Upholding Ma'at

Journeying through the modern world with ancient ways.

Devotional Tuesday Is Now Inspirational Tuesday

2 Comments

Some of you will know I write about my thoughts on the Negative Confessions.  I was always reluctant to write about devotionals based on them because the Ancient Egyptians didn’t have devotionals.  The reason for this is because they didn’t have religious texts in the same sense as the Bible for Christians.  I was afraid in calling them devotionals I would mislead people wanting to learn and gain insight into Kemetic beliefs.  I wrote it just the same, because I thought maybe my experiences could help someone and maybe bring some insight into the Negative Confessions from a modern perspective.

Calling them devotionals still felt funny to me.  Yes, I supplemented my experiences and personal interpretations with wisdom literature.  I even grabbed scholarly sources where possible.  I used a disclaimer to explain this is just my interpretation and to treat it as such as I’m not an Egyptologist.  It still felt dishonest even with my best endeavors to clarify this isn’t actual religious law and ensure I’m not to be seen as an authority figure on the subject.  It probably contributed to why I wasn’t writing them as often as I hoped.

I meditated over the topic for a bit as to figure out whether or not I should keep writing them.  After all, I would eventually run out of Negative Confessions.  I couldn’t come up with a decision each time I meditated.  One night I grew too tired to focus and went to bed.  As I drifted to sleep I had that moment of inspiration that always seem to come before one falls asleep: call them “inspirational”.  Honestly I felt dumb for not thinking of that in the first place; it’s more appropriate to call them such.  It was my aim to give insight and inspire people.  It also allows for me to move beyond the Negative Confessions and more into my life experiences with my faith when I use language that isn’t so dependent on a religious text.

I will probably change the name of the past posts of inspirationals just to have the name reflect the change.  It will take time and not be instant.  I have more posts to write.

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2 thoughts on “Devotional Tuesday Is Now Inspirational Tuesday

  1. For what it’s worth, a devotional is a piece of writing that reflects on some aspect of a religious practice–texts, rituals, epiphanies, etc. It can be related to preaching, but not necessarily. Most devotionals, from what I can see, are intended to provide readers with another perspective that they can adopt, reject, or modify as they see fit. This is doubly true for written devotionals.

    Just because the ancient Egyptians didn’t have devotionals doesn’t mean modern Kemetics can’t. You sound like you’re over-worried that someone will take your word as gospel. As long as you put a disclaimer at the top of your post, 99.9% of people will understand this is your opinion. For those who understand what a devotional is supposed to be, the disclaimer isn’t even necessary.

    The Wisdom Texts are sort of like devotionals, at least in the sense I mentioned above. The reason we don’t call them as such is because they’re reflections of *daily life* in Egypt, not *religion*. But when an author talks about what pleases or displeases god, or how to conduct oneself properly (ie: live in maat), the reader is drawn to reflect on what the author is talking about. We are given a perspective we can adopt, reject, or modify.

    For that matter, when Kemetics use the Wisdom Texts and Negative Confessions to guide them in their lives, they’re using these sources as devotionals in the broadest sense.

    Of course, there’s nothing wrong with calling your work inspirationals, either. It’s just the term “devotional” seems to be widely misunderstood as a synonym for “preaching” and I think that’s very sad.

  2. I understand and agree. I’ve found, though, too many Kemetics get hung up on the idea for a devotional to exist there must be a religious text on which it is based. I did worry someone unfamiliar with Kemeticism would stumble across my blog and give it more credence based on my wording, though. I thought something like “testimonial” or “inspirational” would lessen that notion. Then again, I probably overthink my word choices thanks to my Creative Writing degree…

    I’m always accused of “preaching” or acting like a “know-it-all”, so that part doesn’t usually bother me when people think I’m writing some sort of gospel. 😉

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