For the last few weeks, I have been slowly burrowing into my studies of Kemeticism. As I find myself digging further and further into this religious path, sifting through the knowledge of others – through books and blogs and conversations – I begin to find myself drawn to a number of elements of Kemetic belief and practice. With that all said, here are five things that I like about Kemeticism (so far):
- Ma’at – From the beginning, I have felt a pull towards ma’at. It’s a complicated topic within Kemeticism, like many things are, but generally described as the “proper order” or simply “order.” If you want an easier breakdown, it can be loosely described as “good” or “goodness,” but that’s placing a role upon it that doesn’t necessarily equate to the actual meaning.This idea of ma’at, though, has given me a happy, pleased feeling. Something to work towards and within, a general ethics system without dictating specifics that I cannot abide as they do not ring true for me. That said, there are guiding principles of ma’at, ways to further its cause. I spent awhile discussing the 10 Virtues of Ma’at with Brooke of Making Bright the other day, breaking them down and discussing the ones that didn’t make sense to me from my first reading. Many of these are things I have consciously tried to incorporate into my life and personal ideology for awhile now, even before I began to study Kemeticism. A detail like this is something that pleases me, makes me feel even more like this is the right path for me.
- Heka – This is something that has fascinated me since I first learned of it which was, coincidentally, not in a Kemetic context at all. There’s a book series by Jenn Bennett called the Arcadia Bell series. In it, the titular magician uses heka, a magical property to bodily fluids that allows her to perform magic. However, heka works – or, at least, seems to work as it, too, is a complicated subject without a definite answer – differently in Kemetic practice. Though, having read the creation myth regarding Atum, I wonder if it’s really any different at all.The main idea I come across, though, is heka being the power of words. Words have power and they are to be chosen with care. I work at this already; words and language are important to me and I try to treat them with respect.
- Balancing Act – Ma’at does not exist in a vacuum. It exists in a complicated world where one must maintain the balance between order and chaos or isfet. This idea of a balance, of striking an equilibrium between the two and finding the isfet in ma’at and the ma’at in isfet appeals to me. Geraldine Pinch comments on this:
Chaos was not presented as totally evil. Beings such as Nun, god of the chaotic primeval ocean, were honoured as ‘fathers’ of the creator. It is implied that some elements of chaos were necessary for survival and had to be harnessed rather than eliminated. The energy and strength of the chaos god Seth were needed when the forces of order faced monsters such as the insatiable sea or the serpent Ap-phis. People were thought to have the capacity to choose between living in ma’at or isfet.
–“Chapter 6 – Lord of the Two Lands: Myths of Nationhood,” Egyptian Mythology: A Very Short Introduction
- It’s not all about the gods. – Devo wrote a post on this recently and it quieted some thoughts I had been having. At the moment, I work with gods and I am content with my deity-devotee relationships for now. The rest of it, the religious aspects, is what I am pursuing. So this confirmation that Kemeticism works without devoting to the gods soothes my nerves and gives me other routes to focus on without relying too specifically on the Kemetic pantheon.
- Community – It should come as no surprise that the focus on community in Kemeticism appeals to me. After all, I have written on it here multiple times – just check my community tag. A search for “community” here brings up even more hits. So the emphasis in Kemeticism on building community, developing ties, boat-paddling to make bridges between the different isles – at least within my own Kemetic circle – and action (that is to say community service) all appeal to me on a visceral level.
These are just a few things that I have come across in my Kemetic study, things that appeal to me and things that make sense to me in this religion. The more I study, the more things fall into place for me. It’s as if a puzzle I had halfway put together began suddenly developing the images I was looking for and I’m finding new pieces to add to what I have already constructed. Is Kemeticism for me, definitely? It’s too early to say and I resist the idea of labeling myself a Kemetic before I feel ready to. I am still learning and studying, but thus far, things are looking that way.