Love of the gods.

I’ll be the first one to admit that my perspective on all things Kemetic is fairly insular. I don’t look too far beyond the Kemetic Orthodox community. I browse Tumblr but don’t really engage much. So anything I speak about is going to come either from what I’ve learned in the House of Netjer, or what I’ve learned through my own interaction with the gods. All this is to say: I’m not the most informed on what other people believe, so I’m speaking purely from ignorance here and nothing more. (It’s possible that, given my ignorance, I should just keep my mouth shut — but where’s the fun in that?)

I’ve noticed huge diversity in how people describe their divine relationships. There’s some who almost give off a sense of distrust for the gods, as though They were so capricious that they might turn and bite their devotees on a whim. There’s some who seem to have a very casual relationship, coining cheeky nicknames and describing drinking matches. There’s god-spousery, which I have such trouble grasping for myself that I can only say “you do you” (and I mean that earnestly, not dismissively). There’s the business relationships, where devotees give offerings and are given heka in return. What I don’t see much is sacred love.

My love for my gods is massive. It swells up inside me so vast that my breath catches, and I want to lay at Their feet and sing Their praises every day. I believe in Their fallibility, and that sometimes They’re going to try to protect me and fail. I believe in Their beneficence, Their positive intent and good will. When They challenge me, I thrill inwardly that I am strong enough to be challenged. When I kneel in Their presence I feel Their brilliance renewing me, and I am overwhelmed with happiness to know Their grace.

I know there’s not a lot of emphasis on this kind of ecstatic love in antiquity. There’s enough, to be sure, in the stelae and inscriptions that carry messages from ancient devotees. It’s not the first thing that comes to mind when discussing the distinguishing qualities of ancient Egyptian religious practices, however. The precision, the purity, the constancy with which the priests attended to their gods all get much more attention, and rightfully so. The ancient priests had honoring the gods down to a science.

Maybe it’s just my quirk. Maybe it’s a holdover from my Catholic days (which are soon to be less than half my life, somehow). Or maybe it’s just not a topic of interest to other writers right now. I’d love to see more of it though. I have my casual days too. I sing along to “Back in Black” for the Jackal and offer my Mother the first sips of beer when I’m relaxing. But it’s that love that moves me to Their shrine again and again; it’s the warmth and light They radiate, and the way my heart swells when I am in Their presence.

All this is meant not as criticism, but as a call to share. If you feel the same ecstatic love I feel, wax poetic. If you don’t… well, what do you feel? What keeps you coming back to the gods?

Featured image from https://unsplash.com/grakozy .

7 thoughts on “Love of the gods.

  1. I definitely feel that way for Bast. I only really openly show it in my writing, but I’ve been moved to tears during my devotions just thanking Her for being in my life. I don’t dip much into the casual nature you mention, like nicknames and the whole “Kemetic fandom” thing, because for me it feels too disrespectful. That being said, I think it depends on your relationship with the god. Bast seems to desire something very traditional and respectful with me. On the other hand, Inanna has just recently appeared in my life and She seems to be more drawn to the modern, almost pop culture kind of thing. If that makes sense.

  2. Reblogged this on Syncretic Mystic and commented:
    My sister in Jackal Sobeq speaks volumes on having real love for the Gods. Plus, I miss writing.
    Beloved Jackal Dad, please obliterate the obstacles in the way of my moving forward, and in the way of my Doing and Creating. Kheperu.

  3. I often waffle between seeing the gods as sentient collections of natural forces and energies(i.e. their own conscious entities) and seeing them as personifications of the natural forces (not conscious but still collections of energy), depending on my mood and what I’m doing. But either way, I do think I feel something related to what you describe…that sort of overwhelming joy to just be alive and be in the presence of something, and wanting to meld into it. Whether its Wesir, who I feel at a local lake lined with cypress and dotted with lotus blossoms, at work, where I feel Aset calling me to advance and thrive, or at dawn, where I sense Kheperu and all the “becoming” that awaits us. There something so intrinsically enchanting and joyous about the world we live in, the people we come to love, the experiences of life, and learning to see the Netjeru therein. They are all the experiences of life, and more. To love life is to love them, and for me, that can be enhanced when I take the time to stop and see the wondrous in the mundane…to see that we are all but “tears of Ra”. You might feel that this is more akin to awe than love. You might be right, haha.

  4. I just wanted to say how beautiful this is, to thank you for sharing it and for inspiring me to really take some time today to think more about how this love manifests in my own relationship with Netjer. ❤ Much love to *you* as well.

  5. I just assume the love/awe is an unspoken part of most people’s experiences even if I personally don’t understand them; the people who are afraid of their capriciousness probably wouldn’t be drawn to dealing with them without it (and if they don’t and are working with them, maybe they deserve the flack they get?); neither would the people who focus on heka or magic have faith in what they’re doing without it. And godspousery, I’m not big on the complication of romantic relationships for myself, but the adoration of a lover is a preexisting schematic for expression of love, why not gods and men utilize it. Bromance for the casual folks, too. xD I don’t know if it’s that people don’t feel the sacred love, so much as only the expressions/reactions to it, put through a social filter, are what gets recorded. At least that’s what I tell myself when I see an attitude and way of relating online that I find challenging.

    Plus, sacred love is a peak experience. That kind of overarching awe, well, stars don’t always align to let it happen. If you hit up shrine several days in a row, you will be going through the motions on some of them. You can walk in the sun, but if your dog pulling your arm out of the socket chasing seagulls, you won’t be thinking of Ra much.

    For me though, it is what keeps me going but more diffused because I don’t have super long-term settled deities–there’s no default for rapture, and that makes it harder to hit a moving target, many times I don’t try to foster it due to focus/investment issues, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I’ll never forget that first midwinter night that I sat outside for nearly an hour at 3:30 AM in freezing temperatures and felt the void of space and vault of stars take on a towering peering sentience when I laid my heart out to Nebthet, though. And that, when I interact with the netjeru, is what I try to bear in mind that they all potentially are.

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