The thought popped into my mind while reading part one of Profane Egyptologists (where Paul Harrison muses about whether or not the Egyptological community and modern Egyptians would accept non-Egyptian Kemetics as legitimate practitioners of ancient Egyptian religion). Then it struck me again, while watching the Pharaoh’s Golden Parade of royal mummies to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. What a stupendous ceremony!
Many Egyptians today appear to be fiercely proud of their pharaonic heritage and rightly so, but have any modern Egyptians reclaimed their gods yet? That’s what I would like to know. Do any modern Egyptians practice ancient Egyptian religion? The question is burning itself into my consciousness. The prospect of Egyptian Kemetic neo-pagans is such an incredibly exciting thought, like finding long lost family members.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a definitive answer, as of yet. Intuitively, I feel the answer is, yes. They are simply not forthcoming, due to the current religio-political climate in Egypt. I cannot prove it but I can feel it. Like so many things in my life!
After performing a Google search, there doesn’t appear to be any online evidence of Kemetic neo-pagans practicing ancient Egyptian religion in Egypt. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist. If such practitioners do exist, the rest of the world would be privileged to hear from them. Here we would find a group of people who hold a vital piece of the puzzle concerning the relevance of ancient Egyptian religion in the world today. If I’m wrong, and Egyptian Kemetic neo-pagans don’t exist, why not?
I’m quoting from Wikipedia’s page on Egyptian religion since I know next to nothing on the subject, in its modern form:
“Freedom of belief and worship are formally recognized as absolute by the Egyptian Constitution under Article 64, but are effectively limited by government intervention and sectarian conflict. Some aspects of the country’s laws are heavily founded on Islamic principles. Egyptian authorities only recognize Judaism, Islam and Christianity, allowing them public worship unlike other faiths. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and other senior figures have emphasized religious tolerance.”
Call me pessimistic, but it sounds like any neo-pagan movement occurring in Egypt would be kept strictly underground at this time. A page on Quora entitled ‘Would the Egyptian government and society allow people to practice Kemetism (ancient egyptian religion)?’ affirms this. A user named Dahlia El Deeb replied:
“Openly, no. The Egyptian society is very conservative, or at least seems conservative. Although faiths other than Islam, Christianity and Judaism are present, such as Jehovah’s witnesses, Behayai, Atheism, Agonism, but they are hardly ever openly practiced. It’s not that you’ll be persecuted like in the old days if you openly practice whatever faith you like, but it just won’t be supported and it will be badly judged. Let alone how everyone else is going to negate you and convince you how wrong you are/unnatural you are. It’s just how the society is.”
I couldn’t find much on the topic beyond sparse threads on Quora. Perhaps one day, if Kemetic neo-pagans really do exist in present-day Egypt, they’ll come forward and break their silence, without fear of judgement or persecution. The rest of the world’s Kemetic neo-pagans could certainly offer our advocacy and support. In the meantime, we can continue to work together, to make the Egyptological community the most welcoming place it can be. Thank you, for reading Kemetic Blog. I hope you enjoyed these ponderings on the current status of ancient Egyptian religion in Egypt. Stay safe and well!
P.S. I’m just gonna say it: I know you’re there. Nyny!
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