This post is part of the Kemetic Round Table, which aims to answer some of the most common questions and provide a wealth of diverse options for the Kemetic novice to explore.
Does the concept of kingship impact your practice, and if so, how?
Being Kemetic Orthodox, the topic of kingship is a particularly relevant one to me, in a few different ways.
For one, kingship is one of the five pillars of Kemetic Orthodoxy (the others are community, ancestors, the gods, and Ma’at). For two, I have met Egyptologist Tamara Siuda, who is the leader of Kemetic Orthodoxy; she is considered our Nisut, our king, though the ways in which members of Kemetic Orthodox interpret that varies. For myself, I see her as our spiritual leader, well-qualified for the job both academically and personally. (As I have no way of personally verifying or disproving any divine right to be king, it ceases to matter in practical ways to me; I am solely concerned with an individual’s actions and attitude when in a position of authority.)
While the concept of kingship impacts my practice only slightly, the existence of the flesh-and-bones leader of Kemetic Orthodox impacts my practice quite a lot. She is a fount of information, support, and guidance, and she is as present as possible to lead or participate in online gatherings (some ritual, some guided discussions, some fellowship). Because my practice is tied to my community, and because she is the leader of that community, I can say with confidence that my experience and practice of Kemeticism would not be the same without her as our king.
However, a lesser-discussed but equally-prominent way in which kingship impacts my practice is its importance amongst the Netjeru. Some gods are kings and others are not; some serve the king, some protect the king, and others act autonomously. Regardless of value judgments (I don’t consider the god-king to be any “better” than another deity), it still provides something of a map, helping me to understand and interrelate various Names. The procession of kingship and heritage is also a major plot point in many myths, most obviously those around Wesir (Osiris), Heru-sa-Aset (Horus the Younger), and Set. The role of kingship in various gods’ identities can greatly impact the whole nature of the god in question: imagine Ra not being a king! It’d give His entire character a spin in a different direction.
In essence, it would be a challenge for me to completely extricate the concept of kingship from its manifestations among the ancient Egyptian gods and within my chosen community. While I don’t consider myself to be terribly amenable to monarchies, when taken in mythological contexts it can be informative and instructive to the nature and roles of the Netjeru, and when taken in a community context it can be very useful to have a strong, respectful leader. I wouldn’t put up with anyone, god or mortal, who sought to abuse that power or that title—but thankfully, I don’t have to.
Note: I do not speak for all of my community nor for Tamara Siuda herself; this blog is solely discussing my personal interpretations and opinions. As always, your mileage will vary. :)
If you enjoyed this post, please check out other takes on kingship by my fellow Round Table bloggers!