Category Archives: writing

Excavating Our Souls

This is a crosspost from my other blog at fannyfae.com.

writing_smThe way to mend the bad world is to create the right world.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s been far too long since I have updated this blog.  No doubt there have been some that have lost patience with me for my neglect. That’s ok. I realize that’s my own fault.  Sometimes, life gets in the way and making the time for blogging is something that I have intended to do but just didn’t.   In excavating my soul, in my efforts to create the right world, I made a decision that I supposedly made last year.

This past Saturday night, I worked my final shift at a C-store that I spent five years at working part time. Those last two days for me were far from a walk in the park and they were grueling in the sense that I was on my feet nearly the entire day on a knee that has a torn meniscus. Needless to say, I was a hurting puppy at the end of it all.

But in among the aches and exhaustion, there is an overall sense of relief. I no longer have to be on someone else’s schedule. I no longer have to be on my feet for 8 and 9 hours at a time, to the detriment of my own health. I am grateful, to say the least, that now the freelance writing jobs that come and the herbal products etc. That I am marketing locally have allowed me the luxury to work from my own home. I have my own office,  the herb room  and workspace I have carved out in the basement is now organized and I am starting to put together product.  It all will allow me to make a living on my own terms.  I can say that taking that step is absolutely terrifying and yet at the same time exhilarating.

I have clients that give me regular work. I have other clients that give me periodical, as needed work that pays a little extra. All told, my expenses are met and I have managed to save a little, but I wouldn’t mind making more.

This morning I relinquished my key and it really started to feel official. I can now officially focus on things and career moves that matter to me and not do terrible things to my body. The truth of the matter is that things have really started to open up since I got the hell out of that C-store. It was something that I promised myself and my gods just a little over a year ago when I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. I got talked out of it or talked myself out of leaving. Now, it feels as if the possibilities are endless.

To prove that point, an exciting opportunity to attend a possible event that is due to be held in the UK next fall presented itself.  When I heard about it, I was so excited, that I called my attorney to see if there was a way to get a copy of my divorce decree from the County so that I could renew my passport with my proper name. Because it was finalized in 1996 and Cedar Rapids, Iowa had a major flood in 2008, there was a more than good chance that the record had been completely lost or destroyed in that flood.

Apparently, mine was among the lucky few that had been saved and the clerk of court was able to find it! So tomorrow, I journey back into the city and plunk down the dosh in order to get a certified copy. I can then put together my application for a new passport with my maiden, rather than my former married name on it.That is the last vestige of anything that I had that connected me to that part of my life.  So again, the excavation has turned out to my advantage.

I sometimes find it amusing just how much things fall into place when you finally listen to what your gut tells you to do and you actually follow through on it.

Now, to just hunker down and get that Sekhmet book finished – FINALLY!!

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Guilt by Association

metmuseum5a1The adage that we are known by the company we keep probably is very true within the Kemetic Community – perhaps even doubly so. It has 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.

I 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?

maat1aAll 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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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.

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The Re-Establishment of Nekhen Iunen Sekhmet

SekhmetStatue_sm

‘Sekhmet in Basalt’ by NiankhSekhmet

A few years ago, when I was a Kemetic Orthodoxy Priest, I established a nekhen or shrine to Sekhmet.   The name of that shrine was Nekhen Iunen Sekhmet – or to translate, The Shrine of Sekhmet’s Sanctuary.   Here in the Wapsipinicon River Valley, in a land that I refer to as the Enchanted Forest, this place has served as a sanctuary for humans, animals, plants and all manner of wildlife.   The wild animals seem to know that once they cross into the borders of our 15 acres, which is not much in the scheme of things, they are safe.

After a series of life events that sent my life into a tailspin, the death of my mother, the outsourcing of my job overseas and returning to school and starting a business, things were neglected, I left Sekhmet’s formal service in pursuit of a life that is just now starting to show itself as becoming a reality.

Nekhen Inunen Sekhmet is more than just a place to perform the daily proscribed rites or heka on behalf of others.  It has become a way of life, a consciousness of its own.   One thing is for certain, I do not and absolutely will not do this in affiliation with any  Temple – at all.  This is and shall remain absolutely my own.   I am doing this out of love and devotion for Sekhmet;  She Who owns my head, She for whom Life Belongs – particularly my life.  Every medicine I make, ever rug that I weave, every thing that I do in some way ties back to that service.  I am not interested in having ‘students’,  so it would be futile to even ask.  Neither am I the least bit inclined to be out front and telling other people how to be  what group to join or sit in judgement  of another’s practices.  I will let the grand poohbahs and the gurus have at that. I hope they have fun with that. More power to them.

I am frankly much happier being left to my own devices rather than having someone, be it a group or an individual, looking over my shoulder to see whether or not I am doing it right.  I am. I have the liturgical texts, I have the materials and the resources that allow me to do it right as in antiquity and I have made the commitment to do so.  I do it.  I no longer have a single thing to prove to anyone about anything.  Further,  I am at an age when I no longer give a fuck what anyone else thinks of me – nor do I really give too much of one when confronted with the practices of others.  They don’t matter.  I am singularly focused on the things that do.  Everything else tends to be superfluous and unnecessary fluff.

The measurements have been made.  The sand and the amulets have been crafted and have been laid for the foundation.  All shall  be done as it should be – as the Lioness lies ever-watching and overseeing the Work.

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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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Who is Fit to Teach?

On the Potter's Wheel Let me state at the outset that this particular blog entry is not really going to discuss the legitimacy of folks who teach in our elementary, secondary or university and college level schools. I count many professional teachers and professors as my friends and I truly admire all of the hard work that they do and the patience they must have in order to do it. I am grateful in ways I cannot even begin to recount those teachers to whom I am indebted for my son’s education and my own. For that I say a heartfelt ‘Thank You’. This article, however, is to discuss those who set themselves up as instructors of those who are seeking a sort of spiritual education, both in formal churches, temples, circles, covens and even those who write how-to books for readers who are seeking.

A couple of months ago, Sarah Lawless discussed the topic of Evaluating Our Teachers. While her subject was aimed at Witches and Pagans, the topic is equally relevant to Kemetics as well.

Whenever there is any sort of scandal about religious leaders falling from grace, especially in those faiths that are not Christian, Jewish or Islamic, the scandal seems just that much larger. Rather than simply being a cautionary tale, they serve the mainstream faiths as to why non-traditional faiths are so dangerous.

Certainly, given the more lax standards that most of those who are not of the Big Three (J, C or I) Paganism and it’s cousins can tend to attract a certain level of persons that are just best not allowed such power or influence under any circumstance. Everyone wants to be special. Everyone wants to feel that what they say and do is worthy of attention or the words that they say deserve to be listened to.

Everyone, however, is not suited to priesthood or to teach others in any sort of spiritual sense. Through the lens of being a functional adult able to be both in the realm of the spiritual and the realm of the everyday, ordinary or mundane, they cannot even be entrusted for the well-being and adequate management of their own lives. How then, could they even imagine that they are in any way trustworthy enough to be entrusted enough to handle the spiritual and emotional well-being of others? The momentary highs of arm-wavey goodness in front of a small captive audience is an enticing draw of being some sort of spiritual rock star for some. These folks are mainly attracted to the idea of being such a center of attention or the ego stroking buzz and everyone else around them are merely bit players while they star in their play. These folks don’t realize that the ritual or an organization’s very existence is not even about them at all. It’s about service to one’s community and to the gods above all else.

I have often railed about the sloppy scholarship among Pagans and Heathens that passes for being adequate enough to suit the masses. It seems anyone with an internet connection on their computer or phone can read a Wiki article and become and instant expert. Too few among us have time time, the money, or the tenacity to want to seek out rare and hard to find texts in order to find out as much as possible about their gods. We have precious few scholars and degreed professionals within Kemeticism who actually do practice the faith and who have not either been intimidated into denying that ‘they believe in any of this stuff’, or are patient enough or well suited to the task of helping laypersons sort through the vast amounts of extant texts, books and other materials in order to get to the real spiritual foundations that make up our practices.

The unfortunate thing that sometimes arises is that too many of us have witnessed those who take on a veneer of haughtiness and arrogance that only seems to come with advanced degrees. Looking down your nose at those who are truly interested in doing whatever it takes is not something that good teachers do. Good teachers don’t need to, and usually do not badmouth other teachers that a student may have had previously, even if the previous teacher held views that were contrary to their own. A good teacher does not attempt to be all things to all people. If the area of expertise is something outside the scope of their own, a good teacher will send a student to another teacher who is better suited for the task. A recent kerfuffle over on the blog of a very visible Canaanite polytheist is a clear example of this.

This particular blogger, because historically, the people of ancient Canaan and the people of ancient Kemet were in the same region and had interactions, they have a nasty habit of including Kemetics in their posts as to how Kemetic practioners – priests in particular – should be doing their practices. According to the Canaanite polytheist blogger, to consume offerings after they are offered is essentially stealing from God’s table. Completely ignored is practice of the Revision of Offerings that was standard practice in Kemetic Temples; a custom that is continued to this day in most African Traditional Religions (ATR’s). Other countries throughout Africa were influenced by Ancient Kemet over the course of history.

We know for a fact that Kemetic priests absolutely did consume the offerings. The offerings were made three times a day and as such they were considered to be one of those perks of the job. The priests or Hm(t) Netjer fed themselves and their families and households from these offerings. Sharing the bounty of the gods throughout the community was and still is considered an acceptable practice for Kemetics. Absolutely in no way is it considered “stealing” – especially with the Revision of the Offerings that were pronounced over the offerings so that the gods “may be satisfied with the repast on the right and on the left”. It isn’t stealing. Letting food to rot on the altar or in the shrine of the God was considered a far worse sin than to share them with the community. The idea of uncleanliness, dirt, rot and the pests that these things inevitably bring were considered far worse and an anathema to the ancient Kemetic people.

To be fair, however, that I will admit that offerings which are given to the dead or the akhu are things that the living do not consume. These are often left at gravesites or on outdoor altars for the spirits of the deceased to partake of. Typically, because these were left in the desert on the opposite bank and away from the part of the communities where the living would mostly dwell, they tended to be consumed by the animals that congregated around burial areas. If the offering was consumed in this way, then it was and is considered “accepted.”

Because Kemetics are many time polytheists or monolatrists just as Canaanites are sometimes polytheists or monolatrists, there is a huge temptation to assume that we are of the same opinion based on some of those similarities. Any scholar with even the smallest amount of credibility or integrity realizes that similarity and proximity do not connote sameness necessarily.

For those of us who have been Initiated into formal priesthood, and those individuals that practice privately and to the best of their ability have the very texts on the walls and many aspects of ritual and practice are quite literally written in stone. Because of this profusely available extant evidence, for Kemetics, these things are not really up for debate. Those who erroneously insist that placing Kemetics under the Neo-Pagan Big Top and painting us with such a broad (and dare I say it?) a ridiculously inaccurate brush do nothing to support the arguments and assertions of those espousing them. If anything, it should underscore the fact that such individuals are doing little more than possibly making it up as they go via UPG, if not simply just expressing their own opinions.

While elements such as UPG etc. may seem to be quite a legitimate means to some within Heathenry or Neo-Pagansism as far as religious practices are concerned; such practices are not adequately vetted to be satisfactory. UPG experiences really do not equal scholarship as far as Kemetic priests and laypersons are concerned and a balance of Verified Personal Gnosis (VPG) is equally if not more important than the UPG. It’s how we get discernment. It’s how cults of personality and wrong-headed practices are avoided.

If someone is truly interested or ever in want of real information about actual Kemetic practices have been and are etc. then going to the source(s) might be the wisest course of action. There are lots of good books and growning numbers of Kemetic practitioners. We tend to not be the least bit shy in saying who is a good teacher and why and who is not a good teacher and why.

A good teacher will gently correct you without making you feel stupid.
A good teacher will not mollycoddle you.
A good teacher will point you toward good resources so you can look up the answer yourself.
A good teacher has the expectation that you will make the effort to find out on your own and would prefer to do this rather than to be led by the hand or by the nose.
A good teacher may let you fall flat on your ass without feeling the need to gloat or mock you for your mistakes.
A good teacher knows their self worth and yet are quite able to acknowledge that they also learn from their students is not beneath them to say so.
A good teacher has every right to expect excellence from their students and won’t compromise their integrity in order for students to “pass”.
A good teacher can say, “I don’t know the answer,” and has no problem in giving a referral to someone who very well might know.

It might be a community-wide project for folks to think very seriously about what makes a good teacher and what makes one not-so-good. It could be helpful to consider what makes someone a viable asset to the community, and what types of behaviours tend to paint one as pompous and opinionated and without spiritual authority to dictate to others. Certainly everyone has had both good and bad teachers in both our academic and spiritual lives. Maybe it’s time to ask ourselves what those characteristics are and what we will settle for and what we won’t.

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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.

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Of Sidelocks and Donkey Tales

The following is a story I wrote some time ago with a friend over at PanHistoria and before that at Ancient Sites. It is a reworking of the Aesop’s Tale, “The Man, The Boy and the Donkey.” I have long since lost track of my friend. I hope he does not mind my posting our collaboration on my blog here.

This is from another story of Sekhmet Meritamen and her adopted son, Meni. In this scene she is telling Meni about being different and the parable of trying to please everyone.
~*~*~*~

BoatIt was past dusk on board the Heart of Ra and Sekhmet Meritamen padded nimbly down the wooden deck steps to her cabin. As Royal Physician to a pregnant Per’aa, Sekhmet’s routine was unpredictable; she hurried from her work and was thinking of what to make herself and young Menenhetet for dinner when a sound reached her. It was the sound of a child’s crying and it drew the Lady Sekhmet with a tug on her heart. The sound came from her own cabin.

Inside, in the middle of the floor, a blanket clutched to his breast, lay Meni. Sekhmet’s heart ached at the sound of his sadness. She rushed to the curled up ball that was Meni. His face was a blustery thundercloud, bursting with tears. His sobs were a tiny thunder in his wan chest and lightning shone in the glisten of his tears. Drooping like a hippo’s tail, his new sidelock trembled from the weeping.

“Are you hurt?” Sekhmet asked, kneeling near him and looking over his tanned limbs with a professional calm that surprised even her. She saw no cuts or bruises, but her hands examined the frail boy out of habit.

Meni simply wept, blubbering and oblivious to the tender ministrations. Yet nothing seemed amiss.

“Please tell me what’s wrong?” Sekhmet almost felt as though she herself might cry as well, for the boy’s sobs were like pluckings on the strings of her heart.

“The .. boys .. and .. girls .. laughed .. at .. my .. hair!” he finally managed, hiccuping between each syllable and blinking a stream of tears out of each brown eye. Many of Per’aa’s entourage had children onboard the Coronation Barge. Apparently Meni had been teased by some of them.

Sekhmet relaxed inwardly, vastly relieved. She pursed her lips sympathetically and thumbed away the spill of tears on the boy’s wet cheeks. She held the boy’s head and tried to still his crying with a kiss upon his troubled brow. He huddled to her bosom and cried all the more. Rocking his sobs away, Sekhmet sighed.

“Meni, you like your new hairstyle, don’t you? Nebet Nefeti worked very hard to make you a handsome little man. She shaved your head, just like you wanted and even managed to salvage this sidelock for you to braid,” Sekhmet stroked the dark tail of hair on the side of Meni’s head.

“Yes nebet,” Meni sobbed. “But the … other kids … laughed at … me!”

“You mustn’t let them get to you like that” Sekhmet soothed,. ” They’ll get used to it and things will be better. I promise.”

Meni’s frown was unrelenting and his eyes were still freshets of tears. As fast as Sekhmet brushed them away, more scooted out to replenish the rivulets of on his cheeks.

“Meni,” Sekhmet said, lifting his chin up to her gaze. “It wouldn’t matter what you did with your hair. Any change would have gained the attention of the other children. If you had kept your ragged locks, or shaved your head as bald as an egg, or put it in braids just like mine, the children would have teased you all the same.”

“But I want … to play with … them!” Meni protested, calming a little but still afflicted with his hiccups.

“I know you do,” Sekhmet soothed. “And tomorrow you will try again. You will be strong for me, won’t you?”

Meni blinked doubtfully.

“Let me tell you a story that might help. It’s one my mother used to tell me when I was a girl. When I was your age I was not very graceful, and very much a tomboy, and the kids at school would tease me too. And no matter what I did it didn’t make them stop. But one day my mother found me like I found you, weeping. She told me this story…

“There once was a man, who lived in the far off reaches of the land. He was a craftsman and widower living with his son and a donkey. One day the man, knowing he would have to go to the great city to trade, carefully prepared his wares, and loaded them on the donkey and set off for town. When the animal was loaded he set his son upon the top of the load on the donkey and started toward the great city.”

“The man and his son and the loaded donkey walked and walked and at last they met upon the road two men coming from the great city. They nodded and smiled and exchanged greetings as they passed and the man with the donkey and son overheard the two other men they had passed whispering between themselves, ‘Did you see that selfish child riding on top of the donkey while his father walked!? That is terrible! What a selfish child!'”

Meni’s face grew fierce and he said, “But nebet! That boy might be lame! Those men aren’t nice!”

“Yes Meni,” Sekhmet nodded, finally seeing the flow of sadness drying in the boy’s eyes.

“The man…not wanting to appear to be a fool, stopped and thought about this and decided that it might be best if he rode and his son led the donkey. The boy agreed.

“‘Oh certainly, father,’ The boy replied. ‘I can lead the donkey and you can ride, I am young and my legs will not grow weary.’ And so they traded places.

“A few leagues down the road, the man and boy and donkey met a man and his wife going the other direction. The two parties nodded and smiled and exchanged greetings as they passed each other on the road, but the man overheard the woman whispering to her husband as they passed, ‘Did you see that*selfish* man riding the donkey while the poor child walked?! I’ve never seen anything so pathetic!'”

“That’s silly!” Meni pointed out. “Those people don’t know the man is nice!”

Sekhmet nodded and continued:

“This troubled the man; and not wanting to appear to be a fool–for fools are often taken advantage of in the marketplace of the great city–pondered the predicament. He came upon the idea that he and his son could both ride the donkey and it would satisfy all of the objections of everyone on the road thus far.

“A few more leagues and the man and his son and the donkey met a nobleman and his fanbearer on the road. They smiled and exchanged greetings and the man heard the fanbearer comment to the nobleman, ‘Master! What a terrible waste of a good animal to make him bear the weight of two people plus his load!'”

Meni just shook his head, tears forgotten, eyes wide, and in deep consternation at such things.

“The man, not wanting to appear to be a fool–for fools are sometimes regarded with suspicion and riducule and taken advantange of in the marketplace of the great city–pondered a moment and decided that neither he nor his son would ride the donkey but would walk alongside. There were a few more miles to go, but this was fine.

“The man and his son and the donkey then met a woman and her son on the road and they exchanged pleasantries with the man and his son and when they had passed the man overheard the woman say to her son, ‘Those fools! Neither rides when they have a fine donkey. Surely he can handle more than that simple load!'”

Exasperated at these silly people, Meni snorted.

“The man could take it no longer! He was tired of being everyone’s fool! He found a thicket of saplings and cut a strong sturdy one and then reached into the sacks for extra rope and lashed the legs of the donkey to the sapling and, struggling, he and his son carried the animal into the gates of the city. With astonishment the man wondered at why everyone was laughing at him for he had done everything that anyone had asked of him and in exasperation had done what he knew to be the last choice that was left.”

Sekhmet saw the glimmer of understanding in Meni’s eyes.

“The moral of the story is: If you try to please everyone, dear Meni, you in the end will end up looking like the fool, for there is no possible way to please everyone at all times.”

Meni looked up into the wise dark eyes of Lady Sekhmet and wondered if there were anything she couldn’t fix. Which led him inevitably to his next words.

“I’m hungry!”

Sekhmet laughed and held out a hand to Meni, “Let’s find something to eat then.”

Meni skipped beside Sekhmet, his sidelock twitching from side to side, looking very much like a switching tail.

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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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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

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