Response from Paganicon in regards to Community
This is my hardest post to date to write in regards to both the content and the psychological stress. Words can really be finicky. If I put words together in particular ways, the message I’m attempting to convey can be lost, misinterpreted, or even ignored. Granted, there is no such thing as a 100% success rate in the receipt of messages for their original intent. The impossibility of perfection and the burning need to speak out is exactly why I mustered the courage to finally stand up and speak to the community at large.
I am a part of many communities, but I will address the one I’m currently honed in on for this post.
I am a Kemetic. I am a Kemetic in a Kemetic community. I do not make the choices of who belongs in my community nor do other Kemetics have the right to exclude me. We can bully, we can attempt to corral, to assimilate, to correct, to influence others we don’t agree with on the current issue of the day. It doesn’t change the fact that we exist in a similar space and work with similar practices, tools, and rituals. Coexistence is key for us. An impenetrable bubble is the fastest way to unmake ourselves. A crop not allowed to finish a cycle of growth rots away in its roots. A temple’s foundation cracks and the temple crumbles from erosion from time and consistent inattention. However, the crops need to be sown and some temples need to crumble to rebuild.
I have long limited expressing my opinion to safe spaces where I would not feel threatened for speaking my mind. I was taught to make peace even if the result was undesired. As time has gone on, I found that not speaking leads to perpetuation and acceptance of what is around me. This doesn’t work for me any longer.
The story starts with the experience I had at the most recent Paganicon. When the Guests of Honor were first announced I saw a name I was familiar with who belongs to the Kemetic community. I was not aware of the reason for Ms. Siuda to be at the conference was to promote a book on Haitian Vodou she wrote under her name as Mambo T Chita Tann. I was aware of her interest in African Diaspora, but was not aware of her journey as a Mambo congruent to her role as the God-King of the Kemetic Orthodoxy.
It was due to this ignorance on my part to put my plans on hold to work on a lecture, because I assumed that if the Nisut of KO was at Paganicon, there was going to be at least three things already Kemetic happening, and I have a firm belief of Paganicon as a place for interfaith work between the many branches of Paganism/Polytheism/Magical Practices/etc. Oh, how I was ignorant.
The day came for the conference. I only vaguely looked at the schedule before that time, because the time-slots changed in the past between the initial schedule and day one. I’m sure people can imagine my surprise when I didn’t see anything hosted by Ms Siuda in regards to Kemeticism. In fact, I really didn’t see ANYTHING remotely close to representing Kemeticism in a singular form (however many of the other programming items were useful and fun, and for that I thank the speakers of those lectures whose presentation subject material and styles were made for interfaith work, because I would have stayed disheartened and not enjoyed myself). It was Saturday morning when I would finally see an item related to Kemeticism.
I spent Friday night digesting the torrent of feelings running through my heart and my brain. On Saturday morning, a friend of mine pointed out there was something Kemetic at Paganicon. It seems there was a 2-hour salon to “Ask a Kemetic” held on Friday from 3:00PM to 5:00PM in the Sosyete Fos Fe Yo We room.
Now I’m going to be a bit selfish here. Why is the only representation from the GOD-KING in a Vodou Room where it’s a fluffy two hour “Ask a Kemetic”? Oh and by the way, it should be “Ask a Kemetic Orthodoxy Member”.
First, I guess it must be so convenient to have Ms Siuda’s Vodou lodge host the very simple 2-hour time slot for the members of KO who only need two hours to share their faith at large.
Second, thank you for going through the minimal effort to be able to say you didn’t take off the Nisut hat.
Third, for those who don’t know, there is a difference in practice and belief of members of KO versus others like myself. The only Kemetics listed (this may have changed, because I didn’t know therefore I didn’t go) were those who are part of the KO.
Now if it were me, and I was traveling to an area where because of my other work I can only have a small slot of time for Kemetic work, why wouldn’t I reach out and say, “hey who wants to join in?”, or “who knows someone who may want to join in and help us answer questions and have a fun time?”. Interfaith work can happen among Kemetics, people.
Fourth, to say “all topics” is not really a good way to phrase what will be touched upon when KO is a group who tend to shun outer studies and encompassing ideals outside of worshiping Ms Siuda’s interpretation of everything. Also, it should be mentioned that KO discourages multi-faith to the point of expulsion until recently when people can get a “stamp” that says “you’re good”. I wonder why that’s a recent development? (research, gotta love it).
When the only interfaith representation is this “salon”……….yeah…….
Like I said above, I’m being selfish.
I have dealt for a great many years being grouped, erased, and shoved-aside (Pagan Community and otherwise). One of the final messages from Paganicon was to encourage others to step forward and be heard, so there, I said it, I just said it. Now, some may say it’s my fault. I shouldn’t have assumed there was going to be Kemetic representation and gone ahead with a session. Silly me thinking that the ordained “God-King” was going to do any lecture/discussion/ritual/etc. Silly me not wanting to create confusion within interfaith work by inserting my own personally driven beliefs and practices when said “God-King” was a guest of honor.
Others may say, why didn’t I address it at the convention. I will point people to two of the guidelines listed in the program.
“Personal disagreements should be left outside of this gathering.”
“Respect presenters and attendees.”
If anyone can pick up my frustration in the above comments, you should have heard me when knee-jerk was in place. The last I needed was to confront illogically at a public event to make the situation that much worse for everyone involved. By the gods, I’m still illogical about it.
Call me a coward, I don’t care. I really don’t care what bridges I burn anymore, or what people think about me, because if that bridge is built on silence, then I’m no longer the builder. I’m no longer being included in the design of said bridge. Change doesn’t happen with complacency nor with resigned acceptance. I think change needs to happen in the lack of public activity from myself and other Kemetics like myself, or else we will forever be silent and silenced.
Hello community, I’m here for the long run.