One of the few things we have to do in order to be able to teach our faith to our children is to define what it means to have our version of Pagan Faith.
If we are unable to clearly define what that means to us, then we won’t be able to clearly define it to our children. This means that we have to sit and really think about what it means, to us, to be Pagan because being Pagan can mean so many things.
Firstly, Erin and I identify as “Independent Family Reformed Kemetic,” which is pretty unique to our family. I kinda made the term up because I needed (for whatever reason) a denominational title. We’re like Protestant Kemetics, in my opinion.
- That the divine energy that we refer to as the Gods or the Netjeru are everywhere and in everything. We believe there there is one overall connecting power with many names, which is why we see the names of the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses change, combine, separate, combine back, etc. over the years. We expand this belief or idea outside of just the Kemetic pantheon to say that we believe every God or Goddess on the planet is simply a name for this one single power. We refer to this power as Netjer, which roughly translates to God; however, it isn’t limited to the single term like “God” is in many different faiths.
- That there is no need for a connector to Netjer. We recognize no Nisut, Pope, Savior, etc. as part of our faith. Since Netjer is omnipotent and omnipresent, Netjer is present within each of us. To connect to the divine, we simply need to still our minds and look within. There is no need for an intermediary when the ability to connect resides in us all.
- That Netjer is Love. That when we love others, we are expressing the divine within us. When we interacte with others in a loving way, we are showing love to the divine as well as showing the divine’s love through our actions.
- Because Netjer is all-love, there is no other working force or power. Pain and suffering stem from human mistakes and misunderstandings, but not necessarily of the person who is in pain or suffering. There are times when we all suffer because of someone else’s mistakes or misunderstandings, but it all comes down to human failure on some level, which results in some form of pain or suffering.
- I really can’t stress this enough when I try to explain this because I am routinely asked why bad things happen if Netjer is all-loving and wants the best for us, because when I say “human immaturity and mistakes,” I am generally met with people believing I am “victim blaming,” which I am not. Humanity as a whole is very immature, and sometimes, bad things happen to us because someone else didn’t realize or think or care about the consequences of their actions and the effects it would have on other people.
- If a tree falls on your house because of a bad storm, it isn’t because Netjer is mad at you and punishing you or because you made a bad choice to build your house next to a tree or made any bad choice at all… but maybe the storm wouldn’t have been so bad if we, as a species, weren’t treating our planet so bad that we were pushing it into another mass extinction event marked by increasingly bad weather due to the effects of global warming. So maybe a tree falling on your house isn’t a punishment for your immaturity, but maybe it’s a wake up call that the planet is hurting and dying because of the actions of a whole, and maybe it is a call to action to create a positive change.
- That there are two basic emotions that all other emotions are a stem from: Love and Fear. If we act out of a place of love, then we are acting out of a state of divine connection. If we are acting out of fear, we are acting out of a place of disconnection from the divine. Love leads to positive connections, caring relationships, a growth of happiness and joy. Fear leads to hatred, negative and unhealthy relationships, and anger. We have the ability to chose on which side of the spectrum we wish to live.
- Again, I preference this with the understanding that mental health and illnesses are very real things and that our ability to chose is not always going to look the same. I have an anxiety diagnosis. I’ve been on and off of anxiety medications because I chose to try and no let that anxiety control my life. I also understand that not everyone out there is as lucky as I am with their ability to control, but I also believe that there is help out there for everyone, and that we can choose to fight for it… or not.
- That each individual is called and selected by a specific name of the divine so that each person may better understand the above ideas. I don’t know of any religion or faith practice that centers around what the individual sees as hate. I know there are some extreme examples, such as the Westboro Baptist Church, but their entire belief is based off of the idea that you should fear God, so right from the start, they’ve missed the mark.
- That since Netjer is in everything, our worship and faith extends beyond a room with four walls out into the world. Netjer is one with the cycles of planet. The Ancient Egyptian’s year centered around the rise and fall of the Nile river, which fed them all for the year. Without that flood, the people would starve. Their holidays and festivals were in response and in sync with that cycle. While the rise and fall of the Nile have little effect on my individual ability to eat and it is pretty well controlled by dams now, the cycles of the seasons are extremely important to us here in the States. There have been late winter/spring freezes that damage the young crops and really affect the local food supply here, so our religious calendar is a hybrid of both the ancient Kemetic calendar and the natural flow of the seasons. Our spiritual year:
- Begins with Wep Ronpet, the Kemetic New Year, which is signified by the rise of Sopdet in the sky. For where we live, this happens on August 6th.
- The Autumnal Equinox (Paganly known as Mabon), which is on or around September 21.
- Winter Solstice/Yule, December 21-ish
- Moomas, Four days after Yule
- Spring Equinox, on or around March 20
- Summer Solstice, on or around June 21
- The days upon the year, August 1 – 5, where Wesir, Aset, Heru-ur, Set, and Nebt-hey are born.
I think we are working on turning the Moomas holiday into a week long celebration n of the Ascention of the Divine Cow, but I’m unsure. I think it would be a lot of fun.
Also, when it comes to what the general Pagan faith sees as magic, we see it as prayer, which is pretty much the same thing, just different languages. Honestly, the ancients didn’t call corners from what I’ve read. Their ritual structure was very different than the typical Pagan, and while I have called corners in a forms prayer or house blessing or some other high ritual, I generally do not. I also don’t see the need to.
Side Rant: We also don’t cherry pick our Gods. While I have no problem with others who believe they are secure enough in their faith to feel comfortable calling on whomever, I’ve found that building an actual relationship with a select few Names seems to be more beneficial, but this is my path, so who knows. I’ve just never felt comfortable with books that tell you to call on X, Y, Z God/dress for whatever work whether or not you have a relationship with them. It’s suspect to me.
Anywho, it’s late. I should go to bed.