Last night I baked for the first time in nearly a year. Often, during the summer months, I get the urge to turn on the oven and bake dozens upon dozens of cookies, bread, muffins, cupcakes, biscotti, and whatever else I have the ingredients for – and much that I don’t. Part of this is because I really don’t like being told what to do and, it being summer, turning on the oven isn’t always the best option.
But last night I was about to start working on dinner and noticed that the bananas we had bought were starting to ripen past the point of hand-eating. So I called to The Boyfriend to find a recipe for banana bread while I unloaded the dishwasher and got out the new cupcake tin we bought weeks ago and I hadn’t gotten the chance to use it yet. Remembering we also had a bag of chocolate chips that I hadn’t used yet, I opted for chocolate chip banana bread muffins and baked them.
Let me tell you: they were delicious.
I was also pretty excited because it meant I had homemade bread for offerings today.
Yesterday, I fully intended to “open” Anubis’s new shrine and altar but having woken up with a sore throat and feeling generally crappy, I put it aside with the intent to get it done today. I’d gotten everything on the main altar, where Anubis’ shrine is now, and just had to use it the first time to open it and greet Anubis to welcome him into his new home. After waking up today, getting a bit of food in me, and setting up the offerings on the altar, I showered and dressed in a red t-shirt (one of the colors I associate with him), and lit the candles and incense.
My rituals are never really scripted. I lit the candles first, lit the incense, and began my slow breathing to get myself settled in the ritual mindset. By the third slow breath, I felt something click into place and my mind calm enough to begin the ritual with the right approach. I wanted a sense of solemnity today, a sense of ritual, if you get my meaning. It began with a brief welcome of Anubis into the new home, an expression of hope that he liked the new space and setup, and an explanation of the offerings I had placed there for him. Once I finished that, I thanked him for his role in my life these last thirteen years and chattered at him for a bit.
Then I paused, unsure where to go. Remembering my words last week to the Netjer, I thanked Anubis again and announced that if any of the Netjer wanted to work with me, use me in some fashion, or get work out of me, to let me know. I told them that though I was willing to help them, I did have other gods who demanded my attention and that I did not want to let my relationships with them suffer. I thanked them all for coming and being in my life, announced that it was time to revert the offerings (“I will revert these offerings to myself as there is no waste in the desert.”), and closed the shrine. Blew out the candles, stamped out the incense, and removed the offering plate with its chocolate smears to keep the shrine clean to the best of my ability.
In my life and practice, I try to keep an open mind and an open heart. My apartment has something of an “open door” policy to it: spirits that come this way are welcome, so long as they don’t start anything – and even then I tend to just let them be, as evidenced by my relationship with the Woman in the White Dress who likes to mess with my perception of the bathroom. It’s not been a problem yet; then again, I tend to have a different approach to spirits than others in the communities. It’s taken some time for me to be able to see or sense them at all, so I don’t like to banish them with a heavy hand or freak out upon their arrival like some others tend to.
But the point of this entry is to keep an open mind and open heart. I try to do this in various aspects of my life, to just be open to the possibilities around me. Am I preferential towards planning and having an idea of what I’m doing? Yes, of course. Five years of scheduling every day makes it habit, after all. But the last year has been extremely unscheduled for me, a lackadaisical approach to life that I have needed some getting used to. Yet, when it comes to my faith, my practice, my work, whatever you want to call it, well. You need to be more flexible. You need to be more open to the path, to its twists and turns, to facing new challenges. And that is what I hope to do these coming months, as I work within a new structure of religion, and why the words tumbled past my lips today; though I walk this path alone, I am willing to see who else may want to join me here.