Note: BNP stands for Big Name Pagan.
So, I started a new Kemetics only group on FB this week because of some discussion that happened. I ended up doing it, initially, as a joke. However, it’s actually starting to take off. This surprised the hell out of me because I didn’t seem to realize that there are other Kemetics out there who don’t have a place to talk about things with others. And to be honest, aside from the Kemetic SIG on the forum, I very rarely get into any conversations about Kemetism in any way, shape, or form. If I do, my audience tends to stare at me with glazed eyes because they don’t understand what it is I’m saying. (I need to carry a permanent list of Kemetic terms tattooed to my forearm or something so people will know what I mean when I’m discussing isfet and ma’at.) It’s at the point where I pretty much just discuss whatever with Devo with occasional forays with other Kemetics like Helmsman of Yinepu and Mr. Walsh. Anyway, a conversation began to grow out of a question I asked in the group about what kind of Kemetic these new members happen to be…
…and the explosion turned into my mini-rant about how Kemetism is the Red-Headed Step Child of paganism.
I’ll admit here, I had not clue that I was this hot about this particular subject. It’s something that I’ve felt since I began working on a pagan path all those years ago, but it never solidified into me going on about how completely unknown Kemetism is outside of Kemetic Orthodoxy, and even then, the knowledge is iffy at best. There are pagans out there who know that there is a Kemetic branch to the pagan tree – maybe they have a friend or a family member who follow that path – but they’re not as widely known in a public venue. I don’t see any BNP in the Kemetic sphere. I don’t see any big blogs on Patheos from Kemetic pagans. (Albeit, I don’t go on there very often except to read Mrs. B’s blog or Star Foster’s blog.) I don’t see very many books in a public sense about rituals and offerings and whatnot from a Kemetic point-of-view, my first book into Kemetic paganism notwithstanding. All in all, when it comes to the pagan tree or what have you, the Kemetic branch seems (to me) very withered, unknown, unwilling to branch out, and just generally ignored.
But look, there are Norse pagans. There are Greek pagans. There are Celtic pagans. There are Druids. And I see about these branches all the time. I read about them at pagan gatherings. I read about them in other blogs. I see some of them grow into BNP in the blink of an eye. But where are the Kemetic “pagan celebrities” that people like I can worship girlishly from afar? Where are all of the books that are supposed to help take beginners by the hand and explain this stuff? Where are all of the pagan gatherings with a big, huge booth dedicated to the BNP in Kemetism? And again, I’m not talking about KO. I’m not talking about the start-up temples that are going around out there: I’m talking solitary practitioners, such as myself.
The thing is that there really just isn’t. And I’ll venture a guess here: this probably has something to do with our very asinine inability to play nicely.
Right this second, I am going to post a link to Devo’s commentary about community. If you haven’t read it, I suggest that you do so. Right now. Right this second. Go on. I’ll be here waiting for you when you’re done. … All right? We can move on to the next stage and why I think we’re all such assholes? Okay, let’s go.
In that post, Devo went on about how the pagan community – and specifically, the Kemetic community – are all made up of a shit ton of islands. So, let’s picture the Pacific and look at Indonesia if we’re having a hard time picturing this. You see that this nation is actually made up of so many islands that we can’t count them all. (Of course, you probably could, but I’m not going to.) Liken that world map to paganism as a whole, but more specifically to Kemetism. And in that island chain nation, you have people paddling back and forth, specifically Devo and Helms. They’re trying to network and to make interfaith connections, but very little is happening. Maybe they get welcomed and eat a good meal on an island that’s dedicated more to Celtic recon or Druidry or Heathenry. However, when they enter the waters dedicated to the Kemetic pagan branch of life, they get spears thrown at them, they get laughed at, and if they’re able to land, they are not met with open courtesy. For a religion that was pretty big on community, we’re not doing a fucking thing to turn shit around and head back in that direction.
It’s not that the other communities aren’t interested in helping us. (Maybe.) It’s not that the other communities aren’t willing to give us a leg up. It’s the fact that we’re all so fractured that we’re not willing to bridge the gap, just between practitioners of KO versus solitary practices versus practitioners of Tameran Wicca. And all of the other Kemetic branches that I can’t quite recall or think of off the top of my head. We’re not friendly. We’re not willing to chat. We’re not willing to hear others’ viewpoints on religion or ethics or beliefs. We’re not willing to do more than bitch about how much the other practices suck sweaty monkey balls. Or, we do the fake listening thing with a glazed look on our faces and just think, secretly, about how much we don’t care about what the other person is saying, why they’re saying, even if the message contained is actually a good one. We’re selfish. We’re assholes. We’re incapable of doing anything but working our own paths and claiming it’s “the right one.” That’s bullshit.
And that, my friends, is why Kemetism is the Red-Headed Step Child of Paganism. It’s not because people aren’t willing. It’s not because other branches are overshadowing us. It’s not because there aren’t pagans who would be willing to give advice and give us a hand up on the evolutionary religious ladder. It’s because we’re so busy being right all the time that we can’t take anyone else seriously.