So it has been eight years since my RPD. I remember back when I became Kemetic Orthodox, and I wondered what it would feel like to have been a part of something for eight years. I submitted my application for the Beginners’ course just before I turned eighteen; at that point, the only thing I’d been doing for eight years was having two digits in my age.

I always find myself reflecting on the changes in my life more at this time of year than any other — even my birthday. I don’t know why, but thinking about my RPD makes me recognize that I’ve become such a drastically different person in the short amount of time between 2007 and today.

As an example, here’s an excerpt from my personal journal, written right after my divination. It makes me cringe a little bit to read it (whose journal doesn’t?) but it is also somewhat incredible to me, reading my impressions of my Parents immediately after divination.

My Father was no surprise, to me, or apparently the entire room watching me be divined. The dancing in my seat evidently gave it away. Papa Jackal is great. He is kind, He is loving, He is understanding, and He loves booze, dicing, and wimmin. My kind of God. Mama Sekhmet-Mut is a little different. I half expected Sekhmet, but was having a hard time connecting with Hethert. The Mut part of Mama makes sense. She is motherly, but fierce and watchful. Hemet described Her as being the Sekhmet who does not fly into a rage OR return to Hethert — She sits on Her throne and watches, quietly taking in Her surroundings and quietly judging, waiting to catch someone red handed. She is regal and fiercely protective. She is mother and queen, but she is the claws of the queen and the rage of the mother against someone who would hurt her children. She is beautiful, in short. Mama is beautiful.

My beloveds were a little surprising to me. EVERYONE around me expected Bast, my boyfriend and mother included. She makes sense, because I am an extremely sensual person, with a temper. I think I have the more creative side of Her though. She is not fluffy for me, and not terribly clawed… She is dancing and singing, and rejoicing. That might just be because I’m finally trying to get to know Her, though. I am very happy to have Her as one of my ka-Moms*. I had sort of expected Nit as a beloved, but got Nut instead — which is not unusual. It’s hard to tell Nit and Nut apart. Nut is absolutely awesome. Nut is an ubermom. She is warm, very warm, and gives THE best hugs. I adore Her and am SO glad to have her as my second ka-Mom. She makes more sense than Nit. I don’t have the bluntness to be a Nit kid.

How things have changed since then. 🙂 It’s been an unbelievable journey, to dive briefly into cliche… and it continues to be even more amazing than I ever could have dreamed. Here’s to the next eight years.

* – at the time of my RPD, the concept of Beloveds as creators of one’s ka was still really popular, and even though I knew it had come from a ritual saq session with Nit I didn’t care, I liked it anyway.

Also, some of you may know that I am also a beloved of Khonsu; He was a later addition, so I had no opinion about Him at the time (other than that He is awesome).

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.

RPD Feast!

With permission from The Powers That Be, here’s some pictures of the feast at Nekhen Ib Imau-sen. Offerings included a bouquet of hydrangeas, daisies and mums, cranberry-pomegranate juice, Jack Daniels whiskey, Ghirardelli’s 86% dark chocolate, a special cupcake, and a white tea blend with rose, jasmine, peppermint and chamomile.


A letter to the blogger, seven years in the past.

Dear… you (because seven years ago we were not Sobeq yet, nor the magpie, nor any of the things we would yet become),

You cannot see where we are going, but from my vantage point seven years in the future, I can see where we have been. You will never read this letter, but I need to write it nonetheless; need to tell you about the next seven brilliant years you will know.

Today you take a single step on a lengthy journey. It will feel like the culmination of miles of travel; it will feel like a homecoming. Don’t be fooled. It is the first step, not the final one. You are now walking on a path hand-in-hand with these gods. Everything you do will be tempered by your relationship with Them, from now on. You will find yourself trying foods that remind you of Them – and loving them. You will buy clothes that feel “Jackal-y”, wear jewelry that reminds you that you are the daughter of the mother of the gods. You will try to please your Beloveds, earnestly trying almond milk and hazelnut lattes to connect with Them.

You will meet people, too. You will make friends who enrich your life in ways you never knew it needed enriching. You will find yourself with friends old enough to be your mother or father (you will try hard not to remind them of your age, but it will inevitably come up again and again). They will teach you how to say grace, how to pray, how to greet someone warmly. And more: how to navigate the subway, how to drink tequila, how to dance late into the night. With them you will support the mourning, celebrate milestones, travel, start and end relationships, know what it means to be hurt and to reconcile. You will know “drama”. You will gossip, and be reminded that gossip is not always productive. You will learn how to fly — not literally, but in a plane. You will learn how to navigate the complexities of airport security. You will try to learn how to take a taxi but will never really understand how to tip or know how much it’s going to cost.

You will learn manners, etiquette. Your eyes will be opened to what it really means to respect all others. The people you meet will reflect the value of what your family had been teaching; you will finally understand what they had been trying to show you over the last 18 years. You will learn humility. You will learn the value of cultural competency. You will learn time management skills, cooperation, conflict resolution. You will embarrass yourself. You will redeem yourself. You will learn how to live through failure. You will learn how to succeed with grace.

You will love these people. You will accept some, and tolerate others. You will get married with two of them at your side. You will call them part of your family. When times come that you feel you may as well abandon your faith, they will be by your side.

Today you will gain more than just a divination, more than spiritual knowledge. Today you will commit yourself to a path that will bring you to people who will change your life. Walk it, love it, and live it to the very fullest.

To seven more years as full as the last,

Your future self.


Coming to Kemet.

How did you get started in Kemeticism? Tips? Stories?


I am sitting at my computer desk, writing in my LiveJournal when something deep in my gut starts to hum, like all the A-keys on a piano going off at once. I ignore it. Laying in bed later, I grow restless. A voice just beyond my hearing is whispering in my ear. Frustration builds; I cannot hear what She is saying. The Goddess calls me, nameless. I see Her in the clouds, the stars, the moon. I walk Her beaches, feel Her breath against my face — but I do not know Her. Months pass; I clothe her in various names, but they do not fit. Each time She shrugs them off. All I know is Her fierce presence. I feel Her strength wrapping around me with each call. I am frightened and excited that Her power has reached out to me.


I’ve written about finding my way to Kemetic Orthodoxy before. It’s easy for me to re-tell that story, since it is one full of joy and the loud, infectious satisfaction of finding a resonant spiritual practice. It’s been told before, and it will not change. The step-by-step details bear no repeating. Instead, I am writing down my experiences from before I knew how to write about them. Some of the details are really hazy to me at this point — I am writing about events 8 years in the past now, and my memory is not that good. I hope that in writing these down, someone can read them and find common ground.


The Goddess who calls is no quieter, and I am no closer to finding Her. In the absence of a goddess, a god has begun stealing my M&Ms, I begin to fear. I grow closer to Yinepu each day, and each time I eat a handful of candy I acknowledge His presence. Some days I don’t walk by the bowl of pastel chocolates without grabbing a few in His honor. He follows me in all that I do: racing alongside my car in traffic, bounding through the auditorium as I see musicals at the community theater. I question my own sanity. My boyfriend (my summer fling before college) encourages me, and gives me a tiny glass bottle to keep perfumes on my altar.


The most important thing I’ve learned about being new to a religion is that it’s much like being in a new romantic relationship. There’s a breathless courtship, in which the new devotee rushes to learn as much as she can about this new practice. She builds an altar, prays to the gods, makes offerings — it is all new, all exciting, all an uncharted territory to be explored. In relationships, this is sometimes called “new relationship energy” or NRE. It is what happens when the NRE fades that is important in both relationships and religions. In a relationship, when the NRE fades it can take all the attraction — and thus the stability of the relationship — with it. When “new religious energy” fades, it can leave the devotee feeling abandoned by the gods, or like her practices are suddenly failing. If you are new to a practice and you suddenly find yourself feeling in a rut, it may be that your own NRE is wearing off. Variety helps, as does routine. Find your own rhythm of devotion.


I kneel before a shrine cobbled out of hand-me-down trinkets and an old folding tray table. The myrrh cone incense I picked up specially for this first Senut rite won’t stay lit and when it does, it makes me cough. My libation jar– a shot glass from the dollar store– won’t pour without spilling. I stagger through the Senut ritual until I reach the section set aside for quiet reflection and personal prayers. I close my eyes, and the gods are there immediately. Later, at a shrine with better tools and finer incense, I will wonder whether They were in my imagination as I struggle to find any connection with the gods.


May 2007: Statues of my Parents arrive, shrine is reorganized.
One of my earliest shrines, post Rite of Parent Divination.


Late at night, I scour pagan forums for opinions on Kemetic Orthodoxy. Everyone is polarized. Half my research says I’m making a terrible mistake; the other half says I have nothing to lose, and everything to learn. I trust myself to know whether to run. With adolescent resolve and more than a little anxiety, I download the application for the House of Netjer beginners’ course. Eight months later, I find myself sitting in the Truth and the Mother temple, declaring myself a Shemsu after cowry shells revealed my gods. My heart nestles firmly in the bed of this community, this faith; I never look back.


Coming to a faith does not always feel immediately like coming home. Sometimes you back into a faith in the night, and it startles you and you yelp. Sometimes the gods sneak in through your cat door while you’re busy in the shower, and when you come out to eat your breakfast they yell “SURPRISE!” and leave you stunned. Sometimes you come in spite of criticism from your peers, from your family, or even from your self-conscious inner monologue. Does it matter? No. Come with anxiety, come with joy, come knowingly or not. The gods don’t care and neither should anyone else.


This has been a part of the Kemetic Roundtable.

Previous posts about my journey to Kemetic Orthodoxy:
Episode 1: Why Kemetic Orthodoxy?
Episode 9: How I Got Involved in Kemetic Orthodoxy.
Finding the Way Home