The Ambient Arc

I’m holding onto what I haven’t got.

In my quest to learn more about my decks and how they approach problems, I decided to ask them what my goals for the new year should be. Sure, it’s early to do that, but given that it takes time to decipher what a deck is saying and it takes time to formulate plans to reach a goal, mid-November is a perfectly serviceable time to do such a reading.

Anyway, I did the readings one after the other, which I will never do again. It’s quite exhausting! Especially with the BoDO. Remember how I said you should set aside at least 30 – 45 minutes for a tetractys reading? Try more like 60 minutes minimum. If you’re the type who sits there and fully interprets a reading right when you’ve laid it out (instead of lightly interpreting it, then sleeping on the rest), you’ll need at least 120 minutes. I shit you not. This deck does not fuck around.

The BoDO reading made me feel a bit dizzy as I went. The AO reading felt cold for awhile, though maybe that was just the room.

For the BoDO, I pulled a tetractys like:

                              Meskhenet
Geb                       Ptah
Bennu         Heru          Mafdet
Imhotep     Kemet         Khnum     Nun

First of all, there were a lot of 1s in this reading, which suggests the beginning of something.

Meskhenet is seated in the Sirius position, meaning her power is the guiding principle of the reading. Meskhenet is the birthing brick, the beginning of life and new growth. She asks you to consider any astrological influences. I think her power is amplified given that I did this reading very close to the heliacal rising of Sopdet.

Meskhenet is also the embodiment of destiny. My being here, and whatever my goals are. . . I’m supposed to be here. That will be some solace, I suppose, when I’m floundering just a few weeks into the process.

[Dec 4 edit: It just occurred to me that I could be misunderstanding Meskhenet. Meskhenet is one of the goddesses present at birth. I feel like her presence here at the Sopdet position in could possibly indicate my already having been reborn. This obviously has some consequences for the rest of the reading, which I’m going to look into.]

Geb is seated in a past position, and he indicates past thought patterns and their influence on my current state of mind. Geb is a reminder that staying grounded is important. He is the one who recommends keeping a connection with earth and reality–so don’t get your head stuck in the clouds. At the same time, Geb is utter devotion. After all, he reaches out for Nut, not anyone else. In that same vein, he is also an embodiment of loyalty. That’s really beautiful. I never thought about that with Geb.

At the same time, Geb is also a necessary separation. If he was able to reach his goal, his ambition–Nut–then nothing could exist. So I think as I go on, I should remember that perhaps it’s the journey toward the goal that’s important, not its fulfillment.

I also think there could be a negative connotation to Geb’s role as the great Honker. That is, sometimes you can honk a bit too much for your ego. . . .

[In light of the Dec 4 edit, I wonder if this indicates that I needed to become separated from everything and everyone for awhile. It’s been incredibly refreshing to just be on my own for awhile, being responsible to no one but myself. I’ve had the benefit of learning more about myself, how I move through the world, what I want, what I need, how I can reach it all.

It was a horrifically painful, humiliating, maturing, and humbling process. It also taught me a little bit about what’s important, but I’m not lying when I say I still have a lot to learn about that.

For sure, I’ve learned a ton about shutting down my ego, standing my ground. I’ve learned a bit about loyalty now that I’ve had a chance to reflect on Geb a bit.]

Ptah is seated is a future position, where he indicates a guideline for future actions. Ptah is one who created everything through his heart’s desire and therefore he asks us to know our hearts deeply in order to understand him. The master craftsman, he is an expert at balancing and ordering. He asks us to become master craftsmen like himself. In the future, I think I need to use my heart as much as my brain, and go slowly so I learn what I need to do.

[From the Dec 4 edit: Looking at this from the point of already being reborn, it makes sense. I started listening to my heart, and I need to keep doing it. There’s a lot of work to be done, a lot of stuff to be explored, a lot of shadow work needed. The only way to make it through alive is to truly know. True gnosis.]

Geb and Ptah together in these positions represent the totality of the Eye, which suggests that my goals for the coming year should incorporate the physical and spiritual, but not at the expense of either.

[Dec 4: A transformation that could and can only occur when it happens simultaneously on all levels of existence.]

[Dec 8: Geb and Ptah represent the totality of the eye. Because of that, I think there needs to be an element of devotion and faith in my actions. This ties in with Ptah and truly knowing the heart. And acting in accordance with that. One thing brought me here, and now going forward, I need to use it to help guide me.]

Bennu is seated in the position that indicates the compulsion that drove me to ask the question in the first place. The Bennu is the soul of Ra, the ever effective one (Akh), who burns away the dross of the soul and then takes his place in heaven. The Bennu tells us to shed the old, the worn out, and the non-functional. The interpretation here is so obvious I won’t belabor on it.

[Dec 4: The soul is compelled to know where it’s going and why. It wants to know when it will find its roosting place. Every soul wants to be effective and strong. Everyone wants to be Aner en Rekh.]

[Dec 8: It might worth mentioning that, as the soul of Ra, the Bennu always seeks home.]

Heru is seated in the position that indicates how the different energies of all these cards are to relate to one another, so in a sense, he’s the lynchpin of the entire reading. Heru is all about victory over adversity, perseverance, and righteousness. This suggests that my goals for the year require me to face adversity with perseverance, and act in a righteous way. Not that I know what’s righteous in the context of what I believe. I mean. . . I don’t know what I believe. I’ll just make sure I don’t kick any puppies or anything.

[Dec 4: Given that I don’t know exactly what I believe (or perhaps am afraid to admit it?), it seems like Heru here is asking me to figure out what the hell I stand for. Tough to stand for something if you don’t know where you’re supposed to stand.

I wonder if there’s any value in connecting the story of Heru’s birth and the part Meskhenet played in it as a goddess of birth–and destiny. I guess I feel like I’ve been dropped into the middle of all this and if I want to make it, I have to be like Heru.]

[Dec 8: It just occurred to me that the position Heru is in is represented by Shu, who supports the sky. Heru and what he stands for holds up the entire reading.]

[Dec 15: Which begs the question: what does Heru stand for? Of course, it depends on which Heru you’re referring to. In this case, it’s Heru-sa-Aset, or at least that’s the impression I get from the card and its meaning.

Heru is righteousness, determination, strength, loyalty, and, to some degree, devoted/faithful (like to his dad and mum). As a ruler, he has to have a sense of order, justice, and wisdom.

Everything in this reading depends on Heru’s good sense, his strength, and his ability to rule. Therefore, everything in my reading is going to depend on how much sense I use, how well I bear up under adversity, and how well I can direct the course of my own life. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but acting righteously and, to a certain degree, devotedly/faithfully, is very important, because everything else will hinge on that. I also will need to persevere. . . something that’s becoming increasingly clear to me.

At the same time, the forces of the universe came together to help out Heru, so I’m not alone.]

Mafdet is seated in the position that represents the flow of wishes, emotions, and expectations. This is a card pointing toward the future, too, so this is what’s coming. . . To be honest, I’m a little afraid of Mafdet. She is the punisher, the adjudicator, the one who holds the unrighteous accountable. She demands we pay for our wrongs, and she can indicate the need for an imposed discipline of a spiritual or earthly nature.

What’s interesting is to see her seated in this position. Should I expect to be punished or self-punished this year? Or perhaps do I need to take on some discipline/sadhana and hold to it tight as I can? In a way, I kind of see her tied in with Heru, which suggests to me that if I’m too careless with my goals, I’m going to feel the boom.

[Dec 4: In some ways, I feel like I’m Heru standing between the Bennu and Mafdet. On one side you have effectiveness and power. On the other side you have fire and punishment. Both of them are great cleansers, but only one of them can be considered any sort of gentle about it. And only one of them leads to Ra.

At the same time, Mafdet feels like a call to some sort of orderly spiritual practice or discipline while Bennu feels like the benefits of such. And for some reason it makes me feel really blessed. Sometimes I feel nothing but hate, but between these two it’s possible for me to feel love.]

Imhotep is seated in the position that indicates the past and how it’s still carrying forward. Imhotep is an excellent healer and I am still working on healing, so my goals should incorporate that somehow.

[Dec 4: That which is reborn is healed. As Ausir lives again, so do I.]

[Dec 8: It also occurs to me that Kemet is right next to Imhotep. The last time I did a reading, Ap-p was here, so I really think there’s a stress on some stuff being worked through and more stuff that needs to be worked through. The poison is strong.]

Kemet is seated in the position that suggests how I’ll advance in my goals, or how I’ll react to things, or what’s influencing my ideals and expectations.What fascinates me about this card is its imagery compared to the Ap-p card I pulled in this exact position the last time I read the BoDO. Kemet prominently features a serpent, but it is one of a more positive, creative nature. At the same time, it comes forth from the abyss.

Kemet is a card of fertility, wisdom, spiritual growth, mystery, darkness, chaos, dissolution, material for a new beginning, confusion, and structure breaking down. I don’t think it’s directly related to what my goals are. Instead, I think this card suggests whatever happens is going to be a little less tumultuous and unpleasant. There will still be difficulties, just not of the Ap-pian nature (funny how I insist on slicing through its name that way).

[Dec 4: Sometimes I still see signs of Ap-p in my life instead of Mehen AKA Kemet. Which suggests to me that, reborn or not, the ghosts I was battling with before will come back at some point. Even Ra had to face the darkest darkness when the world was barely in infancy.

Even when we change who we are, and become better than what we are, there will always be at least one thing nagging at our heels that we will have to strike down again and again. Everyone has their ghosts and demons. It’s unavoidable, really.]

[Dec 8: I feel like I didn’t consider the meaning of the position this card is placed in. In order to advance in my goals, I think I need to focus on growth and healing. Given that some sort of growth is my overall goal this year, Kemet is encouragement that it can happen and a warning that there’s still work to be done.

Or how Kemet is influencing me. There’s still a huge sense of negativity in my mind. At the same time, it’s cleared up a lot, allowing new things to flourish.]

[Dec 15: How I’m going to advance in my goals is the face the darkness and find Kemet there instead of Ap-p. And not acting in an Ap-pian way, which means being faithful/devoted, consistent, persevering, brave, and righteous–Herutian. I have to let things heal–in the past I’ve had a tendency to keep old wounds fresh. I have to let old things that aren’t working break down, or break them down myself. This is all part of starting fresh.]

Khnum is seated in the position that indicates the implementation of decisions, the power to do things, and personal action. Khnum, like Ptah, is a master craftsman, but while Ptah’s crafts issue from the heart, Khnum is much more hands on, which means that my goals are going to require me to jump in and do more than think. Khnum strikes me as much more pragmatic, so I’ll need to take solid, concrete steps toward whatever. He also represents successful execution of plans, meaning that the chance of reaching my goals is pretty good.

[Dec 4: How fitting that there are multiple creators in this reading. 🙂 I think I missed the fact that heart and action have to be aligned from here on out. So, going forward I have to understand what’s happening inside, what I believe, what desire in my heart of hearts. Then my actions–including my words–have to be congruent with that.]

[Dec 8: I like how this card is right next to Nun. It reinforces the call to do concrete things this coming year.]

Nun, the last card, is seated in the position that suggests what to do to implement decisions and reach a goal. Or a card in this position can be an answer to the specific question. In the context of what I asked, I think it’s the last interpretation that’s most relevant, though the other interpretations are nothing to scoff at.

Nun is Start Over. Wipe the slate clean, insert a quarter, burn and salt the earth and start again much more wisely this time around. Nun is about making something new and better from beginning to end. He represents a potent beginning with many, many possibilities.

This card gives me hope.

So then, what goal, exactly, do I get out of this reading?

[Dec 4: The last time I did a reading with the BoDO and got Ap-p, I got this exact same card in the exact same position. It confused me then and it still confuses me now. But if I consider Meskhenet’s influence over one who has been reborn (or even one who is about to be reborn), Nun makes a bit more sense.

It’s almost as if Meskhenet’s saying: “For heaven’s sake, you’ve been dropped between the bricks and now here’s your clean slate. Do with it what you will.”

But choose wisely, because the actions taken now have far-reaching consequences. Or at least they can. Which is why I’m being careful not to promise anything other than to make an effort at this point.

If my heart and actions are congruent, if I remember why I came here in the first place, if I am disciplined, if I give myself a chance to heal, and if I am careful not to repeat the same mistakes again (or at least not at the same intensity), I think things will be a lot better in this coming year.]

[Dec 8: I almost wonder if Mafdet is a warning in the context of this card. That is, we only get so many chances to just push everything in the abyss and start over before we just have to work with what we’ve been dealt and what we’ve built.]

I think the goal is to start over. Start without any ego, without any assumption of anything. Start with my hands, but listen to my heart. Take on some sort of discipline, like meditation, or reading cards regularly, or juggling chainsaws, or volunteering at an animal shelter, or praying, or whatever. Something. Anything is better than nothing at this point. Remember when things are worst, Meskhenet–destiny, birth–has a hand in everything that’s happening. This also means that, at some point, it’s not my decision anymore, whatever happens.

It’ll take some time to get to the start over point. It’s going to involve acting with integrity, working through the tough parts, further healing, and being disciplined.

I think the second, perhaps less important, goal is to remember. Remember what got me here in the first place. Remember what I wanted to do before I got off track.

[Dec 4: Or perhaps I already have started over, or am about to. It’s even more important for me to think ahead if that’s the case. So I’ll probably make a post about this right after my edit.]

[Dec 8: The more I think about it, the more I feel that I’ve already started over, and so my more recent interpretations are a bit more accurate.]

That’s the BoDO.


The AO was vastly faster to read because I only did a three card spread. Once I know the deck better, I’ll try some of the more complicated spreads the book suggests.

So, again, the question is what my goals should be for the coming year.

                           Sekhmet
Djehuty                 Sopdet

Sekhmet is in the Nekhbet-Mother-Mut position, meaning it’s her energies that are overseeing this year’s goals, as well as protecting me as I approach them. Here, she is extended the olive branch from the dove, who is the initiate/Fool of this deck. This is the card at whose feet you lay your ego.

[Dec 4: I’m really putting stress on the olive branch right now. It’s a totally “I give in–what now?”-sort of thing that I feel is going to be extremely important.]

[Dec 8: Interestingly enough, when I looked up Mut-Nekhbet, I read that she may have been a primeval deity, there with Nun before there was land to stand on. Right now, it just stresses to me that there can be no ego, no boasting, and no priors where I am.

Not at all surprisingly, Mut is associated with Bast and Sekhmet. Under the rules of the AO, this intensifies the importance of this part of the reading.]

The AO has an interpretation of Sekhmet that’s a little saccharine for me and doesn’t ring true throughout. She’s seen as the super compassionate guide whose main focus is healing. No mention of the blood, guts, and plagues. I guess there’s some truth to it. After all, she has a softer edge in Bast and Het-heru.

Anyway, Sekhmet’s card imagery indicates she’s related to the tarot Chariot card, meaning Sekhmet in the context of the AO is about self control, discipline, courage, and level-headedness (odd for a goddess of rage, but it makes sense!)  She represents a seed that’s starting to grow and a transformation.

[Dec 4: And returning to the idea of laying my ego at Sekhmet’s feet, I’m starting to understand. The world that’s full of the Powers–whether you call them spirits, gods, my imagination, or something else–is incredibly powerful. And beautiful. And dangerous. The AO is not only asking me to lay my ego down and acknowledge the power of the gods, but it’s also asking me to have some respect, something that’s been missing in my life for ages.

[Dec 8: I’m getting some motherly vibes thanks to Mut.]

The AO is asking me, in giving up my ego and pride, to learn self-control, discipline, courage, and level-headedness–all things I’ve lacked to some degree and that perhaps have caused certain Ap-pian forces to trickle in.

I think I need to develop a sense of awe about the divine, and just about some aspects of the world in general. Things are impossibly vast, so intricate.]

With this reading, you read right to left, so the second card is Sopdet.

Sopdet is seated in the Nebet-Het position, which means I can rely on her for the more intuitive parts of my goals. And that’s a great thing. Sopdet is the one who helps us find times and places for renewal or resurgence. She reminds us that it’s always darkest before dawn.

[Dec 4: Sopdet is sort of a polestar for me, so whenever I’m feeling lost and helpless, that’s where I can turn. That’s where I’ve always turned, even when I’m sure that the star I’m looking at isn’t the one, or the star I’m speaking to isn’t listening or seeing me. I guess in some small way I’ve always believed in my polestar.

I think it’s also interesting to note that Nebet-Het is sort of a more mysterious “invisible” or, better yet, “hidden” aspect of life and death in Kemetic theology. She’s the one who weeps out of love and compassion, and who does it quietly, respectfully.

There’s something important to take out of this, but I can’t quite put it into words yet. Maybe next time I visit this reading.]

[Dec 8: I’ll take a crack at it. Sopdet is invisible and quiet right now. Sopdet keeps a respectful distance because right now I’m walking with Sekhmet energies. But if it ever gets bad–if it ever gets too overwhelming and I feel like I’m being carried in a basket–I know where to turn.]

Djehuty is seated in the Aset position, which means he’s the bridge between the spiritual and earthly for me. I can look to him for encouragement and guidance.

Okay, so what kind of goal can I get out of this? I think from the perspective of the AO, my goal for this year to grow as a little seed into something new. I think there’s going to be a close link between my mundane stuff and my sadhana stuff, evidenced by the appearance of Djehuty. As Djehuty in the context of the AO is a sort of Hermit, I think a lot of my growing should be done alone, like a monk in his cell.

[Dec 4: I wonder if my interpretation of the above is quite right. Or at least any sort of complete. I feel like since there’s an important connection between Sekhmet and Djehuty in the context of this reading, I’m not taking enough of the variables into account.

I’m not sure the AO is stressing growth for sadhana and mundane stuff in general. Rather, it’s stressing the development and strengthening of Sekhmet’s self-control, discipline, and level-headedness. These things will be developed, at least in part, in solitude. Like Djehuty, I need to distill that wisdom for myself and, most importantly, write it down so it can’t be forgotten.]

[Dec 8: Aset is the throne, so I definitely think it’s less important to stress sadhana and such and more important to stress Sekhmet’s lessons.]

[Dec 15: In mythology, Djehuty helps return balance when the Eye becomes out of control. He does this not with force, he does this with wit and wisdom. You could even say he does it with a bit of humor, being a bit of a mischievous god. In other words, I’d better avoid getting too deadly serious. Yes, these are serious subjects, but if I get too stressed out and let them get out of control, it’s this aspect of Djehuty I can reflect on to restore order.]

There are parallels between the two readings. What I’m ultimately getting is that I need to start over again in parts of my life more intelligently. After learning many sad lessons, I’m a lot wiser. I can go back over my tracks and make a few better decisions.

[Dec 4: So, first, I’m going to consider the AO reading without the BoDO context and vice versa. I think it’s pretty clear what my goals should be for the coming year. I already talked about them above. Now, the AO doesn’t give me an actionable plan on how to do that, exactly, except look to what Sekhmet does. Sekhmet has periods of when she gets out of control, but a state of drunkenness brings her back. If we look at her through the lens of the Eye of Ra, we see that Djehuty also plays an important role. He helps pacify an angry goddess and convince her to come back. Her arrival is Sopdet, followed by the Nile flood. Djehuty is wisdom, balance, order, maat.

If, from Meskhenet, I assume rebirth already or rebirth is very close at hand, then Sekhmet’s and Djehuty’s lessons will be very important going forward. In particular I’ll need to understand them to keep certain attitudes at bay. And certainly a hero like Heru would need to know these lessons. Could I say I come as Heru as a dove, and here is my olive branch?

Mafdet is imposing some spiritual discipline. Djehuty represents what that discipline is.]

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