Today, I want to tackle a tough topic to talk about: Kemetic Reconstruction. If you choose to research the Golden Dawn or do the Kabbalah Magic curriculum, Kemetic Reconstruction will be an important step in that process. Some might be tempted to substitute Kemetic Reconstruction with a form of Egyptian Paganism, but I don’t think this would be correct. Does the Golden Dawn get it all right? Probably not. But, when we’re talking about the symbolism of a religion and its impact on the subconscious, it’s important to be more Reconstructionist than, say, Pagan. The problem is, what if you belong to a different religion? Let’s talk about this specifically.
In many ways, I consider myself more of a Hellenic Polytheist than a Wiccan. This shift was gradual, but it’s been slowly occurring for a while now. For me, Hellenic Polytheism is a rather simple path. I pay respect to the deities, try to embody modernized standards of conduct, and, every once in a while, even celebrate a few festivals in my own way. At the core of my ‘practice’ though, is the honoring of deity. I’ve mentioned before that my Patron Deities (if you will) are Ares and Athena. Out of these two, Ares is the most prevalent. So, I offer prayers, libations, and generally reflect on what this means to me personally. But, when studying a different pantheon, how do I do this?
At first, this question was quite a struggle for me. How do I just neglect one pantheon in favor of learning another? This isn’t the typical situation of shifting pantheons for the long term. Likewise, it’s not as simple as thinking of different deities as the same core aspect. While it might sound strange to those outside the realm of the occult, this was very troubling for me. I must confess that ultimately, it took a moment of trust on my part. Trust that, in my pursuit to grow closer to the gods, they would understand my actions and find them honorable. To some, this may or may not have been a good idea.
Currently, I’m three days into my study of Kemetic Reconstruction. This is mainly in my reading of Rosemary Clark’s book, The Sacred Magic Of Ancient Egypt. To be honest, on day one, I was really worried. I read the first chapter, and then some of the second to begin with. While intrigued, I noticed a disconnect, or lack of a connection. To be fair, this problem was quite possibly due to having a connection already to a different set of gods. But, regardless of this, I kept going. I read the entire second chapter, which helped somewhat. What was really important though, was I also returned back to chapter 1.
Suddenly, things clicked for me on day three. This morning, I was reading the book, going over a few topics raised in a prior conversation and then, I noticed it. For some reason, what I noticed wasn’t that Pantheon 1’s Fact A was similar to Pantheon 2’s Fact B, but something much deeper than that. I noticed Kemetic Reconstruction has its own system. For the first time, I could anchor myself in a different system, as much as a beginner probably can. For Ancient Egyptians, the Nile was highly important and symbolic. Trying to envision this same thing, it became clear to me.
So, the question still remains, “How do you make this work?” Well, the answer is slowly and meticulously. The Ancient Egyptians believed in a system that was eventually incorporated or compared and contrasted to by the Ancient Greeks. If they could do it, I can do it. This is not a new concept at all. Right now, I’m having to accept not having all the answers. I have to accept having some of the answers, which ironically, is just enough to keep moving forward. Interestingly, I’m learning to start with broad concepts and then work down into the more precise smaller concepts.
But, if you’re looking to learn Kemetic Reconstruction as a Hellenist, how can you start? Well, the answers will more than likely be really personal. However, here are five ideas to get you started:
1. Decide which ‘world’ you naturally fit into.
The Ancient Egyptians believed in four different ‘worlds’ of manifestation. These have been linked to the elements. So, if you want to connect to the Ancient Egyptian gods in a broader sense, find your ‘home’ first. For example, my zodiac sign is an earth element. But, I find myself at home in a more fire based approach to deity or lifestyle. This could drastically impact how I try to connect to the gods. The four worlds are Manu (Water), Aakhut (Fire), Rostau (Earth), and Ament (Air). Once you’ve done this, you can find deities, or overall concepts, you connect to a bit easier.
2. Learn The Seven Cosmic Powers.
From what I can gather, The Seven Cosmic Powers were a precursor to some of the Greek Philosophy behind their connection to deity. This then, seems like a natural step in connecting to the gods themselves now. Instead of honoring a specific deity, you can better understand specific concepts to start. The Seven Cosmic Powers include, Maa (Sight/Intuition/Clairvoyance), Hu (Taste/Authoritative Utterance), Sedjem (Hearing/To Harken), Sia (Perception/Understanding), Heka (Magic/Creative Impulse), Maat (Order/Harmony/Balance), and Sa (Universal Force/Spiritual Substance). You may or may not find yourself feeling strongly drawn to at least one of these.
3. Connect To The Governor Of Your Land.
To do this, you’ll need to decide which ‘land’ you fit into. For me, this is one of the ways it finally clicked for me. Ancient Egypt, at one time, was divided into Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. These two lands had a vastly different approach to deity, at least in retrospect. Upper Egypt was in the North, and embodied a more fertile aspect of life. This included symbols typically linked to the Sun. Things like gold and solar cycles were prevalent. Lower Egypt was in the South, and embodied a more sterile aspect of life. This meant symbols linked to the Moon were used. Things like the lunar cycle and silver were prevalent. Most importantly, Upper Egypt was governed by Heru. Lower Egypt was governed by Set. Try to see if you can’t connect to one of them.
4. Try To Discover Your Discipline.
One of the more unique things about Ancient Egypt in my view is the understanding of how one ‘makes’ a god. This process is apparently broken down into three different disciplines. If you find your discipline you will likewise find areas to connect to deity, or learn a sense of balance in your approach. I’m not certain, but I think this is something the Ancient Greeks probably lacked somewhat in their overall philosophy. That doesn’t mean you have to! The disciplines are Esoteric Architecture (Sacred Geometry), Cosmic Resonance (Sacred Astronomy), and Theurgy (Sacred Ritual). These concepts might seem easy, but they’re actually worth digging into. There’s a lot here.
5. Anchor Yourself Using The Ancient Egypt Point Of View
Lastly, if you’re having problems still, try anchoring yourself. To me, this is actually quite a successful way to prompt your mind to ‘flip’ pantheon points of view. The Ancient Egyptians had a ‘different’ view of the strong side of the body. Many people would have been taught the right side of the body is linked to strength, while the left side is linked to darkness and weakness. However, in Ancient Egypt, this idea was reversed. The right side is weaker than the left. The left side would be typically describes as the right path by today’s standards. So, why not try anchoring yourself using this concept? You might just find this simple task is actually a profound one.