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Book Review of Temple of the Cosmos: The Ancient Egyptian Experience of the Sacred by Jeremy Naydler — Part One

August 2, 2022
Temple of the Cosmos

I started reading Temple of the Cosmos during a trip to Sydney with my partner and a few of our friends. Image © Scott Rose

 

Temple of the Cosmos by Jeremy Naydler often comes highly recommended by experienced Kemetics as a great book for newbies to get a grasp on the Ancient Egyptian mindset, worldview and indeed, cosmology. This book, however is not unmet with controversy and at times, even violent displays of opposition.

The above statement alone should prompt readers to seek their own copies of Temple of the Cosmos to investigate for themselves why this book would evoke such a wide range of responses from the public. I can only lead people to water, I can’t make anyone drink and would have no desire to do so.

While a lengthy introduction to my review wasn’t initially planned, I’ve decided to limit Part One to a discussion on the status of this book and its relevance to the Kemetic community, along with the circumstances surrounding my decision to read it, after recommendations from The Twisted Rope and references to Naydler’s works found in another book I reviewed called, Profane Egyptologists by Paul Harrison.

Unfortunately, we also have a dramatic, Kathy Bates-esque Youtube response to Temple of the Cosmos from a well-known Kemetic leader, author and YouTuber, Sharon LaBorde who I’ve followed since the start of my Kemetic journey. I’ve always respected LaBorde, and to disagree with her now so strongly, makes this an incredibly difficult and uncomfortable post to write. It must be done, however in the best interests of the community. I feel like, someone has to say something and if I don’t, perhaps no one will.

As a side note, I think we bring our woundedness to our religion, just as we bring unconscious baggage into our relationships. As a result, the Kemetic community needs a lot of healing. I’ve seen so much pain and anger in this community, which has nothing to do with ancient Egypt nor the revival of its religion or spirituality. Our modern melodrama is just that, it’s modern baggage.

 

Temple of the Cosmos is a book that author and YouTuber, Sharon LaBorde recently cut in half with a chainsaw during one of her videos.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment. I’ll admit, I was unimpressed by her antics. It had been a while since I swung by LaBorde’s virtual place on the web, and a literary version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the last thing I expected to see. I had, I suppose, a few expectations regarding psychological and spiritual safety at her channel and perhaps, respect for differences of opinion but her actions would suggest otherwise, which is really too bad. For a published author to take a chainsaw to another author’s work in a YouTube video is incredibly disrespectful. Something’s wrong with this picture.

As Kemetic practitioners, we’re very much involved with heka (or magic) and the deeper meaning attached to our words and actions. Because we become so energised through our practice and frequent contact with deities, all of our thoughts, words and actions become acts of heka, with real effects in the physical world. I thought everyone knew that? If not, then we need to stop and think about what we’re messing with, what we’re broadcasting and calling forth into manifestation. What kind of Kemetic society do we want to live in? Obviously, I know what LaBorde did was for shock and entertainment value, and I don’t want to sound like a sensitive snowflake, but I do feel a sense of responsibility toward the Kemetic community. I also have an interest to protect newbies on the path, who may be impressionable or vulnerable to attack.

All Kemetic pagans are consumers of research conducted by Egyptologists, other professionals and lay people alike and this work deserves respect, even if you don’t agree with it. I believe when we put our trust in a spiritual leader, we open ourselves up to the possibility of psychological harm, if something goes wrong. And let’s face it, no religion has a clean track record. For these reasons, I’ve been compelled to digress away from the actual content of Temple of the Cosmos and explore LaBorde’s particularly harsh reaction to the book, because I do think her actions are a display of violence, which may have ramifications for the community in the future.

For an established influencer, LaBorde’s actions were immature and lacking in leadership and insight. This is someone I used to follow, well, religiously when I was first starting out as a Kemetic. Now, I’m not sure whether to follow her more closely, or not at all in the future. I stopped following LaBorde initially due to less-than-pleasant experiences I had with some of her followers. Those experiences prompted me to start a project called Safe Pagans to raise awareness of the need for spiritual safety in the community. To date, Safe Pagans hasn’t gotten off the ground, essentially because I can’t commit time to yet another project. At first, I never attributed the behaviour of some of Sharon LaBorde’s followers to LaBorde herself, but now I’m having to re-evaluate her influence.

Personally, I’ve been through a lot of hardcore stress and violence in my life. There’s enough negativity in the world already. I don’t want to add to it, and I don’t find it entertaining. Influencers have a responsibility to the public. If you don’t like a book because you feel it’s supported by too few legitimate sources, fine that’s great; but an example so violently opposed to something, in my opinion, is planting the seeds for ideological and religious extremism in the future. It’s not a far cry from events in our current history, where books were burned for various political reasons. Cutting a book in half with a chainsaw is not so different, it’s a political statement that impacts people personally.

What spoke loud and clear to me in La Borde’s video, was if someone hates a book that much, they’re really afraid of it. Which begs the question, why is one of the world’s most leading Kemetic practitioners afraid of Temple of the Cosmos? What’s in this book that’s so terrifying? I wanted to find out. And if you’re a free thinking human being, I sincerely hope you want to find out, too.

 

In truth, Temple of the Cosmos was already on my bookshelf, along with several other books, waiting to be read.

My partner and I had to fly to Sydney on personal business, and we planned to make a mini-holiday out of our trip. Impulsively, I grabbed my copy of Temple of the Cosmos. This was a book I knew I needed to read. I decided to take a leave of absence from uni for the semester, to coordinate a move, a wedding, renovating the house and to catch up with my life in general. I also planned to do some light reading, during the downtime on our trip to Sydney.

As soon as I picked up Temple of the Cosmos, my hands began pulsing with energy. So much so, that my thumbs were burning and I had to place my hands on my partner to help dispatch the energy. Okay, I thought, this is it. I dove into Temple of the Cosmos, and was not disappointed. Nor did I feel threatened or fearful of anything I read.

To be continued…

Thank you for reading Kemetic Blog and my preliminary review of Temple of the Cosmos. Today marks the 2nd year anniversary of this blog, as well as its 50th post. I appreciate everyone who’s been a part of it.

 

 

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