Ethics, morals and values. I’ve always been kind of shaky on which is actually which – I took a few seminars in which they were all defined, but I still never really got it straight.
Ma’at is tightly wound with all of them, so I guess that part doesn’t really matter. Ma’at is many things, in Kemet. Ma’at is a deity, but also a force that permeates all the Universe. Ma’at is a lot like the law of returns, or instant karma, but it is also a sense of moral guidance stemming from accountability and responsibility.
To me, Ma’at embodies the idea that we must always be prepared to bear the consequences for our actions – and that every action does have a consequence that will affect both the actor and others around them. Doing something charitable and kind has consequences as does doing something vindictive and hurtful. Would I be willing to bear the consequences of doing something hurtful? It depends. It is a complex system of scales and measures, that effectively calls positive consequences to those who act positively, and negative consequences to those who act negatively.
Ma’at is also order, and by that token there is also a sense of maintaining effective balance and equilibrium in society. To live in harmony with the world around you, rather than out of it. I always love thinking of this aspect of Ma’at as a song, and I must give credit to others in the House of Netjer for helping me expand this metaphor. A song has many aspects – melody, harmony, rhythm, meter and tempo. All of these things must exist in sync to create a piece of music that makes sense to the ears. Most songs have some amount of dissonance (clashy sounds), but resolve to pleasant, harmonious sounds. Some songs are more clashy than harmonious, but they are still songs, with their own structure. Acting outside of Ma’at would be the equivalent of taking a hammer to a piano at the symphony. It makes no sense, it is wantonly destructive, it violates all the boundaries of the setting and is just totally weird.
What does that mean in a vast cosmic sense? I have no idea. I just know that for me, it means that I won’t do anything I’m not willing to pay for; the more outrageously hammer-like the actions, the wilder the consequences that I have to wrestle with.
(I am so excited to be finished with this “Beliefs” section. Seriously. I love talking about my beliefs, but it’s so hard to do it in this format.)