The King and I

It’s my first time in the Tawy House main shrine room. The wall is lined with comfortable green chairs; I perch awkwardly on one, nervous about meeting new people and still more nervous about meaning the person who calls herself “King”. Before too long she comes into the room. She introduces herself as “Tamara”, and sits next to me. What do I do? I think. I quickly scoot out of my seat onto the floor in front of her. I can’t remember now, seven years later, what her expression was as I did so; I don’t remember what I said when she told me that I really didn’t have to move. I do remember, however, that this was the first moment I thought about our Nisut not in terms of kingship but personhood. 

I am Kemetic Orthodox. Anyone who becomes Kemetic Orthodox will eventually have to confront the issue of the leadership of the faith: the organized priesthood, led by the Nisut. I wonder, sometimes, if this would be less controversial if the word we use didn’t translate to “King”. The logic behind using the word nisut as opposed to any other word makes perfect sense to me; the role our Nisut plays is analogous to that of the Nisut of antiquity (minus the political stuff). That, and she has done the appropriate rituals for coronation, at the appropriate sites in Egypt.

I’m something of a Nisut-agnostic, in a way. The title doesn’t matter to me; the person does. I respect the heck out of Rev. Tamara. I believe she has something incredibly valuable to share with the world, and I believe she is qualified and suited to do so. Do I believe she has special Nisut powers? I don’t really know, and I don’t think I need to to know I can learn from her. Were another person to take up the role of Nisut, I would have to think seriously about whether I was comfortable following them in the same way.

I wanted to write a lengthy post about the role of the Nisut in Kemetic Orthodoxy and how it influences my beliefs, but I just can’t. It doesn’t influence my beliefs. It influences my practices, sure, in that I follow one person’s teachings in how I worship and honor the gods. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s more about having met a person with knowledge, and having felt comfortable in accepting them as a teacher.

I’ve read the other posts in the Kemetic Roundtable on this subject, and I can honestly say that Devo at The Twisted Rope has written a much more objective rundown of the concept of Kingship in Kemetic Orthodoxy. It’s hard for me to be so objective here, so I encourage you to look to the other KRT participants for this one.