I was playing on Ancestry.com the other day and found out all my great-aunts and my great grandmother went by different names before they emigrated to the U.S. My great grandmother was Halda in Sweden and became Hilda. My Great-Aunt Alla E. became Elsie. I bet the E was Elsa but I can’t find that yet. Hatta C became Hattie/Harriet C. I have no idea yet what the C stood for. Lillie D became Della L.
I wonder why they changed them and there is no one around to ask that I know of. My Great Grandpa Isaac doesn’t seem to have changed anything but his last name and so far I found 3 spelling of it.
Still having trouble finding my great grandpa Isaac because he had no middle name that I can find. I also know he came with a brother. Isaac took the last name of Sjoberg but his brother took Shoberg which from what my grandpa Carl said was their address. It means mountain by the sea. The guy at immigration didn’t get the name right and not knowing Isaac’s father means I don’t know what his real name was because Grandpa should have been Isaacson not Sjoberg.
Anyway it’s fun to look.
I’m having a sort of crisis of faith not that I believe faith has anything to do with paganism because I don’t but I don’t know what else to call it. When I first came into the community 30 years ago things were a lot less serious but now a great part of the community seems to me to be lacking a sense of humour and has a sort of superiority complex. I follow around 300 blogs most of which are pagan and the majority of them take themselves too damn seriously. Folks you aren’t getting out of this alive so you need to see the lighter side of things.
There is a reason I don’t use the title Rev. before my name in public. I’m entitled to it legally but I don’t use it ever. It’s one more pompous thing to put in someone’s face and quite frankly a lot of people who do use it don’t seem to really have the credentials for it. That and due to some freak of the cosmos I was born into a family without the reverence gene. The only one who had it was my brother and he’s dead now, sometimes I think he got brain cancer from trying to pun like the rest of the family. Life is very funny and funny things happen to pagans constantly so why does no one talk about our deep dark secret? We’re so damn serious.
I know some of you must have a sense of humour, some of you read Terry Pratchett and Jim Butcher. There are funny pagan gods and goddesses like Baubo, and Bes/Bisu, Dionysus, all have funny sides. When was the last time you read about Baubo? No, its’ Hecate, Ares, some of the other stalwart serious beings.
Life is funny, circle can be funny. Ever had the cat catch his tail on fire in the South candle and seen a bunch priestess chase the cat? I have? Ever been in a public circle where East was called at all four corners. I have. Ever seen the priestess with her robe caught in her underwear after she exited the bathroom too quickly? I have. Ever sang the wrong words to a chant in a public circle? I’ve done it but I firmly say it was Scott’s fault. He was singing the bastardized words in my ear but it was still funny. Ever been to a circle where some priestess has dubbed herself the next Isadora Duncan and the interpretive dance portion is just plain silly? I have.
I know I can’t be the only one seeing and doing these things and finding life funny.
Mirth and reverence (but not Reverend) people. It’s right there in the Charge of the Goddess. It’s time more of us remember that.
BunniHoTep and Hathor’s Mirror
Ammit was having a really bad day. Her job was to eat the hearts that were rejected by Ma’at. These were very bad people who had not lived well. People whose hearts weighed more than a feather on Ma’at’s scales. These were people that had no good in them or very little at all. People who willingly chose to do bad things.
Most days Ammit stood by the scales and did not have to eat a single heart for most people in the world are good and choose not to hurt other beings. And Ammit was glad. She would much rather eat something that did not taste as bad as a bad person’s heart. It takes a very good and kind person to do Ammit’s job. Nobody else could eat all those hearts full of negativity, apathy and just plain evil and still be a good loving being.
Today she had had to eat three people’s hearts. That almost never happened. All of them had said mean things about how ugly she was and that someday she would be just like them. That night after she had finished her day with Ma’at, Ammit slunk back to her small mud temple and didn’t even stop for tea with BunniHoTep like she usually did. She was feeling very ugly and hurt. She had let herself listen to what the people has said to her and the things that they had said her were mean. She lay in her mud wallow and cried. Sometimes she wished there was someone else who could do her job but she knew there was no one else to do it. She had been created to do it.
Ammit the Devourer, the people called her and she had been made to look as scary as possible. She was part crocodile and part hippo and part lion. She had looked in the Nile one morning when it was calm and still and seen herself and vowed never to do it again. She scared herself and if she scared herself what would other people do when they saw her? She had no idea why BunniHoTep would want to be her friend but she was and that made a little pool of comfort in her stomach most of the time but not tonight.
Ammit dug deeper in her mud wallow and saw only darkness around her. She was so sad. She wished she had a nice job to do for the gods and goddesses. She lay there in the quiet mud and wallowed in it.
BunniHoTep sat in her Temple with the tea all made and she’d found some of the nice papyrus roots for Ammit to eat. Ammit said they tasted sweet and washed the bad out of her mouth. BunniHoTep waited and waited and Ammit didn’t come and then BunniHoTep went looking for her in Ammit’s Temple and it was dark and not even the porch light was on and BunniHoTep knew that Ammit had had a really bad day.
BunniHoTep decided to hop up to TempleRow to see how bad it had been. She got halfway down TempleRow before she found anybody to ask. Hathor was standing outside her Temple decorating it for the next festival in a few days with fresh flowers.
“Hi BunniHoTep, how are you this fine evening?” Hathor asked.
“Wondering how Ammit’s day went. She didn’t come to tea and her porch light isn’t lit and her Temple is very dark. That never means anything good.” BunniHoTep answered.
“Oh! You didn’t hear? Ammit had to eat three people’s hearts today. It was awful but then the people were too. Poor Ammit! They said awful things to her.” Hathor said thoughtfully.
“Did anyone say something nice to her after she had to eat the hearts?”
Hathor thought carefully. “No, I hadn’t heard anyone had. I wasn’t there so I really don’t know.
“Uh oh, I bet she is hiding. She feels every bad thing they say to her, you know. Then she goes into her Temple and hides because she thinks everyone feels that way.”
The two goddesses thought for a moment and then BunniHoTep had an idea. “Hathor, is your mirror near by?”
“Always.” Hathor pulled it off the belt she wore around her robe. “Why? Do you think we can help?”
“It shows how you really are on one side and what others think of you on the other, right?”
“Yes, do you think we should show it to Ammit?” asked Hathor.
“I think we should.” replied BunniHoTep.
And the two goddesses hurried down TempleRow to Ammit’s small mud Temple.
“Ammit, are you in there?” They called.
“Yes, go away.” came a small low voice.
“No, Ammit you need to come out of there. You missed your tea and I missed my friend.” BunniHoTep said.
“No, you didn’t. No one misses me.” said Ammit sadly.
“Yes, I do and come out here right now!” BunniHoTep said firmly.
There was a long pause while they could tell Ammit was thinking. “You really want to see me?” She asked.
“Yes, we do and we have something to show you.” said Hathor.
“Hathor? You’re there too?”
“Yes and you need to come out here right now.” she said even more firmly than BunniHoTep had.
There was a sucking sound and Ammit’s crocodile head came out and then the rest of her followed.
“What did you want to show me.” Ammit asked suspiciously.
Hathor took her mirror out from behind her back. “What do you see Ammit.”
Ammit looked cautiously and cowered away. “That’s awful! It’s horrible! Why did you want to show me that when I know how I look.” Ammit collapsed to the ground and started to cry.
“Oh, Ammit! We’re sorry but that is the side that shows how other people think of you like the people whose hearts you ate today. That isn’t really you.” Hathor quickly flipped her mirror around.
“Now look.” She commanded.
Ammit took a cautious peek and then another and then she stared.
“That’s the real me?” She said in wonder. “Honest?” Ammit couldn’t stop starring. “I’m beautiful.”
BunniHoTep patted her friend. “Yes, Ammit, you are. This is the side we see not the side the evil ones see. People who love you usually see you better than you do yourself and Ammit your outside can be scary but your heart isn’t.
Ammit just stared at the mirror. “That’s how you see me?” and her tears began to fall.
Hathor answered this time. “That’s we see you.” and she leaned down to hug Ammit.
“Don’t believe what all those evil people say about you. They’re being evil, that’s why you have to eat their hearts so that they can’t do more evil. Now could we all go have tea and get cleaned up? I have some of your favourite things today.”
Hathor nodded and reached down to help Ammit out of the mud. “Just remember it’s what you look like in the eyes of people who love you and what you know about yourself that counts.” She brushed the mud off her robe and the three walked over to BunniHoTep’s Temple and sat quietly watching the sun set at the end of TempleRow. Ammit smiled for the first time that awful day. It was good to be loved.
If you are in the L.A. area you are welcome to come and spend the day at the Faire!
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