Category Archives: politics

Regarding Sekhmet’s Stolen Image

Chris M. Morris, via Creative CommonsSometime on Good Friday, the Goddess Temple in Cactus Springs, Nevada was invaded by thieves. The space that had always been open to anyone wanting to come visit the Goddess, to pray and to enjoy the peace of the sanctuary could do so unhindered. It was this that made it possible for those with a more heinous mission in mind to succeed in stealing the centrepiece of that place, a four  foot tall statue of Sekhmet that weighed under 100 pounds.

The Priestess in Residence came into the Temple to find Sekhmet gone. The thieves had left behind only tire tracks, and in them was the necklace that the statue had been wearing, indicating that she had been tipped while being spirited away in the night from the place that had been her home for the last 21 years.

For the celebration of Earth Day that was scheduled to be held at the Temple, a picture of the statue was set in the place of where the image once stood.  The Earth Day Celebration went on as planned.

Right now, there is much speculation within the Pagan community as to why it happened or who might have done it.  The first thing that came to mind is that somehow, since it was done on Good Friday, it was religiously motivated, as if to remove an image sacred to those who are not a part of the Big Three monotheistic faiths.   Others have suggested someone just wanted to make Sekhmet their own.  Others have posited that because of the area of the country and because Sekhmet personifies power itself, that the culprits could be drug dealers who believe that stealing a bit of mojo is perfectly acceptable.  Whatever the motivations are, the Pagan community and all those who love Sekhmet are upset by the theft.

Initially $500 was being offered for information that led to the arrest and prosecution of the culprits. That has since been kicked up to a $2,000 reward.  I would not be surprised if that figure increased yet again.

The unfortunate byproduct of this tragic event are those Pagans who wring their hands and drape themselves over the furniture, wailing that this is about religious persecution – or that if this had happened in a Christian church or Jewish synagogue, the press coverage would somehow be more than it has been.  I understand the deeply personal feelings that people have toward Sekhmet and that someone would do something so terrible is frustrating and brings up anger, sadness and the overall feeling of somehow being violated. I also know what it feels like when the issues and events we hold near and dear are not adequately covered as we feel they ought to be.  I think anyone who is on the receiving end of being even in a small way touched by any sort of crime – be it a hate crime or something else must feel that irritation that no one could possibly understand.  Pagans in particular, seem to love to latch on to crises of this type because it makes them feel as some “persecuted other”.  I never saw much use in wallowing in that sort of self-pity, personally.

To be honest, I never thought I would see the day Sekhmet’s children would resort to playing the victim card and yet I have in these past few days. Some have resorted to comparing and contrasting our religious site being desecrated and comparing our pain to the pain of others when thier faith was lashed out against. Somehow they conveniently have forgotten in another crime that is unrelated but took place just before Easter where  three innocent lives were lost last week during Passover.  Ironically, all three of the victims who were slain by a white supremicist were Christians.   It is my view and in the interests of ma’at that I believe that no one should be singled out, begrudged or feel persecuted for their beliefs, or have their sacred spaces violated. The ones who whine about how we of “Other” faiths that are not Jewish, Christian or Muslim are so very persecuted and discriminated against conveniently forget the burned churches, the desecrated mosques, the ravaged Sikh temples, that have all  have been the scenes of senseless violence and desecration, all  based on hate and intolerance. Our prayers go out to their families and our voices whisper hopes toward peace and understanding.  It is what we should do for each other as human beings.

While the stealing of the statue is a tragic, heinous thing, too many within Paganism’s ranks  love to use that common excuse that gets handed out is to blame the media – especially when screaming “religious persecution”

This is not an act of persecution. We need to stop with the assumptions that somehow it was. There were no slurs painted over the space, the building was left intact- they took the statue, something that cannot be replaced. It’s a theft. Cameras may be necessary as a precaution. That’s the way of things now. It has to be, unfortunately. Slanting the story is not helpful. .We now live in a world where that kind of trust is not something that can be easily given. We used to sleep with our doors unlocked and our kids could play in their own front yards. Both things are becoming increasingly rare now – but of course,  that has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with a society that is out of contol

We are not the dominant religion, that is true. We are not Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, but we can practice our religion for the most part unmolested. Do people lose their lives here over being pagan? Hardly. That is what the comparison with the Passover shootings was about – and it is relevant. Can people in India, Africa, and even Egypt itself say the same? Absolutely not. I know of native Egyptians who do worship Sekhmet – but they cannot do so openly or it is a death sentence.

There is no point to the practice of comparing and contrasting of pain and transgressions and tresspasses against “Us” versus the ones suffered by “Them” – whichever side we happen to be on.  Any religion being oppressed, any desecration of a holy site is an outrage and intolerable. As a Priestess of Sekhmet, I ask is our suffering any greater than the churches that get burned down, the mosques that are desecrated, the medicine wheels that are destroyed?  No. Absolutely not.

Whomever did this – be they someone who lusted for Sekhmet’s image itself, or someone in the drug cartels  or someone just doing something ignorant and hateful, I can say without reservation that they will have literal hell to pay.  In spite of Sekhmet’s loving, healing aspects – and She has many – there are very dark parts of this Goddess that are invoked when Ma’at has been transgressed.   To those who know Sekhmet and those “darker” aspects of Her, know without any shadow of a doubt that the move was a very stupid one indeed.

That statue will be returned – or not. But we are undamaged, and Sekhmet’s worship is undeterred. One thing is for certain, however, those who stole Her image will get what they have coming to them. I know for a fact, Sekhmet’s Arrows Do. Not. Miss.

In my years of experience, Sekhmet, as far as Deities go,  is most definitely NOT  a victim; and neither, I dare I say it, are Her children. We will not curl up into a ball and wail and bemoan the situation. We will not stop doing what we have been doing since the resurgence of Sekhmet’s worship in the world.  We know who our Mother is,  and She knows us.  We who know that we belong to Her carry Sekhmet within us.  Our minds hone in on Her with a singular focus.  We do this because She IS the very Personification of Power or Sekhem itself. To succumb to this blow is to give that Power away.

Rest assured, we have absolutely no intention of doing that.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under kemetic, pagan, politics, rants, reblogged, sekhmet

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.

1 Comment

Filed under kemetic, mystic woo-woo, pagan, politics, private, rants, sekhmet, update, writing

Truths Are Truths: Offering ‘Enough’

Nefertari offering to Hathor, from the tomb of Nefertari, Valley of the Queens

Nefertari offering to Hathor, from the tomb of Nefertari, Valley of the Queens

So often we hear of giving an adequate sacrifice to our gods. Certainly, some pagans, do manage to generously give either to their respective religious organizations or favourite charities, but there is that bit of offerings and giving that we all tend to do privately.

Recently there was a bit of a flap concerning some very ill-considered commentary about what is adequate or enough in terms of offerings made toward deities. Certainly there are cultural considerations that should be taken into account, depending on what Gods you are worshiping. In the case of some specific gods, to partake of the things that you offer to Deity is considered ‘stealing’. While in the case of ancient Egyptian or Kemetic gods, partaking of the offerings after the reversion is said over them is considered customary and proper. To waste food or to not share it with the greater community is considered to be the height of foolishness. If the gods give us their bounty, what better way to exemplify this than to communally spread the wealth and feed those who are assembled in celebration?

It is an unfortunate fact that I have heard time and again about how what is being offered is not considered “appropriate” or “good enough” for deity. Neither poverty nor ability to give more can be considered an adequate excuse. If you are not giving a juice box, to cite one of the examples, poured out as a libation to the gods, then by golly, you are doing it wrong. Others underscore the idea that somehow our focus and insistence on doing it right gives license for some to cop a sense of arrogant exclusivity and a holier-than-thou haughtiness that is neither attractive nor impressive to many of us who have been at this for any length of time.

The reality is that we live in an era that has a real disparity between those who have and those who don’t. Folks who are struggling are worried about whether or not they are going to make it. They live paycheck to paycheck, praying to whatever powers that be that their jobs are not outsourced, or that the unemployment might be extended just a little longer. They fret over whether or not the government is going to give them just enough of a subsidy to feed themselves and/or their families. Offerings to the deities that we worship are a nice idea, but it is little comfort to the mother who knows how damn much those juice boxes or other foodstuffs cost in the greater scheme of things. The idea of letting a child go hungry or thirsty while that asset is offered up to heaven not to be partaken of by the living is a luxury that some just cannot afford. The arrogant ones self-righteously raise their noses higher in the air and sniff disdainfully, “Well, if you can’t afford it, then don’t even bother!”

Where I come from, something so small as cool water, or oil for the limbs, a bit of honey, or a song or a piece of artwork made by our own hands given into the service of Netjer is something that is considered ‘enough’. To devote what one has and what can do out of a giving heart is worth more than expensive works or products lain at the altar. In Luke 20:45-21:4, Jesus warns about teachers of the law, those who would focus on the smallest Nth degree that everything is done according to the law. The Pharisees would pray loudly in the streets and make sure that all witnessed their pious giving and yet a woman who was a widow gave but two copper coins – which was probably the major portion of what she had to live on, gave them at the altar. Back in those days, it was the least in terms of the legal limit that could be offered at the Temple. Jesus noted to his disciples that the rich gave from their vast wealth and did not feel the true spirit of the gift, whereas the woman gave all that she had.

There are those within the pagan community whom others look to as being the arbiters of wisdom and how to do things properly when in service to the gods. Some of them might even have a series of letters after their name that denote impressive degrees that show that they had the money and the time to go back to school. For some within the Pagan community, that may make them bigger and badder than the rest of we who are garden variety devotees and worshipers. (I personally think that is a load of it, but hey, what do I know?)

The undeniable truth is this: We all feel a call and a pull to the Divine, but sometimes we have to be very careful about whom we turn to for advice when it comes to the sincere practices of performing acts of faith. Some, no matter how many letters after their names or tenured positions that guarantee a regular paycheck whilst they sit in the hallowed halls of academia, are full of themselves – and other more ‘fragrant’ substances that sticks to the bottom of shoes. Just because they have an M and an A or a P, an h, and a D after their name doesn’t mean that their offerings will be better received than those of the person who has put their heart and soul into a piece of handiwork – or had just under a dollar to buy a purified bottle of water to offer to their Deity of choice. For those of us who worship gods that were native to lands located in deserts, water was and is still considered a precious sacrifice because there was so very little of it.

The Pagan community in some places tends to be both cliquish and competitive, if not downright cruel at times. It seems as if some make it a point to look over the shoulders of others, to check and see if the offerings made, the devotions said and the form of worship rendered is somehow ‘good enough’. They take great pains to make sure that people not only are doing it well enough according to their standards, but will discuss it loudly across every form of social media available. Certainly such behaviour is not unlike that of the Pharisees who want you to know how very pious, generous and correct they are and how everyone else should be paying attention to how they are doing it.

The Ones who are paying attention, however, are the Ones before whose altars, shrines and temple spaces we lay the offerings before. Those are the Ones we are doing it all for anyway – and maybe a little bi for ourselves, too. That, I believe, should always be considered ‘enough’. It’s that idea along with the inner knowing that we are all enough, that we love enough and that the Divine can and does understand our circumstances and does not judge us for it in ways that others and even we each have a tendency to do. It is this idea which we should be paying attention and listening to rather than the talking heads, of which there seems to be ever an overabundance of.

xtile

3 Comments

Filed under Kemet is Cool Project, kemetic, pagan, politics

For those of us who are lifelong learning junkies….

For my final paper last semester for my college writing course, I chose the topic of online learing. I think that this growing trend is going to be more and more a part of our world’s educational future. A friend sent this link to me and I thought that because I am what I call a Lifelong Learning Junkie (LLJ), there was a fairly good chance there were more out there that might be reading my blog.

Marc and Angel’s Hack Life: Practical Tips for Productive Living blog recently put out 12 Dozen Places to Self-Educate Yourself Online.

In the list are included the online resources that many of us have already heard of and are using such as Khan Academy and Yale’s Open Courses, there are quite a few more that I haven’t even heard about.

If you or anyone you love is currently in school, or learning as much a you can is a passion for you, the list can be found at the above link.

3 Comments

Filed under business, politics, writing

Paganism and Psuedoscholarship

Sloppy scholarship goes far beyond using outdated sources such as those written by E.A. Wallis Budge. This post is probably one of the most lucid and well presented opinions on a problem that has long since plagued books relating to Pagan topics. I very much hope that the trend toward serious scholarship within the Pagan community continues.

Of Axe and Plough

A part of Sacral Education

For a while, in the back of my head there has been a series of blog posts that I have wanted to write. Unfortunately, given that I am swinging between being overwhelmed for school and my senseless employment, as well as being excessively depressed in my home life, I haven’t had much of a chance to post an update lately. The entire gist of the blog run would focus on education, learning, and knowledge gathering as sacral pursuits, since it is one of the largest, most fundamental cornerstones of my personal experience in this world.

Warning: This post is kind of ranty. It is going to be featured first because this was the most recent incident that I have experienced. In reality, this probably falls more on the secular side than the religious side, but it ties in with what happened.

As a background, I…

View original post 2,150 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under pagan, politics, reblogged

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.

Leave a comment

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

Inciting a Riot: Pagans: Copyright Infringement and Social Media (Reblog)

The issue of copyright infringement in the Pagan and Neo-Pagan communities is a huge challenge. I am sure many of you who have been on Facebook or Tumblr have seen the endless Memes with cheesy pagan-y phrases plastered over photographs and artwork that is not attributed. The following is a post by Fire Lyte that encapsulates much of what Pagans should know but either are ignorant of, or pretend that they don’t know because “everybody does it.” Everybody needs to know the facts. Here they are presented in a way better than I have seen anywhere else.

Inciting A Riot: Pagans, Copyright Infringement, and Social Media

Leave a comment

Filed under kemetic, pagan, politics, reblogged, writing

(Reblog) What if it was your daughter?

I have been away for a while. I have many reasons for that. Perhaps, however, the reasons would only come across as excuses. No matter. I am back now, mainly because the words of a friend moved me out of my funk of morose complacency.

My friend, Fern, brings up a pertinent question to be asked in the light of the Treyvon Martin case. What if it was YOUR child; more specifically your daughter who ended up being killed and ultimately being blamed as being culpable in her own murder?

The legal system is broken if someone can go out looking for a fight can find one, shoot another unarmed person and be acquitted. I will save the argument for later and simply leave you with Fern’s words from her blog to consider.

What if it was your daughter?

Leave a comment

Filed under politics, reblogged, update

An Open Letter to the Kemetic Community

Normally, I would open a letter with the words, “Em Hotep”, which most of us know means, “In Peace”. What I am about to write today has absolutely nothing to do with ‘peace’. It has nothing to do with giving lip service with a greeting that at times seems to have very little meaning to some of the people within its so-called Community of adherents.

What I am trying to say is this: Some of you, quite frankly, leave a whole lot to be desired by way of community. Some, I can safely say, suck as human beings. Some of you really suck as friends and with those kind of friends…..well, I’m sure that you know the rest. All I can say is that it really must suck to be you.

This is the only reason I can come up with for the nevernding vitriol against established Kemetic temples with which a person may or may not agree. It isn’t enough to just simply disagree in practice and opinion, but the poison is spread from forum to forum. Not that anything any of the venomous vipers say makes any sort of a difference. The best revenge, I find, is in success. Large successful organizations or very well-funded projects go a long way to stirring up the nest of vipers, apparently. I wonder how long it will be before they get their own projects going, or they are able to write better books or just get a clue.

I’m certainly waiting to see it happen.

My motivations for saying these things are manifold, and my point of view has been gained through years of experience and observation both from inside the “community” as well as from outside of it with other non-traditional faiths. I have found more camaraderie, kindness and decency among those who do not espouse Kemetic beliefs than I have in the 25 years I have been a member of this one. I am mystified as to the reasons why this might be. Why do so many Kemetics find it necessary to act this way? Usually, such hateful maliciousness is a product of a lifetime of woes. Regardless of those woes, those past indignities, one would think that finding others with like-minded beliefs would be a very positive thing.

I have watched far too many try to waltz into established temples and try to glean what they could from the experience, then turn around and establish their own temples or publish books with the information that they raided from elsewhere with absolutely no attribution, no acknowledgement whatsoever as to where they actually got their “years of experience” from. I have seen so much pettiness, cruelty, backbiting and lies that I often wonder whether some within our community really fathom, let alone know, what ma’at is all about. Rather than coming up with projects, books and organizations that could bolster the community, the infighting, pettiness and character assassinations of others continue unabated.

To be fair, I have been sitting on this post for a fairly long time. As a rather cantankerous old lioness who is no longer under the obligations of priesthood to “play nice” with the assholes in the community, I am also someone who no longer gives a bloody damn what anyone thinks of me anyway. So, I thought that it was high time that I said it.

If, by chance, any of the above makes you uncomfortable, then perhaps you should take a step back and ask yourself just why that might be.

There are some within the Kemetic community who use every waking moment to bring about unity. They make certain that their blog posts, their board commentary and the videos they upload to YouTube are inclusive and thorough. Those shared works, thankfully, do not contain thinly-veiled snarkiness about groups and or teachers with whom they might personally disagree. They know how to write. They are very good at making their points and are exemplary in citing their sources. To those people, and I am certain that they know who they are, I extend my deepest gratitude and acknowledgement as a fellow Kemetic practitioner. Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for being an inspiration, a light and a beacon. I stand with the efforts of those who are determined to create a Kemetic community that shares and glorifies in its diversity and I will give my every effort to ensure that it comes to pass, despite the detractors who find it far easier to tear down what others have tried so hard to build.

To the rest, well, I can only say that hate, poison and jealousy have an incredible way of eating a person from within. Trust me when I tell you, based on my own first hand experience, it is no way to live and it can be a horrible way to die from the inside.

Being Kemetic is supposed to be about the celebration of Life and the furthering of Ma’at in the world. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all focus a little bit more on that?

25 Comments

Filed under kemetic, pagan, politics

The Importance of Being Able to Self-Define

Recently, blogger, Star Foster, announced that she no longer defined herself as a ‘pagan’ in large part, she says, because of the community itself. Star’s announcement was met with horror by some, celebration by others, and the odd shrugs of indifference. Really, why would anyone care whether or not someone chose to call themselves a “Pagan” or a “hard polytheist” or soft- polytheist?

This sort of running away from the word ‘Pagan'” seems to be, I believe, a gut reaction to the trend to either embrace or eschew certain labels when they are applied to who we are and what we believe.. This is especially true when the labels do not seem to fit. An example I would use is the realm of Witchcraft. To some, Witchcraft, goes back to the Anglo-Saxon word, ‘wicce’, meaning ‘to bend’. This, word, courtesy of Gerald Gardener and later adherents of the religion he publicised, goes now, by the name, Wicca. There are a few very formal, specific Initiatory groups, namely Gardnerian (named after the founder and the lineage that goes straight back to Uncle Gerald) and Alexandrian, founded by Alex Sanders, who founded it, rather than after the Ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria, where some of the most ignorant of Wicca’s adherents erroneously like to claim their religion came from.

In these groups, there are specific things that are done – the casting of Circles, the worship or honouring of a Goddess and/or God, etc. It is a lovely system to those who are a part of it. It can be “pagan” or some even insist that they are Christo-Wiccans – Witches that see Jesus as the male “God” figure, and perhaps Mary Magdalene or Mary the Mother as the “Goddess” figure. That’s fine. Call yourself what you like, do as you wish. It’s all good if it works for you.

Others who practice Witchcraft, do come from family traditions which are handed down generation after generation. To them, it is a “craft”, not a religion, and is not unlike practicing herbalism, midwifery, embroidery, growing your own food, etc. In fact, many of these things may play a part in any individual’s “Craft” that have nothing to do a religious undertaking at all. They may or may not have a patron deity or saint. Some of them couch their practices well within the Christian bible and are for all outward appearances, Christian. Indeed, if you look in some of the old grimmoires, you see, several instances invoking Jesus, YHWH, the archangels, etc. in order to help effect a spell or magical undertaking. I would certainly put many British Traditional Witches under this heading who are neither Alexandrian or Gardnerian or anything other than their own insular tradition that uses whatever elements that work for them as either individuals and/or groups. They may or may not call themselves “pagan”. Again, it is all very personal and it’s all good.

The problem comes largely from those who are not a part of either of the aforementioned groups who like to assume that all Witches are “just like them”. To these, if you call yourself a Witch (Capital or lower case “w”), then you must be Wiccan. No. There are many who practice witchcraft who would be extremely upset at the ‘Wiccan’ label and there are still others that would waste no time in correcting you if you were to assume that they are pagan. They eschew the very idea, and they want no part of that definition, or the people who wield it and apply it so liberally to anyone and everyone who is not J, C, or I. It is uncertain as to whether this trend is because of the mass marketing of Wicca by authors and publishers in the effort to sell to mostly dissatisfied, do-it-yourselfers who don’t know any better than to just lump everyone together or it goes even deeper than just commercial interests. The assumption on the part of many of these types of folks is that anyone who is not Jewish, Christian or Muslim, is indeed therefore a “pagan”. Is it because of the human need to define who makes up the “Us” and who is “Them”? It is human nature to desire a sort of “assumed commaraderie” with those who are “other” or those who are “just like us”. In the end it tends to feed into victim mentality that so many cloak themselves in when they leave one of the Big Three monotheistic religions. They seem to want constant reassurance that their choice is the right one, yet never themselves being strong enough to stare down anyone who would dare put their personal beliefs under scrutiny.

Offering to Sekhmet

I am absolutely not a Pagan. I am proudly and unapologeticaly Kemetic Orthodox. That makes me a decided monolatrist, much in the same way that specific sects of Hindus are. It was Roman paganism that destroyed the religion of ancient Kemet by outlawing it because it undermined the absolute authority of the Emperor. It was the pagans of the ancient world who did not understand either the indigenous religious views or the Egyptian / Kemetic culture. Look at the discrepencies between Pharaonic Kemet and after Ptolomaic and Roman rule. It is a striking contrast.

This declaration on my part does not mean I am a henotheist, a “soft” polytheist, a “hard” polytheist or anything other than what I just said. I expect and demand that my self-definition will be honoured and that no one would have the temerity to try to correct me about it. I will accord anyone else with that same privilege. This definition means I practice the ancient Egyptian religion in a way that I interpret to be as close, or at least a derivative of what was practiced in antiquity. Thankfully, with Champollion’s deciphering of the Rosetta Stone, the improvements over the last two centuries in ancient Egyptian translation and philology, we can read the inscriptions on the actual temple walls. This more or less provides us with the “crib notes” on how it was all done. Fathoming the 400+ symbols, seventeen tenses, double, triple and even quadruple entendre’s as well as the symbolic meaning of what is being read, can be another matter, and we who practice this way of doing things do disagree quite often.

For the record, most legitimate Egyptologists, do not ever acknowledge that they honour the old gods and the ancestors, nor do they ever even remotely infer that they actually “believe in any of this stuff”. To do so, can very well be the death of a professional career. Professional scholars tend to be rather ruthless about things like that. Personally, I don’t have to worry about it. The scholarly community views folks like me with a sort of amused disdain and the unfulfilled desire to hand us a cookie, pat us on our rumps, and send us out of the room with explicit instructions to quit bothering the adults. To the academic scholars, it makes no difference that the person may have written very well researched papers and books on the subject, or even acquired the relevant degrees to call themselves an Egyptologist, or are professors in their own right. The bias against believing is quite palpably there. I personally know of many within the field who do practice, or it is obvious that they do – but in the interests of professional courtesy or self-preservation, no one breathes a word

This sort of bias can definitely backfire for them, too. Afrocentrist scholar, Professor Maulana Karenga wrote probably the most comprehensive, well-researched book on the ancient Egyptian concept of ma’at ever published. He wrote it according to Egyptology’s own rules. Karenga’s research and referencing are impeccable – there are few, if any who can find fault with his work. Personally, other than the minor detail that he does not put an accent mark between the “A’s” on, Ma’at, I am quite impressed.

What are the benefits of “pagans” – neo or otherwise, even having a community? Even by the loosest of definitions, this so-called “community” is more along the lines of a tenuous peace between tribes that tend to squabble endlessly over the most petty details. Otherwise, they’d have precious little good to say about one another at all. I saw this behaviour years ago within the Indigenous community for decades, and unless there is a concerted effort toward real respect amongst each other, then there is no “community” to speak of at all.

It all boils down to the respect of an individual to allow them to decide for themselves what they personally believe. It’s human nature to want to put the people with whom we identify under the same big tent that we are under in a sense of community. For whatever reason, for some, it is not enough that we are members of the human race, or that we are spiritual beings, but rather it has to be parsed down to a simple either / or dilemma. Either you are Pagan or Not Pagan. Either you are one of “Us” or you are one of “Them”. Respect can consist of simply being a good guest at religious ceremonies and rituals and not necessarily being a member. Respect is about shutting up and listening to how someone speaks of their beliefs without the need to apply any other descriptive other than the one that the individual or group of individuals defines for themselves. To my mind it is such a simple thing, but all too often it just gets lost in the dialogue.

2 Comments

Filed under kemetic, pagan, politics, sekhmet, traditional witchcract