Exploring the Purifications: One, Three, Thirteen
I treat how I see the Nisut as how I see Jesus and the Pope, which may seem really strange coming from a Kemetic. The Kemetic Orthodox view the Nisut as a kind of pope, in a way. “In Kemetic Orthodoxy, the Nisut is the head of the faith. She is responsible for keeping the members of the faith spiritually satisfied, as well as for providing guidance on various matters.” She’s seen as the bridge between the people and the Gods. She felt called by the Ancients to reconstruct Their ways, so she founded Kemetic Orthodoxy. She acts as a leader and teacher to her people.
She’s revered by the Orthodox as the one who houses the kingly ka here on Earth. She’s seen as the first servant to the Netjeru. She’s the connection between the people and the Gods, much like Jesus was seen as the Son of God and the way to Heaven and to the Father, as Christians see it (John 14.6). And much like the Pope is seen by Catholics as the leader of the faith, the Nisut is seen as the head of the Kemetic Orthodox faith.
As a person who was raised a protestant, I view the Pope as a teacher to his people and not the one and only leader of a spiritual system. As a Pagan, I view Jesus as a controversial and liberal teacher who wanted to radically change the way things were happening. As a “protestant Kemetic,” I see the Nisut as a wise teacher, but not as the leader the Orthodox see her to be.
With that being said, in all the copies of the 42 Purifications, or Negative Confessions, I like the Nisut’s translations and interpretations the best. As I work to become a better Kemetic, I am constantly reminded that if I were to die tomorrow, I would pass through the Duat to recite the negative confessions on my way to have my heart weighed against a feather of truth and justice.
Now, I view the Negative Confessions/Purifications as just that. They aren’t commandments that if they aren’t followed to the letter require an admittance of guilt followed by forgiveness of the sin done. In the Kemetic faith, there is no “original sin” or fall from grace. We were created in divine love, and that love hasn’t changed since day one. Our nature as humans isn’t seen as evil, it is seen as divine because it was given to us by the Gods.
I believe that when I die, I will go through the Duat to judgment where I will have the opportunity to be fully and completely honestly with myself about my actions in life. If I am unable to accurately say “I have not told lies,” then I will need to be able to say when I have said those lies and admit to my wrongdoings as an act of honesty and purification. When my heart is weighed, the Gods will determine the truth in my confessions and decide if I have lived a life more of ma’at or more of isfet.
As a human, I am not perfect. I make mistakes, but I own up to my mistakes by being honest with myself and those around me. To better live a life in ma’at, I believe that I need to be fully aware of the 42 purifications and work to better fulfill them here on Earth, so I try to study, pray and meditate on them as much as I can… but I fail a that many times as well.
I went through the first few purifications to pick out some of my favorites, which tend to be the ones I struggle with the most. I thought I’d share some of them here today.
Hail Strider coming from Iunu (Heliopolis), I am not doing (making) Isfet.
Hail Beaky-one, coming from Khmun (Hermopolis), I do not harbor enemies.
Hail Bast, coming forth from the shrine, I do not eat my heart.
I’ve talked about isfet in previous posts, but to summarize: isfet is the opposite of ma’at, which is truth, justice, balance and harmony. I love how purification 1 sets the tone for all the rest of the 42 because it’s the epitome of everything the purifications warn us against: don’t do evil, do good.
I also love that the purifications are written in present tense, which then makes it seem like isfet is something you are doing currently rather than something from the past. It makes me feel that so long as a person learns from their past mistakes and grows as an individual, their past transgressions will not be held against them in the next life. After all, it’s not divine forgiveness that we need, it’s forgiveness from within ourselves and those around us, so that we can make this world, our lives and the lives of those around us better.
Isfet can be tricky, and in any situation, it can change. What is good for one instance is not always good for all instances. Not every person is the same and not all people will react to every situation the same way. For example, my god-daughter was born this past week. I was very blessed to be able to be there for her mother every step of the way, from driving her and her mom to the hospital on somewhat icy roads to being in the room when a new life made it to this world.
We (and we being myself, the nurse, the doctor, my god-daughter’s father, and the mother of my god-daughter’s mom) were trying very hard to be encouraging. I’ve never helped deliver a baby before. I’ve never seen a human being born. So when the nurse directly asked me to help her in the delivery, I said yes even though I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. I watched the nurse and did as she did, pressing against her leg as she pushed and encouraging her each time.
At one point two more nurses showed up in the room and also started to encourage her. We were all doing what we thought was right, but eventually our voices overwhelmed the one we were trying to help and she told us that she only wanted one person to talk, so then no one spoke. And my god-daughter was born almost immediately after. Our encouragement impeded her progress. What we thought was good was actually bad in that situation, but the end result still saw the birth of a beautiful baby girl.
Each day, we have to ask ourselves what would be “good” in the situation we find ourselves in and then we mus follow through with that. Once we have determined the “good,” we have to complete our action and then move forward.
Sometimes, what is good for us may not seem like what is good for others. Maybe you are in a relationship that isn’t healthy. Maybe you find yourself surrounded by people who are taking advantage of you. Maybe there’s someone out there who is physically or spiritually attacking you.
These are situations that are allowing isfet to grow, and to stop them, you have to get out of them. That’s where purification 3 comes in. It says that you “do not harbor enemies.” This could mean that you allow people who would do you harm to continue in your life or it could mean that you just think about them enough to influence how you act in certain situations.
Harboring enemies in your mind is to not forgive those around you for the problems they have caused. It creates a negative state of mind and also creates isfet in your life. This isn’t exactly the easiest purification to live by for many people and if you find yourself having trouble letting go of a past situation or a person would could cause you harm, my first situation is to pray and ask the Gods to help you lift your burden. I’m a huge proponent of “giving it up to the Gods.” Their ways and abilities are greater, and if we lean on Them, we will see great things happen in our lives.
Which brings me to the third and final purification that I’m going to talk about in this blog: number 13: I do not eat my heart. Now, obviously, this isn’t literal. The heart represents emotions, and “eating one’s own heart” is to destroy it. We eat to nourish ourselves, to help ourselves grow. If we eat food that is bad for us, we will destroy ourselves. If we eat food that is good for us, we will live and thrive.
To eat one’s own heart, we feed our emotions with negativity: hate, anger, jealousy, lust, revenge, (to some extent) karma. **sidenote: I say karma here because wishing negative karma on another is just as bad as wishing revenge on someone, it just “absolves” you (or so you think) of guilt, but that’s for a different blog** When we feed our heart with negativity we kill it, slowly at first but faster and faster as the negativity grows inside us.
The best, and probably hardest thing to do, is to let go of those negative emotions completely and fill your heart with love, compassion and positivity. At that point, you won’t be eating your own heart, you will be nourishing yourself in ma’at.
Being a Kemetic isn’t just following a religious dogma and believing a certain way or certain God; it is a lifestyle that helps you reach connection with the Divine and understand and connect with your own divine nature as a human. You were created in perfect love. As you live your life, you are loved by the Gods unconditionally. You are not perfect, and struggles will happen, but the love you are surrounded by doesn’t come with ultimatums. It comes with understandings.
There’s 42 purifications in total, and I’ll cover some more in another post, so look out for that in the future… as well as that post about karma…
Posted on February 18, 2014, in 42 Negative Confessions, 42 Purifications, Exploring the Purifications, Kemeticism, Paganism, Religion, Spirituality and tagged 42 Negative Confessions, 42 Purifications, Gods, kemetic, kemeticism, kemetism, pagan, paganism, religion, Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.