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31 July 2009 @ 03:59 pm

Every now and again I get possessed to run a Google search and enter fun words. Often it helps me keep awake at the office when otherwise I'd be passed out at my keyboard! Anyway, I wanted to share two things I discovered yesterday that really would be relevant here...

The exact nature of the HoN's 'Nisut' is a debated and controversial topic. But read this link:

http://www.tawyhouse.org/nisuthymn.html

This is hymn written to Tamara Siuda by a member. I beg of people, turn off the rhetoric and explanations for a minute and answer me this: if House members don't worship their Nisut, why do they have a hymn devoted to her?

If that's not enough, I found a picture elseweb of a House member's kid who'd been rootnamed--meaning, given a name based on what's supposed to be the deity of the day they were born on--as Nisutemheb. Yes, "Nisut is in feast".

And she's not a god?

Then, why?
 
 
 
14 May 2009 @ 12:34 pm
I promised some people that I would post here when I underwent the Rite of Parent Divination in the House of Netjer, and so here I am.

Rev. Tamara divined my group (we are a multiple system) as:
Child of Wepwawet-Yinepu
Beloved of Serqet-Aset, Bast, and Ra-Heruakhety

A review of my results, of sortsCollapse )


Recent experiences with KO as a whole: Rev Tamara can be a little headstrong, answering what she thinks you asked without letting you correct her, or stamping out doctrine with no wiggle room. This is something I do regularly have problems with when it comes to her. At times it's made me want to throw their rites out of the window and just do my own, which is never a good thing. A problem for me personally at the moment is their rite to become Shemsu-Ankh, which is so tightly oathbound that it's hard to figure out what purpose it truly serves, is a rite that many of the older members didn't have to go through, and I have heard has roots in voodoo and the like (all respect to voodoo, but it just ain't my path).

On the positive side, she does work her ass off, praying for everyone, performing divinations, and doing rituals several times a day on behalf of the Kemetic people. As a spiritual leader (rather than a Nisut), she does pretty well.


Come August I will be attending their week long Wep Ronpet celebrations and activities. If people want me to post my experiences of Rev Tamara as she is in person, then I can certainly do so.
 
 
 
21 April 2009 @ 10:07 pm
Hey, everyone. I just wanted to let you all know that I am going to be closing hmtanpu soon, but this community shall remain. I've passed the maintainer abilities over to my now primary account, jackalibis 

Thanks!

 
 
 
23 March 2009 @ 03:10 pm
There seems to have been a lot of activity over at Per-Ankh ( http://www.per-ankh.org/ ) recently, and they have also relaunched their boards ( http://www.kemetonline.com/ ). Why the sudden burst of energy? Are they going to try forming an "sisterhood" of temples, once again? Are they trying to break HON's dominance? Alas, most of their website hasn't had content added yet, and has been that way for  at least a month, so wether or not this has stalled or is just taking time, who knows...

Thoughts? 
 
 
 
13 March 2009 @ 01:12 pm

A Review of Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt: The One and the Many by Erik Hornung

This work dealing with the nature of Egyptian religion is a watershed book in its field, which is ironically one of the reasons why I avoided reading it for so long. I had encountered so many other writings--both scholarly and not--that refer to Professor Hornung's book that I had gotten something of a preconception about what he actually said. That, and I had already read his work on Egyptian Books of the Afterlife and found it to be a bit dry. Now, however, I can say that Afterlife is simply not as compellingly written, or controversial, as Conceptions of God.

I'm going to split this review into two parts: the academic merits of the book, and then how it relates to Kemeticism.

Academically, this book is sound. Hornung starts by taking you through the history of Egyptology as a discipline and examining the biases with which scholars have tackled the subject of ancient religion. He then breaks down by parts what the aspects of deities were for the ancient Egyptians, and what they observed about deities in their own literature. He ends by offering some modern interpretations based on the factual evidence submitted. He always refers to archaeological record and frequently refers to publications by other scholars (most of whom are German, since Hornung himself is a German scholar; I used a German-English dictionary to decipher the titles of some of the works he cited). This might be a little daunting for the average reader, though. Don't read this book half-asleep or distracted, it's a university-level scholarly work and should be treated as such. If you're paying attention, though, he crafts some very excellent arguments and offers new ways of looking at archaeological record. I can see where his work has influenced other Egyptologists such as Dr. Rosalie David (who wrote Religion and Magic in Ancient Egypt) and Dr. Gay Robins (Art of Ancient Egypt). I can also see where his work might be sometimes at odds with other scholars such as James Allen and Jan Assman. But, Hornung is above all a fair scholar. He does cite from dissenting authors where they have a point of agreeance.

My only cricitism is that he seems to 'drift' just a little in his last chapter, having two 'Excursus' sections--'excursus' being an academic way of saying "digression". He manages to bring the point back around, though it takes longer in the one about "The Problem of Logic". I felt that his point could have been made more concisely, but that might have been difficult given his writing style. When you work in doctoral-level academia for any real length of time, brevity seems to grow scarce.

Now to the issue of this book's influence on Kemeticism. This book is on the Kemetic Orthodoxy's 'recommended reading' list, and I can easily rattle off certain concepts from the book that are directly copied by them: for example, their statement that the number four is a 'Kemetic number of completion' makes an assertion out of Hornung's observation that the "number four does occur elsewhere in the Egyptian pantheon as a classificatory schema, evidently as a symbol of completeness or totality" (pp.220-221). The chapter on "Egyptian Terms for God" includes on pp. 45-46 a list of personal names from the Old Kingdom that incorporate the word ntr or a deity's name; I easily recognized four names right off the bat which are also the 'ordained' or 'divined' names of Kemetic Orthodox members. A search through their boards would probably yield several more from this same list. Less directly 'borrowed' but still highly evident are the Orthodoxy's use of references by Hornung in their own concepts of a divinely-ordained 'nisut' and the channelling of deities. Hornung cites twice in his book an instance recorded in Hatshepsut's temple at Deir el-Bahari of "a solemn and exalted moment when her divine-ness is manifest to the whole world, when her vow to the King of the Gods, Amun...is about to be fulfilled" (p.64), in which she "enters the role of a god" (p.134). The problem is that Hornung does not discuss the nature of Egyptian kings' divinity in depth due to space constraints, neither does he have the room to detail the possibility of divinity manifesting or "channeling" into an individual. The Kemetic Orthodoxy's assertions about these two topics are purely weak, unsupported extrapolations, as far as their citations of this book are concerned.

Their biggest problem, however, is that Hornung has completely negated one of their key concepts in the first two chapters of his book! The Kemetic Orthodoxy presents Egyptian religion as a 'monolatry', which is a term that was originated by German scholars and has been used in conjunction with Egyptology. Hornung discusses this in Chapter Seven of his book, "Classification and Articulation of the Pantheon". But the Orthodoxy's application of monolatry is fundamentally flawed; as Hornung explains in Chapters One and Two, early Egyptologists who were determined to prove that the ancient religion was actually a monotheism falsely interpreted the word ntr to mean not just any god, but The One God. Careful study of the language, which includes the examples of personal names mentioned above, proves that this interpretation of ntr is inaccurate. Furthermore, Hornung cites earlier scholars who also interpreted the Egyptian pantheon as simply various forms of an original godhead; compare his citation of Eberhard Otto, who said that Late-Period Egyptians "'experienced the multiple manifestations of deities as possible realizations of an anonymous divine power that lay behind them'" (p.29), with this statement from the House of Netjer FAQ: "a practitioner...when working with one particular Name of Netjer understands that Name to be one reflection of Netjer's abstract totality, sometimes referred to as the Self-Created One." Now read what Erik Hornung himself writes about such assertions:

"This is a grandiose, western-style perspective--but it has little in common with Egyptian ways of looking and thinking...It is fascinating to arrange the Egyptian pantheon in three dimensions and to make the One the vanishing point--but does there not lie behind such an exercise the old apologist's endeavor to render the Egyptian gods more credible to us?"

My advice to anyone interested in practicing Kemeticism is that yes, by all means, you should read this book. But read the book carefully, in its entirety, and set aside any preconceived ideas about the topic that you either held yourself, or had been given by others. I had to set aside my own reservations and biases because I knew this book was too important to avoid reading any longer; and once I had, honestly analyzing everything Hornung says in it, my understanding of the Egyptian gods and their worship was richer for having done so.

 
 
 
24 September 2008 @ 12:17 pm

I just saw this post on a Y! group that is similar in spirit to this one--providing a free voice outside of an otherwise controlling climate, in their case the Buddhist group/cult SGI (Soka Gakkai International). I'll have to provide a quick dictionary at bottom, but the concerns they voice are worthy of especial note--I'm hilighting in color some of the key points...

8<---------------------------------------------------
Leader worship is the third of the powerful enemies

People personalize issues sometimes to the point where they fail to
understand them. I think a careful reading of the Gosho,
especially "Repaying Debts of Gratitude" in tandem with the Kaimoku
Sho sheds light on this tendancy of people to turn their leaders --
expeically spiritual leaders -- into "unreachable stars" as Jim
Jone's followers did to him, Jim Bakker had happen to him, or as the
average CEO of Japan expects his employees to behave.

First, leaders are not angels. They are administrators, spokesmen, or
ministers. They serve the cause, they serve the people. They have a
job to do, a mission to accomplish, and the only thing we should care
about is how well they do their job. The trouble is that they
sometimes do their job so well that their followers start thinking
that even their "stuff" doesn't think. In fact, historically fawning
and fearful followers will portray leaders
such as Kobo Daishi (who
founded Shingon) or Jikaku Daishi; Jim Jones, or the founder of
Microsoft, the leader of Toyota, the head of the Treasury, as if they
were Saints with all the answers.
When something becomes a movement,
the tendancy is to invent a trinity or a pantheon.

Sometimes those leaders themselves will start to think they can do no
wrong.
And that is where they go very wrong. At that point they've
been completely deluded to the point where one can speak
metaphorically of "possession." Mara steps in and the third powerful
enemy is born. Now the leader can actually be dead and this can
happen among his followers. Anytime someone gets portrayed as a
magical being with extraordinary powers, and rather than being used
as a practical, pragmatic, positive model; becomes a super-human
beyond the reach of ordinary folks, model; Mara has won.

The battle is not with the particulars. Kobo and Jikaku were genuine
sages who did great things for Buddhism. One may agree with Nichiren
that their take on the esoteric value of tantra conflicts with
the "hidden in plain sight" universal esotericism in the Lotus Sutra,
or one may disagree, but the fact is nobody need be put up on a
pedestal and worshipped. Our criticism of the High Priests of
Nichiren Shoshu flowed from that argument. The Gakkai spent almost
10 years teaching this in the 80's and 90's, only to have that
teaching undermined from within by those who found it convenient or
who bought into its premises.

It's not good for anybody.

Chris
--- In SokaGakkaiUnofficial@yahoogroups.com

8<------------------------------------------------------------------

Quick glossary in case anybody got lost: 
Gosho and "Kaimoku Sho"--'gosho' is the general term for a certain portion Buddhist canon, "Kaimoku Sho" being a selection from it.

Mara --also called the "Devil King of the Sixth Realm", sorta like Apophis in that he opposes Buddhism and Enlightenment.

Nichiren Shoshu --a sect of Nichiren Buddhism, from which Soka Gakkai derives. The two groups have been rivals since the 80's or thereabouts.

Remember, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

--Tut
 
 
Current Mood: busybusy
 
 
 
23 September 2008 @ 12:12 pm
A friend had pointed this site out to me a while back, and I thought it deserves to be pointed out here as well.

http://christohellenism.bravehost.com/Netjer/Netjer-review.html

I would like to point out that this review of the House of Netjer is from a Hellenistic point of view. It shows just how much censorship the HoN has done in the past, especially towards anyone who speaks out against them. That in itself is disturbing that anyone would think that that is normal or okay.

Also, many Kemetics have noticed a rise and then immediate decline in temples other than the KO/HoN. I wish to invite the scribes and leaders of those temples to come speak of your experiences. I have had difficulty locating and contacting these people, thus may or maynot be able to extend personal invitation, but if you stumble across this, please come share your experience.

I would also like to remind everyone that you do not have to be Kemetic or worship the Neteru to join this community. Anyone who has had problems with the KO/HoN is welcome to share their experiences. If you wish, you can message me what you wish to say and I will post it on your behalf.

 
 
 
19 September 2008 @ 05:35 pm
Okay. I can overlook the whole thing about them borrowing the Rite of Parent Divination from Vodou. That much is not that important..

What gets me is the fact that often Ms. Siuda gets it wrong if she ever has to divine someone who already knows but doesn't mention Who claims them. Sure, sometimes she makes a lucky guess and gets it right. But who's to say that her "divinations" are right if the person doesn't know themselves to Whom they belong?

These are the Neteru we're talking about after all. Almost every single one of Them is highly possessive. If They claim you, there is usually one of two ways They're going to let you know. They are either going to walk up to you (perhaps with a clue-by-four in hand) and make it very clear, "Mine." Or They are going to use one of Their priests to walk up to you (probably still with clue-by-four in hand) and make it very clear, "Mine."

You don't have to have someone else to tell you which God has claim on you. If you don't already know yourself, then it probably means you aren't ready to know. There is something within you that is conflicting with Their claim, and They will wait patiently until you overcome that before approaching you.

So, in short, LISTEN TO YOUR GODS!

That is all.

 
 
Current Mood: crankycranky
 
 
 
24 August 2008 @ 02:56 pm
Uh huh... So, today while collecting material for my personal research notebook (at times, I love Google), I stumble across a Wikipedia article about Ms. Tamara L. Siuda herself. And this is something that struck me as odd:

Involvement in Vodou

Siuda has been a mambo in Haitian Vodou since July 2001, when she first initiated as a mambo asogwe (the highest rank of Haitian Vodou initiation) as part of La Sosyete Racine Sans Bout in Jacmel, Haiti. She left her first house in 2003 and was re-initiated as a mambo asogwe in another Vodou lineage, the Sosyete Belle Fleur Guinea of Petionville and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in January 2006. Siuda's own Vodou house in the lineage of Belle Fleur Guinea is called La Sosyete Fòs Fè Yo Wè, and permits her to have students in the Haitian Vodou tradition completely separately from her role as Nisut of Kemetic Orthodoxy. As a mambo she is known as "Mambo T" or by her public initiatory name of Mambo Chita Tann.[9]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamara_Siuda

Now, I understand how well Kemeticism and Vodou (Voodoo, however you want to spell it) work together. They actually compliment each other greatly. The issue I'm seeing is this, copied from the KO's official site:

In order to maintain Ma'at and respect to all religious choices, including our own, we do not ask members to renounce any previous or current religious beliefs, ordinations or titles gained in other faiths, although Shemsu undergo a rite of initiation dedicating them specifically to the service of a particular god or goddess and generally make a total commitment to Netjer setting aside behind previous non-Kemetic Orthodox work as part of that vow. (Remetj members do not take such a vow and as such are not bound by the oaths of Shemsuhood). Persons who after probation, or at any time during their sojourn with the faith conclude that Kemetic Orthodoxy is not their spiritual path are supplied with guidance on where to achieve that as best as can be supplied; we do not believe our faith to be the one and only path to spiritual success and Kemetic Orthodoxy may not be for everyone.

Source: http://www.kemet.org/kemexp4.html

That first line is much like one of those cases of "Now don't get me wrong, I really like (whoever), but (insert reason why not to like them)." By the interpretation of their own words, they literally said, "We won't ask you to renounce any previous or current religious beliefs, but if you become one of us, we make you do just that."

Now... On to the point...

Why is it, that if the Shemsu of the KO are expected to devote themselves specifically to the Kemetic Orthodox faith that their leader, Ms. Tamara L. Siuda, can go and get any official whatnot that she wants to, to even have students in that other faith seperately from the KO?

Really, now. All I'm seeing is a person who is trying really, really hard to become an idol. And sadly, most people are letting her do just that...

 
 
Current Mood: irateirate
 
 
 
18 August 2008 @ 02:55 pm
     Somewhere in the wilds of the Internet, I encountered a web article or forum post regarding the "Question of Nisut". Whoever wrote it was basically aligning their argument with the HoN, because it presented the concept of "Nisut"--which, btw, is the Egyptian word for "king"--as something critical to Kemetic faith.
      Is it? Do we really need a "king" just to have a faith?
      I could answer this with two words--"Hell, no"--but that wouldn't be enough. Insisting on slavish reconstruction to the point of appointing a divine ruler is ignorant of history itself, as well as the possibilities that exist right now in front of us. Let's see what's being overlooked.
     Oh, and as an aside: I make no apologies for using the word "Pharaoh" to refer to ancient Egyptian kings. Yes, our modern spelling comes from Hebrew, and the Arabic word firaun is very similar, but they both are derivations of per a'ah, or "Great House", which was an old Egyptian title for the king. So don't take anyone's crap about saying "Pharaoh", because I certainly won't.
     During the height of the Egyptian state, namely during the Old Kingdom/Pyramid Age and again during the New Kingdom/Age of Empire, the office of Pharaoh was certainly seen as the central pillar of social order. In these periods of stability the king's image was everywhere. He was the guarantor of an ordered universe. Hymns were sung in his name and offerings dedicated through his auspices. But what about the periods of decline in Egyptian society, especially during the Late Period? What did the people do when the king was weak, and his power ineffectual? Did they stop worshipping the Netjeru just because their official intercessor couldn't help them? Or what about the periods when the king was overthrown? When the Persians conquered Egypt a second time in the 300's BCE, did the people give up faith?
     Of course they didn't!  We have ample proof; the best example would be the inscription records left in the tomb of Petosiris. He was a high priest from a priestly family who oversaw the re-organization and rebuilding of several temples in the wake of the Persian conquest. His monuments name no kings, and Petosiris himself took on roles formerly held by the Pharaoh in overseeing Stretching of the Chord ceremonies to begin new temple construction. Clearly, he didn't sit there and say, "We have to name a new king in order to start our church again!" Instead, he took the initiative to do what he could for his community in his traditional role as a priest. And his legacy survives right down to our time. 
     This is the Age of Information. The age of living, divine kings is over; if you think about it, that day ended in August 1945 when Emperor Hirohito of Japan renounced his status as a god on live Japanese radio. Do we want to go back to that? Have we learned nothing of those hard lessons?
     Besides, the true kings of Kemet are still with us. Again, looking to history as our guide, the Pyramid Texts and the Books of the Underworld tell us that the Pharaohs joined the entourage of Ra upon their deaths. They became members of the divine family, and the ancient people of Egypt prayed to them and asked for their intercession. The deceased Pharaohs even had their own memorial temples staffed with priests. In fact, King Amunhotep I was regarded as a patron saint of sorts by the villagers of Deir el-Medina; during their own Opet processions that were held in the town, the enshrined statue of Amunhotep I actually took the place of Amun!
In life, the Pharaohs were still human, and had human limits. They couldn't see to everyone, and they couldn't officiate at every temple--that's why priests were appointed in the first place! But in the Duat, sailing in Ra's barque, they could watch over everyone. 
     So why do we need to elevate someone to a role that held such awesome responsibilities and burdens which none of us can truly fathom? Why should we seek to, in effect, replace the true Nisuts of old? The Kemetic faith will live on, and so will its ancient kings. We do a greater service to them by acknowledging what foundations they built, and by bringing their faith into the modern era without trying to re-invent it. We have our Nisuts: Seneferu, Khufu, Senwosret, Amunhotep, Akhenaton, Tutankhamun, Seti, Rameses. We don't need a pale imitation of true greatness. 
 
 
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative