Differences in practices: How do you deal with them? How do we overlook our differences in practice and UPG? What do we do if our experiences don’t line up with others?
It goes without saying that every Kemetic’s practice is going to be different. Each Kemetic is going to have their own way of doing things and their own way of interacting with the gods. Sometimes, these practices are very similar to our own way of doing things, and everyone gets along whenever religious discussion pops up. However, there are times when factions or branches of Kemeticism clash in how they approach their religious practice. These clashes can be as simple as minor disagreements on a forum, or can be as major as huge fallouts within a temple or community.
How do we combat these types of fallout? How do we get along even when our practices are vastly different?
The first step is to make sure that you realize when you’re presenting your UPG to the world, that your UPG is yours alone. It’s a personal thing, and doesn’t necessarily have to correlate to anyone elses experiences. And due to the nature of UPG, no one else has to place a lot of stock into your UPGs (reminder that not placing a lot of stock doesn’t mean being a jerk about it). As I mentioned in the post about boiling frogs, you’ll want to present your ideas with reasoning behind why you’re doing what you’re doing, and you’d be best served by knowing where the historical aspects end and your UPG begins.
But what if you see someone presenting UPG as fact, or you’re not entirely sure where a UPG is coming from?
Coming across different UPG can easily cause a knee jerk reaction within you, however it’s important to remember that those types of reactions are rarely helpful. Whenever I see myself having this reaction, or I see someone presenting UPG that I don’t really get, there are a few things that I keep in mind to help keep the peace:
- Pause briefly and re-read the statement.
- Ask questions.
- Keep an open mind.
- Mutual respect.
I feel that when people keep all of these points in mind, arguments and disagreements can be minimized between people of our religious community, and if you’re lucky these discussions can open up greater understanding between all of us.
Pause and Re-read
It sounds simple, but is often overlooked. Most of our interactions with other Kemetics occurs online, and due to the lack of body language, intonation and facial cues, it can be challenging to understand where a person is coming from. So whenever you come across a statement that seems “incorrect” to you, take a moment to re-read the statement. Sometimes we misread things while we are skimming a forum, which can lead to misunderstandings. So when in doubt, start here.
If you re-read and are still unsure, perhaps ask someone else to read the same material and see if they are getting the same impression that you are. If re-reading doesn’t help, then you move onto the next step-
Asking for clarification
Whenever in doubt, ask. If you’re unsure of what someone is trying to say, or you think you’re misreading a post, ask the original poster for clarification. This allows the OP to clarify their statements and explain their reasoning to you. This is where things like the Two Response Rule come into play.
Keep an open mind so that you may better understand
Remember that when you’re asking for clarification, you’re asking with the intent of understanding. You’re not here to prove that the person’s ideas are wrong or incorrect, you’re here to try and reach a mutual understanding with the person. Try to be open to other ways of working and doing things that are different from your own. You don’t necessarily need to agree in order to understand where someone is coming from, and you don’t necessarily need to discuss until both parties agree with one another. As the saying goes you can “agree to disagree”.
And above all, aim to have a respectful discussion. Remember that what seems normal to you probably looks obscure and bizarre to someone else. Even if we approach Kemeticism from different angles, our end goal is the same: to breathe life back into these religious practices and to honor the gods.
To read other posts on this topic, please check out the KRT Master Post