In The Desert Of Seth

By G. B. Marian

Category Archives: Faith

Editorial: An Open Letter to Pagan Leaders

I don’t necessarily agree with everything Rhyd says here, but the ultimate message is so dang important right now, I’m rebloging to boost the signal (to whatever extent my limited sphere of influence can allow). Thank you sir for a fantastic post.

GODS & RADICALS

MAYBE YOU’RE the high priestess of a coven or the chief druid of a grove. Or you find yourself at the head of a Pagan seminary, a news site, a blog portal, a Pagan convention, a witch tradition. Maybe you’re the owner of a publishing house or a witch-shop, a teacher of seminars or on the board of a non-profit. Or maybe you’re just an activist or a well-known writer with a huge audience. Regardless of how you got there, whether or not you ever intended to find yourself in a position of ‘leadership,’ you’re there.

I won’t talk about the responsibility such influence comes with. You probably see it already. If you’re like me, it maybe even scares you a little. You maybe didn’t ask to be here, and definitely not during the rise of far-right nationalism in the United States.

Most of you tend to lean towards the…

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Contra Islamophobia

From Pixabay.com

From Pixabay.com

I didn’t start this website to discuss politics, and I know it annoys some people when I do. But I find myself caring about that less and less each day. I shouldn’t have to keep silent on political issues just because I also happen to be religious; hell, no other religious person on Earth does! Even those who are involved in the tax-exempt church racket will often pontificate to the masses about public policy whenever they can, despite the fact that it really should cost them their precious 501(c)(3) status. Well if they can do it, so can I; I’ve got nothing to lose but readers, after all. And if you’re the kind of reader who’s offended by what I’m going to say next, you’ll probably be much happier reading something else anyway. (Might I recommend Mein Kempf?)

Well, the white nationalist dinosaur that calls itself “Trump” has vacated its oily bowels all over the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (and his scat will probably splatter on some of the other amendments before we’re through). I know we have to protect ourselves from groups like DAESH, but there are certain lines that just shouldn’t be crossed. I find it difficult to accept that we are now living in an America where people can be turned away from our borders simply for belonging to a particular faith. Hell, many of the people who were targeted by Trump’s executive order have already earned their green cards, and many are even married to U.S. citizens (and have children). Naturally, Trump and his cronies claim that this has nothing to do with Islam, but that’s a crock of shit if I’ve ever heard one. He called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” during his election campaign, and that’s exactly what he’s trying to do. The fact that the order is phrased to focus on nationality rather than religion is just an attempt to make it sound legal. What else should we think when Trump says he will prioritize Christian refugees from the same seven countries that are on his list?

The Trump Administration also announced on Thursday that it will be re-structuring the government’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program to focus exclusively on Islamic extremism. Until now, the CVE has targeted not only jihadists but also white supremacists who create terror right here on American soil. The purpose of the initiative is to identify and deter any group that subscribes to a violent ideology, regardless of whether it uses Allah, Jesus, or Fred Flintstone to justify its heinous acts. There’s always room for improvement, of course, and I’m certain the CVE program is no exception to this rule. But choosing to ignore white supremacism is completely unacceptable, especially given that more Americans have been killed in domestic right-wing attacks than in jihadist attacks since 9/11. I guess victims of white supremacist terror will just have to fend for themselves while our government continues to detain, deport, and otherwise punish innocent immigrants who have every right to be here.

If that doesn’t seem tragic enough to you, it’s pretty self-evident that Trump’s anti-Islamic actions will also fuel jihadists as they seek new recruits. Muslims across the world are watching this situation with baited breath, and some who have been sympathetic to the United States up to this point are probably starting to think we might actually be “the Great Satan” after all. This will serve only to make DAESH’s lies seem much more attractive to those who are without hope. Even worse, the jihadists will be galvanized by the rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes that is almost sure to follow this current spectacle. Just look at what happened when Trump won the election in November; people all over the country started vandalizing mosques (among other things). It’s funny how Trump, the Republican Party, and even the Trump supporters who “aren’t racists” had absolutely nothing to say about that bullshit while it was happening. And that was nothing but the racist white contingency flexing its muscles, collectively punching the air in victory. Now that Trump has made it clear that he means to outright ignore the threat of domestic right-wing terrorism, what do you suppose will happen next?

You might be wondering why I care so much about Muslim Americans. After all, were I to live in a Muslim majority country that applies sharia law to its non-Muslim citizens, I’d probably be fined, taxed, mocked, tortured, enslaved, or even beheaded for being a kafir or “infidel,” right? Well, maybe. But in a 2013 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, in which more than 38,000 Muslims from 39 Muslim majority nations were interviewed face-to-face, a global median of roughly seven-in-ten Muslims (72%) stated that violence in the name of Islam (e.g., suicide bombings, targeting civilians, etc.) “is never justified.” This literally means that most Muslims around the world do not sanction religious violence, which is certainly consistent with my own experience. My area has one of the largest Muslim populations in America, and we have yet to suffer any jihadist attacks (thank all the Gods). As a matter of fact, the Muslims I know are all doctors, nurses, EMTs, or other important public servants. If there should ever be a jihadist attack in my area (Gods forbid), a large percentage of the wounded would likely be treated and nursed back to health by Muslims. So if you ask me why I care about prejudice against Muslims, it’s because I accept my Muslim neighbors as valued members of my community.

But there’s another reason why I seethe at these contemptible policies. As a Pagan devotee of Seth, I worship the very Divinity of otherness. In my preferred spiritual language, Seth is God as someone who was marginalized from His own family since the moment of His birth. He has been vilified by the beautiful and the powerful, and He understands better than anyone what it’s like to be an outcast. But Seth refused to stay that way; He rebelled and changed the structure of His family forever, and He did so in ways that made each of Them better in the end. Seth then formed His own adopted family during His quests across the expanse of the unknown, and our job is to do what He does within our own spheres of life. This means two things to me personally:

  • Ritually smiting the Chaos Serpent (i.e., battling evil and injustice, both within and outside of myself, with words of power and symbolic deeds)
  • Upholding Ma’at in Deshret as well as in Kemet (i.e., promoting peaceful cooperation and dignified treatment of others across as many cultural, ethnic, political, religious, sexual, and social intersections as possible)

Seth is the Divine Foreigner, and as one of His ambassadors in this world, I can’t just remain silent as I watch my country devolve into a xenophobic horror show. Yes, Islam does teach that I will roast in hell (or Jahannam in Arabic) for all eternity just because I don’t worship Allah; and yes, I am very resentful of that teaching. I don’t like being told by anyone that I’m going to be punished just for believing differently than they do, no matter how good a person I might be. But the truth is, Christians are the ones who’ve been handing me that bullshit for my entire life, not Muslims. The Muslims I’ve met have all been kind enough to mind their own damn business and leave me alone; not one of them has ever been confrontational with me about my Sethianity. As a Pagan American, most of the ill treatment I’ve received for my faith has come from other white people who were born right here in the States and who claim to follow Christ. And while most of the trouble these people have given me has been nonviolent (though there have been times when I was afraid for my life or for someone else’s), it hasn’t been any less traumatic. Here in America, there are plenty more ways of intimidating and silencing people than just killing them. (Hell, just ask Donald J. Trump; he’s been keeping many of us awake at night all week!)

My point here is not to demonize white Christian Americans, but to point out that all Americans are just as capable of evil as any Muslim immigrant. This goes for every human category, including Pagans. What really needs to happen is for the good-hearted people in each category to band together and take a stand against this foolishness. Trump’s travel ban is not going to help anything; in the long run, even conservatives will see that it’s only made things worse. (Sutekh be praised, some of them already do.) I pray to Seth, Jesus and Allah that this nonsense is reversed somehow before DAESH or even the goddamn Ku Klux Klan can figure out how to capitalize on it.

Happy Friday the 13th, January 2017!

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Happy Friday the 13th!

Praise Osiris for giving us all the strength to grow back when we are cut down!

Praise Typhon Set for making our regenerative powers thrive in the first place!

Praise Ishtar, Diana, and all the other Ladies who bestow Their powers upon the women of the earth!

May all who suffer today be reborn and made as new tomorrow, to explore bold new horizons!

May all who read this holiday message be blessed, regardless of color or creed!

And if you see any black cats today, don’t run away! Give them a smile and a tasty treat, for they are just doing their job to keep the evil spirits away from your neighborhood! Reward them for their services, and good fortune will come your way!

HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13TH!!

Friday the 13th (The Holiday)

friday13th

Happy Friday the 13th!

Originally posted on Friday, September 13, 2013.

We celebrate Friday the 13th as a holiday in my family. We observe it as a time for celebrating the death and resurrection of Osiris. This is a painful but necessary theological event that makes it possible for there to be something else after a present state has ended. This refers not only to the idea of a literal afterlife, but also to life after any major life-altering crisis. Osiris makes it possible for us to grow back when we’re cut down, and it’s the actual experience of being cut that begins this entire regenerative process. Since there are 13 pieces left of Osiris’ body when Seth is finished with it, and since Friday night marks the beginning of the Sabbath, Friday the 13th just seems like a good occasion for celebrating this particular mystery of life.

As a “superstition,” Friday the 13th appears to go back no further than the year 1869, when it was first discussed in a biography of Gioachino Rossini by Henry Sutherland Edwards. The book notes humorously that Rossini, who had a superstitious dread of both Friday and the number thirteen, died on Friday, November 13, 1868.

Friday comes from the Old Norse Frīġedæġ, or “Day of Frigg,” the Queen of Asgard. In the original Latin, Friday was named after Venus, the Roman Goddess of love (whose name was given to the planet). In Babylon, Venus was the star of Ishtar; there’s even a highland region on the planet that’s named Ishtar Terra in Her honor. As the morning star that appears at the break of day, it became known as Lucifer (“Light-Bearer”). This, of course, was adopted by the Catholic Church as a name for Satan when the Bible was first translated into Latin.

The number 13 has some strong associations with feminine power. There are 13 lunar cycles in a year; women have at least 13 menstrual periods within the same amount of time (on average); the average age of menarche (i.e., a young woman’s first menstrual cycle) falls somewhere between 12 and 13 years of age in North America and Europe (though it can happen at any point between 8 and 16 years of age); and the planet Venus forms a gigantic pentagram in outer space each time that it makes 13 revolutions around the Sun.

When Seth dismembers Osiris, He chops Him into 14 pieces. 13 of these pieces are then buried throughout the world, while Seth keeps the final piece – Osiris’ phallus – for Himself. Now Big Red is a very masculine God, but He’s not the “proper” kind of male that the Osirian patriarchy was willing to accept as “king”; He’s infertile, He’s bisexual, and He’s at home in the undomesticated wilderness. At the same time, there were 13 people at the Last Supper of Christ, which was soon followed by Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus to the Romans. In the Revelation of Saint John, Rome is identified as “the Whore of Babylon” due to its political and religious “prostitution” with every faith and creed aside from Christianity. So when Jesus is crucified by the Romans (on a Friday, no less), He’s being killed by the chaotic and “feminine” world outside of the Christian patriarchy.

In both of these stories, the dying-and-rising patriarch can’t accomplish His miracle of rising from the grave until He’s killed first. In both cases, being swallowed up by the “chaotic” and “feminine” world (through the machinations of an “outcast” male initiator) catalyzes resurrection. Seth-Typhon and Judas Iscariot are really just as necessary and good as Osiris and Christ, and in this context, Friday and the number 13 take on a whole different meaning. They represent initiation: the experience of ending one phase of existence and beginning another. They symbolize how having our lives torn to pieces can actually make us better and stronger people. They are the threat of drastic metamorphosis coupled with the promise of regeneration.

bad-luck

Black cat? Check. Ladder? Check. Umbrella that’s been opened indoors? Check.

In official witch-hunting manuals like the Malleus Maleficarum, European witches are defined as women with paranormal abilities who subvert the patriarchal authority of Christ and His Church by their very existence. They were thought to be in cahoots with the same “demonic” power that influenced the Romans to crucify Jesus (i.e., Lucifer or Venus). Furthermore, witches were believed to be organized in covens that included 13 members each. There was also the Witches’ Sabbath, which came from an earlier anti-Semitic association of Jews with the devil. Since the Sabbath begins on Friday night (which is astrologically ruled by Venus), it only makes sense that Friday would be the best night for covens of witches to congregate.

And then there are the Knights Templar, a medieval Christian military order that played an important role during the Crusades. These knights eventually acquired so much wealth and political power that King Philip IV of France accused them of heresy against the Roman Catholic Church so he could get out of paying them his dues. He accused them of worshiping an idol called “Baphomet,” which was alleged to be a decapitated cat’s head on a stick. The Knights Templar were rounded up, tortured, and burned at the stake on Friday, October 13, 1307. Since then, all kinds of legends have been concocted about them, and there probably isn’t a single secret society that doesn’t claim to be “descended” from them in some way. In the 19th century, the occultist Eliphas Levi painted his famous image of the Baphomet as a goat-headed hermaphrodite (which he appears to have based on an alternate form of Osiris as Banebdjed, the Ram – or “Goat” – of Mendes).

Osiris - is that You?

Osiris – is that You?

For each of these reasons, Friday the 13th just seems to relate very well with various Osirian and Typhonian themes. I also enjoy the fact that it’s a “roaming” holiday that can pop up in any month depending on the year. My favorite way to celebrate is by having a picnic in a cemetery. A watermelon is always included in the meal, since watermelon is one of Seth’s favorite foods. It also makes for a great re-enactment of the miracle of Osiris; chopping up the watermelon represents His sacrifice, and eating the watermelon represents taking His regenerative gift into oneself. We also make sure to leave offerings of food and drink for those who are buried in the cemeteries we visit as well, thanking them for allowing us to have our picnic.