I find that one of the best things about Kemetic Orthodoxy (or any serious pagan faith, for that matter) is the UPG – unverified personal gnosis. Now, it’s not the most important part by any stretch of the imagination; dogma and the reliance upon historical precedent exist for a reason: If everyone followed his or her UPG, we wouldn’t have very much of a cohesive religious experience at all. That’s not to say that the gods everyone interacted with wouldn’t remain much the same, or that the practices we follow would change much. It just means that there would be no way to call such worshippers “Kemetic Orthodox” or “Kemetic Reconstructionist” or any such similar terms.
But UPG is a vital part of any serious pagan faith, as I mentioned before. Why? Because when you are gathering UPG and personal experiences, it shows that you are building a relationship with your gods and with the divine. It’s important to keep a balance between UPG and dogma/historical precedent. If one follows UPG too heavily, one runs the risk of becoming distant from the path they are trying to follow. If one follows dogma/historical precedent too heavily, one runs the risk of becoming distant from the gods they are trying to follow. Long story short, they’re both super important.
The best part, by far, of UPG, is coexperiencing. I don’t mean having the same experience at the same time; no, coexperiencing (as I define it) is when you have an experience that you file away as UPG, and later on, someone else describes and experience in their UPG that matches yours. It’s different if someone tells you their experience and then you go on to have a similar experience. That leaves too much room for the possibility that your expectations are influencing what you are receiving. In order for it to be honest-to-goodness real, coexperienced UPG events must occur independently of one another.
When you realize you’ve shared an experience with someone, it can be nothing short of magical. You start finishing each other’s sentences. You grin at each other and start speaking more excitedly. It’s enthralling. What happens then, is that what you experienced on your own becomes something that two people experienced on their own – or three, or four. Suddenly, your little piece of UPG begins to become something that is more frequently discussed; becomes a characteristic of said deity; becomes part of what people consider to be one of His or Her “trademarks”. It morphs into the understanding that people develop about these gods. And besides all that– besides the very nice feeling of making a contribution to the knowledge available to the general public about your gods– it validates what you experienced. No matter how “right” something feels without this kind of confirmation, it feels even better once someone else recognizes it.
I don’t want to ramble here, so I’m going to stop myself. It just so happens that I had a similar experience recently, and it felt good, so it seemed like the most logical blogging topic. Any readers care to share similar experiences? It’s audience participation time! =)
Senebty ’til the next post,