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Heka is a Two Way Street

A couple of weeks ago, I posed a question on ecauldron about the nature of Heka. We Kemetics all know that Heka can influence a lot. We speak words of power and praise to the gods. Everything we say and create becomes.

The question I posed then was: how much of our heka is inadvertently effecting the gods? 

I mean, think about it- we do these rituals to help establish ma’at in the world. We bring forth the First Time, Zep-Tepi. We refresh and renew the gods, the cosmos, ourselves. We do these great acts of power and strength and we wrap it up with… an offering of Oreos and Coke.

If all of our words have power, and everything in ritual has meaning and purpose- how much of our little actions add up and weaken the gods? I know that many people believe that the gods can’t be weakened, but it doesn’t seem to have been the case in antiquity. There are stories of the Egyptians threatening the gods with things such as withholding rituals, withholding offerings, lack of worship, etc. Why do that if the gods don’t need our help to keep things running? And as was stated in this post, yes it’s true that the world didn’t end when Egypt fell. But the Egyptian way of life certainly did. If things were still running with ma’at in mind, we wouldn’t have to take the time to relearn everything. We’d already know about it. Keeping up the cosmos is a responsibility that is shared by both humans and gods. We can’t rely on the gods to make everything better. If we decide to destroy this planet and create nothing but isfet- we will fall apart. And there is nothing the gods can do about that. So it seems to make sense to me that the gods need us on some level, and that daily ritual served to help the gods, the cosmos and ma’at. We helped through sacred action and utterance. We helped through heka.

And we still help through heka. Prayers. Rites. Community gatherings. Living life well. Putting away shopping carts. Saving spoons. Helping people. Helping yourself. Living life to the fullest. Embodying ma’at. All of that warm and fuzzy stuff.

But at the same time, a lot of what we do could be hurting the cosmos as well. We fight. Bicker. We hurt ourselves and others. We waste our spoons on useless crap. We ingest bad food. We have self esteem and body issues. We project our issues onto the gods. We feed the gods junk for dinner every night. We skip out on ritual all together.

If all of the good we do creates good things for the gods, then it would make sense that the opposite would be true. All of this crap we bog ourselves down with degrades the relationship with the Unseen world. It distorts the connection and creates problems in (potentially) both worlds. And the act of marginalizing and trivializing gods not only weakens them, it weakens our respect and actions towards them.

Let me use an example- the Internet.

All of us use the Internet, and we all have a sort of personality on here. We interact through means that are less than physical, in potentially the same way that gods do with us. In this small world, things get around. If I say that X person is a jerk to my circle of Internet friends, it’s likely that they will assume as such – and ultimately, that effects X. X could experience a lack of communication from others. They could see a drop in blog visits, subscriptions, or all of their FB friends could leave. They could be harassed. All sorts of things. All because I said X was a jerk.

Another example could be that I say X is stupid. They don’t know what they are talking about and you shouldn’t listen to them. How long before that effects the responses that X gets from others? How long before everything they say is dismissed because of some preconceived notion?

Don’t think it can happen? Look at the fallout Kemetic Orthodoxy experiences from the anger brought on by a few people. Look at the fallout some Kemetic authors experience because they have a checkered past in relation to Kemetic Orthodoxy. And while, yes, it’s entirely possible that people will try to find the truth, despite common ideas about what is and isn’t- there will still be a group of people who will never bridge that gap all because of what they have heard. The actions of a few can affect a large number of people.

Now let’s turn this around towards the gods.

If I treat, say… Wepwawet as nothing more than a form of Anpu? They are both ‘two sides of the same coin’ in some forms of Kemeticism. And many people treat Wepwawet as nothing more than Anubis in his work clothes- some weird aspect of him that comes out when he needs to be tougher- but not necessarily a true entity or god in his own right. So if this spreads around to a large group of Kemetics… how long before his reputation changes? How long before people quit treating him like an awesome (and separate) god that deserves our respect (and in some ways, fear) and we all start treating him like some weird fluke mood of Anpu? And if he starts getting treated like he isn’t entirely his own entity, how long before He Who Is the Highest of the Gods decides he wants nothing to do with us, and that he’s going to go open some ways elsewhere? Who is to say that the attitudes that many Kemetics share aren’t hurting or effecting the gods?

All of our actions carry weight. All of our assumptions and ideas carry weight. How often do you think about what you say and do and how it could be affecting the gods and world around us? Are you creating a world that embodies ma’at?

 
22 Comments

Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Kemeticism

 

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Life is an RPG

During one of my recent therapy sessions, my therapist told me that she believed life (and to an extent this whole planet/place) is made just to test us. It’s here to help us grow and learn, and that all of the strife and struggle we go through is merely to make us stronger. To help us get to the next level. She recommended I consider this the next time I got upset, or felt my emotions charging my actions. That perhaps it would be easier for me to do what is best for the situation if I realized this is only a test. I considered her words, and I came up with this.

Life is like an RPG.

Seriously. It is. For those of you who don’t know what an RPG is, it is a “role playing game”. In these games, you create a character, and you get to choose your actions based off of your character’s parameters. Many times you will run around and do things for people, and you usually have to talk to every. single. person. ever. In these conversations, you usually get to pick what your response is. And generally speaking, it follows a simple pattern:

How "Zero Punctuation" sees it.

  • Response 1: Nice, heroic, concerned response
  • Response 2: Neutral or funny guy response
  • Response 3: Asshole response

Based off of what you’re trying to do, you pick the response that will get the result that you want. If you need to harden someone, you might pick number 3. If you’re trying to get into another character’s pants, you’ll probably pick response 1 all the time. I’ve even gone so far as to play a whole game choosing nothing but the third response- just to see how the story changes when you’re a complete dick to everyone.

What I’m trying to get at is you pick your words based off of what you’re trying to get done. It’s a means to an end. There aren’t a whole lot of emotions in picking your responses. You don’t get angry or emotionally distraught when some peasant screams at you belligerently and falsely accuses you of stealing their pigs or something. Instead you take the good guy route and nicely figure out what he means, or you laugh at him as you pick the asshole response. There isn’t a lot of emotions tied to what you’re doing. You’re using the responses to best suit your needs in each situation.

So why isn’t life that way?

How many times in your life have you let your stomach dictate what comes out of your mouth? How many times can you recall letting a bad situation (an argument or disagreement) get to you and then turning and lashing out at someone else who isn’t even involved (aka an innocent bystander)? Can you recall how many times you’ve said something out of spite or anger that you regret later?

Perhaps if we treated life more like an RPG, we wouldn’t have so many of these situations. You could do like the Twix commercials- someone says something that sparks an emotion in you. Pause for a moment to figure out what is actually going on. See if it really is smart to select Response 3. Or if perhaps being calm in the situation would actually make everything better.

I’m considering calling this “Think twice, Speak once”.

Much like ‘measure twice, cut once’, if you consider your options first, you’ll only have to say your piece once, as opposed to multiple times trying to rectify whatever came out the first time. Always giving into our stomachs for our speech leads to quick reactions that only cloud up the situation. It causes us more stress and strife than if we were all to take a step back and assess the situations we encounter without emotion.

This all really reminds me of Super-Nanny. In Super-Nanny, you often see parents at the end of their ropes. They’re trying to be adults and be good parents to their children. Yet these kids are able to drag the parents right down to their level. The parent starts to scream, the kid screams back and it’s a whole downhill slide from there. When she comes in to work with these parents, she constantly has to tell them not to get emotional. That you are the adult. You need to remain calm. That if your anger interferes, it won’t work. If you’re too emotional, take a breath, walk away and come back with a clear head to discipline your child. But the whole moral of the story is don’t react. Act. It’s a lot like an RPG, really. Your words and actions are taking you to a certain result that you want (the child behaving). You say what you need to say or have to say in order to get your children to mind. And you don’t decide that because they are screaming you need to scream too. (This actually reminds me of this link I found when researching Unconditional Love).

Imagine what could be if you applied that to every situation in your life. Imagine if everyone you knew did that too. Imagine how much simpler situations might become if everyone applied ‘think twice and speak once’.

And they say that games can’t teach you anything.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Astral, Crack, Hypnosis & Inner Work, Rambles

 

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The Case for Love

Not long ago I was asked to learn more about unconditional love in Kemeticism. I figured I’d look through a few Maxims and Wisdom Texts, read a few myths and write a basic paper on what I had found. That if I was lucky, some other Kemetics would read it and go “wow, maybe I should be less of a dick”. That is what I expected. However, reading into unconditional love has changed my world view more than I expected.

When I first started out on this journey, I thought that unconditional love was all about being a doormat. Putting everyone before yourself. Giving into the whims of everyone, despite what it meant for you. Being a “yes man”. This, of course, concerned me. How on earth could anyone or any religion possibly support being a doormat? I began to ask around for ideas and sources from other Kemetics. Looks like they had the same ideas about what unconditional love was and also questioned whether unconditional love existed within Kemeticism. I had my work cut out for me.

However, once I started to actually read about unconditional love, I learned that what most of us consider to be unconditional love is incorrect. It’s less about doing what others want and more about doing what others need. It’s a slight difference in wording, but it’s an important difference. When you enter into a situation, unconditional love asks you to consider all sides. What you need, what the other people in the situation need- and to take the best course of action for the situation. This usually means being even in your judgement. Being fair. And above all, not being a dick. Sometimes the best course of action is politely stepping out of the situation. Sometimes it’s nicely telling the person that they aren’t good for you (costing too many spoons?) and parting ways. Other times it’s putting your own thoughts aside and letting the person learn the hard way (or agreeing to disagree). And even still, sometimes it’s more about putting your foot down and preventing the person from causing more harm. It really is case specific.

If I had to sum it up, it’s all about respect. Respecting yourself and everyone else (and that means everyone on the planet, even that person you can’t stand) – and letting that respect dictate your actions. As I have read in multiple articles, unconditional love isn’t a feeling, it’s an action. You actively choose how to act (or react), and in this case your actions should stem from love, compassion and respect.

In many ways, it’s Ma’at (and the root of FlameKeeping, and probably Shinto, too).

The more I read on the topic, the more I became enamored with it. Something within me said ‘this is important. You need to figure out how to work on this, to be more like this.’ All while the other part of me was screaming ‘BUT I LIKE BEING A JERK! I LIKE MY WILD EMOTIONS!’ And in truth, both are correct. I like that I am okay with my emotions- as much as they might screw me over sometimes. But that is also part of the problem- my emotions cripple me on a regular basis. And the more I read, the more I began to feel that both are the answer. I need to work on using both. Knowing when to let my emotions run loose and when to be more reserved and do what is best for the situation (which ironically, knowing when to let my emotions go falls under this as well).

Once again, this seems to circle back to making my halves whole.

In regards to whether Kemeticism has unconditional love in it, I think the answer is yes. They may not have had a word or phrase for it, and they may not have written about it extensively, but I think it’s there. There are many portions of the Maxims of PtahHotep that relate to being nice. To holding your tongue regardless of the situation (that it would bring you favor and keep you in high regard). That having good friends and family was worth their weight in gold. I think Lichtheim summed it up best:

Taken together, the thirty-seven maxims do not amount to a comprehensive moral code, nor are they strung together in any logical order. But they touch upon the most important aspects of human relations and they focus on the basic virtues. The cardinal virtues are self-control, moderation, kindness, generosity, justice and truthfulness tempered by discretion. These virtues are to be practiced alike toward all people. … The ideal man is a man of peace.

Beyond that, you can look at other mythological stories and see unconditional love. In The Destruction of Mankind Ra regrets his decision to wipe us out. He decides to show us compassion and love by tricking his daughter into getting drunk. In The Contendings, Heru and Set are able to come to amends. They let go of the past and are able to work together. Letting go of hate and turning that into love. In both of these stories, those who were angry eventually got over that anger and forgave the person or people that upset them. I think that this shows unconditional love. While it might not be something that is done OMGRIGHTNOW, it is what everyone eventually works towards. And in so doing, perhaps is what we should all be working towards.

Overall, the concept of unconditional love might not be obvious at first. However, I definitely think that the theme is there. It’s not a huge overarching theme that smacks us in the face, but if you really start to look at the stories, the wisdom literature and ma’at itself, you can see hints of it. Perhaps the gods didn’t feel they needed to hit us upside the head with it, maybe they wanted us to learn how to respect one another on our own. Or maybe they just don’t care 😉  And at the end of it all, perhaps the Kemetic community as a whole could benefit from more unconditional love. Our community has a lot of hostility in it. There is a lot of finger wagging and pointless anger, hate and bickering that really isn’t productive. Could you imagine what it might be like if more people respected each others views? If you could hold a civil conversation with someone about a branch of, or topic in, Kemeticism and not have it turn into a mud slinging contest? Imagine the things we might learn and discover about our own modern form Kemeticism. Things that are currently hidden beneath layers and layers of “I’m better than you” or “you’re doing it wrong”. I know that I’m guilty of everything I’ve just listed and after embarking on this journey as it were, I am tired of being that person. I’m tired of wagging my fingers, filling up with hate and screaming on and on about how people are ‘doing it wrong’. While I might not be Buddha, I can definitely work towards becoming more tolerant, more respectful. A being of peace. A being of unconditional love.

What do all of you think? Do you think that unconditional love existed in ancient Egypt? Do you think that it is something that is lacking in today’s Kemetic practice?

 
12 Comments

Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Kemeticism

 

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