Reflections on Polytheism

My spiritual life is a bit of a shambles at the moment, too. I’m doing my daily devotions to Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset, and that’s about it. And it’s not that I don’t mind that, because simple and ‘able to be done when half-asleep and just out of bed’ is what I like, I feel directionless. It may be that I am overthinking things, and trying to make things more complicated than they need to be. Wouldn’t be the first time. But IDK. It’s crashed into the chaos that has been the past two months, so I’m just feeling overwhelmed by it all and uninspired, and I just need some clean, fresh air to sort all this shit out.

I don’t even know what I am anymore, except a polytheist and Sobek devotee. Which is fine, but. Not recon. Not not-recon. Not Wiccish. Not, well, I don’t even know anymore.

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De-Cluttering

There’s something to be said for the power of de-cluttering. I’ve been slowly starting to go through my accumulated mass of possessions in a bid to get rid of things I no longer need. I’ve done clean-outs before, but I feel this one needs to be much more significant, because I’ve run out of room, and I can’t just rearrange a few things and throw out a bag of rubbish.

I don’t find it surprising that this has come at the same time that I’ve stripped back my practice to the bare essentials. In some ways, it’s sort of a symptom of it. I’ve spent the last week or so thinking about my practice, and what I really need to focus on. What’s important, what needs t be let go. So with religion, as with real life. So things are being let go of, and either passed on to op shops, or thrown out.

I also think this is a significant change because I think now is the time where there is more of a requirement/necessity/obligation to focus my path solely on Sobek and the work I am meant to do for Him. It didn’t matter a couple of years ago, because I was exploring, experimenting, and learning things I needed to learn. But I’m His, and this is where the work really begins. And so my practice must duly be focussed on Him.

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Kemetic Round Table: Ritual Purity

This is the first in a series of posts that is part of a new Kemetic blogging project called the Kemetic Round Table that aims to provide practical, useful information for Kemetic practitioners of any stripe from beginners to more experienced practitioners. Check the link here for more information about the project, and click here to see responses to this topic from the other bloggers taking part in this project.

Ritual purity is a common thing in many religious traditions. Indeed, many Pagan ritual formats include pre-ritual purifications, and modern Kemetic practices are no different. It’s something I got used to when I became Wiccan over a decade ago, and continued doing as I wandered around as an eclectic Kemetic Pagan for a while, and then as a Kemetic Orthodox shemsu for six years. I’ve done it in many ways, using oils in bath water to herbal rinses to incense and water and salt, to the Senut purifications that are part of the Kemetic Orthodox tradition.

Ritual purity is important, and being physically and mentally clean before approaching shrine is a good thing to do regularly. It’s something I’ve had drilled into me since I became Kemetic Orthodox, and I’ve brought that with me when I left the House a couple of years ago.

There were many ancient prohibitions and purity rules that we know of today, mainly from the Temple cults. These included rules about body hair, physical cleanliness, blood, dietary, and sexual rules, as well as what to not wear, and how to dress and prepare yourself. Shadows of the Sun has done an excellent overview of historical purity rules, so I’ll point you over there, rather than repeat them here.

For those new to this blog, while I am mostly Kemetic in my practices, I practice a Graeco-Roman-Kemetic polytheistic syncetism, and what I do will not always be strictly Kemetic, nor particularly reconstructionist. Any non-Kemetic aspects to my practice will be stated as such, so no one’s confused. Not everyone wants to do syncretism like I do, but I still think it’s important to talk about how I do things, because I think even fewer syncretists talk about this sort of thing than Kemetics do.

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General Shortform Solitary Kemetic Rite is done!

Had a bit of inspiration at last, and have written up the short form of the general solitary Kemetic rite I did a while back. I haven’t tested out the short form ritual yet, but I’ve tried to make it as short as possible, while still containing the basic elements of the longer rite. I wrote up a very short and simple purification sequence, just so there’s something there to begin with.

I wanted the short form to be useful for daily devotions, still with traditional elements, but without the trappings of a State rite, so someone who’s just starting out could use it as a base to work from as they start getting used to Kemetic ritual style. I can’t really vouch for its effectiveness just yet, because I haven’t tested it out, and I don’t like putting rites up I haven’t done yet, but I’ll do that sometime in the next week and modify it after that, if it needs it.

I have also edited the long form rite, as well, just a little bit. Mostly formatting, and a couple of optional additions.

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Updates and Revisions

I’ve been mucking about with the site again, reorganising my hymns and prayers and such into a more organised subsection regarding my practices and rituals. Part of my desire to see more accessible beginner’s material, or at least, stuff you can get started with. That, and I want to share what I do myself, so some of that will go up there, mostly in a specific Graeco-Kemetic section to keep it separate from all the Kemetic stuff.  (Though I think that’s just as important; syncretic practices are many and varied, and maybe it’d help to have a few examples of how I do it for other potential Graeco-Kemetic syncretists to use?)

I’m not intending for my stuff to be The Ultimate Kemetic Practices Guide For Total N00bs(tm), either. It’s more like one way to do things that might help you get started, if that’s the kind of thing you need. Customisable for your own particular needs. With a dose of  ‘this is how I do it, maybe  you’ll get some inspiration?’ along the way. That’s the plan, anyway.

The only rite I have up at the moment is my general solitary Kemetic ritual, which I invite you to pick over and tell me how terrible and tl;dr it is. It’s a first draft kind of thing right now, mostly because I feel like I haven’t verified for myself that it’s as properly Kemetic as it could be, but that could just be the pedantic research student in me getting angsty about things I can’t really fix any time soon (like buy more books! Which I can’t do because I don’t have much money!). That, and I lost one of the sources I used to put it all together, and now I can’t find it. My Google-fu is weak. ;_;

I have actually done rites using that format. I originally used it to write a weekly ritual for Ra, and it works well for me as a ritual format. It flows well, and yes, it is a long rite, but that’s why it’s a weekly rite for Ra. It feels meaty enough to work once a week, but I also thought it might be good for a generic ‘I can’t think of anything to do halp!’ ritual format for festivals? /random thought. Because I’m sure we’ve all had that moment of ‘X festival is coming up, wtf do I even do for that? D:” when we’ve looked at the calendar, and maybe having a basic (long?) ritual format might help, or at least suffice if there are no records on what was done for that festival. (I like doing long festival rituals at any rate. /just me then?) So you’ve got a way to mark a festival, particularly if you don’t have any ancient practices to draw on for inspiration about how to mark it. I think part of bringing these old Gods back, and marking their festivals again, is making our own traditions for our own times. Yes, some can be based on the old traditions, but not all of that’s survived, so it’s hard to know what to do for some festivals. So we do the best we can. This ritual format isn’t the only way to do it, but it’s not a bad place to start if you have nothing else.

And before you ask, I’ve already started working on a short form for that ritual format, and that will be up when it’s done. I also want to put together a page about the major Kemetic festivals and how one might celebrate them today? Like, proper modern traditions a beginner could use to begin marking the major festivals. That’s what I want. Because I don’t think anything like that exists? Or if it does, I don’t know where to find it. D:

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Sobek Research and Other Ramblings

I was doing a bit of googling last night, looking for any ancient Sobek hymns that might possibly if I’m lucky actually exist that I can base a litany around. I didn’t find any hymns, but I did find a couple of articles that talked about His Graeco-Roman cult, particularly around the Faiyyum region, as well as one article talking about Sobek, Ra, and Wesir. I even found an actualfax book on Sobek and the Faiyyum, though sadly I can’t find a copy to buy that is definitely in English rather than in Italian, and not going to cost me a lot of money I don’t have right now. (I found three for sale: one for £68 (~AU$103), one for US$150 (~AU$142), and another for US$200 (~AU$189). Sans how much I’d have to pay for shipping. *cries* I would probably buy it if I had the money, though. Just because omg an actualfax book all about Sobek omg I must have it!) I can’t even find it in any university libraries here, so I can’t even go and borrow it. 😦 (It’s too niche and academic for public libraries, so I’m not bothering to look there.)

The reference I found regarding Sobek, Ra, and Wesir, talked about Sobek-Ra being seen as something like a nighttime form of Ra, like Wesir sometimes is, and emerging from the waters at dawn is like the sun being renewed for another day. Syncretising Sobek to both Temu-Ra and Wesir I find very interesting, and I’ll be chewing on that for a while. I’d already seen some parallels in my UPG, with Sobek-Ra, and Wesir and Ra and Their duality, and I know Sobek is sometimes referenced as guarding Ra’s boat in the Duat, but I hadn’t considered Sobek being syncretised to Temu-Ra and Wesir. Perhaps Djehuty was right when He told me that Sobek is Amun is Ra is Ptah is Wesir, though I still don’t know how Ptah fits in. He’s the only God in that list I haven’t met yet.

(I am planning to add these to the History of Sobek page when I have a spare five minutes to turn them into something other than copypasted sentences and a pile of notes. Well. Everything except the Sobek book, because I can’t reference a book I haven’t read.)

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U is for Unlearning Things

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.

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U is for UPG and Reconstructionism

I’m either brave or stupid for tackling the topic of Unverified Personal Gnosis, right? It’s, like, the cornerstone of much of the Pagan and Recon communities in how they conceptualise their religious experiences. I feel like it’s got a ‘Mess With This At Your Peril’ sign hanging off it.

*shrugs, charges in anyway*

You see, I have Thoughts about it that I’m not expecting everyone to agree with, or even adopt for themselves. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, particularly as I try and figure out where I am in relation to reconstructionist religions, and how our approaches differ. I’ll add that I will mostly be talking about Kemetic reconstructionism, though, for anyone playing at home, as it’s the one I have the most experience with. It may not ring true for any other flavours of reconstructionism. It probably doesn’t and nor is it meant to.

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S is for Sobek, Heru-sa-Aset, Priesting, and Other Stuff

I’m sure you’re all very surprised that one of my S topics is SOBEK, Crocodile God of All Things Awesome. 😀 I mean, I started up Per Sebek in His honour eight years ago, and it’s still going, even though the host and format has changed. He wasn’t the first God I worshipped, but one of the first, and as my Father, He holds a special place above all the other Gods in my life.

I’m going to try not to repeat myself here, because I feel like I’ve tl;dr’d myself to death about Sobek and my experiences with Him. I’m also not going to go into a factual history of Him either as I’ve got that covered elsewhere on the site. Which did leave me somewhat bereft of things to talk about. But I suspect this entry would be very different had I written it all a week ago. Now, it’s all changed. Because Sobek is a bastard.

So, instead of a plain old boring entry on Sobek, I’m probably going to ramble on about Sobek and priesting for Him and all manner of other assorted things. Which seems a little aimless, but I do have a point to make, even if this isn’t as particularly as specific as some of my other posts. Then again, last week’s started as an idea about ritual and then just rambled on about God Clans until I finally figured out what my point was, but anyway.

That, and I kind of feel like I need to talk about this at some point, and I have all these Thinky Thoughts about this and what it all means. I’ve been writing about it in my private WP blog, but I think I’ve taken these thoughts as far as that will go, and they are in need of an audience. I feel like now is probably not a bad time to try to articulate the kind of relationship I have with Him, since it’s kind of changed (in a way) and I kind of feel a need to talk about it.

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R is for Ritual, Reflection, and Rebooting the System

I’m at a bit of a loss for focus this week. Far too many R related things have come to my attention, but I’m not sure I have the brain power to fully devote an entire post to them just yet. I had actually planned to write about ritual this week, and what ritual means to me. Because I don’t think I’ve written about that too much at all? Or maybe I have. IDK.

So anyway. Ritual! And then other reflecty type things, in which I tl;dr about all manner of things relating to Gods and such. I probably should’ve called this post R is for Rambling! Because that’s pretty much what this is. But it doesn’t sound as impressive as the title above does. 😛

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