Cultivating a Relationship with the Divine
In part 1 we covered how it is much easier to get started on a path in Kemetic spirituality than you might think. Plus, I listed a few basic items you’ll need for a barebones starter pack, using items you’re likely to already have around your house. The goal of part 1 was to encourage newbies and instil confidence.
Quite often, I meet new seekers on the Kemetic path who feel a lack of confidence because they just don’t know where to start. I would counter that by saying, the most important thing you need to get started on this path is yourself, which you already have! Next, you’ll want to reach out to the ancient Egyptian deities, or netjeru and begin forming personal relationships with them, along with the wider community of Egyptian neo-pagans. The significance of relationships in Kemetic spirituality and suggestions on how to cultivate them will be the focus of this week’s post. So grab a cuppa! I hope you’re in the mood for a good read.
Kemetic practitioners are a diverse group of people and can sometimes have varying ideas on Kemetic spirituality. Some of these ideas are backed by historical and archaeological evidence, while others are not. Most would agree that at the heart of this path, we are living our life with the netjeru in a close-knit relationship, resulting in growth, evolution, expanded consciousness and an all-round better life.
Another point I’d like to emphasise from part 1 is my own belief that if you’re feeling called to this path, it means the netjeru are calling you, personally. In this respect, the netjeru have already been working with you on an unconscious, spiritual level. Through your own intuition and insight, you’ve become more conscious of them in your everyday life. In the context of New Age spirituality, we often refer to this as a spiritual guide relationship and I make this comparison simply because of my background as a sensitive New-Agey kinda guy. In Kemetic spirituality, we take that relationship to the next level by connecting with the living spiritual essence of ancient Egypt, which is still very much extant.
The netjeru benefit from this relationship, as well because the Earth / Geb is sacred to them. We are sacred to them. The netjeru are invested in us because they believe in us and in our potential. They can see quite a big picture and they want to help us achieve all the great things they see in us. By contributing to our evolution, the netjeru also contribute to their own evolution, for even they continue to evolve and have new experiences. Of course, the netjeru approach humanity from a place of sacred service, that is, from a place of Ma’at. In our own highest aspects, we will approach the netjeru and each other in the same way. This mindset helps us to achieve and maintain Ma’at, or harmony and and altruism, while avoiding Isfet, or chaos and essentially, evil. Doing this consistently with practice, and living your life this way, will bring your spirituality to the next level. Just to clarify, you don’t have to be on the road to saint-hood in order to qualify as a Kemetic practitioner. You can swear, eat junk food and even talk politics. I’ve done all that and more and Isis hasn’t left me yet.
Speaking of the goddess, as I write, Isis (who is known as Aset, but I know her as Ahsmet’h) is asking me to include the above information for those who are wondering why a deity would want to help us in the first place, or even care about human plight or the plight of our planet. You might be asking, if things are so great up there, why would they care what happens down here? The deities are not separate from us or the Earth. Remember, we are all connected. So you see, the relationship we have with divinity is really one that already existed. The difference now is that we are simply acknowledging and developing our relationship with the divine. In Kemetic spirituality, we focus on Egyptian aspects of divinity but of course, there are many others. For our own reasons, Kemetics resonate with the netjeru and we cultivate our relationship with them to advance in our growth. That growth builds a momentum, which can effect positive evolutionary change on the planet. My own impressions include that it has to do very much with every single being on Earth achieving an experiential awareness of their own divine identity within. More on that in another post!
Now that you have achieved ritual purity and created a sacred space covered in part 1, you can begin using it as a sanctuary and meeting place with the netjeru. Most practitioners have at least semi-permanent altars and shrines and you can read about mine here. Some people need to have secret shrines due to their home life, which is completely understandable. That doesn’t mean you can’t create a sacred space, nor begin cultivating a personal relationship with the deities. You can! The key is to be patient and work within the circumstances you have, knowing that in time your circumstances will evolve and change.
Let’s talk about the components of a successful relationship. Most would agree that love, trust, honesty, communication, mutual respect, loyalty and quality time are a strong framework that make a relationship built to last. This is applicable not only to romantic or family relationships but also to our relationships with the netjeru in Kemetic spirituality. Don’t worry, there’s no need to be overly sappy though, just be sincere. Maybe right now you’re just dating or hanging out with the netjeru; maybe you’re not sure yet how serious you want to be, or if you want to commit and that’s okay! Like anyone, the netjeru appreciate forthrightness. The returns are many fold.
I should mention that Kemetic spirituality is not a cult in the modern sense of the word. In antiquity, a cult carried a positive connotation. That positivity was lost in recent times due to abuses of power. Any spiritual path should serve to empower you, not exert power over you.
Establish trust by introducing yourself to the netjeru. True, they may already know who you are, but a simple acknowledgement of them can have a profound affect. Tell them why you’re here. It doesn’t have to be anything formal, you don’t have to fumble with ancient Egyptian language or read hieroglyphics — just speak from your heart. All the fancy stuff and elaborate rituals can come later and such rituals do have their place. For now though, just light your candle and offer it to them. Show them your food offering and place it on the altar. Let them know you are interested in cultivating a relationship. Try meditating and see what impressions you get.
That’s it! This is Kemetic spirituality at its most simplistic but also arguably, its finest. Often the most simplistic rituals can be the most effective, because you are including the deities in your everyday life. Conclude your first meeting by thanking them and letting them know you’ll be back. You may wish to perform these simple rituals at specific times each day, according to the time of year as you build your knowledge base, or spontaneously when you feel the need to do so. I like to include my netjeru at dinner most evenings, when I like to fix an offering of food for them. Depending on your household, this may or may not be practical for you. Remember, the netjeru love harmony and will appreciate and respond to whatever gifts you can give them at the appropriate time. Your way of connecting with the netjeru might be to offer a stick of incense in your bedroom when you get home from work or class, with no one any the wiser. If you take a practical approach to your practice of Kemetic spirituality, you will find it surprisingly adaptable to modern life.
It’s usually a good idea to stick with the entire pantheon of Egyptian deities when you first start out and more likely than not, you will eventually branch out and work more closely with different deities at different times as the need arises. As you continue to build relationships with the deities, you may be drawn to particular gods or goddesses. One goddess who has come forth is Sekhmet, a solar goddess of war but also of healing and protection, who has the head of a lioness and the body of a woman. In my own experience, Sekhmet encourages us to reach and maintain a gold standard in all we do. The god coming forth is Thoth / Djehuty, a god of writing, magic, wisdom and the moon. He has the head of an Ibis and the body of a man (he can also take the form of a Baboon). Thoth is also protective in my experience. Psychically, I’ve seen him literally chase negative energy out of my bedroom. I also work with him in my writing. Both these deities work very well with newbies and they’ve requested I include them for your consideration. There are many more!
Cultivating a Relationship with the Community
You will also benefit greatly from getting to know other Kemetic neo-pagans. Sometimes this process can be more delicate than cultivating relationships with the netjeru but not always. Try to approach others with sensitivity and diplomacy. Nothing gained if nothing ventured, as they say. The more we can get past our own biases and work to cultivate a sense of community, the more we will see its positive effects. If you do have a less than desirable experience, never, ever take it personally. Learn from the experience, take it with a grain of salt, and remember your personal vision and sense of purpose.
Always keep your relationship with the netjeru and yourself at #1 and don’t let any negative experience drive a wedge between you and your spirituality.
Differences of opinion and perspective can ideally add richness and diversity to the famed Kemetic round table. We need to support one another and aim for discussion rather than division. Ego and issues concerned with power and status within a community or group reflect our own frailty as human beings. Again, if we approach group-work with a sense of service to others, we can avoid many of the problems that undermine a healthy sense of community. The 42 ideals of Ma’at or 42 negative confessions have also been reworked into 42 positive confessions. These are an important part of Kemetic spirituality yet we often neglect them.
While a balanced ego can be considered healthy, too much can quickly turn into kindergarten drama. If we gave each other just a fraction of the respect we give to the netjeru and other spiritual guides, we could graduate from kindergarten and rocket through all the other grades. Treat everyone as if they are a netjer in training because guess what? That’s exactly what they are and so are you. If anyone treats you less than that, know your value (which is a healthy ego) and back away from the conflict (which is the bigger person’s response). It can be so incredibly irking to do that sometimes but your actions will influence others and plant the seeds for a kinder culture — which we so desperately need.
Having said that, don’t be afraid to test the waters. Try attending a pagan festival or ritual observance in your local area. These can be deeply nurturing and life-changing when done with love. You might also find an Egyptian-themed shop in your hometown, which can serve as an excellent switchboard for Kemetic communications. There’s a growing online community of Kemetic neo-pagans as well. Keep an open mind and be respectful of diverse opinions. There are many different perspectives on Kemetic spirituality and in the most healthy of approaches, you should be able to learn from the people you meet, while remaining free to come and go as you please.
Use your own discernment regarding groups. If you get bad vibes, listen to your intuition and look elsewhere. Kemetic spirituality means different things to different people and everyone’s reasons for being there will be as unique as each individual. Always maintain healthy boundaries and ensure your psychological, spiritual, and physical safety. You may even want to bring along a non-pagan friend or two for company and give them an I.O.U. for their next non-pagan event. None of this has been included to deter you but rather, to defend you as best I can from the other side of a computer screen.
As mentioned in my last review post, I’ve been attending a live Kemetic Reform service on YouTube hosted by author, Sharon LaBorde. A growing sense of community is taking shape there. At a recent service, a new attendee was afraid of being judged for working with Set. I felt a twist of sadness for this person. Why would Kemetics judge other Kemetics? I know Set isn’t exactly in the good books with my own matron goddess, Isis, but it’s not for me to judge. Everyone agreed or at least found common ground on the issue, and I was so relieved. Here we have an example of a group with tolerance, patience and maturity. Occasionally the scales tip but quickly regain balance. If we as a community can’t respect one another and have each other’s backs, then what do we have going for us? What are we expecting to get from the experience?
Our community is our chance to create something special and different from the mainstream world. Isn’t that a big part of why we’re here?
My personal belief is that your best relationship can only be as good as your worst. Nursing has taught me that. In my profession, relationships are secondary only to dealing with the most immediate of emergencies and even then, relationships are crucial. If you can’t work with others to coordinate and mobilise your efforts and if you can’t do it fast, how are you going to help save a person’s life? I’ve learned to treat everyone with the same level of respect, no matter what their role or how they might be treating me.
How does the above concept relate to Kemetic spirituality? As modern, Kemetic neo-pagans we’ve had a torch relit for us by deities, a torch once held by the ancient Egyptian people. What a great honour this is! Now that we are bearers of Kemetic fire‚ we have to decide what we are going to do with it. We can use our torches to light the way for others. We can also shoot flaming arrows at one another. Currently, I see a little bit of both happening. Burning each other’s houses down will only leave us homeless. Spiritual homelessness might sound like a first world problem and it’s absolutely true. It’s a big problem.
We can’t expect to form positive, healthy relationships with the netjeru if our own human relationships are toxic. If we have an easier time forming relationships with non-physical beings than with each other, we need to look at that. Most of the trouble that arises in groups stems from people who are hurting, unhappy, insecure and are wrestling with issues of their own. We each need to be responsible for our own healing. Unless you work at an airport, it’s not your job to handle other people’s baggage.
Cultivating a Relationship with yourself
Last but not least is the relationship you have with yourself. In truth, this relationship should have been mentioned first! Any genuine relationship requires you to give of yourself. If you don’t know yourself, you can’t effectively share yourself with others.
Check-in with yourself often and be at peace with yourself as best you can. Have you ever noticed as soon as you attempt to meditate, your mind will thrust forth whatever you need to process? So process it, don’t suppress it. If you need help, ask the netjeru for assistance. In a healthy community, you should also be able to seek support.
Take time out for yourself. That’s no crime. In fact, the netjeru are suggesting now is a good time to do something for yourself, something nurturing. The nature of the netjer is to nurture. Something else nursing has taught me is how tough and resilient people can be, yet how fragile. It’s something I’ve learned helping people heal, then learning yourself how to survive the ravishes of hospital politics and even corporate financial targets and not burning out completely. What am I talking about? Self care. You’ve got to take care of yourself first before you can do anything else. If you do this, your body and your inner self will respond by unlocking and revealing so many wonderful secrets and mysteries. You’ll be in better health to enjoy them, too.
Good relationships with the deities, with others and yourself are an important part of Kemetic spirituality, if you want to experience the whole shebang. And why not? It’s all right here. Thank you for reading Kemetic Blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and you’re an absolute legend if you made it through. Look for part 3 of 4 of Kemetic Spirituality for Beginners in the near future. Stay safe and well, know that you are loved and very much needed in this world. The netjeru want to hear from you!
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