Kemetic Orthodoxy

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Kemetic Orthodoxy is one of a number of Kemetic Reconstructionist religions. It was founded in the late 1980's by Ms. Tamara Siuda. It strives to reconstruct the religious practices of the people of Ancient Kemet, now called Egypt. It also incorporates rituals and concepts unique to this particular sect, causing it to be called more of a revivalist religion than a strict reconstructionist faith. Currently, Kemetic Orthodoxy's only temple, Tawy House, is located in Joliet, Illinois.

Contents

Levels of Membership

Beginner

Kemetic Orthodoxy has a very flexible system of commitment to the faith. Those interested must take the Beginner's Class. The "Beginners' Class" is an 11 week class given by the priests of the religion to those interested in either joining or merely learning about the faith. It consists of 11 lessons emailed weekly to a mailing list to which only class members have access. Class participants also have access to their own website with class materials available, as well as a message board on which they can communicate with priests and the Nisut specifically about the class material. The class is free and noncommittal. One may take the class, find that they are dissatisfied with the faith and leave.

Remetj

Remetj (reh-mech)

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V13
A1 B1
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Royal Subjects

If one wishes to remain associated with Kemetic Orthodoxy, but not take vows to the Gods and Goddesses of Kemet, one may become a Remetj. All who complete the course and wish to remain in the faith, at any level, will become Remetju. You are free to practice any faith before Kemetic Orthodoxy at this point.

Any Remetj may undergo a rite of passage known as the Rite of Parent Divination, commonly abbreviated as RPD. This Rite determines the Gods which the Remetj is most closely related to, spiritually. At this point the Remetj would be known as a Divined Remetj. Any member may remain a Divined Remetj, if he or she chooses, or may go on to become a Shemsu. A Divined Remetj knows his or her spiritual Parents and any Beloveds but does not have a Shemsu name. The individual is not obligated to take Shemsu vows, if he or she does not wish to.

Shemsu

Shemsu (SHEM-soo)

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Followers

Shemset

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Follower Feminine noun.

In antiquity, a Shemsu was in particular a member of the Kemetic court, sworn to serve the nation as a "follower of the royal household." [1]

If one wishes to further commit oneself to the Gods and Goddesses of Kemet, and swear to honor them above all other Gods, one may become a Shemsu, a devotee of the Gods of Kemet. In order to take the Shemsu vows, one must have undergone the Rite of Parent Divination. The Remetj swears to honor the deities which were named in his or her RPD above all others, and to uphold ma'at. A Shemsu receives a spiritual name, which is given in a ceremony led by the Nisut (AUS). The Shemsu Name is the name given to the member by his or her Parents and is divined by the Nisut (AUS) prior to the Naming Ceremony. The name is Kemetic and is related to the individuals Parent name(s).

One may still concurrently practice another faith at this point, so long as Kemetic Orthodoxy takes precedence. At this point, one is also eligible for lay priesthood.

Shemsu-Ankh

Shemsu-Ankh (SHEM-soo AHNKH)

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The final level of conversion is Shemsu-Ankh. At this level, one has undergone special rites known as the Weshem-ib and taken specific vows to the faith. This process can only be done in person and is usually done at the Wep Ronpet (Kemetic New Year) retreat in late July/early August.

Core Beliefs

While the beliefs of individual members of Kemetic Orthodoxy may vary slightly at times, there are at least five core beliefs which all members hold which define them as Kemetic Orthodox:

Belief in Netjer

First and foremost of all the beliefs necessary is the belief in Netjer and Its Names. Without belief in the gods of Kemet, one would not be following Kemetic Orthodoxy at all. Having a monolatrous view of Netjer is also part of this principal. Followers of Kemetic Orthodoxy usually communicate with Netjer through these various Names.

Monolatry is a form of polytheism. Adherents of monolatry believe that many gods emanate from one source. In the case of Kemetic Orthodoxy, all the Names of Netjer emanate from Atum.[2]

Akhu Veneration

Akhu (or ancestor) veneration is a very important aspect of Kemetic Orthodoxy. One's Akhu are one's ancestors. They have already experienced human life, and therefore can give valuable advice and support on things which Netjer might not necessarily understand. Members believe that by honoring one's Akhu, one ensures that they remain happy and satisfied in the Duat. Akhu are not always blood ancestors, they can be friends or "teachers" who have passed west.

Acceptance of the Nisut

The acceptance of the role of the Nisut as spiritual teacher and leader is also central to Kemetic Orthodoxy. While no one is ever expected to accept anything without question, her teachings and leadership are important to the faith. The Nisut performs rituals daily to enforce ma'at and dispel isfet, regularly prays for the members of the faith, and advises her students in religious matters. Members are required to accept the Nisut at least as spiritual teacher to align with official Kemetic Orthodox dogma.

Community Support and Participation

Society in ancient Kemet was extremely community oriented. Community played a role in personal religious practices. As part of reconstructing these practices, members of Kemetic Orthodoxy also strive to support a thriving community. Every person in the community is integral to the function of the group, and we respect and honor the roles carried out by all members of all levels, from Remetj to Kai-Imakhu. This is not to say that all members must actively work to help the Kemetic Orthodox community; rather, all members should respect members of all levels. Remetj are just as important as Kai-Imakhiu.

Belief in upholding Ma'at

Ma'at is the force that keeps the world balanced. Ma'at is both a Name of Netjer and an abstract concept of balance, justice and truth. All members of Kemetic Orthodoxy believe that Ma'at must be upheld in all daily life, and most strive to act accordingly. This includes not being deliberately harmful to any person as well as being kind to one's self, among other things.

Key Practices of Kemetic Orthodoxy

As with any religions, there are many key practices and rites of passages which members go through or participate in. A few of these are listed below.

Rite of Parent Divination

The Rite of Parent Divination, commonly abbreviated RPD, is a ritual performed by the Nisut (AUS) to determine the spiritual Parent and any Beloveds of a follower of the faith. This is the first step towards Shemsuhood, but one is not obligated to take the Shemsu vows after going through the RPD. The ritual may only be performed by the Nisut (AUS), and is carried out by a form of objective geomantic divination. The rite is carried out in a binary fashion (meaning the answers are yes or no), and it is checked repeatedly. This Rite has caused some controversy between Kemetic Orthodoxy and other Kemetic Reconstructionist religions, as it has no historical basis. It was instituted as a kind of initiatory rite into Kemetic Orthodoxy, symbolizing a birth into the community.

Shemsu Naming

Once an individual has undergone his or her Rite of Parent Divination, he or she may become a Shemsu, or "follower" of Kemetic Orthodoxy, but they are not obligated to do so. Those who wish to take this step undergo a second rite of passage known as Shemsu Naming. In this rite they are given a name which is determined by the Nisut through aural divination, and take vows to serve the gods divined in their Rite of Parent Divination before other gods. It is at this point that the individual officially becomes a Shemsu and is a full member of Kemetic Orthodoxy.

Senut

Senut is a daily ritual practiced by Shemsu of Kemetic Orthodoxy. It was compiled by the Nisut for the people of the faith using ancient texts as well as divine inspiration. It an important part of personal practice for many individuals in Kemetic Orthodoxy, though not all perform the rite daily. The rite itself involves ritual actions and words, such as pouring cool water and presenting offerings before one's gods. The concept of a daily ritual is not unique to Kemetic Orthodoxy; other Kemetic Reconstructionist religions have a daily ritual as well. These rituals differ slightly from the Kemetic Orthodox Senut.

Saq

Saq is a ritual in which an It-Netjer or Mut-Netjer is fully possessed by a Name of Netjer. This ritual is extremely intense for both the possessed priest and the participants. It is physically stressful for the priest involved and requires a great deal of training. The priest who is possessed is not considered to be in attendance at the ritual because he or she does not remember anything of the possession once the God has left his or her body. Members in attendance interact with the God, presenting offerings and asking questions or giving tribute.

Leadership and Priesthood

Followers of Kemetic Orthodoxy call Tamara Siuda, the founder of the faith, their Nisut (AUS). The word Nisut is a shortened form of "Nisut-bityt", a Kemetic phrase meaning "She of the Sedge and the Bee". Essentially, this may be translated as "king". This practice has caused much controversy throughout the general Kemetic community. Other faiths lack this level of leadership. Followers of Kemetic Orthodoxy maintain that the Nisut (AUS) has never demanded anything extraordinary of them, with regards to her leadership of the faith. Many members have different views of her role, which vary from that of an enlightened teacher to a direct link to Netjer, and anything in between. She is sometimes called Hemet by her followers, which translate roughly to "Her Majesty". The honorific attached to her title and or name, AUS, stands for Ankh, Udja, Seneb, which means life, prosperity and health. Her full title may be read here.

Aside from the Nisut (AUS), there are different levels of priesthood, lay and otherwise. The lay priests are W'ab priests. These priests perform certain daily rituals which differ from the normal Senut ritual. They keep formal "state" shrines to their Parent Name(s), which may be opened to local Shemsu and Remetj on special festivals depending on the W'ab's preference. W'ab training is done during the Wep Ronpet retreat in late July/early August.

Ordained priests may be Imakhiu as well as Kai-Imakhiu. An Imakhu is a legally ordained priest of his or her Parent(s). Kai-Imakhiu have been Imakhiu for a certain amount of time. They are not only given the priestly duties of an Imakhu but also are responsible for overseeing current Imakhu. There are various specializations which each may follow. Women as well as men may become priests of Kemetic Orthodoxy, such as Heri-Sesheta or Mut-Netjer.

Festivals

The Kemetic Calendar contains innumerable holidays and festivals. There are many celebrated by the people of Kemetic Orthodoxy. The most popular festival is Wep Ronpet, but there are many others, including Opet and the Wag Festival. As the Kemetic Year does not follow the Gregorian Calendar but rather a unique solar calendar, these festivals are listed by their Kemetic dates. In general, Wep Ronpet or New Year's Day falls around the first or second week of August, and other dates may be reckoned from this date if no calendar is available.

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