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Author Topic: Religion Neatly Labeled?  (Read 1910 times)
Satsekhem
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« Topic Start: December 05, 2010, 12:56:19 am »

Recently, I really started worrying about my religion and its title, I guess? I call myself a Kemetic Reconstructionist and honestly, I want to take my religion (as much as possibly) from the ancient tradition as much as I am possible. I want to have the things that were common in ancient Egyptt. However, I worry constantly that I'm not exactly like that. I worry that I'm not giving the right offerings and libations. I worry that my incense (which is bought) isn't good enough. I worry about all of that... And, it's actually really started to affect me, over all, and I just... does this happen to you? How did you get over it/deal with it?

(STAFF: I didn't really know what to call this, topic-wise, so if anyone can think of a better name, go for it!)
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Ellen M.
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« Reply #1: December 05, 2010, 01:03:01 am »


First off, don't panic. Labels can be as helpful as they are mystifying, and the fact that you're worried means that you're taking them seriously.

I think your religion needs to be between you and your gods. Ignore labels for a moment. Just chuck them out the window. What are you comfortable with? What are the best and worst experiences for you spiritually? Do your gods seem happy with what you're doing? Have they been pressing you to be any different?

I absolutely agree that to use a label with honesty, you've got to meet some criteria with that. (What that criteria is might be difficult to discern - for example, the ongoing debate of what exactly a Pagan is.) However, just because you don't meet with a label doesn't mean that you've failed, or that you're a bad person. It just means that label doesn't work for you.

I'm no recon, but aren't there different approaches? Even the most hardcore recon couldn't do everything the ancients did, and surely there are more liberal approaches you might prefer. Have you considered just calling yourself Kemetic and leaving it at that?
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« Reply #2: December 05, 2010, 07:16:32 am »

I'm no recon, but aren't there different approaches? Even the most hardcore recon couldn't do everything the ancients did, and surely there are more liberal approaches you might prefer. Have you considered just calling yourself Kemetic and leaving it at that?

There are.  I don't know about Kemeticism, but over on the Hellenic side of things, most of us recognize that we are not ever going to get it just exactly "right".  We cannot, for a variety of reasons, exactly reproduce the religion of the ancients.  Just because a person's practice does not follow the ancients in every single little detail does not mean that they are an inferior recon.  It means that they live here, and now, and that their life is vastly different from that of the ancients.  I have heard the analogy that reconstructionism isn't trying to use the building blocks of ancient religion to rebuild the old temples, but to construct something appropriate to a modern-day life by building on the foundations left to us by the ancients.  I've always felt that the most sane approach to reconstructionism is to try to practice in the spirit of the ancients' practice, but to allow for some variation in the specifics, to adapt somewhat to the way my life actually is rather than trying to force it into the mold of (in my case) Athens a couple of millenia ago.  And most recons I've talked to on the subject seem to agree.
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« Reply #3: December 05, 2010, 07:53:29 am »

Recently, I really started worrying about my religion and its title, I guess? I call myself a Kemetic Reconstructionist and honestly, I want to take my religion (as much as possibly) from the ancient tradition as much as I am possible. I want to have the things that were common in ancient Egyptt. However, I worry constantly that I'm not exactly like that. I worry that I'm not giving the right offerings and libations. I worry that my incense (which is bought) isn't good enough. I worry about all of that... And, it's actually really started to affect me, over all, and I just... does this happen to you? How did you get over it/deal with it?

You can't get it perfectly if for no other reason than I doubt the ancient Egyptians did it the same way over the entire time period covered by ancient Egypt. I know the Greeks did not. Their practices and beliefs varied with time period (and which what City-State you look at in some cases). I really cannot imagine that ancient Egypt was much different (although they would not have had the "practices vary by city-state thing"). Which practices were the correct ones as far as the Gods are concerned? We can't know. And if they are pleased the Gods equally, then obviously getting it absolutely "one true way" right isn't nearly as important as we might think it is.
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« Reply #4: December 05, 2010, 09:11:01 am »


I've thought about this a lot too, and I've come to the conclusion that we as practitioners should do what we feel resonates with us. When you go through the motions and you aren't having a spiritual, fulfilling experience, do you still try to adhere to said motions anyway?
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« Reply #5: December 05, 2010, 11:59:24 am »

I've thought about this a lot too, and I've come to the conclusion that we as practitioners should do what we feel resonates with us. When you go through the motions and you aren't having a spiritual, fulfilling experience, do you still try to adhere to said motions anyway?

Well said, Firaza!

I was trying to do the same from the beginning, but it took me a while to find my way of practising. Trying things out, in my case for example different ways to draw a circle, was an important part of my spiritual practice for years and years, and it still is, although at the moment I try what it feels like to use the same form again and again and again. I can see its draws, but I think I shouldn't forget how to be spontaneous Wink

In my opinion, the most important thing is to find a way of practising that works for you, that helps you to be in contact with your deities, to experience the mysteries of your path, to give you what Firaza called a spiritual, fulfilling experience. This does not necessarily mean that it has to be written down by an ancient wise man or woman. Wicca for example is known to pretend to be an ancient religion since its beginnings *g*

Best blessings
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Satsekhem
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« Reply #6: December 05, 2010, 03:39:09 pm »

There are.  I don't know about Kemeticism, but over on the Hellenic side of things, most of us recognize that we are not ever going to get it just exactly "right".  We cannot, for a variety of reasons, exactly reproduce the religion of the ancients.  Just because a person's practice does not follow the ancients in every single little detail does not mean that they are an inferior recon.  It means that they live here, and now, and that their life is vastly different from that of the ancients.  I have heard the analogy that reconstructionism isn't trying to use the building blocks of ancient religion to rebuild the old temples, but to construct something appropriate to a modern-day life by building on the foundations left to us by the ancients.  I've always felt that the most sane approach to reconstructionism is to try to practice in the spirit of the ancients' practice, but to allow for some variation in the specifics, to adapt somewhat to the way my life actually is rather than trying to force it into the mold of (in my case) Athens a couple of millenia ago.  And most recons I've talked to on the subject seem to agree.

Thank you, Star. This was well said and it resonates somewhere inside of me.  Smiley
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« Reply #7: December 05, 2010, 06:44:08 pm »

Recently, I really started worrying about my religion and its title, I guess? I call myself a Kemetic Reconstructionist and honestly, I want to take my religion (as much as possibly) from the ancient tradition as much as I am possible. I want to have the things that were common in ancient Egyptt. However, I worry constantly that I'm not exactly like that. I worry that I'm not giving the right offerings and libations. I worry that my incense (which is bought) isn't good enough. I worry about all of that... And, it's actually really started to affect me, over all, and I just... does this happen to you? How did you get over it/deal with it?

(STAFF: I didn't really know what to call this, topic-wise, so if anyone can think of a better name, go for it!)

Something that I like to keep in mind: The Gods/Goddesses, of various cultures and religions, are older than all of us, and have witnessed the downfalls and the rebirths of Their people. Whether the people of now are directly descended to the ones that came before or are simply "new vessels" for a certain religion, a way for the Gods to be worshiped in the modern world, I don't think it matters to Them - what matters is that the religion itself, the practice and the meaning, is being retained. If your practice allows for the spirit of Kemeticism, of the religion itself, to stay alive in the world that you live in now, then I don't think it should matter how exact you are, how close to "the old ways." No matter what "category" you fall under, be it Kemetic or Hellenic, etc., I'm sure whatever Deities you recognize and worship understand completely the kinds of changes the world has gone through - and many of those changes include things like technology, new ways of dressing, re-location of cultures, even new/different ways of making incense, etc.

If you can't be EXACTLY like the ancients, I'm sure the Deities you recognize/have a relationship with will, at the very least (though They may wish things were like "the old times" every once and a while) understand. Of course it's important to retain certain things and do what you think is best for Them or for yourself, overall, I think so long as you feel like you're getting something out of your practice, then in all likeliness, you are doing the right thing. What matters is that you're bringing it into the world, and into yourself.
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