Category Archives: mystic woo-woo

ENOUGH!

Africa191There is no shortage of people in the world, and especially online who want to worship or honour the Kemetic (Egyptian) gods or Netjeru. You would think after 20+ years of Kemetics being online they would have tried to build alliances and make bridges without the petty infighting and holier than thou bullshit that gets handed around like last year’s Christmas fruitcake.

Let me state at the outset before I say anything else, that I have no grand vision of being “in charge of” anything. I am not here to take anyone to task or to fight with anyone else. This is not some half-arsed attempt on my part in order to get students or for me to become a guru of some sort. I am flat-out not interested in such things at all. Been there, done that, and I donated the T-shirt because it wasn’t “me” anymore. I’m just like everyone else in that I am committed to the culture, the history and the religous ideals of Ancient Kemet. I am not an accredited Egyptologist. I fully acknowledge that I am here by the grace of Sekhmet and the generosity of many, many talented sebau (teachers) and to them I am eternally grateful and I refuse to dish or diss on any one of them.

Lately I have noticed increasing factionalisastion going on within the Kemetic landscape. In the years that I have been blissfully far removed from the jealous infighting, the petty backbiting, hubris and ‘witch wars’ that seem to be part and parcel of the so-called Pagan “community”, I have watched those traits migrate here. After 20+ years, I am exhausted.

So, that being said, I am going to do everything in my power to establish a list of various Temples, Shrines, blogs, organizations, information resources, etc. because it is absolutely needed. If anyone thinks I am doing this for any specific organization, guess again. I’m not. Sekhmet has given me marching orders 1) finish the book and 2) establish the network because honestly, the Pagan Community and the Kemetic Community in specifics deserve at least a modicum of respect, in spite of the differences between us and it’s time that this happened. It is long past time, to be honest. This should have been done some 20 years ago, but for whatever petty, ego-driven, any other set of reasons, it did not transpire. It’s going to happen NOW.

We are bigger than this. We should not (still) have to be listening to the petty, catty, bitchy, in-fighting that goes on for no good reason. There are no good reasons why we cannot do this. If I have to kick ass, or become some sort of pariah, ostracized or called out for being a Kumayah, Pollyanna Kemetic, so fucking be it! We are long past done playing at this. It’s time to do it.

Still have doubts? Let me spell it out:

It’s about, GOD, or the Gods (plural) and our relationship to them, people!! Get OVER it! We all have something to contribute and we NEED to be doing that in the interests of Ma’at. I am not interested in hearing the arguments against such a thing moving forward. I will not give credence to he said / she said, petty grudges from years ago that happened on Usenet, Ancient Worlds, or Tumblr. There are no more excuses, so don’t bother bringing them up to me. It’s time for all of us to ask ourselves, each and every one: “WHY the fuck are you here?!” We collectively need to take what I call the Janet Jackson Approach and ask ourselves, ‘What have YOU actually DONE for the God(s) lately?! What have you done for yourself lately?!” After answering those questions honestly, the next question to ask must be, “What’s stopping you? Who do you think is preventing you from doing it?” If we fall into the temptation to start to point fingers at anyone else than the man or woman that is in the mirror, then I encourage each of us to remember that with that pointing of fingers, there are still three other fingers and a thumb pointing right back at us.

I will write this up in more detail in a bit, however, if anyone imagines that I am doing this to step on toes or encroach on their “territory”, they need to take a step back. This is solely about trying to take a cursory census of who thinks the idea of a collective of those who are bound by the things that we believe and hold dear is more important than the ongoing factionalization that we have been suffering from for over 20 years.

Playtime is over. It’s time to STFU and get to work. If you want it, well then each of us needs to determine just how much and what we are willing to do in order to achieve it.

Excuses are boring. Let’s get to it.

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Guilt by Association

The adage that we are known by the company we keep probably is very true within the Kemetic Community. It become frustrating and disheartening to be judged by people whom you don’t know, who don’t know you, or your specific religious path – nor do they care really! For someone to offhandedly decide that you are not with the “in crowd” or that somehow, will pronounce that not to be of a certain religious affiliation, or sect will deem you unworthy to be given the time of day. Some of course, fear recruitment or being indoctrinated into some sort of cult based on internet rumours that they may or may not have heard.

metmuseum5a1I am Kemetic. I was trained and ordained as a Kemetic Orthodox Priestess of Sekhmet/HetHert in 1998. I stepped down a couple of years ago by choice, or as one internet website geared toward atheists said, “I retired.” I kind of laugh at that. One does *not* retire from Sekhmet’s service. Your service may change, but it is absolutely for life! At any rate, my reasons, initially, were because I was attending college full time and could not give the level of service required. My situation has changed a bit, and so now my reasons of not wanting to return to it again are deeply personal. I can and will say quite clearly that it was not because of any rift with the Temple, or disagreement between myself and any of the membership. I have been listening to Sekhmet’s call and it has been specific and in a direction by necessity. That doesn’t make anyone bad or wrong. It just makes it a different route that I have chosen to take.

All of us must by necessity approach our spiritual life on a personal level. We may choose to join or Initiate in a specific sect, temple or path, but ultimately, only we as individuals can decide when to move on. Each of us, who are Kemetic, have personal rites. Sometimes this entails a daily practice that follows a formal outlined structure, such as that which is outlined at the Temple of Horus at Edfu. While at other times a practitioner may choose something more fluid, eclectic or non-traditional. Each is a valid structure and approach to the connection to the Netjeru.

That being said, the only things that become annoying are those who insist on the belief of either a maddeningly absurd UPG-type of approach, or those who cannot and will not move outside the formal scholarly sanctioned type of practice. I have found by direct experience that there are deep pitfalls within each extreme and either can be deleterious for spiritual understanding or growth. Egyptology does *not* know everything. Conversely, I have seen so many ridiculous, crackpot theories that should never have made it outside of one’s own personal headspace, let alone made it into print for others to try to decipher.

One extreme, that of the scholarly community only, and especially within Egyptology’s ranks, often eschews and ostracizes those who “actually believe in any of this stuff”. In some place it becomes so much of an issue that those who have made it into those hallowed halls of the scholarly ranks take great pains to either conceal, downplay or flat-out deny that they actually do worship the old gods. These individuals dare not speak of it or it may cost them their entire career or get them passed over for any future projects because their beliefs are not considered “objective enough”. I personally know of several tenured professors or professional Egyptologists who by necessity are very guarded about their personal beliefs. I can state quite clearly that their fears are absolutely justified. Egyptology is neither easy nor cheap to take up as a scholarly pursuit. Admissions into these programmes are prohibitively expensive and generally only accept a tiny handful of students each semester or once a year. Most of these who are accepted have and/or have maintained a 4.0 GPA. Further, that high GPA must be maintained or that student will get a boot planted in their posterior and find themselves completely washed out and with student loan amounts that are nothing less than nightmarish and just shy of the national debt.

The Kemetic Community, I think, is going through something that much of the so-called Pagan “Community” is going through. I believe that there is far too much backbiting, petty, catty and deeply personal bitching among the ranks. People either are wrapped up in an idea that if you do not belong to X group, you obviously are “doing it wrong”, and if you are a part of that group – or have been trained by it, have handed your brain, your soul and your personal assets to some sort of mindless cult of personality that does not allow for personal considerations.

I call “Bullshit,” on both points of view.

Even with my training and years in the priesthood, I interact with those who are not Kemetic Orthodox. I spend a great deal of time with people who come from many different faiths and belief systems, and each gives me a perspective that I would not have had otherwise. In so doing, I am able to form my own opinion that has nothing to do with toeing a party line, a religious canon or being a spokesperson for any given temple or group.

If I see a person make an incorrect, ill-considered or socially repugnant statement to the general public, I have no compunction but to call them on it and tell them why I feel that way. Conversely, I expect to be accorded the exact same service be done to me in return. I also expect that it will be done without the need to resort to ad hominem attacks. I think that is more than fair. Of course, there will always be those who claim to be holier-than-thou, or claim some sort immunity because of the number of books they wrote, lectures at Pantheacon they conducted or letters after their names in terms of university degrees. The political correctness and personal butthurt needs to be put away and replaced with something that resembles common sense. If we cannot have that, then what’s the point, really?

Ma'at from the Tomb of Seti I, at the Museo Archeologica, Turin, Italy

Ma’at from the Tomb of Seti I, at the Museo Archeologica, Turin, Italy


All of us who consider ourselves to be Kemetic have a single and solitary foundation. That foundation is not exclusive to any one group, or leader or anything else. We have nothing other to worry about than the idea of Ma’at. Each of us must decide what that is and where we are at personally. Under that one single idea / ideal, there is enough there that is complex enough to keep all of us occupied for the whole of our personal and spiritual lives. We are held responsible and we hold those whom we associate responsible as well. When we do this, we are held responsible for our own actions and words in the context of not only our own lives but the greater whole within the Kemetic community and within the world at large. With this single understanding, some of the petty, single-mindedness is stripped away, and we by necessity have to sit down and listen to the thoughts, concerns and observations of others. Being able to see that perspective and say, “Yes, you are right,” does not, therefore, declare us to be lepers within the groups that we are a part of – or not a member of. It means that we can each be viable on our own, and that we can stand up for ourselves and what we believe, rather than hiding behind an organization, a label or anything else than our own sense of rightness – or our own sense of Ma’at.

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Sekhem Talisman – Day #2

Nefertari making offerings

Nefertari from her tomb in the Valley of the Queens, Egypt

Yesterday marked the second day of rituals that I will be performing around the Sekhem amulet / talisman created by Aidan Watcher for the 30 Day Talisman Challenge as posted by Andrieh Vitimus.

The daily rite was performed with the usual purifications and invocations. Because I had an intensely busy day, after the purifications and invocations, I began to set the focus on being what Sekhem means. I spent most of the day meditating on this idea and what the symbol and the actual concept means for me as an individual in my own life and what it means on a larger, global scale. There are far too many ways in which power, both personal and on a larger scale is misused. With power or sekhem comes a great deal of responsibility. Each choice we make, each action we choose has within it the idea of sekhem. Those of us who are Kemetic often know that the cornerstone, indeed the foundation of all of this is the idea of ma’at.

Perhaps the largest focus for me is overcoming the element of fear. That may be something that one would believe that a daughter of Sekhmet would not have but I can assure you, at times we do; just like everyone else!During the meditation it became quite apparent to me that even a seeming weakness, however, can ultimately lead to strength in that area or another one that compensates. Sometimes fear can be a phantom and what is perceived is not real at all. The power or the sekhem in this is knowing what is real, or what is Ma’at and not. Since Sekhmet, the personification of what Sekhem actually is, upholds Ma’at or rightness – order, it seemed more than a little appropriate that differentiation and discernment would be a part of that process.

Later today I will post for Day 3 of the rites in this challenge.

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30 Day Talisman Challenge – Sekhem Talisman – Day 1

Since my practices are Kemetic (Ancient Egyptian), we tend to do our rituals a little differently. I decided to actually start the consecration of the amulet today, as the year turns from 2013 to 2014 and when the Moon is New. For this specific ritual as I do most times, I am working with Sekhmet, who is my Spiritual Mother, and also the God Amun.

My entry into the 30 Day Talisman Challenge is working with a pendant that I did not create, but rather worked with jewelry smith and magician, Aidan Watcher. I helped design the piece and my friend who is an extraordinary craftsman made the pendant is of solid silver. The symbol at the centre of the cartouche is Gardiner Sign S42 and represents a baton or scepter that was in use since the Third Dynasty in Egypt known as the Sekhem. Sekhem is the root word for the Goddess Sekhmet, which literally means ‘Power’ or ‘Might’. Sekhmet is known as ‘She of Might’ or ‘The Powerful One’.

The first part of the ritual consecration begins as all Kemetic rituals do – first with purification of the body and of the mouth with water and natron so that the words of power or heka when spoken are also true coming from a mouth and a person who has been suitably and ritually purified. Then is added light, incense and sound.

Each day that I do the rite, there will be heka spoken over the Sekhem pendant will underscore the authority that it as a symbol confers. The amulet is worn during that day, meditating on each point during the course of the day, At night the amulet is removed and left in the shrine with icons of the Goddess Sekhmet, an icon of the God Amun, and a third icon of the Goddess Ma’at. Each have specific significance to the rite and are instrumental in the consecration rites. A 7 day candle burns before the shrine at night, while during the day wen the amulet is worn and the sun is shining, the shrine doors are closed.naos1a

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The Magicians Health: A Survival Guide

A friend of mine, whom I mentioned in my last blog entry, has put out a very cool book. Josephine McCarthy (Littlejohn) has a number of books out on magic that are definitely no b.s. That is refreshing in this world of BNP’s or Big Name Pagans who like to put out a lot of double speak and less than well-researched material

This book is Josephine’s latest and I am sharing a link to it here because even though it is not necessarily Kemetic, I think some of you who are reading this blog might definitely benefit from it. If you can afford it, please consider throwing Josephine some cash for her efforts, eh? Artists, writers, etc. do deserve to have some compensation for what they give to us. For myself, Josephine has given much and I consider her a valuable mentor and friend. Please follow the link.

http://www.theinnerlibrary.org/the-magicians-health-survival-guide.html

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Defending Myself Against An Unseen Assailant

I am not one to engage in what I call, “mystic woo-woo” for its own sake. In spite of being someone who follows Kemetic religion, who is an Initiated Priestess of Sekhmet and someone who has been around occult circles in one form or another for over 30 years, I am also someone who is deeply interested in science. I have spent a great deal of time being devoted to the historical record and am someone who values putting out good, solidly resourced material. I am not prone to histrionics, and I really prefer to analyze a situation so that I can effectively decide what to do in it or about it. Sometimes practical things are called for, while at other times, other sorts of precautions and ritual actions that reverberate into the Realms of the Unseen are needed. This was one of those times where the latter was called for in addition to the former.

Let me start at the beginning…

Over the last few months, several in fact; I have been dealing with what appeared to be sleep apnea. I admit, I am a couple of pounds overweight, I am going into peri-menopause, and sometimes the body does weird and not-so-wonderful things as we grow older. Being a “Woman of a Certain Age” can, quite frankly, suck. The situation of really bad sleep was I thought related to work, school and other stresses. I had done my best to correct most of them, mostly through natural therapies such as herbs, seeing my Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner, and begrudgingly, even my doctor – who is, in my view, merely a servant to conventional medicine. Thinking in traditional ways about health and well-being is not her strong suit, alas.

To answer the dietary questions: I only eat meat of any kind a few times a week. I cut out a great deal of dairy, swore off of absolutely anything that contained even a trace of either high fructose corn syrup or aspartame and hadn’t drunk soda pop in at least three months. If it’s processed, it’s suspect and left out as much as possible.

Anyway…

The ‘sleep apnea’, was becoming more and more consistent and more pronounced as time went on. It began about four years ago at a Temple event in Joliet. It was also at first only happening at night, and it was not every night. At first there was not so much cause for concern. Then it was happening every single night, sometimes several times a night. At its peak, it started happening in broad daylight when I took a nap as well. It didn’t matter if I slept on my back or on either side, or sitting in a chair, the problem was there and it was, to put it mildly, becoming rather frightening.

About a month and a half ago, I had the worst bout of this phenomena that I had ever experienced. It was as if my heart had not only stopped, but that ‘I’, my consciousness that was “me”, was literally being ripped from my body. According to my spouse, I woke up screaming, kicking and fighting. For me, kicking and screaming in my sleep was definitely not normal. I woke up from that night’s “sleep” absolutely shaken. Something had to be done; whether it was physical, or something unseen or a combination of the two was not certain. I just knew that things could not keep on going as they had been.

With great trepidation, I posed my question to an email list of folks that I am a part of. The moderator of the group, who is herself an accomplished author and teacher in her own right, did a reading for me. Actually, she did several. Without my needing to tell her a thing, she honed in on several issues that had been of concern. Her conclusions matched those of my TCM practitioner and my own gut instincts. She surmised that I was most definitely under an attack of some sort and that it centred around one thing in particular. She gave me several suggestions and advice, which I followed.

Even after doing a cleansing and sealing of the spaces of the home, the property and everything else that that needed to be sealed, I put up wards and guardians. With the liberal use of consecrated salt and natron and other protections, overnight the situation had noticeably improved. For the first five consecutive nights I did not have a single incident of “sleep apnea”. On the seventh night there was one tiny hiccup and after that there was only one on All Hallows Eve. That was an indication as well. When the Veil is the thinnest – that was the most likely time that someone will try to launch something. It was just a small little blip.

Since taking precautions and continuing to keep with my changes in diet, activity and practice, there has been no “apnea”, no screaming, no kicking or fighting anything off. There have been no panic attacks – no problems. L

All of this has given me the impetus to reaffirm in the ways that I had been doing before when I first came to Iunen Sekhmet: Working with land spirits that are a part of the Enchanted Forest that surrounds our home, and and continued, focused practice.

So why would I even mention this, or even publish it online? Certainly signalling whomever might be dong this and what I am doing to stop it could lead to my efforts being thwarted – especially when I am definitely not out of danger yet.

Ah….there is a method to my madness.

Even though I have not given specifics for the steps that I have taken, and have not outlined how I had at least momentarily gained the upper hand, I know that sometimes what seems a logical explanation to something isn’t the real explanation. Besides, anyone reading this post would certainly conclude that they had stuck their hands in my own special brand of crazy. Who really believes in any of this stuff, right?

That’s the problem with those of us who have an overly-logical mind. That is what happens when you flat-out dismiss what may very well be a knock on the noggin from the realms of the Unseen. Too many people cannot find a logical reason for something, and ascribing an incident to an unseen assailant or attack can seem really as if they have taken leave of their senses. Speaking only for myself, I have been in the business of being a Priestess and a practitioner of various forms of mysticism / Cunning Craft far too long. I have seen things that cannot be scientifically or logically explained. I fully admit there are just some brands of woo that I cannot even buy myself. For example, I have never met an extraterrestrial, I’ve never even seen one. I am not all too certain that I ever want to see one. if that were in the realm of possibility. I think that many within the the Love and Light Crowd, or the ones who spout off about conspiracy theories meant to keep humanity from their “birthright” as heirs to the ancient knowledge deserve to have a stack of decent books unceremoniously hurled at their thick skulls.

Few things are more maddening to me than someone who considers themselves quite an adept as an armchair magician or expert practitioner, but they have never actually performed any sort of solitary or group ritual. They do not, and by default, cannot understand the dynamics of what power or sekhem really is. They have no clear comprehension of how heka works, or even what Ma’at< is. For these folks, continually trying to rewrite the rules of the Realms of the Unseen and the subtle seems to be their hallmarks. Many of these folks don’t even believe that psychic attacks are possible, let alone that it could possibly happen to them and so they are, in my opinion, far more vulnerable to them. If they do believe in them, sometimes they simply “send it back”.

Wrong answer.

I am here to tell you that in some traditions, and especially in the Kemetic, that particular and popular ritual solution does not always work. In fact, sometimes it can make a situation much, much worse by acting very much like a Chinese finger trap or quicksand. If you engage it at all, or struggle with it in any way, then the action that is intended to thwart the attack, in turn becomes its own trap. Too many of the armchair magicians and even those who believe themselves to be hands-on adepts are not nearly experienced enough to know the difference. Others simply “don’t believe ” in any of this stuff. I will repeat what I am often heard saying in that, plants do not need to necessarily “believe in” photosynthesis either: They will still turn green.

Right now I intend to continue to follow my friend and fellow Priestess’ advice as closely as I am able or comfortable in doing. She and I are in close contact often and we verify things with each other. In my experience, when you are dealing with a situation that makes you uneasy or you are unsure, you need to get another perspective other than your own. It is always good to find someone you can trust to help you discern what is real and what are the phantoms of your own imagination and maybe offer a point of view that you may not have considered at all. Try to find someone who is grounded in reality at least a little and not prone to bullshit. Josephine, for me, has been exactly that. For that I thank her.

When we take these sorts of precautions, we stand a far better chance of getting the best of both the Seen and the Unseen worlds.

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God Is Not Your ‘B*tch’!

Recently the question came up in one of the discussion forums I am in as to whether or not we need Divine and vice versa.

Inevitably, we get the well-considered answers, and then we get the children who think that the profundity of the entire Universe is somehow in that precious treasure trove between their ears, and that everyone else is dying to find out what it is that the rest of humanity has somehow missed.

Does the scientific reality of photosynthesis cease if plants don’t pay attention to it or believe in it? No. It still exists. I think humans like to console themselves on the arrogant notion that somehow the Divine would be somehow gone or irrelevant without our participation in the equation.

In my not-so-humble opinion: Bullshit.

I’ve been referred to all sorts of arguments by anyone and anything from the penned opinions of the late Isaac Bonnewitz to Terry Pratchett’s books and frankly none of it has any relevance whatsoever to my personal practice or praxis on the matter. I am Kemetic; Kemetic Orthodox to be exact. I have been at this as a practitioner of the Kemetic religion in some form or another for 30+ years. I think I know by now what it is that I am doing and are pretty secure in what I believe without the compare and contrast inserted by others into the equation, thank you very much. Purity, piety and fear of Netjer is a part of Kemetic religious devotion and practice, and that exact phrase goes back to antiquity and carries a lot of weight. However, that idea is not as dogmatic as that might sound. Nature IS. Netjer IS. It will be there – as a constant. Our participation is not necessary in either case. Both Netjer and humanity get something out of the deal and I believe that love on both sides of the equation has a great deal to do with why it works to this day. That is, I know, my opinion. Y’all are entitled to your own.

Which brings me to this: The God(s) are not our bitches. Add to that the notion that He/She /They is/ are not necessarily our “buddies” either. We don’t get to haul them out and play with them like Celestial Barbies or G.I. Jove. It is not all fun, or warm or fuzzy. It is hard WORK and sometimes that is necessarily difficult and frustrating. You will probably shed tears from time to time.

Get over it.

The relationship between humans and the Divine is just that….a relationship. All relationships if they are worth a damn at all, take work on both sides or it is just superficial and has no sort of depth or intimacy to it. To really know another, be it a person or a Deity, there has to be deep levels of insight on both sides. That is the hard part.

God / the Gods (the One in the Many or the Many in the One) Netjer is/are not here as the Eternal Wish Grantor(s) to be approached only “when we need something” or to be blamed when stuff goes wrong. It fascinates me just how many people become suddenly religious when they are faced with a crisis of some sort of another. We need money, we need a Divine pep talk, we need to see what lies beyond the bend in the road and we suddenly go into “religious mode”. We light a candle, or bow our heads, or get suddenly reflective or we scream to the sky, “Why me?!” Some of us may choose to perform magical rites and do heka or authoritative utterances, demanding to get our way. Sometimes we might think that resorting to threats and having a temper tantrum to get our way is the approach. We need a sign. We need reassurance we need something, and in the darkest reaches of our hearts, we know if we just get a teeny, tiny glimmer of hope, everything will be ok.

However, just as soon as some of us get that, and the crisis is seemingly over, too many simply skip along our merry way after saying, “Thanks, God! That was mighty cool of you!” And then quickly and ever-so-conveniently forget. That is they forget until the next crisis rolls around and the whole process begins all over again.

Is this any way to live our spiritual or even our day-to-day lives? Is this any way to navigate our way through the things that keep us motivated and moving? Does this give us any real connection to the Divine or even to our deepest selves? I personally don’t believe so.

I recently read a wonderful blog post by Adam Sicinski, God Does Not Grant Wishes but rather Opportunities to Make Wishes Come True that was written almost seven years ago but I found to be both lucid and insightful. Beyond the fact that Adam did not try to ram Christian-themed belief down the throat of the reader, he rather neutral on the subject; the post contained some real gems, such as this one:

“There are so many of us out there who rely on God or an Infinite Power to heal them, to make them rich, and to make their dreams come true. What these people fail to understand is that God will not fulfill their desires. It is rather up to the person asking for these things to keep an eye out for opportunities coming their way that may possibly enable them to fulfill their needs and wants.”

Even when you practice magic, or the Craft of the Cunning folk, heka. spells or whatever you want to call it, things can go wrong. Sometimes the answer is,”No.” Or it is, “Not now.” Sometimes the things we ask for or the things we think we want are better left unfulfilled. Being prepared to take on the responsibility of the thing or situation desired is important.

I have seen far too many people, Neopagans especially, pick up specific deities or entire pantheons because they think that going to that Deity or that set of Deities will get them the results that they want. If Deity has the least little bit of intelligence that we believe that it does, do you think maybe that it is possible to determine when someone is hanging out in their shrine or making alms and prayers that the person is after something? Sincerity, or lack thereof, does have a certain air to it. Most people can discern whether or not someone likes us, or is talking to us or saying complimentary things out of sincerity, and when someone is trying to get something out of the person that they are making overtures to.

The Divine is not so insecure as to need to be flattered, or plied with copious amounts of food and drink in the guise of “offerings”. It’s not unlike the husband who takes his wife out to dinner and plies her with candy and flowers and wine and maybe even some bling in order to get something or make nice. She’s no fool. She knows that this is all a part of the negotiation for whatever it is that he is after – sex, forgiveness, telling her that they are moving to South Dakota in the middle of nowhere – whatever it is. He wants something. Or the televangelist who tells viewers to send in $100 and God will “press it down and multiply it and turn it into $1,000!” In return, that viewer gets a special “prayer cloth” made of 100% polyester, cut with pinking shears to prevent ravellng and to be kept in your wallet as a reminder of your faithful covenant with God. Why do people do that? Does it have to do with faith as much as it has to do with wanting something in return?

I am fairly certain that the Divine is smart enough to figure that sort of thing out, too.

So why do we do any of this stuff? Why do we erect shrines in our homes? Why do we make offerings, why do we even bother with all the ritual and the reflection and everything that goes with it?

Speaking only for myself and my relationship that I have with the Netjeru, I do it because I want to. I enjoy spending time in my shrine with the perceived presence of Sekhmet, or Amun, or Aset or Heka – or Melek Taus or Durga or even with my akhu (ancestors). It’s a relationship. Relationships take work. I am willing to do the work, make the effort, not just because I want something, or that I hope to get anything out of it except a clearer sense of myself and where I am going, the world and how I can be in it and assist others, not just myself. That has nothing to do with being a priestess or a retired priestess. That has everything to do with humanity needing to work with our environment, with the people and even the experiences that seem to be ordinary, and yet there are inexplicable things that are extraordinary. Power or Sekhem comes in many forms. It exists deep within us, but it also can be found in the ordinary. Seeing the power of a rainstorm or seeing the blood red sky in the morning both remind me of Set. Such a simple thing was not something I asked for, but it is no less a gift for which I am thankful. Seeing the vultures fly overhead remind me of Mut and Nekhbet. The cry of a hawk outside my door reminds me of Heru and that His Eye is always upon me. The herbs that I harvest and the power to heal with them reminds me of Sekhmet. Those are the big things in all of the “little things” that make a difference in our lives. When we remember that, what part of our lives does not, therefore, become a prayer?

The gratitude for each and every day and the countless experiences we can find to remind us that we are not alone, that we are a part of a greater whole. God is not here to grant wishes, necessarily. I do not foresee Yinepu going into the kitchen any time soon to fetch a chicken pot pie. What the Divine does do is provide us the inspiration and the sense of accomplishment in creating things for ourselves. In that, lies the true gift.

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Filed under akhu / ancestors, indigenous, mystic woo-woo, pagan

Kemet is for Grownups

The biggest problem that those of us who consider themselves to be a part of Kemetic Faiths is that we constantly have to put up with the craziest level of ridiculous, crackpot theories and beliefs imaginable. Every day the prosteletizers of the theoretical stumble onto our forums and our Facebook communities or Tumblr feeds. These are the ones who are worthy of the constant eyerolls that they receive every time they open their mouths or put their fingers to a keyboard. Partly mystic woo-woo sisters and brothers, part conspiracy theorists; rarely is even the slightest shard of what they pontificate as “the hidden truth” in any way credible.

I know of no other group of Pagans et al who have to put up with this level of outright idiocy. If I had a dime for every time that I have met someone who was convinced that they were either Cleopatra VII, Nefertiti, or Rameses the Great in a former life, I’d have more money in the bank than if I had won the latest Powerball jackpot. Almost everybody with a past life in ancient Kemet that I have met were convinced they were nobles or royalty. Far fewer have ever said they were a slave, a lowly house servant, a soldier, an illiterate farmer or a worker in the House of the Dead. Reincarnation is a fine idea, however, let’s be realistic, now.

But I am getting ahead of myself here.

Kemetic beliefs are no better than any others in that they are sometimes plagued by those who bring the baggage of their past religions with them. They bring their taboos, their commandments, their thou shalt nots and an ye harm none’s along with three fold laws and all sorts of other modern moral constructs that have little, if anything, to do with what was practiced in antiquity. Below are some of the most common, and yet rather annoying things that come to visit Kemetic practitioners.

The 42 “Laws of Ma’at”

Kemetics subscribe to the idea and ideals of Ma’at. That’s more than enough for us. It is not just “truth”, it is not just “balance”, it’s a complex concept that is both represented by an ideal and takes the form of an actual goddess and you will spend your life trying to grok it in detail. That’s why the idea is so wonderful. Ma’at is so complex and so vast, and it is by necessity. It makes you have to ponder your choices and take responsibility for them. It cannot be encapsulated on a page or in a single paragraph. However, we in the Kemetic Community are often assailed by the so-called 42 Commandments (or Laws) of Ma’at, which are absolutely nothing of the kind. What is being referred to and re-translated as a sort of 10-Connabdnebts x4 Plus, are really the 42 points of the Negative Confession of the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. They are designed to get you through the various gates between death and the Field of Reeds or Afterlife. If you see these online, remember, they are not commandments. To quote my favourite pirate from the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Captain Hector Barbossa, “They’re more like guidelines than actual rules.”

Aliens built the Pyramids or The Egyptians Were Really Expat Atlantens, etc.

Uhmmm…yeah. Right.

None of us are really sure about how the fixation with Atlantis or Space Aliens founded Ancient Egypt got started. What is fairly annoying to some of us is this quickness to ascribe any technological, architectural, linguistic or any other sophisticated action to human advances, but rather to some external force that somehow showed these superstitious primitives how to think big. If it wasn’t some aliens from Sirius, it was some Atlanteans in search of a new place to live since their own place was sinking into the sea. The problem with the whole Atlantis theory is that no one can ever seem to decide where it actually is or was. One year it’s said to be in the Bermuda Triangle, the next year it is off the Coast of Santorini, then it somehow moves to the Island of Bimini. It seems to have moved off the coast of Cuba now, so I guess it is back in the Bermuda Triangle again. I am thinking that’s because that whole region is now up and coming and considered “fashionable” again.

While I am sure that there were sea migrations of people throughout prehistory, the fantasies and the urban legends have endlessly tried to replace scientific facts. When you are Kemetic, you tend to correspond directly and sometimes make friends with the very scientists and researchers that are experts in underwater or field archaeology. So far, no Atlantis. While absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, so far the evidence currently is far too weak to sway many of us. It doesn’t mean that it can’t and won’t happen, but at this point, it is highly doubtful that we will be rewriting the history books any time soon.

The Blocks of the Pyramids Were Levitated Into Place

Yeah…I pretty much fell off of my chair laughing at that one when I first heard it, too. There are some saying that the ancients used the technology of sonic levitation and that the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid is “proof” of this. No. That theory that originated from the channeled messages of Edgar Cayce have pretty much been disproved over and over again. (What do you expect? He missed the whole limestone casing on the exterior of the pyramids while he was in trance, too.)

I could literally go on all day, but I have clients waiting for articles that are due today, and really, it isn’t something that we all have not heard before. There are those that are adamant that there is a Great Library or Hall of Records underneath the body or between the two paws of the Great Sphinx and that “conventional Egyptologists” are hellbent on making sure that mankind never realizes their birthright by continuing to keep this highly classified and earth-shaking ancient knowledge secret. Really? Have you been watching too much Stargate SG-Whatever re-runs lately?

Give it a rest.

From Ancient Egyptian “power rods” that Russian scientists “discovered”and are now marketing online that supposedly heal illnesses of every kind including cancer, to pyramidal shaped devices of every description, more conjecture is forwarded about what the ancients could have been doing with these “devices”. From hieroglyphs in Abydos attributed to the reign of Seti I and his son, Rameses II, that kind of look like helicopters and submarines, it just never seems to end. If ever you want to legitimize something, just slap on some ancient Egyptian motifs and iconography, add names like Cleopatra, Isis and Thoth, and call it “ancient” and people will flock to it and gobble it up. If it looks nice and tell a good story, some idiot somwehere is bound to buy it and you are all but assured of a bestselling product.

Unfortunately, however, those of us for whom Kemet is not just an interest, it encapsulates what we believe, what we hold dear and a deep part of ourselves, this buying and selling and remixing of what is real into something that never was can be more than just a little annoying. Of course, people prefer Hollywoodized fantasies and romantic notions about Ancient Egypt or Ancient Kemet because that gives them a little escapism. Everyone wants a little fun and frivolity. I am of the opinion that Kemetic deities have a sense of humour and probably are o.k. with some of the funny memes online involving their images, for example.

For those who really want the real deal, who are after the truth and not just the made up candy-coated crap, my suggestion is to take the time to separate the treasure from the trash. I would also strongly suggest a thorough reading of Erik Hornung’s book, “The Secret Lore of Egypt: Its Impact on the West”
Learn what is real and practice discernment. Provide references for your theories and be able to have a conversation and look at all the facts before jumping to conclusions.

Special thanks to Sandra Pucher for her kind permission in using her artwork for this post.

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Filed under humour, kemetic, mystic woo-woo, pagan, politics