Grave Moss & Stars

PBP Fridays: S is for Synesthesia

Nebt-het comes in a cloud of lavender, pale grey-toned amethyst fog against a dark background of shadow-black. Hethert-Nut is a royal purple nebulae, glistening with silver stars like a full-color page out of National Geographic: full of wonder and heart-wrenching potential and staggering beauty.

Ma’ahes is thick, opaque paint, still shining wet and fresh, the deep orange color of a long sunset. Serqet is desert sunlight shining off a matte sand-yellow carapace.

Sekhmet is hearth-red, ember-red, the red you see when you close your eyes, the color of blood in the bellies of thunderclouds.

I perceive the gods with such specific, visceral colors because I’m synesthetic; every sound, physical sensation, and scent internally translates to a visual color, shape, and/or motion. This is a constant, consistent, and involuntary process for me; other synesthetes may associate colors with numbers and/or letters or personalities with numbers and/or months, to name some common types of synesthesia. For myself, I suspect my other senses barged in on my visual cortex when my vision began deteriorating badly enough to need the assistance; if I couldn’t wear contacts or glasses, I’d be legally blind. Sight is an interestingly propped-up sense to me, full of supplements and quirks.

Turns out that my sensory crossed wires affect my spiritual perceptions, as well, which is why my gods are not faces or voices or even shapes to me, but floods of rich, textured color. The first time I ever heard Hethert-Nut’s name, well before I knew Who She was, let alone that She was my spiritual Mother, I saw Her color; that’s what spurred me to learn about Her in the first place. Every time I call upon Ma’ahes, He appears in color, and that color feels like Him more than anything in the world. Gods with Whom I only occasionally interact also have strong colors: Set, Wepwawet, Yinepu, Heru-wer, Ptah, and now Bast and Sepa as well.

This is how I paint. This is how I design, how I dress, how I work heka, and how I mix scented oils. Everything translates into color, and every single color has a wealth of meaning that can include symbolism, character, and pure feeling. It’s all a loop, a spiral, a fractal sensory experience that can drown me in an ocean of colored inks.

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