Does the concept of Kingship/Pharaoh impact your practice, and if so, how?
For this round of KRT we are talking about kingship and what type of role it plays in your practice.
To be honest, the short answer for this question would be “none”, but I don’t think that’s very fair or descriptive, so I’m going to spend most of this post musing about the role kingship can play in your practice, or within the community at large.
Back in the day, the king/pharaoh was a pretty big deal. He was considered to be the top dog of the country and the priesthood. And in many ways, all of the priests of Egypt were only acting in the pharaoh’s place. In all aspects of the state religion, the pharaoh reigned supreme and was only second to the gods. However, modern Kemeticism has changed that. We no longer have a state-run anything, and many of us no longer have a king to answer to.
Earthly Kings and Modern Kemeticism
Most modern Kemetic groups don’t have a type of king or Nisut to them. There are, however, a few groups that contain something of a Nisut, the most prominent being Kemetic Orthodoxy. The concept of a king is a frequently brought up topic and question to those who discover KO, and a lot of people are turned off of KO by the notion that they will have to somehow “worship a king” or possibly bow down to a king. I will tell you now that both of these concepts are not part of the “canon” that is KO. Being a member of KO have virtually nothing to do with there being a king, and Shemsu (the most basic level of “official” KO membership) are not required to promise or oath anything towards Tamara or the kingship. Tamara has mentioned many times that her possession of the Kingly Ka (which all coronated pharaohs are said to have) is something that really only has to do with her and her servitude to the gods. It has virtually no impact or relevance to the members of Kemetic Orthodoxy.
I’ll also mention that I’ve never seen Tamara request or require someone to bow down to her like a king, or acted like she was above everyone else because of the Nisut title. A lot of people put a lot of words in others’ mouths in situations like this, and I wanted to take this opportunity to clear the air and clear up some of the misconceptions that I’ve seen.
I’ve also seen people ask how there can be more than one Nisut at once, and I firmly believe that it’s possible to have more than one king at one time. It was not unheard of in antiquity during the intermediate periods, and I also believe that the Kingly Ka could split off and be in multiple people at once. Obviously, these are only my beliefs and no one is required to believe them. All in all, kingship in the modern era of Kemeticism is hit and miss, and some people are okay with kings in their Kemeticism and some aren’t. As with everything, there is no right or wrong answer here, and you should do whatever you are most comfortable with while keeping an open mind and understanding that others will be doing it differently.
The Gods, The Duat, and Kingship
If there is one place that I’ve noticed that kingship still plays a role, it is within the realm of the NTRW: the Duat or the Unseen. While Egypt is no longer run under a pharaoh, the realm of the gods still has a lot of the hierarchy and feel of the past. Within the Duat, being a king still has its perks.
I don’t do a lot of heavy work with kingly deities. Osiris and Wpwt are the only gods I do much with that have any ties in any capacity to the kingship, and neither of them seem to hold onto the trappings of being king. Both seem to realize that times have changed and they have rolled with those changes. In addition, I think that Osiris is more interested in being friendly with me than rubbing his kingness in my face. However, not all deities are like this. For example, I’ve found that Heru (not sure which one, honestly, there are many) can still be very stiff and formal, as though there rules from antiquity are still in place. In my experience, Ra is also still heavily influenced by the past. He knows he is at the top (or close to it) and the way he acts towards others and presents himself lets you know that he is top dog. He also demands a certain level of respect from you. In my experience, if you don’t give it, he will demand or take that respect from you. He is one of the only deities where I have been literally forced to my knees just from the pressure of standing in his presence.
This, of course, can cause interesting mixtures when you get multiple deities in a room. You can watch an invisible pecking order establish itself as you watch the deities interact with one another. And if you are a practitioner that finds yourself interacting with kingly gods, or within the realm of the gods, you may find that knowing the protocol for handling royalty is a good thing to have.
Besides the gods themselves, the kings of old can still have a presence within our modern practices. There are some that work with pharaohs as though they are deities or sebau, and while I don’t work closely with any pharaohs, I’m sure that they are available to us for guidance and assistance in the same way that NTR are. Perhaps as we move forward into the modern era, more kings of old will step forward and ask for patronage from modern Kemetic practitioners.
All in all, the role of kingship is going to vary from practitioner to practitioner. Some people enjoy having a type of king in their practice, others don’t. Some gods still focus on the way it was “back in the day” while other deities have moved on from the past. It really just depends on each situation.
To read other responses to this topic, check out the master list!