What I Owe

Sometimes we make promises. These promises fall on the wayside, we forget, and they become years out of date. We make excuses and we cast it off as nothing. After all, nothing’s happened so far due to us not keeping our promises. Why should anything happen if you continue not to follow through?

Years ago, my grandfather had an incident. He and my grandmother live in New Mexico and he picked up geocaching after they moved there from Chicago. One day, he decided to go for a cache up on a mountain. Day turned to afternoon turned to evening turned to night. My mother got a panicked call from my grandmother saying that he hadn’t come home, he wasn’t answering his phone, and the place he had gone was on a mountain with cougars, bears, and other terrors.

That night was the first night I clasped my hands and prayed. My first prayers were to Anubis, for my grandfather’s safe return; my second prayers were to Hermes. I had never worked with Hermes but I figured it was good to throw in another god, one associated with both mountains and travel.

The next morning, we got a call. “I’m going to kill him,” my grandmother said. A member of the search party she had called together found my grandfather walking down the mountain to his car, completely fine. Once it had gotten late and dark, he had gotten out the emergency supplies he carried with him, and slept on the mountainside.

I’ve made it up to Anubis over the years for that, I believe. Hermes, though….

For the last two nights, I have burned cedarwood incense before I go to take my shower and relax for the night. As I blow out the initial flame, I murmur into the rising smoke “I burn this in offering to Hermes for the debt I owe,” or something to that effect. Things have been going rather smoothly the last couple of days, so I’m hoping that means the offerings have been accepted. I intend to burn more of the incense, but as it is actually The Boyfriend’s, I will have to ask him before I commit to it past this week. That said, I still intend to make it up to Hermes, to repay my debt, with interest.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the night my car ran out of gas in the middle of the night. I promised Anubis something special if parking was available at the theatre when I got back from running a quick errand that night, too. And it’s true, I still owe him for that.

Sunday night, as I was heading towards the bedroom to get ready for a shower, I found myself heading for the altar instead. I lit the candles and the incense and just began talking, thanking him for his presence and asking for wisdom and guidance regarding the frustrations of my new job. The last two days have been great and I have him to thank for that.

Set, as well, though. Friday we were due for storms and as I drove out to my first client, I found myself begging Set for some clear skies or, at least, a break in the rains as I drove around half of Northern Virginia trying to complete my route. By the time I walked out with the first two dogs of the day, the rain had stopped and did not pick up again while I did my walks, just as I asked. The same happened Monday. As I sat in the office waiting to talk to my supervisor, it began to rain. I sighed, displeased, and asked Set to clear the rain for me again as I was out walking the dogs that day. And again, as I pulled into park before my first client’s apartment building, the rain let up and stopped. We received beautiful clear skies the rest of the day.

Sometimes we owe the gods for the things they do for us. It’s a debt that weighs on me and one I need to repay before I can feel balanced again in my life. Even years after the initial deal, with nothing bad happening, I still feel uneasy. I dislike owing people things, even god-people. So, as I grow more comfortable with my practice and gain more confidence, I find myself making more offerings and dealing with deities in stronger, more respectful ways. Because I, for one, owe them that. It is a debt that must be repaid.

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