I have had this entry in my head, in fits and spurts, for the better part of two weeks. I have routinely put it off for [mostly] mundane reasons. However, there was also the aspect of “uncertainty” that tends to plague me. I’m not trying to shit on things or stir a pot, but I started this blog with the intent of being honest, and doing that all the time. I have written about other subjects without caring one iota who felt what way about what I was saying. The reason I’ve held back is because this could actually cut me off from the Kemetic community in the form of KO practitioners. And right now… with a lot of thought put into this… I think that I am finally okay with that. Besides, this is not the time to start dithering and lollygagging now. This is about me and not about you. While I may not follow or believe or work within the same constructs as major temples (such as KO) that doesn’t mean I don’t have respect or accept those who do. So, now that I’ve said my piece, let’s get going.
So, I practice a religion that had a big, huge, head honcho in the mix for thousands of years. We all are pretty titillated when researching the past about kings and queens. Who isn’t excited at the thought of people who were born into such a high class that, in medieval times, they were literally ordained by God and God alone? This is known as the “divine right of kings” in which it says that, pretty much, the king or queen of a nation isn’t subject to any earthly authority, but rules by the will of God alone. (Imagine how that got thrown under the bus when rival kings not only sought out to rule but succeeded? I’m thinking – warning: my history geek is showing – specifically of King Edward IV of England who was able to overthrow Henry VI as well as gaining the throne back after he was overthrown by The Kingmaker.) We can look to the ways that the European nations worked through their king years and see parallels to ancient Egypt in a lot of ways. There was a king. He was ordained by the will of the gods, in a manner of speaking. And if he ruled well, the kingdom was all happy and thrilled. If he ruled corruptly, well, things happened that we can only imagine.
Now, the whole pharaoh thing that most outsiders see is that he was the king and that he had something to do with the religion, too. He was the supreme head of the kingdom, itself, but he was also the supreme head of the religious aspect of things, too. Some of his titles show this specifically: “Lord of the Two Lands” and “High Priest of Every Temple.” The thing is that Egypt was a vast country at its zenith and was cut up into 42 different nomes. (Warning: my book geek is showing. This has to have something to do with Douglas Adams and the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything.) In American parlance, we can equate these into states. And just like in America where we have religious centers all over the place, so too did ancient Egypt. And while the pharaoh was the supreme awesome dude of all the religious temples, the ancient Egyptians couldn’t expect him to go all over the country and perform ritual after ritual. This was inane and unrealistic. And not to mention, he kind of had an entire country to rule. So, priests tended to step in place for the head of the religious orders around the countries.
Nominally, yes; the guy was the big cheese in the religious sense. But, really, who was it that the populace turned to when they needed advice or a break from the stress or protection for their families? While the overwhelming good things that the pharaoh did for the country would be reflected back in where he ended up in the Duat, and the people prayed for the pharaoh to get into the Duat and do the big show, he was more like a rumor or a myth. I guess we can kind of equate him to the Pope. Yes, there’s some serious influence and he’s the big cheese. But, the thought that you’ll actually get to meet or see or speak with the Pope are some astronomical odds. It’s just better to let the Pope do whatever he does over in his Holy See and let the people do their religious thing over here. Why consult with the Head Honcho of the Catholics if they can just go to their parish priest and get the same effect? We can pretty much assume that, in ancient Egypt, things functioned in this way.
So, I practice the remnants of a religion that had the big cheese, and yet, I don’t have one.
It’s not like I don’t have the option, either. In KO, they have a nisut. I could just give up all the work I’ve been putting into this for the last few years and hop on a bandwagon. I could get in touch with the way it was done “old school.” The thing is that I looked heavily into KO when I first started exploring a Kemetic path. The eclectic path had always been kind of a bother for me, but I still ended up down that road anyway. Before all of that, I did heavy research into active temples. There weren’t any in my area, but there was Kemetic Orthodoxy. In my infantile state as a studying pagan, I ended up on their website almost daily. And you know what the one thing that turned me off the most? The whole nisut thing. Yes, yes. My religion started off with a head cheese and I was busy turning away from one BECAUSE they had one.
How is that for irony?
I couldn’t say, for sure, why I turned away from it either. It was a gut reaction. There is no other way to explain it. I read about the nisut and I realized that KO wasn’t for me. I shook my head and turned away from it. I’ve had little dalliances (periodically) where I’ve considered going into it in some form or another. I’ve considered all of this and realized that no, that’s still not for me. It’s only years later that I’ve realized the point to why it isn’t for me. Just because I had no words back then doesn’t mean the reason wasn’t the same.
It’s the whole having someone above me thing that gets me.
In the path that I walk, I can do what I want in it. I can add things that aren’t Kemetic and not worry about offending others. I can make up my own prayers, I can make up my own hymns, I can decide when I have festivals and when I don’t. I can decide that driving my car is a form of heka if I want to. I can decide that the supreme creator in my religion is really the Flying Spaghetti Monster and finish all prayers with “ramen” from now on if I so desire. Call me overly American here, if you want, but it’s really just the religious freedom that I have that keeps me away from all of the big hullabaloo. I can do what I want, when I want, how I want, and not have to worry about offending anyone. And that, to me, is probably the sweetest gift of this religion that I will ever known.