• Death was hereditary. You got it from your ancestors. Terry Pratchett
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Other Blogs

  • Just a quick note
    I’ve updated my bio page with a link to Les Cabinets Des Polytheistes, where my story “Spine of the World” is published (and in which people can play Spot The Netjer if they are so inclined), and my less-specific webspace Suns in Her Branches, which is broader than this space (which is specifically for reconstructionist-derived […]
  • Opet article is up
    And can be read here.Filed under: Patheos Links
  • Opet is coming ’round again
    And the Emboatening Crew is once more celebrating by making Kiva loans. You’re all welcome to join us. (My monthly column in Patheos Pagan is about Opet and charitable works, and will be going up tomorrow assuming nothing goes wrong.)Filed under: Festivals, Uncategorized
  • The Art of Being A God
    It’s interesting having one foot in reconstructionist religion and one foot in religious witchcraft, for a lot of reasons. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about lately is the shape of how the gods appear within the context […]
  • Mythopoeia
    Continuing with rambling on the topic of my exploration of pagan movement history, another critical concept: mythopoeia. The word means, literally, “myth-making”, and it is one of the near inescapable traits of at least the origin points of pagan religions. […]
  • Hills of the Horizon: The Past is Another Country
    The problem with extrapolation from history is that nothing is testable. The evolution of a religion over time is not a predictable and easily comprehensible thing, where we can look at a point in time and say, "It was like this then, so it would be like that now." The process of deciding what needs […]

The River

The river is the central artery of being.

It emerges from somewhere else. It emerges from the cataract. It emerges from the land of spirit, from the land of the dead, from the hands of those who guard the gates of its flow.

It emerges from the places where there are hidden stars, never seen. From mysteries, from the fonts of sacredness, the places of invisible lives.

It flows out from there, and it brings life with it, the sustenance that will make the land blossom. It brings new earth; it brings release from thirst. When it floods, it brings dread things, dire things, that escape and run rampant until they are again contained, turned away, banished.

There is no power that is not ambivalent. The water flows and it bears the power of life from the font from which life emerges; the water flows and it brings plague as well. The water flows too high and it washes everything away, eating away houses, devouring anything not built in stone; the water flows too low and there is no new earth, no growing season, and thirst.

The river connects. Its roots in the hidden realms give rise to the power to go from city to city, from place to place, to allow other flows to exist. Its perpetual boundary is also a perpetual highway, letting the living reach to each other, to travel, to span the distance between them.

The river is perilous. The crocodiles will return the unwary to the depths of unbeing, the roots of where water came from. The hippopotamus tramples if enraged. The waters themselves, that give life, will kill, and drowning can create gods.

The river has its rhythms, its pulses, its high times and low times.

Even as it emerges from the unseen, from the realms of the dead, it flows past that which is human, and out into the unspeakable and the dangerous and the foreign. The flow does not stop here; the river’s purposes go beyond that which is human.

Like all great powers, the river is generous, within its bounds.