Upholding Ma'at

Journeying through the modern world with ancient ways.


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Festival of the Beautiful Union: The Procession to Edfu

After the preparations finished in Dendera the procession to Edfu began. This procession took many days with some stops and rituals along the way. On the day of the procession the party, along with the statue of Het-Hert, set forth on a barque named nb mrwt (“The Mistress of Love”). While the party fit on the barque it was a considerable size.

In Dendera it seems the procession consisted of many parties who weren’t necessarily clergy. The priests, the mayor of Iunet, as well as other officials joined the procession. It seems as if there weren’t any pilgrims on the ship, but pilgrims did meet the ship along each stop.

During the few days of the procession several stops occurred. Some of the stops included Karnak, Pi-Mer, and Nekhen. At each stop pilgrims gathered. During this time they petitioned Het-Hert, called upon Her for divination, and witnessed a ritual at each stop. The particular ritual was called The Observance of the Renewal of the Earth and All Things That Come With It. While there were visits to the various gods at the respective temple of each stop the ritual consisted of visiting each god and honoring Them. It is known that the various forms of Heru from each stop joined the procession to Edfu.

However, the procession from Dendera to Edfu was not the only procession. Heru-Behedity had His own procession in Edfu. He is accompanied by Khonsu and the Edfu ennead, as well as other gods. The Edfu procession boarded their barque “The Brow of Heru” at Wetjeset-Hor, where it met The Mistress of Love on the new moon.

Sources
The Festival of the Beautiful Reunion.” Asetmeri, n.d.Retrieved from http://www.philae.nu/

akhet/BeautReun.html.(dead link).

Coppens, Filip. “Temple Festivals of the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods”. In Jacco Dieleman

and Willeke Wendrich (eds.),UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology Jan 2009. eScholarship.

El-Sabban, Sherif. “Temple Festival Calendars of Ancient Egypt. Google books.

Lloyd, Alan B. A Companion to Ancient Egypt. Google Books.

Ritner, Robert Kriech. “The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice.” Studies in

Ancient Oriental Civilization 54 (1993): 59. PDF.

Wilkinson, J. Gardner. The Ancient Egyptians: Their Life and Customs. New York: Bonanza

Books, 1988. Print.

 

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Festival of the Beautiful Union: An Introduction

It’s time for another holiday by my calendar, and this time it’s the Festival of the Beautiful Union. This holiday goes by other names, like The Festival of the Beautiful Embrace, The Sacred Marriage, or the Festival of the Beautiful Reunion. I’ve only seen the latter with members of the Kemetic Orthodoxy, however. Regardless of the variation of the name the holiday is celebrated the same way. The actual date of the holiday is the new moon during the third month of Shomu. Depending on the calendar observed this is marked either in May or June on the Gregorian calendar.

The significance of the Festival of the Beautiful Union features some complexity. This holiday focuses on when Het-Hert marries Heru at its surface. In Dendera this roughly month and a half affair where the Het-Hert statue travels with an entourage to the Temple of Edfu, where She marries Heru-Behedity, consummates the marriage, then returns to Dendera to give birth to Ihy. Sources note this holiday marks a harvest festival as well, though it seems there is more to it. There are some mortuary elements to the holiday celebrations in addition to creation aspects. Those rituals and aspects will be addressed in later posts.

The observance of the holiday is very lengthy and contains a lot of complexity. The main celebration in Edfu itself is two weeks long with an additional two weeks for preparation, the procession to Edfu also included. Each phase of the holiday repeats the same motifs but enforces the importance of the themes, which focus on the harvest, birth, and death. While the information I present is by no means exhaustive I hope to add to it as I learn more in future posts. The current posts I have will focus on the preparations in Dendera, the procession to Edfu, the rituals within Edfu, and the procession back.

Preparations in Dendera

The Procession to Edfu

Hethert Arrives in Edfu

The Festival of Heru Behedity

Celebrating in Edfu (Days 3-4)

The Gods Emerge (Days 5-6)

The Festival of Behedet (Days 7-13)

The Procession Home (Day 14)

Sources

Bleeker, C.J.  Hathor and Thoth: Two Key Figures of the Ancient Egyptian Religion. With 4 Plates.  Google Books.

Coppens, Filip. “Temple Festivals of the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods”. In Jacco

      Dieleman and Willeke Wendrich (eds.), UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology Jan 2009. eScholarship.

      Web. 5/8/15.

El-Sabban, Sherif. “Temple Festival Calendars of Ancient Egypt. Google books.

The Festival of the Beautiful Reunion.” Asetmeri, n.d. Web.

Lloyd, Alan B. A Companion to Ancient Egypt. Google Books.

Ritner, Robert Kriech. “The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice.” Studies in Ancient

      Oriental Civilization 54 (1993): 59. PDF.

Wilkinson, J. Gardner. The Ancient Egyptians: Their Life and Customs. New York: Bonanza Books,

1988. Print.


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The Transformation

I’ve spent a lot of time devoted to my business lately. I fear I devoted so much of myself to it that I’ve neglected my blog more than usual. It’s a shame since I enjoy writing it, regardless of the reason. Much of it has to do with the transformations in my life. Transformations, for me, are very similar to changes. The difference for me lies in how the changes impact a person. I believe transformations last longer than changes.

Funny enough, much of focusing on my business right now is personal. I’m at a point financially that I can afford to live on my own. I hope to resume things with my etsy store soon enough. That is another topic for another day, though. That transformation is almost a different topic. Nonetheless I realized that I will have to change some things with the store. That will take time, and lots of it.

The part few admit about change is true change takes a long time. It also takes a bit of effort to change, which is much harder when those resources for it are limited or inaccessible. I’ve had to bootstrap much of it in a way I find amusing. It’s not so much the reference to certain 80’s TV characters or a George Harrison song as much as reminiscing about my college days. My first go round as a music critic required much work and balance. Between school, work, persuing spiritual work, and then that hobby required me to grapple with a bit. Moreover it required some recognition by the community, online and off. That had its own share of obstacles. Another thing few admit about changes and transformations is their tumultuous nature.

I think what really stuck out was how I left. It was spurred by a breakup combined with a sense of betrayal from the entire music scene. Around that time I received my acceptance letter for courses at the House of Netjer. I felt it signaled a time to do something I should have done a long time ago: tread my spiritual path with a bit more dedication and with less to juggle. I declared that four years ago, and I had a very bumpy path to follow.

Despite the struggles, losses, and tribulations there have been some incredible gains. The certifications I’ve gathered, the diplomas, and the life experiences all culminate into the person I am now. I know for certain there are many who think I’m worse off for it, but I know my thoughts and current bitterness aside it’s just another growth spurt. In many ways I’m still that college kid who wrote her English essays between bands. Instead of writing about bands, I scribble down my contemplations about my spirituality and religious beliefs between various writing projects and playing shopkeep. I’m not moshing, but I bear a few bruises from slamming against life. My faith serves as a poultice and guides me through the pain. It is looking at those bruises now with my religious path and some of the old wounds I’ve reopened with juggling everything do I see one common pattern. As I juggle a job, my hobbies, and my blogs have I realized my major flaw in my character. I try to be too many things at once for myself and other people. I felt betrayed in the same way I’m sure others felt upset with me, maybe even felt betrayed by me: in trying to be everything I was only letting myself down. Ultimately I can only answer for who I am and what I’ve done. I should know what I want and how to rise to the occasion. That is where my transformation always emerged.

I’ve learned a bit more about human nature from those final, painful moments as a music critic. I’ve learned how they apply to any setting that requires interaction and how to differentiate between a common vision and a projected vision onto me. It’s why the clarity of my vision of goals are integral. That vision includes occasionally peering into my past so I can spot things in my present cycle.

I will probably always be that wide-eyed college kid trying to be everything to myself. However that doesn’t mean I am currently living as a college kid; that part of my life has ended. Instead I’ll apply those attributes to my current life so I can grow and learn new skills and attributes.


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PBP: I Is for Isfet

I started writing a post about this topic about a year ago, but abandoned it because I saw how controversial and triggering it could be.  Now I can look back at it with a clearer intent and less controversial.  While I can’t guarantee it will be less triggering I can trust my readers to decide if they want to read further than this paragraph.

The word for chaos in Ancient Egyptian is isfet.  This is not the same as primordial chaos.  This concept of chaos was disorder, the anti-thesis of Ma’at, and above all destructive.  One could equate this concept to the epitome of evil.  In Ancient Egypt isfet was personified by Apep, who was depicted as a snake.

Modern Kemeticists tend to proscribe many things as isfet.  I’ve seen everything from unpleasant behavior to human rights violations called isfet.  I will not discuss how I feel about using isfet because I feel it’s on some level determined by the individual.  What I can discuss are the ways I deal with it.

I go into combating isfet a bit in my post of finding peace amidst the hustle and bustle.  The key to defeating isfet, though, is to look at it for what it is.  In Ancient Egyptian texts part of defeating Apep was recognizing his nature.  When we see a situation objectively and recognize the nature of what we’re dealing with we can defeat it.  Some of this, however, will require experience and discernment.

Sometimes in defeating the isfet in our own lives we first have to evaluate what isfet means to us.  Then we must ask why we consider these things as isfet.  Sometimes what a person considers isfet is, in reality, an inconvenience.  While that can feel chaotic it helps to differentiate to act accordingly.  Even a small act of changing an approach can help in major ways.  It also helps in establishing healthy boundaries.

I personally draw my line between isfet and inconvenience at the potential for destruction and harm.  While some inconveniences may harm me on some level, they tend to not cause major harm nor destruction.  I also refognize how the inconveniences accumulate and eventually evolve into isfet.  I then examine this and address it.

While these approaches deal with everday problems it takes much more when isfet is something such as a social injustice.  It takes a combination of addressing the issue for ourselves, addressing it socially (which is a feat in and of itself), and finding ways to ensure Ma’at prevails.

In this way I’ve found ways to deal with the inconveniences and isfet in my life.  I’m not perfect in my approach, and I’m aware my approach has flaws.  However in knowing my flaws in this approach I can find new ways to address the isfet in my life.


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PBP: H is for Het

In Ancient Egyptian het translates to “house”.  This takes on many meanings and interpretations.  We see it as a possible mortuary reference in the name Nebt-het.  In this sense the “house” is a tomb.   Long ago I read where the name of Het-Hert was also a way of saying She was a mother of Heru, and in that sense “house” is a reference to the womb.  The Kemetic word for temple includes the word house. 

Imakhu presents another idea which is interesting to me.  She presented the idea of one’s being as a house.  It’s something I’ve appreciated.  When I first listened to the podcast I decided to incorporate the concept of myself as a house.   I found it to be a helpful tool.

The first function this concept serves is the idea of who or what I let in my life.  While I’m far from perfect at this I’ve already seen the benefits.   When new people want to come into my life I can evaluate them based on what they show me.  I can see if their values are similar to mine and, if not, how detrimental those differences are to me.  If I think that person is too incompatible I don’t let them in to my life.

There’s still the physical element of my home and what I let in.  As I rebuild my life I’ve taken inventory of what I still have for a home and what I still need.  Thanks to my job I can now pay for items such as towels and dishes.  It’s been tough balancing just what I need as opposed to buying “in case”.  Moreover I once again have the means to fill my home with items I want, things that fit my vision of a home.  For me, that means a home which is calm and peaceful.  I’ve picked things which I feel work to that end.

In order to have the peaceful and calm home I desire I have to monitor my habits. Not only do I need to be aware of the values I share with others, or the values I want in a physical home, but I must keep dilligent in my health.  When I realized I neglected my health I took measures to regain it.  I reviewed my list of what I consider healthy living.  After making an inventory of my health I’ve made more strides to take time for activities I enjoy, time to rest, dietary change, etc.  In looking at my list I’m reminded how much of what I consider essential for my health connects to people in my life as well as what I consider a home.

Home can mean many things, and for me many of those definitions intertwine.  Ultimately it ties together to mean a balanced life for me.  In losing some of my inner balance I lost some of my health, based on how I define both for myself.  In my process of regaining those I repriortized and revised my lists and my discernment process.  I am rebuilding my home.


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PBP: F is for Flame

I read once that flames were part of the offering in Kemetic rituals. I’m not sure how much I believe it, but I can certainly see why the person asserted that about flames. Harold H. Nelson mentioned how a torch was listed in the offerings given my Thutmose III for Ptah in Karnak. Besides mentioned in the offerings of one king there are other things to consider why someone would consider flame as part of the ritual offering. Flame not only has direct ties to ritual significance, but also religious implications.

Fire is an important element in Kemetic ritual. Flames open up Kemetic rituals. There are formulas for lighting lamps (or candles for most modern Kemeticists) and extinguishing them after rituals, assuring the flame will still exist for the deity. The practical element of having flame in ritual is apparent given the darkness in some areas of the temple, which has symbolism in its own right. The flame, as with many elements in Kemetic ritual, also shares a symbolic element. In one translation of the flame being extinguished the flame is paralleled with the Eye of Heru as well as the Ra’s death and rebirth in the form of the sunset. In this respect not only is the flame “kept alive” but it is also associated with the light of a deity. Fire served another purpose besides a lighting element.

Outside of lighting purposes fire plays an important role in rituals. Flame is mentioned in the formula for lighting the incense. In one formula for incense (Utterance 269 of the Pyramid Texts, R.O Faulkner’s translation) the flame is mentioned as kindled before the incense is even said to be burned. While this is obvious as to the importance of flame in incense it also hints to the connection between the flame and its sacredness in ritual. In the rituals of Amenhotep there a few connections made with fire set up for a brazier and the spit roast in connection to Heru or the Eye of Heru. The formulas for the two not only connect to the Eye of Heru, but to other deities and even the king. The possible connection to flame with the Eye of Heru further enforces not only the practicality of including the flame in ritual, but its significance to the gods. As mentioned with the flame in connection to lighting with the Eye of Heru providing the light within a deity, the Eye of Heru in this instance provides nourishment and life to the gods. In turn the gods are able to provide these necessities for their followers.

Flame when connected to the gods serves as a practical as well as religious significance in Kemetic ritual. It was a way of ensuring the gods provided vital necessities to the followers by providing for Them. Part of that is accomplished by relating the flame to a deity or the Eye of Heru, while another part places emphasis on the flame in terms of how it provides for the gods.


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PBP: E is for Egg

When Pagans think of eggs they usually associate it with Ostara or other Pagan faith. What most Pagans, let alone Kemeticists, realize is eggs have a symbolic significance with the Ancient Egyptians as well. It seems odd to think about eggs in Kemeticism for some, but eggs do have a place in the religion. It’s not focused on often, but it also demonstrates the limited scope of which eggs are examined. Part of that scant coverage stems from the limited scope of eggs.

The egg, in one of its most obvious symbols, represents life. The cosmic egg shows up in a couple of creation stories, namely the Hermopolitan and Theban creation stories. In the Theban creation story Ptah creates the primordial egg, as mentioned in Siegried Morenz’s Egyptian Religion. The primordial egg then houses Nun. Ptah in this creation story embraces the role of a primordial deity. Djehuty, while considered a primordial deity, is not a creator of the primordial egg in His myth. In the Hermopolitan creation story Djehuty emerges from the primordial egg formed by the eight primordial gods. The egg’s association with life doesn’t end with creation.

Another significance of the egg deals with creation, but in a different light, as it is also a symbol of rebirth. We see this in the Sokar festival preparations, which calls for the ingredients of the Sokar statuette to be combined and then either placed in an egg-shaped mold or formed into an egg shape by hand. Given the time of the year when the Sokar festival takes place it’s not hard to figure out the formation of this statuette is symbolic of the death and rebirth of Sokar. Some believe Sokar’s rebirth happens around a holiday now celebrated as Shamm El-Nessim, though given some research it’s hard to discern (though evidence doesn’t seem strong for it). Still, one cannot overlook how eggs play a role in the holiday as dishes with eggs are eaten and eggs are decorated. In spite of the evidence or contrary evidence of when Sokar is to emerge as reborn the link to rebirth implied during the Sokar festival preparations is not to be overlooked.

The sense of birth and rebirth is not just related to Ostara when it comes to egg symbolism. The Ancient Egyptians related it to their creation stories as well to at least one holiday. There is also a holiday in which the egg possibly shares a commonality with Ostara in respect to the symbolism of eggs.


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PBP: D Is for Death (My Best Friend)

Artwork by Emily N3ver.  You can find her work at : https://www.facebook.com/EmilyN3ver

Artwork by Emily N3ver. You can find her work here as well as tumblr.

I know I sound full of angst to describe my best friend as Death, but I promise you it isn’t some angst (these days). While complicated at times for me to understand I’ve made peace with my understanding of it. I’d even call it a friendship with Death. It goes beyond an understanding of what it represents in my culture. For me it goes into my understanding of Death and how close it is to me at all times.

 

While Death is usually portrayed as a masculine character in the culture I was raised I found it didn’t work for me. For me Death is sexless, though loving, though I see why people characterize it as male. The motif of Death and the maiden is one that has been around since Medieval times. It morphed into a role of essentially the death of a woman’s virginity, as if Death were the one to deflower her. It was never my relationship with Death. I had my virginity taken against my will, and while Death was there for it I’ve since learned to look at my rape as an initiation. It was one of many throughout my life.

 

Death was around when my mother taught me about what happens when we die and the afterlife. It sat there and coached my mother on what to explain to a small child while still honest and frank. It is because of that coaching I didn’t fear it, but the spirits of those Death took. Death was there when my psychic abilities emerged, even when I didn’t fully understand why I could sense these things better than family members with similar abilities. It frightened me at times because while I knew of Death and didn’t understand its nature completely. Knowing about Death and my experiences with it flew in the face of my religious beliefs and that was hard to reconcile for a long time. My knowledge of Death and the dead was one of my first initiations.

 

I had another initiation with Death growing up, though I didn’t understand it as such until much later in life. My psychic abilities aside I was always considered “different”. I’m bizarre, and with a misdiagnosis of autism stigmatized by everyone at my school. My social skills were inert. Since I wasn’t included and didn’t understand human nature at the time I was left with myself to observe often. To this day I learn the most by watching others. It’s also why the arts came so easy for me: it requires observation on some level. In much of Medieval art Death was not only an artist but often an observer. During these years growing up I was initiated into the coven of observation, as a watcher and a dancer in life. I grew into my abilities more, but I didn’t grow in my understanding of them. I knew when someone close to me would die, and while my family believed in such abilities they didn’t understand my relationship with Death. As a result my understanding of it didn’t develop, and I became distraught. Due to other circumstances in my life I was suicidal from that distress as well as my checkered relationship with Death. Obviously I failed in my suicide attemtps, but Death was there to pick me up even after I felt like a failure. While Death didn’t comfort me it did initiate me into the knowledge of human suffering. It held me while my soul cried. I didn’t understand any of this at the time, but it took time to understand it today.

 

I didn’t begin to fully understand Death until I became more serious about my spiritual, and eventually my religious path. It was through my path that I became acquainted with Het-Hert and Her associations. While I don’t always associate Her with solely music, dancing, joy, love, and death these days She did help me understand why Death was around. In the early days of my path I found others who encouraged me and provided a safe environment to explore my abilities with those who died. In speaking with those spirits and helping spirits cross over thanks to what I learned helped me understand Death so much more. I learned those spirits were probably always around and had little to do with me. If they came to me, and it wasn’t a chance encountering, I tried to help them. This had led to some interesting adventures (literally!) and friendships. The spirits showed me things that were hidden. I uncovered things and comforted people. I even uncovered a few family secrets thanks to becoming more open to Death. I learned Death was always there and whispering not to frighten us, but to remind us of life. Death was there for me because it was there for everyone, but it meant no harm. It wanted us to know of the world around us, both seen and unseen. I wasn’t bad or even misunderstood for getting initiated by Death. It didn’t even make me special. It meant I was ready for what Death could offer anyone.

 

During this time I had another initiation with Death. I took on a hobby as a music critic and honed my observational skills and my own knowledge and experiences with art. As cheesy as it’s been I took my understanding of Death and use its name as my own. I decided since it was so cheesy to combine a bit of humor with it to lighten some of the tension for people. I don’t think it ever came off that way, though I was happy to have inspired and helped a couple of people with my endeavors. I even learned how to improve my artistry by observing what is and isn’t effective and why. When I abandoned that hobby I was initiated again, but this time with the idea of loss. Luckily I groped my way around and found some spiritual strength. There I struggled in many areas in spite of my preparations.

 

One place where I struggled to let Death come in had to do with my own ancestors. Knowing my family history I didn’t know how open they would be to my path and new ways of honoring them. I also remembered my relationship with spirits in the past, and I worried if my ancestors would act in ways I wouldn’t understand nor welcome. When I went through some stuff where I turned to them for help did I understand why I needed to allow Death in this part of my life. I learned honoring our ancestors was just as much for me as it is for them. The ones that will listen and care about me won’t really care how I go about it. My relationship with Death deepened when I learned honoring the dead isn’t a scary thing, and was initiated into ancestor veneration. It certainly hasn’t been my only initiation.

 

In the past few months my relationship with Death was further realized. In my despair of losing my partner I attempted suicide. I felt I lost everything at that point, and the past few years made the gradual erosion of my dreams and visions of my future worse. Death was ready for me, and I was ready for it. Once again I failed, but Death was there to hold me during my initiation. I have experienced the loss and death of so many things I felt I had nothing left, even though before I thought I lost everything. What I didn’t remember was how death is treated in alchemy. In order to acquire great things one must “die”. Death delivered as promised. My music critic hobby that I had revisited a while ago took precedence. I’ve been swamped with many tasks and opportunities. Everything I worked for was bearing fruit, but in a different garden than I originally cultivated. I have been initiated into something new and had to cultivate this new garden.

 

While cultivating and weeding my new field I further evaluated the people I want in my life. I looked at what it would take to be my best friend. I wanted someone who is there for me when I need them, encourages me to grow and will grow with me, who is honest, strong, and helps me be the best person who lives to my fullest potential. In that evaluation I found Death fit this. While I’m not willing to take Death as a lover, I’ve valued it as a close friend. Death has always been around and is consistent. Death helped me become a better person once I let it. Death is my best friend.


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Pagan Blog Project: C is for Censer

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Incense is an important part of religious practice for many Kemeticists. It’s used in offerings and purifications, though this was usually demonstrated as a way of perfuming the gods. In its purpose of purification the priests used it to purify themselves before rituals. Even the pharaoh had to be purified before enacting rituals, and he too was purified through incense. Just as important as incense was the censer.

 

The censer had a few forms, but two are most commonly seen in tombs and in art. One form was the arm-shaped censer. This was a censer with a long handle shaped as if it were an arm with the cup holder shaped like a hand. The incense cup rested on the hand. There are variants of how the arm-shaped censer looked, such as the end of the handle shaped like the head of Heru or Sokar and with some censers having a compartment for incense pellets. The other form of censer most commonly scene was the jar censer, a censer with an eponymous shape held in one’s hands during the incense offering. This was most often seen in art rather than in practice.

 

The censers had extensive ritual use as evidenced by how many formulas in rituals call for incense. It’s used to perfume, purify, and end the ritual. Using the censer was so vital it had its own series of formulas to purify it before use in any ritual. From there various resins and incenses were used throughout the span of a ritual. These ranged from simple resins like frankincense to more complex ones like kyphi. Almost every stage of a ritual has an incense to go with it.

 

Modern Kemeticists don’t necessarily use any particular censer. Some may use stick incense with an incense burner. Some don’t use incense but an oil burner or a room spray. Other Kemeticists may forgo incense or fragrance oil due to health concerns. There are many options today for Kemeticists. If you’d like ideas on incense and an incense burner I have a blog post to assist to that end.


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PBP: B is for Belief

I would be lying to myself if I said my beliefs haven’t been shaken to my core in recent months. Loss of a loved one, even during a break up like I’m experiencing, really does that to people and I’m no exception. If that wasn’t enough the constant loss of last year took a lot of my resolve out of me. The way I’ve dealt with my crisis of faith is a bit different from what I’ve seen others do or advised by others in my life.

 

One thing I’ve realized after being dumped was that I have immense trust issues. It became clear when I spoke to people about my feelings. Most of my friends noted how they’d never seen me in this state and implied, whether they meant to or not, it seemed like I wasn’t capable of feeling such emotions like heartbreak and despair. I guess “incapable” is too strong of a word; it was more like improbable. They mentioned how I always seemed cold and distant. I found it odd because I imagine myself to be an open book (it comes with blogging, I feel). However that was what I kept hearing from friends I even considered close friends. When it’s a pattern like that I can’t avoid it anymore. Already I had one belief challenged.

 

It seems silly to look at how I believe friendships work into a religious blog, but after examining this one issue I saw how it applied in other places in my life. Naturally I looked at my religious beliefs. I felt like I failed the gods, the gods failed me, or They abandoned me, or hated me in some fashion, and other forms of doubt. All of these feelings are normal with loss and I’m thankful I know that. What I wasn’t prepared for was how to proceed with my feelings. Most of the time I was advised to abandon my beliefs since they caused me pain. It occurred to me as an option. I’ve most certainly felt let down in so many ways I’m having to make changes across the board. Others wondered why I stuck with it in the fist place as it seems I have suffered so much since pursuing Kemeticism. I left Christianity because I felt it brought me great suffering, so why should I stick with Kemeticism?

 

The question of whether I should stick to my beliefs was one I couldn’t answer, nor do I feel I can adequately answer right now. I can say when I put my religious practice aside for a bit so I could work on other things in my life I realized how important it has been to me so far. When I came to Het-Hert initially I had a new lease on life. What I didn’t realize at the time was part of renewing one’s life means healing from the life that inflicted so much harm. I’ve cried a lot and was placed in many situations where I had to face those wounds inflicted by my past. Many of those situations have occurred in a spiritual or religious environment. In facing my inner turmoil I also found healing even when it was healing provided by others. That’s because even in situations like therapy the solutions were common: keep to my religious practice and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The only thing my therapist added which others didn’t was to find healthier friendships. Combining these notions helped me heal at various points in my life. I had to examine why I felt none of this was healing me at this point in my life. In that examination I hoped to find out if I needed to leave my religion behind.

 

During the contemplation of what served me I reflected on why I left Christianity. The very beliefs of Christianity didn’t help me as I felt I could never measure up, as if the very structure set me up for failure. I know others disagree, which is their right. It’s just my experience with it, and I left because of it. I know that because of it I felt like God hated me. Even if my experience didn’t account for anything there was still how I felt I couldn’t believe in the fundamentals of it. I never believed there was only one way to peace or happiness. I didn’t believe all of a religion’s tenets were timeless regardless if the gods seemingly change their mind or not. The idea of how someone erased all of man’s sins yet somehow we were still born with it until we become Christian made no sense to me. I couldn’t believe in a practice that used manipulation to bring in followers. So what made Kemeticism different for me? Why do I believe in the Ancient Egyptian gods enough to keep practicing and researching how to practice? In Ancient Egypt there wasn’t really much in literature to tell the laymen how to practice and behave. We have some idea thanks to archaeological evidence and surviving wisdom literature. However, there wasn’t really a set of rules for laymen. In fact they had no word for “religion” as the Ancient Egyptians saw no separation of religion and everyday life. I could easily argue I wasn’t practicing, yet I still wanted to believe. What makes this belief strong?

 

The word “belief” stumped me repeatedly. Why did I believe in something that is not serving me? I am at a place now where I feel like I don’t measure up in my practice and on some level I felt the gods hated me. Why am I still holding on? It didn’t hit me until I found myself crying and praying to Het-Hert. I was still asking Het-Hert to get me through the pain of losing my partner in one of my moments of sorrow. I found myself praying to Her knowing She was there and I trusted Her to help in my healing. I still held on because I believed in Her. I’ve found a lot of peace and healing with Het-Hert and other Ancient Egyptian gods. I trusted Them to help me even with my faith shaken. I found a practice that bettered me and gave me new tools to be the person I want to be through worshiping Them and through my own work devoted to learning how to worship. It’s those experiences which convinced me this was a true path for me all these years. I’ve been through a lot, but it’s through those moments I’ve seen how much I’ve grown because of nothing else than believing in the gods and in some way believed in myself. I believed in myself to make the best decision. Even if I ended up choosing poorly I trusted myself enough to grow and learn.

 

It was during that contemplation I kept running into articles which reminded me about belief and belief during moments of crises. I was reminded how sometimes bad things happen without rhyme or reason, and sometimes it’s a cluster of bad things. Not every bad thing has a pattern to it. Have I made poor choices that contributed to my problems in the past year? Yes. I’m human. I’ve also had problems that were no fault of my own as well. It’s something I say a lot on this blog, but even I need a reminder every so often that sometimes bad things happen for no reason. The gods most likely aren’t mad at me or punishing me. It’s just the series of unfortunate events combined with questionable decision-making. While I thought I was making a truthful and wise decision at the time it didn’t always prove for the best. Life happened, and I happened with it. That’s where I differentiated my beliefs with Christianity all those years ago. While contemplation of one’s faith and relationship with God was theoretically encouraged the practice was far different. The pastors never encouraged me to trust my feelings about my relationship with God. I was supposed to trust God’s decisions for better or worse on a say-so. I felt like I was constantly let down and that trust eroded. Since my trust was gone my beliefs went with it. That has not happened with my belief in Kemeticism. On some level I still trust Them.

 

Belief, to paraphrase the definition, is about holding something to be a truth. Beliefs can change, but it’s usually because we find a new truth for ourselves. As in all exploration the way we discover our truths is by trusting it. Sometimes we have to test it in order to find it believable. After all trust is earned. Since the gods have earned my trust I’ve slowly worked into my practice again. I am slowly working myself into daily offerings again. It’s a slow effort, but one that will build up with trust.