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Author Topic: Kemetics Vs. the World.  (Read 11879 times)

SatSekhem

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Kemetics Vs. the World.
« on: July 04, 2011, 01:00:09 pm »
I've steadily noticed it on this website, but this isn't the only place I've seen it happen. What I'm talking about is the fact that, community-wise, Kemetics don't seem to be as close as everyone else. I mean, every time I log in, there's a bunch of new posts in the Flamekeeping  and the Neo-Druidry SIGs. However, I rarely see new posts in the Kemetic SIG unless it's one of us having a generalized opinion-needed question.

I was just wondering if (A) you noticed this and (B) why you think that is?

Personally, I think most of us who follow Kemetic paths tend to be solitary in practice. I don't know if its inherent in our natures (as I feel is the case with myself) or if it is merely because we are so far-flung. Recently, I read something about how, aside from Celtic-based paganism, Kemetic is the next largest group out there. I don't see it or feel it, to be honest.

I was just curious what your take on it is.
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Nehet

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Re: Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2011, 02:05:47 pm »
Quote from: SatSekhem;715

Personally, I think most of us who follow Kemetic paths tend to be solitary in practice. I don't know if its inherent in our natures (as I feel is the case with myself) or if it is merely because we are so far-flung. Recently, I read something about how, aside from Celtic-based paganism, Kemetic is the next largest group out there. I don't see it or feel it, to be honest.

I was just curious what your take on it is.

 
SatSekhem,

I've noticed this as well, and it does make me somewhat sad.  Mostly this is because it's such a community-oriented religion.  

One complication may arise from the fact that group rituals are hard to do.  Since ritual wasn't open to the general population in ancient times, it lends itself well to "solitary" practice, or practice in small groups.  There's debate over whether public rituals are a good idea and I can see both sides of the argument.  The fact that rituals were traditionally not "open" may contribute to some of us having a mentality that this is a private thing.  Just a theory.

Of course, the community that develops out of the flamekeeping, druidry, Cill and other SIGs isn't necessarily based on ritual.  It comes out of discussion, study and sharing of personal experiences.  I get that IRL but do not see as much of it on this group.  It may have something to do with tension between denominations.  Many of us try to keep that to a minimum (I am personally trying to get better about that), but I think it still exists.

The lack of activity also may have something to do with the fact that people like flamkeepers have to build their faith.  It's a new movement.  Kemetics have things pretty well laid out.  If you're in HoN, that is its own community and fellowship outside of that may not seem necessary.  If you aren't part of that you can pick up Eternal Egypt or some of Kerry Wisner's stuff and just practice on your own.  Since the material is there and practices are well established, there might not be as much to discuss.  

For me, I spend a lot of time trying to build things in the local community.  I believe online community can be useful but I'd rather spend time teaching and practicing with people face-to-face.  I'm actually very un-solitary at heart.  That just doesn't manifest online as much as it does IRL.

That said, I've had to work very hard to find people interested in a Kemetic path, in my local area.  There is a thriving ADF chapter and a lot of Heathens.  I can count the number of serious Kemetics on exactly one hand.    It would be nice to know more.  I'm not looking to build a giant temple of 20 people (We'd be tripping over each other during ritual), but it would be nice to have more people for discussions of just plain hanging out.
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Re: Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2011, 02:37:05 pm »
Quote from: SatSekhem;715

Personally, I think most of us who follow Kemetic paths tend to be solitary in practice. I don't know if its inherent in our natures (as I feel is the case with myself) or if it is merely because we are so far-flung. Recently, I read something about how, aside from Celtic-based paganism, Kemetic is the next largest group out there. I don't see it or feel it, to be honest.

I was just curious what your take on it is.


A couple of major factors that affect my participation in such things.

First of all: the Kemetic "community" such as it is is fractured, fractious, contentious, and problematic.  All of the organised temples have their detractors and their boosters, and none of them get along particularly well.  This means that those people who are affiliated with temples can be factionalised, and those people who aren't may just not want to poke their heads up for fear of being caught up in it.

Kemetic practice also has a major high church/low church problem.  Because the actual ancient rituals were very formal, effectively secret, and involved the efforts of multiple trained individuals, they combine great power and beauty with very poor accessibility - especially for indie Kemetics who don't have temple-instructed clergy to fall back upon.  For those people who have a priesthood calling of some sort, this is not a problem, since the priesthood is well-supplied with stuff to do; for people who are just looking for quiet personal devotional stuff and to carry on their lives in a Kemetic fashion, the resources are very limited, and thus they can easily fall into non-practicing - which doesn't lead itself to having much to talk about.

Thirdly: there are a lot of vaguely Egyptian-flavored things out there.  I've run into people claiming that the Golden Dawn was doing authentic Egyptiana, people who try to wodge various goddesses into some sort of Egyptianish triple goddess figure, Thelema is Egyptian-flavored, and so on.  Kemetic recon is not as accessible as these things.  There are people doing work within the community, but none of it is terribly accessible beyond the community.  There is no equivalent of, say, "Our Troth" out there.

Also: I'm doing a fuckton of work on Kemetic stuff, and I'm not talking about it.  Some of that is because it's incomplete.  Some of that is because I am not interested in inviting community hostility, because it's hard enough to do without dealing with hecklers.  Some of that is because my personal practice is intensely private in ways that are not conducive to general conversation, and it's very hard to talk about it.

To conclude: all of the SIGs around here go through ebbs and flows of activity.  Most of the time I've been here, for example, the Asatru and Heathenry SIG has been nearly silent, in part because I think people are having those discussions elsewhere.  We've had periods of activity in the past in the Kemetic SIG.  I suspect we will have again.  It's a thing.
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Nehet

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Re: Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2011, 03:13:09 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;766
A couple of major factors that affect my participation in such Kemetic practice also has a major high church/low church problem.  Because the actual ancient rituals were very formal, effectively secret, and involved the efforts of multiple trained individuals, they combine great power and beauty with very poor accessibility - especially for indie Kemetics who don't have temple-instructed clergy to fall back upon.  For those people who have a priesthood calling of some sort, this is not a problem, since the priesthood is well-supplied with stuff to do; for people who are just looking for quiet personal devotional stuff and to carry on their lives in a Kemetic fashion, the resources are very limited, and thus they can easily fall into non-practicing - which doesn't lead itself to having much to talk about.

 
I've noticed this as well.  It seems like some people think their options are:

1).  Formal rituals
2).  Nothing at all.

Lots of people look at the formal rituals and feel very intimidated.  Then they get frustrated with themselves and drop their practice.

To me, this is a good argument for *not* having rituals accessible to the public, because people might have the same reaction.  "OMG, these people know what they're doing and I'll never get to that point!"  I went through a period like that.  I felt like I had to do everything "right" or not at all.  It took me awhile to move beyond that.  I had to allow myself to have an informal practice for awhile, before I could ever get to the point where I was comfortable having a formal one.  

I'd rather see open study groups and meetups than public rituals.  Then if people want to form ritual groups together, they can.  If not, well, yay, new friends!  One can never have too many of those.  I may try to organize more meetups when summer is over.  I tried to do those last year but people travel a lot in the summer.  The "meetups" pretty much turned into me sitting in a cafe and reading a book.  There are worse ways to spend the afternoon, of course, but it wasn't the ideal situation.  

What we need are support networks.  I think actual practices would develop much more easily if it was built on a foundation of community.  Then people can help each other through the process of figuring out what their calling is...priestly or otherwise.
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SatSekhem

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Re: Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2011, 04:09:36 pm »
Quote from: Nehet;799


1).  Formal rituals
2).  Nothing at all.

Lots of people look at the formal rituals and feel very intimidated.  Then they get frustrated with themselves and drop their practice.


I think this is a lot of my problem. I don't feel that anything that is informal is good enough for my goddess. I think that it has to be this-this-and-this or nothing at all. And of course, I have no flipping clue what the heck "this-this-and-this" actually is. Anyone can pick up a book, but you have to add your personal flavor to what you're picking up from said book. And then you have, "What if I'm doing it wrong?" or "If someone were to see me, they'd laugh. This is ridiculous." circling in your head... Ugh.

I think the reasoning behind this is because a lot of us are coming from a very structured background. I was baptized Catholic and I went to a Methodist church as a child. The 'rituals' that were practiced in both religions were fairly structured. I mean, there's nothing more structured than a Catholic mass, right? While Methodism isn't as "hardcore," so to speak, there were a great deal of it has to be like this when it came to the opening and closing of the sermons.

Quote from: Nehet;799

What we need are support networks.  I think actual practices would develop much more easily if it was built on a foundation of community.  Then people can help each other through the process of figuring out what their calling is...priestly or otherwise.


I think a support network would be incredibly helpful.
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Devo

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Re: Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2011, 07:17:24 pm »
Quote from: SatSekhem;715

I was just wondering if (A) you noticed this and (B) why you think that is?


Most everyone has said more or less what I would have said. I've found it incredibly hard to connect with the Kemetic group that is online because it seems like everyone is out to point fingers, and tell everybody else "You're doing it wrong". It's hard to find one's place in a group who is so busy pointing fingers, that the really purpose gets lost entirely (this is a generalized view, not a reflection upon this SIG specifically).

As it has also already been mentioned, I think that the structured rituals make it a bit difficult to get into, and many of the people looking into Kemeticism are more interested in playing Egyptian than actual devotion to the god/s. However, I think that can be a problem for any group, really.

And of course, IMO, there is no really good way to get into the faith or practice of Kemeticism. If you want to really get into it, you have to read a ton of academic books, and do a lot of research. You can't go to your local Barnes & Noble and find information that is pertinent to you, unlike other pagan faiths out there.

Just a few thoughts about it. I'd love to see the online community grow- with an emphasis on community.

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SatSekhem

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Re: Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2011, 07:31:12 pm »
Quote from: Devo;1010
Just a few thoughts about it. I'd love to see the online community grow- with an emphasis on community.

 
I have to agree with you. I'm hoping that once Darkhawk finishes her project that will help some of us floundering fools over here. ;)
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Star

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Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2011, 08:44:35 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;766
To conclude: all of the SIGs around here go through ebbs and flows of activity.  Most of the time I've been here, for example, the Asatru and Heathenry SIG has been nearly silent, in part because I think people are having those discussions elsewhere.  We've had periods of activity in the past in the Kemetic SIG.  I suspect we will have again.  It's a thing.

Popping my head in from outside just long enough to say:  Exactly.  It seems to me that the Ta Hiera SIG is nearly always silent--not that we don't have Hellenic pagans here, but the discussions just don't happen.  Or don't happen *there*, at least. But I think all the SIGs have their high and low periods of activity, really.  I don't think it's a case of Kemetics just not wanting to talk or anything.
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Re: Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2011, 09:17:52 pm »
Quote from: Devo;1010

Just a few thoughts about it. I'd love to see the online community grow- with an emphasis on community.

 
I'd also really love a supportive online community among Kemetics. I have no desire to follow a priestly path, but as a layperson, I struggle because there isn't that much information or support for me. Sure, I have friends following other paths who talk with me about spirituality, festivals, deities, and ideas, but they're not my festivals, or my Gods. So sometimes I get frustrated, too, and wish I had someone Kemetic I could connect with.

KittyVel

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Re: Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2011, 01:19:05 am »
Quote from: Firaza;1067
I'd also really love a supportive online community among Kemetics. I have no desire to follow a priestly path, but as a layperson, I struggle because there isn't that much information or support for me. Sure, I have friends following other paths who talk with me about spirituality, festivals, deities, and ideas, but they're not my festivals, or my Gods. So sometimes I get frustrated, too, and wish I had someone Kemetic I could connect with.

 
You stole the words right from my mouth.  I literally don't know anyone at all IRL who follows a Kemetic path.  I'm able to speak openly with my boyfriend about what I believe, and he's very supportive, but he doesn't hold the same beliefs.  It's nice having someone to talk to, but I want someone that I can relate to when it comes to this kind of thing.
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Re: Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2011, 11:16:57 am »
Quote from: KittyVel;1181
You stole the words right from my mouth.  I literally don't know anyone at all IRL who follows a Kemetic path.  I'm able to speak openly with my boyfriend about what I believe, and he's very supportive, but he doesn't hold the same beliefs.  It's nice having someone to talk to, but I want someone that I can relate to when it comes to this kind of thing.

 
Me as well.

I'm screwed because I *am* interested in a priestly path. But there is no real way to acheive that anymore. There is no active temple (other than KO) there is no group who can 'validate' my practice, and there is no one to go to that can teach me what I need to know to truly feel like I've learned all there is to be a priest.

So not only do I not have anyone to connect with IRL, I don't have a way to scratch the priest itch XD

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Re: Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2011, 12:03:41 pm »
Quote from: Firaza;1067
I'd also really love a supportive online community among Kemetics.

 
I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say about it at this point since it is still in development and hasn't been announced, but a new interfaith kemetic online community IS coming. I am not sure what the ETA on it is, only that it will be "soon."
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Re: Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2011, 05:54:30 pm »
Quote from: Bezenwepwy;1359
I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say about it at this point since it is still in development and hasn't been announced, but a new interfaith kemetic online community IS coming. I am not sure what the ETA on it is, only that it will be "soon."

 
So. Intrigued.
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Re: Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2011, 10:23:38 pm »
Quote from: Devo;1301
Me as well.

I'm screwed because I *am* interested in a priestly path. But there is no real way to acheive that anymore. There is no active temple (other than KO) there is no group who can 'validate' my practice, and there is no one to go to that can teach me what I need to know to truly feel like I've learned all there is to be a priest.

So not only do I not have anyone to connect with IRL, I don't have a way to scratch the priest itch XD

 
I think I may know what you mean by "itch".  

I suspect there are many instances where Gods have wanted somebody to be their priest, and have refused to leave them alone until they gave in.  

That type of calling is actually hard to deal with, if ignored.  I actively tried not to want to be a priest, but couldn't get the idea out of my head.   Once I finally admitted that I had that desire, there was a sense of relief, like everything had fallen into place.  

I still don't have my open statue but I'm getting closer to accomplishing the things I need to accomplish before I can do that.  As long as I'm working toward that goal, well, I guess I'm a little less itchy ;)

This doesn't feel like something I "want".  It feels like something that's part of who I am, whether I like it or not.  

Fortunately I do have some support.  It would be much harder for me to do this without spiritual mentoring and supportive friends.   Yes, the books are there.  Anybody can pick up a Reidy book and do an Opening of the Mouth ritual (after months of making the tools!).  The commitment, however, can be very intimidating to someone trying to do this solo.  Deciding to be a priest takes a leap of faith.  I had a hard time believing I was competent, and worthy.  Some of us have gotten negative messages that make it hard for us to believe such things.  Sometimes it's hard to take that leap of faith without someone to hold your hand.  

Bottom line:  The isolation isn't easy for anybody, priestly or not.  

There were small temples in ancient times, sometimes attended by only one priest (This is in "The Priests of Ancient Egypt" by Sauneron).  A friend of mine showed me a book of Kemetic architecture, showing tiny "temples" where cult statues were kept.  Some of them were no bigger than the little grottos I have seen when I used to go on Catholic retreats with my parents.  

Those teeny-tiny temples do give me some encouragement.  

Devo, you aren't necessarily "screwed".  This isn't hopeless, or impossible.   You can "train" yourself, doing a daily ritual for a year before opening a statue.  That way you can get a good feeling for what it's like to do a daily ritual without taking a break.  Then you can make a well-informed choice about whether it's what you really want.  A year of ritual is long enough for you to get bored with it.  If you can keep doing it even when you're bored, then this might be right for you.   If not...well, at least you'll know, right?

I would love to see Kemetic meetups where people are like "Damnit, I'm training to be a priest and this ritual is getting boring!"

Then their friends are like "Ok, relax.  It will get better.  It got better for me!  You know how spirituality is...these feelings of connection wax and wane over time. You're doing fine!"

Or:  "You've been complaining about being bored for a long time.  Are you sure you want to be a priest?  Cuz you're statue isn't open yet.  Why don't you sleep in tomorrow and then we'll come over and bake cookies?"

(Above responses = possible appropriate things to say depending on situation)

I'd love to see this kind of conversation be normal.
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Re: Kemetics Vs. the World.
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2011, 10:28:47 pm »
Quote from: Bezenwepwy;1359
I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say about it at this point since it is still in development and hasn't been announced, but a new interfaith kemetic online community IS coming. I am not sure what the ETA on it is, only that it will be "soon."

 
Yes, please do keep us posted.
See, life is but a movement of eternal return.  Even Trees fall ~ Berlin papyrus 3024, (A man tired of life).

Live, Ausir, for all time and all eternity! Ankh Neheh Djet!

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