Independent Family Reformed Kemeticism
There’s two parts to this blog: 1) The history about Independent Family Reformed Kemeticism and 2) A brief explanation of what I actually believe. The headers are bold. Feel free to skip something if you want.
1) The History Behind Independent Family Reformed Kemeticism
I was rewriting my “About” page the other day to make something that I liked a lot more, and I got to a point where I realized that I needed to define exactly what I meant when I said I was a Pagan. I mean, let’s face it. Saying you’re a Pagan is just as bad, if not worse, than simply stating you’re a Christian. If someone says, “I’m a Christian.” I can assume they believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, they believe in a Holy Spirit and they believe there is One True God. I will also assume they believe in the ten commandments and that there is some stuff about a Heaven, Hell and Judgment in there too.
I’ll probably still follow that up with, “Oh, cool. What denomination are you?” If they say they’re Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic or Baptist or Presbyterian or Latter-Day Saints, then I’ll have a more specific idea about what they believe. I’ll be able to assume a lot more their practice. I may even go as far as asking, “What kind of Baptist are you? What kind of Presbyterian are you?” If they tell me they’re part of Presbyterian USA, I’ll know they’re probably going to be okay with the fact that I’m in a committed and loving homosexual relationship. If they tell me they’re Associated Reformed Presbyterians, I’ll know they probably won’t be okay with it. (As a side note, I was raised Presbyterian, U.S.A. My grandparents on my dad’s side were Presbyterian, U.S.A. My grandparents and dad fully believed in predestination [aka, you were either chosen by God for saving or you weren’t… so much so that my dad told me that I needed to pray to make sure I was put on this earth to be a doctor… that that was what I was chosen to do here… I wasn’t]. My grandmother, who believe the PCUSA was right and all others were wrong, use to say that the Associated Reformers (ARP) were ARP because they “Ain’t Really Presbyterian.” Ah, grandma.. I miss your humor. Anyway…)
When a person says they’re “Pagan,” I’m definitely going to ask what that means because I can’t really assume anything about what they believe other than they might have hug a tree at some point, and even that is just a “might have.” Even after I get an answer about, “Oh, I’m (insert some Pagan tradition that I will probably know nothing about here),” I will still need some explanation. If it’s outside of basic Wicca and some of the mainstream Wiccan traditions, Kemetism, or one of the few forms of Paganism practiced by my friends, I will have zero idea what someone believes if they tell me they’re Asatru (other than it’s Germanic). I just learned that people worship the Gods of the Canaanites to this day. I didn’t know there was any information about them around! It’s amazing how many faith practices there are out there.
I realize that ignorance is pretty unattractive in a person, but here’s my deal: I learn as much as I can when I can. I ask questions of people and answer questions when they come up. Education is key, and as long as education is happening, then I’m okay with people not knowing everything. I have the problem when people are unwilling to learn.
So I go this part of my “About” page where I needed to define what it was that I believed with a term. People like terms. I like terms. Terms can, generally, be defined.
I started with what I knew: I’m Kemetic. I love being Kemetic. My faith is strong in the Netjeru. I know They are watching over me and helping me and guiding me in my day to day life. I have seen the Netjeru work miracles in my life, and I see Them work in my life on a daily basis. I try to live in ma’at and shun isfet. I work to live by the negative confessions (although some are harder than others). I believe in the akhu (ancestors) and their ability to guide and aide me in my life as well. I believe in all aspects of the soul and body, as the ancients did. I follow a Kemetic religious calendar as close as I can, although I would like to do more than what I do currently.
But there are some things I don’t agree with. The Ancient Egyptians’ faith centered around the rise and fall of the Nile. Without that flood, they didn’t eat. They had three different seasons: Akhet, Peret and Shomu. The Pharaoh was the spiritual leader and kind of his people. He was the literal connection between man and the Gods. Not only does the rise and fall of the Nile have little to do with whether or not I eat (I’m in South Carolina and I try to eat as local as possible), but the rise and fall of the Nile is controlled by dams. The Kemetic Orthodox have reconstructed the ancient practices as best they can, all the way down to a Nisut (their spiritual leader/Pharaoh/Pope, if you will), and that is perfectly fine, but it is not for me.
So what does that make me? That brought me to my second word: I’m Reformed Kemetic. I like to think of myself as part of the Protestant Reformation of Kemeticism. I hold to the ideals of the faith, but I’ve modernized the practice for today’s time. I acknowledge holidays that are central to my ability to eat here in the south as well (the changes of the seasons). I celebrate two spiritual new years: Wep Ronpet (which is August 6th for where I live) and the Winter Solstice. I don’t acknowledge the Nisut in the way that the KO’s do. I see her as a spiritual leader of her people and someone to listen to and learn from, but I don’t see her as the connection that her followers do. I guess it’s the same way I view the Pope. I see him as a spiritual leader and someone to learn from, but I’m not Catholic.
That lead me to another problem. If you type “reformed kemeticism” into Google, you get a lot of information that is somewhat useful. There’s the SIG forums and you get some links that will direct you to the Temple of Ra. There’s also the Per Ma’at Temple, which I don’t know much about other than that it’s grown quite a bit since the last time I was on their website. I don’t belong to any of these temples or forums or groups. I study and learn what I can on my own through reading a lot of history books and spiritual books. I have no formal training, and I’m okay with that. That’s how I added my third word: Independent.
But Independent lead me to a problem: I’m not alone. I have my family. My growing family. There’s my partner, but there’s also my future kids. And I plan on raising them in the faith. I plan on creating a family tradition for them that’s solidified. I want to be the spiritual leader for my family, and that starts now. That’s where the “Family” part came from. And after that word was added, the “denomination” felt right: Independent Family Reformed Kemeticism.
So what does that really mean?
2) A Brief Explanation About My Specific Faith
I believe in a higher power that goes beyond human comprehension. This force that is out there is neither male nor female. It simply is. I call that power Netjer, or God. To make something comprehensible to humans, it has to be smaller. I called those smaller aspects of the one true Netjer, the Netjeru (or God/dess/e/s). These Gods and Godesses span across the entire planet.
Netjer is the Kemetic Orthodox concept of “God” or “Divineness”. Divinity in both totality and plurality. Netjer is an abstract concept that can not be explained, only experienced. As Kemetic Orthodox, we experience Netjer as manifest in the Netjeru (plural, “gods” or “God’s manifestations”), the various Names of Netjer. Netjer is made manifest in Them and when we honor the Netjeru, we honor Netjer.
While I’m not KO, I feel like this definition fits rather well with what I believe.
I believe in Imhotep, a man who was able to reach divine status after death. He’s not a savior, but His life shows us what is possible through faith and good works and a living legacy. I don’t believe that all humans are capable of becoming Gods, but I do believe that our souls never truly die. Heka, as I call it, is “magical speech.” Words have power, and when we speak (whether good or bad), those words can have some major effects. The same goes for names. To speak the name of something or someone is to cause it to exist. When we speak of our ancestors and the Gods, we cause them to never truly die. They continue to live on through us. Imhotep’s life left such an impression on humanity that He is remembered today as divine. His life inspires us to live the best lives we can as humans.
I believe in the 42 negative confessions. I try to live my life in ma’at, a concept of truth and justice. I try to shun isfet, a concept of chaos.
Isfet means roughly (in the Kemetic language) “chaos.” Isfet is, essentially, all of the bad things in the world – all of the sins of humanity (disrespect, intolerance, racism, rape, cheating, stealing, dishonesty, assault, pollution, murder, etc.). It’s also, in a less harsh, if somewhat more complex, sense: anything that throws a situation or person “out of balance.” Because, see, that’s what Ma’at is: balance. Ma’at is the order to isfet’s chaos; Ma’at is the justice to isfet‘s injustice.
I keep two altars in my home, and I’m currently working on a third. The first is my personal altar where I can sit and meditate and pray to the Netjeru. The second is my family/home altar that include Anpu, Ubasti and Bes. Ma’at will be on there eventually, but the right statue hasn’t presented itself yet. The third altar is going to but to the Akhu, the blessed dead. Erin and I are going to have black and white photos of those who’ve gone before us framed and placed on the wall where we will see them and can honor them with stories and kind memories. I hope to have that done within the next few days.
Being Kemetic, to me, isn’t just a religion. It’s a lifestyle. It’s central to how I live and interact with those around me. The Gods have a key role in my life. I see Their hands in everything that happens around me. They provide for me but They also teach me valuable lessons. For example, everything happens the way They will it. People are in your life or not in your life because of Their will, and attempts to alter that can cause some pretty bad drama. The Gods have placed people in my life to teach me that I didn’t want them in my life and then after I had sufficiently learned that lesson, They gave me the strength to leave those people behind me. They removed them once I got the picture. And sometimes you don’t learn about Their plan until you’re past a part of it, but They have a plan and it all happens according to Their will. You can either get on board or not, but either way, it is happening. This doesn’t take away my ability to make a choice or have free will, but my best interests are served by looking to the Gods for guidance first rather than looking to my own needs and wants.
This is what I believe, it is not what all who are Kemetic believe, but it is what I believe.
I’ll probably break some specifics out when I think about them, but this is the brief-ish elevator speech (maybe if it was the Empire State Building). Hope this helps.
Posted on January 6, 2014, in Kemeticism, Paganism, Religion, Spirituality and tagged faith, kemetic, kemeticism, kemetism, pagan, paganism, religion, Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.