Sticks and Stones and Heka

There’s an old saying, “Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  It’s like a child’s anti-bullying mantra that follows along with the commonly known Eleanor Roosevelt saying, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  Granted, this quote is disputed, but whomever said it had the same idea as the sticks and stones individual, and I hate to break it to you, but both of those are lies.

Words CAN hurt.  Words may not be able to break your bones, but words can cause damage that, unlike your bones, may never heal.

I understand that to some people, it’s easy to just cut off when negative words come flying and know, without any doubt, that the words being shouted have less to do with you and more to do with the inner turmoil of the person saying them.  I understand that some people have the ability to “not give their consent” so as to not “feel inferior,” but not everyone is capable of that.  Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can hurt you, too.

And what I think is possibly worse than being hurt by the words is feeling like you shouldn’t have been.  Now, not only did the words hurt, but you hear “words will never hurt me” and “without your consent” floating around, so you add on the feeling of inferiority to the already hurt feelings.  “Well, if I must really suck if this person says I do and I let it get to me.  In fact, I probably double suck.”

Words have power, and it’s extremely important that we recognize that in our day-to-day lives.

Let’s define a word, shall we?  Magic(k).

Magic is creating change by connecting with the energies of nature.”

“The term “magic” is used in at least four different ways by Pagan authors.  First, “magic” is used to describe practices which seek to project the magician’s will on the natural world by supernatural or occult means.  (By “supernatural”, I mean those means which are not recognized by the natural sciences.  By “occult”, I mean those means which are hidden from positivistic science.)  Second, “magic” is used to express the feminist reclamation of women’s willpower (either symbolically or in practice).  Third, “magic” is used to describe a form of psychotherapy that involves religious symbolism and ritual.  Finally, “magic” is used to describe a “re-enchantment” of the world, meaning an expanded consciousness of the radically interconnected world of which we are a part.” – The Allergic Pagan

“Magic, also called witchcraft or sorcery, is simply the ability to create what you what through your desire and will. This is often called “manifestation through energy and intent.” […] Magic and prayer are similar, in that both call on personal and divine power to change the world. The big difference is in how the two call on the divine. Most prayer calls on a god or goddess to change reality for the prayer. Magic calls on the divine to supplement or enhance the power of the caster. Magic encourages closeness and equality with deity, while prayer encourages a certain degree of separation.” – The Urban Pagan

Now, let’s define another word: Heka.

“Heka, which is commonly referred to as ‘magic’ in English, is about authoritative speech and also means “activating the ka”. To put it in laymen terms, heka is about words of any shape or variety. Spoken words, written words, signed words- just about any form of communication you can throw a stick at falls under heka.” – The Twisted Rope

“Heka is an abstract Name, embodying the concept that there is power in the spoken word – power which can be used for good or ill.” – Kemetic Orthodox

Heka is both a God and a concept, much like Ma’at.  Heka is the personification of magic while heka is the actual magical spoken language.  Typical magic is seen as a part of a ritual: a casting of a circle, raising of energy, communing with the Powers, to manifest something into being.  Heka is using language, both spoken and written, to o the same thing, but without all the ceremony and ritual.

Now, I’m not saying that all heka occurs without ritual.  Ritual is a good way to help us focus and center and concentration, but the real power doesn’t come from the ritual, it comes from the words.

Just like with ceremonial magic or traditional magic, there is varying degrees of heka: “Good heka,” “bad heka,” and “Somewhere-in-the-middle heka.”  We can create a ritual and use heka as the means to an end, but heka isn’t something that happens just when we want it to.  It’s something that happens every day.  If you talk, you use heka.  If you write or sign or communicate in any way, you use heka.  Our communications have power, and it’s time we started “thinking before we speak” again.

How do we know, then, if we’re using heka properly?  Look to the Gods for answers:

The Kemetic Negative Confessions/Purifications have pretty strict guidelines to keep you living in ma’at when heka is involved.

Purification 6: I do not distort speech.

Purification 8: I do not speak lies

Purification 14: I do not damage myself with lies.

Purification 18: I do not babble.

Purification 28: I am not spiteful.

Purification 32: I do not talk too much.

Purification 38: I do not cause grief.

I’m not going to go into details on all of these, but it’s important to remember what happens after a person dies (specifically a follower of Ancient Egyptian religion): Judgment.  Upon death, you travel to the Duat where your heart is weighed against Ma’at’s feather of truth and justice. If you fail this test and your heart does not weigh the exact amount, your heart is eaten by Ammit and you cease to exist.  If you pass, you move into Aaru, which is paradise.

Obviously, if you read the above purifications, negative heka equates to isfet (the opposite of ma’at), which leads towards a failed judgment upon death.  So what does that mean in the most basic of terms?

To maintain positive heka: don’t lie, don’t speak badly of others, don’t hurt others with what you say, and don’t speak more than you need to.  Maintain a positive attitude and thought, and listen more than you talk.  When you speak to others, make sure you are speaking rationally and not lashing out.  Be careful that your wording isn’t going to be misconstrued as something else.  Think before you speak.

And finally, follow through with your words.  If you say you will do something, actually do it, and don’t keep putting it off.  Do the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do.  Not only will this help you live a more positive life, but it will also inspire others to do the same.

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Posted on April 10, 2014, in 42 Negative Confessions, 42 Purifications, Kemeticism, Life, Pagan Blog Project, PBP, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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