A is for Ancestors

20 Feb

Today I tweeted at one of my Akhu. I then proceeded to tweet about how the ancient Kemetics probably never expected that change in religious technology. And then Scott asked a Good Question: “I thought that Akhu were the spirits of the ANCESTRAL dead? Am I wrong?”

The answer is simple: Yes, but my tweet was aimed at an Akh who is not only younger than me, but not even related to me! The confusion makes sense, so I’m going to try and clear it up.
I define ancestor as “one who has gone before.” So, in terms of writing, John Green’s ancestors might include Fitzgerald and Salinger. In terms of religion, my ancestors are those old Egyptian polytheists of both the ritualistic and peasant variety. And, in terms of being among the Blessed Dead, they include Esther, Lou Ann, and my partner’s grandfathers – despite not being related to them, or having physically met the latter two.

I was always very Kemetic, but when I happened upon the Kemetic Orthodox forums, it was in a eclectic, Wiccan manner. I was young and shy, but curious. I didn’t post, only watched. Ancestor veneration – one of KO’s five central practices – was unusual to me, but I had never been scarred by death. Knowing this, it might not surprise you that my first post on our forums was to ask a question a on September 24th, 2010: a month after the day Esther went into the ICU for the last time.

“Forgive me for dragging life to an old thread, but I was wondering: aside from unknown Akhu, I have no blood relatives I have lost. I am estranged and secret to one side of my family, and both sides would likely oppose me trying to communicate with them, because of their religion.

However, a month ago tomorrow, a very dear friend of mine passed away. She made a strong impact on my heart and life. Would she be someone I could consider Akhu?”

The answer was a universal “yes,” along with messages to remember that people change after they die, and not to discount them (however, I’ve been fairly awful at trying to learn more about those unknown ancestors).

 

You may be saying: “that’s great, Avs, you talk to dead people. What’s the point?” The point? THE POINT?! What isn’t the point? Esther was my friend. Plain and simple. Lou-Ann was a wonderful grandmother. Why wouldn’t I want to continue to grow those relationships, despite the major differences? (And let’s be fair… talking via twitter to Esther and talking via thoughts to Esther are both really weird to non-Internetians.) Further, if I’m worried about Hannah, then who should I ask to help her – a god she doesn’t believe in or an Akh who she knows and love? If I have a problem with my online friends, should I talk to a spirit who was on this earth generations ago, or one who I know and love because of this online community? It’s a lot more practical. Even someone who doesn’t believe in spirits can see the sense in that.

But there is something a lot  more important to this. It helped me to cope. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I was not prepared for Esther’s death. Having slowly gone from functioning as an agnostic, to a Wiccan, and now a Remetj, I was becoming more in tune with the idea of something more. I went from being afraid of the idea of spirits to loving the Blessed Dead. Had I not undergone that spiritual change before she passed away, I don’t know how I would have been able to handle losing her. As it was, it was rough. But being able to go to shrine at the end of the day and light and candle for her and all my ancestors made things better. It allowed me to remember her in peace and work through my grief with love.

She’s my most important Akh today, and she will always be valued by me – family or not.

 

“Oh, you who are high in the stars, you shall never die!”

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