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How Can You Support Community When You Suffer From Misanthropy?

06 Jun

Alternate Title: Why Pagans Suck.

Recently, someone likened the Kemetic community to islands. That many of us Kemetics are on their own little islands, doing their own things (for better or worse). If I were to use this analogy, I would be on a boat (probably with this guy right here) running around from island to island trying to establish trade routes and networks between the islands.

However, it seems that every time I approach an island, I get spears chucked at me. Or the natives run and hide while I dock- and by the time I get to their settlement, it appears everyone has left. Sometimes they don’t even hide- they just pretend I’m not there and ignore me. Even when I venture out to islands that aren’t Kemetic in nature (but still are within the Pagan network of islands) and try to talk with the ambassadors there, I get the cold shoulder, or spears, or whatever.

Even on my own island, there is an element of cold shoulder. Take this blog for example. I work pretty hard to create content that has some use for other people. I create guides, lists and other stuff for others to read and learn from. I scour books for facts, quotes and ideas to share with others. And despite having (apparently) 50 subscribers, I’m lucky if I ever get feed back or comments. My own island is silent, and for all intents and purposes- ignoring me. And I am not the only Kemetic with this problem. I have a list of Kemetic blogs I read, and most of them get absolutely no comments at all. And they are all creating great content. Blogs are the lifeblood of this path. There are so many great ideas and thoughts that only exist within the confines of someone’s blog. How many times have we gotten awesome ideas from a blog? How many times have you seen great ideas from a blog, and never let the writer know about it? If a writer thinks they are only writing to themself, how long before they stop writing all together?

The entire world of Paganism is fractured. It’s broken. You try to start conversations, discuss ideas, or question the status quo, and suddenly you are evil. And in the Kemetic area, I would say the problem is even worse. There are so many ways to approach Egyptian deities, to create a practice around the Egyptian pantheon- Tameran, Kemetic Orthodoxy, Recon, Reformed, Revivalist, Greco-Egyptian, Wicca-ish, and anything in between. Yet any attempts to bridge the gaps or understand each other better is met with hostility, name calling and mudslinging.

What bothers me most about this is that many (if not all) of the civilizations we model our religious and spiritual paths after had a huge focus on community. The ancients knew how important it was to value your neighbors, your family, your community. And while it’s entirely true that not everyone got along- there were wars, murders, fights, etc. – they still tried their damnedest to get along. And in many situations, community was the fabric of the society, and was an undertone of the religion itself (even if the religion wasn’t separate or defined within the culture).

So if that is the case- why is it so damned hard to build a community now? Why is everyone at each other’s throats? You even remotely suggest another way to look at something- and you instantly get shot down. People are so closed off to new ideas or differing thoughts that it creates a virtual landmine field to walk through. You can’t share anything, you can’t discuss alternate views. It creates gridlock in a place that needs more communication. We don’t all need to agree or see eye to eye- but being able to hold a conversation without it degrading into “You’re a poopy head!” would be nice.

Heka creates everything that we see and do. The words we speak create our reality and our community (both Pagan and Kemetic) desperately needs us to talk more- to express more. If all we ever do is set up camp on our own little islands and never venture out (or talk with anyone that might show up on our shores) how on earth are we going to create anything that is viable and lasting?

And while I see many Kemetics say “Oh yeah, community is important”, I see very few who actually jump in their boats, and talk to others on other islands. No one from forum X visits forum Y. The Kemetics in Group D hate the Kemetics in Group M. Someone creates a mixing pot forum for Kemetics, and people from forums L, T, and V refuse to join. No one wants to play nice with anyone else. No one wants to put themselves out there in a way that could create connections or ‘trade routes’ as it were between the various islands.

And let me tell you- for those of us who are trying to create those routes, those connections- the work is very hard. And very thankless. And it’s times like this where I question why I even bother. And wonder if all that I am trying is for naught. The Pagan community at large fills me with disappointment. Son, I am disappoint. It’s sad when a misanthropist like me can even see that community is lacking here. That despite said misanthropy, I keep trying to establish those networks. I keep paddling my boat, trying to make a difference.

There are ways that we could all create links and networks between us. Exchanging ideas through comments and threads is one. Actually responding to comments left on your blog is another. Linking to other blogs and good blog posts is another way. Who knows where ideas can take us. Bezen‘s idea of using fake food in the shrine completely jump started my method of offerings to the gods.

Or another example of SatSekhem writing about isfet. And then Veggie hops on the boat of discussing what isfet is. And then there is an entire thread over here about it.

Or in the case of Kemetic Recon- who wrote about Heqet. Which then spawned this blog writer to create a prayer about it.

Ideas create things. Ideas bring us together and create a community. And the only way ideas can be heard is through communication. The only way we’ll ever be able to communicate is if we get off our islands every now and then- and go visit someone else’s. And if you’re shy or busy, at least be cordial if someone shows up on your island and says “hi”.

Do you ever comment on blogs? Start discussions? Branch out to other ‘islands’? Are you ready to venture off of your island? Why or why not?

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87 Comments

Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

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87 responses to “How Can You Support Community When You Suffer From Misanthropy?

  1. Jack

    June 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I do comment when I feel like I have something to add, but a lot of the blogs I read are way, way outside my… trade routes, maybe? Everything I know about Kemeticism I know from blogs. I find the posts interesting and the concepts worth reading about, but it’s not my practice, so I don’t feel like I have much to add.

     
    • von186

      June 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      Makes sense. I’ve had a couple of people tell me that that is part of why they don’t respond- they don’t know what to add or say that will add something to the conversation.

       
    • Nell

      January 19, 2013 at 8:52 am

      Hello Von186. I’m very appreciative of this blog and all the hard work you do. As I’m very new to the concept of spirituality and Paganism I have found it a bit of a struggle to take so much information on board to the point where I prefer to lurk as I don’t want to end up annoying others with repetitive ‘newbie’ questions. On the other hand I have found your blog to be informative and accessible so I can’t thank you enough for your efforts. Please keep up the good work =D

       
  2. merytaset

    June 6, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I usually have little to add to a topic. Plus being back in school hasn’t left me with much time to read blogs. But I do (eventually) them. I love your blog. Hopefully, I’ll be able to write in mine sometime soon. Keep up the good work. : )

     
  3. merytaset

    June 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    It’s usually because I don’t have anything to add. Plus ever since I’ve gone back to school , I’ve been too busy to even read blogs much less comment on one or write my own (although I do have some ideas.) I do appreciate what you do. You are awesome! Keep up the good work. Hopefully, we’ll have bridges uniting these islands.

     
    • von186

      June 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      I’m glad that you read, and I look forward to what you will write once your school simmers down a bit! And here! here! to some bridges!

       
  4. Charlotte Undery

    June 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I’m with the other folks who’ve commented, I’m not sure that I’d have much to add, but I definitely can agree with the severe lack of community within the “pagan community” as a whole. And sap that I am, it saddens me. Everyone’s so busy ripping shreds off each other that they’re loosing sight of the valuable contributions everyone has to offer. (as you pointed out with those great examples in your blog) Thanks for writing what I’ve been feeling has been going on for a long time.

     
    • von186

      June 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      For what it’s worth, it saddens me as well. I can only hope that things will change for the better in the future. Thanks for reading and the reblog πŸ˜€

       
  5. Charlotte Undery

    June 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Reblogged this on Cauldrons & Broomsticks and commented:
    This is something I’ve seen/felt happening for a while now, and here’s a blogger who’s articulated it much better than I probably could. There’s also a couple of really good blogs that are included as ‘added reading’ at the end of it that discuss the problem too. Because that’s what it is; A Problem.
    Yes, I capitalised the words, because they are perhaps the biggest Problem with “pagan community” today. We’re all so busy shredding each other – and I count myself guilty in there too, I know myself well enough – to see and consider the various contributions we all have to offer, REGARDLESS of which path, pantheon or paganism we follow.
    Maybe it’s time for us all to pull our respective heads from our arses and really try to connect?

     
  6. Mikhael East (@WingedPhysique)

    June 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    All of the different genuine expressions of honouring Netjer are valid – I do not think you disagree with that. Trying to string the “islands” together may not work as they got separate for a reason and maybe need to stay that way?

    My sense is that the Kemetic Pantheon disappeared (largely) from our consciousness for two thousand years in order to return now. Part of my path is working out why, and how that re-manifestation is occurring now and in the future. Looking at the Kemetic blogs, boards and religions as well as the artists, writers and anyone else that is dealing with this subject furthers this understanding.

    I have also noticed that not all walking this path have the same sense of openness that you (and one or two others whose blogs I follow) have. At the end of the day this is β€œlife”. My time in an unrelated field (the fitness industry) saw fracturing, warring, and all the other yucky things that people find to separate themselves in order to be β€œbetter” or to make their own island. Good luck to them. I imagine that the same could be applied to many other communities and industries as well. It seems to be the way humanity operates.

    I admire your sense of community and get why you would want to see the β€œtrade routes” established. But if the natives are hostile, well, that’s when it’s time to seek another route. A born leader needs to make their mark no matter what, and maybe this is the message in all of this for you?

    I have definitely got some great stuff from reading your blog and enjoy it, although I do not always feel I need to comment: I comment on blogs when it takes me but part of doing the blog thing for me is being able to read and leave comment – or not – as I prefer. When I do remark then hopefully it is worth reading! That point made, I totally agree with you that more interaction makes the blog process enjoyable – and this goes for the forums too. The handful of peeps that feel compelled to make comment on my blog is just fine with me – they are probably the ones I would get along well with if we met in person.

    And that brings me to my next point. In all my years of doing this internet thing there is one thing that is outstanding: the anonymity that this medium affords promotes expression that otherwise might remain mute. This may or may not be a good thing.

    With the people I interact with online, I never assume that how they present electronically is who they really are: experience has shown me otherwise. This takes online interaction – and how much importance we place on it – into a murky area. It is why I play β€œsoft”: occasionally commenting, not quite lurking, and definitely not getting into heavy debates with folks that at the end of the day may be a fantasy construct.

    I can be sure that when I write and interact with Rev. Suida that it is her owing to her position in the world. When I interact with Joan Lansberry I see a wealth of information and scholarly work that belies someone that knows their stuff. These individuals also use their real names and real photos to identify themselves. In summary, I have markers that identify them as genuine.

    That is not to say that anyone else I have not mentioned I immediately determine as false, but you will most likely notice that I interact with them less.

    Thanks for this post! It is thought provoking and on point. You make some good points here, and I do not disagree with any of them, really.

     
    • von186

      June 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      I think that you pose some really valid points.

      In regards to the islands being separate- I think it depends. We don’t all necessarily need to become one nation as it were, but at least be open to communication. Understand that we’re all there,and have the channels of discussion open and available- kinda like KIN is. At least, that’s the idea I would have about it.

      I agree entirely with the anonymity of the internet. I purposely chose a name that would be harder to track to my real name- not because I wish to portray someone who I am not, but because I don’t want to potentially get fired for not being Christian. It is a shame, because I’d love to be entirely open with who I am- but I can’t risk losing my job. It’s something else I wish was better in this world πŸ˜›

      I’m glad that you enjoy the blog, and that you left me a comment. I do like knowing that someone is reading, even if they don’t always comment πŸ™‚

       
      • Helmsman Of-Inepu

        June 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm

        The job thing is a real problem. It has become standard practice for employers and potential employers to snoop on people. And competition for jobs is so fierce that the slightest little thing can knock you every any time.

         
  7. The Chronicles of Sefek

    June 6, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I totally understand your frustration. I have a mundane blog and professional identity that seems to get more demos of interest from my peers than I do using my Kemetic identity – from other Kemites. Once I started branching beyond into the general Pagan, New Age/ Thought blogs, Tweets, etc. I started seeing more signs of ‘community’. My take is that people are people and those that seem inhospitable within the Kemetic community are most likely ‘misanthropes’ in general, as was implied in the blog.

    Whatever attracts us to the Kemetic or Pagan path, chances are that establishing intimacies with other strangers, regardless of our shared ideologies, is not at the top of list of our motivations. I do my best to comment on blogs I find interesting, not because I have something brilliant to say, but because I know that a sign that others care enough to write a few kind words, forward their links, tweet about them, etc. is what keeps good Pagan material out on the blogosphere and drowns out much of the tripe I come across in between these literary gems. Keep the Faith, y’all!

     
    • von186

      June 7, 2012 at 7:38 am

      I agree entirely. Sometimes even something as simple as “YES” or “This.” can really motivate people to continue to write. And while I’m sure many readers don’t think it means much- it does add up πŸ™‚

       
  8. Helmsman Of-Inepu

    June 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    … every time. πŸ˜„

     
  9. Josephine Boone

    June 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    I just remembered something. About half the times I actually try to leave a comment on a blog of any kind, I have trouble with the login function and make three or four tries, then give up. I am a technodunce in some ways. πŸ˜›

     
    • von186

      June 7, 2012 at 7:39 am

      I’ve had issues with that- esp with LJ. I’ve gotten into the habit of logging in before I comment, or copying my comment before I hit send- just in case the technology wants to delete what I’ve written. Damned login.

       
  10. Helmsman Of-Inepu

    June 7, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Out of about 200 comments on Kemetic Reconnaissance, about 60 are replies from me. So that’s about 140 comments from others, from about 22,000 pageviews in the last year or so. It looks like that’s from about 1,000 unique visitors, I’m guessing.

    Devo’s right on this. It can take a lot of work to produce a blog post, edit it, and then go over it again to try to see if you’re unintentionally stomping on any toes. If you add photos, it can often take quite a while to find things that don’t violate copyright, or choose, crop, edit, and compress your own photos. You go through all that, hit post, and sometimes… nothing. Not a peep. You have no idea if everyone thinks it was too obvious, didn’t understand you at all, fell asleep. Even a simple “Thanks for posting this” or “I never thought of a cow as a deadly animal” can mean a lot. Asking a question is even better.

    There aren’t any paid Kemetic theologans out there. No academics teaching how to practice modern Kemeticism in divinity schools. Everything we have is from a labor of love, and obsession, from a tiny handful of people. I can guarantee you that none of the authors of “how to practice Kemetic religion” books are making a living from it. Even those of us who flail around on the river bottom sometimes uncover treasures by stirring up the mud. πŸ˜‰

    So please, try to reply to at least some of the things you read, it’s a great way to pay the author back for their work.

    As a tip, it seems to help if you’re already logged in to the right facebook, wordpress, or twitter account before you reply to some of the blogs. I really hate the ones where you type in a response and it complains you don’t have a valid ID, erasing what you just typed. :<

     
    • von186

      June 7, 2012 at 7:41 am

      Amen to this.

      Out of all of my comments, my largest commenter (outside of me) is SatSekhem. I have the most comments because I always try to respond to people. So like you, the comments get skewed in that regard.

      And all of this is a labor of love. I’m glad to do it, but sometimes it feels like no one is listening. Not only to me, but you, Bezen, and other Kemetics who are doing great work out there.

       
      • Medewty Senu

        June 7, 2012 at 9:43 am

        I thought I had replied quite a bit. I’ll have to step up my game, though to be honest I stayed out of the Kemetic Priesthood post because many in KO don’t like me and my comments may not have been welcome as I don’t agree with how things are done in a certain KO community and tend to be quite vocal about such things. So in the interests of keeping the peace, I stayed silent. To be sure I could have compared modern practices to ancient practices, but I have found that in certain circles, unless a very particular person gives commentary on a particular teaching or way of doing things, the subject is not up for debate.
        Also even when a certain person in “authority” does give their input, their point of view is quite often taken as the end of the discussion and any disagreements as viewed as a person (like me) just trying to stir up dissent (which it’s not, I’m just giving my own opinion and the dangers of relying on one person’s input). Many scholars are in disagreement over how things were done, some of them even with this particular person who has no religious degrees in the Kemetic field, yet their opinion is seen as more valid because they “hold” the Kingly Ka, supposedly.

         
    • Medewty Senu

      June 7, 2012 at 9:05 am

      Cows are deadly. That post you made really brought that out to me and I see Hathor in a totally different way. I want to comment most times, but many of the things are way over my head. I have no interest in Egypt itself, or it’s myriads of papyri. I don’t know why. I only have relationships with it’s Netjeru.

       
      • von186

        June 7, 2012 at 9:19 am

        And there is nothing wrong with that. Pouring over books and papyri isn’t for everyone.

         
      • von186

        June 7, 2012 at 9:48 am

        You comment a lot on my FB. However, WP lists the people who comment the most- and Satsekhem has had that for a while. It’s like Helms- he and I talk a LOT. But it’s not on WP. So there is that.

        I can understand not entering into some debates- sometimes it’s not worth it. Sometimes, I interject, and see spears heading my way, so I back out. Helms has begun to hold me to a ‘two response’ thing. If after two responses it’s heading downhill, I need to pick up my spoons and leave.

        There is debate about authority. I understand that many people consider the thoughts of certain members of the community to be the be all and end all of the discussion. For better or worse. Considering how little we know about the Egyptian practice, I would like to see more civil discussion occurring out there, but it’s just hard to come by. In any forum.

         
  11. Bezenwepwy

    June 7, 2012 at 7:08 am

    There is an unfortunate tendency within the kemetic community for effort to be rewarded with apathy. It’s an insidious cycle that breeds further alienation. I suppose the only thing any of us can do, as misanthropic as some of us may be, is realize how deeply this echoes of the battle that the crew of the sacred barque fights every day.

     
    • von186

      June 7, 2012 at 7:45 am

      I think that apathy and a lack of community could be likened to isfet, and in that regard, fighting both apathy and the lack of community could both be like being on the Barque. Comparing the two certainly makes my will to keep at it stronger.

       
  12. Aubs Tea

    June 7, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I’d like to think that I start discussions and that I comment on most of the blogs that I read. (I at least try to do that.) Some of them, I have no comments because I don’t know what to say or the content doesn’t sink in until much, much later. But, for the most part, I at least try to get to talking with other people about new ideas or pushing my own limits.

    As far as paddling around in a boat… I can do that. I’ll paddle around with you and Helms. The thing is that what I contribute may not be Kemetic in nature. I feel… burned out on that right now, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, but that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to try. Another reason why I’m worried about venturing off of my island is because the ideas I have aren’t completed yet or are only at the beginning stage. And while I have absolutely no problem listening to what other people have to say about Y when I’m thinking X and then merging them to get XY, I’d like something more cohesive than “I believe in gods and reincarnation and I give coffee!!!!!!!11111111oneOMG”

     
    • von186

      June 7, 2012 at 8:40 am

      I would agree that you comment quite a bit. As I told Helms up there- you have the largest amount of comments on my site. I would be a sad panda without the comments you add here.

      I think you do a pretty good job paddling around in your boat. You’re open to ideas and talking to others. I know sometimes it’s backfired for you- but you still keep on keeping on. So I’d tell you to keep at it πŸ™‚

       
      • Aubs Tea

        June 7, 2012 at 9:06 am

        TH told me the other day when I was upset about the BS that I had to “keep on trucking.” Ha.

         
  13. Fanny Fae

    June 7, 2012 at 9:00 am

    For the record, I subscribe to this blog and many other Filmmaking / Publishing Pagan / Witch (Not Wicca) blogs on the net. Your thoughts are very lucid and definitely generate a few of my own. πŸ™‚ To answer your question about commenting on other blogs and other media outlets? Absolutely. Every day I spend probably an hour or two in conversation on any number of topics.

    This particular blog entry comes at a wonderful time for me. It made me really examine my core reasons as to why I have branched out into the wider community. I am spending far more time with a group of British Traditional Witches than I am on the Kemetic boards. I do so because I can have respectful, adult conversations with people who might ask themselves the same questions. I do it also because the so-called Kemetic community is in very sad shape. I think I had my fill within it when people would seek me out as an herbalist or healer, because they didn’t have the money or the desire to get proper medical care, and felt no impetus toward making sure that their heads were in the right place.There was little if any personal responsibility toward not only the gods but doing their part to help maintain that community.

    None of us live in a vacuum and thankfully we have people who are in other reconstructionist paths or even on our own paths who inspire us. I know that on a current documentary film project I cannot rely solely on the Kemetic community alone to help with it. I need those other perspectives. Thankfuly, among these others, a good many of them are not only open to they idea, they are very serious and very enthusiastic about the reality of such projects needing to move forward. I find that absolutely refreshing. Whereas In the Kemetic community, I barely get a raised eyebrow.

     
    • von186

      June 7, 2012 at 9:28 am

      I find that really interesting- some of the things you’ve posted. I would have never really guessed that you felt that way about the Kemetic community as a whole. I’m glad you’ve shared your thoughts here πŸ™‚

       
  14. Seshat Anqet Het Her

    June 7, 2012 at 9:13 am

    The comment about the Kemetic community being islands and reading the commentaries on this post highlighted something for me, and that is that apart from Devo and Helms, I don’t know anyone else here. Many of the blogs referenced in this post, I was previously unaware of. So, perhaps there is also a disconnect, a lack of a ‘welcoming committee’ for Kemites entering cyberspace. I know there is a House of Netjer forum, but is there a central place for Kemetically inclined bloggers to meet/greet/and connect in the exchange of ideas, angst, etc.? Perhaps for a community to exist, there must needs be a village watering hole or campfire for us to gather at.

     
    • von186

      June 7, 2012 at 9:26 am

      Currently, the best places to find resources is blogrolls and forums. Helms and I have been working on trying to make Kemetic information more visible through places like Technorati, StumbleUpon and Google Blogs, but the response has been horrible. I’ve created a list of forums for people to look through- in the hopes that they’ll be able to find more resources. But I don’t know that it’s working well. I think in order for a welcoming committee of any kind to work- more Kemetics would have to focus on making their content more available and easier to find. Which no one seems to care about yet πŸ˜›

       
      • Helmsman Of-Inepu

        June 7, 2012 at 9:39 am

        There’s a really odd attitude people have. Of course it would be idiotic to go knocking door-to-door, but a surprising number of people see no value whatsoever in making Kemetic religion stuff easier to find on the net. “They will find us if they are supposed to.” There are people out there who would love to learn and participate, but they don’t have an inkling that it even exists. They don’t know to search for it, or what terms to use. And if by some miracle they do search, the first page will probably be crap.

         
    • Helmsman Of-Inepu

      June 7, 2012 at 9:31 am

      The KIN forum would probably be a more ‘ecumenical’ place to put things, and that’s what it’s for. There are a lot of people who despise facebook. Web rings are waaaay too old-fashioned- a more modern watering hole would be nice. Possibly something like the Pagan Blog Project, but specialized? Great to see you here BTW, Seshat! πŸ˜€

       
  15. Juni

    June 7, 2012 at 10:58 am

    For me personally, I can’t get my head into this conversation because it derives from what appears to me to be a fundamental flaw, which these two sentences illustrate perfectly:

    The entire world of Paganism is fractured. It’s broken.

    The only response to that I have is *of course* it’s fractured and broken. It was never whole to begin with, and I think trying to force it into a whole is a misguided effort. The fact that I am not Judeo-Christian and I self-identify as pagan is not enough to connect me to anyone else with those two particular facts. Community is made by shared belief and shared practice and shared experience- how am I supposed to build community with people who I have almost nothing in common with, besides “being pagan”?

    I interact with people who honor the same gods as I do. I interact with people whose religions pull from the same cultures as mine does. I interact with people that have the same values as I do. But even just those things alone are *not* enough to build a community on.

     
    • von186

      June 7, 2012 at 11:13 am

      I’m not sure if what I’m getting across in regards to community is actually… getting across (basing this on other comments I’ve received in FB).

      Let’s consider the world, for example. The world is made up of many countries. Each branch of Paganism could possibly be equated to a country. Heathens are one, Kemetics another, Asatru another (I’m just pulling this out of my butt). Each country has it’s own areas – states, provinces, cities, etc. And as you traverse the country, you will see different trends and cultural variations- just like in the Pagan community.

      However, the world (on the by and large) manages to diplomatically exist. Some countries are closer than others (allies and such) and some countries do hate one another. What I’m suggesting is similar to this- countries that are able to communicate with one another. Maybe learn something from the other’s culture. Trade. Discourse. Respect.

      What I’m NOT suggesting is that two countries go “OMG, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, LET’s MERGE TOGETHER AND BECOME ONE COUNTRY!”. That’s not it at all. I’m not saying that all Pagans need to sit around a campfire and sing Kumbaya. I’m just saying that perhaps we should or could all be more civil with one another. Be respectful and open to conversation and ideas. That sort of thing.

      Hopefully that’s a bit clearer.

       
      • Henytenwepwawet

        June 8, 2012 at 7:09 pm

        You want fewer Great Walls of China and Korean DMZs, and more Schengen Agreements and Channel Tunnels, would be the metaphorical way to put it?

         
      • von186

        June 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm

        I would say that is fairly accurate.

         
  16. kiya_nicoll

    June 7, 2012 at 11:07 am

    … if blogs are really the lifeblood of modern Kemeticism, no wonder Kemetic community is upgefucked.

    Dealing with something fundamentally focused on the eternal in an essentially ephemeral and transient medium? Not a functional or well-thought-out solution.

     
    • Helmsman Of-Inepu

      June 7, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Yah, but if we use granite tablets it can get expensive. And dangerous to breathe the dust. And when we change our minds, they’re a beyotch to correct.

       
    • von186

      June 7, 2012 at 11:15 am

      Are you saying that another medium would be better suited?

       
      • kiya_nicoll

        June 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm

        Something that’s functional for building is what should be used to build things. Blogs are not about building. Blogs are – at their best, which they usually aren’t – basically a big cocktail party where you can look up some but not all of the previous conversation. A big cocktail party isn’t foundational to much of life unless you’re schmoozing up your next corporate contract.

        I’m (now that I come back to look at comments again) much like veggiewolf right below me: “shares a basic set of religious beliefs” is not something that makes something a community for me. I will break bread with many people. And anyway, my household has no strict-definition coreligionists, but my Celtic neo-recon/Taoist husband is closer to being a co-religionist in actual attitudes and approach to divinity than just about every Kemetic I’ve met. My Jewish housemate is the one who picked out the fundamentally ma’at-driven farm share program that we’re subscribed to, which I blogged about recently, because those are her values. I don’t need to look to Kemetics to find people who value ma’at, and value it in language that I understand.

        Assmann calls ma’at the force that gathers people into communities. That’s all communities, not just those delineated by religious affinity. Religious affinity has never actually created community – back in the time when they were one and the same, it was the community defining religious practice, not the other way around. I do more to promote ma’at getting supplies for dinner at the farmer’s market than any meditation I might post on the blog. If nothing else, that’s the community I actually live in, and people surviving and thriving here is a matter of my legitimate concern and investment. Doesn’t matter what gods, if any, they follow; they want me to eat, I want them to eat, and that’s community.

         
  17. veggiewolf

    June 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

    The only thing I can say here, really, is that I have a community. While there are other Kemetics in it, it is not Kemetic…and that’s okay.

     
    • von186

      June 7, 2012 at 11:15 am

      You are very lucky in that πŸ™‚ Makes me jealous lol.

       
  18. Fanny Fae

    June 7, 2012 at 11:22 am

    @Von186: I tend to be very private about some things, because it was in the Kemetic community that I have been burned the worst. That is not to say that any other “Pagan” path is any better or any worse. I think there is backbiting and snarking that goes on regardless. The only question I ask is what is each individual doing for themselves other than pointing out the faults and shortcomings or mis-beliefs of others?

    It is so easy to immerse yourself in books, scholarly texts etc and rather ignore the work. It is too easy to measure one’s spiritual practice by metrics of how many comments one makes on blogs, how many people we chat up on AIM, how many hours are spent in online ritual. In the end, IMO, that matters very little. What matters is how we feed into our respective communities by helping fill the well as well as dipping into it for ourselves. We all have something to contribute. I would like to see more contributing and less infighting in both the Pagan and Kemetic communities, personally.

     
    • von186

      June 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      “I would like to see more contributing and less infighting in both the Pagan and Kemetic communities, personally.”

      You and me both.

       
  19. Seshat Anqet Het Her

    June 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    @Fanny Fae I’m sorry to hear that the Kemetic online community has been so inhospitable to you. Seeing such things make me wonder why people feel the need to be so unpleasant when it is unnecessary. We are not clones and there never was anything created that didn’t involve some dissension in the process.

    To say that blogs are the life blood of the Kemetic community is an apt remark. What does blood do? It flows and brings oxygen and nutrients to cells and organs, while facilitating the efficient removal of waste products. Mutable mediums like blogs breath life into concepts that would otherwise be dry and off-putting to contemplate without a Ph.D in the subject, imo, though some of us do try :-)! Systems evolve due to the creation and dissemination of ideas of people like ourselves. I’ll contact you, Devo and Helms, offline to find out where those hubs you’d mentioned are (minus the KIN which I’m affiliated with). I’m trying on my optimist hat. Let those that wish to keep to themselves, remain there and those that wish to redefine community for the 21st century continue this discussion.

    I like your diplomatic analogy, von186. Clans kept to themselves but had the one-off moot once or twice a year where everyone would gather. How else did people find mates outside of their genetic pool, or merchants to trade with. The Lone Wolf mystique is getting old – and is incorrect anyhow. Lone wolves don’t survive in the wild for long. I get lazy being a solitary and appreciate seeing how other people are practicing their spirituality. Keeps the ‘make believe’ out of alternative spirituality, I think.

     
    • von186

      June 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      If there was a ‘like’ button for your response, I’d hit it πŸ™‚

       
  20. Fanny Fae

    June 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    @Seshat et al: It wasn’t the online community that was as bad as the one or two whom I had actually met and then proceeded to try to bludgeon all into their way of thinking.

    As to those who have doctorates, etc. – they are not the problem. The two or three that I know who have advanced degrees in egyptology are the most giving, loving and honest people ever. It’s the ones in between who are wannabe grand pooh bahs who are the cruelest. I think some of these believe it is a competition of some sort. Speaking as a former Kemetic Orthodox priest (I stepped down of my own free will) it is my view that nothing could be further from the truth.

    I wish that more people could be adult, have conversations that are meaningful and fulfilling and contain the respect that I believe that the wider community is certainly capable of.

     
  21. warboar

    June 9, 2012 at 12:39 am

    I’m tired, this is a massive topic, and my response is going to be OBSCENELY long-winded and all over the place as a narrative, but please do bear with me. :3

    As a “hard Polytheist” (i.e., not going for the Brahmic “all Gods are one God” / siding with Dimitri Meeks for the most part when it comes to Egyptian religion and theology, rather than Champollion and his inheritors) and multi-trad Polytheist, finding acceptance and a welcoming hot spring to soak in in various communities, online and off, is beyond difficult. That said, through blogging — and through facebook –, I met exceptional persons such as you and Helms and Fanny, et al. Interfaith networking is also what pointed me in the direction of the Kemetic Orthodox Temple, where I feel infinitely more “at home,” despite some of the differences of belief/opinion/practice I maintain, than I have with any Heathen kindred (which are also quite fractious and vicious). I discovered that there was/is a whole lot more openness and fluidity that one doesn’t see elsewhere, where I feel less compelled to vocally articulate and explore my beliefs and bonds with various Gods, a few of Whom (i.e., Set and Loki), upon the simplest of mention, can inspire in rabid, “sleeper” Fundies threats of physical violence against Lokeans and similarly oriented Polytheists. Just because some people don’t hate the same things/Gods they do. “LOKI IZ TEH DEBUHL, MUST BURN HERETICAL DEBUHL-WORSHIPERS. HOW DARE THEY HAVE THINKS DIFFERENT THAN OUR EXCLUSIVE HIVE THINK OF SNORRI STURLUSON AND CRAPPY BEOWULF MOVIES.”

    Having gotten burned pretty badly by a good chunk of the “mainstream” Norse community — (specifically organizations such as the “Asatru Folk Alliance,” which is essentially blatantly effing racist and smacks of “I haven’t quite gotten over Fundamentalist/Baptist schemas”), who are pretty fond of “ZOMG, more than one set of Gods is confusing, you should make up your mind in accordance with your whiteness so you’re easier for us to understand, because apparently we take myths and metagenetics and mid-12th century Christian lawyers too literally and seriously, boo-freakin’-hoo, we would like some stinky cheese with our banal and intellectually-stunted whine” — blogging has given me a sense of community that I cannot seem to find elsewhere.

    Blogging has allowed me to branch out more, even connect with a few individuals locally. It’s easier to express oneself and share oneself when not confronted with pressuring, “physical” circumstances, and/or mob mentality. One may revise and refine one’s thoughts. One may look back, ponder, and build upon what they’ve already written with focus and self-awareness, and properly weigh others’ input. One may give voice to the parts of oneself that would otherwise be mute — it seems “fake” in a lot of ways that I have an online alias and don’t use my legal name, etc. But what I express, I don’t think any of it is disingenuous in any way. It’s just something I would normally keep more secret than the other facets of my personality — that’s stuff my Uni and my potential employers don’t need to know about. Because, even in this day and age, it’s not “okay” to openly be anything other than Christian (sect depending upon nation/region), and sometimes Jewish, in the Western world. I hope that will change within my lifetime. I’ll certainly try to help that change along.

    I’ve met a lot of multi-trad Polytheists through the WordPress grapevine. I don’t always comment, though I always read the authors I’ve subscribed to. More often than not, I’ve come away with new, enlightening, inspiring perspectives, whether I agree with them or not. I’ve been exposed to some stimulating ideas, and some ideas that were “too out there” for me, personally . . . though I’ve sincerely tried to cultivate the common courtesy of keeping my mouth relatively shut when people are gushing the contents of their innermost, dearest thoughts, and listen more often than criticize . . . admit that I was mistaken when I was mistaken, be careful about my phrasing, acknowledge and discuss others’ points, not simply my own. Y’know, because this isn’t a Medieval conference, where Medievalists take other Medievalists’ brain-babies and ruthlessly put them through an academic meat grinder.

    Speaking of, I agree with what others have previously alluded to on this thread, that there’s too much of a focus on dry old tomes and not so much on investing oneself in a living, breathing practice. That hinders progress toward a functional community of any kind. Reading (and not necessarily legitimately understanding) words on a page isn’t a challenge. Interacting with other living beings with beliefs and passions that might not necessarily mesh with your own, is. Discussing what you read with other living beings, is. Yes, History IS vitally important. Yes, it’s important to understand the theological nuances of any given religion, and is a sadly overlooked requirement. But no amount of static reading can make up for lived, human experience. If I wanted to make a religion out of History . . . I’d, well, murder myself more with my University work than I already do, and neglect my shrines, and stop composing poetry for the Gods, and stop being genuinely helpful to and kind toward others, and whatever else it is I (try to) do. I’d go out of my way to self-isolate.

    Additionally, I think the self-isolating behaviors rampant within Polytheism as a whole are part and parcel of the divisive “hate and fear culture” extant throughout the Modern world. The “us versus them” mentality has always been present in the human psyche, and perhaps always shall be (primitive brain survival mechanisms die hard), but in some ways, I feel it is both more exaggerated and subtle now more than it has been in the past. “Passive-aggressive” and “sociopathic” might be better terms, come to think of it. Yeah, I know, that sounds exceptionally vague, and it is. Anyway, within Polytheism, I personally see a great deal of post-Christian “one way only”ism, which I talked about somewhat at the beginning of my meandering, sleep-deprived narrative. It’ll take a lot of time and effort to break such ingrained, institutionalized sectarianism down. In such matters, as in virtually all matters, I look to Set: He does not topple quos (or slay anti-Cosmic serpents, not necessarily in a literal sense) through sheer force alone; He triumphs through irresistible inevitability.

    Likewise, I don’t know what the eff people are thinking, that they will EVER find a group of people who think, believe, and act EXACTLY the way they do? That’s culty and creepy beyond measure. Who would want a cavalcade of zombies for a religious community? I certainly don’t. The beauty of Polytheism is its total plurality. There are few, if any, inherently “wrong” answers or ways of doing things. The fact that people erect all kinds of walls within Polytheism baffles me completely. Ultimately, the Gods are not islands, and neither are we, no matter how hard we try nor how many tantrums we throw to assert ourselves otherwise. We’re naturally gregarious creatures, blah, blah, superfluous learned explanations, blah — and speaking in terms of hypostyle buildings, a single pillar does not stabilize the entire structure. It wasn’t built that way, and couldn’t be built that way. It was built with many, because that’s the only way that concept could become a reality, and stand. We need to start functioning more like a building, and less like a ruin. How we do that . . . I don’t know. But that’s what “trial and error” is for.

    Now I don’t even know where I’m going with my own thoughts. They’re all over the place. Buh. Haha. Perhaps I will know when the sun has comfortably risen. In any event, I read the f*** out of this post and ensuing thread, and found myself nodding in agreement to much of it (not out of USMC/Skype-induced sleep deprivation, I promise).

     
    • von186

      June 9, 2012 at 9:30 am

      FWIW, I read the shit outta your tome πŸ˜› and I agree with a lot of it. I wish I would have said some of the things you said, in the way you said them- maybe the concept would have come across a lot stronger if I had.

      I like the concept of behaving more like a building, and less like a ruin. That’s a good analogy, too.

       
  22. SpiderGoddes

    June 12, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    I have to mirror Jack’s sentiment in that if I feel I can contribute something to the conversation, I definitely will comment. I also enjoy asking questions about information that I do not understand or is new to me. I have really learned much from the blogs I read, yours included.

     
    • von186

      June 12, 2012 at 8:36 pm

      I’m glad that I’ve posted some stuff that is worthwhile πŸ™‚

       
  23. odeliaivy

    June 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    I have not had this experience in the pagan community online or in person. I have not witnessed this experience of back biting either. I do branch out. That’s almost all I do and I do leave comments. I do not tend to start conversations though. Not because I do not want to, though it is not my purpose it would not bother me very much, instead, it is likely because there is nothing anyone wants to converse about from my comments. That is also fine with me.

    I think if a person blogs about anything non-professionally and lives and dies by comments, then the blog was never about anything other than comments. I’ve written blogs all over the place and as soon as they become noticed too much or my writing is found out by previous followers, I tend to shut down. I often try not to write like myself every so often to throw off the scent or be very sporadic. This may not be common knowledge, but there are many writers and photographers who do likewise. Comments are not necessary and some of my old comrades specifically detest them as they are “vain, frivolous and not what web logs were supposed to be about.” That’s a serious old school curmudgeon who told me that! I don’t agree with it, but it does illustrate a very different perspective.

    Anyway, I likely won’t comment on much of the Kemetic stuff because I am not interested in it right now. That may change. I see a lot of passion in the comments and in your writing. This is intriguing to me.

     
    • von186

      June 17, 2012 at 11:03 am

      You are lucky that you’ve missed some of the negative aspects of the pagan community. It can be hidden at first- but there is a lot of drama to be found on many forums- and the more that you interact with people off of the forums, it becomes even more apparent 😦

      I’ve never met someone that wrote something, kept a blog, website, made art… whatever… and didn’t want people to see or read it. I’m not saying that one should live and die by comments (even if I never got comments, I would still write- because I’m not doing this for the comments), but comments are nice to have- it can let a writer know if their writing is lacking something, if the ideas are on track, off track, etc. Feedback is always helpful, imo.

      I personally would never try to write differently for any reason. This is me. While I am not writing under my full legal name, I am not trying to be someone I’m not (and if someone knows what to look for, they could connect the real me with the online me. I’m not making it easy, but I’m not hidden, either). And in every post I make, there is a little bit of me- put out there for others to see. I couldn’t imagine playing someone I’m not- to me it would defy the point of all of this. But, to each their own, I suppose.

       
      • Helmsman Of-Inepu

        June 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm

        Writing a blog so that nobody will read it is something I just don’t understand. If it’s that personal, I wouldn’t put it online, or would email to someone. Or keep a private diary.

        It also seems like comments have been part of web logs from the earliest days, and it’s one of the things that distinguishes a blog from a straight-up website.

        In my case, I’d like to know if I wrote clearly enough for people to understand what I meant, and also to see if there are other aspects of the subject that I haven’t considered.

         
      • odeliaivy

        June 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm

        Good to know! I will try to avoid such places when I find them.

        Emily Dickinson is just one who stashed her stuff away and sent it out in a very limited way and there are plenty of that type in the virtual world. Still, I think comments on blogs do act as you say for some though. It can be energizing and that can outweigh the often dubious quality of feedback that can arise.

        When I said I didn’t write like myself sometimes, I meant style wise. It is an old and good writing exercise to write in somebody else’s voice or a voice different from one’s own. It’s just a dodge I use for blog writing sometimes. I learned it from a virtual hermit!

         
  24. thefirstdark

    July 27, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Reblogged this on The Darkness in the Light.

     
  25. Sophia Catherine

    August 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I see this syndrome in other flavours of Paganism/polytheism, too. As a Celtic polytheist and Druid I’m already at war with myself – never mind everyone else! I recognise your description of the backbiting between communities (and individuals) who want to hang on to their version of orthopraxy. As though we can’t learn from each other despite our differences. Maybe we can even learn because of them. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

     
    • von186

      August 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      I do have to agree that I think every path has something they can teach us about ourselves, even if it’s only to teach us what we are not.

      Thanks for reading!

       
  26. Sarenth

    August 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    As someone who follows both Odin and Anubis, I find it heartening to find blogs like this. Just reading the replies to your post here, I’ve found people who are in paths, while not exactly like my own, are damned similar, such as Shadows of the Sun.

    Unfortunately our communities are, in many ways, fractured. I think that posts like this can and do serve as a wake-up call to get our stuff together.

     
    • von186

      August 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      I keep hoping that eventually, if enough people speak up about it, that maybe the community will slowly begin to change some day. I know it’s a long shot, but I can’t sit by and do nothing- I have to keep trying. πŸ™‚

       
      • Sarenth

        August 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm

        Given that more of us in the various Pagan communities are sitting down and getting serious about our relationships with our Gods, Ancestors, and spirits, I think that Paganism as a whole is trending toward being more mature. I think it will just take a generation or two, and, especially, reclamation of our indigenous mindset to really cement a more solid Pagan community. After all, most of the Pagan community started between 1940-1960, and most of us are converts.

        That you and others like you keep working towards bringing our various communities together, in understanding and in better practice, is heartening. Thank you.

         
  27. truthlovelife

    August 20, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I enjoy and appreciate the information you have provided! Thank you. I refrain from commenting because I am still very new and feel that I know nothing, so I try not to appear as a nuisance. But it still doesn’t hurt to let you know you are reaching out to those (including me) in need of guidance, help, and great information.

     
    • von186

      August 20, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      I’m glad that you like it πŸ™‚ If you have questions, feel free to ask! No worries about being a nuisance. Sometimes you just can’t learn unless you ask.

       
      • truthlovelife

        August 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm

        Thank you, I most certainly will! =)

         
  28. Bastemhet

    December 24, 2012 at 4:19 am

    Great post. I got sent over here by a link in SatSekhem’s blog. I used to be really active in the cauldron forum, if you can remember. This was back when I was just a student and had a lot of free time. Now, however, I have a baby and a job and a husband and a house, and I’m still trying to catch up on the growing up that I needed to do. Consequently my religious practices and online presence have suffered. I’m trying to fix that little by little but being the introvert that I am I don’t have tons of energy to commit to other people besides the hundreds of kids I teach on a daily basis as well as my own family. It’s a balancing act that I’m not great at. If there’s any way I can help you out though, let me know. Sometimes all someone needs is a bit of direction and support to keep churning out all the necessary work.

     
  29. Kaye MacArthur

    April 2, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Reblogged this on The Crow and the Hound and commented:
    As I’ve been going through Devo’s archives, I find the timing of coming across this entry amusing, though entirely apt.
    Some more thoughts on Pagan community.

     
  30. aegoddard

    April 2, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Reblogged this on Upholding Ma'at.

     
  31. nellethiel

    April 2, 2013 at 10:54 am

    I’m super late to this conversation since I’ve been so busy at work, but I just wanted to echo some sentiments that seem to have gone around already: I started out in Paganism (and soon after, in Kemeticism) extremely shy. That was due in part to my personality (a bit introverted, a bit anxious, but very eager and accepting ^_^), but mostly due to me feeling like I didn’t have anything to contribute (yet) – I didn’t feel knowledgable enough on my own to be “ready” to show my face in the community (so to speak). Now, two years later, I’ve broken out of that shy, uneducated-feeling shell. Not to sound arrogant, but I’ve done a lot of research and learning (that I’m proud of), and though I still have a ton more to learn (does our spiritual education journey ever really end??), it took me two years to feel at a comfortable level with my own intelligence and confidence within Kemeticism to speak out about my own opinions/feelings/practices/etc in the greater community. I only recently started my blog, even if the ideas had been there for a long time, because of this reason. I’ve also only recently reached out more personally to other Kemetics/Pagans/etc because of this reason. I only recently felt confident enough to apply for things such as to be a moderator on the Pagan 101 tumblr for this reason. And so on.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is: it took two years for me to feel ready to meet and interact with all of you. When you enter college as a freshman, for example, for some personality types, it can take until junior year before you feel like you have a “place” at the school – clubs you feel comfortable in, content knowledge you feel more confident about (most people don’t even declare a major until junior year!), friends you really love and interact with regularly, etc.

    So I apologize to all the blogs I followed and never commented on. I actually made a vow to myself to change that when I started my own blog this past January (the one that many of you have already found and commented on – for which I thank you!) – because how could I expect others to read my own blog if I never made it known to them that I read theirs? Equivalent exchange and all that. So, yes. I’ll be commenting a lot more now. Thank you (to the community at large) for being patient with me ^__^

     
  32. Sat Aset

    November 29, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Here is my comment: I LOVE YOU! OMGDS I FREAKING LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You said what I have thought and felt for years. There are so few Kemetics out there it feels like I am barking in the dark most of the time, and when I do meet a fellow on the AE path, I usually wish I hadn’t because they all the cold shoulders make you feel more alone then being alone.
    Pagans in general need unite but this could not be more true for Kemetics. We need to unite and trade ideas, and talk, find new ways to see the old Gods and get rid of the last dregs of racism in our community but the only way to do all that is just to talk, just get together and let go of the judgment and weird hate and BE a community.

     
    • von186

      November 29, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      I’m glad you share the sentiment. We are definitely trying our hardest with things like the KRT project and providing resources for people to learn more.
      Hopefully. One day. We will have a better community :>

       
  33. MeresAset

    December 15, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Sorry to hear you’ve met with animosity and isolation. There are not so many Kemetics in the pagan community we can afford to alienate or turn others away. I’ve been very fortunate with many Kemetics welcoming me, being generous in sharing information and answering my questions. My hope is this means we are becoming a better community. I do appreciate your insightful posts and sources to help me grow in my faith. As a new Kemetic it can be daunting so finding blogs like yours definitely helps!

     
    • von186

      December 15, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Since writing this post, I can say that I’ve found more receptive parts of the community, which is a good thing. I do think it means that we’re improving as a community :>
      ❀ thank you for your kind words.

       

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