This month the Kemetic Roundtable asked: “What happens when the gods throw you for a loop? What do you do when the gods present you with a situation that doesn’t seem “normal” for a Kemetic? How do you handle things when your practice wanders off the map?”
I strived, for a time, to blend in as much as I could with the Kemetic Orthodox community. It served as an odd counterpoint to my younger self, who strived to be brashly different than those surrounding her. Back then, I wanted the acceptance of my elders. As a teenager, I already feared my age and inexperience being used against me, I didn’t want to have any other oddities stand out.
In the years since I joined the House, my perspective has changed a little. For one, I now belong to multiple Kemetic communities, not one. I have friends – both Kemetic and non – who will listen to me earnestly and provide their input on my ideas and experiences, regardless of differences in traditions. The broader community has changed too, becoming more accepting of diverse views.
For a while, I’ve been presented with ideas. “Make this thing for me,” my gods have asked. “Write this myth, this hymn. Arrange this ritual. Ask the community to participate in this event.” Largely, I am expected to make these things out of nothing more than a prompt. I am asked to delve into my brain and pull an entire holiday out of it – or scarier still, to listen and write what I hear, somehow discerning what is Them and what is me.
And for years, I rejected this.
“It is too far from the path we’ve worn. It is too different from what others do. It is not historically informed. I do not want to be the subject of mockery.” But is it? Does Satsekhem not also pull holidays together from mere dates and titles? Does Sobekemiti not write the most beautiful myths? Have you not felt inspired by the ritual and song works of Shefytbast?
Reflecting on the works of these and more has helped me to walk away from the main trail. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am being asked to do something new. It is not always perfect – I will sometimes come up with something, only to have later research tell me that I have to re-write the entire festival, because I was misinformed on it. Others will question why I am doing something, and my confidence will shake until I give the honest answer, the truth of it all:
“Because I was asked.”
Because this is what pleases my gods. Because doing something imperfectly beats not doing it at all. I am building up regular shrine practice again, regular offering giving again. I have taken up writing, long since abandoned. I have immersed myself in community and building up who I am.
I am wandering off the beaten path. I am writing stories about the gods: about how They came into existence, how They fight, how They relax. I am writing and arranging rituals, to pair with those myths. I am developing cultural practices, to carry Them with me outside of shrine. When I am so lucky, I continue to read books, to talk to my elders, and to cross-reference ancient knowledge with modern ideas. I am their scribe: one who collects, creates, and curates information for the gods.
I once strove to stand out. I once strove to fit in. Now, I only wish to be myself. I’ve come to understand that those who can’t stand new ideas have no place to stand within my world, and that I am surrounded by people who – whether they agree with my practices or not – are willing to at least hear me out. If you find yourself being teased off the trail through the woods, just remember: it is okay to do it. It is okay to not do it. It is okay to do it later. No matter where you choose to walk, you will find support in the community, as long as you’re willing to look.
For more Kemetic perspectives on being called to an unusual path, visit this link to check out the Kemetic Roundtable.