A thought popped into my mind, while reading part one of Profane Egyptologists (as Paul Harrison muses about whether or not the Egyptological community and modern Egyptians alike 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 — Do any modern Egyptians practice Kemetic Paganism or follow ancient Egyptian religion in some way?
Many modern Egyptians appear fiercely proud of their pharaonic heritage and rightly so, but have any modern Egyptians reclaimed the old ways yet? That’s what I’d like to know. The question has been burning itself into my mind; as if I know there must be Egyptian Kemetics out there, but I can’t find any evidence to support what my intuition is telling me. The prospect of finding and connecting with Egyptian practitioners of Kemeticism is such an exciting thought, like finding long lost family members.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any definitive answers to share with my readers on this question. Intuitively, I feel the answer is, yes; they’re simply not forthcoming about their faith, due to the influence of today’s dominant religions, as well as the current political climate of Egypt. I can’t prove anything but I can feel it, like so many things in my life!
After a quick Google search, there doesn’t appear to be any online evidence of Kemetic neo-pagans practicing ancient Egyptian religion in Egypt. No one’s reaching out, either which is sad. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist. If such practitioners did exist, I think I speak for the rest of the world when I say, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Here we’d find a group of people who hold a vital piece of the puzzle, concerning the relevance of ancient Egyptian religion in the world today.
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 today would be kept strictly underground. A page on Quora titled ‘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.”
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much on the topic, beyond a few 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 pagans could certainly offer our advocacy and support. In the meantime, we can work together to make the Kemetic community the most welcoming place it can be.
Thank you, for reading Kemetic Blog. I hope you enjoyed these ponderings on the possibility of ancient Egyptian religion practiced in modern-day Egypt. Stay safe and well!
P.S. Just gonna say it: I know you’re there! Nyny!
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