Ekunyi's Embers

Epagomenal Days – Days of Aset and Nebt-het

Alternate title: “I will not be afraid of women.”

At times I find it frustrating that I struggle, have always struggled, to connect with those female goddesses usually represented as human. Bast, I connect with most strongly as feline, or at the very least as a fierce female-bodied figure whose gender plays absolutely no role in our interaction. Hethert-Nut comes closer to the “culturally-assumed standard” of a woman in this regard, but even she comes across to me more as either the vastness of the sky, well beyond such limited concepts as femininity, or a cow-eared nymph to whom gender is wholly irrelevant.

Am I afraid of women?

Probably.

I don’t often see myself as a woman, even if I do see myself as female. “Woman” is a dress I can put on and a role I can play if I want to remind myself that, with great effort, I have the power that position possesses. A power granted if the woman in question knows how to act and move and shift their whole being so as to deliberately manipulate and get something from the interaction, for good or for ill.

In my mind, Aset embodies this definition of woman. Magician and queen, lady of guile, willing to do whatever it takes to protect Her son, revive Her husband. She could be so inspirational, is to many, but to me she largely intimidates and makes me feel intensely uncomfortable. Enacting what she represents, while I am capable of it, feels so out of character as to push me to be another person entirely.

This in mind, it was no surprise that I struggled to interact with Her as I had the previous three Netjeru. It was the only evening ritual for which I tried to attain ritual purity, wore my official senut whites, and I still felt… not quite good enough. I have to wonder if I’m front loading myself in some regard. If all of the assumptions I have regarding myself are preventing me from making this connection. One big realization? I don’t genuinely, fully, believe that I am beautiful.

Pretty: sure, I can see it. Considerate: I always give it my best. Beautiful?

I tried to say it aloud, but my heart wasn’t in it. Too many years of not feeling good enough for others, not feeling fit enough to meet my own (obnoxiously high) self-standards, means that there are quite a few walls to tear down before I can believe it, if I ever will.

Maybe this is what she would demand of me. Confidently loving myself, believing myself beautiful enough, inside and out, to create subtle change.

I’m not without confidence. I’m quite certain I can handle my shit when it comes to being able to fight my way through almost any problem, hold up under the stress of work, defend those I love. But confidence in leading with power and fierceness varies dramatically from believing myself beautiful enough to bring light to dark places, beautiful enough to be worthy of Aset’s teachings.

I have a lot to work on there, and even if I could not overcome my concerns this year, I felt that the day was still useful.

Nebt-het’s day restored some of my confidence. I could not do much for Her, laid low by a migraine for the majority of yesterday afternoon and evening, but focusing on Her gave me comfort, almost as if someone was wrapping my pulsing skull with cool bandages. A brief evening ritual allowed time to consider Her role in my sibling’s life, and the significance of Her archetype as compared to what Set represents for me. I realized how much I had to learn from not only the gods themselves, but Their chosen children. I also considered the shadows which I still allow to obscure parts of my identity, and why I choose to remain hidden within them.

A divinatory process post-shrine time concluded what was, in general, a very “thinky,” meditative evening. Granted, it seemed that taking the time to think and be still was all She wanted of me.

Dua Aset! Dua Nebt-het!

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