I’m one of those odd pagans that like to learn new things. I ask questions and sit back, waiting for the information to role in. When it comes to others’ paths, I am doubly fascinated. On Twitter, I know a ton of people with different spiritual and religious practices. I know ceremonial magicians and I know Heathens, I know Vodouisants and hoodoo root workers, I talk with Asatru and Kemetics and CRs and Hellenismos. Pretty much on my Twitter feed, if you’ve had anything to do with anything with paganism, I’ve got someone in that particular tradition or path added in some form or another. When I can’t find answers in groups or via the Internet or I’m just beyond mind-blown with information and can’t possibly handle looking up more, I turn there for answers. I received a bunch of answers to my questions today by TreeGoldandBeeGold and Semiotechnic.
I was asking about the Troth because apparently, they’re against Loki being saluted in public or something. I didn’t understand why this was. So those two lovely users explained that it was due to his roll as the adversary, so to speak. I likened it to his being like Lucifer: There are Christians out there who salute him in some way, but they’re in the minority. And in effect, that seems to the case with this Heathen/Asatru organization.
And I found myself thinking about this.
For a while, I was likening it a bit to people’s misunderstanding of both Sutekh and Sekhmet in the Kemetic pantheon. There are a lot of people out there who get hung up on the more negative associations with these two gods. On the one hand, we have Sekhmet who went off on a bender and tried to kill humanity, first at the request of her father and then later, because she was drunk with the blood of humanity. People seem to get hung up on this because this is the first and really, only, myth about Sekhmet. They don’t seem to realize that if she wanted to go on a bender again, she would have. The same can be said for people with Sutekh, and actually more often than is the case with Sekhmet. They’ll hear that someone is a Sutekh kid and jump back in fear. He’s an “evil” god of chaos and what they don’t seem to understand is that he was very part and parcel to the Kemetic pantheon, once upon a time. His image went through a very long and drawn-out vilification process.
The thing is that people (and gods, too) change. The things they once believed or held dear may morph into something new. The things they did in the past may not hold as much weight today as they did then. And from what I’ve felt from my working with Sekhmet, she isn’t the kind of “beastie” that would just go off and kill humanity for shits and giggles anymore. She laughingly has referred to that part of her life as her “youth-filled days.” She’s thousands upon thousands of years old now and has learned a lesson or two in all that time. But, with Sutekh, there’s something different I want to go on with this one. It leads into the rest of this post, but let me first add this little caveat: I am not a Sutekh kid. He has never once approached me. The information I’ve gathered about him is mostly gleaned from forums and blog posts of Sutekh kids. (In other words, if I get someone wrong, someone say something please!)
In regards to Sutekh, he seems to have come to the realization that what he did against Wesir and Heru were necessary evils. This is something that people don’t seem to realize happen, either in the realm of the gods or in the realm of humanity. Some evils that are committed are necessary. For example, if we have another Hitler coming into power and someone has the ability to kill that person, then for the greater good of humanity, isn’t that one of those necessary evils that should be committed? In killing the person and going against the laws of ma’at, we are also upholding ma’at.
The case of Sutekh is very similar to this. If it wasn’t for him, then ma’at would not have been upheld. I can’t quite comment on how he was upholding ma’at when he was getting rid of Wesir or fighting it out with Heru, but Sutekh is at the head of the barque of Re. He is the god that faces
Apep each night on the journey in the underworld. Each night, Sutekh is sitting there with his spear while the gods behind and the mortals behind arm themselves with knives and magic spells. Each night, Sutekh and Apep battle it out and each night, Re remains victorious with the help and aid of the “chaotic” and “evil” god that is Sutekh. If not for him and his spear, there is no telling if the end of the world would have happened already. Even though he is such an “evil” guy he goes through the battle each night and he comes out victorious. This, however, is part of the god that people don’t seem to either remember or understand.
He upholds ma’at by aiding and abetting the solar barque. Chances are, he was upholding ma’at by fighting with Heru and by taking the kingship from his brother. Though an “evil” god, he still has his place in the role of ma’at.
Now, as I understand it, there is a similar concept in Heathenry. In Kemetism, the whole big shebang is led about by ma’at, which can be construed as order and truth. In Heathenry, if my research is telling me right, their version of this is called orlog and wyrd. Now orlog seems to be translated as “primal law.” In effect, from what I’ve been reading, it is this law that all beings follow. Everything that is created is done with the rules of orlog in effect, which leads me to believe that this may be the case with necessary evil, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The other word, wyrd, seems to mean a kind of fate. From what I’ve been reading about it, it’s kind of like the energy you put into orlog. Now, I will fully admit that I can’t really wrap my head around these concepts and someone was nice enough to point out that these are things people can spend, literally, their whole lives trying to understand. But, from my perspective in Kemetism, it kind of seems to me that orlog is ma’at under a different name. It is all things and it is nothing. It is the way of the world, but it is through wyrd or heka that it is put into play. (NOTE: Anyone with a Heathen, Asatru, vague Nordic background want to try to learn me on this, do it. Please. I am begging you. You have no idea how long I’ve been hemming and hawing about this particular section.)
It is with my background in Kemetism, my worship of Sekhmet, and my friending of a number of Sutekh kids that I get to the gist of all of this. (OH MY GODS. THIS WAS ALL JUST LEADING UP TO SOMETHING?!?!) What I’m thinking is that we’re taking this whole basis of the “darker” gods being dark, but we’re forgetting that they have significant roles in the lives of the gods and ours as well. We can lump them under some happy-toned little group and leave it at that, but they all have necessary roles to play during all of this. Loki’s is, ultimately, to bring about Ragnarok. Sutekh’s is to, ultimately, steal the kingdom from his nephew, as he did steal it from his brother. Sekhmet’s is, ultimately, to bring about the end of mankind again. Each one of these gods has a very negative connotation, but they also have significant positive roles to play in our lives and in the realm of the gods. Sekhmet is the goddess of healing. Sutekh protects Re from
Apep and succeeds, every night. And Loki seems to have helped the gods, to either positive or negative effects, when needed.
I guess what I’m saying is that these gods all have negative looks and feels to them but these are necessary evils. These are all things that are bound to happen and that the laws of the realm, the world, the gods, the universe, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the whatever all need. Without light, there is no dark. Without life, there is no death. Without law, there is no disorder. I kind of went through this when I was talking about ma’at for the first time, in my isfet entries. (Link below.) Just because they’re all seen as bad doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not around for the greater good. These beings are all so “evil” and everything, but we forget that sometimes you need a little evil. Sometimes, the darkness is as necessary as the lightness. Otherwise, what’s the point?