Conversion to atheism in the Kemetic community is an issue I think we should all discuss respectfully, no matter where you stand on the matter.
IDK why I’m quoting random song lyrics in my posts of late. Last month, it was Kate Bush. This time, it’s from Snow Patrol’s Run: light up, light up, as if you have a choice; even if you cannot hear my voice, I’ll be right beside you, dear. Maybe it’s because I’m convinced this guy did hear a voice, a message from the divine and he embedded those codes in a song to light up awareness in others. And maybe I’m just f*cking nuts. Does anyone have definitive proof either way, of anything? No, I guess not and that’s the honest truth.
Recently I visited Devo’s blog, The Twisted Rope. I wanted to remember which books he recommended for newbies and basically say, this is what Devo recommends, because I haven’t had time to read these books yet myself. I’ve read Sharon LaBorde and Paul Harrison, so far but that’s it. I’m too busy surviving my degree! Anyway, Devo announced a new direction for his blog, along with his conversion to atheism while still a Kemetic pagan. He says, “I’ve found other ways to interpret our religion that doesn’t require someone’s belief in the gods. I always said that I felt Kemeticism could be practiced this way, and I guess I’m putting that theory to the test now.” I could immediately detect heartfelt honesty. This was a direction he needed to take and for him, it simply couldn’t be denied any longer. Devo’s major criticism of Kemetic pagans is we focus way too much on the gods.
OMGs! I realised. It’s true! I’m 100% guilty of this. I’m completely obsessed with the netjeru. As an intuitive, I see them, I hear them, I feel them, I communicate with them, they communicate with me; I blog about them incessantly. I even bake them f*cking cookies! They carry the cookies off into their own dimension and exclaim with delight, well not the actual physical cookies but you know, the etheric imprint of those cookies, which nourishes them with energy. They, in turn, send energy back to us. We have a rhythm going, there’s an exchange happening: back and forth, back and forth. Like an engine, and we’re going somewhere; we can drive this whole planet like a big rig, into another plane of existence!
Suddenly, it hit me that not everyone is experiencing reality the way I do. Not everyone perceives the gods like I do. Some pagans are becoming agnostic; some are even becoming atheist. My unwavering belief that you, too can perceive the gods if you just meditate, drink water and breathe isn’t happening for everyone the way it happens for me. And so now I have to deal with that, and I want to deal with that, and accept it and learn from it. I want to make meaning from it because that’s how my brain ticks.
Everyone deserves psychological and spiritual safety — it’s a human right. Conversion to atheism in the Kemetic community is a sensitive issue we should respect first, and place our own opinions second.
I was compelled to leave my first comment at Devo’s blog (I’m generally shy and don’t want to be seen as some self-promoting d*ckhead dropping links at an established blog, plus I’ve had negative experiences rubbing elbows with other Kemetics in the past and could do without any further trauma or psychic attack, thank you). I wanted to support Devo because I felt a sense of shame and disappointment coming through in his post. No matter what’s happening, Kemetics are still part of a community, and I think it’s important for people to know they’re not shouting into an empty, black abyss. People are hearing you, they’re pondering your ponderings and you’re making them think.
Do I personally believe the gods do not or may not actually exist, that we’re trying to placate and win the favour of beings that may not actually be there, after all? In short, no. I do not believe the gods don’t exist, I believe the gods do exist. However, if I couldn’t perceive them and had to operate on faith alone, I can’t tell you how sustainable my faith would really be. I’m spoiled in this sense and perhaps even plagued with visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations. I don’t believe I am mentally ill but who’s to say religious belief and even mystical experiences, for that matter, are not forms of mental illness?
Devo mentions the role of trauma in the belief of god or gods and I think all conscientious pagans need to look at this (see the aforementioned 2021 post, Bishop’s Knife Trick). Was all religion invented by the human psyche as a response to trauma? Perhaps merely surviving the elements and surviving each other in pre-historic and ancient times was so traumatic that we needed to believe in something that could help us have some control over our surroundings. It’s not so different today. I’ve been traumatised by corporate greed in the nursing industry, in my past workplaces. We’ve all been f*cking traumatised by COVID; look at the poor anti-vaxers and anti-maskers, they’re having a meltdown! One very good nurse I worked with left nursing altogether, and is moving to Europe because he doesn’t want the vaccine. He’s traumatised. Christian belief denotes that suffering brings us closer to god, shamans sometimes endure hardships to induce visions and Buddhists believe suffering cultivates compassion. The common threads of faith born of trauma are clearly visible. I, myself, was visited by Isis / Aset during the first wave of COVID-19 when financially struggling and I felt safe and reassured by her presence. There are many ways to interpret this. Conversion to atheism might seem like a logical response to some. Personally, I interpret things very differently but I’m still willing to look at opposing views and validate them to the best of my ability.
Incidentally, since we’re being honest and not sugar-coating anything, I do think our concept of what is god, or rather who is god needs an overhaul. This is something I don’t think the general population of any civilisation ancient or modern has ever understood, except perhaps a few. You are god, I am god, we are god! The deities can be reduced to beings who simply know they are god. Imagine if every m*therf*cker on this planet knew they were god and conducted themselves as loving, responsible gods. What would happen on this planet? I’m sure there’s an ism for all this but I’m ignorant of the term. For me it’s not an ism, it just is.
Maybe I do suffer from a benign form of psychosis. Maybe there’s a part of my brain that invents what I wish to see and hear. Maybe I confuse fantasy with reality. Maybe I have the imagination of a child. IDK. There are a lot of maybe’s getting thrown around here. That’s because I can’t really prove or disprove anything. I don’t think anyone can. You just have to follow what’s in your heart. Trust yourself, trust what you know. Follow the path that feels right to you. Nobody has the right to give you any sh*t about it.
So, if there’s a way to practice Kemeticism without the polytheistic fixation on worshipping gods, to simply conduct Ma’at in that manner, then let’s do it. Why not? If the gods really are there, they should allow us to conduct this experiment. My own prediction is we become like those we have worshipped. So we don’t need to worship them anymore, because then we’d just be worshipping ourselves and that would be weird. It would be time for us then, to conduct ourselves in a new manner of creative expression. Paratheism might be a term we could use to describe what we’d find beyond our theism. That’s my interpretation of the situation but hey, WTF do I know? I’m just a psychic psychiatric nurse with a compulsion for house plants and chocolate, who listens to Janis Joplin and chats with ancient deities who supposedly went extinct thousands of years ago! I’m probably f*cking nuts, so don’t worry about it.
Whether I’m f*cking crazy, or you’re f*cking crazy or we’re all f*cking crazy: f*ck it. I believe in kindness and you don’t need to worship anything — or anyone — to practice that, so that’s what I’m doing.
Thanks for reading Kemetic Blog. I’d love to know what you think about conversion to atheism in the Kemetic community. I hope my swearing didn’t offend anyone — I must be clearing a blocked chakra. Anyway, stay safe and well out there.
© Scott Rose / Kemetic Blog – All Rights Reserved.
devoDecember 5, 2021 at 8:08 am
I’ve debated writing about this, but was never sure what to really say on it, but i personally feel like humans originally created religion based off of their desire to show gratitude towards the natural world for supporting them. i’ve felt most inclined to leave offerings for the gods when things have worked out, when i feel taken care of, when i feel relief after a stressful time comes to an end in a good way. similarly when we get extra good harvests from certain plants, or extra needed rain, etc. and i can’t help but wonder if people took this and built off of this desire which brought us to religion and gods. less about fear and control, but more about being grateful for good things.
what’s funny is that i went through a long period where i could hear gods and do spirit work, and then it turned off like a switch. and after that point, its been hard to ascertain if that means its actually real (if i was making it up in my head, why would it just stop like that), or if it means that its definitely not real (if they were real, why would it suddenly stop like that hahahaha). some of the final nails in the coffin were trying to figure out how to come to grips with the fact that the gods had done some shitty things to me, had ignored me in times of desperate need, and whether entities that treat you like that are actually worth venerating. btwn all of these things and my OCD running me ragged, choosing to create a version of myself that didn’t utilize gods as physical beings seemed like the best choice.
given how many different ways religion can take shape, how experiences with deities or authority figures can sour, i think its super important to allow ppl to not rely on deities to participate in our religion. i also think it’ll help people reconsider what it means to be kemetic.
also also, i agree about embodying ma’at, viewing yourself as a deity, worshiping yourself as you might a god… i believe that taking good care of ourselves and each other is the best way to make ma’at manifest. hopefully one day we’ll all be able to get to that point.
Scott RoseDecember 6, 2021 at 5:28 pm
I’m glad you wrote your article, because you are being honest and authentic. That is far more valuable than saying what you think others want to hear, or writing what you think other people expect to read from you. Especially considering how unforgiving people online can be. It was brave and you should be commended for your work. I think you are pioneering a new form of Kemeticism and a template that other pagans, who would otherwise be disillusioned, could adopt and adapt to their own needs.
I read an article several months ago, about certain behaviours in primates that have been observed which appear to resemble veneration, or ritualistic behaviour. I wanted to write a post about it and perhaps one day I will (I can’t keep up with everything). If it’s true, then isn’t it astounding that our religious and spiritual impulses go that far back?! It must be for a reason, there must be a functional purpose, if we were pagan beings before we were human beings. So what is that impulse? What scope do we use to interpret it: scientific, mystical or some other discipline?
If no one else encourages you, know that at least one person does. The way I see it, you’re jumping into the driver’s seat as a fledgling god — many of us are ready for this, hence the discontent with the status quo. You’re not the neophyte in the back seat paying the uber fare, anymore. Of course, this is only my interpretation. There are undoubtedly many others. I look forward to reading about your future journeys; I think you’re onto something.
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[…] and so on, according to our own belief systems. It should be noted, that some Kemetic practitioners don’t believe in the gods at all, yet still believe in the philosophy of Ma’at. Most Kemetics, however, are […]