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Author Topic: Not reinventing the wheel  (Read 13437 times)
Nehet
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« Reply #30: January 01, 2010, 11:54:12 pm »

Bastemhet has given a number of references to pages in his one book that are problematic for a Reconstructionist, so it would be informative to discuss them directly with Kerry Wisner.

I also have the revised edition and I can quote some of the not-so-kemetic bits for your reference that of anyone else who wants to know:

Page 109:  Here the Tao can be equated with Ma’at, and by knowing the consistency of Ma’at
one’s mind opens allowing the heart, as the organ of our conscience and true self, to open as well.
Sybil Leek describes conscience as the sum total of our experience from our past lives. This open
heartedness allows us to move in harmony with the Tao, in harmony with Ma’at.


Page 107: When we are out of balance within ourselves we quickly move out of balance with the Universe.  When this happens some form of compensation inevitably has to occur. This is nature’s way of attempting to realign us with the cosmic order, Ma’at. In many Eastern disciplines this realignment is called Karma.

This isn't even a good definition of "karma". 

Wisner is  definitely monolatrous.  He says that while the ancient Kemetic people might seem to be polytheistic at first glance, they actually saw the Gods as aspects of "the same Supreme Intelligence."  I'm not knocking monolatry, only saying that his work might not appeal to the hard polytheists in the crowd  (see page 22).

I have not read anything by him other than "Eye of the Sun", and cannot vouch for his other works. 

I will say that I have not much that is unkemetic in his actual rituals. There is a Hathor visualization at the beginning of his daily ritual.  As far as I know, visualizing meditations were not part of Kemetic practice, though I always try to "visualize" the Gods when I make my offerings.  I haven't consciously tried to call that a meditation.  I suspect many Kemetics try to create a mental image of the Gods when they pray. I don't see any reason why we can't hone this skill as a way to deepen our relationship with the Gods.  To me that's very different than, say, incorporating the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram into a Kemetic ritual.  Learning how to visualize is a basic skill. It's not as if it's from another religion entirely. 

The rest of the rite seems to be based on the ancient texts.  The book is overall useful. It just needs to be taken with a few grains of natron Smiley
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« Reply #31: January 02, 2010, 11:10:28 am »

I also have the revised edition and I can quote some of the not-so-kemetic bits for your reference that of anyone else who wants to know:

Page 109:  Here the Tao can be equated with Ma’at, and by knowing the consistency of Ma’at
one’s mind opens allowing the heart, as the organ of our conscience and true self, to open as well.
Sybil Leek describes conscience as the sum total of our experience from our past lives. This open
heartedness allows us to move in harmony with the Tao, in harmony with Ma’at.


Page 107: When we are out of balance within ourselves we quickly move out of balance with the Universe.  When this happens some form of compensation inevitably has to occur. This is nature’s way of attempting to realign us with the cosmic order, Ma’at. In many Eastern disciplines this realignment is called Karma.

I am saddened and disheartened that the goddess has been equated with eastern philosophies to such an extent. As a Ma'at-thwappee, I'm also a little insulted. I'm sure it's meant as an easier tab A-in-slot B kind of thing as well as offering a relationship with other eastern traditions, however, that is not how Ma'at has been shown to me, explained to me, nor in anything that I have read from ancient Egyptian sources. I'm not sure what, specifically, about these two excerpts (and from previous commentary in this topic) that bothers me the most, but there is just something that rubs me a little raw... you know?

I will say, however, that in knowing this, this has changed my thoughts on purchasing the book. I had been toying with buying this one and the other book he has out for some time and had put it off due to the ridiculously high price. Now that I know that I have to take it with a grain of salt, I would much rather not pay that much.

As far as I know, visualizing meditations were not part of Kemetic practice, though I always try to "visualize" the Gods when I make my offerings.  I haven't consciously tried to call that a meditation.  I suspect many Kemetics try to create a mental image of the Gods when they pray.

I think you are one hundred percent accurate in your suspicions. Gods know, I always visualize before I get down to prayer and communication and offerings!
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« Reply #32: January 02, 2010, 12:51:44 pm »

Leslie, I  suggest you ask that temple's moderator about these and any other foreign influences on what Akhet Hwt-Hrw is currently teaching. Bastemhet has given a number of references to pages in his one book that are problematic for a Reconstructionist, so it would be informative to discuss them directly with Kerry Wisner.


Thanks, Setnakht...I may do that at a later date. It often takes a while for me to receive a reply from Kerry.  Undecided

--Leslie
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« Reply #33: January 02, 2010, 01:58:32 pm »

I am saddened and disheartened that the goddess has been equated with eastern philosophies to such an extent. As a Ma'at-thwappee, I'm also a little insulted. I'm sure it's meant as an easier tab A-in-slot B kind of thing as well as offering a relationship with other eastern traditions,
I support your view on this. It's a fairly common habit of some modern pagans to try to equate a deity of one culture with
those of other cultures. Such comparisons--like many comparisons--serve as a form of shorthand I suppose, but they inevitably bring more problems and distortions into the equation. It just seems wiser to stay "within the tradition" and not equate divinities
such as Zeus-Jupiter-Amon. They are not the same, anymore than I am the same as my neighbor because we are both married, have  3 children, and drive Toyotas.
May I say, however, Kerry Wisner's books do contain a lot of very insightful--and genuinely kemetic--information. You really need not feel insulted or disheartened. That's taking disagreement with his views to such a deeply personal level. He's not attacking us. He's not mocking us. Those are the things that can insult or dishearten a person, not merely having a faulty understanding of something. It does none of us any good to take things so very personally as if to disagree with someone becomes an occasion for being personally insulted. When Kerry Wisner was doing online discussions--oh, about 7 or 8 yrs. ago--he always seemed to me
as a reasonable and diplomatic and actually a charitable man. Sometimes I was surprised at how restrained and respectful he was when people posted problematic statements about other's opinions. it's particularly easy to be nasty, snide and biting when we do not actually see one another on the internet. So it takes a really thoughtful, well balanced moderator to keep things
respectful. And Mr. Wisner seemed to be doing that during those early years with the online discussions. I think we should cut each other a little slack. After all, we are trying to honor the same great Netjeru. 
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« Reply #34: January 02, 2010, 04:08:45 pm »

I will say that I have not much that is unkemetic in his actual rituals. There is a Hathor visualization at the beginning of his daily ritual.  As far as I know, visualizing meditations were not part of Kemetic practice, though I always try to "visualize" the Gods when I make my offerings.  I haven't consciously tried to call that a meditation.  I suspect many Kemetics try to create a mental image of the Gods when they pray. I don't see any reason why we can't hone this skill as a way to deepen our relationship with the Gods.  To me that's very different than, say, incorporating the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram into a Kemetic ritual.  Learning how to visualize is a basic skill. It's not as if it's from another religion entirely. 

The rest of the rite seems to be based on the ancient texts.  The book is overall useful. It just needs to be taken with a few grains of natron Smiley

I will say the ritual write ups and information on temples were helpful.  But since I now understand the viewpoint from which he's writing, I'm not inclined to trust the ritual adaptations myself.  I'd rather just look at the actual source and use those.  And those he does list in the back of the book.  I believe they were by Budge: "The Liturgy of Funeral Offerings," "The Book of Opening the Mouth Vol 1.&II.," and sections from the Pyramid Texts, Utt.323, 35, and 269.  Also helpful book s on temples in AE include "Temples of Ancient Egypt" ed. Byron E. Shafer, and "The Priests of Ancient Egypt" by Serge Sauneron and etc.  None of this is secret knowledge, they've all been published before.  It's as simple as getting the books and writing up an adapted ritual yourself. 
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« Reply #35: January 02, 2010, 07:42:28 pm »

May I say, however, Kerry Wisner's books do contain a lot of very insightful--and genuinely kemetic--information. You really need not feel insulted or disheartened. That's taking disagreement with his views to such a deeply personal level. He's not attacking us. He's not mocking us. Those are the things that can insult or dishearten a person, not merely having a faulty understanding of something. It does none of us any good to take things so very personally as if to disagree with someone becomes an occasion for being personally insulted. 

Let us simply agree to disagree on this one.


I will say the ritual write ups and information on temples were helpful.  But since I now understand the viewpoint from which he's writing, I'm not inclined to trust the ritual adaptations myself.  I'd rather just look at the actual source and use those.  And those he does list in the back of the book.  I believe they were by Budge: "The Liturgy of Funeral Offerings," "The Book of Opening the Mouth Vol 1.&II.," and sections from the Pyramid Texts, Utt.323, 35, and 269.  Also helpful book s on temples in AE include "Temples of Ancient Egypt" ed. Byron E. Shafer, and "The Priests of Ancient Egypt" by Serge Sauneron and etc.  None of this is secret knowledge, they've all been published before.  It's as simple as getting the books and writing up an adapted ritual yourself. 

Thank you for the book recs, Bastemhet. They are now added to my Amazon wishlist.  Smiley
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« Reply #36: January 02, 2010, 07:45:45 pm »

I will say the ritual write ups and information on temples were helpful.  But since I now understand the viewpoint from which he's writing, I'm not inclined to trust the ritual adaptations myself.  I'd rather just look at the actual source and use those.  And those he does list in the back of the book.  I believe they were by Budge: "The Liturgy of Funeral Offerings," "The Book of Opening the Mouth Vol 1.&II.," and sections from the Pyramid Texts, Utt.323, 35, and 269.  Also helpful book s on temples in AE include "Temples of Ancient Egypt" ed. Byron E. Shafer, and "The Priests of Ancient Egypt" by Serge Sauneron and etc.  None of this is secret knowledge, they've all been published before.  It's as simple as getting the books and writing up an adapted ritual yourself. 

One question: Which version of the Pyramid Texts do you have or do you only have excerpts in other books?
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« Reply #37: January 02, 2010, 08:21:04 pm »

One question: Which version of the Pyramid Texts do you have or do you only have excerpts in other books?

I think the utterances should be the same in any translation, but will be divided as spells or chapters depending on the translation.  Akhet Hwt-Hwr used Budge's version, but I think Faulkner's translations are generally best since Budge has been said to have some errors.  However if you can't afford it at the moment (and they can be expensive) you can find it free from the Oriental Institute of Chicago, from Sacred Texts, and from project Gutenberg.  If you want to buy hard copies I recommend looking at www.directtextbooks.com because it looks through common book sellers and finds the cheapest prices.
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« Reply #38: January 02, 2010, 09:37:53 pm »

I think the utterances should be the same in any translation, but will be divided as spells or chapters depending on the translation.  Akhet Hwt-Hwr used Budge's version, but I think Faulkner's translations are generally best since Budge has been said to have some errors.  However if you can't afford it at the moment (and they can be expensive) you can find it free from the Oriental Institute of Chicago, from Sacred Texts, and from project Gutenberg.  If you want to buy hard copies I recommend looking at www.directtextbooks.com because it looks through common book sellers and finds the cheapest prices.

Whoops, the last two citations were to the Book of the Dead, not the Pyramid Texts.  I'm so used to looking up the former that I posted the links for those.  The Pyramid Texts are at Sacred Texts and Pyramid Texts Online.
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« Reply #39: January 02, 2010, 10:31:50 pm »

Whoops, the last two citations were to the Book of the Dead, not the Pyramid Texts.  I'm so used to looking up the former that I posted the links for those.  The Pyramid Texts are at Sacred Texts and Pyramid Texts Online.

Thank you very much.
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« Reply #40: January 03, 2010, 12:17:04 am »

Thank you very much.

You're welcome!  Smiley
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« Reply #41: January 03, 2010, 02:25:09 pm »

Page 109:  Here the Tao can be equated with Ma’at, and by knowing the consistency of Ma’at
one’s mind opens allowing the heart, as the organ of our conscience and true self, to open as well.
Sybil Leek describes conscience as the sum total of our experience from our past lives. This open
heartedness allows us to move in harmony with the Tao, in harmony with Ma’at.

Shocked Shocked Shocked

Erm, yeah.  Definitely some not-even-remotely-recon bits there.

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« Reply #42: June 26, 2011, 02:52:47 pm »

Greetings,

Recently while searching the internet someone close to me came across a number of posts on this forum regarding my books.  First, I want to make it clear that this is the first time that I have ever heard of “The Cauldron:  A Pagan Forum”.  While a number of questions regarding my books and motivations came up here no one contacted me directly to ask for my input.  Akhet Hwt-Hrw (www.Hwt-Hrw.com) has been in existence as an active on-line school for thirteen years.  My e-mail address has been listed on the site the entire time, and I make myself open to all inquires.  Sometimes it can take a while to hear from me as I live deep in the New Hampshire woods with no internet service.  I check my mail when I can get into town, which is usually a couple times a week.  As such, I ask that people be patient when writing, but I will do my best to respond to any sincere letter that I receive.

I wanted to take this opportunity to address some of the questions brought up on this forum.  It appears that some people were upset by my comparison of the Chinese concept of the Tao with that of the Egyptian concept of Ma’at.  I had written this more than 12 years ago when there was little quality information on Ma’at available for the general public.  At the time I felt that the best tool available to help explain this complex concept was the use of comparative religious studies.  A number of academics before me have made similar use of comparative religion to show similarities in the concepts which they were discussing.  Some of the most renown that come to mind include Dr. Huston Smith, Dr. Carl Jung, and Dr. E.C. Krupp.  Even such eminent Egyptologists as Dr. Jan Assmann and Dr. Eric Hornung have used comparisons of religious and philosophical concepts to help describe certain aspects of Egyptian religion (please see “The Mind of Egypt” by Dr. Assmann as well as “Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt” by Dr. Hornung for examples of this).

Today much more information is available on Ma’at than there was in 1998 when I was researching and writing the chapter referred to in these posts.  Nevertheless, I still feel that the overall tone and message that is conveyed in the chapter is accurate, though simple in its content.  I do apologize to those on the forum who may have been ‘insulted’.  Again, there is a long tradition for the use of comparative studies in academia to help teach.   My sole intent was to clarify and inform, not to offend.

Another concern that is raised in some of the posts is that I present a “monolatrous” point of view when discussing the Gods of Egypt.  The view that I presented in “Eye of the Sun” and in other subsequent writings closely parallels those found in the writings of Dr. Assmann and Dr. Hornung, both of whom have done exhaustive research on this topic.  As for my own personal view I feel that the Gods are individual and unique living beings of a higher order.  This is a very Egyptian concept.  However, the Egyptians also taught that everything ultimately comes from the Nun.  In plain language I view this as meaning that all is connected through this vast source of being, yet we are each unique and individual - just as the Gods are unique and individual.  If this is what ‘monolatrous’ is than I agree.

There was a concern about my use of Budge’s material.  Yes, I do refer to Budge on occasion.  He was prolific researcher in his day and gave detailed information on the rituals.  However, I am fully aware that some mistakes did creep into his work.  As such I tried to use him only sparingly.  If one looks at the works cited in the back of my books one will see that I also refer to more than seventy other sources.  Most of these are highly regarded works by very respected Egyptologists: Pinch, Andrews, Bell, Blackman, Bleeker, Borghouts, Clark, Fairman, El-Sabban and many others.  I drew heavily from Faulkner’s translations of the Book of the Dead, Coffin Texts and Pyramid Texts when reconstructing the rituals.  Another source that I used extensively was the work of French Egyptologist Sylvie Cauville.  He has done an exhaustive study of the texts from Hathor’s temple of Dendera.  I only used Budge when he had information that was relevant to the ritual in question that others may not have had.  Even then I tried to keep this to a minimum.

Finally I want to address the concerns regarding the price of the books that I have written.  At the time that these first came out we were printing these through the school itself.  The cost of paper, toner, binding, etc. drove the price up.  There was no way for us to mass publish in order reduce the costs.  In addition, the cost of the source material used in the research of the books and courses was exceptionally high.  Dr. Cauville’s Dendera research alone is a fifteen volume set that had to be special order from Belgium.  Each book in the set cost over one-hundred dollars U.S.  This doesn’t include the hours upon hours of researching, translating and writing that went into the books and courses Akhet Hwt-Hrw provides.

Having said this, with the many innovations that are now offered by publishers I am happy to announce that all three of the Kemetic books which I have written; “Eye of the Sun”, “Song of Hathor” and “Pillar of Ra” will soon be released in paperback at a much lower sale price.  These should be available on our website by mid-July of this year. 

Before ending I want to stress that at no time do I want people to think that the rituals and practices in my books are, in every case, word for word, exact quotations of temple rituals.  In many cases they are, and I note these in the books.  In other cases I had to piece these together, which I also make note of.  Many of the Egyptian sources for the rituals were incomplete, coming from temple texts that were damaged over time.  Others were simply just too lengthy to be workable for the modern ritualist seeking to practice this religion in their home.  My books are intended to be a reconstruction and modern adaptation that is useable to today’s ritualist while still retaining the heart and essence of the ancient religion and magic of Egypt.  That was my sole goal in an effort to carry the ancient philosophy forward into a new world.

I hope this helped to clarify things.  Please feel free to e-mail me off list.  As I noted at the beginning of this post, because I don’t have access to the internet on a daily basis it may take me some time to respond.

Sincerely,

Kerry Wisner
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« Reply #43: June 26, 2011, 04:20:39 pm »

Sincerely,
Kerry Wisner
Akhet Hwt-Hrw

Ok!  From the horse’s mouth!
~~~~~
Perhaps OT, but I have no problem with those who are creative in re-creating the verbiage from the ancient rituals.  A well-thought out transliteration can beat slogging through a stilted, academic translation.  (“Restore the Power of Speech” vs. “Opening of the Mouth”.  “Entering into the Light” vs. “Coming Forth by Day” [vs. "Book of the Dead"?].)

And do we really know all the meanings – cultural, contextual, grammatical - that certain phrases and idioms might have carried to the average AE reader/listener/speaker?  Anyway, all rituals were brand new at one time; someone made them up. (Just a thought: do we have evidence that any in AE were “inspired”?)

JM
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« Reply #44: June 27, 2011, 11:19:53 pm »

I wanted to take this opportunity to address some of the questions brought up on this forum.  

Thank you for coming onto this forum and clarifying your position on these issues.   It will be helpful to people who run across this thread to read something "from the horse's mouth" as jedmehdu says.  Smiley

It appears that some people were upset by my comparison of the Chinese concept of the Tao with that of the Egyptian concept of Ma’at.  I had written this more than 12 years ago when there was little quality information on Ma’at available for the general public.  At the time I felt that the best tool available to help explain this complex concept was the use of comparative religious studies.  A number of academics before me have made similar use of comparative religion to show similarities in the concepts which they were discussing.  Some of the most renown that come to mind include Dr. Huston Smith, Dr. Carl Jung, and Dr. E.C. Krupp.  Even such eminent Egyptologists as Dr. Jan Assmann and Dr. Eric Hornung have used comparisons of religious and philosophical concepts to help describe certain aspects of Egyptian religion (please see “The Mind of Egypt” by Dr. Assmann as well as “Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt” by Dr. Hornung for examples of this).

Concepts like Ma'at are not easy to explain in words.  I believe that She is too vast for any of us to fully comprehend on an intellectual level.   To make matters more difficult, we as a society do not have an analogous modern concept.   I completely understand where you are coming from, with regards to using comparative religion as a means of helping people understand.  The vast majority of the world has not heard of Ma'at, but most people who have taken a comparative religion class have some understanding of the word Tao.   Such comparisons can be useful.  Some people may, in fact, need them in order to start wrapping their brains around unfamiliar ideas.  Everybody learns differently, and Ma'at reveals herself in a multitude of ways.  

Another concern that is raised in some of the posts is that I present a “monolatrous” point of view when discussing the Gods of Egypt.  I feel that the Gods are individual and unique living beings of a higher order.  This is a very Egyptian concept.  However, the Egyptians also taught that everything ultimately comes from the Nun.  In plain language I view this as meaning that all is connected through this vast source of being, yet we are each unique and individual - just as the Gods are unique and individual.  If this is what ‘monolatrous’ is than I agree.  

This makes perfect sense to me.  This does not seem "monolatrous", at least not as I understood the term over a year ago when I wrote this post.   I'll refrain from writing too much about monolatry/polytheism since there are already other threads on that.  I'll just say that I was confused about your views, Kerry, but I think I understand them now.  Of course I'll email you if I have further questions.

Just an FYI to everyone:  I'd like to point out that I've read Wisner's other books since I wrote that post in January of 2010.  In "Song of Hathor", page 6, he  wrote something pretty much identical to what he has just written here (I am pointing out the page so others can look it up if they wish).    I probably would have understood Kerry's position on this a long time ago if I had just emailed him but I guess I can learn from my mistakes and move on.

Finally I want to address the concerns regarding the price of the books that I have written.  At the time that these first came out we were printing these through the school itself.  The cost of paper, toner, binding, etc. drove the price up.  There was no way for us to mass publish in order reduce the costs.  In addition, the cost of the source material used in the research of the books and courses was exceptionally high.  Dr. Cauville’s Dendera research alone is a fifteen volume set that had to be special order from Belgium.  Each book in the set cost over one-hundred dollars U.S.  This doesn’t include the hours upon hours of researching, translating and writing that went into the books and courses Akhet Hwt-Hrw provides.  

Having said this, with the many innovations that are now offered by publishers I am happy to announce that all three of the Kemetic books which I have written; “Eye of the Sun”, “Song of Hathor” and “Pillar of Ra” will soon be released in paperback at a much lower sale price.  These should be available on our website by mid-July of this year.  

I have no objections to your prices.   You deserve to be paid for your research.  I am looking forward to seeing the paperbacks.  

As I said in my previous posts, I do find your books highly useful.   We use them in my temple.   Actually, we did a ritual for the Beautiful Embrace yesterday.  It was very peaceful and joyful.  I'm sure we'll be doing it again next year.  

Without people like you and Rich Reidy, most modern Kemetics would have to start from scratch, spending all their time researching their own rituals instead of actually practicing.  I, for one, am happy that I'm spending most of my time practicing.   I do appreciate the hard work you've done.

Blessings,

Nehet




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