Pagan Paths

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

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Latria: They want your soul [pt.II]

When at 15 and decided that I need to join a religion, if I had not chosen to join the most mainstream branch of Christianity in Russia, if I had not read this famous protestant prayer too - “Jesus, be my Lord and Savior”… I would not be what I am today. I would be a totally different person.
I remember these moments of “accepting Jesus” very well.
I have read this prayer twice; I valued this experience as something indeed important and I remember very well my thoughts and feelings.
Yes, I read the prayer of my own free will-- but did I want it with the whole of my heart? Did I have trust in Jesus-the-personal-savior 100%?
Fortunately (or not very fortunately) I remember my religious experiences and adventures very brightly, just as in Dumbledore’s magical pensieve.

[part I of "Latria: They want your soul" - read here]
I honestly wanted to “prove myself”— prove that I could choose a religion and follow it, learn all the rules and teachings and walk the path successfully. It was a challenge and I accepted this challenge. But I never had overwhelming feelings of love towards Jesus or Mary. Those feelings of “Oh yes, I love you and I’m fully yours” were never directed to Jesus/The Trinity. However, my love and devotion were strongly focused on St. Dominic, his way of life and his Order. St. Dominic saved my life (literally) and sent me many blessings; those feelings of “belonging” were addressed to him and his Order (as a big umbrella-tent of Dominican spirituality).

I was certainly not attracted to the “Jealous God” of the Ten Commandments—the God of Moses, who claimed “I led you out from Egypt, from the house of slavery”. I was NOT led out of Egypt by him. It was not my myth and not my holy story. I did not want to be led out of Egypt. The “God of Moses” strictly forbade interacting with “other Gods” and especially He had something against the Netjeru, as He was angry every time His people tried to return to their Egyptian customs. But I wasn’t the one of those he led out of Egypt. Maybe the “God-of-the-Old Testament” also wanted souls – don’t all the gods want more followers and so, souls? – but I never felt that I wanted to be “his” and accept the Bible story as a whole thing.
I tried to keep the monotheistic faith and play with "misinterpreted angels, archetypes, deified human heroes, deified forces of nature" theories but up to certain point... but then it stopped working. For a while, I just omitted the atrocities of Old Testament, and tried to be satisfied with the New. I loved the mystery of the Trinity, the message of Jesus about a loving Heavenly Father, but I never felt myself as “claimed” and never felt “completely his”.
I was myself. I loved the Dominican Order. I also loved the ancient Gods (of Egypt, before all) and I hoped that some way I would understand how the world works with many Gods. I never felt (fortunately) that I needed the approval of the Biblical God for my actions and faith. I saw the real devotion of ancient Egyptians who LOVED the Netjeru and wanted to spend eternity with them, and this love was sincere and pure; and it was not directed to disguised demons or archetypes, but at very real and benevolent beings.

A lot of modern people may live and only follow a mainstream religion such as Christianity and don't feel the NEED to worship anyone else but the “One God” of their monotheistic religion.

Sometimes you want it and need it and Christianity is not enough; monotheism is simply not enough :) It helped me significantly when I thought about words of Jesus-- that he's sent "only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel". I'm not a lost sheep of the house of Israel. So, there are important things in the message of Jesus, for sure, but the things of ma’at are universal wisdom for all humanity and they can be found in all religions. As “not a lost sheep of Israel”- or a gentile, I am free to take ALL the words and work of Jesus as something that has personal significance for me. Or I may not and just respect him and like him but not sign up for all human-invented dogmas of the Churches. It is up to me.

There was a day when I was almost killed because of religion. By ironic coincidence, it happened the same day I said “Glory be to the Gods of Egypt” in a quite innocent context, so everyone within earshot probably perceived that as a joke. It was not a joke: deep in my soul I knew that I wanted to say this with full understanding and full responsibility. I just disguised it as a joke. Some hours later, the same day, I was almost killed because of the Christian faith. This is the irony of fate. It was important for me not to deny Christ. I did not and I survived.

Years later after that incident, there came another “turning point” or “point of no return”. By then, I didn’t just want to honor the Netjeru and didn’t just believe in their Existence and high status in the workings of the universe (divinity). I *needed* it. So many people live “perfectly”, acknowledging that other deities exist, but without any urge to do something with their awareness, they can remain Christians in good standing by the laws of their churches... But I felt a NEED, and it was a voice of my True Will: - not to deny Christ, but at the same time, break the chains of that first commandment of Moses and give Latria-Worship to someone besides The Trinity. I NEEDED it, - needed it as air for breathing.

When I did a “choosing” of the tradition, and I chose Christianity (Orthodox branch of it) - there were many logical reasons behind this: it was weighted decision, as 15-years old was capable to make.

  • It was mainstream, time-tested religion.
  • Well appreciated in society (Even in late soviet atheist/agnostic society Orthodoxy was something “okay” to tolerate)
  • Deeply tied to my country, culture and tradition.
  • High aesthetic values of music, sacred art, architecture.
  • Easy access to religious facilities and community.
  • “This might be a right religion for me”

This was “choosing” and this was wrong :)

But I became truly spiritually happy only when I followed my heart, not the voice of logic that I used while choosing.
Instead of “choosing the tradition”, I stepped into honoring the Gods I’ve been always drawn to;
and, you know, in the moment of the “turning point” I did not care if other kemetics in the world exist at all or not (however I knew these people exist; I learned about their existence in the first days when I only connected to Internet in 1996; but honestly, in that moment, I did not care if I would want one day to contact these people or not.)

I thought only about the Netjeru I’ve been drawn to. Then, it was mutual Choice, but logic was silent.
I did not need to make a list of traditions or deities and look which branch of polytheism I want to “try”. The answer was right there, before me and in my heart: this was the moment of Latria. This is a moment when the soul meets the God, bows down and says “You are God; I want to praise you and worship you”.

I hoped that he was listening but I did not expect that my prayers directed to Djehuty would actually be heard. I did not expect that he would be carefully watching how I read the Legend of the Book of Thoth. Now I guess he really reads in the hearts of those who get to know about the Book and WHY they start to desire it… and my answer to this “why” definitely surprised him and pleased him so much, so “the power of Great God fell from heaven” – exactly as it was in the myth.

So, in some sense, definitely yes: They (the Gods) WANT your soul and They will not miss the opportunity to grab it, if you hand it to Them “on a plate”, when you say words to the Universe which become the realization of your True Will. Any true religious experience begins with choice, and the initiatory journey deals with symbolic death. My journey has never been pure happiness. This road was not intended to be covered by rose petals without their thorns. I remember the ceremony of the Dominican sisters called Profession (solemn vows). The candidate had to choose between crown of flowers and crown of thorns to be symbolically put on her head. With all my mix of polytheism with Dominican spirituality, I know that I’ve chosen in my life “coronam spineam”, the crown of thorns. And so, my life-changing night was that moment of Choice: of accepting the Netjeru as Gods, and the moment of giving Latria: Worship to the one who called my soul: Djehuty, Thoth-Hermes, Thrice Great, benevolent Divine Avenger and Lord of Terror. =)

This is how I “traded my soul for the Book of Thoth” and stepped into the Chamber of Darkness.

(On the image: Group statue of Thoth-ibis and devotee on a base inscribed for Padihorsiese
Late Period, Dyn.26 ca. 700–500 B.C.; Currently in Metropolitan Museum of Art)

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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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