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Author Topic: It's the Big Step.  (Read 16054 times)
Nehet
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« Reply #15: January 08, 2010, 08:34:43 pm »

 However I think they key is that the devotees didn't know any better.  On the one hand the gods might not fault them for this, on the other, they really shouldn't be staying in that spot of ignorance.  

Of course.  Making a commitment to ongoing learning is key, and I do believe that the Gods expect us to learn as much about them as possible. 

That's exactly why I'm recon.  I care about not offending the gods I claim to worship.  A little bit of research can go a long way.  I don't doubt they weren't real because I don't know these people, but I would be very hesitant to interact with them if they were starting to piss off someone who doesn't always hold back, like Sekhmet.

I think that non-recon people who worship the Netjeru do care about not offending them.  In fact, I have no doubt about that.  Maybe it's not true across the board. I've definitely seen rituals where people didn't seem like they were even trying to do something that was worth the Gods' time.  At the same time, I have felt the presence of the Netjeru at Wiccan rituals when I knew nothing about reconstructionism and I was probably violating several different taboos at once.

Maybe Heka requires forms of ritual purity that other forms of magic/prayer do not.  Normal prayer doesn't require ritual purity.  I pray all the time.  On the bus.  In the library.  At work.  While hiking.  When I'm doing more formal ritual then I adhere to ritual purity standards.  But if I'm just eating dinner and taking a moment to thank the Gods that I have enough money to provide for myself and my furry kids?  That's completely different.

Maybe the Netjeru view Wiccan ritual the same way they would informal prayer.  That's pure speculation/UPG so take it for what it's worth.

To me, expecting a Wiccan to adhere to Kemetic standards of purity is like an Orthodox Jewish person expecting a Christian to adhere to Kosher laws. 
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« Reply #16: January 08, 2010, 09:01:33 pm »

The library.  Wink 
Hate to sound rude, but that's totally unhelpful for me. I read all the time, and I See stuff in relation to "ritual purity" all the time, but I have yet to actually read it in a book. I've only seen it online, and never anything specific except "no menses during ritual". So that's why I'm asking. I mean, yeah, the library (to which my library sucks... has a lot on Tut, and a few other books- which I own) helps, but it's not the be all and end all. Titles, or something more specific would be more helpful lol.
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« Reply #17: January 08, 2010, 09:02:52 pm »

I think that non-recon people who worship the Netjeru do care about not offending them.  In fact, I have no doubt about that.  Maybe it's not true across the board. I've definitely seen rituals where people didn't seem like they were even trying to do something that was worth the Gods' time.  At the same time, I have felt the presence of the Netjeru at Wiccan rituals when I knew nothing about reconstructionism and I was probably violating several different taboos at once.

I'm glad at least one of us is optimistic.  I have seen way too much fluff to start from giving people the benefit of the doubt.  Although I'm a bit baffled as to why Wiccan rituals would be focusing on gods other than the Lord and Lady of the isles.  I'll have to check up on that.

Quote
Maybe Heka requires forms of ritual purity that other forms of magic/prayer do not.  Normal prayer doesn't require ritual purity.  I pray all the time.  On the bus.  In the library.  At work.  While hiking.  When I'm doing more formal ritual then I adhere to ritual purity standards.  But if I'm just eating dinner and taking a moment to thank the Gods that I have enough money to provide for myself and my furry kids?  That's completely different.

I'm right there with you on that one.

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To me, expecting a Wiccan to adhere to Kemetic standards of purity is like an Orthodox Jewish person expecting a Christian to adhere to Kosher laws. 

On my part I'd see adopting gods from different cultures without adhering to their own desired standards of purity as a case of cultural misappropriation.  As far as your example goes, I think that's definitely a valid concern if a Christian wants to partake in any Jewish ritual.  Expecting other people to conform to my own standards of purity because I want to get something out of a ritual without regard to other participants (in this case the god's participation) sounds like unearned privilege and entitlement.
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« Reply #18: January 08, 2010, 09:06:26 pm »

Hate to sound rude, but that's totally unhelpful for me. I read all the time, and I See stuff in relation to "ritual purity" all the time, but I have yet to actually read it in a book. I've only seen it online, and never anything specific except "no menses during ritual". So that's why I'm asking. I mean, yeah, the library (to which my library sucks... has a lot on Tut, and a few other books- which I own) helps, but it's not the be all and end all. Titles, or something more specific would be more helpful lol.
-Devo

You asked where, I gave you a place.  When it comes to ritual purity it might be more fruitful to make a new thread, to which Nehet might be able to provide some answers since she's been researching this topic, as well as other participants in this board.  I encourage you to continue reading and request more Egyptology books at your library.  You might also want to review the concept of primary, secondary, and tertiary sources to help you evaluate the validity of your sources.
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« Reply #19: January 08, 2010, 10:41:24 pm »

I've read things online, but hte more research I do, the less I trust the internet as a viable source Tongue

Understandable Smiley

Aylewood Blackman, chapter 1 of "Gods, Priests and Men" is all about purity in ancient Kemet.  Some of the purity laws he lists are Greco-Roman influenced, but he makes it clear which ones they are. 

Obviously unless you have $450.00 in spare change lying around the house, you want to get that from inter-library loan.

You can check out Egypt: The Trunk of the Tree, by Simson Najovits.  You can read the taboo section on Google books.  It shows the ambiguity of taboos and how they were not consistent across Gods or nomes.  I think most modern Kemetics are familiar with this.   A common example would be that many people offer Pork to Set, but I can't think of anyone who would go near Aset with the stuff  Shocked

There are several papyri about ritual purity and taboos, but unfortunately I have yet to find any that have been translated into English.  This is not easy research, by any stretch of the imagination.  My hypothetical "well-intentioned devotee who doesn't know any better" could easily be someone who has been practicing in earnest for ten years and has spent a lot of time researching. 

I understand that ritual purity is very important but we could spend years diving into the taboo well and never find the bottom.  In the mean time, there are some wonderful Gods out there who really want to connect with us.  I think that connection is more important than us being completely perfect or following every single taboo in history to the letter. 

I believe that the most important form of purity is moral purity.   I'm talking about living within Ma'at and conducting oneself in such a way that one feels confident standing before the Gods and uttering words of power...knowing that those words are spoken from a place of Truth and integrity.  Everything else, as far as I'm concerned, is just an outer manifestation of that.

For the record, here's what I do, purity wise:  I pay don't wear wool or leather.  I use good-quality incense.  Shoyeido is a good brand that I use when I can't make it myself.  Cheap Nag Champa and other Indian incenses should be avoided because they sometimes use cow dung as a fixative (I learned this from HoN).  I have a clean white dress that is only used for ritual purposes.  It's cotton, not linen.  If I can find a white linen dress once it stops beings so freakin' cold out here I will buy one.  In the mean time, I make do.  I offer good-quality, all-natural food offerings. I use the basis 1:1 baking soda/salt recipe.  I make it in huge batches.  I have enough natron to mummify a small child at this point, but the good news is that I won't need to make more for a goodly amount of time.   
 
It's important to do our best with regards to purity but making a mistake is not the end of the world.  I think the ancient texts regarding taboos are worth studying so that we can make an informed decision about which ones are important to us.  Of course, that decision is ultimately between us and our Gods. 



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« Reply #20: January 08, 2010, 10:58:46 pm »

I mean, yeah, the library (to which my library sucks... has a lot on Tut, and a few other books- which I own) helps, but it's not the be all and end all.

Inter-library loan is the Gods' gift to reconstructionists.  If you've never used it before, I'm sure a member of the library staff can help. 

I don't know what I would do without this service.  I could never afford to buy as many books as I've needed for Kemetic studies, and the majority of them did not live at my library. 
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« Reply #21: January 08, 2010, 11:10:59 pm »


Aylewood Blackman, chapter 1 of "Gods, Priests and Men" is all about purity in ancient Kemet.  Some of the purity laws he lists are Greco-Roman influenced, but he makes it clear which ones they are. 

Obviously unless you have $450.00 in spare change lying around the house, you want to get that from inter-library loan.

You can check out Egypt: The Trunk of the Tree, by Simson Najovits.  You can read the taboo section on Google books.  It shows the ambiguity of taboos and how they were not consistent across Gods or nomes.  I think most modern Kemetics are familiar with this.   A common example would be that many people offer Pork to Set, but Ican't think of anyone who would go near Aset with the stuff  Shocked
Thanks Cheesy I'll try looking into those books. Seems a lot of the books I've wanted are expensive. I'm sure I'll find a way to read it without buying it lol.
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I understand that ritual purity is very important but we could spend years diving into the taboo well and never find the bottom.  In the mean time, there are some wonderful Gods out there who really want to connect with us.  I think that connection is more important than us being completely perfect or following every single taboo in history to the letter. 
Honestly, I've never had much regard for the standard "ritual purity." I guess I'm "bad" for not following the rules to the letter, but I've never been told to do otherwise. Of course, I don't have any open statues or anything like that. And for me, the gods are pretty laid back about things. I'm just interested in learning more, because I want to make sure that I'm not doing something horribly bad.

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I believe that the most important form of purity is moral purity.   I'm talking about living within Ma'at and conducting oneself in such a way that one feels confident standing before the Gods and uttering words of power...knowing that those words are spoken from a place of Truth and integrity.  Everything else, as far as I'm concerned, is just an outer manifestation of that.
I'm glad you think so. I tend to agree in this as well.

Quote
For the record, here's what I do, purity wise:  I pay don't wear wool or leather.  I use good-quality incense.  Shoyeido is a good brand that I use when I can't make it myself.  Cheap Nag Champa and other Indian incenses should be avoided because they sometimes use cow dung as a fixative (I learned this from HoN).  I have a clean white dress that is only used for ritual purposes.  It's cotton, not linen.  If I can find a white linen dress once it stops beings so freakin' cold out here I will buy one.  In the mean time, I make do.  I offer good-quality, all-natural food offerings. I use the basis 1:1 baking soda/salt recipe.  I make it in huge batches.  I have enough natron to mummify a small child at this point, but the good news is that I won't need to make more for a goodly amount of time.

Good to know. I'm debating trying out a "full scale" ritual- something comperable to a Senut. I've done a ritual similar to this in the past, but it never felt any different for me than my "non-pure" rituals. Wonder if that means anything.

Thanks for the info!
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« Reply #22: January 09, 2010, 12:18:34 am »

I pay don't wear wool or leather. 

Um, the word "pay" didn't need to be in there. 
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« Reply #23: January 09, 2010, 02:18:48 am »

You can check out Egypt: The Trunk of the Tree, by Simson Najovits.  You can read the taboo section on Google books.  It shows the ambiguity of taboos and how they were not consistent across Gods or nomes.  I think most modern Kemetics are familiar with this.   A common example would be that many people offer Pork to Set, but I can't think of anyone who would go near Aset with the stuff  Shocked

Interesting...I looked at google books and one of the things that came up was this tiny list which a lot of which I recognize as being on the offering lists of some of the more well preserved temple calendar inscriptions, e.g. Medinet Habu and Edfu.

Quote
There are several papyri about ritual purity and taboos, but unfortunately I have yet to find any that have been translated into English.  This is not easy research, by any stretch of the imagination.  My hypothetical "well-intentioned devotee who doesn't know any better" could easily be someone who has been practicing in earnest for ten years and has spent a lot of time researching.

Have they been translated to German, and do you have access to them?  I have a friend who speaks some German who might be able to help you.

Quote
I understand that ritual purity is very important but we could spend years diving into the taboo well and never find the bottom.  In the mean time, there are some wonderful Gods out there who really want to connect with us.  I think that connection is more important than us being completely perfect or following every single taboo in history to the letter.

I agree that sources are sometimes ambiguous, but to abandon an attempt to be pure at all when we know that we should be approaching them in purity would be folly.  The least we can do is use natron.

Quote
I use good-quality incense.  Shoyeido is a good brand that I use when I can't make it myself.  Cheap Nag Champa and other Indian incenses should be avoided because they sometimes use cow dung as a fixative (I learned this from HoN).

Interesting that you use Japanese incense too!  I use Nippon Kodo.  It gives a pure, strong scent that is not too strong or chemically smelling.
 
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It's important to do our best with regards to purity but making a mistake is not the end of the world.  I think the ancient texts regarding taboos are worth studying so that we can make an informed decision about which ones are important to us.  Of course, that decision is ultimately between us and our Gods.

Agreed.




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« Reply #24: January 09, 2010, 02:27:18 am »

Okay, so, I've decided to go with Kemetic Reconstructionism, exclusively. I've been thinking about this for quite some time and it only recently hit me: You're already halfway there. You might as well continue down the road. So, here I am at the door with the doorknob in my hand and I'm ready to open it...

By the way, getting off my ritual purity soapbox for a minute, welcome to the path.  I hope that your explorations of Kemeticism lead to growth and wisdom  Smiley

So, what got you interested in KR?  I ask this because I like hearing people's stories.  Sometimes people end up here because they've always been fascinated by all things Egyptian. Sometimes it's because a certain Netjer decides they REALLY want your attention.  What hooked you in?  You don't have to post about it if it's really personal but I wouldn't mind hearing about it.

You ask what you should do.  What are you doing now?   Have you been making offerings or are you wondering where you need to start with that?   This is a good place to ask those questions.  
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« Reply #25: January 09, 2010, 02:59:07 am »

Have they been translated to German, and do you have access to them?  I have a friend who speaks some German who might be able to help you.

Mostly they're in French.  Fortunately I have Setnakht to help with that.  I need to see if I can locate a text this weekend so I can send it off to him.  I couldn't even find it on the inter-library loan database but hopefully if I ask the librarian to help me in person I'll have more luck. 

I agree that sources are sometimes ambiguous, but to abandon an attempt to be pure at all when we know that we should be approaching them in purity would be folly. The least we can do is use natron

I completely agree. 

There seems to be a ritual purity "spectrum."  On one end there are people who do "whatever feels right", and don't even consider what that Gods might want.  On the other hand there are people who get so hung up on taboos that the process of cultivating real devotion gets lost in the shuffle.  I don't think either one of these extremes leads to a healthy relationship with the Gods.  There's a happy medium in here somewhere.  I'm not sure I've entirely found where mine is, but the Gods tend to let me know when I'm not doing things right.   Grin

Okay, I seriously need to go to bed! 

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« Reply #26: January 09, 2010, 11:04:46 am »

By the way, getting off my ritual purity soapbox for a minute, welcome to the path.  I hope that your explorations of Kemeticism lead to growth and wisdom  Smiley

So, what got you interested in KR?  I ask this because I like hearing people's stories.  Sometimes people end up here because they've always been fascinated by all things Egyptian. Sometimes it's because a certain Netjer decides they REALLY want your attention.  What hooked you in?  You don't have to post about it if it's really personal but I wouldn't mind hearing about it.

You ask what you should do.  What are you doing now?   Have you been making offerings or are you wondering where you need to start with that?   This is a good place to ask those questions.  
Since I started learning about paganism, I always found KR very interesting. I had looked into all of the temples and decided that they weren't particularly for me (mostly since I felt that giving money to a temple seemed diametrically opposed to the original point of AE temples). I forged into a long journey of my personal brand of Kemetic Wicca, which only worked so well. I like Wicca and it has a lot of good viewpoints, but it was only after the last year, my lack of faith, my belief in the gods that it all just kind of... clicked.

Everything ancient Egypt has always held a deep fascination for me, even when I was a child. I loved reading about mythology and it was only after a very brief mention of ancient Egyptian culture in elementary school that I started devouring books about it. My real obsession happened at about eighteen/nineteen when I started developing theories about Ankhenaten/Amarna kings/King Tut and I realized that I wanted to go back to college to get my history degree in this particular area of Egyptology. It was around this time, actually, that I discovered the KR temples online.


I started thinking about building a personal naos, ancient Egyptian style, but have never been able to afford the inner sanctum I see in my dreams. To be honest, it's been the lack of a specific altar area that has held me back almost entirely from the KR path before now. (I technically have an altar, but it's still a work-in-progress.) I don't think I need one to give offerings and to commune with the gods, but I think it would be helpful. I'm actually going to purchase two statuettes in the next couple of weeks to try and give my altar some direction.

When I ask what to do now... Well, most of my intuition has led me towards Wicca, so it's like a complete turn around to be heading into KR. I don't really know what kind of offerings to give to Sekhmet and Ma'at, nor if I should have personal containers for them and what kind of containers. I've been reading up a little on Budge's Book of the Dead but it's incredibly difficult to read more than a few paragraphs before I feel like bed!
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« Reply #27: January 09, 2010, 02:16:19 pm »

I had looked into all of the temples and decided that they weren't particularly for me (mostly since I felt that giving money to a temple seemed diametrically opposed to the original point of AE temples).

What do you think the original point of the temples was?  How is giving money to the temples opposed to this point?
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« Reply #28: January 09, 2010, 06:11:27 pm »

What do you think the original point of the temples was?  How is giving money to the temples opposed to this point?
I think the original point behind the temples had little to do with money is really what I mean. I believe that most religious institutions become very drunk on the power of money and I find this disheartening. Just to look into Christianity for a moment: It says in there (at some point and bare with me as this comes from years ago when I was married to a "Christian") that tithes were desired to keep the function of the church going. However, it wasn't intrinsically necessary to donate money to "save" one's soul from "eternal damnation." In fact, God wasn't too happy with people who only went to church to show up their fame and fortune, especially if they weren't big believers. Nowadays, you have to give tithe otherwise the guilt eats away at you, and I'm not just talking about the good-old-fashioned Catholic guilt that stays with you for all eternity!

In ancient Egypt, however, the larger temples stayed open because of the good will of the Pharaoh. Their offerings tended toward the food, flowers, slaves, and livestock bounty as opposed to adding to their financial status. Obviously, as they owned lands and became one of the more powerful driving forces, particularly the Temple of Amun in Middle Kingdom Ancient Egypt just before the jettison for gods to the Aten, this wasn't always the case, but it is portrayed (in my head at least) as a "things for gods" society as opposed to "money for god(s)" society.

When I think of a temple, modern or otherwise, I think of priests content with their lives as priests and everything to do with spiritual wealth as opposed to financial.
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« Reply #29: January 09, 2010, 06:50:51 pm »

I think the original point behind the temples had little to do with money is really what I mean.

Probably because coin money was not introduced in Egypt until the second half of the first millenium BCE.  Before that they had a trade and barter system in place.

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In ancient Egypt, however, the larger temples stayed open because of the good will of the Pharaoh. Their offerings tended toward the food, flowers, slaves, and livestock bounty as opposed to adding to their financial status. Obviously, as they owned lands and became one of the more powerful driving forces, particularly the Temple of Amun in Middle Kingdom Ancient Egypt just before the jettison for gods to the Aten, this wasn't always the case, but it is portrayed (in my head at least) as a "things for gods" society as opposed to "money for god(s)" society.

Actually temples played a notable role in the economy.  Temple landholdings, storehouses, workshops, and transport ships were part of the state system.  Temple personnel grew food on these landholdings, and sometimes a parcel of temple land would be given to a soldier or worker in exchange for a fixed percentage of the yield.  The income from a temple's field supported its own staff including serfs and other state workers, and the offerings made by the Pharaoh, devotees and temple estates went to feeding temple staff and their families.  On festival days the offerings were sometimes large enough to feed some of the general populace as well.

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When I think of a temple, modern or otherwise, I think of priests content with their lives as priests and everything to do with spiritual wealth as opposed to financial.

In the Old Kingdom temporary priests would work only a few months out of the year, and return to their normal jobs as scribes or other posts in the government.  Priestly appointments would be made by the Pharaoh as a reward .  One could also become a priest by inheritance.  Priest jobs generally didn't become specialized until the New Kingdom, though the majority of priests remained part-time.

If you don't think priests should be paid for their services, how do you expect them to live?
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