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!
When it comes to daily rituals, I absolutely advocate their use. When I seriously began attempting to do a daily rite to my gods on a regular basis, I found it easier to bring my faith with me wherever I went. By taking that extra time out of my day and adding it into my morning routine, I wasn’t only able to connect with the gods during that moment but also during little moments throughout the day. Something that most neophytes may not be aware of is how just even giving a little nod in their direction before the day really begins can really boost someone’s personal practice. As someone who once had no clue what the fuck I was doing and honestly thought the whole daily ritual thing was a load of bunk, and as someone who can now fully understand the benefits to one’s religious practice, I absolutely and one hundred percent believe that anyone and everyone looking to enter Kemetic practices should give serious consideration to doing this.
But how does one do this, right? How in the world do you craft a daily ritual that only takes a couple of minutes but ends up bringing you closer to your gods and reaffirming yourself to them throughout the day?
In many solitary Kemetic practices, we attempt to look to the historical sources for how to craft such things. In the case of the Kemetic laity, crafting something like a daily ritual is incredibly difficult. There aren’t too many historical sources, at least older than the later periods, which can give us any kind of information about how best to do this. In some cases, it may be in a solitary’s best interest to at least take a look at the daily rituals and practices of the ancient Egyptian priesthood. While, by laity standards, the practices of the priesthood may be too formal, too complicated, and-or too time-consuming. I heartily agree that the rites and services provides by the ancient Egyptian priesthood may be a little over-the-top for any modern-day laity practitioners looking to just foster a closer relationship with their gods. But in, at least, reading into what was done in the past, it may provide some general ideas of how best to craft a daily ritual that would better assist.
However, in many cases, the best course of action to create a daily ritual for oneself is going to be based on UPG or off of discussions with other solitary practicing Kemetics. Historical sources are all well and good, but sometimes, we need to spice up the practices that we will be relying on and continuing on a daily basis. I may be a little biased, but I honestly think that some of the time-consuming rituals from the historical sources are a little, well, boring. It’s all incredibly formal. I’m all for formality, if that’s your shtick, but it’s not much of mine unless I feel that something calls for it. Since the intent behind the creation is something that I would be willing to do on a regular basis, then I left formality out of it. Besides, if I can’t have fun in my practice, especially when it comes to my daily rites, then I honestly have to wonder what the point in the whole shebang is.
Besides, if the ancient Egyptians were as fond of puns and play on words and jokes as the sources seem to indicate, I can’t assume that the gods that were, in many instances, the butt of those puns, jokes, and play on words would really care if any of their modern-day devotees created a daily ritual that was antithetical to formal.
Whatever the daily practice will entail is entirely up to the person crafting the rite. I know of a few Kemetics who base their daily ritual off of those in Eternal Egypt by Richard Reidy. I used to use his daily rite to Sekhmet and choreographed rituals for the other netjeru in my household. It was after doing this for a couple of months that I realized that formality was out for me. As I said, a daily practice can and will (if done often enough, I think) allow a firmer connection with the gods in one’s practice. However, again as I said, if the daily rite doesn’t particularly hold it for you, then the connection isn’t going to be as firm or as strong as one could hope it to be. So, I tossed out all those formal words and just ended up crafting something that works.
My daily rite entails plopping down some cool water and some votive offerings in front of my gods. Occasionally, I say something to them. Sometimes, I sit in silent contemplation before their altars for a while. Most days, I just go about it on auto pilot and let the rest sort itself out. However, even just spending a few minutes at their altars and seeing their icons can be enough to remind me that they are in my life and allows me to bring them with me throughout my day. When things get hard throughout the day, I can think back to the quiet solitude of those five minutes (if that) that I spent providing them with offerings and feel a little boost. I’m not sure if it’s the action of providing the offerings or if it’s the seeing them daily or if it’s something I can’t quite put my finger on, but whatever it is, due to the fact that I do this on a daily basis, I feel much closer to my gods.
When it comes to creating a daily ritual, how one goes about it is, per usual, entirely on what makes them feel more comfortable. There may be some devotees who aren’t interested in doing this. I can understand that. I used to be one of those people who thought that doing a daily ritual was really overreaching. Besides, it always seemed like I had things to do, not enough time, or couldn’t remember that I had something to give to my gods that day. I think that, in those cases, when we make it more about what we’re doing versus what the netjeru may want from us, then that’s when the break down between doing a daily ritual and beginning to form the solid foundation of a religious practice.
I don’t deny that it may be possible to create a foundation for a religious practice without a daily rite. I think it’s possible for some people. I’ll let everyone in on a secret: I’m kind of a lazy person. And without the scheduled daily ritual that I created for myself, I would probably still be stumbling around. I think it’s pretty important to find what works for each individual when it comes to entering their religious practices. If that means doing a ritual once a week – then go for it! I just tried it out and always ended up forgetting, even with pop up reminders in my Google calendar. By finally forcing myself from the “armchair pagan” dynamic I was lazing around in and into the “daily pagan” dynamic I’ve been doing for over a year now, I’ve found that things are easier, simpler, and just make that much more sense.
I think, too, that when it comes to creating a daily ritual, then the group dynamic is something that shouldn’t be considered. In many instances, Kemeticism is a solitary practice even when it comes to those being a part of a temple. I know quite a few Kemetic Orthodox members who do not live anywhere near the main temple. While I don’t know too much about how KO works or what the standards for a daily ritual are in their practice, I do know that they practice senut. And as far as my cursory readings on this subject have entailed, I’ve found that it’s entirely personal and the shrine-time that happens isn’t a group focus. It’s all entirely up to the individual (and time-consuming, if my reports are accurate) as to when, how, where, why, and what is done. There are, of course, certain bases that must be followed when KO members practice senut however it’s still an individual’s daily rite versus a group daily rite.
And besides, I know that if it came to me doing my daily rite in front of others, either via a group chat or in person, I would be mortally embarrassed. It’s not that I think how I go about these things is wrong or anything, but that I find it a little difficult to share my practice in many ways with others. It’s one thing to consciously decide to share something with others, but quite another to share a very personal thing [for me], such as my really informal daily rite. Providing a written dialog or written instructions for how I go about this rite is entirely different, to me, than from sharing it in person or in chat. And by sharing something that is as personal as my daily rite is, and all that its development has given to me and my practice, I would just be completely mortified at the thought.
All in all, when it comes to the whole idea of finally, finally entering the exciting realm of creating a daily rite for oneself, the first thing one should always ask themselves is, am I ready? The next question should be, what do I want this to look like? And then take everything from there. Advice aside and blog entries aside, whatever the daily rite looks like or ends up looking like needs to be based on the specific needs and requirements of the individual creating that daily ritual. Anything else is effluvia and completely immaterial. All that matters is your intent and what you believe the netjeru want from you.