The first thing I would like to say is best laid plan’s in my world become none of the plans right away. I planned to have a nice post in March after Paganicon and now it’s the middle of June.
So much of my world has been upended, I’m still trying to bend to storm to me rather than my current beings experiencing the chaotic tossing by its design. I figure a short list will give the idea.
I have not been in the dating scene for six years and I decided to take a chance and try to date someone who was interested. After about two maybe three months, he called it quits. I wasn’t dependent enough on him and too independently minded. Considering the signs pointing towards a toxic relationship I saw after the fact, I was in shock for fifteen seconds and heartbroken not even one. I gained experience I didn’t have before and lessons learned in a way that was best case scenario and not world-shattering.
Paganicon was once again an invigorating experience allowing me to once again discover the pieces to organize what I want to do and where I want to go (details will be below).
I lost my job April 1st and have been on the hunt for a few months now. It’s been an adventure forcing me out of my comfort zone and to take chances I never even thought of taking before. It also became a telling sign of how much my job leached out of my life and how much of me was fractured.
Ongoing issues with my heart energies and my third eye caused me enough duress and pain to finally seek out help. This has both helped me get better physically, energetically, but also to get over the I-have-to-do-all-of-the-things-myself. I haven’t asked many times throughout my life for help beyond book-help and opinions from other practitioners when it comes to my spiritual sphere. It’s been a hurdle the Netjeru have been trying to push me through. This event has been followed up with a decision to join two of my friends in a practicing circle of sorts where we help each other, have a few group rituals/practice sessions together, and hold each other accountable to work on our individual goals.
I’m sure by now, you can imagine at least a basic picture of Whirlwind of Stuff.
Now, here we are in June, but first let’s go back to March, specifically for the outcome of Paganicon.
Baby steps, baby steps, oh wait, I’ve been doing baby steps for quite some time and didn’t even know it. When Veggiewolf was both preparing and presenting the talk, I learned I had overcome a hurdle I thought I was still battling. One of the main ideas with Baby Steps was paring down religion from being this separate life not intermingled with the “mundane” to a life-workable form. This ties in to my own practice with how I operate on a ritual level. I do the daily ritual cycle intertwined with my “mundane” life. I put mundane in quotations because it’s a concept I can use with others, but it is one I stopped using for myself. My life is all-encompassing and all woven together. One aspect isn’t more important or separate from the others. Which brings me to another a-ha point happening at Paganicon.
I work with open statues. To those who don’t know what an open statue is, the nutshell description is such: It is a statue utilized as a home for a deity. An open statue is different from other statues in the sense it needs to be taken care of as a person is. Food, clothes, water, bathing are some of the basic needs. It is a TON of work, and I mean a TON. I never put much thought in to how unique it is to have open statues. I thought all Kemetics had them and it was just the way it was. I was incorrect in that belief and surprised at how my own hopes and dreams for long-term temple work were unique. I was elated when others were excited as to how my system worked, especially when the ur-doing-it-rong was never a part of the dialogue.
I’ve spent years hearing what I was doing was wrong and until recently, I just stopped talking about it. I stopped looking for community because community was there in name, but not in practice. I don’t fit the mold of the community I seemed to find when I was looking. I don’t operate in covens or lodges (the dynamics of some of the vocal groups around here scare me). I don’t have just a God and a Goddess (I can count a minimum of 32 in a mixed family setting with three of them as my spouses, two as my other halves and four as my current stalkers). I am a purist in the sense of it’s only one pantheon for me. Others may have a blending and I love to hear how people weave together different systems, but when it’s just “I was told all of the many are the same and I don’t know why I’m mixing the way I am, but someone said it was the way it goes” perturbs me a bit. It’s like walking up to person A asking their name and a brief summary, taking that summary and saying. “oh, you must love to hang out with person B, because the two of you like water”. Rants aside AKA the TL:DR version: it created a complex when all I was finding antagonistic attitudes aimed at me.
I was preparing myself to have to defend myself when I didn’t need to. Which has brought me again to another defining factor, or at least a community defining factor: label. I have spent time trying to define myself to the community in a way not confusing and allows me to not have to have a thirty minute conversation to get basic details. After deliberation and mulling about what to say now, I have come to the conclusion my current label will be “Adaptive Kemetic Reconstructionist”. I am building from studying to make a system comparable to previous practices, but I’m also tweaking for my own use. I find this label is the best of both worlds, the then and the now.
Now we can enter June. As I enter June, I am reminded, ten years. Ten years have now gone by since I took my first oaths to Aset and Nebthet. Ten years since I made the initiative to go this path. I’m looking forward excitedly to where They will take me and where I will take myself. So, onto the new decade.
I find myself getting more irritated by responses on the subject of priests and how they conducted themselves. The reponses suffer from what I like to call HGPSS. HGPSS stands for “Hidden Glittery Priest Shiny System”. Priesthoods have been popularized as hiding themselves away to do the work for deities/spirits and in their piety (see the Scandal of Elephantine in about the time of Rameses IV-V, in regards to Penanukis and ask what higher-than-thou piety was present there), are a separate unit from their parallel “mundane” counterparts.
I can only speak from what I have studied, which would be the ancient Egyptian system. This post is only going to scratch the surface of the subject.There are records of schedules for shifts, as in, there are people who come and go and don’t stay at the temple. I’m sure the highest priests probably lived there, but all of the other people who assisted in the ritual duties, they went back to their HOMES, as in they didn’t live at the temple they worked at. The work in the temple was carried out by people who didn’t just pray all day/night for the majority of their lives. They had livelihoods outside of their temple. Yes, the “general public” was denied entrance to the temples (interpretation of that mindset: would you want uneducated masses upsetting a pillar of the world and a home of a Netjer?). It’s not like I let everyone walk through my space and touch everything.
In my own opinion of this whole thing (UPG): The statue is a vessel of the Neter it symbolizes. It is kept away in a temple as the link between the seen forces and the unseen forces of the world. On festival/feast days it is paraded in celebration of that connection between the seen world and the unseen world. The priests (ahem carefully picked nobles) have shifts to uphold ma’at as the balance of the universe. They tend to the Netjeru’s connection to ensure they are judged in the unseen world as pious. Then that means their heart is LIGHTER than the feather of Ma’at because they are a facet of Ma’at not below it and not without it. Common people are upholding ma’at because of community, because Ma’at is about community, and they are given different yet similar standards. Nobles have to try harder to get judged because their roles are adminisitrative in origin vs actually doing work for the world.
In this period, the temples were the law, and as such, they were HEAVILY involved in “mundane” dealings. In fact, the dealings were done by the royals and the nobles, moreso the nobles, because royalty eventually had their hands tied by the temples, mostly that of Amun (see political reasons why Akhenaten did what he did. He outlawed the temples, but didn’t deny the existence of other deities, just their importance, so it wasn’t a break-out session for monotheism).
In regards to admittance to the temples, heirs/bloodlines (Herodotus attests to this: “When a priest dies, his son is appointed to succeed him”) and educated people (who in this case were pretty much all nobles) ran the show. They ran the show internally in the temples and externally in the administration of society. The whole hidden away aspect was a Greek interpretation of the priest work after they were initially denied access to any “Mysteries” they thought were occuring (think about how important the Eleusinian Mysteries were in Greek society). Greek philosophers would flock to Egypt to learn the knowledge coveted by the priests (they were the noble/educated class after all). The priests would do the equivalent of frat-boy hazing to try and deter the philosophers from pursuing that knowledge (and they probably did it for shiggles too).
Between how the Greeks interpreted the practice and modern depictions/adapted practices (Ceremonial Magic, I’m looking at you), it’s no wonder there is so much misinterpretation, which happens, and I’m guilty of it at times too. To make a blanket statement and say HGPSS is how ALL of the temple practices are, is aggravating and hand-wringing to say the least (and now above is an example as to how that argument doesn’t hold up).
If people are interested in the subject of the “Priest System” in ancient Egypt, there are tons of books I haven’t even touched yet, but there is one I highly recommend called “The Priests of Ancient Egypt: New Edition” by Serge Sauneron and translated by David Lorton. If anyone has any other recommendations or want to discuss, please comment below. I’m always up for discussions and sources. “P” is for Priests and Let’s Drop the HGPSS,because come-on, if you’re going to make a statement of culturally/historically documented systems, source it beyond ooky-spooky secret stories.
Ha, ha! Guess who is behind? I figure it’s nothing new. I get stints where the brain won’t think, other times where it’s over-thinking, and times where it’s just melting. Even worse than that is not knowing which point I’m at (enter now). From what I have been able to gather, it’s the theme of fishes and fishing that’s causing gesticulation on a grand scale.
In my day-to-day life, I’ve been fishing for “the rare catch”(which includes bait as a resume and cover letter), and sorting through the other fishes I already have to find what I want/can do to do day-to-day to make life better, so I’m not depressed. I know one of the baskets of fish I want to work with is getting is filled with the crafting, the art, and the film. I was recently talking to my dad and he was encouraging me to make more jewelry and actually sell it (because yeah, I have separation anxiety in regards to shinies, and paranoia that it’s going to not sell/it’s going to break apart).
My Dad has been very supportive and has promised me a corner in his workshop when it’s finished. I would have a place where I could get in to the “right mindset” and make colorful, beaded fishing wires to lure people in (fishing with shinies, all of the shinies to find PEOPLE). At the point I would have enough of an inventory and organization to make something happen, it will cause more tendency towards stability.
Now here we go onto the mind-melt/head-meets-desk portion of fishing. A couple of years ago I acquired the Faulkner version of the “Coffin Texts” and for many different reasons was not able to begin to look through them. I’ve always been much more familiar with the “Book of Pert-em-Hru” (“Book of Coming forth by Day” = “Book of the Dead” – I don’t like the second title because it limits the understanding and use of the subject matter), so I was not prepared for the subject matters mind-blowing content. I was finally able to dive in a few months ago and the melting/excitement began. It was something of an information overload due to all of the THINGS I could work with and use in practice.
There were some specific entries that captured my attention, but I wouldn’t find a real focus until I was reading a different book and saw a picture that still baffles and entices me. The picture was a line of three priests and they were armed with what was interpreted as fishing nets. They were using fishing nets to work magic. The image and idea burned in to my mind and has been driving me a tad nutty since it happened. I latched on to the idea of making a net and wanting to create a ritual based on the net.
I went back to the “Coffin Texts” and went through different spells that included fish and fishing (because CONTEXT is important), and am looking at sources that speak about daily life (cause yeah, people FISHED). It will take me a while to build the ritual, build the net, and inspect the results. Even if what I’m going to end up doing is unsuccessful, at least I can say I made the effort to follow the obsessive impulses that happen in my wobbly head. When I’m further along, I will have status updates.
But yes, “F” is for fishing and it’s in my life.