisle to stumble to the bathroom once, for privacy to moan over abdominal cramps. Plus, I had a piercing migraine, wicked acid reflux, and was dizzy, so I spent most of the flight lying on the seatback tray trying to sleep. If I turned my head a certain way and kept perfectly still I could drift off for 10 minutes at a time. It got bad when the plane started to descend. The nausea hit me like a bus. I dug the air sickness bag out of the seat pocket and carefully positioned it so I could projectile directly into it. The teenagers looked horrified.

Disturbingly, this kind of illness mitigation is pretty normal for me. I have lots of experience with situations and physical conditions that cannot be escaped and only managed. I was also anticipating a long day of managing- bags that may or may not arrive, taking a number of buses for almost three hours to the hotel, and trying to find something to eat that wouldn't make my symptoms dramatically worse. I made it off the plane without hurling, ran to the first store I saw to get acid reflux medication and water (safe liquid), and, hooray! my bags made it. Little victories. The rest of the day I averted major disaster- after an hour on the first bus, I was unable to find the bus stop for my connection. My cell phone died, but just before I wrote down my friend and retreat roommate's cell number and called her from a bank. She drove to retreat and was able to find me even though her phone was about to die and I was in some strange suburb 20 miles from Joliet that neither of us had ever heard of. She was driving around getting supplies when I called, and after she rescued me we got fruit and other food gentle for my stomach. So I survived, but when I got back to the hotel I was ready to lie down for the rest of the day.

Bottom line is that I survived, and I am now sipping coconut tequila, laughing at the greatest TV movie ever and the commentary from a room full of new sharknado enthusiasts, and enjoying the company of people I see only once a year if that, but feel like know me better than most people who see me far often. I am hoping that the rest of the week continues to rise above mere survival.