The Meaning of Ma’at

I have made jokes for decades about my OCD being the reason I worship Ma’at. In truth, while I do believe that is a part of the reason Ma’at appeals to me, I also believe it is mostly because I feel a kinship with the ideals that Ma’at stands for. Ma’at was more of a concept to the Egyptians than an actual Goddess. Even though they were judged according to Ma’at when they died, Ma’at was considered more of an instruction manual for life than a deity in the beginning. Ma’at was their manner of daily living that they ascribed to as ideal.

Ma’at stands for the ideals of order, balance, truth, justice, and harmony. These are the virtues of Ma’at.

As such, I try to live as much of my life according to these virtues as I possibly can. Being human, of course I fail, but the continuation of coming back to these virtues after each failure and striving not to make the same mistake again, is one of the way in which I honor her.

Order: I believe that living a well ordered life is a concept that improves my life. Instead of spinning my wheels in thoughts and deeds, I prefer to have plans made, things to work toward as goals. Keeping things orderly prevents wasted time and energy in many ways. I try to plan things out ahead of time, so that when something happens I am not caught up in a reactionary mode, but can quickly shift into my “Here’s the plan” mode. I do not enjoy trying to find something that has been mislaid. I do not like trying to search through files on my computer to find what I am looking for, so I label everything accordingly. One of the best compliments I ever received was during my tenure at my previous job. One of the managing directors of the call center introduced me to a visiting Vice President by saying, “This is Tee, I’ve told you about her. She is the most organized person I have ever met in my life!” This was priceless praise to my ears. Apparently, that is why I joined RMG years before, as my old boss explained it. He said he decided to take me from the front line of the call center and promote me to the Resource Management Group (RMG) under him, for exactly that reason. I had lost my voice for a time, during which, I became a temporary assistant to organize the RMG team’s area (especially his pigsty of an office) for the team of four men because he said my own area was immaculate and orderly. In addition, I had documented and submitted several new methods and procedures to streamline efficiency for the call center during my 8 months on the frontline phones so he wanted me to streamline his filing and reports system. I worked in the other three cubes minimally, but I gave his office a thorough sweep, organizing, filing, and creating a logical system for him to follow. I got my voice back two days later and two days after that, I was a full-time member of the RMG team even though I was not an actual employee, but still a contractor.

Balance: Living a life of balance with other people, animals, and nature is something that many witches strive for in life. For me, striving to do as little intentional harm as possible to the world around me and to balance out what harm I do by committing acts of kindness toward people and animals has become a way of life. When a new animal turns up running loose in or neighborhood, we adopt it, or we did until we just could not keep any more by law. Now, we bring them into the home short term, check for tags, and have the vet scan for ids trying to locate its original family. Failing that, we find the animal a new home with a family or a place in a local no-kill shelter. The animals we cannot catch, we put food and water out for as needed, it is our way of life. Trying to recycle everything I can for my family, reduce the new material goods we buy and reuse old goods in new ways is a way of life. Using the Freecycle network to transfer items we no longer need to those who can use them and trying to find new items that we need, instead of purchasing them from a store in order to save on earth’s natural resources is a way of life. We grow what food we can to reduce our carbon footprint; we do not use pesticide and herbicides to poison the earth and groundwater and this, too, is a way of life. We conserve water in excess of what is required in our drought prone area of Texas and our electric energy is from 100% renewable sources, which is our way of life. Though we are not well off, we do manage to donate to local charities in time, money, and even blood. I support Kiva and Heifer international for worldwide charity toward those in worse shape around the world than we are at this time. This is not only a way of life, but also one of the great joys in my life.

Truth: Ma’at represents another standard to live by, which makes logical sense to me. Since I value honesty and truthfulness in those I deal with because they represent respect in my mind, if I lie and deceive someone, then I am not giving him or her respect they deserve as human beings. I tend to show respect to those in positions of authority, unless by their own dishonesty and deceit they have shown no honor of their own, then I try to destroy them or failing that, send them far away. I follow the laws of humanity for the same reason, as a sign of respect to my community and to society as a whole. I know that I do not like being lied to or deceived any more than others do. As such, I do others the respect of not lying to or trying to deceive them. This can be a double-edged sword for those who know me, though. Do not ask me a question if you do not want to know the answer. While I will try to be tactful and diplomatic if I can, if I cannot, you will get the answer you asked for but perhaps not the answer you wanted to hear. I have raised my sons to follow this particular code especially. It is my way of honoring the future.

Justice: I am a strong believer in the concept of actual justice. While I will forgive slights and overlook rudeness in most cases, for large transgressions, I am devout in seeking justice. I would have no problem at all with the death penalty being enacted for child molesters, murders, gang member who commit violent acts, rapists and those who would sell drugs to people before the age of accountability. Furthermore, I would be quite content to flip the switch on these people myself if “Old Sparky” were still being used in Texas. Other crimes, in my opinion, should have punishments tailored to fit the individual crime instead of simple incarceration. I do not think that locking someone behind bars, giving them three square meals a day, heating and cooling them in the seasons, providing them with free exercise equipment, free medical, dental and vision plans and an education is the way to handle crime. Especially when so many of the taxpayers in this country do not have these rights for themselves, but have to give money to the government to pay for the criminals. I would be more than thrilled to see the inmates required to grow their own food, tend to animals if they want meat, clean their own buildings and living properties, tend to the landscaping, and work off their transgressions with hard labor. The labor can monetarily recompense or reimburse those the criminals have harmed financially. Then again, I would not be locking up many of the people that targeted in the United States currently. The “three strikes laws” and the “war on drugs” have been some of the largest injustices ever, in my opinion. If someone is non-violent and stupid enough to use a drug, which rots their brain, as long as they harm no one else in the commission of this stupidity, stop incarcerating them and let them alone. It could very well be their Dharma to have that experience in this incarnation to learn from so they progress in the next incarnation. If a person is too poor to pay fines or court costs, stop incarcerating them. Instead put them to work on roadsides cleaning up litter, have them work with groups such as Habitat for Humanity, building homes for those who cannot afford to buy commercially built properties, have them work in outreach programs feeding the homeless and tending to homeless shelters in urban areas. Instead of monetary recompense for the work, this money can go to paying of the debts they owed.

Harmony: I try to live in harmony with others. I do my best to be polite and charming when dealing with strangers and acquaintances. I treat all I meet with respect and I trust people unless and until they give me reasons not to trust them. To those I love as family and friends, I give the best I have to offer. If I see someone in need, I will do my best to help them out even if it includes moving them into my home with my family (again) and helping them get back on their feet. If they abuse the generosity, they are rebuffed in the future, well, most of the time, family being what it is; I sometimes make exceptions I come to regret multiple times. Even then, I try to maintain as much harmony within the household as possible. On the job, I treat people with respect and strive for harmony across the board. I am typically friendly, out-going, and good-natured, so I do not give orders to the people under me if I can find a way around it. Instead, when they are not performing their job properly, I say “May I ask you to do me a favor?” and then point out the portion of their job they are neglecting either intentionally or inadvertently. Most often that is all I need to do and people are more than happy to comply with alacrity. If more is needed, I revert to the virtue of justice and make the punishment fit the crime.

As I have discovered firsthand, when striving to live a life based on order, balance, truth, justice, and harmony, I deal with much less stress than others around me seem to have to deal with. It is a soothing process for me. It allows me to enjoy my life, and reap the fruits of my labor in peace and contentment. Of course, nothing is perfect. There are those people who always want to start a war for nonsensical reasons. There are those who try to cause mischief and chaos so they may feed off the energy of others. Even a few who try to argue that I should be more materialistic, more power hungry.

They clearly do not understand that choosing a life with fewer golden chains allows me the freedom to have less stress, and more free time to enjoy time with the ones I love and to work on my magick. Everyone must decide for himself or herself what is most important to them. Is it the high dollar sports car, the latest phone with the “smartest” innovation, or is it ample time spent huddled around a table with good friends, enjoying a game and laughing so much you can barely breathe. Is it time in your backyard barbequing with loved ones and listening to them rave over your latest newly created recipe for homemade ice cream. As for me, I particularly liked creating homemade Apple Pie Ice Cream, Watermelon Ice Cream, and Pumpkin Ice Cream. What about you? Fun and friends or fancy goods?

Witches’ Holiday: The International Day of Peace

As a witch, two of my favorite things to do are celebrate and cast healing spells. In a case, like this I get to do both, which thrills me. It is a worthy goal to cast spells for international peace, on Sunday September 21, 2014; this is day the world has set aside to focus on international peace. As such, I know that the energy from my spell work will join with energy from other witches, and the prayers of non-magickal folks from all over the world on this special day.

Intl Peace Day 2“Let us not use bombs and guns to overcome the world. Let us use love and compassion. Peace begins with a smile. Smile five times a day at someone you don’t really want to smile at at all. Do it for peace.” Mother Teresa

The International Day of Peace established the same year that I left high school, is a day that needs a LOT more recognition, in my opinion. I think it should be every bit as well advertised as every other world holiday. It should be bigger than Samhaine; more widely celebrated than Yule, and generate more excitement than the World Cup, World Series, and Super Bowl combined. It is an important opportunity for citizens of every nation to concentrate on finding peaceful solutions to the problems between different factions the world around. It is a chance for leaders of nations to talk about solutions, explore new ideas and work together to end the ravages of war and discord that exists in and between so many countries. It is a time for rebels and regimes to find a better way than wholesale slaughter of one another to exist.

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” Nelson Mandela

If we learn to talk to one another, work with one another, discuss terms, come to agreements, and realize that we all need the same things. We Intl Day Peace 1need sufficient clean air, clean water, and safe food. We need shelter, safety, and security for our loved ones and ourselves. We need to be able to contribute to society, to feel a part of something and help build toward a greater future for the whole world. We need the freedom to worship our God, Goddess, Gods, Goddesses, all or none of the above as we see fit without persecution from others for our beliefs. There are many more, but these are the most important to my mind with only one exception. We all, as human being, deserve and have a right to exist in peace. We need to stop killing over possessions. We need to stop killing of resources. We need to stop killing in the names of our deities. They are surely as sick of it as we are, yet it does not end.

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” Mahatma Gandhi

During this time of global ceasefire, global concentration on peace and non-violence, we need to focus not only on making peace from an external standpoint of putting down our weapons, but also of finding peace within ourselves. We need love in our hearts and most importantly peace for those who think differently, peace for those who worship differently, peace for those who love differently, peace for those who act differently.

If we can find the peace in our hearts, we can bring it into our actions. It is a small step from the heart to the mind. It is a step worth taking to save lives, entire generations, to end the genocides, the wars against brothers, neighbors and friends.

poster_sm“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” Dalai Lama

Every year there is another International Day of Peace observed. Every year, millions of people take part, the world over, people celebrating from state to state, nation to nation, and continent to continent.

When we will realize that just as with everything else in life, if we take peace day-by-day, starting on September 21st, this year and carry it forward, one day at a time. With each step we take away from violence, we begin to heal. With each day that passes it will become easier. Each day that passes will save more lives; each day will make a phenomenal difference even taken one single day at a time.

Can we try it this year? Can we take peace one day at a time? Can we see how long we can make it last, not just for ourselves, our children and grandchildren, but also, for the world as whole? I am ready, are you?