Kemetic RoundTable-Ritual Purity

The Kemetic Round Table works to connect Kemetic bloggers of various practices and paths in order to provide helpful information for those new to Kemeticism. More information about the project can be found here. 

I’m just joining the Kemetic Round Table project, so I’m going to start at the beginning and eventually catch up with everyone else lol Meantime I only just did my C PBP post and still have E to do XD

So, I originally wasn’t going to do this post. Up until last week I didn’t have much in the way of ritual purity specifications. I’m not part of any temple or anything, and my gods have never asked me for anything in particular. Except for Aset, She asked for two things: clean room, neat body. Not hard (tedious perhaps) and not particularly amazing or anything.

I’ve considered doing specific things for ritual purity, but never followed up and neither Anpu, nor Set or Aset ever made a big deal. Maybe they didn’t feel like it, maybe it’s not necessary, or maybe they were waiting. I’m thinking it’s more a bit of all three. Set comes off quite lax about that sort of thing, He just wants His attention since He’s not yet fed up with waiting on me to get brave and down to the business He’s here for. Btw, I’m still not 100% sure what He’s here for, but for now I’m content to leave it that way. I have theories and ideas, and I feel in some ways they’re all correct.

Aset has made Her’s known, but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t keep up on a portion of it, or at least She hasn’t made a big deal about it. She’s also neutral feeling now. I’m still in a bit of a rut for things to do for everyone, but especially Her. It’s a little frustrating, but I think I may start looking into more baking and cooking. I just wish I had more money.

Anpu however has been quiet as one might expect Him to be. He typically doesn’t say much until I’m talking with someone and posing questions and wonderings and then He interjects. Currently this pattern has been sparse up until a few days ago when I started menstruating. Now, that started over the weekend when I wasn’t at home. When I got home on Sunday though, I was emailing Shine talking about wanting to go to shrine, but being unsure about it. You see, I get some very unpleasant mental side effects to go with menstruation as well as pain and fatigue. There’s also increased sensitivity in my lungs, meaning my asthma, normally very tolerant of smoke and such from candles and incense, would be very unhappy with all that. This of course is not my point, the point is that I was tired and hurting and emotionally unstable but I still very much wanted to go to shrine.

Anpu apparently had other ideas. As I was typing to Shine that I wondered if my gods wanted me in shrine or whether they would mind me not going for physical and emotional reasons I got a very clear and distinct image of Anpu in my mind’s eye and a direct statement of “no.” Don’t go to shrine He said. I was a little startled, not used to Him speaking to me after all, and certainly not with such direct and stern tone. Normally He’s making a quip or shaking His head. I still don’t know why He said no. To be fair, I’ve never asked any of my trio if they had any specific purity requirements, or if I have it wasn’t a lot. However, I’ve gone to shrine before during menstruation and not much was said.

Now, anyone familiar with KO or its followers might know that they also ask that followers stay out of shrine during menses, but this is not a misogynistic thing. It is a matter of ritual purity, but not because menses is “gross” or “sin” or whatever negative thing people usually exclaim when they hear about menstrual taboos. Well, I’m sure some people feel that way (I despise menstruating, it is gross and annoying and it costs me money and has ruined clothes and causes me pain and affects my asthma and Crazy, making me really difficult to be around for its duration and the week beforehand) but it’s not the point.

I feel that Anpu telling me no wasn’t about negativity either. He wasn’t angry when He told me don’t come to shrine and He wasn’t nasty or disgusted. Just very firm. I think it was about being very emotionally unstable and in pain and that it’s blood. Don’t ask about that part because I haven’t figured it all out yet. My iron was quite low when it was checked at the Red Cross when I went to give blood, so I think that had something to do with it. I don’t know. However, this may turn out to be a regular deal. Once again, I’ll have to ask, because I don’t read minds. I think the fact that Ganesha has recently been invited to the shrine space has something to do with it because I had yet to look up whether Hinduism has a menses taboo when I was pondering whether I should go to shrine. I don’t mind if it becomes a regular thing, I’ll just have to cry or something XD

The tricky thing with this situation was then dealing with my other gods. When Anpu said no I almost immediately got comments from Set and Aset. Besides my own strong desire to go to shrine, I had Set in my head really upset. He wanted attention and shrine time from me and was rather insistent about it. Aset was there, in the background, but I got the distinct feeling that Her wanting me to come to shrine was more about me than Her. Mom’s can’t help themselves I guess? There was also a neutrality to it that made me feel She wouldn’t be upset either way, whether I came or not. Set, totally another story. He did pout, but I had to turn Him down. Anpu is my main god, and I want Him to stay in that place, and they all share a shrine space. He says no then the answer is no.

Ironically I slept absolutely awful that night. Literally one hour. No joke, sixty minutes on the nose. And I had to work and my weekend hadn’t been great and I had an awful time making my brain stop coming up with horrid stories and train wreck thought processes. I’m not sure what to make of that, because I am an insomniac and known to have dreadful nights like that on occasion, especially while menstruating. It’s the Crazy plus the hormones. Who knows.

That’s my personal experience with ritual purity. I essentially have almost nothing and have done fine so far. I usually just brush my teeth, wash my face and clean my room. I shower in the morning so that doesn’t have any connections to my shrine rites. Ritual purity is a personal matter especially and between you and your gods. Your tradition may come in to it, but in the end that’s still personal. You still have to do things within your means. Meanwhile I’m just as puzzled as always!

To me purity is more about the innards than the body. Be clean of course, nobody likes a stinky person, but if you are there for a purpose then you are there. I’ve not much more than that to say.

 

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C is for Commitment

Ok, I know I’m ultra late with C for the PBP, but better late than never right?

So, commitment. Dictionary.com violates the rules of defining words (they use the word being defined in its definition) for the first two definitions, but the third and fourth are better. It defines commitment as: “3. the act of […] pledging, or engaging oneself. 4. 

a pledge or promise; obligation.”
 
Now, I’ll admit that I’m not fond of the word obligation, because it has certain connotations that can be negative. It tends to suggest force and lack of consent, something that must be done despite all desire and will to do otherwise, or being manipulated. However, it clearly doesn’t always mean that. For instance you have an obligation to feed your children, they are yours and they deserve not to starve. You should also, in theory, want to feed them, thus making it seem like less of an obligation and more voluntary.
Nonetheless, obligation has a purpose to it, especially in a religious context. You see, as a…something…to the gods you kinda make different types of commitments and obligations to them. It depends on your relationship with a particular deity. Of course, I’m talking about religious commitment in regards to deity relations, but you can be and make religious commitments without involving deities at all.
I hope to have a long term relationship with my deities, so I will have a different kind of commitment and resident obligations than someone who just needs a deity for a season. One of my commitments is daily rites. I made that up myself to Them. Why? Well for one thing because I want to be closer to Them and disciplined, but also because I want Them to see and know that I am committed, even when I don’t feel like it or have a hard time. Unless they direct me to stay away I will do my best to show up. Of course, the real trouble with this is finding ways to create small sacred space when I’m not in my room. I often spend weekends and random days during the week not in my house. Gm and Pop-Pop’s are frequent visiting locations and the former not only stays up late but can’t be around incense or candles (not to mention I share a room with Sister and Nephew) and the latter doesn’t know I’m not Christian anymore. Still struggling with how to do shrine time at these places.
I found recently that I was willing to take the obligation this commitment brings. Even though I was super pissed and did not want to be in shrine I made myself go (this was about two or three weeks ago). I had to keep repeating to myself that it wasn’t about me, it was about them, and I had to keep things short (just couldn’t concentrate), but I was there. I’m keeping this up, I made a commitment, I have an obligation and I have to figure out this particular blockade.

 

For The Netjer

The other day I stumbled upon this little paragraph in Ritner’s Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice and I just have to share it because many people think of Sekhmet  solely as a destroyer, completely disregarding Her role as a Goddess of healing and yes, even medicine [especially since in Ancient Egypt medicine and magic were intertwined]:

‘The Ebers Papyrus includes ‘amulet man’ with ‘doctors’ and ‘priests of Sekhmet’ in a list of medical practitioners who might be expected to apply a ‘hands on’ method of examining patients:

…when any doctor, priest of Sekhmet or amulet-man places his hands or fingers on any head, on any back of the head, on any hands, on any chest (‘place of the heart’), on any arms, or any feet, then he places them on the heart, for its vessels belong to all its limbs.

Further on the page it is stated that…

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