I don’t know why I wanted to do this topic more than any other this week. It has come to mind as I’ve embarked on this year of path-building. I’ve been taking a look back over my beliefs and practices, trying to sort out what I want to keep and what to ditch. In switching from reconstructionism to syncretism, too, I have to unlearn a lot about how I do things, and shift my mind into a different place.
Perhaps it’s one of those processes that’s vital to do properly when you’re converting from one religion to another, to dissect the old beliefs, figure out why they’re not relevant anymore, make peace with them, and let them go. I knew I needed to do that in particular with Kemetic Orthodoxy, to shift out of that way of doing things as completely as I could so I could begin path-building with as much of a clean slate as I could.
I’d like to say it’s been a pleasant process, but it hasn’t, really. Breaking with the past is hard, particularly when they were things you believed, but don’t believe now. You look back with different eyes, and see different things. Kemetic Orthodoxy gave me enough of a solid grounding in Kemetic religion to enable me to do this kind of path-building now, and for that I’ll be forever grateful. But it’s not a religion I could ever adhere to again, I don’t think. We have too many theological disagreements. Same with me and Catholicism. And Judaism, to a certain extent, though I admit it would be my monotheism of choice if I was in a situation where I had to pick one or die.
Unlearning monolatry was part of this process. The shift to a more globally polytheistic worldview makes it pretty much impossible for me to exclude any pantheons or Gods. My worldview has to shift outside of Egypt, so I can’t hold to a Kemetic-specific view of Deity. Becoming a (mostly hard) polytheist is something of a necessity, given all the different Gods from different parts of the world I deal with. I’m still not entirely convinced monolatry works with the Egyptian Gods either, but that’s an argument for another time. Instead, I’m just going to leave it behind for those who find it useful. For me, it’s outlived its usefulness.
Questioning the usefulness of UPG within my path and the reconstructionist method were two more of those things in my ‘unlearning’ process. I kind of came to the realisation that reading about how the Gods were historically was not the same thing as experiencing them Right Now, and the Right Now was more important to me than whether or not it adhered to a historical precedent. It feels like I’m invalidating my own experiences because they aren’t based on historical precedent. But that’s just how I feel about it. Not expecting anyone to agree with me on that.
Getting out of that mindset that compares the Right Now to the past is still something I’m working on. I need to find a way to balance the two, to make sure I am respecting the Gods and what They traditionally are like, while not getting so caught up in the Right Now that I’ve veered off into Out-Of-Character terrority. I think there needs to be a balance there to do polytheism right in this day and age, at least for the way I want my practice to be.
Another thing I needed to leave behind was the Parent/Beloved framework. I had Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset leading me into a place where those Kemetic Orthodox-specific concepts became useless. So shedding that had to happen. And that, I think, has been the hardest thing to unlearn, and adapt to a new practice outside that context. Separating out ways of conceptualising God relationships and finding a way to talk about them in a way that doesn’t feel appropriative. (Yes, I worry about that a lot. I don’t like misrepresenting myself.)
Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, and I know that Words Mean Things, so I’m careful about using words in such a way that isn’t appropriate. Perhaps I care too much. I don’t know. I’m willing to admit this might be one of those things I have a tendency to overthink. I do that a lot. At some point, I should just let it be.
…I’m not sure this is the Best Ending Ever. I’ve drafted and redrafted this a few times now, and I’m still not entirely happy with it. But in the interests of getting it finished and posted, this will do. The next two are about veils! Veils and veiling and shrines and headcoverings! 😀 I’ve got a bit more inspiration for those. XD