Australian Pagans in Tasmania plan for a midwinter festival (yes, it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere). A prominent Pagan critiques her spiritual brethren's misuse of science. And a Shinto-Pagan writer considers the nationalistic associations of her religion. It's Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on news about the Pagan community around the world! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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"Come, let me cause you to know them,
namely, the four principles of life…
to bind with them -
Set your heart upon god!
Adhere to the law!
Go in ma'at!"
Be small of wrath!
Be a good man!.."
"Conversations in the House of Life" ("The Demotic Book of Thoth" - 388-390)
If you feel called to Kemetic religion and wonder what should be your first step, my answer always is “Just make that step”. Come before the Netjeru to walk on the path of Ma’at and prepare a place in your heart where your honored Gods will reside, making your body and soul into their temples; guiding your boat on the waters of life.
If you have attraction to certain Netjer, by whatever reason, try talking to that one.
Even if you just consider the deity to be handsome. This also is a valid reason :)
If you are attracted to the pantheon as a whole, address them all, as one divine family… and ask if someone wants to take a larger role in your life, to “step in”.
Once you let them in (as living gods- they may reside in your heart), even if you don’t think about them often, they think of you :)
It’s not required to think about the Gods every single minute of your life, but it makes one happy when you know that deities are loving, caring, helpful and ready to hear your prayers, your praises, and the sharing of your concerns and worries with them. They are like your family and friends; think about your prayer/shrine time as about divine phone call or skype chat with a close friend who is not physically present, but always ready to answer your call and listen.
If you are drawn to several Netjeru already, then start doing more for them and learn more about them.
You do not have to have one central Netjer to work with. There is more likely to be several. In Ancient Egypt it was not common to choose only one Netjer to serve/“work with”. People had personal devotions, and may be had their favorites between Netjeru; but more common case was that there was a group, or “family” of the Netjeru who were closer to that particular person.
Frequently it was defined by the place they lived in and other circumstances. We know accounts of ancient Egyptians who had Netjeru appearing to them in dreams, and this causing their focus of devotion to significantly change. There are recorded stories of people who were called for intense devotion by Mut, Aset/Isis and Djehuty after the Netjeru making clear appearance in a dream. But most of the people simply followed their hearts, natural attraction, tradition of family and home town.
Choosing one “primary” Netjer doesn’t mean that you can’t have “many”. Historical example again: even the high priest of one temple could also have priestly ranks and offices in other temples, dedicated to other Netjeru. So, Egyptian priests could bear titles “high priest of NN, and priest of NN, and NN, and having a shift in the temple of NN”, and it totally worked.
Witches build a temple for Hathor in Wisconsin. A new Tarot deck celebrates icons of black history. And debate consumes the Pagan community over what it means to be a real polytheist. It's Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on news about the Pagan community. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
The start of the Egyptian year was the First month of the Inundation (named Dhwty) and was a time of great celebration, coinciding with the rising of the Nile. “You shall follow Thoth, on that beautiful day of the start of Inundation.”
During this month there were three festivals for Thoth, held on the 4th, 19th and 21st. Entries from various calendars give the following descriptions of these feast days. 4th day - a “Festival of Thoth”. 19th day - a “Festival for Thoth, the very great, in the whole country”. [...] 21st day - a festival to “celebrate ‘the triumph of Thoth’ in the presence of Re”. [...]
Bomhard suggests that the first day of the new year, which coincided with the rising of Sirius, was the 19th July.
This would give the festivals in Dhwty the following modern dates; the 4th as the 22nd of July, the 19th and 21st as the 6th and 8th of August and the 26th as the 13th of August. (Quoted from: -- Lesley Jackson "Thoth, the history of Ancient-Egyptian God of Wisdom)
For this festival day, I'd like to share some of my devotional poetry...
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.
Religion is always a choice. There are people raised in particular religions (or lack of them) since childhood, and it’s very natural for them to accept the beliefs of their parents/family as part of their cultural identity- something that isn’t questioned. But as the kid becomes a teen and then an adult – there are points of maturation – there are moments when religion then becomes a choice, when one reaches a point where you can accept a religion whole-heartedly (either self-chosen, or in keeping with one’s cultural surroundings and expectations).
And this is always a personal mystery and a turning point for a believer.
My personal spiritual journey started, when I was 12 years old.
There are people who were raised in religion, and the idea that God exists is therefore very natural for them.
But I was raised in soviet-style secular atheism. I had read a lot of things about religions, but the default mindset ingrained from childhood, was that “religion is a human invention, and an instrument of oppression and control. Gods are just mythology.”
When I was 15, I joined Russian Orthodox Church (mostly because I was baptized there when I was a kid and it seemed like a natural decision), but left it in 2005 to become Roman Catholic. However, the existence of the Gods of Egypt (Netjeru) was shown to me in obvious experience - and now I’m trying to live with it.