Hekate, Anubis, and My Brain Injury

My perception of the Gods is that They exist in the Eternal Now. It is the nexus of all time – past, present, and future. It is also the state of “everything is everywhere and always” and “every point of space touches every point of time.” (Note 1) We as humans create in our consciousness, the past, present and future. When the Gods reach out to people, it is not necessarily according to our perception of time. My experience of Anubis and Hekate, two Gods of the Dead, happened that way.

I met Hekate and Anubis together, three months before my life-changing accident. I regard being crushed nearly to death by a faultily constructed wall to be a random event. I do not subscribe to the belief that everything happens for a reason. I see the Universe to be random. I believe that the Gods, Spirits, and everyone else works out each occurrence for Themselves. In my case, Hekate and Anubis decided to use my accident for Their purposes.

At a Pagan gathering many years ago, I attended a Norse seidr (ritual of speaking to the Dead) to ask about my deceased father. As with all religious activities, I prepared by washing and dressing in my formal Roman stola and palla. The seidhr was held at a campground, in the evening. The seidhrwoman sat high on a picnic table, with everyone sitting on either side on benches. Because I came later, I had to sit on the lone chair in between the benches. Covering my head with my palla, I was ready for the ritual. Apparently at the seidhr, I resembled the Goddess Hecate.

After the seidr began, I felt myself going away. The last thing that I heard was someone faintly asking about Anubis. At the time, I did not expect to be possessed by a Deity. Usually when people are to be possessed by a God, they plan for it and assemble a crew to help them. I was an “accidental” possession, totally unexpected by anyone.

I have no memory of what happened after we approached the Underworld during the ritual. I was told by witnesses that Hecate took over my body. The seidhrwoman later told me that she had received a vision of Hecate coming to the seidhr dressed as a Roman.

After Hecate left my body, I was totally out of it. I felt like I had been struck by lightning, dragged for miles behind a fleet of Mack trucks, and run over repeatedly. Dazed and confused, I panicked. Fortunately for me, the seidhrwoman knew what to do to help me. First, she had me drink water and eat some crackers. Then, she spritzed me with lavender. All the while, she discussed the weather with me. Eventually, I came back to my body.

Disoriented, I asked the seidrwoman what had happened. First, she had a prior vision of Hekate attending the seidr. When I came in, I was Hekate come to life. During the seidr, Hekate used my body to talk to the people attending about their Dead.

Later together with the seidrwoman and the woman who had asked about Anubis, we had a private seidr. While answering the other woman’s question, the seidrwoman suddenly transformed into Anubis. After taking command of her body, He commandeered a golf cart. After ordering us in, Anubis took us on a wild ride through the camp. Riding in a golf with a God driving it will unsettle anyone. That is how I met Anubis, the Egyptian God of the Dead.

My experiences that weekend were too weird, even for me. They were things to file away under “interesting stories.” Then my freak accident happened, and almost killed me. At that time, Hekate and Anubis reintroduced Themselves to me.

During my coma and later my brain “fugues,” Hekate and Anubis roamed with me throughout the Lands of the Dead. Not alive, but not dead either, I floated between the worlds like a specter. Wandering about, I met Stellar’s Sea Cow, an extinct mammal, who guided me back to life. Along with Her, was Dire Wolf, a prehistorical mammal, who showed me his worlds of wonder, and Diplocaulus, the boomerang-headed amphibian of the early Permian, who taught me play again. With their help, I came back to the Land of the Living. Still hovering at the threshold, I was hesitant to return. Anubis whispered to me that He was the Key, The Opener of the Way. Before I could react to that, I was propelled through the threshold.

My work for these two Gods is now to help the newly Dead to find the map to their Land of the Dead. (Maps are needed for the Dead to follow or They get lost, wandering hopelessly about.) When I go into a fugue state, I meet the Dead then. Also, I formed a cultus to honor extinct and prehistoric animals. (Note 2)

As I have said, I do not believe that either Hekate or Anubis caused my accident. I do believe that They used my brain injury for Their Purposes. They had reached out of the Eternal Now introduce Themselves before I could understand what They wanted.

Notes:
1. This theory was first described by J.M.E. McTaggart in The Unreality of Time. 1908.

2. I wrote about that in Witches & Pagans #32: Polytheism, July 2016: “That Which is Remembered, Lives: Establishing a Cultus for Extinct Animals.”

Works Used:
Kaldera, Raven, “The Eightfold Path to Altered States of Consciousness.” 2006. Web. http://www.northernshamanism.org/the-eightfold-path-to-altered-states-of-consciousness.htm
Kaldera, Raven, “Spirit Possession.” 2010. Web. http://www.northernshamanism.org/spirit-possession.html

Polytheism with a Brain Injury

Having a traumatic brain injury (TBI) complicates my life in a myriad of ways. For instance, I lost my sense of time. How do I know what day it is or when to plan something? I developed a system of using a calendar, a timer, and a day-planner. I write everything on the wall calendar and in my day-planner. Then I work out the day in my planner, and use my timer. Another part of my system is to anchor my days with regular activity and weeks in the same way. Monday is ironing, Tuesday banking, etc.

How does this work for the Gods of the Month and regular festivals in general? I put the festivals on the calendar and work out the Gods for each. Then I have the God of the Day list in my planner for my daily prayers. I have daily devotions that entail a schedule of regular “Gods of the Week” such as Neptune is always Thursday. This helps me to remember the changing Gods of the Day.

Doing meditation and other things is trickier. I have times when I go into an involuntary fugue state (a form of an absence seizure). When that happens, I need someone to help orient me back to the present world. In that state, I do sometimes have encounters with Gods that I have to piece together. I usually look for daily signs that the particular God did contact me. Once The Morrigan spoke to me in my fugue state. When I brushed the incident off as my imagination, She threw me out of bed. (I landed on my rear.)

Because of my traumatic brain injury (TBI), various forms of meditation are interdicted for me. For example, to meditate by watching a candle flame causes seizures from the flickering. Also, imaging myself a tree reaching to the sky and the earth removes me from reality. The result is that I cannot find my way back. The meditations that are encouraged for people with TBIs involve physical activity that uses both hemispheres of the brain. These types of meditations encourage a healthy brain while being rooted in reality.

What I do daily is cursive handwriting. According to Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Waldorf Schools, writing in cursive can be both meditative and character changing. Writing a page of Lacy Ls does calm down a racing brain. The repetitive movement across paper by the hand is soothing and serene. It frees the brain while keeping it tethered to reality.

I meditate using activities that anchor my mind to my body. Walking is ideal since it calms me down and promotes better brain health. From my walks around my neighborhood, I learned how to be a nature mystic. Watching squirrels in the trees, as I walk, becomes a meditation on Ratatoskr of the World Tree. Walking keeps me grounded and yet allows for contact from the Gods.

During my weekly walk up and down a long, steep hill, I pondered the houses nearby and their lawn ornaments. As I did, I kept getting messages from my House Lars (Family and Home Spirits) that They wanted a kitchen altar for Their devotions and offerings. The House Lars wanted me to recognize Their efforts to keep my family and home protected.

To ensure that I was not imaging Their Voices, I looked for signs in nature. I kept seeing chipmunks gathering nuts, which I associated with the Lars and Penates (the Keepers of the Pantry). When I got home, I set up altars to both Groups. The one for the Penates is on top of my refrigerator, and the one for the Lars is next to the stove. (I also have one to Venus Cloacina under my kitchen sink. She is the Goddess of Sewers and Purification.)

©Virigina Carper 2019