Kemetic Beginners Guide

Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to Kemetic Belief!

Whenever you enter into a new belief, it’s common to get extremely overwhelmed, and not find what you’re looking for. So I have put together a basic, handy guide on starting in Kemetic Paganism/Kemetic Polytheism.

The main things I’ll cover in this post are:

  • Soft Polytheism Vs. Hard Polytheism. What’s the difference?
  • Interacting with the nTrw/Netjeru.
  • What/who are the S/na/ke – Is/fet and A/p/e/p
  • Purity, Mental Health and nTrw.
  • Recommended Reading

Firstly, let me be clear that Polytheism, Hard or Soft, is still Polytheism. No matter what. Second, either one of these are applicable to your beliefs within spirituality. Polytheism is a belief in many/multiple gods. Now, you wonder “Why is it hard or soft? Why not just Polytheism?” Because often this distinction can change how we view a religious practice

Soft polytheism is the belief in multiple deities as expressions or aspects of one god.  (Layman’s terms: All gods are one, and One god is many)
Hard Polytheism is a direct separation of each god in their own right. (Layman’s terms: All Gods are Individual, and rarely overlap, if at all.)

How does this affect Kemetic belief? – There are soft polytheist Pagans and hard polytheist Pagans. In some people who follow Kemetic Belief, it is believed there are syncretized gods. Such as Hethert-Sekhmet, or Yinepu-Wepwawet, which is soft polytheism. But there are those who believe they are all individuals and do not have syncretized identities. It is important to respect both beliefs!

What does it mean to interact with nTrw/Netjeru? Starting in any religion, regardless of size, the first thing you want to do is figure out what the Gods are like, what They represent, and what They embody. This way you can figure out who you mainly want to interact with, and want your central worship to be around.

An important thing to understand about Kemetic belief. Ma’at is central to all ideals. Regardless of what form Ma’at comes in (goddess or concept), Ma’at is important. ‘Who or What is Ma’at?‘ This is a million dollar question with a simply complex answer. Ma’at is a goddess, but also a concept. As a goddess, She represents truth, justice, morality, and balance. Ma’at as a principal/concept is a partially set list of laws that defined the concept of Truth and Respect. Many representations of the Laws of Ma’at can be found on-line. I’ll leave you to find them!

Let’s focus, and talk about the Netjer, and what They represent, and who They are, and how you can begin a relationship with them.

Netjer the Kemetic term for the Gods. When you think of Egyptian Gods, who comes to mind for you? Maybe it was Sobek, maybe Seshat, maybe Heru-Wer? Khnum? Perhaps Serqet? Maybe just the sun showed up in your mind! There are a lot of Gods to consider when talking about being a devotee/follower/worshiper.

My number one recommendation regardless of who you are, old or new in Pagan or Wiccan communities, is to do research. Come in knowing basic names. Knowing basic terms, knowing basic information. You don’t have to be all-knowing or absorb every bit of knowledge about the Netjer to interact with Them, but it helps to learn about Their personalities, what Their domains are, and such!

Are there any evils in Kemetic Belief?

Alright, let’s talk bout the animal in the room. A/p/e/p – Isfet – and the ‘Sn/a/ke’.

Who/what is this person you keep slashing the name of? 

A/p/e/p is the agent of all that is undoing in Ma’at, an agent of Isfet. Isfet is a Kemetic construct that is everything that Creation is not. It is the undoing of justice, the undoing of truth, the undoing of light. As an agent of Isfet, a/p/e/p strives to drive all of Creation back into nothingness. His purpose is to divide the dividable.

In antiquity, lines would be written through A/p/e/p’s name, or if he was drawn, he’d have knives or other weapons shoved into him as a way to stop the uncreation.

Purity, Mental Health, and the nTrw.

Let’s talk about Purity

Purity is a concept that is important through out Kemetic practice, and other practices too! What is purity? Why does it matter? How does one become “pure”? And what happens when you can’t be “pure”, how should you worship?

These are questions I’ve gotten over the past couple of years, I will do my best to answer them! Firstly, purity is important to Kemetic practice, as you do not want to come before the gods impure. You are bringing that into a sacred space, where the Names come to you and you before them! Impurity means many things, in this instance it’s physical and mental. That means menstruation, being in pain, bleeding from a cut, depressive episode, etc! During this time, you need to be working on you, not trying to give to your Gods. Worship is important. I would actively argue that self-care is an act of worship! When you are feeling good, the Gods can live through you.

It is important to remember being impure does not mean being bad. It means you are physically in some way hurting, and you do not want to bring this in your formal sacred space! You can definately offer it to the gods, and ask for healing, but if you shouldn’t be on the floor, then don’t be on the floor. If you are mensutrating, it is still a kind of bleeding, and often with menstruation comes cramps, and headaches, and bloating. You cannot, or will have a hard time, focusing on the Gods! Same thing applies for Chronic Illness! Do not Over Exert yourself. Know your limits.

If you still want to do ritual during the times of impurity, you can do what has been described to me in terms of “Just-do-it”. A shrine for a time when you are in pain, or hurting, or bleeding. It is informal, and does not need ritual purity. An image of your God, a candle (electric or normal), a space for offerings, or a bowl will do just fine!

Becoming “pure” is merely washing yourself, and not being in pain, or having an epiusode during the time you are doing formal ritual. As someone who has a permanent pain-level, I consider this to be at a point where “My pain levels are low today”, rather than “I have no bodily pain”. Adjust what you need according to your normal. Not according to another person’s.

Recommended reading!

Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt – A comprehensive of the life of people in Kemet!

A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses – A good list in alphabetical names.

Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods – A comprehensive study on Kemetic theology.

Symbol & Magic in Egyptian Art – A more expansive list of other iconographies in Egyptian Art.

Ancient Egypt: A Social History – A Chronological arrangement of the life of Kemetic people based in hard data.

Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt – More info on the nTrw and those of Kemet.

Celebration of Life, and Death

October hold some important celebrations, Navaratri, and Yom Kippur to name a couple.  For me the more important holiday is “Dia de Los Muertos”, Day of the dead, which takes place from October 31st to November 2nd. It is a syncretic holiday and a cultural holiday in which you take time to remember your ancestors, all of those who came before you, and you leave them offerings, oftentimes openly on their graves. On private altars at home, which are created specifically to welcome the dead, you leave a special type of offering called Ofrendas. These are used to bring the spirits home for the fiesta. You would normally leave calacas (skeletons) and calaveras (skulls), favorite foods and beverages, items of the deceased, flowers (traditionally Mexican Marigolds (cempasuchil)), and usually a photo of them. Day of the dead developed from ancestral traditions of pre-Columbian cultures.

Rituals celebrating the death of the ancestors have been practiced for a long time. Offerings are also sometimes made to a goddess known as the “Lady of the Dead”, particularly projected in more modern Mexican tradition as La Calavera Catrina. Though also seen as Santa Muerte, or sometimes skinned in a more serious light as as Mictecacihuatl, Aztecan Goddess of the underworld and the dead.

There are three days of Dia de Los Muertos. The 31st, for the children to make the altars which allow child spirits to come back, the following subsequent 2 days are the days of celebration, veneration, mourning, and honoring. Traditionally, you bring Mexican Marigold (these are said to attract the souls of the dead), Pan de los Muertos, a traditional bread offered, Calavera, Skulls made normally of sugar, or clay, and decorated finely and colourfully. Skeletal figures, Papel picado (a type of tissue or paper, finely cut, and displayed), fruit, nuts, and/or incense.

Toys are brought for the child spirits, and tokens that were favoured by the dead for the adults! These were usually left on the graves, or brought as a way to anchor a spirit to this world during the festival. During this time, people would often have picnics at the graves of their ancestors.

The Day of the Dead is a very social holiday, not a time for isolated mourning. For the Fiesta, people often dress up, sometimes wearing costumes of Calavera Catrina, getting their faces painted with bright skull patterns, wearing colorful and bright and flowy costumes dresses and suits, and engaging in social connectivity, and a fiesta, as this helps to draw the dead.

There are a variety of cultures that have unique properties to their version of the Day of the Dead, however, it’s very clear, there is a worldwide desire to connect with our ancestors’, whether recently deceased or passed on ages ago.

It is common to find a celebration now, and a desire to feel the presence of our ancestors, even if just for a second. And so, for this upcoming Day of the Dead, I would challenge all of you who may not normally participate in social gatherings or who don’t know much about this particular festival, to find out if anything is happening near you and if it is open, to participate. If you can’t find a local celebration, hold one yourself.

Even if you don’t have a connection to your ancestors, or don’t feel that you have any ancestors worth honoring, there is always an unmarked, or untended grave could use some fresh bread and something to drink.

Simple Edit and a Note: It is important to acknowledge the struggles of the Indigenous peoples of Mexico,and what the holiday means to them from Pre-Columbia era to today. Be mindful of your celebration! But celebrate life!

Two new paintings

In a vision I received from Wadjet during the dreaming hours, I was to paint two things, one titled “Slayer of the s/n/a/k/e”, the other Guardian of the Cosmos (More aptly Mistress of Heaven)

Slayer of the S/n/a/k/e on the left, and Mistress of Heaven/Guardian of the Cosmos on the Right
Mistress of Heaven/Guardian of the Cosmos
Slayer of the S/n/a/k/e

I was told to wait a week after painting them to post them publicly. And here we are. Just a small update to what I’m doing in my personal time.

Chronic Illness and Worship

Hello friends and family, and those beyond the worldly eyes,

A thing that hit me earlier this week was a huge fibro flare. I was utterly useless. I was exhausted, in pain, and unable to purify myself like I wanted so that I could do my weekly senut (ritual offering) obligation. I was very angry, as this was a day I designated to do nothing but worship. I couldn’t shower, and I couldn’t cleanse my mind of the pain, and I thought to myself.

“Why am I limited by my body when what I want to do is so simple? Why am I stuck in bed, why was I cursed with this hurt, and anguish?” I felt so betrayed by myself and my plans, and a little hurt at this inability to communicate with my Gods in shrine. But that’s when an idea picked into my brain like no tomorrow.

“What if I made a beside shrine, for when I am forced to stay in bed and nurse myself back to health as I cannot be a formal ritual do-er today?”

What if instead of going to them, I bring them to me, so I set up a Beside shrine, and mentioned this to a couple of friends who have graciously participated as they also require self-care days!

A white cloth, a space for Incense, and icons of one of each of my parents from the RPD, Khonsu and Wadjet. ( Carved Ear a gift from KentaurusDesigns during a Retreat gathering of Wep Ronpet! Go check out his shop!)

I find myself meditating on this Shrine, and finding what can I do to have simple worship, what can I do with this to help others!

I reached out to a couple of friends of mine, and one of them set up a shrine bed-side to support Her on days she is also struggling.

Beside Shrine – Ushedimuti (Child of Mafdet and Sekhmet-Hethert)

Feeling like you are stuck behind a bodily-paywall is horrible, and having to put up with feeling alone, and like you have broken promises is not what my Gods want for me, I am sure. So, I adapt. I do what I can, when I can. When I am not able, I leave offerings beside me on the stable tray. I recommend if your bed is not level to a tray, to get a table-tray, or sitting tray (think laptop tray!) to leave items on!:

  • Cloth
  • Electric Candles (So you don’t fall asleep with them going)
  • Icons, statuettes or pictures of your Gods
  • (Optional) Incense holder (with sand or without) (If you cannot do incense, oilve oil, or ritual oil (I recommend from Tatuayinepu, their oils are fantastic) .

And anything else you’d like to have, on there, go for it. I recommend keeping a bottle of water, a spray bottle so you can purify, and a snack that is non-perishable at your bedside!! Beyond that, not much else is needed. I like to have lunch on the table tray with my Gods when I am bed bound. It’s not a fun time, but they yunderstand, and enjoy my presence.

I hope that this helps give you a little idea of what you can do while ritually impure. This applies to disabilities, and things like cuts, or menstruation, depressive episodes. Whatever you are dealing with, the Gods will be there for you.

Until I see you next time, Senebty and much love……… Stay Strong

Hakenensenu.

Heka for the Community

One of my Patrons asked that I, instead of making a Heka for them, make one for the community for Financial Prosperity, so here it is.

Heka to Hethert, Lady of Gold:

Things you will need:
String (Gold or yellow, white, and a third colour of your choice).
Oil (Olive oil or a religiously imbued oil)
Fabric (White, Gold/Yellow or Green)
A sharpie

Instructions
Tie three strings together, braiding them into each other for as long as your fabric piece is. At each end, create a loop, and say into it:

“Hethert, Lady of Gold, I bring your Joy and Love into my life. I bring your prosperty into my life, I capture your beauty in my life” and tie each knot. Do this two more times towards the center. Fold the string in half, twisting it as you fold it, and tie the ends together, creating a loop! This loop creates a continueous circut of intent and magical strength! It will continue to power itself as long as you do it with intent, and need.

On the piece of fabric you have, write out your needs in financial, emotional, or mental stability out of the following way:

“Secure Love”

“Mental Stability”

“Bring Fortune”

Wrap your fabric around the string, and use it to tie the fabric in half, like so:

Anoint the fabric with your oil, place it in your shrine, and leave offerings every day for 4 days, after this, you can carry it with you, put it somewhere, or leave it in-shrine to bring Hethert’s Joy, Love, and Prosperity to you!

Dua Hethert, Lady of Gold! Nekhtet!

Prose. The wandering soul.

“… I continue to wonder about my reputation. What will I be after I’m gone, what will they say when my bones have turned to dust, and my legs can’t carry me farther than I can carry a tune.

What will they say when the sun has set and there is no more light to shine on my existence. I continue to wonder about my reputation, they say all’s well that ends well, but when the times change like sands change, who is forgotten and what is remembered, dictated only by those choosing to participate, I wonder if I will be remembered as kind, just or loving. Or as harsh cruel and violent as the heat from the sun.

I asked that my bones be blessed, that the sands of time does not swallow me whole, devouring my every essence, separating me from what I am. And I ask that my spirit continue to thrive, and that my decrepit existence will not be erased by those who wish to do me harm.

I cannot guarantee that my existence will be made known, I can only ask that the writing on the dust that I leave in the desert be used to satisfy the requirements that my spirit has laid upon me.”

I am doing a comic for this poem, but felt I should share it before I do so.

I write often at spurr of the moment, no telling me whether it will stop, or begin, be good or bad, be strong, or weak, but I just do, and I think that’s what this year ios giong to be about. Accepting imperfection and doing something, even if you’re not an expert.

May the year of Wepwawet protect our bones, and souls.

Dua Wepwaet! Dua Netjer, Nekhtet.