One of the first things we like to teach in the Kemetic community is that our religion is orthopraxic. That means that Kemeticism isn’t based so much on what you believe inasmuch as its focused on what you do. The gods need us to perform certain cultic and temple functions for them in order for ma’at to be perpetuated. The gods need us to do the right things and follow through in our actions and words more so than they need us to necessarily believe in them or believe that they exist.
And in a way, I would say that life in general is that way.
Belief can be nice. We can believe that god exists or doesn’t exist. We can believe that clothing the naked and feeding the hungry is a great cause. We can believe in peace and love and green energy and all of those nice lovely things that we see at humanitarian events across the globe. We can believe that being honest and forthright is the best course of action. We can believe whatever we want.
But at the end of the day, if you don’t act upon those beliefs, they are useless.
For example, I could talk on and on about how being respectful to our peers is important. I could tell you about how we need more interfaith work, and that we need to not be dicks, and how we should all strive to get along. But if I get off of this blog and go and yell at everyone I meet and belittle every newb I come across, not only will that create a conflicting message from me, but it will also lead everyone that sees me to believe that I am really a jerk that likes to blow smoke up everyone’s asses. I can talk about respect and community and devotion until I’m blue in the face, but it means absolutely nothing if I don’t have any follow through.
Our whole life is made up of what we have done and said. We may have the greatest thoughts and ideas and beliefs in our minds, but if they never are brought forward into the light of day and turned into actions, then what purpose do they serve? When we go through our lives and let injustices occur and watch people screw other people over in our day to day lives without saying a word, what are we accomplishing?
I understand that it’s not always so simple. I have worked for people who are less than moral. To say something means to put my livelihood on the line, and therefore the livelihood of my family as well. We can’t always afford to be 110% just and moral all the time. However, I still think its important to remember that our legacy is built upon our actions and not our beliefs. Our lives are shaped and remembered by the marks and impacts we have left upon others, our communities and families, upon the world; and that our gods and fellow man benefit the most by the things we do for one another. And that in addition to that, our actions behind closed doors can speak even louder than the actions we do in front of others in public. You know, the actions we perform that we might think don’t have any sort of consequences to them, or the actions that we feel won’t have any payoff for us.
As you move forward into your communities, on your path and in your life, wherever that may take you, remember to keep in mind your actions. We are often taught in Western culture that our beliefs define us, but I posit that it really all does come down to our actions.
How do we do this? Well, through a number of methods. When you come across problems within your community, speak up! Or perhaps look into solutions that can help remedy problems. Network with other people, reach out to other folks and discuss with them about where they are at on their paths, what your community could be lacking, or other ways that you can create more resources for one another and newcomers to your community. For those with less spoons, just keep talking. Click the “like” button when someone else posts something you fancy. Talk about your experiences or give feedback on others experiences. Share links around for others to look at. Spread the love.
Every little action that we take helps to build up the community or tear it down. Every action helps to propel us forward or send us hurdling backwards. Even the little actions that we think don’t matter. As you move forward in all that you do, make sure that your actions are helping to form the world that you want to live in.
Do you think that life is orthopraxic or that your actions have weight in the community? What types of actions would you like to see your community members and leaders to take in the future? Do you feel our communities should be discussing the value of action?
- Kemetism is Orthopraxic, Pt I
- Kemetism is Orthopraxic, Pt II
- Little People Can Change the World, Too