So, to some/most people, my sudden obsessive interest in Kemeticism is probably a surprise. And since the whole package deal fills me with happy wriggles and excitement and connection, I might as well ramble and explain some of it! At least the basics, right?
First, some pertinent links:
– About Kemetic Orthodoxy
– About the creator and leader of Kemetic Orthodoxy
– Kemetic Orthodoxy forums aka the House of Netjer (I’m Emky on all forums)
– Kemetic Interfaith Network forums (a place for all Kemetics, not just Kemetic Orthodoxy, to come together and talk and socialize and share and learn)
And pertinent terms (put into my own words):
– Netjer = the Universal Soul, the divinity and life-force within all things (also: godhead, the Source, etc)
– Netjeru / Names = Netjer pluralized, the forms that Netjer takes, gods
Years ago, I came up with a diamond metaphor to explain how I view the Universal Soul and gods/archetypes. To my shock, I found the exact same metaphor used, entirely independently of me, in the teaching materials of the beginner course. Basically, if one considers Netjer/the Universal Soul/the Great Spirit/God/etc as an infinitely faceted diamond, so huge and shining as to be incomprehensible by the human mind in Its whole, then each facet – distinct, individual-yet-connected – is a Netjeru/god/archetype/etc. And each facet can be further faceted down (for example, Sekhmet-as-destroyer and Sekhmet-as-healer), even going so far as to get completely subjective views (Sekhmet-as-She-appears-to-me). That’s what monolatry is, somewhere along the spectrum of hard and soft polytheism, and that’s the Kemetic Orthodoxy view. Which, apparently, I adopted before I even knew about the religion. :D
– ma’at = the concept of rightness, justice, truth, and order; not exactly “good” (similar to Tao but not the same)
– isfet = bad shit, anti-ma’at; the concept of wrongness, chaos; not exactly “evil” (similar to sin but not the same)
– heka = authoritative utterance; spoken or written magic
– henu = a physical gesture of deep respect and praise, often phrased as “offers henu”; see illustration, can also be done with forearms/hands/forehead pressed to floor in a kneeling position
– nekhtet! = “victory”, used when one might say “huzzah!” or “booyah!”
– dua = praise/hail, phrased as “Dua [deity]!”
– the Duat = the Unseen world; the horizon
– Hemet / the Nisut = the leader of Kemetic Orthodoxy
– Wep Ronpet = Kemetic new year, based on the rising of Sirius over the horizon (and thus close to the inundation)
– em hotep = “in peace”, a Kemetic greeting
– ka = part of the human soul that is the psyche/personality of the current incarnation; one’s essence, which one can feed/nourish by doing awesome things for oneself; this is the bit that gets venerated as an ancestor after death
– ba = the eternal part of the human soul, that which outlasts the body’s death; this is the bit that reincarnates or resides forever after with Netjer
– Remetj = “the people”, friends of the faith, folks who participate in and follow the tenets of Kemetic Orthodoxy but have not committed to it as their foremost path
– Shemsu = devotees, those who have sworn to uphold Kemetic tenets and honor Kemetic deities before all others (but are still totally allowed to have other practices/worship non-Kemetic gods, which is awesome)
I don’t expect anyone to remember all of this, of course, but I figured an entry to reference might help the unfamiliar when I drop a term and forget to define it afterwards. ^^;
To sum up the path that led me to Kemetic Orthodoxy… In 2005, I initiated a relationship with Sekhmet; for a lot of reasons at the time, I needed Her. For the first couple years, it was a request-based relationship, but we got much tighter when She requested that I study Egyptian religion and mythology. (I had protested that I was no good with ceremonialism, but She wanted me to know as much as I could so that I could blend Her culture with my own organic spirituality as well as possible. I figured it was a fair compromise. Knowledge can’t hurt, right?) I did an initial round of study, deepened my devotion to Her, and this year, came into the urge/calling for another round of more in-depth study.
As a part of that study, I took the beginner course offered by Kemetic Orthodoxy, acquired like ten new books (with so many more on the wishlist…), and found people I respect and adore in the community. Turns out that (this brand of) Kemeticism is not nearly so ceremonial-magicky as I thought; some state practices are formal, but most personal practice is spontaneous and/or flexible. I never really thought I’d find a spiritual community that resonated well with me, that so supported individual experiences and subjective differences and tolerance, but I have, and I love it dearly. Also, for the first time in many a year, I feel drawn towards deities other than Sekhmet, which is amazing and a little nervous-making, but I’m eager to explore. Hell, I’m even wanting to turn this ravenous appetite for knowledge-experience back on Celtic mythology, which I never realized felt like home turf until I ventured back into the green.
I am just… utterly amazed by the vibe the Kemetic Orthodoxy community gives off. It’s like basking in sunlight, wanting to roll around to absorb every last bit of warmth and brilliance. These people aren’t just devoted to what they believe, they aren’t just worshipping and taking joy in their gods, they’re learning and studying and debating and doing. They fuse mind and spirit, body and word. The primary personal rite, Senut, even has suggested maximums of typical time spent in it because one should be out living this life they’re celebrating, not staying in shrine dawn to dusk. (Uh, priests have slightly different expectations, of course, but the emphasis on Living Life remains.) That’s so cool to me. And, while Kemetic Orthodoxy does have certain tenets central to the faith, they aren’t The Only Way. It may be the Kemetic Orthodoxy way, but if you don’t jive with that, if you don’t believe it or practice it, no problem – it doesn’t make you wrong, even though it may make you not-Kemetic-Orthodox. Tolerance for the win!
And yes, everything about Kemetic Orthodoxy and the friends I have made within it is infused with NRE (new relationship energy; the buzz, the dazzle, the endorphin glow). I am excited and giddy about my fellow beginners, about the upcoming graduation process that will see us offered a place within the religion as either Remetj (see aforementioned terminology list) or Shemsu, depending on where we want to be and the level of commitment we wish. I want to keep challenging myself to learn more, experience more, and do more. It’s an amazing, eye-opening thing, and since my core beliefs and worldview parallel or overlap the Kemetic Orthodoxy tenets, I can stay true to myself while engaging fully.
tl;dr version: Kemetic Orthodoxy is crazy-awesome and jives with me really well and I’m super-happy with it. :D