Kemetism is Orthopraxic: Live in Ma’at II.

Since my last post on this subject, I’ve been thinking extensively about how I wanted to continue it. I always knew, no matter the responses I received on that last installment, that I would get back to it. The thing about theological discussion is that as much as we may want to philosophize about it as often as possible, most of us have a life. And since that post went live the day before I started my new job, I haven’t really been able to put on my philosopher’s hat and get back to it. And I will be completely honest, considering the varied responses because of my last post, I’ve wondered if I should even bother with it. It seemed like no one but a select few really understood what I was getting at when I posted last time, so why bother moving forward with it? Giving up, however, is probably not living in ma’at though.

As a quick recap, I left off wondering what in the world ma’at actually is.

I think a part of that is because I am constantly questioning this main, huge, big, important concept to my religion: What is living in ma’at and how can I do that?

I forget about this concept all the time. I said it above; I’ll say it again. I forget about living in ma’at all the time. There are days when I’m not nice. There are days when I’m too involved in my own stuff to stop what I’m doing and help others out. There are days where I’m so busy running from the second I’m up that I forget about this whole integral part of my religious practice.

I don’t know what this thing is, honestly. I don’t really know.

But I know that my gods need it.

They need it and I need it.

I just have to figure out what “it” is.

I left off with the knowledge that it really is something but what that something is, I couldn’t have said. I’ve taken the last three months to ponder this. Over the months, as I sat back and let everything process in my subconscious, I’ve been slowly but surely trying to figure out what all this stuff is, what it means, and how I can definitely add it as part and parcel into my life. Without their knowing it, my Kemetic community has been helping me – first with their helpful comments on my blog entry and secondly, by just being themselves – so that I’ve been able to come to terms with why I have issues, specifically, with the shopping cart theology and what I actually think ma’at, and therefore living in it, may just entail.

Let’s revisit the SCT, linked above. In my last post, definitively all I could say was that it didn’t feel like this theology worked for me any longer. In one of the numerous responses to my last entry, I was told to “re-read the essay.” I’ll admit that I have a few times since then as well as re-reading it to just prior to writing the entry. I was almost hoping that, magically, by re-reading the words that had been written I could either define myself in the version of ma’at Kiya was espousing or, perhaps, at least figure out where I was having troubles with it. If I could diagnose the issue, I could fix it by either deciding I was full of it when I said it didn’t work for me or comprise a personal theological discourse to counteract the shopping cart essay. And by counteract, I mean, you know find something that worked for me that I could try to explain to others in case they needed something else, too.

I think I’ve figured it out.

When writing that last post I said, “The thing is that I tend to view this theology on its face as ‘orderly.’ And I don’t necessarily equate ma’at with ‘orderly.’ It reminds me, in a manner of speaking, of those movies where humans line up like the mindless little automatons we can be and do as we are bid.” I wasn’t quite satisfied with that explanation back then and I’m less so now. The thing is that I still believe it equates to “orderly.” I still honestly think that the SCT is all about order and less about balance. And as time has gone by, I’ve come to realize that my version of ma’at is simply that… it is balance. And for whatever reason, I don’t see the theological essay as balance, but as order. And while they go hand-in-hand, according to definitions and all of that, they’re not quite the same to me.

While thinking about revisiting this topic, I went back through the responses on my entry. I took careful note of Devo’s response. Out of everyone in my Kemetic group, I think our definitions of ma’at mirror each other very well. She can pull from Shinto and explain it in ways that my work in the world of voodoo doesn’t quite afford me. I’m left guessing and floundering while she can at least appear to got her act together on this. But, when I was re-reading all those responses the last few days what particular struck me was, “It really is a matter of how you look at it. Ma’at is balance. That’s the easiest way to say it. Because it’s different for each of us- we can’t get too definite in our answers. We can’t pin down our definition to something that is too narrow- or we lose the point, the beauty that is ma’at- that its diverse.” Ah, yes… that’s what I’ve been aiming for and all I really had to do with steal Devo’s brain and borrow it for a while.

Part of the reason, I think, I have such a difficult time with “order” over “balance” is because of the perceived notions, from an American perspective, that I associate with that particular word. Order to me tends to be seen in terms of black and white, guilty or innocent, light or dark. It also means putting things away in their designated spaces, but those designated spaces are, again, seen as either this or that and never in between. Balance, to me, doesn’t quite hold the same association.

In some perspectives, I can definitely see it as having the same connotation as order does for me. I have no delusions here; someone will see that paragraph and tell me that I’m wrong because balance means those things. But not necessarily. As Devo went on to say in that prolific comment, “I would also say that ma’at is big picture. We forget that sometimes. The big picture. We’re so caught up in the OMG RIGHT NOW SUCKS that we ignore what great things can come in the future from acts that are being done right now. As I’ve said a lot recently- sometimes NTR throw you under a bus. Usually, its because it supports a bigger picture. It sucks, but it’s part of ma’at. It’s part of maintaining the whole.”

Ah… shades of gray.

And that has always been my major issue with ma’at and the concept of living in it. I tend to view ma’at as shades of gray as opposed to anything concretely this or that. Sutekh is considered a god of chaos, and yet, he also protects Re’s solar barque on its voyage through the Duat. Sekhmet is a blood-thirsty warrior goddess who once tried to destroy humanity, however she is also the protector of the pharaoh, an upholder of ma’at. In terms of black and white, we would say that Sekhmet and Sutekh are “bad deities,” but they’re not. They provide other helpful bases that we as a people who were not raised with this same fluid morality have difficulty grasping.

Let’s take a look at execration rituals for a minute.

In ancient Egypt, there really wasn’t much an individual [poor] person could do in order to maintain ma’at. It was not their roll in life to be a part of large rituals that would keep the world from falling apart at the hands of isfet and its agent, Apep. However, they had, at their disposal, execration rites to protect them from their enemies, either perceived or real, human or demonic. In some ways, we may view these types of rituals as a kind of curse against someone or something that may be trying to cause pain and harm to a specific individual. In that regard, some people who see things in black and white would determine that these rituals were “bad.” They are, in effect, asking for harm to come to another human being so, from that supposition, we assume that these were “negative” rituals. But point of fact, and the evidence indicates, that these rituals were not seen that way. They were another form of maintaining ma’at on a level with people who had no stakes to play in the cosmic game, but had stakes to play in the living game.

Shades of gray, indeed.

Right now, I can definitely attest that after three months of pondering, back tracking, pondering, giving up and just generally trying to put all the puzzle pieces together, I can clearly say I know what I think ma’at actually is. If someone else asks, I can say, clearly, that I think of it as balance although the type of balance that I may associate with it may not be the same as others willing to openly and congenially discuss it with me. And that’s okay, too. Maybe the open discussion of what it is and what it isn’t to other people is part and parcel to living in ma’at, too. As Devo said, we can’t clearly define it too much because then we’ll lose the point and the beauty that is ma’at.

Or, as Cher Horowitz says in the iconic movie, Clueless,

Cher: No, she’s a full-on Monet.
Tai: What’s a Monet?
Cher: It’s like a painting, see? From far away, it’s okay, but up close, it’s a big old mess.

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The Logistics of Running a Kemetic Anything

Alternate Title: Why running a group, temple or organization isn’t as simple as it looks.

There is a lot of discussion within the Kemetic community about modern temples and organizations. As it currently stands, we only have a handful of functioning Kemetic temples within our community (Kemetic Orthodoxy and Temple of Ra) and there is a good reason for it:

Setting up a temple, and making it function properly, is hard.

I know a lot of people like to take stabs at those who currently run Kemetic organizations, usually criticizing the methods employed for running these groups and how effective those methods are. To be certain, there is room for improvement in every single organization out there, but there are a lot of people whose criticism is nothing more than senseless picking. I think a lot of this picking comes from a lack of understanding in what it takes to actually run one of these things.

Alongside of this, I’ve had a handful of people either:
A. Bring up that anyone out there should work on creating a new temple.
B. Approach me, telling me I should work with XYZ to create a functioning temple

My response is always this: The time isn’t right and it’s a lot harder than it first looks.

I’ve had a little bit of experience in trying to lay down the foundations of a temple with a group of people, and I’ve spent more time than is probably healthy considering what it would take to properly set up and run a temple or organization. And to be honest, the sheer amount of stuff you need to consider to do it right the first time is quite mind boggling.

So let me break it down to show you what I mean.

Let’s start with the simplest stuff- what kind of temple will it be? Will it be recon, recon-slanted or modern? Will it be entirely online, in person, or both? Where will you get your materials for teaching your members? Will you teach your members anything? Will you have rituals? Will they be solitary, group oriented, or both? Will they be in person, online, via chat, something else? Will these rituals be daily, weekly, monthly, whenever-ly? Will you make these rituals up yourself or use other sources (such as Eternal Egypt) as your basis? What will you do about potential copyright issues if you use other sources? Will you copyright your own rituals just in case?

How about festivals? Will those be based off of the Egyptian calendar? Or will you make up new festivals? Or will you disregard festivals all together? And speaking of calendars- where will you get one? Will it be a civil calendar, or one that you re-orient every year? What about travel expenses and time zones?

And we’ve only scratched the surface!

How about a website or forum? Where will you get the funding for that? How will you code it or create it? Will you need to hire a coder or designer? Speaking of money- will your members have to pay dues? Is it fair to make them pay dues out of the gate? Will these dues be monthly, yearly, one time only? If you don’t levy membership fees- where will you get the money you need to run the place?

What will happen if you get sick? Will you have someone else to help manage the forums/membership and website while you’re gone? How will the admin on your forums work? What will you do if an admin steps out of line? How about if a member steps out of line? How will you work through member disputes and disagreements? What types of protocol will you set in place for letting go of members or admin?

Do you see how this adds up?

In regards to members- how will you ensure that members are active? Will you mandate that they have to participate in the forums or rituals a certain amount of hours or time per month? How will you ensure that that time is quality driven, and not empty posts? How will you handle that if there are no new posts on the forums, or no new topics to discuss? How will you handle the aspect of ritual attendance if the person is in a weird time zone? How about if life is just busy and they have to step back for a while? How does this affect their membership status? And if you don’t want to have rules on participation- how do you ensure that your members are in fact participating, and not members by name alone?

What about making members read stuff? Should they be required to have a general knowledge of Egyptian religion or history first? How will you provide those materials to people who don’t have money? Or will you turn them away? Do you write all of the knowledge yourself and have them read it via email or Internet? How do you ensure that they actually read and retained that information? How do you ensure that you don’t get that material stolen?

Obviously- there is a lot to consider and lay out before you even get to the process of actively recruiting members or creating a website. There are so many aspects that have to be considered- the style of temple, the membership structure, disciplinary issues and protocol, learning, participation, etc. And these are just the basics of the basics.

Beyond even that, I believe that we don’t have many temples or organizations within our community because in all honesty- we are not ready for them yet. Most of the people I’ve met in the Kemetic community don’t want that type of responsibility, or are not capable of handling that type of responsibility. Not all of us are geared to handling member disputes without breaking out the all caps. Some of us aren’t secure or strong enough to tell a member that they need to stop, or face being banned- and then hold up that promise when the member doesn’t back down. Some of us are not tactful enough to write nice responses when people send us hate mail. Many of us want our temples and organizations to include everyone, when the fact of the matter is- you can’t have everyone in your group. It’s not feasible.

You can not be all things to all people.

So you have to figure out where to draw the line- and many people are incapable of drawing that line. And so when the line continually gets pushed- you end up with an organization that no longer looks like what it originally did- for better or worse.

So many of us lack the basics in people skills to actually make these dreams a reality.

The fact of the matter is, in order to be successful in a temple setting, we need to quit looking at ourselves and what we want, and look at the bigger picture.

Let me tell you a story about Shinto.

There are tons of Shinto shrines in Japan. Every shrine (with staff) answers to one overseeing group- the Jinja Honcho. Within every shrine, you have quite a few priests, priestesses and other staff that help to make the shrine run. And you might be surprised to know that not every single one of these people necessarily agrees with how the Jinja Honcho runs certain things. Each year, different changes are made, or things are decided upon that can affect how the shrines run and how money gets spent, etc. – all of which gets decided by the Honcho (I’m simplifying this greatly). And yet, despite these changes and decisions- each of the shrines uphold these decisions regardless of their opinions on the decisions (and if they don’t like them, there are formal ways to go about overturning decisions, etc). Why do they do this?

Because they realize that there are more important things out there than their own specific wants.

Japan is very big into the concept of the whole being better and more important than its individual parts. And this shows in their religious community as well. The various priests don’t rip each other apart or scream and have fits because the Honcho made a decision they don’t like. They don’t create a huge scene and throw a temper tantrum in front of everyone else and decide that they are going to leave everything omg right now because something they disagreed with occurred.

I guess you could say they are busy looking at the bigger picture. Something we can’t seem to wrap our minds around.

Now take a look at any Kemetic forum (or any Pagan forum, really) and see how we would react. The Kemetic Orthodoxy Reorganization that occurred a few years back is a good example of how many people react to changes in doctrine/protocol/hierarchy (the answer is poorly). But you don’t even have to go to such a large scale to see how this sort of thing happens on a regular basis – go look on Tumblr or Facebook where people are regularly cut down into nothingness because the culture there seems to think it’s okay for an argument to be reduced to drama, all caps and profanity.

And while caps and swear words may be okay for some forms of interacting, a formally recognized temple or organization is not one of them. And from where I currently stand, little to none of us have the composure and restraint to heavily edit each of our responses when the proverbial shit hits fan. Too many of us are too preoccupied with satiating our need to sink our teeth into people we disagree with to properly remove ourselves and handle the situation like adults. We’re too busy being focused on ourselves instead of looking at the bigger picture, which in this case- the bigger picture is making sure that the group or temple is run smoothly and professionally. The bigger picture is the well being of the community and doing what the community needs, not necessarily what we want.

And that, my friends, is a tall order. An order that I think we as a community are still much too young to fill properly at this point in time.

Original post can be found here.

Relevant Posts:

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Kemetic Roundtable: How Do You Survive Fallow Time?


Everyone has dry spells in their religious practices. How do you handle the fallow times in your religious practice?

We have fifteen answers so far for this question.

"sand" by PredictorX

“sand” by PredictorX



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Kemetic Roundtable: How do you prepare for ritual?


Our first question:

Before doing a Kemetic ritual, it’s common to do something special to prepare yourself. What do modern Kemetics to do prepare themselves for ritual?

So far we have 16 blog answers, with a few more still in the works.


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Sad news: Rev. Deena Butta (Mekhatsenyt)

Em hotep,

It is with a very heavy heart that I report the passing of Rev. Deena Butta, who was also known as Mekhatsenyt as a Shemsu of the House of Netjer Kemetic Orthodox Temple, to the beautiful West late Sunday afternoon, January 27, 2013, after a short and very difficult illness.

Rev. Deena (Mekhat) was a tireless priestess of Isis and many other goddesses, and gave much of her life and time and effort to assisting the Chicago goddess community, and the global goddess community, as an archpriestess of the Fellowship of Isis. She worked in interfaith efforts for most of her life, and touched many people with her selfless service and constant dedication.

Rev. Deena has the singular distinction of being the most genuinely kind person I have ever known in my lifetime, and she was a friend of mine for more than 20 years. While the West has gained a beautiful daughter, our world will be less bright without her, and she will be deeply missed.

The Fellowship of Isis has posted a memorialat this website. The official funeral information is available at her obituary here.

Journey safely upon the roads of the West, Mekhat. May Yinepu guide you true, may Nebt-het provide comfort to those who weep, and may you shine justified before Wesir as a star in the vault of Nut forever.

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Reconstruction? Revival? Reform? Really? Are you HIP?



Ramesses II, Abu Simbel, (Photo: Than217)

Kemetic Reconstruction, Revival, Reform. We “know” what the words mean in this context, but nobody else seems to. When we mention our path, others have the impression that it’s a soulless attempt to re-create a past that can never come again. Hidebound. Un-creative copying. If it’s not in some dusty, beetle-chewed papyrus, we just don’t care.

So what is Reconstruction, exactly? Here’s a good definition: —> read more….


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Kemetism is Orthopraxic: Live in Ma’at.

I noticed, a while back, that each of us who work with gods tend to become a quasi-expert in that particular deity. Now, I’m thinking specifically in a Kemetic framework here, but I suppose it could be true across the polytheistic board. I know I tend to recommend various friends of mine for different deities: Bezen for jackals; Devo for Sutekh, Wesir, and occasionally Aset; Helms for specific items and lesser know deities; Sard for Sutekh, Khnum, Montu, and netjeri. I suppose I am considered the go-to girl for Sekhmet and occasionally Het-heru. I have networked a bit on Tumblr, so I can direct people to others who work with Djehuti, Seshat, and that ilk. We’re all experts… on the gods.

The thing is that while we are learning all we can, how many of us are forgetting what Kemetism is all about?

I know I am. I forget all the time.

I also know that I am not alone in this. Sometimes, it is difficult to keep in your mind that the religion you are carving out isn’t just about the gods, what to offer, and how to continue to earn their favor. It isn’t just about forging relationships on a level that is inherently personal to each of us. I have a hard time, especially lately, in remembering that my path has concepts that are integral to its very formation all of those millennia ago. I know that I’m not the only person around in the Kemetic hemisphere to have these issues, though. I know that I cannot possibly be the only person in the entire Kemetic arena of the polytheistic stage that has to stop and remind myself, on occasion, that the foremost of concepts in all of this are two-fold: live in ma’at and community.

Now, I will admit that this is my own view on the subject matter. Anyone else who reads this entry, of which I’m hoping there are a few, can speak up and tell me what you-all believe the inherent concepts of the religion are. And I will accept those concepts as much as I can. But to me, the two major and foremost things that we need to keep in mind is to live in ma’at first, followed by community. To me, you cannot have one without the other; you must live in ma’at to formulate a coherent and viable community. The thing is that this post really isn’t about community. I’m sure I’ll be jumping back into that topic at a later date in time. Right now, let’s talk about how we live in ma’at, how we offer ma’at, and what the we’re doing here.

As a Kemetic, when you start to think about living in ma’at, it can get kind of insane for a while. It’s a concept that really has absolutely no place in the English language. I really cannot convey how difficult this concept can be just in the premise of a language barrier. Whenever you read a book and that concept comes up, each definition or translation is different from each other. I have seen it translated as “truth,” “harmony,” “justice,” “cosmic harmony,” and a thousand other things. This is something I’ve discussed before – taking words from other languages and trying to fit them into a square hole, but the peg is a circle. You can’t cram it in there because it just won’t fit properly. But these are words that existed in these languages, both ancient and newer, for a reason. These concepts are things that we used to hold very dear to ourselves – ma’at in ancient Egypt, mir in Russian, ilunga in southwest Congo, schadenfreude in German, and kalpa in Sanskrit. We have close approximations to words like these, but more often than not there is no clear-cut translation that can make these words and concepts connect easily in our English minds.

I think this may be a major barrier to actually beginning to live a Kemetic lifestyle, to actually become a part of the whole experience and use your religion.

One of the arguments you see in some forums is the difference between orthopraxic and orthodoxic. The latter is the use of correct belief and rituals in a religious sense, while the former is correct action or activity, specifically in conduct. Kemetism is an orthopraxy just by its very foundation. This is made abundantly clear when you begin to start working on living in ma’at. It isn’t what you believe that makes the path here. It isn’t whether you have faith or whether you don’t. It is a matter of what you do in that faith that matters. And that is never more clear than when you begin to study and begin to try to live in ma’at in Kemetism.

Each person has a different take on what exactly living in ma’at can convey, which can also cause issues for those of us who want to live in ma’at. In some circles, this means taking the Papyrus of Ani and molding the 42 Negative Confessions there into a type of law system. While law happened in ancient Egypt, it didn’t matter what you wrote in your negative confessions. These were items that you were confessing to the gods that you very assuredly did not do, which would prove that your heart didn’t weigh more than the feather it was being weighed against. However, the 42 Confessions are horrifically out of date, if you ask me. How often do we have to admit that we never stole offerings from the temples or killed the cows of the gods’ temples? So, by turning these into laws of a sort, we’re missing the point.

The first point being is that, while some of these are universal, not all of them are.

And the second point being is that living in ma’at is as mercurial as human nature.

Some people think that living in ma’at means that we should put the shopping carts away. This isn’t so bad of a concept either. It means everything is orderly. It means that everyone does their part to make everything work out in that orderly concept. The problem is that not everyone puts their carts away, do they? They leave them in the middle of parking spaces, which then aggravates anyone trying to get a light grocery shopping done with no parking spaces left. People leave their carts up on the islands separating sections of the parking lot. Some people bring them back to the store front doors, crowding up space but making it easier to grab one when you go in.

I used to think about this particular theology and put it into practice. I do, in fact, put the grocery cart away when I am done using it. It is because of this theological essay that I started doing this with more intent, with more awareness, than I normally would. I’ve been bad – I’ve left the cart beside the parking space or I’ve failed to return it into its little slot. Sometimes, I’ve ever just left it in the middle of another parking place. But for the most part, I do still put the shopping carts away. The thing is that I tend to view this theology on its face as “orderly.” And I don’t necessarily equate ma’at with “orderly.” It reminds me, in a manner of speaking, of those movies where humans line up like the mindless little automatons we can be and do as we are bid.

I don’t feel that ma’at wants us to be little mindless automatons.

As I said above, living in ma’at is as mercurial as human nature.

So, what exactly is living in ma’at? How are people supposed to do this thing that we don’t even really fully comprehend because translations are incomplete or impossible? How are Kemetics supposed to put this orthopraxy into practice and you know, do instead of think and believe?

I get stuck at this part every time.

I think sometimes people tend to view me in this way that I’m not really. They tend to see my blog and see how vocal I am about it all. I think, sometimes, people equate this in a way with someone who has “got their stuff together.” I can be completely honest here since it is my blog and no one is probably going to read this: I do not have my stuff together. I don’t know what I’m doing more often than not. I have motions that I go through – I give the offerings, I do the execrations, I say the words. But there are days where I break down in front of my shrine because I am feeling so horrific about everything. There are days where the motions are as bare-boned as that word makes it sound. I putter around with my cool water and don’t bother with the bread or the incense or the candles. I am not together. More often than not, I don’t know what the hell I am doing.

I think a part of that is because I am constantly questioning this main, huge, big, important concept to my religion: What is living in ma’at and how can I do that?

I forget about this concept all the time. I said it above; I’ll say it again. I forget about living in ma’at all the effing time. There are days when I’m not nice. There are days when I’m too involved in my own things to stop what I’m doing and help others out. There are days where I’m so busy running from the second I’m up that I forget about this whole integral part of my religious practice.

I don’t know what this thing is, honestly. I don’t really know.

But I know that my gods need it.

They need it and I need it.

I just have to figure out what “it” is.

Note: The list of words I used to conceptualize the fact that some words do not translate into English are not all words relating to the concept of “ma’at.” The word from the Congo actually means something like, “I will forgive you on the first offense and the second offense, but on the third offense, it is on like Donkey Kong.” Something like.

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The True Meaning of Moomas

My newest blog entry is about “The Establishment of the Celestial Cow,” in which I highlight an article by Edward P. Butler, of Henadology blog fame, and also gripe about working retail during the holiday season.




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Heka – Words of Creation

For my first (and long overdue) post here on KIN, I’ve decided to re-post something from my own blog, Emerald and Black. I suppose I could be accused of laziness, but the subject of this post is an important one to me, and I believe it deserves to be repeated. I hope you enjoy it.

The ancient Egyptians had no shortage of creation myths. My current favorite is the Memphite Theology, in which Ptah is the creator deity. Unlike Atum who masturbates Shu and Tefnut into creation, or Ra whose tears form the first humans, Ptah’s method of creation is an intellectual one. In his heart, Ptah conceived of all things in the universe: the earth, the other gods, humans, animals – everything. He then spoke their names, and they came into existence. According to this myth, ours is a world created entirely by words.

I’ve always been a pessimist. When so many aspects of your life seem not to work, it is easy to fall into patterns of negative thoughts, lowered expectations, and negative speech. It’s also easy to find well-meaning optimists who are all too eager to give unsolicited advice, which often just boils down to “be positive!” To someone with a pessimist’s mindset, it is not so simple. Aside from sounding like fluffy self-help nonsense, the advice, in a sense, asks the pessimist to deny reality. How can you be positive when you can’t find a job, when your relationships are failing, when your dog dies? The notion seems to belittle what you are experiencing, and couldn’t possibly change your situation for the better.

But it’s all about perspective. We all know how words can affect us; we’ve all been insulted and complimented, been inspired by a speech, touched by a poem. Yet the abstract “be/think/speak positive” meant nothing to me because I simply had no way of relating to it. This is where heka comes in. Heka can be defined as “magical speech,” the power of words to affect change. As in Ptah’s creation myth, the words we speak give life to what is in our hearts and minds. They create our realities.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of heka, which in turn has me thinking about the words I speak. I’ve had a lifelong habit of defining things in negative terms. I can’t. I don’t. I won’t. How can I have balance in my life if all I speak is negativity? How am I serving Ma’at if my words only create impossibilities and unhappiness?

I still don’t know how far positive speech can go in changing my outlook on things, much less my own reality, but for once I’m willing to give it a try. Whatever the result is, whether or not I change my mindset, I have nothing to lose for the effort. At best, I change myself for the better; at worst, nothing happens.

There’s nothing in this world that’s as safe a bet as that.

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Wepwawet Versus Anup.

I’ve actually been off-and-on about posting this entry since I first had the idea some months back. I actually think I had the idea back when we were still around L or so, but I can’t really remember. I know that I’ve had this inkling for some time and so, that’s why I wanted to get it off of my chest. I’ve discussed my thoughts with other Kemetics out there, one in specific who is a jackal enthusiast and my number one go-to regarding UPG versus recon versus reality. So, it’s with the backing of some really totally bitchin’ people that I finally get past my initial worry about posting this and just get to it. Besides, when the hell have I ever held back before? Why start now?

I have to admit that I am not a follower or practitioner who worships either of these deities. What I’m seeing is just a general UPG feeling in regards to things. How can I possibly have UPG feelings on this? The thing is that I’ve done some research about both of these deities, off and on, over the months since I began thinking about what I wanted to write about. Y’see, I knew I wanted to write about Wepwawet in this entry, but I also knew that I didn’t want to do some encyclopedic boring piece of shit that people would ignore. I wanted to get to the meat of the matter and here’s the meat portion: I am honestly beginning to believe that a lot of Kemetic practitioners who claim a relationship with Anup are really working with Wepwawet. Crazy. What do I know, right? I’m talking about UPG here and I don’t even work with either of these deities? TOTES CRAY-CRAY, SAT. But, hear me out. First, let’s talk about each deity in a generalized sense.

We have Wepwawet first. I mention him first because he is older, in my eyes, than Anup. This is partially born out in archeological evidence from the mention of him on the Narmer Palette, dating back to the 31st century BCE. Archeological evidence speaks of this particular deity’s origins as in the Upper Egypt region, but his worship spread quickly enough. The name, Wepwawet, is commonly translated as “opener of the way.” In regards to “the way” that is being “opened” here, predominant belief would be in line with a warlike, king needing the way parted before them. In fact, this is specifically discussed in the Wepwawet entry from The Complete Gods and Goddess of Ancient Egypt by Richard H. Wilkinson. While I will admit that “opening the way” may not be a peaceful venture more often than not, I don’t think warlike is attested in specific. Yes, when Wepwawet is depicted, there are weapons about. However, that could just be a way to cut through the bullshit and to open the way. As I said, opening the way for someone doesn’t necessarily refer to it in a warlike manner but, really, in a more forceful manner.

Wepwawet appears to have been a very popular deity in ancient Egyptian times, as born out in how quickly the cult of Wepwawet spread across the nation. According to Geraldine Pinch in Egyptian Mythology, “Wepwawet’s role as a celestial guide dog made him a popular deity with ordinary people who faced dangerous journeys in life or death.” While I have a bit of a snarly comment about the “guide dog” aspect, this analogy appears to be wholly correct in regards to Wepwawet, the deity, as well as the cult status he attained. This particular deity was very much an “in this life” kind of deity. I suppose we could even attest the adage, “the first day of the rest of my life,” to him in a way. Wepwawet was very concerned with this realm of influence. I’m not saying that he held no part in the afterlife because he did. But, and UPG ALERT, I’ve always seen him very much as more human interacting than Anup. (More later, obviously.)

Now, Wepwawet’s aspects did also hold dominion over the land in the dead. The “opener of the way” epithet didn’t just reference battles and cutting through bullshit, but also did have to do with the afterlife, as well. Spells found in both the Pyramid Texts as well as the Coffin Texts attest to Wepwawet’s role in aiding the recently deceased on their way to heaven and “opening ‘a good path’ for them through the dangerous landscapes of the afterlife.” (Egyptian Mythology by Geraldine Pinch, page 213.) It is also attested that, in this particular role, Wepwawet gave aid to the murdered god, Wesir. It is also shown that he punished the enemies of Wesir.

As for Anup, he is still a very ancient deity in his own right. However, the first confirmed mention of this deity is in the Pyramid Texts, thus lending credence to my belief that Wepwawet is an older version. The early years of Anup’s mention in ancient Egypt appears intrinsically linked with the funerary process. It is his image that was often carved over the entrances to ward off grave robbers. It is in this distinction that we, most often, find Anup residing. According to Egyptian Mythology by Geraldine Pinch, “Anubis was incorporated into the Osiris myth as the god who invented mummification…” (p104). And it is in this light that too often, he is truly relegated. However, this jackal-headed deity had numerous other aspects not oft discussed in Kemetic spheres: he was a liminal god, a Master of Secrets, the one who weighed and accounted the hearts of the deceased, as a psychopomp, and as the premier embalmer of the funerary cult.

I feel that the differences between these two jackal deities is very clear, but I’ll be specific here. The two of them both work in an areas of opening ways for others, but only one is more inherently in this realm than the other. Wepwawet was shown, clearly, in ancient Egyptian iconography as being an “opener of the way.” While he functioned in this aspect in a funerary way, as well, it is in the aspect of a “cutter of bullshit” that we need to take into account. As I said earlier, I see this deity as the one who would manifest more intently with the living. He would be the one to show others the way in this realm. And too often, I see people instead attesting that it is Anup who “opens the way” for them, in whatever arena. And that, to me, just doesn’t seem right.

I know that a lot of people may be thinking that it appears that I am arguing semantics here. “They’re both jackal deities; does it matter?” And the answer to that is yes. They are two SEPARATE deities. Too often, we find Anup usurping qualities best left to Wepwawet. I realize that this is because the mythologies associated with Anup survived into the Roman Era, considering Anup’s integral role in the Osirian mythos. However, there was more than one jackal deity in ancient Egypt. In fact, there are more jackal deities than just the two I’m talking about here. But, the point remains that as a hard polytheist, I legitimately believe that, too often, followers of Anup are mixing the two up.

Now, if that’s the case, why is this happening? In part, I believe it is complete ignorance on behalf of the followers. As well known as Anup is, it is difficult and time consuming to find out any type of information about other jackal deities. (Just ask anyone in love with Sed or Khentymentu.) And as I’ve been coaching people interested in this religious path, this path is about reading, research, and taking the time to learn. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you can go to the Wiki pages and leave it at that. It means that the more ancient the sources we run into, the more likely we will have the proper information. And so, that would make it easier for the current followers to decide who it is they are actually working with.

But, you know, who wants to spend all their time with a nose in a book when this particular jackal deity looks good, so why not go with that one?

Wait a minute, though. Wouldn’t the deities in question stop the fuck up in its tracks?

I’ve thought about this and had a conversation or two with people. I think a large aspect to the problem is that soft polytheism is fairly rife in the Kemetic hemisphere. If I’m not mistaken, this is a big tenant to KO in general. In soft polytheistic beliefs, we have one general deity that is all the other deities. So, in regards to this, if you’re not listening, then why would they say one way or another? Another aspect to this is that I don’t think they particularly care. I do because I’m a stickler, but I’ve been informed that I’m not exactly normal in a lot of cases. (I mean, how many Kemetics are out there as Sekhmet kids? If that’s not a big indicator that I don’t follow the norm, then I don’t know what is.) I legitimately believe that both of these deities are so excited that people are paying attention to them again that they don’t really care so much about the “semantics.” But, there’s another theory here.

I’ve often thought about the fact that Anup and Hermes were mixed into one deity during the Greek er. We see this in the form of Hermanubis. While I’m not a huge fan of the mixing or Greekification of deities (there’s a reason I’m a Kemetic), I always wondered at the reason behind their being unified. Generally, it’s believed that because the two of them have workings with the souls of the dead that this is the main basis for their unification. However, I’ve run up against Hermes a time or two and he has got a serious trolling way about him. I often wondered if personalities had to do with any of the unification and if that’s the case, then I suppose I could conjecture (UPG, obviously) that Anup is something of a troll, too.

And let me ask you, what troll ever cared about anything other than getting the worshipers?


  1. House of Jackals.
  2. Wepwawet @ Henadology.
  3. Anup @ Henadology.
  4. Anup @ Reshafim.
  5. Wepwawet @ Reshafim.
  6. Egyptian Mythology by Geraldine Pinch.
  7. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt.
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