The Kemetic Round Table (KRT) is a blogging project aimed at providing practical, useful information for modern Kemetic religious practitioners.
From time to time, I will look down at the ankh I wear around my neck in an effort to remind myself that I am the sum total of all my parts as opposed to a human-looking Zord composed of different, autonomous parts. In those moments, I grip that pendant in my hand and hope beyond all hope that I am doing the symbol it stands for – my religion, my life, my gods, my family, and everything in between – justice as opposed to a disservice.
Whichever the case may be, I tend to feel a little stronger in the face of whatever it is that is causing my consternation and am able to move forward with the hectic nature of the day. Sometimes, just the grip is enough and sometimes, it is a matter of minutes before I can feel strong enough to continue. Oh gods, I always think, let me be able enough to live this life. Whether or not I am able to do it justice is another story.
When it comes to life and living and having a religion that must be kept covert, I will usually think that the things I don’t do matter. They probably don’t. There is no one better at making me feel like a guilty, shame-filled terrible devotee than myself. And there are extreme moments, daily sometimes or just periodically, where I’m pretty sure I’m doing everything wrong and I’m not “living” my religion the way I should be. During those moments, I pause and remind myself that since I haven’t been smote to fuck yet, I must be doing something right.
Sometimes, that’s all it takes me to get through.
Sometimes, I need more than just reminding myself that I’m still breathing.
I used to think that if people were living their faith appropriately, they would just know. I always looked forward to that moment, in the hopes, that the doubt and fears that continuously plague me, even now so many years in, would just go away. I would wake up one morning and think, oh, I’ve definitely got this, and be on my way with that knowledge. I think I may live in books and movies too much; isn’t the hero or heroine supposed to have a magical epiphany regarding things?
I’ve had plenty of epiphanies since I started walking this path, but I can’t think of any that have been particularly magical. Or even awe-inspiring. They’ve all just been a bland and boring, oh, well now I understand a bit, and I move on. But I always kind of expected bells and whistles or something. Instead, I have those freak moments where I’m gripping my ankh in my hand, with eyes narrowly focused on the feel of the arms biting into my palm.
I think I’m living my faith as capably as I possibly can, but I just always kind of expected something a bit more rainbow and unicorn farts when I got to this point.
I guess I just always assumed that, one day, when I was “adult enough” to do all of this, then things would be easier. I’m not really sure what made me have that assumption. I just remember, looking forward in moments of acute stress and panic, and knowing that it wouldn’t always be that hard. And in the grand scheme of things, I suppose I wasn’t all that wrong. Things aren’t always that hard; they’re just hard in different ways now. I suppose things got easier somewhere, but when I ask myself what it is that’s easier, I usually get muddled with all the things that are hard [in the moment of asking].
So, I guess I can safely say what living a religion, in my opinion, is not.
- It’s not no longer having doubts, fears, panic attacks, or stressful moments.
- It’s not having an easy time.
- It’s not having a clear moment of realizing you really are living your religion.
- It’s sure as shit not living fancy free.
Well, I’ve talked about what I thought it would be like and have found it to not be like. But what is it, to me?
When I sit down and think about it, I think back to what I said earlier. I said that I have intense moments, throughout the day, the week, the month, the year, in which I clutch the ankh pendant I wear daily around my neck. Sometimes, I have it nestled beneath my shirt and I have to pop it out in order to grasp it in my hand. Sometimes, it’s out and glinting in the light, waiting for my palm to clasp it. No matter what the purpose or how hard I grip it or the intensity behind my fervent wish that I am enough to get through my life, I think that is what living a religion – any religion – is all about.
By gripping that damn thing in my hand, I am reminding myself in the most tangible way that I am a Kemetic. I am also reminding myself that I am a living, breathing human being who may or may not be successful in their endeavors. (And the amount of success, of course, always varies depending on the moment and what it is I am enthusiastically wishing about.) And lastly, I am reminding myself that the life I am living is the only one I have available to me and by golly, I’m going to fucking live that shit the way I want to fucking live that shit.
To me, living my religion is characteristically summed up as clutching the ankh and feverishly hoping for the next moment to hurry the fuck up already.
It isn’t, though.
That’s not all of it.
It’s just that moment of such intensity where I need to feel the threads of my religion underneath my fingertips that leads me to cause the distinction.
Everything I do and say and write and breathe is an aspect to my religion, whether it looks like it is or not. The advice I offer to people who don’t know anything about my religion is part of it. The looks I give people walking down the street is part of it. The songs I listen to on the ride into work are a part of it. The books I read on my breaks at work or when I get home are a part of it. The way I sit in a chair is part of it. How I grip the steering wheel is part of it. The air that I breathe, the food that I eat, the clothes that I wear are all a part of it too. Everything I do is a part of it because my religion is as integral a piece of me as my hair color and my eye color; it’s just, maybe, a bit more hidden than all of that.
I say that the grip of the pendant is what living my religion is because it’s the most physical and obvious aspect. But everything I do, really, is summed up as living my Kemeticism. Everything is microcosmically interwoven together to be a part of who I am; it’s just the macrocosmic parts that seem a bit out of whack.
I thought I would be able to give advice on this topic, honestly. I thought I could write some things and then end it with how others can be like me, or something, and live their Kemetic ways. Or, other religious ways. But as I think back and I look down at the ankh around my neck, I have to wonder if how I live my religion is even something that others do or others should even remotely aspire to. I say that they’re all interwoven in some big cosmic Aubs that exists in the world who does the Kemetic thing and does the work thing and does the driving thing and drinks vodka on the regular like and it’s all a part of my religion.
But is there any way that someone out there could possibly look down at their pendant of choice, whisper a few words (possibly soaked in foul language) and know that they’re living their religion? Maybe, it’s just me that’s like that. Let’s be real here – it’s probably just a me thing. And I honestly don’t know if I would recommend how I do this to anyone else. Or even remotely have anyone build what they will do off of what I do.
I don’t think how I do this is, maybe, the right way or even the best way, but it works for me.
I can give some advice, though. Sometimes I have that stuff in spades; not so much today. But the bits I can assure you on are these:
- Don’t assume that because you don’t feel like you are living your religion that you aren’t actually living your religion.
- Don’t assume that how anybody else lives their religion is the “one twoo way” because that’s just ridiculous. There’s no one way on any of this shit, no matter who says otherwise.
- Don’t assume that you’ll just automatically know when you’re “actually” living your religion because, clearly, epiphanies of that magnitude are probably never going to happen.
- Don’t assume that you’re the only one out there constantly doubting your shit even if you do feel like you’re living your religion. I doubt it all the time.
- Don’t assume that I’m bugnuts because I equate clutching a piece of metal as living my religion. I can assume I’m bugnuts because of that all on my own.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can read my post and think about it however you want, but it doesn’t mean that how I go about this will work for anyone else. I honestly hope it doesn’t work out for anyone else because I can assure anyone who has made it this far in the reading that shit is fucking hard and there are moments that I’m clutching that fucking pendant less for a steadying influence or anchor and more out of intense anxiety at the belief that I’m doing everything fucking wrong, wrong, and more wrong. It’s a tethered link, so to speak, with my religion that I hone in on often enough, but it’s my tethered link and doesn’t do a damn bit a good for anyone else, I shouldn’t think.
I suppose the best way to do this for anyone who isn’t me would be to stop periodically and assess yourself. In effect, that’s what I’m doing with my ankh. Step out into the day and look up at the sun or down at the grass or look at the flowers in bloom on the bushes or in the yards and assess yourself. Come to your own conclusions about what it is to live a religion and whether or not it’s an integral part of yourself. If you think it is, then I think… maybe, you’re probably doing this just the way you need to be.