This week, I am excited to announce that my copy of Following the Sun: A Practical Guide to Egyptian Religion by Sharon LaBorde has arrived. In this post, I will be reviewing part 1 of the book followed by part 2 in an upcoming post. I’ve tried to shorten this review as much as possible but I am far too scribey and passionate about the subject matter! My hope is that you’re just as enthusiastic about the book as I am, and we can bounce off each other’s energy.
Let’s start off with some background. When I first began searching for information on ancient Egyptian spirituality and religion, I wasn’t sure how much, if any, I would find. Little did I know, there was already a long-established community of practising Kemetics all over the globe. At the same time, it was hard to track down a first port-of-call for beginners, especially one that I felt comfortable with.
There are a number number of Kemetic organisations out there which felt too racially exclusive, or too rigid, or too cult-like in their ideology and practice. Having recently broken away from the Roman Catholic Church (during the 2017 same-sex marriage plebiscite in Australia) I wasn’t in the mood for other people’s dogmatic BS or blame. The colour of our skin doesn’t make us bad people, nor does our sexuality, and no one should worry about conforming to anyone else’s sets of rules, capishe? Wonderful! Moving on.
My mounting trepidation melted away, once I found Sharon LaBorde’s Kemetic Independent channel on YouTube, including her Kemetic How-to Guide and Kemetic Bytes series. If you haven’t seen them yet, you must be living under a rock, like I was. Sharon is highly knowledgable and well-researched, but also very practical and down-to-earth. She has a style that makes Kemeticism accessible to everyone, presenting an ancient practice in a modern light. That’s exactly the type of person I want to learn from and I highly recommend her to beginners.
Could it really be that simple? The answer is yes! If you have an interest in Kemetic religion and want to learn more about how you can get started on a Kemetic spiritual path, you are absolutely in luck. Sharon’s got you covered.
Following the Sun lays a foundation for independent Kemetic practitioners (which is what I’ve come to understand myself to be) by giving us theory to inform our practice. The result is an independent Kemetic practitioner who knows what they’re talking about and knows what they’re doing, someone who can stand on their own two feet, with a solid knowledge-base of Kemetic religion. Then if you want to join a group, fine. If not, that’s also fine. You are free to form your own opinions and follow your own path, but if you’re starting out from scratch like I was, this book will allow you to consider both the ancient and historical contexts of Kemetic religion based on 21st century knowledge and research.
Following the Sun begins with a brief historical background on ancient Egyptian civilisation. It is by no means the primary focus of the book and spans for one chapter. I found this to be sufficient — for now, at least. Next, the author addresses certain controversies surrounding Kemeticism and rather than simply presenting us with an idea about what the controversies are and allowing us to draw our own conclusions, the author asserts some of her own opinions and supports her arguments with sound evidence.
A healthy dose of assertiveness gives the book backbone rather than bias. It is then up to the reader to decide what works for them.
Part one of Following the Sun really piqued my interest with its discussion on the Kemetic world view, about how the ancients interacted with nature and how they perceived the divine, which is quite different from what most of us have grown up with in the west. The ancient Egyptians’ conception of the soul and the afterlife are also discussed. Part one concludes with a fantastic introduction to the Gods and Goddesses of ancient Egypt, the netjeru. Because the Kemetic Pantheon was so expansive over its 3,000 year history, it’s hardly possible to list every single one. The author does a great job on giving us the who’s who of Egyptian gods. Simply put, the book starts off good and just gets more and more interesting. I only put it down because I had to go to work!
In closing, I’ve re-read this review and its tone is a little more direct than I would normally write, but I think it’s for a reason: Kemetic religion, faith and spirituality are yours if you choose to make them yours. If you feel drawn to this path, I believe it’s because you are already being called, and already forming relationships with the netjeru on a spiritual level, which is what happened to me. I began working with Isis before I even knew who she was. Once I discovered her identity, I wanted learn everything I could. Following the Sun has helped me do that and if we’re on similar paths, I believe it can help inform your practice, too.
Because I live in Australia, I purchased my copy from Amazon.com.au but you can also support the author directly by visiting Lulu.com. I don’t think Australian Amazon made much of a difference in speeding up delivery (most likely due to drop-shipping). The next purchase I made was from the author directly on Etsy and I’m glad I did.
Thank you, for reading Kemetic Blog. Kudos to you, if you made it all the way through this review. It was fun hanging out! Look for part 2 of my review of Following the Sun in an upcoming post.