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I’m a Bad Kemetic.

I’m a Bad Kemetic..

There are so many times we could berate (or praise) ourselves, in faith and in our mundane lives.

But this post really puts things into perspective. I’ve always felt Ma’at was a process, something you always work towards maintaining…you don’t ever really achieve it (not for long anyways).

Reflections from Wesir: Cultivating Wisdom

As I mentioned before, I’ve been looking at particular themes on each of the epagomenal days and contemplating them in relation to my own perceptions. Last night, I thought about ways I might cultivate wisdom. I came up with 10 things I feel I should keep in mind.

1. Be self aware. This means knowing how I act, feel, and think in certain situations, as well as how my actions and words are affecting others and myself. Knowing my behavior is integral to reflecting on it.

2. Have experiences. Experiences provide me with the opportunities to gather new information about the world and ourselves. At times, experiences come easily. Opportunities and challenges present themselves when I wasn’t even looking for them. At other times, I might become “stuck in a rut”. At these times, it behooves me to seek out experiences and provide myself with fodder for growth.

3. Reflection. Its not enough to simply have experiences. Those experiences have to be thought about, particularly using self-awareness and the new things that the experience has taught. Reflection also entails meditation.

4. Honesty. Being honest with my self as well as others can often expedite understanding. I do feel that honesty should be tempered with compassion.

5. Humility. This should be balanced with confidence and self-assuredness. Remembering how small I am in the grand scheme of things, and at the same time, how connected I am to all the grand things can be uplifting and humbling. Remembering how little I know allows me to reflect on the possibilities and to check my own bias (hopefully).

6. Patience. Experience takes time to occur. And often, the lessons of experience take time to settle in. At times, those lessons may only be understood when enough maturation has occurred.

7. Courage. Because being honest and having new experiences can be scary.

8. Appreciation. Taking nothing for granted reminds me that all things are worth inquiring about, and that most things can be awe-inspiring and wisdom-bringing.

9. Being flexible while remembering your values. While some values should be the foundation of my life, even these are subject to change. Remembering to adapt, to go with the flow, and to take life as it comes is a lesson in and of itself. This can be hard when I prefer predictability and control to unforeseen obstacles…which dovetails into the next post I’ll be making.

10. “Keeping to your center”. I’m not sure how else to say it. I feel best when I’ve discovered a place of peace inside, one that remembers what is truly important, has most things in their proper perspective, and is both content and also disciplined enough to push forward. To remain tethered to this realization of calm and joy is so integral to my search for wisdom, I often wonder if it isn’t at its heart. Meditation and regular practice helps to cultivate this in my life.

 

What about you all? What are some ways you cultivate wisdom?

Days Upon the Year: Game plan & Attempting to cultivate wisdom

I’ve been waking early in order to celebrate the epagomenal days. Yesterday was Heru-wer’s celebration, and today was Wesir’s. I think I may post a picture on the day of Wep Ronpet. I may also type up some of my reflections from each day and post them as small “mini-posts” (compared to the diatribes I usually post). I am pretty psyched. This is the first year I have a full and planned calendar beyond Wep Ronpet, and I have an awfully nice structure going as well.

Each day consists of offerings, praise, a short song for the occasion (no…its not “Happy Birthday”…not the traditional American “Happy Birthday” anyway), and a contemplation.

Recipe for Celebration: The process for creating and completing the contemplation/meditation is as follows:
– I looked at the myths, epithets, and themes surrounding each Netjer. I came up with 4 to 6 words embodying those themes for each epagomenal day.

-Using those themes, I wrote 4 to 5 questions for each day to guide my reflections on that day. The questions invite personal development. For example, two of the themes for Heru-wer’s day were “victory” and “courage”. From these, the questions, “What do I fear?”, “What are my goals?” and “Why I will succeed anyway(what are my strengths)?” were born. These overlap with the other two themes as well. Making sure questions address multiple themes ensures that I had only 4 to 5 questions, and not 50.

-For each celebration, before eating the offerings, I meditate. I contemplate the themes. Then, I read the questions, think about them, and write the answers on small strips of paper. I placed the paper in a jar I painted a sickly green (in my head, Apep/uncreation is a sickly yellow-green and/or blueish black).

-On Wep Ronpet, I will write the “positive” things and things that give me direction (e.g. plans to overcome any negatives) on card stock. I’ll refer to them regularly during the year. I’ll rewrite the “negative” things on paper strips and put them back in the jar.

– I’ll soak the papers in a little wine in that jar, screw the lid on tight, and write the major themes from the “negatives” with a black sharpie on the outside of the jar while the paper soaks up the wine.

– The jar goes in a ziplock bag with the air squeezed out (and placed inside another bag in case any rips happen). I’ll smash the jar and its contents with a hammer. Finally, I’ll throw the whole mess away. Execration complete. Enjoy cake.

Thoughts on cultivating wisdom. Today, some of things I thought about were “How can I cultivate my own wisdom?” and “How can I be more just/live Ma’at?” I came to the conclusion that wisdom is largely a product of (a) having experiences (which may mean actively seeking out experiences), (b) being self-aware and observant during those experiences, and (c) reflecting on the experience afterwards. I don’t think its a failsafe plan, but I think its a good place to start.  After some reflection, I also concluded that a large part of justice often entails kindness. I want to collect these thoughts and make a separate post on them later, but I figured they were worth mentioning now.

Self-awareness. During both today’s and yesterday’s meditations, I realized how much the experiences in the past year have changed me and made me aware of the full extent of some of my traits (good and bad). A different environment highlights different aspects of the self that were before unseen or peripheral. While we all grow and change constantly, the next year or so of my life will possibly expedite this process, painful as it may be. And yet, I’ve come to find that this painful pushing often lends itself to an overall well-being and sense of happiness, accomplishment, and confidence.

Setting a date for Wep Ronpet

cardsandfeather:

More links to help you set Wep Ronpet, and some helpful thoughts on the process.

Originally posted on thefisherfool:

For the past year, I’ve been following the Kemetic Orthodox calendar, and it’s fantastic as a guideline because good friggin lord are there a lot of holidays.

As for when the New Year starts, though, I’m jumping traces for the next few days from their calculation to one for my own area.

I don’t actually know what I’m looking at on these things, but I’ve used the websites below to arrive at a ballpark:

http://astro.unl.edu/classaction/animations/ancientastro/heliacalrisingsim.html

This one you choose your star, town’s latitude, choose the start of twilight, and the click around the dates bar. I like this one as a start because it’s visual data, you can see the fade that represents twilight.

After that getting the most likely few days, I went to this one:

http://www.timeanddate.com/sun/usa/new-york

It gives 3 seperate types of twilight, astronomical twilight, nautical twilight, and civil twilight. Civil twilight it’s already too light, so I…

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Creating a Calendar: One Possible Method

Introduction
I’ve gone quite a while (7 years) celebrating just a few, sparse holidays: Wep Ronpet, an Akhu festival, and a moment of reflection at the two solstices (while not inherently Kemetic, I am a nature lover at heart and always incorporate a few natural cycles into my practice). Needless to say, my religious year is a quiet one. During the year, when secular or Christian holidays were celebrated, I had always thought it would be nice if they had some religious meaning for me. Without holidays that are religiously meaningful, its up to the holidays of my country and/or culture to celebrate and remind me of my religious values or events via their own themes (which may or may not be directly important to me).

The idea of creating my own calendar was daunting, for the reasons outlined in this post. If you don’t know too much about the Kemetic calendar, I recommend you read that post before continuing to this one; it will give you a reference point. This morning, I FINALLY sat down and created my own calendar. For those of you hoping to do this yourselves, I’d like to share with you how I did it, just as one possible approach you might have at your disposal. For those of you have who have already created their calendar, if you have any input, I would really love to get it. My method uses some UPG and less strictly-reconstructionist methods, but I’ll tell you when that occurs and you can decide what you think. More

Just dropping in

It appears as if I’ve been away for quite a while.

Life’s happened (like graduate school…the teaching chapter of my life is at a close). In many ways, I’ve distanced myself from the pagan community (in general but also the Kemetic online community as well). Maybe its because I focus on piety rather than magic. Maybe its because my practice has moved away from fledgling and into something growing “older”. Maybe its because I got tired of “the drama”. Maybe its because I’ve gotten so busy with work and school and things that this is just one thing that fell away.

Its been so long since I’ve really “hit the papyri” (see what I did there?) that I feel I’m rather rusty when it comes to a lot of it.

But I will say this…I’ve eeked out time to slowly come back, and it affords me a clarity and a connection that I need. It keeps a lot of things in perspective…the big picture. And it reminds me of my roots and where to place my leaves to capture the little rays of light that trickle down from the canopy to my humble underbrush.

Its especially helpful when I can spend more than a fleeting second in meditation or reflection or prayer or devotion, but sometimes that’s all I’ve got. Even then, its refreshing.

Its made me want to reach out again to the online community. But the Kemetic community seeks quiet nowadays. I’m not on Facebook (nor do I desire to be). Does anyone know of anyplace that has a little bit of “bustle” to it?

I have to say that I feel my agnosticism lies at the heart of my Fallow Times. But, that’s a post for another day.

I wish I could say I will make it. I suppose we will have to see. The only research I’ll have time for will be school-related these days, so the days of reading and writing in this venue will have to wait. But with the theoretical and literature-based approach on hold, maybe its time to awaken the empiricist within? ;)

Perils of Scripturalisation

Originally posted on Peaceful Awakenings: Reflections of Egypt:

I read a lot of blogs from a variety of religious perspectives (and a lot that don’t touch on religious subjects at all), as I’ve mentioned. And one of the things I saw recently was talking about prophets, and continuing revelation, and what does it mean for a thing to be scripture.

(It means trouble. With a capital T, and that rhymes with … oh, someone else finish this filk for me, I have systematic theological analysis to write.)

I tend towards the opinion that one of the things that separates pagan religious experience from a lot of mainstream religious experience is this lack of scripture, and everything that comes with it. (Though of course this is one of those places that people get stuck on when converting, because there is no Holy Book to look to for immediate guidance.)

We have ancient texts, but these are not scripture. They…

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Aset and Set

Originally posted on Fiercely Bright One:

Set was the brother of Aset and her siblings Wesir, Nebet Het, and Heru Wer. His parents were Geb and Nut. His wife was Nebet Het and his son by her was Yinepu. His other consorts were Nit, and the Semitic goddesses Anat and Astarte. Sobek, the crocodile god was the son of Nit and Set. Like Nebet Het, Set was associated with “drunkenness, violence and other forms of liminality” (Siuda, 16; footnote 63).

Set was the god of the desert, foreign lands, storms, strength and male sexuality. Set was originally a god of Kingship alongside Heru Wer. As far back as the Pyramid Texts, he is said to have murdered Wesir which allowed Wesir to become King of the Duat.

Set was also the only god who could slay Apep each night on his journey with Ra in the Sun Bark. He was especially venerated in Upper Egypt and…

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Falling of the horse

Sometimes, there is so much going on in life that the simplicity of scheduled routine is the best coping mechanism. Regularity is comforting and stabilizing. Spiritual schedules are a strong anchor in such times.  But lately, its been hard to muster the energy. Of course, faith isn’t the only productive routine that’s fallen by the way side. I haven’t seen a gym or had a go in the kayak in months. But that’s another story for another time.

Its been one thing after another in every sphere of life; when one realm of my reality begins to return to normal, another realm gets thrown off track. Its gotten to the point where I’m so scattered, I’m now making mistakes that create problems. Wonderful.

And piety is fantastic, but prayer, devotion, ritual, and meditation don’t solve anything in and of themselves. They just provide a mental environment conducive to better choices, stronger focus, and a more objective perspective. They feed your ka. They make waiting a little more bearable. There’s so much waiting right now. I hate that.

So why can’t I bring myself to do it? Don’t get me wrong, I’ll sit in the woods and meditate twice a week. I’ll pray informally every day. Every now and again I still light incense and a little water on my shrine. But to do a formal ritual, with flowers and food as offerings and a purifying bath and historical hymns or contemporary prose–I crave it but for some reason I’m just too restless to complete it.

Even now, I’m looking over at my shrine as I write. I’m upset by my neglect; I reprove myself regularly for letting it get to this point, but interestingly enough have failed to take action. I need to wash the little icons, launder the altar cloth, clean the burner, buy fresh candles. And honestly, use it at least once a week again. Things could get out of whack in the past, but my connection to my values and my Netjeru kept me grounded.

It used to be the center of my day, my practice, my routine. Now its peripheral. Its the random offering here and there when the longing or the shame remind me of what I’ve not made time for. There’s incense there still, left unburnt from the week before. Like so many other things, its in limbo. Its lingering, waiting to be used. I hate waiting.

Maybe if I get the center back in order, the rest of the chaos will be more easily managed.

I’m beginning to think I fall off of so many horses because I have crappy saddles. Time for the remount.

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