I do not like the idea that another person is my sole connection on a physical plane (the kingly ka, the special heka, the Oracle) to Netjer, to my Parents and my Beloved. I know that personal piety existed in Ancient Egypt, and that the state religion as practiced by the pharaoh and his lay priests was not the only way to connect with the gods. But I do not want someone else being the necessary link between my gods and myself. I basically do not agree with the idea that there needs to be a king before there can be any sort of love/communication between Netjer and the average Joe Hotep. I will think on this, meditate on this, and hopefully come up with some answers for myself. This does NOT mean that I am considering leaving the faith, just that in order to stay true to myself, I will not be taking any more vows within Kemetic Orthodoxy -- service to my gods and ma'at is enough.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
This will be a very short post. I am a Shemsu, I have taken Shemsu vows. But in Kemetic Orthodoxy, for now, that is as far as I am going to go. I love my Kemetic family, but I can choose not to undergo weshem-ib and still love them the same. There is a desire in my heart to serve my gods in any way that I can, which logically means to become a Shemsu-Ankh, then a wa'ab. I do not know if becoming a wa'ab is the right way for me to serve my gods. Being a lay priest doesn't feel exactly right on account of one thing: In a recent post, Hemet(AUS) has said that Kemetic Orthodoxy is her faith, and that she is the sole priest. In other words, the official connection between the people (Remetj and Shemsu) and Netjer through the kingly ka. I have no problem with Hemet(AUS) as my spiritual leader, as she is highly educated and well informed about Ancient Egypt as a whole, it's history, culture, geography, religion, daily lives etc. But I do have a tiny issue with her being the "king", the center of the Kemetic Orthodox universe. Maybe it's because I live in America, where freedom from monarchy is taken for granted, and democracy is seen as the only form of acceptable, humane government.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I admit it. I stole the title of this post from my favorite Bob Marley song. The song describes the blossoming relationship (or continued) between Marley and his girl. It's so sweet and sentimental, and makes me feel all fuzzy inside. Which is how my Kemetic family makes me feel. This post is really about family. MY family, the family I have found in Kemetic Orthodoxy. Despite having only met one KO person in "real" life (as opposed to "just over the Internet life")-Pekhty, my sister, I still feel like every time I log in to the KO forums, I am somehow visiting a temple dedicated to the Egyptian gods, a sacred place where I can discuss my gods, my role as Shemsu, anything, with fellow followers of KO. Even though there have been some nasty debates, even flat out arguments on the boards, they are mostly buried deep within the dusty realms of the AtN archives. I am close with at least four people, and they make me feel more connected to Tawy and to my religion as a whole. I could practice Kemetic Orthodox without having any contact with anybody besides myself, and I would be fine. I don't necessarily NEED them--I can breathe, eat and perform Senut without them. But I pretty much LOVE them. I understand why Jerusalem was created, why people exist in relative harmony there. It is a beautiful thing, to be around others who feel the same way you do about your basic belief system about the foundations of life. Even though I have never attended a Wep Ronpet celebration, I can celebrate at home with my gods, in my shrine. And I know that multitudes of followers around the world will be celebrating Wep Ronpet when I do. This is part of my family--we all are different in terms of age (I'm the youngest divined House member), financial situation, ethnicity, background, tastes, appearance, and opinions. Yet we all share the same fundamental truths about Netjer. This is what makes my heart sing whenever I talk to one of my brothers or sisters in the faith--they believe in the same gods and goddesses that I do, they celebrate the same festivals, they love Egypt in all of its beauty as I do.
In other news, the first statue of my Father Djehuty that I ever got (well, I only have one other one but still) broke today. It was on the floor because I was/am redoing my shrine, and I was dancing around and knocked him over. I think it hit a bowl or my stone hippo figurine or something because his writing arm broke off. :(
It's slightly ironic because I had ordered a different Djehuty statue, but when it came it was the wrong one, so I'm giving that one to my sister Tekeni. I am totally happy with that decision still, but Maret offered to trade my incorrect statue for the one that I had originally ordered. I turned her offer down because I had already said that Tekeni could have it. So I ordered another Djehuty statue, 11'' black and gold, with a white sash and a writing tablet. He is right handed, apparently. Now I'm just wondering what to do with the broken statue. Maybe glue his arm back on and put it on my mom's bookshelf next to her Hethert one. (I gave it to her so she wouldn't feel bad about my dad leaving her).
It's two in the morning. Wow. Life only gets weirder as night turns to day, and Wesir transforms into Ra. Hmmm......
Monday, December 7, 2009
For a while I followed the teachings of Buddha, and practiced the way of life as taught by him. I meditated every day, and didn't think about reading any of the wisdom texts available. I just was. Which was fine, until Egypt stepped in and replanted my roots elsewhere. Even now however, Buddha is one of my greatest teachers. Here's one quote that I particularly love:
"The mind is everything. When we think, we become." -Buddha
It reminds me that I have the power to change what I do not like, and I have the will to make it happen. Following my heart will only bring me happiness (not just happiness, but it will be the right course of action to take) and by doing that, I am creating what I want, not just sitting around thinking and wishing. Whenever I read this quote, which is often (I have it on a stickie note on my laptop) I know that now is the time for me to change, to be what I want in the world. It dovetails with Zep Tepi, and the Zen idealism that is still with me.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Sometimes, when I'm in a particular mood, I will remember a quote from a close friend of mine. It is accompanied by the gesture of throwing one's arms up to the sky, spaced slightly wider than one's shoulders.
"My life is a black hole!"
I say this when things seem to be especially bad or terrible, or when two or more things on my Checklist of Life are going badly for some reason:
Checklist of Life
[ ] school
[ ] social life
[ ] horse (he deserves his own category)
[ ] religion/spirituality
Normally I would make another category and title that one "writing" but that is an ongoing process, and even if I am stuck with writer's block, I don't view that as bad. More like an obstacle in the road that I have to remove in order to live. How does this relate to Kemetic Orthodoxy? Whenever I feel like quoting my best friend, I remember my name, and that my Parents love me no matter what. When everything is being sucked into the vortex, and nothing is visible, there is no light, and even space-time is warped and dying--I remember to smile, and pray.
Ritual to me means Senut. Sometimes I am afraid of getting to attached to Senut, to the daily structure and deep feelings it inspires in me, because Senut does require tools. Some of these tools are not mandatory, but preferred in my case, such as statues of my Mother and Father. Others are required; incense, natron, candle flame, water. There are ways to get around this if these things are unavailable--natron can be replaced with kosher salt, incense with perfume, candle flame with those little electric candles. Pictures of the Names can be printed out and taped to the inside of an Altoid tin, along with a small vial of perfume, a couple of grains of salt. Water and bowls can be found anywhere. I am worried that I will come to rely too much on the shrine, the material objects of my faith. I will meditate on this, but it is something that I have been thinking about for at least a week now.
Space-time can be applied to Kemetic Orthodoxy*. The "space" of a shrine, of a seat of divinity, is sacred and the more time spent revering Netjer in one space, the more one can feel the sense of holiness and divine love in that space. (Partly I believe this is because humans are creatures of habit, and if you feel Netjer in one space, soon you will begin to associate that space with Netjer). The "time" is the time spent praying and listening to Netjer, whether or not you are in shrine, sick, bleeding, or traveling (all issues to consider). I have also noticed that the more I pray, the more I remember to pray. Before, when I would half-heartedly sit in front of my shrine and talk at Netjer, I wouldn't feel Netjer's presence, or remember to pray throughout the day. Now that I am developing a daily practice, learning how to infuse my day with moments and glimpses of Netjer, of the divine in everyday life, I pray all the time. I pray before I drive anywhere (to Wepwawet, Opener of the Ways), in the shower, at school, during lunch break, in class before a test, and random moments in the day. I barely have any hymns memorized, so usually I will just whisper things to Netjer, little things about my day, or what I'm feeling. And I feel Them more now.
Another favorite quote of mine was dictated by KI Sesha from the goddess Seshat:
"Time is a reversion offering."
The definition of a reversion offering is an offering that is given, then taken back as a form of offering from the one offered to. Say your friend gives you a piece of cake. After eating the cake, you give her a piece of cake. This embodies the concept of a reversion offering, except in Kemetic Orthodoxy, when food and drink are given as offerings, the Netjeru don't physically consume the offerings--They consume the spiritual essence of the food and drink, which is then turned into a reversion offering once we consume the physical part of the offering. In terms of time, however, it is more simple. Seshat meant that the amount of time you spend with Netjer, the more time Netjer will spend with you.
Stephen Hawking might strangle me.