For most people, gods are supports in their lives. Gods help you become stronger, better, and more able bodied in your day to day life and various ventures. Usually, gods force us to become more than we were when they found us. This is why so many people get shoved into shadow work and pits and rivers when the gods show up at their doorsteps.
Usually, this is for the better. Usually, this makes the person a better, more well rounded person. But sometimes, I think that gods can take us to places that perhaps we’re not really wanting to go. Or that sometimes, a god can cross a line that damages the relationship beyond repair.
So what do you do when a god chews you up and spits you out?
I mean, who do you ask for help with on that? I certainly don’t know anything about cases of it in antiquity. And most of our big name Kemetics don’t even seem to have the problem. Hell, most temples give you a god to worship as soon as you walk through the door.
Based on that alone, I would wager that most Kemetics don’t have this problem.
But it has to happen to some of us, right? You know, when you get tired of a god’s machinations and scheming, or the said god’s schemes push us to a point where we or our ethics can’t handle it.
What do you do when the gods push the line too far, push you too far, and you find your patience for it all dries up and disappears? Do you run away? Tell the god in question to pound sand? Do you suck it up and trudge forward? What happens when your relationship with a deity or set of deities becomes so broken that you’re not sure it’s ever going to fix? And why hasn’t modern Kemeticism addressed this at all?
And more importantly- should we?
We all like to talk about how gods can be difficult. Or how they can rip your life apart- but we never seem to address the other end of this particular problem. You know, when the ripping apart of your life becomes excessive or fruitless, or when a god falls through on their end of the deal. Any physical relationship between two people has the potential to go south, or to sour. Can a relationship with a god do the same?
And if so, how do we address this in the future? What do we tell practitioners who have been essentially burned or broken by the gods?
Over the course of the past few years, I’ve usually seen only two responses to the practitioner whose deity might be going too far:
- That could never happen. X god doesn’t do that, you must be mistaken.
- What did you do to cause that to happen? (a type of victim shaming).
And while its possible that either of these could be the cause for things to happen, certainly not every case falls into these categories. Because of this, I think that many practitioners never say anything when a god goes too far. The fear of being ostracized from their religious community is too stressful for them, and so they suck it up, cry in the corner and never breath a word of it.
They go unnoticed, and the problem never gets discussed or addressed.
I personally think it needs to be addressed.
We can’t, in good conscience, tell people that gods are always right as rain and filled with sunshine and rainbows. Our own mythology says otherwise (Djehuty likes to kill people who get too knowledgeable, for example. Apparently Pinch has an example of Anubis killing a lector priest who knew about Osiris sending out demons to start civil war within Egypt [Pinch, Geraldine. _Egyptian Myth: A Very Short Introduction_. Oxford University Press: New York, 2006. p 42]). Gods can be jerks. They may live off of ma’at ideally, but its been shown that sometimes they fall through- not only with mortals, but with themselves. This world is not perfect, NTR are not perfect. And if we are to be the community that we say we are, we can’t instantly assume that a practitioner that has been burned is in the wrong. We can’t stand behind such a hypocritical statement as to believe that on one hand- gods are capricious and can be jerks, but on the other hand- there is no way that they could ever “go too far, so you must be wrong”.
Therefore, it stands to reason that some aspect of this needs to be addressed – and yet, we haven’t.
So consider this my raising of the banner, my way of pointing at the elephant in the corner. This is a discussion that we need to have, so I allow me to make an opening statement to get the discussion going.
I believe that gods can go too far. I do believe that gods can cross lines that they shouldn’t. I believe that practitioners that have been burned need a safe place to discuss these things so that they can work out what the best way to proceed should be. I believe that we as a community need to keep an open mind when it comes to gods, and to stop pushing people to choose gods as soon as they decide to try this Kemetic thing out.
I believe that gods need an asterisk next to their names to remind us that they can have hidden agendas, hidden motives, and come with fine print that you may or may not agree with. We need to challenge our ideas as to what these gods are really like, and we need to question why we persist in clinging to concepts of ‘all-good, all-knowing, all-loving’ Gods when we are already know that to be false (see mention of mythology above).
As a community who works with gods that have proven to be less than ideal in the past, I believe that we need to discuss how we should be working with these entities, and how we can work on perfecting protocol that allows us to keep our own autonomy and safety as we begin to forge relationships with these deities. As well as working on showing people that it is okay to discuss when a god goes too far, because even if it hasn’t happened yet- it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when.
Have you ever witnessed a god going too far? Do you believe that it can happen? What would you do if one of your deities pushed you too far?