Moving Wep Ronpet

My practice is constantly changing.

Sometimes, I go into “super scholar mode”. I become engrossed by some particular topic and go to the library, scour forums, even try looking on EBSCO host or primary sources to satiate my curiosity. I try to make my practice more historically accurate. Then, I might go months without picking up a book–but I pray 5 days a week, meditate a lot, contemplate often, try to be more appreciative and reflective each day. I try to make my practice more reflective of who I really am rather than historically accurate.

Holidays are one of the things that seem to cause me some problems. Our seasons are different, many holidays have scant information (though this isn’t always the case, thank God!), our cultures are different for so many reasons, and so on.

I often wonder whether I should change the timing of the holidays to be more relevant with where I live, though in the end I decided against this. I desired a more historically accurate calendar. It was easier, and its nice to get a baseline before you start experimenting.

I went to the West and toured New Mexico and Arizona in April of 2012. I realized how if certain things are missing in your world experience, you run the risk of never truly understanding a concept, Netjer, or action from another people. I have never known the glory of Shu until I sat alone in the desert, the spring sun bright, the horizon wider than I’d ever known it, the air bright and pregnant with light. I thought, “How can I ever really get to the heart of these celebrations without certain experiences? Like the processions down the Nile or the flooding of the Nile?” I don’t depend on a River for my food. I don’t know what its like to see the waters creep and smuggle in both the promise of life and the stench of disease.

Then, I did a “special” devotion on January 1st. Granted, my NYE wasn’t all I’d hoped….but I spent it with people I know love me, and they did their best to show it. In the end, it was where I needed to be. I drank a little whiskey, counted down the hours, and woke up the next day to see everyone’s resolutions on Facebook. I reflected on my 2013 and went over to my little shrine. I brought my breakfast there–the first meal of my 2014. The first food I ate in this new year. I thought of all the pots I have boiling on my proverbial stove–all the goals I hope to meet and all the habits I hope to continue or create. And I shared my meal because I want Them there, I want Them as much a part of me and of 2014 as They have always been. I view Them rather abstractly; I don’t think I see Them as other Kemetics do (though I cannot be sure and really don’t care; it causes me no anguish). But despite my agnosticism, there are ways I feel They are “there”, manifesting somehow in the world, even if They aren’t really there, independently of my perceptions. And I want Them to continue to be there.

A new year is a new beginning; everyone accepts this. Everywhere, people are looking back, looking forward, planning, scheming, hoping. They talk about it–what they want, what they’ll drink, who they’ll kiss at midnight (or who they won’t). Its a cultural phenomena that makes winter feel fresh. Its more magical to me than Christmas, for sure. It means something real–mathematical. Again, we move forward in time. Same as last year, only different. Let’s try again. Let’s keep going. There’s a secular spirituality about it.

This is probably as close to what Wep Ronpet really felt like as you can get. Yea, we see the New Year in a very different way–there’s no real religious connotation. There are no gods to be born. There’s no promise of fertility (though we aren’t an agricultural society…so that point may well be moot). But we do attempt to renew ourselves. We do attempt to rid ourselves of our demons and attempt to bring ourselves luck. We try to improve our selves and situations–I’ve seen articles for “cleaning your career” and keeping your resolutions as well as how to spend more time with your family. In an American way, we execrate.

Void of these external, cultural cues (the resolutions, the plans, the reflection on the past year, the theme of beginning again), New Years would seem empty. But when everyone joins together to ring in the New Year, a head space is not only born but made real…damn near physical. Because its a collective psychological phenomena. You don’t get that with solitary practice. The online community only does so much.

My devotional that day was extraordinarily fulfilling. Now I’m wondering how to celebrate both Wep Ronpet and New Years Day as holidays–perhaps Wep Ronpet as a new beginning in one sector of life (Sodpet still rises at this time of year, and I greatly enjoy celebrating a birth a day for five days) and New Years as another. Or perhaps I could combine them? This would totally wonk out my other celebrations…and I like a good timeline. I don’t think I want to celebrate the Mysteries before I celebrate the birthday of Wesir.

I haven’t worked all that out yet. But I know this…the ability to tie my spiritual exercises with an external, cultural celebration enhanced both celebrations. And I want to capitalize on that. Besides…when you drink your whiskey on NYE, you get the feeling you are celebrating just like the religious ancients 😉 You can’t party by yourself!

 

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