Hello, dear readers (if I have any left). Yes, I’m sorry, it has been about 2 months since I have posted. I made it to Tucson okay, but I have been extremely busy, almost constantly on the go. Even before school started I was running around getting stuff ready, as I had only 2 weeks to prepare. Never fear, I still live! And although I am not sure how often I will be posting, I am doing quite well out here. The weather alone makes the move worth it. It is sunny and gorgeous every day! School is proving to be challenging but rewarding. I am having a lot fun learning about science-y stuff that I previously only had a very basic knowledge of.
I have been able to squeeze in time to work on my writing, mostly stuff I am submitting to devotionals in BA and elsewhere, so I will try to keep this blog going as well. I have also (perhaps foolishly) signed up to help out with the God of the Month Club over on the Neos Alexandria mailing list. We are trying something new. We will have different facilitator for GMC each month, who will pick the Deities to study and come up with interesting discussion topics. As you may have guessed, I am the GMC facilitator for February. Since we have been through the entire Pantheon list of NA several times, it was decided that we could pick a foreign Deity to study if the facilitator so wished. So, this month I picked Sekhmet for Egypt, Prometheus for Greece, and Odin/Wotan for my foreign God, since I know so little about Heathen Deities in general. I figured that I would share some of the insights I gleaned this month on my blog. So, below is my first official GMC post, regarding a few of my thoughts on the Lion Goddess Sekhmet.
Okay, as promised, this is my first GMC post. I just finished When The Lion Roars: A Devotional for the Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet, edited and compiled by the great Galina Krasskova. (full disclosure: I have two poems published in this anthology). Anyway, it was a very interesting little book and I think it turned out beautifully. Highly recommended to those who are interested in this fascinating Goddess.
I particularly liked Melitta Benu’s piece about the lessons she has learned from Sekhmet, many of which reminded me of some of the lessons I have learned from my patroness Athena. I have a strong attraction to and healthy respect for Warrior Goddesses in general, but I am much more of a scholar than a warrior. However, I signed up for one of the gym classes my school offers, and am trying to get my body into better shape. I hope to take one of the self-defense classes in the fall. I am studying to be a nurse, so I suppose I fall more under the auspices of the Healer than the Warrior, but I think its important for women to be able defend themselves. All people, really, but women especially.
I have tried to internalize some of the ideals of the Warrior, such as standing up for my beliefs, fighting for political change, extreme honesty, and protecting those weaker than me. I think these are good qualities to have in a nurse. I know from experience that a Healer has to be able to draw boundaries. Someone who is too nice is easily take advantage of. Healers and caregivers tend to worry so much about others that they forget about themselves. Human beings are not Gods. We can’t give and give and give 24/7. It depletes us, burns us out, til we’re no use to anybody. The medical professions have a high burnout rate. The worse thing is that this field draws people who care and want to do good. I loved my job at the group home for the mentally disabled. I loved my clients and I wanted the best for them. I thought of them as my own children, and I frequently referred to them as “the kids”. I would, and did, sacrifice a lot for them. But the company I worked for was evil, and they used that love against me. I worked 70-80 weeks for over 6 months, and it drove me to a literal nervous breakdown. I lost my job, and more than a year later I’m still recovering from it. I still worry about my clients. My former company has a habit of burning through employees in a year, two if they could stand up for themselves more than I did. The thing is, near the end, I wasn’t providing quality care. How could I take care of my clients when I was taking such bad care of myself? I was at the end of my rope, frayed beyond belief, and so exhausted it was a huge effort just to get out of bed, get dressed, and drive to work. Many times I nearly fell asleep behind the wheel during my half-hour commute home after a double shift. It was not healthy. This is a trap many healers fall into. We have to heal ourselves before we can heal others.
And I find it interesting that Sekhmet is both a Warrior and a Healer. It seems strange at first, but after my experience working at the group home, I can see how it is vital for a healer to have warrior qualities as well. There is more overlap than some may believe. And several people in the book use medical analogies for pain: cancer must be cut from the body. Hemorrhaging wounds must be cauterized. Sometimes, pain is the first step of the healing process. These are my initial thoughts about this fascinating and complex Goddess the Egyptians called Sekhmet.