Going Forth by Day: Hermopolis Begins in the Heart

Alchemical and spiritual journey together with Thoth-Djehuty – exploring Kemeticism, Hermeticism, spiritual alchemy, and following the path of devotion.

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"The Way of God": walking with the Netjeru

To walk on the road of God is to be filled with light,
Great are the advantages gained by those who
Discipline themselves to follow it.
It’s a monument raised by them on this Earth,
Those who follow the Paths of God,
Those who cling to the Ways of God,
Spend all their lives in joy,
Gathering riches without equal.
(…)
The West is the dwelling place for he who has not transgressed the Rule.
Happy is who reaches there!
Nobody can reach there unless
Their hearts have conformed exactly to the Rule.
Down there there is no distinction between rich and poor,
Unless it is in the favour of he who is found to be righteous
When weighted in the scales of justice before the master of Eternity.

-- The inscriptions from the tomb of PetOsiris, high priest of Thoth (4th/3rd century B.C); quoted from: Cristian Jacq, “The living wisdom of ancient Egypt”


Living as a kemetic is walking your path of life together with Netjeru.

Come to the Netjeru with open heart, embrace Them with joy, let Them help you to get better when you are in sadness. Bring Them flowers, water, bread, say Their names, dance for Them, dedicate to Them your actions, listen to music you associate with Them and assemble your devotional playlists. Look at the images of the Netjeru - online or in art albums you may have, marveling at Their beauty. Sit before the shrine and just think about Them. Share with Them your thoughts, your worries and doubts. Don’t be afraid of asking questions.
Look at the wonders of nature and see the manifestations of Netjeru in the sky, in the sun and moon, in every flower and every bird.

Your goal in the kemetic religion is to maintain Maat and keep relationship with the Netjeru.
Religion should bring happiness and fulfillment, and while trials and tests happen, the Netjeru are not here to make your life miserable. In turn, they are loving and caring, and They are willing to help you on your path of spiritual growth.
Devotion begins in the heart;
And “going in Ma’at” is the primary “way”. It’s the way of life; it’s not “practicing religion”, but Living the religion.
The first step in walking in Ma’at, walking with the Netjeru, however simple it may sound, is: “Place God in your heart”.


You can pray and talk to the Gods without material offerings.
You can pray silently, only speaking in your mind.
You can pray outside of your home, - just go somewhere where no one will disturb you, if you want to be away from other people while praying.
But anyway, start thinking about the religion not as some external activity you do “from time to time”, but about something that actively guides your life and defines your actions.
It’s not like “going to Сhurch on Sundays”.
It’s always walking-the-path; and your destination is the Eternity.

You can turn almost anything into devotional activity.
Studying. Writing. Being good in your regular work. Doing charity work. Learning crafts. Studying mythology and theology. Studying languages. Writing journal entries and essays. Composing hymns and poetry.
And living in Ma’at, in my opinion, can’t be downgraded to “just don’t be a dick”. Yes, “not being a dick” is a good starting point.
But if you look even at Ancient-Egyptian wisdom texts or tomb inscriptions, you will notice that “living in Ma'at” values included actively doing good things.
“Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give boat to the boatless”…
Feeding (and generally, caring about) animals was also a virtue to be proud of!

So… “Do the good thing”. Not just keep being nice, think about some activity you can do, on permanent basis or from time to time, and make it devotional, because this is what you are called to do.
May be some volunteer work. May be supporting animal shelter. May be supporting a good cause on online fundraiser, may be supporting a trusted charity. May be just helping homeless and poor people when you encounter them.

I remember that one evening I bought a box of nice cakes and it was intended for offerings. I was going home, and saw a lady who looked definitely sad and probably poor.
I gave this box of cakes to her, and this was an offering, because in my mind, it was “doing something good in honor of the Gods” (but it was not necessary to announce that to the lady :)
Just doing small good things you can do, bringing more Ma’at into this world, even if these things are simple.

Found a discount coupon that can be printed? Print several and give to people who may need it.
Can roll your discount card in the grocery store for someone else’ purchase? Do it.
Can give some food to stray cats and dogs? Do it.
And all these small actions supporting Ma’at, are quite natural for a good person, but if you keep in mind that you do this “for Maat”, it keeps you more “connected”.

Walking the “Way of the Netjer” is more than “incorporating kemeticism into your daily life”.
Think about living the religion - not as something external for you, not as something you occasionally do. It’s something inside you, and what you do, would be directed by the Netjeru - if you “place God in your heart” and listen.

***

Many people are worried about “choosing the Netjer to worship” and finding the “patron deities”.
My very first words about that matter could be a little unexpected, but in general all Netjeru are family - and they all can be here for you; some may be closer, some distant, but once you approach the Egyptian Pantheon, and They welcome you as a new worshipper - they all care about you (up to various degrees, but as a big family – yes, they all care).

When an Egyptian temple was to be built, there was a special list of most important deities to be included in the temple and to be depicted at least once; even if the temple had one main Deity, there were important ones who were expected to be represented on temple reliefs.
Building your first devotional space/shrine, you may follow this way and collect the images of most famous deities as most famous figures of the whole pantheon.
Also, having a figure/icon of a deity on your general shrine doesn’t automatically makes you a devotee for them.

Some of my kemetic spaces contain statues and papyrus images of Netjeru I don’t work closely with, only on the level of “general” honoring together with “all the pantheon” or on special holidays.
Also usually Netjeru are not jealous, and unless you are requested to make separate shrines for your main Gods, you can keep many statues and images together in your kemetic space.
And you are free to approach any of the Netjeru, too; you can decide for yourself, or find for yourself, who of them to put “first” in your worship.

There are no requirements to become a devotee of a specific God. You can simply like someone more, or pray to someone more often, without becoming a devotee and giving any special promises/making devotional and service contracts.
Other person's divination may be helpful, but also it can send you into wrong direction. In my opinion, divination is useful tool, but not always the best way to find out who of the Netjeru is calling you.
If you are looking “for a Netjer to worship”, I would suggest a prayer directed to all Netjeru first. Ask Them to send you a sign that you can interpret; ask Them to visit you in a dream or send you a chain of helpful clues. Netjeru sometimes send signs through other people too. Signs of Their attention and care may come in different ways.
If everyone around you suddenly start talking about a certain Netjer, and your life (not only your social network newsfeed) is getting full with Their imagery; pictures of Their sacred items and animals; or you may repeatedly hear music that makes you think of Them... these are perhaps clues and hints the Gods send into your direction.
Sometimes, They give very subtle signs. Try to notice the patterns very carefully... and keep your doors open.

You are not required to become a devotee of any certain Netjer as soon as possible; you may honor everyone equally, all the pantheon, until you feel that some of the Netjeru are closer to you than others. They may give you more signs of their love and care than others. Then the devotional relationship may start growing. It doesn’t happen in a minute. Sometimes, “courting dance” of the deity and human soul may take months and even years.

I've been drawn to the whole pantheon for long time. Just because They are all great.
There was natural drive towards Djehuty, started with that simple fact that I admired hieroglyphics. However it was Anpu who first received my words of prayer...
I view Anpu as one of my close Friends now, however I don't have intense/regular devotional relationship with Him, as I do have with Djehuty. But I call upon Him when I make voice offerings for the akhu.
I did not feel like I "must" focus on a certain Netjer. I was not being chased by a thought "you must find a patron Deity". My attraction to Djehuty was a Thing that Happened, it was meant to be, because He certainly wanted it – but my devotion evolved naturally and I was unable to do anything against it.
And when it came to the right moment, when “the stars were right”, I knew that I want to approach Djehuty, because “who else but Him?!”
This was the power of His calling.

If you're drawn to someone of the Netjeru intensely - it can be a perfect sign that They are calling you too, and may be welcoming you to become Their devotee.
(also I can advise asking Djehuty as a Mediator between humans and Netjeru... for help to figure out who of the Family wants to work closer with you!)

***

The self-worth issue “Am I worthy enough for the Netjeru? Do they ever care about me” can happen, in different degrees, to everyone. From time to time it happens to everyone, and I guess it can happen in any religion…
Even long-time devotees and priests can have these thoughts.
But remember the you ARE worthy.
It’s one of the basics of kemeticism, one of foundation pillars of the religion: you are worthy. Humans are not lowly creatures made with one purpose to serve and kneel before Gods.
Humans and Netjeru are “relatives”, Netjeru are our “elder brothers”, “the sweat of Ra”, and humans are Ra’s tears. We have the same divine essence within us. We are invited to share this world, which is created as GOOD place, to enjoy it and care about it, and work together with the Netjeru to maintain Ma’at, the cosmic Balance of all Universe and Creation.
And as Djehuty once told me very clearly, “there are no one who isn’t worthy of the love of the Netjeru”.
We are all worthy. Netjeru are very loving and forgiving and understanding.

If you get the feeling that your prayers are not being heard, and your inner voice is saying “I’m talking to myself, no one is listening”, it may be good to try bringing back the memories about other moments of devotions in your life when you FELT that they are of course listening.
Try to recall all subtle signs and moments of devotional feelings. Try to tell yourself that they are not gone anywhere. If a feeling of ”talking to yourself” comes, I joke that the Netjer may be away doing the Big Things and the prayer will be recorded on their answering machine :)

As John Beckett once perfectly worded it (in his Patheos essay “Polytheism in difficult times”):


…Remember why you became a polytheist. Perhaps you prayed and Someone unexpected answered. Perhaps a Goddess tapped you on the shoulder and said “you’re mine.” Perhaps you realized that the world is better explained by many Gods of limited power and scope than by one all-powerful God and you decided that following Them was the best way to order your life.
It’s hard to be spiritual when your roof is leaking. If your current situation has dampened your enthusiasm for the Gods, Their virtues, and Their work, it’s understandable. And usually, They understand too – They tend to have a longer and wider perspective than we do. But whatever your reason for becoming a polytheist, it was valid then and it’s still valid now.

Talking more about developing regular kemetic devotional practice: keep in mind that you don’t have to make offerings daily. It’s not an obligation (unless you made a special vow or are a member of a temple where it’s a requirement).
Independent kemetics are not obliged to do daily rituals. You can do the rituals using the schedule that is most fitting your life, health, abilities and willingness to do devotion.
If you feel that you are not going to do well with a certain rite repeating every day/on very regular basis, may be this rite/schedule is not for you. May be it would be better to define your own devotional schedule, take a custom of making small offerings or rituals… every week? every two weeks? Every full moon?
Try to start slowly, you are not doing a sprint race here.
Devotion grows, and it’s like working out: you will not become an Olympic athlete on the next day you started your training in the gym.
There is no rush. You have eternity ahead!

It’s very useful to choose something very simple, define for yourself the “bare minimum” that you would do daily or on regular basis. Do more when you can; but make your regular devotions simple enough to perform them even on a “low stamina” day. Agree on it with your Gods and make yourself fine with it.
Sharing a glass of water with Netjer with short prayer may be better than trying to force yourself into doing a ritual daily, failing in doing it daily and starting self-loathing because of this.
A bunch of flowers or incense stick or a candle offered with love and devotion will sometimes serve your better that hour-long ritual every day, if you are burning yourself out…
Define your personal “bare minimum” which you will be able to do even while sick or during travel, etc. This can be a cup of water, one small stick of incense, a candle lit, one short prayer/greeting to the Netjer you can memorize and say any time during the day.
Even thinking of Them, keeping the Netjer in your mind counts. Even saying Their name counts. Even raising your hands in a gesture of adoration and spending several minutes before the shrine counts.
Make the Netjeru know what you can do for Them, what you are ready to do for Them, and let Them to and get used to what are your regular devotions.
Do more when you can, and when you have time, energy, space, and are in a good health, not tired or exhausted.
Don’t turn the religious rites into torture devices.
Prayer should never be a punishment… and daily devotions are not punishment!

(I also recommend this essay of Beth Wodandis “On daily devotions” very much; give it a read – this is very worthy and important reading!)

Walk the path together with the Netjeru, and follow the desires of your heart, remembering what called you to this path first.
Do what makes you happy in the religion, and avoid things that are going to hurt you and your health/mental stability and peace.

See the Ma’at manifesting in the World every time people do something good.

Do the good things just because it’s what we are called for.

For the sake of Ma’at - and for all the Netjeru.



On the photo: Scribe and High Priest of Amun, RamsesNakht, together with Thoth in the baboon form. XXth dynasty, Egyptian museum, Cairo; photo (c) by Victor Solkin, 2016

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Born in USSR and living in St. Petersburg, Russia; my spiritual journey started when I was a young teen. After more than 20 years of being practicing Russian Orthodox and later, Roman Catholic, I followed my heart always calling me to honor the Gods of Ancient Egypt. My devotion belongs to Thoth-Hermes-Djehuty, Thrice Greatest, Lord of Khemenu (Hermopolis), and I try to serve him as a priestess (hmt-Ntr). My path is independent, solitary and not hardcore reconstructionist, and I don’t belong to organized Kemetic temples.I studied biology in University, but after graduation, for many years have been working in telecommunications and computer networking. Now I work in international trade; but this is what I do “for a living”, as I’m poet and writer before all. I write poetry and prose since early childhood (of course, my writings are mostly in Russian) and I have some published books, science-fiction novels and poetry. I follow hermetic philosophy and viewpoints, and my interests, besides Ancient Egypt, include medieval history and art, Spiritual Alchemy, traveling around the world, translating books from English and studying more foreign languages (including Egyptian hieroglyphics). I am also president of the St. Petersburg chapter of the International Alchemy Guild.  

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