alternate title: Onions are the Ultimate Metaphor for my Religious Life, apparently
In November, I decided to put on a speculative version of a festival I had been building in my mind – a Mysteries festival that focuses on Ptah-Sokar rather than on Sokar-Wesir. I had intended to plant an onion during that time, as the Day of Planting Onions fell during my Mysteries. While I accomplished most of my plans for the makeshift holiday, planting an onion was not one of them. No big deal, I thought. There will always be another year.
Fast forward to January. I was rummaging through the pantry to gather my offerings for Red Week when I spotted something odd in the corner. A green leaf. I had no idea what it was, where it had come from. I warily reached for it, only to pull up an onion – leftover from a dish made nearly a month prior – that had grown a large stalk.
Well. If you insist, Father.
My friends and I had a good laugh at my growing onion, and it got put to the side while we celebrated Set’s festival. As I set up my Senut shrine later that week, I said, eh, why not, and threw the onion into an offering dish.
It’s a funny thing. In the weeks since, this onion has flourished. No soil. No water. Minimal sunlight. Yet it’s grown a second major stalk, and branched out on the original. Last spring, I wrote about how onions can be symbolic of transformation. Now I’m starting to see something new. Onions are hardiness. This single plant is determined and resourceful. It grew from what most would have seen as dead, nothing left to give.
This onion, not unlike my relationship with Sokar, grew from nothing. Looking at this plant, I feel as though Sokar, that other aspect of my beloved Father, Whom I have neglected, is reaching out, saying: “I am here. I am growing. You are growing too. Even though you feel like there is nothing there to support you, you can grow. You have all that you need within.”
Tonight, Ptah-Sokar’s onion got planted in a small pot lent to me by my roommate. When New England’s frigid weather thaws into spring, I’ll move it outside. Come March 4th, a few sprigs will come off the plant to be offered to Bast. Some day, flowers will bloom. The onion will go to seed. And in November, come the Mysteries, Sokar will have a more formal day of onion planting.
For now, I have something beautiful, something that’s ours, and (finally) something to connect my foremost gods in festival.
Dua Ptah-Sokar, dua Bast, lord and lady of the onion field!