Kemetic Starter Guide
One of the most common questions I get asked is “How do I start” or “Where do I begin”. It seems a lot of people like the idea of Kemeticism, but they don’t really know what to do beyond that point. Here area few pointers and ideas to get you started on the journey. This isn’t meant to be a definitive guide, it’s meant to help you along the way. As always, if you ever have any questions, feel free to ask!
There are a few things I recommend for getting started in Kemeticism. In short, they are:
- Read, research and learn
- Interact with other Kemetics
- Interact with the gods
I will break these down one by one as to how to approach them and why they are important for a well rounded Kemetic practice.
Read, research and learn
Knowledge is important when entering into a new religious practice. When traversing our community, you’re bound to come across new terms, words, concepts, and ideas. This is where research and learning comes in to play — helping to demystify and break down the basics of the religion so that you can begin to internalize what being Kemetic is all about. While it’s possible to practice the Kemetic religion and NOT be a book hound or Egyptologist, it is very helpful to at least have a firm grasp on the basics of ancient Egyptian culture and history. It makes it easier to understand other Kemetics’ viewpoints and ideas, helps to support your own ideas and UPG that you may experience, and will help to find new ways of understanding the gods of Kemeticism.
Most every concept that you could hope to learn about can be found on the FAQ page. Generally, it has been the hope of many of us that someone could come to Kemeticism brand new, and learn everything needed for free online, and this FAQ is meant to be a repository for comprehensive posts that do just that.
There is also a book list on the FAQ if books are more your jam. However, there are not many texts that have been written that are for Kemetics or can be used as Kemetic primers. Despite that, here are some books that are relatively approachable for newcomers:
I usually recommend Temple of the Cosmos by Jeremy Naydler to beginners. It has a decent overview on the Egyptian mindset and it explains the basics of the religion quite well. Although the book wasn’t written with modern Kemetic practitioners in mind, it really does serve as a good primer or 101 book.
For the basics of culture, I recommend Red Land, Black Land by Barbara Mertz. The writing style is easy to read and the material is very interesting, yet easy to understand. She also does present quite a few tidbits and information that you don’t get a lot of other places.
If you’re looking for a book that has rituals that you can use to bolster your practice, I recommend Eternal Egypt by Richard Reidy. This book is a great resource for those who want examples of historically-derived rituals (as opposed to purely modern creations). You can also check out the rubrics tag on this blog for some modern creations.
An author who is an approachable read is Richard Wilkinson. All of his books that I have read or skimmed through are full of useful information. The three best books I would recommend by him would be The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, Reading Egyptian Art and Symbol & Magic in Egyptian Art.
If you are low on cash, or you’re not sure where to get these books, here are a few options:
- Inter-library loan
- Oriental Institute Book Page
- MET Museum Book Page
- University of Memphis Book Page
- Birmingham Egyptology Journal
- The Ancient World Online
- Pyramid Texts Online
I’ve managed to get a lot of good resources off of the internet alone. Libraries and Inter-library loans can be hit and miss depending on where you live, but it’s a good option to try. I’ve known a lot of people who have gotten great books this way.
Interact with other Kemetics
Another key thing I recommend to new Kemetics is to get involved in the Kemetic community. Reach out and interact with others who are on the same path as you. Meeting other Kemetics is a great source for information (both scholastic and UPG) and allows for comparing notes and sharing of ideas. The Kemetic world is quite small, but each group tends to have its own culture and flavor to it, so I recommend diversifying the groups your participate in, as it allows you to be exposed to different topics, angles and ideas. If you only stick to one corner of the Kemetic community, you can miss out on a lot!
I have found interfaith work to be extremely fulfilling and enlightening. I have met many interesting people who have opened my mind to new ideas and concepts that I never would have found had I not ‘gotten out there’ and met as many Kemetics as I could find. There are some active groups on FB, a small community left on tumblr, and a handful of servers on discord. DM me if you need links.
Interacting with the Gods
I think that this is one of the best ways to get started on the Kemetic path. While many people come to Kemeticim with a god or gods in mind, I don’t think it’s necessarily important that you have specific deities when you start. I feel that connections with gods is a lot of ‘you reap what you sow’. If you want to get to know the gods better, reach out to them. Sit with them, give them offerings, light a candle in their honor, do an activity in their name. Something. Anything. And it doesn’t have to be a specific god. Trying to establish a connection is what matters. Your altar or shrine space doesn’t even have to be all that fancy or complicated. When I started out, my shrine space (pictured right) was very simple. I was in the process of moving and being unemployed, so I took a few boxes, covered them with a pillow case, and placed all of my god statues on said boxes. It doesn’t have to be fancy. The act of doing is what counts.
When first starting off, I almost always recommend that the person find a calm and quiet place. It can be inside, outside, night or day. Doesn’t matter. Anywhere where you can be with yourself for a while. Once you have your location, sit down and ‘announce’ yourself to the gods. Let them know you’re interested in them. Tell them about yourself, what has brought you here, what you’d like to do upon establishing a relationship… etc. Talk to them. If you have the ability, give a few offerings, light some incense, etc. And then, do it again- on a different day. And again and again…
By reaching out, you will often find that the ‘fingerprints’ of the gods become more noticeable. You’ll be able to note when they are in your life and you’ll be able to establish more secure connections with them. For myself personally, I also feel that sitting with the gods daily calms me and grounds me. It makes me feel more complete. I think that daily (or close to daily) ritual is important on many levels- and that beginning Kemetics should start here to make sure that this is the path for them.
I’ve gotten this far- so now what?
Once you’ve got the basics down, the next step would be to keep going 🙂 Many people start by creating something of a rhythm with their practice–participating in rituals with some amount of regularity, honoring the gods at certain intervals, celebrating seasonal changes, etc. Consistently finding ways to bring ma’at and your religion into your daily life is often an uplifting and enriching experience. Whenever things start to feel stagnant, I always suggest to go read more. I inevitably create new connections and add new depth to my understanding of the religion when I learn more.
I would also advise not to rush things. Many people come to Kemeticism with being a priest or priestess in mind–but these things take a lot of time. Being patient is part of the process. Building a steady and well-balanced religious practice/lifestyle takes time and it can take time to get into the swing of things. You might find that the gods you started out with aren’t the ones you end up with. Ritual actions and schedules can change as can priorities and needs (of both you and the gods). As you and your practice grow, always keep in mind that life is always shifting, always changing–and it’s okay if your practice does as well. If your ‘god radio’ suddenly stops working, or you suddenly can’t do a daily ritual for a couple of days- it’s okay. Life happens and gods understand. Work at a pace that is good for you and do your best to keep at it.
Like this guide? Want to see something else added to it? Have suggestions, feedback, ideas? Please contact me and share your thoughts!