Tag Archives: Kemetic Orthodoxy

H is for Historical Authenticity: It’s Not the Only Way

27 May

I get mad more often than not at the Pagan/Polytheist community. I get especially mad when they pick up one of my gods (or more often, my goddesses) and simplify them into something their not. Bast and Hethert’s associations with joy turn them into sexually pliant goddesses of drug and alcohol use. Sekhmet and Set become gods of evil for their destructive tendencies. Everyone who is considered female becomes a great mother goddess of fertility and menstrual wonders (this being the one that makes me the angriest, but the fertility cycles of Neo-Paganism and my contradicting views on it is a post for another day). “These are not my gods!” I cry into the keyboard, typing out my upsets onto the screen. “Historical inaccuracy!” I wail.

Yet I see Bast and Sekhmet-Hethert as twin sisters. Where’s the evidence for that?

What about Wing Fest, that new-fangled festival the House of Netjer just hosted for all of Kemet’s winged deities and spirits? The basis for that was dinner between friends.

What about the personal calendar I am planning to create, modern holidays for a modern world? What about the personal myths that I’ve created in my mind? My theology?

I am not even an armchair Egyptologist. I spend far more time dicking around on the internet than even looking for resources on the land my gods were born in. I have called myself Recon-lite, as in “let the other people research and let me learn from them.” I have called myself a revivalist. From the beginning, I have said that my gods are here now, and we should honor them as best fits our lives. And yet I feel qualified to tell others what the gods are and aren’t?

No one has that right. As a soft-polytheist, as a non-reconstructionist, as a layperson, I have that right least of all.

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F is for Filial Piety

7 Apr

In the Classic of Xiao, Confucius wrote: “The ancient kings had a perfect virtue and all-embracing rule of conduct, through which they were in accord with all under heaven. By the practice of it the people were brought to live in peace and harmony, and there was no ill-will between superiors and inferiors.”

This ideal – which sings to me of ma’at – is that of filial piety, the honoring of ones’ parents and ancestors. Of late, I’ve read many blogs by those who are lovers, spouses, or companions to their gods. My relationship with my primary gods and goddesses is different – I see them as my parents and guides. It’s a very different relationship than the relationships I’ve had with other Unseen beings (god and spirit alike) – but so is my relationship with my human mother. I might tease her, and we might fight, sometimes I even feel that I hate her; but at the end of the day, I’m here to help her, and I’m in awe of what she has done and has continued to do for us and our family. Likewise, I may joke around at the end of the day with my Fathers, but ultimately, I’m here serving Them, offering Them incense and water when I have naught else, because I love Them, and am awed by what they have done for me and Our family.

 

Ptah-Sokar is my Father; Wepwawet-Yinepu is my Father – as long as I live a life that honors Them, as long as I serve Them, I achieve that great virtue on which Confucian society is built. I may not know much about Confucian ideals, but I am grateful to him for sharing this one.

Hail, Fathers! May I honor you in all I do.

F is for Four Libations before Ritual

20 Mar

I offer cool water to my Akhu.

Our ancestors – known and unknown, family in blood and in spirit. They came first. They came before us, they paid with their lives to make us who we are. And so we honor them first.

I offer cool water to Wepwawet.

The Opener of Ways, the lord of the crossroads, the first scout. He stands on the king’s banners, leading the army on. We invoke Him second, and ask for His aid to facilitate communication with those in the Unseen World.

I offer cool water to my Sebau.

Our teachers – and not just the ones from school. Those living people who have taught us major life lessons, who helped shape us into better people are our Sebau (meaning “those who give instruction”). They are, perhaps, leaders in our spiritual lives as well – priests, god spouses, and lay people who help us understand the mysteries of our gods. We must remember what we’ve learned from them as we live our lives – and that includes our ritual work.

I offer cool water to Ma’at.

The goddess embodying the nature of the universe – of balance, of justice, of truth. Ma’at comes last, because She is first. We seek to live up to Her ideals, we seek to bring ma’at into the world with our actions. She is grounding, a centering moment as we leave the prescribed words of our rites behind to our person practice and prayer.

 

I’ve previously discussed that I want to begin an esbat practice, a phrase which here means a weekly practice honoring the phases of the moon. This is separate from my senut rite, and not unrelated from our Kemetic Orthodox duas at Pesdjentiu (the New Moon) and Tepy-Semdet (the Full Moon). And so the structure of ritual that we have as Kemetic Orthodox now begins to inform my fledgling constructions for lunar ritual.

Calling Quarters is traditionally a matter of the Four Directions or the Four Elements that comes before an esbat. I don’t have a strong connection to the elements, nor do I particularly associate them with the moon. I have no connection at all to the points of the compass (except in the context of sunrise and sunset), if anything, my directions are six: behind, ahead, above, beneath, side-to-side. For a long time, I have thought that things must be done in a certain way – and in some contexts, they should. Senut is senut because of the way the words are patterned, the Our Father is the Our Father for the same reason. Esbats are not a Kemetic Orthodox practice. What I do to mark the journey of the moon is irrelevant to my fellow Remetj and Shemsu. It is not relevant to the Unitarian-Universalist church I attend, and I am not a member of a coven that has a specific ritual for the lunar cycle.

This is Personal Religion: something that exists regardless of if you’re Catholic, Buddhist, Wiccan, or anything in between. It’s a chance to try new things, to create tradition, and honor the world as Oneself.

 

Examine your own faith-life, if you have one. Feel free to share what you do that separates you from others in your spiritual practice below.

E is for “E-Religion”

19 Mar

I don’t really think of my faith as being an online faith, but I can see where the mistake can be made. We gather on a forum, we engage in ritual and prayer via IRC, we blog, we Facebook about our faith.

But Kemetic Orthodoxy is about so much more than dot coms and dot orgs and the fact that when I log into freenode’s IRC servers, it tells me that my server is named after Joanne Rowling.

My religion is about building relationships: with people, with spirits, with gods. We build those relationships with the means we have. I live in California, so clearly my relationship with Shemsu in Florida and Ohio is not likely to be based on luncheons after Duas. They’re based on getting to know each other textually, commenting on Facebook statuses, and hanging out on Stickam. I would give all I own to be able to live in a Kemetic Orthodox neighborhood, and I like to think that in the coming years, there will be enough of us in one place to make that happen. As it is, people are unintentionally ending up closer and closer to each other, with conversions and job placements.

I wish I could know the number of pagans who are solitaries in this world by accident rather than choice, and I wish that I could reach out to local ones to start some eclectic group here in California (instead, I spend time at liberal Christian and Unitarian-Universalist congregations that will accept me as I am). It’s beautiful to be in the presence of those moved by the spirit of love (called it Jesus or Netjer, it’s all the same to me), but being in the presence of others who believe as we do is even more touching. This is why I find online paganism so beautiful – not just the House, but this Pagan Blog Project, and those Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and deviantArt pages run by those who love the Old Gods. I’m glad that we use the internet to connect to each other (at the risk of being labeled “internet religion”), if only for that one thing: companionship.

 

Is connecting with others important to your spiritual development? How do you connect?

Link

PBP: Five Pillars of Kemetic Orthodoxy

16 Mar

PBP: Five Pillars of Kemetic Orthodoxy

Lovely blog by Emky. Check it out!

E is for Esbats

12 Mar

I’ve mentioned before that while I am no longer Wiccan, I really like the structure of Wiccan ritual. I like the calling of the elements, the symbolism of the tools, the balance of feminine and masculine.

So I thought, if we Kemetic Orthodox celebrate the cycles of the moon too, why can’t I do esbats for a Kemetic goddess. Immediately, I turned to Bast and Sekhmet, and was frowned upon. Solar goddesses. So who? I ask the universe. The New Moon belongs to Ptah-Sokar. Okay. And the full moon? The full moon belongs to Ptah-Sokar. So great. Now I have esbats centered around a god. I’m sure all my Wiccan friends will be amused by THAT.

But what about my feminine to balance the masculine? Well, you’re a girl. I know, I know Dad. But that’s not what I meant. Well, the Horned God isn’t lunar. So I should ask Sekhmet to be involved here? -cue a big lioness purr-

So, now that my gods have gone and reversed the entire freaking framework of Wicca, my elements are also being quietly changed too… ;.;

But I’m happy. Because this is my personal practice, being adapted. This is a way to get to know a side of Father that I don’t know, Ptah in His Name of Sokar. It’s confusing, and I have no doubt some people will scream WRONG, but I’m happy. Even if I’m confused, I am happy to have my gods.

Sat Ptah-Sokar her Wepwawet-Yinepu! Meryt Bast her Sekhmet-Hethert!

9 Mar

Daughter of Ptah-Sokar, He in the Moment of Creation!
Daughter of Wepwawet-Yinepu, the First to go Forth and lead the Way!
Beloved of Bast, the Mother of Joy!
Beloved of Sekhmet-Hethert, the Mother of Strength!

Dua Netjer!