Why I’m Boycotting Lughnasadh Again

The Allergic Pagan

I remember when I was in high school and Indiana changed its license plate to include the phrase “Amber Waves of Grain”.  It pissed people off.  I mean, really pissed people off.  Because in Indiana, we grow corn and soybeans, not wheat.  While technically corn is a grain, it’s not amber.  While the phrase was poetic, it just did not speak of “home” to the people of the Hoosier State.  That’s kind of how I feel about Lughnasadh.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Louise Pare-Lobinske
    Jul 24, 2017 @ 20:53:10

    Interesting blog post. Have you figured out how to respond to it as a Kemetic? I left a little partly-smart-aleck (and partly serious) note on the original. I do experience a little dissonance in my own celebrations; I wish so hard that it was ancient Egypt! And this can be fun and interesting in its own right, but eventually I’m probably going to get frustrated. I feel like I should be able to write a blog post in reaction to this post, but not entirely sure where it would go, as yet. Thanks for reblogging this; it’s definitely given me something to think about. 🙂


  2. cardsandfeather
    Jul 25, 2017 @ 15:20:02

    I’m glad you enjoyed the post! How to address this issue as a Kemetic is something I’ve been working on for a while. Its a long answer, but I’m glad you’ve made me think about it. In sum, I first found instances where my environmental events fit Kemetic holidays. However, eventually I just changed my Kemeticism. At this point, my practice is more “Kemetically inspired” than actually Kemetic.

    Overall, learning how to veer from the “script” would be the thing that has helped me most – understanding the “core” ideas that compose a deity or festival or event and then allowing myself to find them in the world around me – even if it doesn’t exactly match with the texts you read or the right time of the year. Let me show you what I mean by going through an evolution of my practice in the past three years.

    About three years ago, the disconnect wasn’t too bad. I work mostly with Aset and Wesir, who, from my reading, became popular with laity in the delta region. At the time, I was living in South Louisiana, a delta area with many rivers and lakes. Our principle cash crop (sugar cane) was harvested and immediately replanted between September and December. This aligned pretty well with the Mysteries of Wesir. Our summers were also sweltering – killing a lot of vegetation, but by no means all of it – so our summer (Kemet’s Shemu) was relatively similar, too. However, it meant a lot was lacking outside of the autumn and late summer, and it also meant a lot of cool natural events couldn’t be celebrated in my Kemetic context. For example, when the pecan trees bloom, most people see it as a sign that there won’t be anymore hard frosts that winter (it’s like an unofficial start of spring). We also have a TON of cypress…and its beautiful. I wanted to express that beauty ritually, spiritually, but its hard to find a Kemetic correspondence to these events.

    So, I spent a lot of time trying to “stretch” the correspondences between Kemetic myth and the seasonal events of my home. I began to let other personal parts of my spirituality come into my Kemeticism. At times they aligned well enough. For example, I was able to celebrate the blooming of the pecan trees once I connected it to the Egyptians ideas surrounding trees (givers of life in the Duat; an acaia housed Wesir’s body for a time after his murder). Using the associations with Wesir and the idea of trees as givers of life, I was able to celebrate the rejuvenation of the pecan trees as a physical metaphor for the the conception of Heru when Aset find’s Wesir’s body. Secondly, I connected Wesir most strongly to cypress trees – they live in the lake and river water…they don’t drown. These allowed me to celebrate my natural events while (loosely) connecting them to Kemetic themes. I will admit though…you can only stretch so much before it begins to feel inauthentic.

    Then, I moved further north. Less lakes, way less rivers, hardly any cypress, no more sugar cane…but a lot more innovation. Innovation that began to make me a little uncomfortable…how Kemetic WAS I, at this point? And if I was innovating that much, was Kemeticism still meeting my needs? I kept these questions at the back of my head, but continued on with changing my practice.

    Lately, I’ve gotten to where I might call upon a Netjeru to celebrate something of completely local significance that I think fits their job description. For example, I always think of Aset when it rains. There’s still many lakes, but they aren’t surrounded by cypress. They are surrounded by pine. I still connect trees to Wesir, but I focus on pine trees due to how they reproduce, their sheer abundance, and how I always see them standing tall over the lakes. There are also times where I’ve gotten more comfortable celebrating natural events without direct Kemetic correspondences. In general, when I am trying to “Keep it Kemetic”, I look for the same themes found in the Kemetic calendar in the world around me. These typically center around predictable/major changes – the harvesting of a crop, natural events that are both destructive and yet restorative (like the flooding of the Nile), the importance of water, etc. This does mean that at times, I celebrated things at completely the wrong time (once I celebrated Wep Ronpet on the winter solstice), that I celebrate things that were never celebrated at all, or that -drum roll – don’t really have any Kemetic significance other than the fact that I might sometimes invite a Netjer to the observance.. I’m ok with that though.

    Currently, my Kemeticism is from where I draw my gods, many symbols, myths, and often my ethics, but I have started to allow Druidry to guide the nuts and bolts of my practice. This does mean that, in some ways, I’ve come to see some Netjeru a little differently than how most other Kemetics might view them, but I would argue the core themes of their personas are the same. At some point, they might NOT be the Netjeru anymore..maybe my understanding of them will shift so much, it will no longer be “Netjer”…I know some people might not feel Aset is not connected to the rain. I guess that’s the danger in my approach…I’m ok with making changes that could one day leave the label far behind. I’ve also been getting more comfortable with my identity as an agnostic (if not an atheist) and as a pragmatist. How I see the gods has shifted – they are less like people and more like archetypes or literal forces of the world. This has really helped me to be comfortable seeing the Netjeru in the (non-desert) world around me, but it has also lead me to mash up different practices (which makes some people nervous).


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