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19 December, 2012

U is for Undefined

I was in a conversation earlier today that kind of orbited around the subject of what one calls one's religion.  Which is an interesting subject in a lot of ways, because there are times where - if one even has a simple word - the more one goes into a particular path or way of being, the less the simple word describes it.

It's worse, of course, if there isn't a simple word or phrase to run with, if the explanation to "what is your religion?" comes in pieces and assemblages of concepts, not in a handy label that someone can then take away, look up, and gnaw on in quiet.  At least if I say "Kemetic" someone has something to start from, and while they might get it bass-ackwards in practice there's at least a thing to point at that will get all but the most clueless aimed in roughly the right direction.

But of course that gets less and less true the more you look at it - and not because I'm a wacky Crafty mystic.  Or not just.  Because for all that state cultus would be largely the same no matter which Egyptian god was tucked away in the heart of the temple, that doesn't mean I do state cultus.  Or that the gods I deal with were the sort of gods who had temples dedicated to them.  And when you get personal with things, the sorts of things that people are called to do vary widely, and since I'm household-oriented which is not exactly a going thing in a lot of mainline Kemetic practice, it goes ...

... well, pretty sideways, without touching any of theological points, differences in reconstructive practice, differences between mortar choices, concurrent practice, or anything else ....

If you want to know what's really going on with someone, the handles aren't going to be good enough, not unless you get a whole big heap of them in a pile together and achieve critical mass.  (When writing a short bio for a conference I'm going to be presenting at, I cited "Egyptian reconstructionist", "student of the Craft", and "hardworking mama" as critical threads - and that's all religious information, even though some people will pretend that the third one isn't.)

And then there are directions where it has to go undefined.  The same conversation led me to starting to make math puns about divinity, and I suspect there's some truth to this: that the practice of mysticism is pretty much a process of division by zero.  The rules don't work there anymore, and you can get nothing or the infinite or for all I know a ham sandwich out of it, because this is undefined.  The divisor which can be spoken is not the eternal divisor.  There's a tension between nothing and everything, between the bounded and the endless, that rattles around in the asymptote that can be drawn between the infinite and the negative-infinite, encompassing all things when nothing is on top.

I don't think I'm a liminalist.  Or at least I'm not a liminalist anymore, which is a funny place for someone who has for a long time self-defined in shadows and penumbras.  But it's not the fringes I'm there for, anymore, it's the bridges.  That funny place in the world where the entire span of being from one infinity to its negation hums on the one point.  It's not the boundary-zone between worlds, it is Yggdrasil, you see what I mean?

Aleph ... NOT.

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