Palms of Our Hands

A Polytheist's Blog

Khats’a, and a Window with a View


Image from Wikipedia Commons.

Today I decided to set my ass down and actually talk to the Deities that I’ve been trying to speak-with-and alternatively-push-away.  (I keep my very, VERY beginner invitations to ‘Ilu and ‘Athiratu, the Father and Mother of the Canaanite pantheon, the Divine Assembly, to ‘Anatu (the Warrior Goddess and Whose Name scared me so many years ago…and then became the first clue that led me to learning about Them), and Choranu…who seems interested in me for His own reasons.

I’m wondering if my avoidance issues are partly hormonal or chemical, because this backing-away crashes a lot of my life. The general impression I received from speaking with Them was that it was ridiculously easy to accrue khats’a, which in Canaanite religion is regarded as ‘sin’.* Not the ‘sin’ of Christianity, where sinning equals disobedience equals spiritual and eternal death (thanks, Christianity…). But sin as in imbalance of the self and/or soul.  As Tess Dawson writes in The Horned Altar (p. 27),

The Canaanite concept of sin implied that the order of the universe had gotten out of alignment: someone tweaked nature or community the wrong way, or a person had committed a baneful act. The Canaanite concept differs in nuance from the modern Christian idea of disobedience to the church. Khats’a–sin, transgression, or misdeed–results from cause and effect: you commit a wrongdoing, and entropy results.  Although punishment can follow from committing a misdeed, any ill effects usually come of natural cycles.  Correcting the wrongdoing or performing certain activities restores balance, exorcises the pollution, and restores “beauty”.

In the Catholic school I went to, we had our First Confession with the priest.  We could sit face-to-face with him, or go sit behind a screen for some anonymity and privacy.  It was rather formulaic: we had to recall our sins (or think really really hard on what qualified as sin!), and as penance, the priest often gave us a certain number of Hail Marys (or the Marian prayer at the end of the Rosary, the Hail Holy Queen) to recite.  All the way to eighth grade, it was some variation of the same theme.  Did it bring peace of mind and soul? It did.  Did it mean I would never ever sin again, and be good with God forever? Hardly…  This “Confess and recite X number of prayers” did its job in introducing the idea of recognition and rectitude of spiritual imbalance to a seven-year-old.

As an adult, I think of it as a window getting cloudy. Did that window get cloudy from the general comings-and-goings of life?  Did it get cloudy from me throwing dirt or other objects at it in anger/frustration/resentment?  Did it get cloudy because I neglected to clean up after myself where I could?  The difference then is that I developed a near-panicked desire to always keep my window clean, and the first new splotch of dust signaled how unworthy and disgusting I was to God.  Nowadays, I look at it as how I would look at cleaning my own body, or brushing my own teeth or something just as mundane.  The ideal would be to always be clean. But having to attend to a dirty dish, or a dirty body by cleaning doesn’t mean that I am forever a horrible, disgusting creature. Just clean up! How and why the window got dirty, to me, equates to the situation at hand. Spraying Windex on a window is different from having the window shatter and replacing it.  In both situations, action is necessary because leaving it as it is means imbalance.  However, taking the action does not demean the God, or the human trying to return to a right relationship with Them. At least, that is my thought so far.

Through actions (good and bad), and daily living, the miasma of khat’sa clings to everyone.  And as for me, it appears I accrue khats’a like a white shirt at a tomato spaghetti luncheon.  I thanked the Deities and asked Them to help me with living in right accordance, to clean my ‘window’ to Them.

Right after giving my offerings to Them, my brother decided to visit and help mow my lawn.  Right after THAT, my father wanted to come to my house and re-landscape the way he wanted it to look–tear down the old fence and make way for a fresh image.  I grumbled and muttered through the serene Saturday being turned into a construction day, but at the end of it, the yard looked better, if a little ragged at the edges. It also made me wonder if this was a result of talking with the Deities today.

If I had known that there was going to be large-scale earth-moving and weed pulling, I would have told the land and house spirits before my family came over.

Which brings me to another dilemma about myself that I’ll cover in a different post: what kind of pagan am I?

*Excerpt from The Horned Altar.

6 thoughts on “Khats’a, and a Window with a View

  1. If you ever need anyone to talk to, I apologize for not having found you sooner, but I’m a Qadish (albeit one still learning) and I’m always looking for new people to talk to. 🙂

  2. Hi Dragonhearted,

    That’s quite all right, I am also just starting out! I don’t know if I feel ready to call myself a Qadish just yet–I’m still getting up the nerve to talk to the Deities sometimes (especially ‘Anatu). There’s still so much to do, detangling myself from instilled religious fear is one of the first steps. I’d love to hear about your journey as well. 😀

  3. I will admit that I’d had no idea that Canaanite Reconstruction existed until I came here. So as far as much of what you write about is concerned, as fascinating as it is, I don’t feel I have enough knowledge of the area to really comment. However I can offer a little bit of advice regarding your closing question.

    If you aren’t sure what kind of pagan you are, then look to the language of the Canaanites. Did they have a word for priest or holy person? Was there a rank or status-title that they ascribed to the members of their society who performed the functions in their society, that you are now reconstructing in your practice?

    Thats where I would look to find a better sense of identity as a pagan.

    • Hello Seeker from Aus,

      Thank you for your great advice! Looking back into the source texts (both ancient and their modern interpretation) has been a help in clarifying for myself how I have been doing along paganism and this particular path. For right now, I’m learning how much I DON’T know yet about even being considered a lay(wo)man in Canaanite Reconstructionism/Natib Qadish. It is a start, at least.

      Thank you again for your kind thoughts, and may Those who watch over you continue to bless you. Shalamu!

  4. I know this is an older post, but came across it when looking for something else – as usually is the way. When I think of Anat, I think of the charge she was given, the words from Baal to the Mistress of the Peoples.:

    Message of Baal the Conqueror,
    word of the Conqueror of Warriors:
    Remove war from the earth,
    set love in the ground,
    pour peace into the heart of the earth,
    tranquillity into the heart of the fields.

    She may have been impetuous, driven by emotions as even El says to her when she comes into His tent demanding a palace for Baal – “I know you, daughter, how furious you are, that among goddesses there is no restraining you; ” —- Baal sees in her the ability to remove war from the earth and to bring peace and tranquility into the land for the people.. so there must be a very special something about Her. She loves fiercely. She is much about justice but in extremes. After the death of Aqhat she seems to lament… so there is definite good in there, tho myself I do feel more drawn to Athiratu of the Sea. Probably just due to less inner issues I have with Anat’s emotional rages.
    Anyhow.. just wanted to comment because I dont come across so many posts regarding the Canaanite deities. Blessings to you!

    • Hello Birch Wind, thank you for visiting!

      This reply is much delayed, but I thank you for your insights. I’ve reread the verse you wrote down, and others since you posted, and it has helped me realize the boundaries I was putting on my understanding. I’m still stumbling along, but with more open-ness to what the Canaanite deities want me to know about Them.

      Thank you again. Shalamu!

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