This year I have been very hard pressed to keep a regular schedule of worship and rituals.
I recently realised that I havent’t been to the library to research in almost a year and the Ma’at Community Rituals that I have tried to host have gone on hiatus almost after the first episode.
Many factors have contributed to this: I have been trying to apply for fellowships and grants to start my own lab (it didn’t work out), my SO had a flare-up of his autoimmune condition and we’ve been working on lots of original solarpunk fiction and comics, but the main reason is that I have been heavily involved with the struggle against climate breakdown.
From the Week of Rest I organised on Discord and here in January onwards, I have been campaining, demonstrating, organising, leafletting and debating almost non-stop and that has left me almost no time or energy to devote to other devotional pursuits.
I do not consider this to be a fallow time, however. Much upon the contrary. I know that several deities are pushing me to do my best and engage even further with this cause.
Seth is one of them.
Why, some may ask. Aren’t chaos and storms just right up his alley?
Well, yes and no, and the reasons why are multiple.
One of them has to do with something that happened a long, long time ago, in the Neolithic.
You see, once the Sahara desert didn’t exist. In is place there was a vast stretch of savannah and scrub, kept alive by seasonal monsoons, something like the Serengeti plains. People roamed the expanse, first as hunter-gatherers, then as pastoralists, with huge herds of longhorn cattle, much like the Masai.
They had learned how to make ceramics from the Neolithic cultures of the Middle East, but practiced limited agriculture.
They didn’t need it: the monsoon and their cattle provided everything they needed and they developed a complex cattle-and-astronomy based cult which they supposedly performed in megalithic structures and rock shelters located in what is now the middle of the desert.
Perhaps they used them to pray to the Great Longhorn Bull in the Sky, Giver of Rain.
About 6000 years ago something happened: the monsoon belt in the Indian Ocean shifted southward, the life-giving rains diminished year by year and then stopped almost completely. The land dried and eroded, until it was unable to sustain even hypermobile pastoralism.
The people were faced with a choice: stay and die, or leave all they had known behind and find a new beginning in a new, unfamiliar land.
Of those that chose to stay behind nothing is known, but the scholars are in agreement that those who left came to a large valley where a large river gave life to the land, apparently without requiring any help for the rain and settled, perhaps at the mouths of the caravan roads, closest to the land that used to be their home.
The Saharan Ceramic populations contributed to the melting pot that was Predynastic Egypt.
Perhaps they even brought some of their gods with them.
There is no way to prove it, but I have some strong feelings that they did, at least one: the Lord of the Sky, Great Longhorn Bull Who Dwells in the Northern Sky, Lord of the Desert, Protector of the Exiles and the Outcasts, Seth the Great of Strength.
In a way, he’s already been through a period of climate-driven civilisation crisis and collapse before, and he knows what risks and tragedies are inherent in them.
And what makes this second run even worse was that the first time around it was a natural, cyclic phenomenon (the Sahara has been alternativel green and a desert many times before), while this time humanity is responsible, with various individual degrees of culpability, from those who knew what the consequences of their economic and technologic choices were but tried to bury the data so that they could enrich themselves, to those who enabled them to do so though their political power, to those who didn’t know better and thought that everything was fine, to those who are trapped in a system where doing the right thing is much harder and expensive than just going alond with habits and practices which destroy the environment.
I probably said this before, but climate breakdown is i/sfet just as much as fascism, imperialism and capitalist explotation. In fact they are all aspects of the same problem and now they are showing themselves at the clearest in recent history, without embellishments.
XR goes on about the future of our children and grandchildren, but in reality the consequences of this system are already a reality for Black and Brown and indigenous communities across the world and in particular in the Global South, who have their human rights violated, who have their land stolen for plantations, who have fracking and drilling for more fossil fuels imposed upon them, who have their water reserves depleted, their homes and livelihoods swept away bt extreme climate events and even their efforts to survive by fleeing criminalised.
It has been proven that the Mediterranean refugee crisis and the Migrant Caravans heading for North America both have their roots in climate injustice (as well as in the economic injustice that keeps Global South economies indebted and dependent on the Global North), however when they arrive they are only met with racism, xenophobia and islamophobia.
It is known that the longer we take to act upon climate breakdown, the more these frontline communities are going to suffer, however governments are dragging their feet, shifting the responsibility on individuals, and tinkering at the edges instead of taking immediate action to dismantle this toxic system and replace it with a fairer, more just one where no one is left behind, neither the workers and the vulnerable in the Global North, neither the frontline communities in the Global South.
This would be unacceptable for any of the nTrw, but it is particularly odious to Seth, Lord of the Exiles and the Outcasts, Lord of the Lost Monsoon and the Lost Plains, Protector of Ra and Vanquisher of Isfet with his Strong Arm and his Mighty Rage.
So on this Third Day upon the year, the Day of Coming forth of Seth, He Who Is Pleased with the Riot, I urge anyone who’s reading this to mobilise for the fight against climate breakdown and i/sfet in all its forms, to organise with their fellow human beings in schools, workplaces and neighbourhoods, to join the local chapters of climate justice and global justice organisations, to write to politicians, educate others, protest and make noise.
Things are in balance and everything seems grim and on the verge of going to the crapper, but it’s on that knife edge that things can be more easily tipped the right way. This emergency is a tragedy that is already claiming thousands of lives, but is also a moment of realisation of the fact that we’re all in this together and that we have a window of opportunity to make things right. Not just to halt climate breakdown, but also to end exploitation and neocolonialism.
We have to strike now.
I urge whoever is able to do so to join the General Strike for Climate to be held worldwide on September 27th and in the UK on September 20th (because yes… sigh), and to donate to efforts for its organisation whatever you can spare.
The UK donation link is as follows: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/earth-strike.
I am sure that other national chapters and other organisations involved in the strike are also fundraising at the moment, so if you don’t like us, pick someone else.
It might not have been our direct fault before that things are going down the drain, but it will be now if we can’t face i/sfet and defeat it together.