Tag Archives: kemetic orthodoxy

KRT: Kings and Kingship

Does the concept of Kingship/Pharaoh impact your practice, and if so, how?

For this round of KRT we are talking about kingship and what type of role it plays in your practice.

To be honest, the short answer for this question would be “none”, but I don’t think that’s very fair or descriptive, so I’m going to spend most of this post musing about the role kingship can play in your practice, or within the community at large.

Back in the day, the king/pharaoh was a pretty big deal. He was considered to be the top dog of the country and the priesthood. And in many ways, all of the priests of Egypt were only acting in the pharaoh’s place. In all aspects of the state religion, the pharaoh reigned supreme and was only second to the gods. However, modern Kemeticism has changed that. We no longer have a state-run anything, and many of us no longer have a king to answer to.

Earthly Kings and Modern Kemeticism

Most modern Kemetic groups don’t have a type of king or Nisut to them. There are, however, a few groups that contain something of a Nisut, the most prominent being Kemetic Orthodoxy. The concept of a king is a frequently brought up topic and question to those who discover KO, and a lot of people are turned off of KO by the notion that they will have to somehow “worship a king” or possibly bow down to a king. I will tell you now that both of these concepts are not part of the “canon” that is KO. Being a member of KO have virtually nothing to do with there being a king, and Shemsu (the most basic level of “official” KO membership) are not required to promise or oath anything towards Tamara or the kingship. Tamara has mentioned many times that her possession of the Kingly Ka (which all coronated pharaohs are said to have) is something that really only has to do with her and her servitude to the gods. It has virtually no impact or relevance to the members of Kemetic Orthodoxy.

I’ll also mention that I’ve never seen Tamara request or require someone to bow down to her like a king, or acted like she was above everyone else because of the Nisut title. A lot of people put a lot of words in others’ mouths in situations like this, and I wanted to take this opportunity to clear the air and clear up some of the misconceptions that I’ve seen.

I’ve also seen people ask how there can be more than one Nisut at once, and I firmly believe that it’s possible to have more than one king at one time. It was not unheard of in antiquity during the intermediate periods, and I also believe that the Kingly Ka could split off and be in multiple people at once. Obviously, these are only my beliefs and no one is required to believe them. All in all, kingship in the modern era of Kemeticism is hit and miss, and some people are okay with kings in their Kemeticism and some aren’t. As with everything, there is no right or wrong answer here, and you should do whatever you are most comfortable with while keeping an open mind and understanding that others will be doing it differently.

The Gods, The Duat, and Kingship

If there is one place that I’ve noticed that kingship still plays a role, it is within the realm of the NTRW: the Duat or the Unseen. While Egypt is no longer run under a pharaoh, the realm of the gods still has a lot of the hierarchy and feel of the past. Within the Duat, being a king still has its perks.

I don’t do a lot of heavy work with kingly deities. Osiris and Wpwt are the only gods I do much with that have any ties in any capacity to the kingship, and neither of them seem to hold onto the trappings of being king. Both seem to realize that times have changed and they have rolled with those changes. In addition, I think that Osiris is more interested in being friendly with me than rubbing his kingness in my face. However, not all deities are like this. For example, I’ve found that Heru (not sure which one, honestly, there are many) can still be very stiff and formal, as though there rules from antiquity are still in place. In my experience, Ra is also still heavily influenced by the past. He knows he is at the top (or close to it) and the way he acts towards others and presents himself lets you know that he is top dog. He also demands a certain level of respect from you. In my experience, if you don’t give it, he will demand or take that respect from you. He is one of the only deities where I have been literally forced to my knees just from the pressure of standing in his presence.

This, of course, can cause interesting mixtures when you get multiple deities in a room. You can watch an invisible pecking order establish itself as you watch the deities interact with one another. And if you are a practitioner that finds yourself interacting with kingly gods, or within the realm of the gods, you may find that knowing the protocol for handling royalty is a good thing to have.

Besides the gods themselves, the kings of old can still have a presence within our modern practices. There are some that work with pharaohs as though they are deities or sebau, and while I don’t work closely with any pharaohs, I’m sure that they are available to us for guidance and assistance in the same way that NTR are. Perhaps as we move forward into the modern era, more kings of old will step forward and ask for patronage from modern Kemetic practitioners.

All in all, the role of kingship is going to vary from practitioner to practitioner. Some people enjoy having a type of king in their practice, others don’t. Some gods still focus on the way it was “back in the day” while other deities have moved on from the past. It really just depends on each situation.

To read other responses to this topic, check out the master list!


Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Kemetic Round Table, Kemeticism


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The Logistics of Running a Kemetic Anything

Alternate Title: Why running a group, temple or organization isn’t as simple as it looks.

There is a lot of discussion within the Kemetic community about modern temples and organizations. As it currently stands, we only have a handful of functioning Kemetic temples within our community (Kemetic Orthodoxy and Temple of Ra) and there is a good reason for it:

Setting up a temple, and making it function properly, is hard.

I know a lot of people like to take stabs at those who currently run Kemetic organizations, usually criticizing the methods employed for running these groups and how effective those methods are. To be certain, there is room for improvement in every single organization out there, but there are a lot of people whose criticism is nothing more than senseless picking. I think a lot of this picking comes from a lack of understanding in what it takes to actually run one of these things.

Alongside of this, I’ve had a handful of people either:
A. Bring up that anyone out there should work on creating a new temple.
B. Approach me, telling me I should work with XYZ to create a functioning temple

My response is always this: The time isn’t right and it’s a lot harder than it first looks.

I’ve had a little bit of experience in trying to lay down the foundations of a temple with a group of people, and I’ve spent more time than is probably healthy considering what it would take to properly set up and run a temple or organization. And to be honest, the sheer amount of stuff you need to consider to do it right the first time is quite mind boggling.

So let me break it down to show you what I mean.

Let’s start with the simplest stuff- what kind of temple will it be? Will it be recon, recon-slanted or modern? Will it be entirely online, in person, or both? Where will you get your materials for teaching your members? Will you teach your members anything? Will you have rituals? Will they be solitary, group oriented, or both? Will they be in person, online, via chat, something else? Will these rituals be daily, weekly, monthly, whenever-ly? Will you make these rituals up yourself or use other sources (such as Eternal Egypt) as your basis? What will you do about potential copyright issues if you use other sources? Will you copyright your own rituals just in case?

How about festivals? Will those be based off of the Egyptian calendar? Or will you make up new festivals? Or will you disregard festivals all together? And speaking of calendars- where will you get one? Will it be a civil calendar, or one that you re-orient every year? What about travel expenses and time zones?

And we’ve only scratched the surface!

How about a website or forum? Where will you get the funding for that? How will you code it or create it? Will you need to hire a coder or designer? Speaking of money- will your members have to pay dues? Is it fair to make them pay dues out of the gate? Will these dues be monthly, yearly, one time only? If you don’t levy membership fees- where will you get the money you need to run the place?

What will happen if you get sick? Will you have someone else to help manage the forums/membership and website while you’re gone? How will the admin on your forums work? What will you do if an admin steps out of line? How about if a member steps out of line? How will you work through member disputes and disagreements? What types of protocol will you set in place for letting go of members or admin?

Do you see how this adds up?

In regards to members- how will you ensure that members are active? Will you mandate that they have to participate in the forums or rituals a certain amount of hours or time per month? How will you ensure that that time is quality driven, and not empty posts? How will you handle that if there are no new posts on the forums, or no new topics to discuss? How will you handle the aspect of ritual attendance if the person is in a weird time zone? How about if life is just busy and they have to step back for a while? How does this affect their membership status? And if you don’t want to have rules on participation- how do you ensure that your members are in fact participating, and not members by name alone?

What about making members read stuff? Should they be required to have a general knowledge of Egyptian religion or history first? How will you provide those materials to people who don’t have money? Or will you turn them away? Do you write all of the knowledge yourself and have them read it via email or Internet? How do you ensure that they actually read and retained that information? How do you ensure that you don’t get that material stolen?

Obviously- there is a lot to consider and lay out before you even get to the process of actively recruiting members or creating a website. There are so many aspects that have to be considered- the style of temple, the membership structure, disciplinary issues and protocol, learning, participation, etc. And these are just the basics of the basics.

Beyond even that, I believe that we don’t have many temples or organizations within our community because in all honesty- we are not ready for them yet. Most of the people I’ve met in the Kemetic community don’t want that type of responsibility, or are not capable of handling that type of responsibility. Not all of us are geared to handling member disputes without breaking out the all caps. Some of us aren’t secure or strong enough to tell a member that they need to stop, or face being banned- and then hold up that promise when the member doesn’t back down. Some of us are not tactful enough to write nice responses when people send us hate mail. Many of us want our temples and organizations to include everyone, when the fact of the matter is- you can’t have everyone in your group. It’s not feasible.

You can not be all things to all people.

So you have to figure out where to draw the line- and many people are incapable of drawing that line. And so when the line continually gets pushed- you end up with an organization that no longer looks like what it originally did- for better or worse.

So many of us lack the basics in people skills to actually make these dreams a reality.

The fact of the matter is, in order to be successful in a temple setting, we need to quit looking at ourselves and what we want, and look at the bigger picture.

Let me tell you a story about Shinto.

There are tons of Shinto shrines in Japan. Every shrine (with staff) answers to one overseeing group- the Jinja Honcho. Within every shrine, you have quite a few priests, priestesses and other staff that help to make the shrine run. And you might be surprised to know that not every single one of these people necessarily agrees with how the Jinja Honcho runs certain things. Each year, different changes are made, or things are decided upon that can affect how the shrines run and how money gets spent, etc. – all of which gets decided by the Honcho (I’m simplifying this greatly). And yet, despite these changes and decisions- each of the shrines uphold these decisions regardless of their opinions on the decisions (and if they don’t like them, there are formal ways to go about overturning decisions, etc). Why do they do this?

Because they realize that there are more important things out there than their own specific wants.

Japan is very big into the concept of the whole being better and more important than its individual parts. And this shows in their religious community as well. The various priests don’t rip each other apart or scream and have fits because the Honcho made a decision they don’t like. They don’t create a huge scene and throw a temper tantrum in front of everyone else and decide that they are going to leave everything omg right now because something they disagreed with occurred.

I guess you could say they are busy looking at the bigger picture. Something we can’t seem to wrap our minds around.

Now take a look at any Kemetic forum (or any Pagan forum, really) and see how we would react. The Kemetic Orthodoxy Reorganization that occurred a few years back is a good example of how many people react to changes in doctrine/protocol/hierarchy (the answer is poorly). But you don’t even have to go to such a large scale to see how this sort of thing happens on a regular basis – go look on Tumblr or Facebook where people are regularly cut down into nothingness because the culture there seems to think it’s okay for an argument to be reduced to drama, all caps and profanity.

And while caps and swear words may be okay for some forms of interacting, a formally recognized temple or organization is not one of them. And from where I currently stand, little to none of us have the composure and restraint to heavily edit each of our responses when the proverbial shit hits fan. Too many of us are too preoccupied with satiating our need to sink our teeth into people we disagree with to properly remove ourselves and handle the situation like adults. We’re too busy being focused on ourselves instead of looking at the bigger picture, which in this case- the bigger picture is making sure that the group or temple is run smoothly and professionally. The bigger picture is the well being of the community and doing what the community needs, not necessarily what we want.

And that, my friends, is a tall order. An order that I think we as a community are still much too young to fill properly at this point in time.

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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Kemeticism


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