Back in 2018, when I was prepping for Year of Rites, I wrote on FB that I was “about 90% sure that TTR’s next chapter is gonna be Kemeticism without gods at the center.” And while I’m not entirely sure what I thought I had seen in that moment in terms of what O’s “big plan” was, I question if this was what he had in mind.
I have probably written hundreds of versions of this post in my head. I’ve been putting it off for
months over a year, hoping that one day the words may fumble together into something coherent. I’ve worried that talking about this might make people upset; I’ve also worried that no one would even notice or care. But like most posts that end up on the blog, this post just will not rest, and so here we are: fumbling until something finally sticks.
There are so many things that have happened — little bits of shrapnel coming together to form something much larger. Every attempt to include all of these little things has left me feeling as though the point ultimately gets lost. I worry that by pouring over the details of what led me here, it will sow discomfort in others, or cause other people’s practices to unravel, which is never my intent. Ultimately, I’ve begun to believe that the details aren’t necessarily relevant at this moment — though a long post details the specifics could be made if people were interested.
Instead, I think I’ll focus on where I currently am, and where this blog could potentially go.
I have no idea how much I should preface this, ease people into it, or phrase any of this, but at the moment I can safely say that I no longer feel like a polytheist. For the past year or so, I’ve mostly been calling myself an atheist because it seems more accurate than any other label that I can really find. I don’t really know that atheist works either, because I wouldn’t say gods can’t exist or that I know for a fact that they don’t exist. I do believe the entities that we call gods are real in a sense, yes. But not in a way that I formerly did, and not in a way that many polytheists seem to. So even though “atheist” feels not entirely right, it currently fits better than polytheism (for me).
As mentioned above, many many things have happened in the past 5 years. I was plunged into a set of circumstances, and I was irreversibly changed by those circumstances. That’s the easiest way to sum all of the “shrapnel” up.
The changes and shifts started small, little feelings here or there, but then it turned into a deafening roar. I was heavily questioning whether anything I had experienced existed beyond my mind in a concrete way that really matters. In so many ways it began to feel so much more likely that all of the stuff that I had experienced was nothing more than my mind trying to cope with trauma. But of course, I also worry that this atheism is equally a reaction brought on by prior experiences/trauma.
At the end of the day, I may never know.
But what I do know is that running towards a reconsideration of everything that I thought I knew felt inescapable, dare I say necessary. I originally wanted to blame it entirely on my OCD, but at the heart of it, I knew I wanted to be free of the burdens I had collected over all these years. I needed to find or create a version of myself that was able to exist peacefully without constantly worrying about the Unseen and its existence. The only way to is through.
It would have been incredibly freeing if not for the anxiety that gripped me at that point. In time, I’ve found the process of reevaluating and re-contextualizing everything to be a worthwhile venture. I’ve learned about myself, about possibilities of how I may have perpetuated my own trauma, and I’ve found other ways to interpret our religion that doesn’t require someone’s belief in the gods. I always said that I felt Kemeticism could be practiced this way, and I guess I’m putting that theory to the test now.
So if its not clear, I’ve not left the religion, but I’m practicing it from a different perspective right now. As such, any future posts will also likely be from this perspective, and I felt like everyone should know. Ultimately, I think that a lot of what I’ve been doing this past year could be valuable even for theists, since it can be just as easily applied to that paradigm/worldview, and no pesky “godphone” or ability to communicate with the Unseen would ever be required. But at the same time, I wanted to make sure that it was clear why the tone might change, why what I focus on my shift.
If there is anything you’d want me to clarify or expand upon in terms of practicing from this perspective, feel free to leave a comment. Otherwise, I will continue to write when the mood strikes me, or when I find a topic worth discussing.
‘Till next time.
November 3, 2021 at 12:22 pm
“I needed to find or create a version of myself that was able to exist peacefully without constantly worrying about the Unseen and its existence.”
I call myself an agnostic polytheist most of the time; it’s something I carried over from my deconversion from Christianity. Meeting the demand of absolute belief with ‘I am choosing to act as though you exist, and believing can bring me comfort, but intellectually I understand that none of this could be real’. I still do ritual work for the gods and have gotten even more intense in it, actually, despite my relationship with the concepts of devotion and ideas of what a god is and does changing drastically. The ritual work is impersonal, part of the duty of fulfilling Ma’at, but not really done because I have feelings about it one way or the other except satisfaction in my work and research.
Idk, I think the focus on the Unseen and finding out all the secrets therein that a lot of new pagans focusing on…it didn’t turn out helpful for me. And when I started focusing on the meat and potatoes of religion and taking apart the mundane workings of it to figure it out and really apply it, that’s when it clicked, and I don’t necessarily think personal belief in/interaction with the gods has to be a part of it. You do what is best for you.
November 3, 2021 at 2:11 pm
For me, the term agnostic was too lukewarm, it basically is a case of “doesn’t have a strong opinion about the existence of gods, doesn’t focus on this aspect of religion.” where as I’m closer to “straight up don’t believe in gods and don’t want nothing to do with them.” I was more lukewarm before, always playing at “maybe they’re real, maybe they’re fake” but my brain is absolutely convinced I just manifested this in my dome and I’m a sucker for ever thinking otherwise. I understand that mentality is flawed, and that it’d probably be better to get closer to being more “whatever”, aka agnostic, but rn, the dial is definitely turned more towards atheism than agnosticism — at least, in terms of how my brain perceives both labels.
But also, we need more agnostic pagans/kemetics.
I agree that people focus too much on the gods, and I’ve spoken about it at length in many venues. My work with the Unseen was incredibly fulfilling, and I miss my astral family terribly. I’ve always been keen on working with deep topics while also doing spirit work, and I often found my spirit work deepening my understanding of the concepts I was working to understand. But life ended up having other plans, I guess.
Certainly, belief isn’t necessary for an orthopraxic religion, but most Kemetics ID as polytheist, not atheist or agnostic. So I felt it worthwhile to bring up that a change had occurred for me.
November 3, 2021 at 12:31 pm
This probably isn’t what you’d like to hear but I won’t lie about this being a little disappointing. Best of luck to you though!
November 3, 2021 at 3:36 pm
that’s okay, i expected that some folks would be haha
November 6, 2021 at 8:49 pm
I had to spend a long-ass time untangling psychosis from heathenry, so I really feel you on the complicatedness of this post. I hope these new changes in your practice bring seeds of peace.
November 21, 2021 at 9:37 am
i feel you get what i’m getting at, and me too
November 7, 2021 at 12:43 am
It is always good to read a post from you. I definitely approach Kemeticism as a polytheist and animist, but I expect I will continue to find a lot of value in whatever you decide to post. I appreciate you sharing this change in your worldview with us. I am interested in how your practice looks at present, but no pressure. Share if and when the mood strikes you.
November 30, 2021 at 7:26 am
First of all, you have nothing to apologise for. Don’t worry about whether or not you make people uncomfortable — if you do, it’s probably a good thing. This is my first comment on your blog and I’m leaving it to say thanks. Thanks for helping me find my own way. And whatever you do is okay, not that you need my or anyone else’s approval anyway.
December 4, 2021 at 2:28 pm
Thank you for the note 🙂 I’m trying not to worry about whether I make people uncomfortable, but alas, it is still there haha. hopefully one day this concept will be common enough that no one has to worry about it upsetting anyone, that polytheistic kemetics and atheistic kemetics can still break bread and share the same religious community, etc.