Kemetism

Floating Through Deep Waters

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“I’ll update my blog tomorrow”

I lied. I’m sorry about that. It’s been a really long time since I updated this thing, and- I’m not gonna lie- I really considered deleting it. I’m going through a transition in my life- yet again- and there’s been a lot of pressure on me, from myself and from others, to Know What I am Doing.

I don’t know what I’m doing, guys. All I know is where I want to be headed.

I’ve been working with my deities on and off, but right now, most of them seem to have stepped away from my life. I didn’t even celebrate the Autumn Equinox this year. Normally I’d be appalled, but right now, I just need time with myself.

I feel very alone right now. It’s a good feeling, to be honest. I enjoy being alone; it’s the only way that I can feel my thoughts taking shape. I feel as if I know myself better when I’m alone, because when I’m with others, I can feel myself bending to be the shape they want to see.

I’m a liquid, ya’ll.

I know that many people would see that as a strength, and I think that it is, in many ways, but I also think that I need time to… well… freeze. I feel like a hypocrite most of the time; I tell people the things that they want to hear, tell them that I’m doing the things I’m supposed to be doing, that I’m being the person that they want me to be.

But that’s not what I want. I want to be who I am, and that means that I’m going to do things that other people think are “wrong”, but that I think are right.

Nothing morally wrong, of course. At least, nothing morally wrong from my perspective.

It’s hard, see, because there’s so much that I do in my life that others would instantly consider to be immoral. I’m queer; so queer that I’ve had to come out three times to my parents. Our culture still sees that as deviancy (though it’s changing, thank god), and that makes me a deviant irregardless of how I live the rest of my life. I live in the knowledge that, no matter how good of a person I am, I’m still going to be Other than the rest; to many (perhaps most), I will always be regarded as second class- the exception to the norm, something that Should Not Be.

But I AM. I AM and I SHOULD BE and the Gods and Netjer MADE ME AS I AM. That’s my Heka; the words that I use to remind myself that, no matter how others see me, no matter how much they wish I was Not, I Am. And I’m trying so hard to find my Ma’at; that balance between accepting how others see me, and accepting how I am, and living in the discrepancy therein.

And that’s hard. That’s really, really hard. I can feel the weight of culture pressing against me; the knowledge that there will always be that sadness on the part of so many of those close to me, the wish that I could be someone different, that I could be just like everyone else.

And that’s also the reason that I need the time alone. I need to harden, a little bit. I don’t need to be ice; I have no desire to freeze myself completely; but I need walls, and barriers, and protection for my heavy heart. Without it, I’m afraid of being swallowed up by the Nothingness inside me.

*

…I read, once, that humans are the universe made miniature; that we contain all the elements of the world inside ourselves. It’s compelling. I can see my sun goddess- an aspect of myself-, giving life and heat and warmth to the life that is me; I can see Sobek encouraging the strength of my heart and mind; my resilience is Menuo made manifest; and my health and sickness are regulated by Apollo. I am at their mercy.

And then there is the nothing in my soul, just as there is nothing in every person’s soul. It creeps up to swallow me; it makes me afraid of the people I love, and threatens me with turbulence; it knows what will make me weak, and it seeks to break me.

And in between the nothing and myself, there is Sutekh.

Sutekh, the red god, the one that I should fear, but don’t. For someone so afraid of the world, I’m deeply attracted to the fearsome deities; the wild ones, the ones that threaten the order of the universe simply by existing. Sutekh is made present through my turbulence; my lack of stability is part and parcel with my drive to continue existing, to continue being. He is my panic; my attempts to continue being despite everything, to be involved with everything, to work myself until my body and my soul both hurt, my drive to exist, exist, exist, even though no one thinks that I should.

And then there’s Heru. And Heru stabilizes Sutekh. He is made manifest when I put down my spear, when I’m done working, when the nothingness is vanquished for one more day. He is the rising sun of my hope; he is the calm of my sleep, the bond between me and my friends, and the reminder that yes, I do exist, and no, I don’t always have to fight just to Be.

I’m going through a transition right now, and it is both more lovely and more frightening than anything that I’ve ever known. I have support; I have my friends, and I have my gods, and I have Myself, most importantly. And I know that, because of my efforts, and despite everything that’s being thrown my way, I am going to be okay.

I’m going to be okay.

Wep Ronpet (Part One)

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So tonight, I’m celebrating Nebt-het’s birthday; the very last of the birthdays before I jump into Wep Ronpet itself tomorrow night. This is my second annual celebration of Wep Ronpet, and like last years, it’s been very lovely; a good time to think about what I’ve achieved and what I’m striving for in the future.

So, to start. The first birthday I celebrated was Ausir’s. He, like last year, struck me as deeply peaceful. It’s not something that I can completely explain; he’s a sort of calm that settles into your bones. I sat with him for a while after, before heading to bed. (I do all my rituals just before I sleep- it’s just the best time of the day for me to do them.)

The second birthday was Sutekh’s. Now, Sutekh’s was intense. He wanted all of the other deities off the altar, and he wanted a lot of red candles, and he wanted specific decorations. And then, working with him… well, he wanted to walk through the shadowed parts of my soul, and did a lot of unearthing. He was honestly terrifying when I started the ritual- working with him is like dancing on hot coals; you never know when you’re going to be burned.

The third birthday was Heru the Elder’s. (And I’m given to realize that I celebrated His and Sutekh’s birthday out of order, but… well, what happened happened. They didn’t seem to mind.) He was very different from Sutekh; far less intimidating, and a little bit minimalistic. I suspect that I’m going to end up working with both him and Sutekh; we’ll see how it goes down, though.

The fourth birthday’s was Aset’s. And I don’t have a lot to say about working with her. It was very business-like; I recited a prayer honoring her and her many titles, she gave the deity equivalent of a “thank you”, and I called it good after that.

And tonight I’m going to be working with Nebt-het. I’ll let you know how things go down; I’ve only worked with her once (last year’s Wep Ronpet, actually), but things went well then, and I have no reason to believe they won’t go well now.

Happy Wep Ronpet, guys! 🙂

On Nut and Geb’s Pain

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In order for there to be life, in order for there to be space on Earth for life to be, Nut, the sky, was ripped away from her husband Geb, the earth. She is held in place above us by her father and mother, Shu and Tefnut. But despite this, Nut struggles to get back to her husband; she struggles so hard that her mother is sometimes brought to tears.

Nut is the mother of the netjeru; of Ausir, Sutekh, Heru, Aset, and Nebhet. Because she was cursed by Re, she carried them long past her due date, suffering until Djehuty finally found a way to relieve her pain. Even then, her pain still wasn’t over; Sutekh himself was said to claw his way out of her.

Nut’s separation from Geb, and the pain that she subsequently felt due to it, is something that I think about every time I see the night sky.

And it sometimes strikes me that she must be very selfish; she needs Geb so badly that she tries to reach him, ignoring the potential consequences to life on earth.

But most of the time, I think of her being in a lot of pain; so much pain that she can’t think beyond herself. And if that’s the case, think of how cruel Re is towards her; forcing Shu and Tefnut to hold Nut away from Geb for eons, regardless of what that means she goes through.

Or, maybe it’s all of it at once. Nut is being selfish, Nut is in pain, Re is being cruel, and everyone is suffering, but at the same time life on Geb’s body must be allowed to continue living.

Perhaps I’m overthinking the myth. But it really strikes me what an ugly system that is; that, mythologically speaking, the world only exists because of Nut and Geb’s pain. I mean, taken metaphorically, what does that say about the nature of our world? Of the worlds that we build around us?

Maybe that “The nature of the world is pain”. I think that’d be a fair assessment, honestly. But I think a better assessment would be that “creation is the result of pain*”. Nut and Geb’s separation had a point; it wasn’t done senselessly, it was done in order to make the world habitable.

And this is something that I can see applied to our lives. For example, if you’re with a partner, and ultimately, that  person is more harmful to you than beneficial (whether they mean to be or not), you have to pull yourself away from them, no matter how much that hurts. Or if you’re in a job that’s going to prevent you from doing what you want to do, so you have to quit.

OR it could be just another expression of how much the world sucks sometimes. I’m down with that too.

Anyway. That’s all I’ve got on that right now. I know this is pretty short, but thanks for reading. I appreciate your time. 🙂

*I mean, unless you’re Atum masturbating the world into existence, in which case, whatever; you do you. (haha, do you see what I did there?)

Reaching Down to the Core

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What’s at the core of your religion? What is the foundation of your practice? Why is it so important to you?

I’ve been thinking about these questions a lot. And these last few months, my focus has been on stripping back my practice; thinking about why I’m Kemetic, why I worship the deities I do, what it does for me, and how it effects my  daily life.

So, here’s what I’ve found.

The core of my religious practice revolves around two deities.

The first is Ma’at. For me, Ma’at is in the cycles of everyday life; it’s in the rising and setting of the sun, in relationships between people, in supporting one’s community and telling the truth. I try to structure my life around maintaining good Ma’at (which sometimes works out and sometimes does not).

The second is Saule. She’s my favorite deity, and she’s been around as long as I’ve been in paganism. I remember once that I tried to stop worshiping her for a period of six months, during a time period when I was trying to be purely Kemetic. Guess how that worked out?

It didn’t. I couldn’t stop seeing her in the sunlight, or in apple trees, or the sun. I missed her a lot. Which is silly to say about an invisible being, but, y’know, it is as it is.

I’m weak. I need my imaginary friend.

The only reason I don’t put Saule before Ma’at is because Ma’at forms the basis of my worldview. Everything lives on Ma’at; Ma’at is the only way that anything can function well and consistently. (And it’s ironic that I give Ma’at this position because I don’t think I’ve ever done any rituals to Ma’at, whereas I pray to Saule all the time).

Anyway. I’m beginning to see the two of them as working closely together, at least as it pertains to order, love, and functionality.

Now to preface this. I know that there’s a rule among pagans that if you worship two different pantheons, you should keep your worship of the pantheons separate. Because, you know, that happened all the time in antiquity, right? People kept their pantheons and beliefs separate from one another with absolutely no integration. At all. Ever.

I’m being a little sarcastic, but truthfully, there’s no historical basis for the melding of the Egyptian and Lithuanian gods. How could there be? The time periods, areas, and cultures are as separate as they come.

However, even keeping that in mind, I do see Saule and Ma’at as working together.

Saule cares for children and mothers. Saule’s mythos is very cyclical a revolves around birth, death, and formation. Saule brings the dead to the underworld, caring for people even after they’ve passed away. She is the ultimate expression of love. And in this way, I see Saule as maintaining Ma’at.

It’s… probably a little bit blasphemous. The Baltic tribes did not have any concept comparable to Ma’at. How could they? As I said, Egypt was very different from Lithuania.

But… you know… I am a Kemetic. I’m a Kemetic that worships foreign gods. And that means that ultimately I end up fitting everything in my life into a more Kemetic worldview; seeing things in terms of Ma’at and Isfet, maintenance and destruction.

I mean, it’s a little bit weird. But it fits and it works, and Saule’s happy and I’m happy and Ma’at- well, who knows what’s going on with Ma’at- but anyway, everything’s still running smoothly. And with that in mind, I’m going to continue this odd sort of integration that my practice seems to be doing.

To be honest, it pains me a little to talk about this. I know that many people think that part of being a Good Pagan means keeping the pantheons one worships separate. That each pantheon is its Own Thing and doesn’t overlap with any other at all.

But I disagree. Gods, religion, and spirituality are all growing things. And while it’s true that one goes about worshiping the Baltic and Kemetic gods somewhat differently, I don’t think that means that they don’t interact with each other. And I don’t think that means that you can’t worship them together, so long as one keeps an ear out to what they’re saying (and stops if they start complaining about what you’re doing).

Anyhow. That’s what’s at the core of my belief system. What’s at yours?  Whatever’s at your center, thank you so much for reading, and may the sun always be at your back.

Happy Earth Day!

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tumblr_o62fu80iBV1ukqkj6o3_540(Sorry about my crappy phone pictures.)

So originally, I was going to celebrate Earth day by doing something for Zemyna and Perkunas (the Baltic Earth Goddess and Thunder God, respectively). However, I decided to celebrate the Baltic pantheon during Easter instead, during which I did my whole Welcome Spring ritual (focused around Zemyna, Perkunas, and Patrimpas and during which I couldn’t stop thinking about Sobek which threw me off SO MUCH oh my god).

So getting that done, I decided that it made more sense to do something for Geb, because I really like the Earth god and I’ve wanted to do something for him for quite a while. Unfortunately, what I did was kind of thrown together, because I completely forgot about Earth day until the day before.

So. Earth day, I went to the lake and collected a bunch of rocks from the beach. They were all smelly and kind of gross, but they were super pretty, so I went ahead and soaked them in soap and water, washed them each individually, and then let them dry. Then I scattered them across my altar and used a tarot card (the hermit) to represent his Earthiness.

I was really happy with the results, honestly. It looked really pretty.
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My ritual to the Divine Goose (I’m so sorry, I love silly epitaphs) was really, really simple, because I was honestly super tired from school and did NOT have enough energy to make it anything huge. Which, honestly, made me kind of sad, because I love rituals where you shower beforehand, and wash your hands in homemade natron, and just go ALL OUT with everything.

However, what I did was super satisfying all the same. I wrote a prayer, lit a candle, and talked to him for a moment. Then I puttered around while his candle burned out.

I think  it’s really ironic that I’m celebrating Earth day when I do very little to actually help keep the earth clean.  I mean, I recycle, but beyond that, it’s very minimal. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot, because I really want to help keep the Earth clean, but I’m investing so much energy into school that I keep forgetting about literally everything else.

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So. You know what I think I’m going to do?

I’m going to work on using more reusable bags when I shop. And I’m going to work on eating less meat (because, you know, the meat industry uses a lot of resources, and while I love meat, I can’t condone the destruction of rain forests).

We’ll see how well I actually hold to that. I’m not going to promise anything right now, because sometimes I get so exhausted that I just stop caring about my impact (I’m a bad person). However, Geb is important, and we kind of need the  Earth to remain clean so that we can, you know, keep living on it.

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy (belated) Earth Day!

Scattered Stones

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I know I’ve already written a post about Sobek, but I think I’m going to have to write a second. See, Sobek has become a really active influence in my life recently. I’ve been working with him pretty intensely- almost as much as I do Saule. I’m really enjoying it; I love attention, especially when it’s from a deity, and I adore devotional work.

So today, I want to share some scattered thoughts about Sobek, and my experiences with him. They’re not meant to be anything more than observations on my personal experiences with him; as such, I wouldn’t go into this post expecting any sort of organization. They’re just things that I’ve noticed about him as my relationship with him has grown.

First Stone

Sobek feels like a wound spring. He always feels ready to rush forwards, ready to strike fast and fierce. This makes sense; he is a crocodile god, after all. It was really confusing at first though, because when I felt the tension, the readiness to attack, I thought it meant something big was happening; like he was getting ready to do something huge.

I wasn’t incorrect. Sobek is always preparing to do something huge. However, he hasn’t done anything yet, and I feel like his preparation is mostly the readiness to… seize opportunity? It’s like, he’s not going to make huge changes for the sake of making huge changes, but he  is ready to make huge changes.

To attack and eat something.

 Second Stone

I’ve found myself making more tooth-related analogies as his presence has grown, mostly when it comes to my problems or people I find difficult to work with. I refuse to fear this person, because if they attempt to harm me, I will eat them.

*Nom nom nom*

(On that note, I feel like I need to say that this “eating of people” is strictly symbolic. I promise, I’m not going to go around biting my classmates or the rude people  that cut in line. It’s an attitude thing.)

 Third Stone

He likes incense. He likes incense a lot.

 Fourth Stone

Sobek’s very focused on self care. He’s been very focused on making sure that I take care of myself. He can be intensely practical about it. “If you’re tired, sleep. If you’re hungry, eat.” Things that are very easy for me to forget to do properly. He can be a bit pushy on this front, and that’s probably a good thing; I tend to procrastinate on my responsibilities a lot.

 Fifth Stone

While I know that perhaps I should be a little more scared of him, (and I have no doubt that he could be truly terrifying, if he wanted to be), he doesn’t really… terrify. He can be aggressive, but he’s never, ever aggressive towards me- just the things that he considers threats.

 Sixth Stone

I honestly feel like he’s been working to help me feel safer. Because the last couple weeks, which I expected to be super hard and difficult, and weird, several of my anxieties have sort of been… evaporated.

He’s a very nurturing force; he seems very focused on growth and generation, on eating weakness in order to build strength in its place. He’s super protective, but in a way that encourages me to try new things- scary things.

 Final Stone

I associate him with running water. Almost any sort of running water can remind me of him (even tap water), though truthfully, I feel him most strongly around rivers and streams. I think he  prefers those, honestly.

Sobek is a complex deity. He’s hard for me to wrap my head around, and he’s really interesting and exciting to work with and be with. I don’t know where my relationship with him is going, but I don’t know that he wants me to, or even that it’s going anywhere. I sort of think that if Sobek is teaching me anything, it’s just to be content being, and that sometimes it’s enough to be moving, goalposts be damned.

Musing on Sobek

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So a quick rundown on Sobek: he’s a crocodile god of the river Nile, in Egypt. He had a cult center in Kom Ombo that he shared with Horus the Elder, and he was occasionally said to be the son of Neith, goddess of… well… lots of things. Like weaving and war and stuff. Also, there are a couple myths in which Sobek’s the creator of the universe, which is super rad.

So, technically I’ve been working with him since maybe last June. It doesn’t feel like that, though. Honestly, in many respects, it feels like I’ve just begun working with him. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been able to really pray to  him on the regular until recently, or maybe it’s because my sense of time is all screwy. I mean, he still feels like a deity that I’m still working to define my relationship with.

That’s not completely true. My relationship with Sobek has a definite tone.  He’s a protector, of sorts, and definitely a comforter.

No. He’s not so much a comforter as… a strengthener. Is that a word? Spellcheck isn’t coming down on me, so I guess it is.

Sobek is the deity that I reach out to when I’m overwhelmed. Which, I think, is ironic because he himself is very overwhelming. Not in that he stresses me out or anything, but in that working with him feels like sinking into a very deep, very powerful river. He’s fluid. He’s strong.

He’s fierce, too. Sometimes, he feels very dangerous. Not towards me specifically, but by nature- like a flood, or a sharp piece of glass. And in general, that feeling can also be very comforting.

See, Sobek takes away fear and eats it.

Working with Sobek is relaxing, despite the edge to it. I tend to go to him when I’m scared or stressed, because when I’m done, I’m far less scared and way more ready to tackle my problems.

In fact, back when I lived in Washington, I used to go walking down to the spring/river/running-water thing whenever I needed to talk with him. He’d always be waiting by the water, and just being there- seeing the running water, and feeling him present- was often enough to help me settle into myself better.

In many ways, he still is my go-to when I’m upset. I can count on him to set me back on my emotional feet.

It’s kind of funny because technically, I’ve been working with him for eight months. It’s only recently though that I’ve been able to start actually praying to him. Like, formally. With an altar and stuff.

In fact, as of the last couple weeks, I’ve started a daily “deity rotation” that currently includes Saule, Apollo, and Sobek. It’s a rotation that I’ve been planning on for a while now, but haven’t been able to implement because of my past living situation.

It’s a good rotation. I feel like I’m finally getting quality time with Sobek, even if it’s only in five minutes bites of time every three or five days.

So. Those are my musings on Sobek. What do you think? Do you work with him? Or do you have a relationship with a deity like him? Feel free to tell me what’s on your mind- and thanks for reading!