The topic I’ve chosen for this week is ‘Graeco-Roman Kemetic’, a phrase that I’m tentatively using to describe my path (or what will eventually become my path). It sounds like a strange description, and perhaps something at odds with many reconstructionists who might think I’m somehow doing it wrong to have a syncretic path of these three cultures/religions, rather than follow a pure path. But I’ve been glomped on by too many different Gods from all three cultures to avoid syncretism anymore.
I’ve been a Kemetic practitioner for most of my Pagan life. Isis was the first Goddess I ever had any experience with, before Djehuty and Sobek came along. I learnt Egyptian religion and theology, I learnt the ritual style, the language, and cosmogony. I was born of Kemetic Gods; my heart and soul belong to Them above all others. I am Egyptian first.
But at the same time, I have Aset/Isis drawing me to Rome, and Hekate, Apollo and the Titan Muses drawing me to Greece. It’s like my Kemetic practice won’t be complete unless I somehow fuse all three together into one coherent practice. I’m still not entirely sure how to do that, but slowly, we’re getting there.
I feel a bit strange talking about it, too, because it’s not something I’ve come across, apart from Neos Alexandria, a Graeco-Kemetic group. For the most part, reconstructionist groups tend to stick to a single cultural group. And I’m sure there may be reconstructionists who might say I’m just being ‘eclectic’ and not a proper reconstructionist in wanting to fuse these three paths into a single cohesive path. But I’m not claiming to be a pure reconstructionist. Even though there was some semblance of fusion that did go on between the three religions, I’m not really looking to reconstruct that. This is partly because I’m coming at this from a Kemetic perspective, not a Roman or Greek perspective. I don’t adhere to the Roman view that other Gods are just avatars/different forms of Roman Gods.
That’s just one of the issues I’m facing. I’m having to juggle these different worldviews and find some way of dealing with it while still not just disrespecting one in favour of another. I want to be respectful to these traditions, to respect the Roman and Greek religions in trying to fuse these things together. So I’m refocussing my research on that time period when the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians intermingled and syncretic forms of religious worship were around. I don’t necessarily want to recreate that, because I doubt that’ll happen, but I want to take inspiration from that time period for my own personal worship and practice.
I know I’ll never find any one particular community that will be open enough to worship like I do, so I have to find a solitary way of doing things. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean either finding solitary rites that already exist or figuring out a way to rewrite group rites as solitary rites, so I can do them myself. But I’m nowhere near being able to do that yet. I have a lot of research to do before I would feel comfortable writing any rites.
I’m not well-versed in Roman and Greek religions, and only know of the reconstructionist groups in a vague sort of way. I’m not particularly interested in Nova Roman or any of the Hellenismos groups, but at the same time, they’re probably not bad places to look for inspiration, so I’m planning to look at them too, when I have time, to see how they do things and what I could use from them to get a better idea of how their religions work. I need that sort of thing in order to do justice to the Roman and Greek paths that are being asked of me.
I also need to brush up on my Latin and Greek. The Titan Muses would like me to learn Greek so I can write hymns for Them, at the very least, and also so I can look at Greek names and not stumble aimlessly across all those syllables. I want to be able to pronounce things properly. I also need to learn all the different religious terminology. I know how the Kemetic religion works (insomuch as there is a single thing called Kemetic religion), and I know what the words mean, I know how to approach the Gods and what words to say when offering to Them, and I know the calendar and festivals. But I don’t really know any of that about the Roman and Greek religions, so I have to learn about two new cultures and languages and maybe then I might have a better idea of where to go with syncretising them.
I know Isis wishes me to implement the Roman household rituals, with a Lares shrine and probably some sort of hearth shrine too. I’m not sure how much of the Greek religion will get implemented, but I don’t know enough to say anything is in or out yet, so we’ll see what happens with that. That’s really as far as I’ve got, along with the new moon and full moon rites for Hekate. I know I’m working primarily with Her for the next year, but it feels appropriate to continue to honour Her after that time. Apart from Kemetic-ish morning rites to Aset, Sobek, and Heru-sa-Aset, that’s all I’ve got so far. It’s very much a work-in-progress as I become more familiar with the Greek and Roman religions and begin to piece all this together. I’ll probably post any insights I have here as I go along, because if anything else, I want this site to also serve as a Book of Shadows, insomuch as it has a decent picture of my path, and that includes things like this.