The Kemetic Round Table (KRT) is a blogging project aimed at providing practical, useful information for modern Kemetic religious practitioners. For all the entries relating to this particular topic, take a peek here.
I’d like to be able to tell everyone that when I first began exploring paganism in any context, I immediately latched on to Kemeticism and I’ve been doing this ever since. Unfortunately, just because something makes complete sense [now], it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has always been that way. Point of fact, I did a lot of wandering, soul-searching, running, and crying when it came to my pagan path in those early years. I always seemed to be searching for something that was fulfilling and that I would enjoy. The answer was right in front of my nose, obviously, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t turn down every available path before I realized the answer was right in front of me. Honestly, if I had just been able to accept Kemeticism back then, however, things would be massively different from what I have with my practice today. And while I had a lot of heartache because I was constantly searching for the right fit, I think it was probably pretty important that I had all of that time for soul-searching and making mistakes.
As a child, I was introduced to cultures’ mythologies from the de rigueur single class that elementary schools [in America] spend on such topics. While we did not fully discuss the ancient Egyptian culture or many cultures outside of Greek and Roman (that I can recall), this class was a defining moment for me. It honestly opened me up to a love of history that I hadn’t realized I had until then. Even after the class was over, I spent many hours in the library, carefully pouring over what books to take out. And while I spent much of my time checking out books in the horror section, I also spent a lot of my time checking out mythology books. I know that there weren’t many about ancient Egypt (and ancient India) but I looked into them as well. I was intrigued by the stories of the Greek and Roman era, but I was more interested in cultures outside of the Mediterranean. While my mother fully believes that my love of ancient Egypt stemmed from my die-hard need to watch The Ten Commandments without falling asleep, it was really because my elementary school taught a smidge or three about ancient cultures’ religious beliefs.
Even back then, when re-reading D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, I often wondered why we didn’t believe in multiple gods anymore and if we did, how our culture would be different. I can remember going through the pictures in that book and thinking, What if they really are really real?
Though, I did spend much time pouring over those Greek and Roman books, I did do my best to research ancient Egypt. And I will admit that even back then, I would often stop and pour over the limited mythology I found regarding Sekhmet. While I’ve since incorporated this into my own personal UPG regarding my relationship with her now, I have to admit that it was with real desire that my question of them being real pounded through my brain. And quite often, I would ask that question to myself over and over again while reading and re-reading the bits and pieces I found regarding Sekhmet. Maybe I’ve always been drawn to her or she was always drawn to me and that’s what this whole thing we have now is. But, frankly, it doesn’t matter how, when, or why these things happened. All that matters is that it was a lasting and important moment in my [future] religious life.
When I was 19 or 20, a mutual friend of my and my ex-husband’s introduced me to Wicca. He had been researching the religion for quite some time. The ex-husband and I were living in Texas at the time and it was with very real intrigue that I found someone who was well read and interested in exploring alternate religious choices in such a Christian environment. (As a quick note: the first time I met this man, I was reading Bob Brier’s book, The Murder of Tutankhamun. And his first words to me were, “Don’t you know he was killed by a leg infection?” And that is how we became friends, though I still harbor the probably incorrect belief that he was helped along into his next life.) He explained to me the bits and pieces he had gleaned from books he had purchased and I was smitten. The thoughts of animism, polytheism, and non-God related religions was enough to make me fully begin to research Wicca.
And I did.
I spent many nights at work, as I worked the overnight, haunting websites and lurking in forums while I tried to pick up information. It was back then when I asked a “fluffy” question on a forum that made me realize I needed to back off and go at this from my own angle. While I don’t remember what the fluffy question is now, I do know that it taught me to be more careful about what I shared and how I shared it. It also left a particularly bad taste in my mouth for Wicca. If that was the reaction a neophyte was going to get for asking a question that they didn’t know was “fluffy,” then why did I want to be part of the religion? If I wanted to get treated like dirt for not knowing, then I could easily do as such in a Christian background. And in those instances, I would get the nasty commentary straight to my face, or at least behind my back, and not over a computer screen. I stopped researching Wicca and its various beliefs, types, and all of that back then. In fact, I stopped researching everything that had to do with paganism in any way for a good few years, but I always wondered if I had someone to practice with if things would be different. And I’ll admit that, back then, I still spent a lot of time researching Sekhmet.
Over and over again, I would end up on the same websites, re-reading the same things I already knew. Over and over again, I would start researching something for a short story I was writing and end up on pages associated with her. While it’s possible that I was doing an Internet search version of Wiki-clicking, I have since incorporated this into my UPG with Sekhmet, as well. I’ve always wondered if this wasn’t a sign of some sort. And while I know that it probably was, now, I ignored whatever little flutters I had regarding her back then. I have a habit of shutting shit down when I’m upset and confused and the argumentative and vitriolic responses I received to my “fluffy” questions was enough to make me back-burner my religious thoughts and beliefs.
I’ll tell you one thing, though. It sure pleased my ex-husband (Christian) that I was no longer researching alternate religious choices. And maybe, just maybe, it was because of how happy he was that I began looking again.
I started looking into polytheism when I finally went back to it. I had enough of Wicca and it’s weirdness, so I went to polytheism. Considering my childlike naïveté and the questions I would ask about the gods being really-really real, it really isn’t so surprising that I began looking into it. Since my ex-husband really kind of liked the whole “thou shall have no other gods before me” thing, I kept it pretty quiet. I began looking into monolatry, henotheism, polytheism, pantheism and all the rest. I found myself really liking hard polytheism on a whole. Even though I knew that the ancient Egyptian gods were syncretized with one another more often than not, hard polytheism fit with my desire as a child to have all the gods really-really real. It was during this time that I also stumbled onto Kemeticism for the first time.
I avidly looked into all of the temples that the webpage mentions. I found KO and I looked hard into. I remember, back then, thinking that this was what I needed and wanted. I had begun speaking with the ex-husband’s best friend’s girlfriend (the Sister) and I knew she was pagan, though not the exact flavoring. I didn’t discuss with her or the ex-husband about Kemeticism. But I remember staring at their page for hours and reading through the content there. I can remember looking over and over it again and thinking, I need a temple to belong to. There won’t be as much hard work for me in the future if I belong to a temple. But since I wasn’t sure how to get the process going, I invariably backed out of my open tabs and putting it on the back burner. There was always something in the not-too-distant future that needed to be attended to before I could get into the Kemetic Orthodoxy and everything it entailed.
All those things never ended up getting out of the way long enough for me to send in my application.
I’ve thought about this a few times in the intervening years and I’ve often wondered if this was, also, a sort of UPG experience with Sekhmet. I honestly don’t think she would have liked to see me join their temple. And back then, I was young enough and impressionable enough where I may have just bought everything they sold to me hook, line, and sinker. While I don’t want to sound like I dislike KO or anything, I have to say that from what I’ve seen and heard from other members there, I really don’t think I could have towed the line long enough to go anywhere with it. And frankly, I’m a lazy little shit so I don’t know if I would have or could have made it to the meetings and done all the readings I needed to in a timely manner. There’s a reason why it took me over a year to get my calendar perfected to how I want it – and why it’s still not 100% complete. I am a lazy, lazy person a lot of the time, so I think it was probably for the best that I didn’t join KO. I may not be where I am today. Hell, I may not even have kept up with polytheism if I washed out of the beginner’s course.
After years of exploring with a quasi-coven with the Sister, I remember thinking that I really liked Sekhmet. That was towards the end of our friendship with the EM (the “leader” of our quasi-coven). And I’ve mentioned before the reaction both the Sister and the EM have had. For those new to this blog, I’ll refresh: they were appalled at the idea that I would be overly interested in a destructive deity like Sekhmet because I, myself, was fairly destructive. While I will admit that I was and am a fairly destructive person, I honestly don’t know why turning to Sekhmet to curb these tendencies in myself was a bad idea. Oh, I kind of understand where they were coming from and in some weird way, I think Sekhmet does, too. But, I remember thinking about all those times I spent researching a deity I had been researching off and on for years. And I can remember thinking about Kemeticism. And I can remember thinking about how whatever little fucked up thing we were doing wasn’t really doing it for me anymore and my magical spells were always failing and everything was always centered around the EM and her drama… And even amid all that drama and suckitude, I can remember being calm, cool, and collected at the thought that I should really, really introduce myself to Sekhmet.
When our group fell apart, with the Sister and I going our separate ways from the EM, the two of us stopped practicing. But, I remember thinking about Sekhmet a lot back then. I really hate to rub it in everyone’s faces that she seems to have been a driving force in my life for so long (because I think that sounds like I’m some stuck up Sekhmet snob or something). However, it really is because of everything I had learned about her and my intense intrigue over her that I got into Kemeticism in the first place. I remember reaching out to any number of gods, both ancient Egyptian and otherwise, and never really feeling like I had a good fit until Sekhmet finally showed up for the first time and really turned on my godphone.
Over the years, my practice has changed a lot. You can go back through this blog and see what a ridiculous git I was in the beginning. (And while this blog shows as starting nearly three years ago now, it’s actually four years old and those entries are reblogged from an old LiveJournal that I deleted when I came over here.) I was a ridiculous, childish, clueless fool back then. I tried out every possibility of deity before turning to Sekhmet. It is because of Sekhmet that I came to this path, after years of searching, and it is through her that my practice has really become as full-fledged as it is now. And, honestly, as that poem I like so much says, “and that has made all the difference.”