Maker of Kings

Not so long ago, a KRT topic came up that I just didn’t have time to write on: Does the concept of Kingship/Pharaoh impact your practice, and if so, how? It impacts my practice, but not in the traditional Kemetic way. Let me explain.

The Pharaoh had a Kingly Ka; one that would retain its “identity” so to speak after death (Naydler). The King was a Netjer on earth, responsible for the ensuring Ma’at in all of Egypt. He was expected to be fair, just, logically minded, compassionate, patient, and, when need be, fierce and fearsome.

I tend to see this as a symbol for what I should become. Perhaps its just the Tarot-reader in me, but I see the “King” in this case as something we should all embody. No, we can’t all command the economic, military, and legal affairs of a nation. But we can control ourselves, and act as a King in each of our lives, acting as an ambassador of Ma’at wherever we go. Even when we fail, as Kings often do, we should rise resilient on our journey and contemplate our failure to ensure future success.

Its at this point the Kemetic in me fades into my larger spirituality, which brought me to Kemeticism but oftentimes reaches out beyond it.

When I look at what a King is in the world of literature, mythology, and archetypes, I picture someone who has sometimes gone through many hardships to gain or keep the right to rule, though it was “destined” to always be that way. Even if the throne was his (or hers) since birth, stories need conflict! (Or in the case of Oedipus, sometimes the fact that its yours by birth brings trouble!)

Ideally, kings are to be beacons of integrity, character, intellect, diplomacy (unless you prefer Machiavellian rulers; but even by this standard, kings are to rise to their potential as a ruler and forge a better country). But they aren’t always…and they can still be good kings. Gilgamesh wasn’t the nicest guy. Alexander the great slaughtered native people in his conquering, sometimes unnecessarily. Frederick Barbarossa wasn’t too cuddly, even with that epic beard, but he did have some military prowess, conquering Italian cities and all.Ghengis Khan was violent and malicious, but he expanded and united his territories (granted you actually consider this good; for the sake of the symbolism it works. I’m an not advocating imperialism, just self-development).  But a good king obviously isn’t limited to how well he can expand and protect his territory; kings should also bring peace to their citizens, ensure that they are provided for, and take care of domestic as well as foreign affairs with agility and knowledge.

Not all leaders do all things perfectly either; one can have expand the country by whole empires while their citizens lack basic human rights. Conversely, a ruler can neglect their boundaries in favor of a happy citizenry or healthy trade relations. A good leader, in theory, balances all of these so that, in the end, his rule is balanced both with his own values and aspirations as well as with the general duties of his office.

And so the call to Kingship is for everyone; we are each to be as much a king as we can be. It is the call to fulfilling your potential. Expanding your own boundaries and ensuring that others respect them. Ambition is as much a part of kingship as altruism. Being a learned person and citizen is as well. Giving back to your community, whether by helping a sick family member, working hard at a career, helping a lost stranger, working on a campaign, or organizing a coat drive, are all ways we can embody kingship, but so is growing your assets, mastering your talents, and making sure you c.y.a. Traditionally, lusting after expertise, discipline, and wisdom are traits of good leaders. Ethics and morality, faith and values should be central as well.  Determination is also key, as is a sense of vision.Odin, King Authur, Ashoka, Hatsheput, Odysseus,Ghengis Khan, Queen Elizabeth, Charlemagne, Konrad AdenauerToyotomi Hideyosh…all have strengths and weaknesses as leaders, and all did great things for their country in some way.

The call to kingship is similar for us. We have a call, despite our shortcomings, to improve ourselves and our world. To bloom our potential. For some, the call may be more communal than for others. Everyone is different, but we can all be a king.

Returning to Kemeticism, I think that a leader is needed in any community. But a leader isn’t a “boss”; one can lead while having no formal power whatsoever and while never once attempting to overthrow establishment. A leader shows you what should be done; they are there with you, taking the first steps into uncharted territory or taking the first few blows.

So, getting back to KRT: this isn’t really a post about religious authority. Do I feel some people have it? Yes, certainly there are others more enlightened than I, and I would be remiss not to heed their advice or solutions. But seeing as my version of Kemeticism is comprised of only me, and seeing as my faith is mine and private, I recognize the king in others as often as I can; but ultimately, I try to become my own king. As such, I take literature written in Ancient Egypt aimed at how kings should behave or what they can achieve and attempt to make it applicable to myself, if possible. Yes, I realize that’s a lot of woo. But its true.

Dua Aset, Maker of Kings

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