Kemetism: Wikis

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Kemetism (also Kemeticism; both from km.t, the native name of Ancient Egypt) is a term for neopagan revivals of Ancient Egyptian religion which developed in the United States from the 1970s. There are three main groups, each of which take a different approach to their beliefs, ranging from eclectic to polytheistic reconstructionist.

  • Kemetic Wicca (also Tameran Wicca, from t3 mry "land of two riverbanks", another native term for "Egypt") is an eclectic approach combining Ancient Egyptian elements with Wicca, a religion based on pagan practises, which utilises witchcraft. Wicca formed in England.
  • Kemetic Revivalism and Reconstruction, a reconstructionist, which include academic approaches informed by Egyptology, notably Kemetic Orthodoxy of Tamara L. Siuda and Kerry Wisner's Akhet Hwt Hwr and others informed principally by phenomenology of religion and religious studies, notably Kemetic Traditionalism of Dr. Renee Levant and Dr. Sedgwick Heskett.

Contents

History and demographics

Kemetic revivalism appears in the 1970s with the rise of neopaganism in the United States, the "Church of the Eternal Source" promoting New Age receptions of Egyptian spiritualism, founded in 1970, and the Ausar Auset Society promoting Pan-Africanism founded in 1973, Tamara Siuda's Kemetic Orthodoxy following in the late 1980s and Kerry Wisner's Akhet Kemetic reconstructionism in the 1990s and Dr Renee Levant's Kemetic Traditional Religion in 2000.

More recent foundations include Kimata (kimata.org registered to a Camden, NJ address, online since 2000), the International Kemetic Network (Chicago, IL, since 2000), the Nuhati Temple Fellowship (Herndon, VA, since 2001), and the Per Ankh "The Kemetic Traditional Religion" (per-ankh.org being registered to a Racine, Wisconsin address, online since 2000). By the mid 2000s, there is also evidence of "Kemetic" movements outside the USA, with Ta Noutri (Podensac, France, since 2004) and Kamitik (Aulnay, France, since 2004).

The movement is composed of a mixture of New Age, Wicca, and Afrocentrism, the latter in the context of "Afrocentrist Egyptology" which emerged in the United States in the 1990s.

Individual Traditions

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Ausar Auset Society

The "Ausar Auset Society" is a Pan-African religious organization founded in 1973 by Ra Un Nefer Amen. It is based in Brooklyn, New York with chapters in several major cities in the United States. The organization was created for the purpose of providing members a societal framework through which the Kemetic spiritual way of life can be lived daily. The organization provides afrocentric-based spiritual training to the African American community and to the African diaspora. The religion uses the "Kemetic" Tree of Life (Paut Neteru) as the basis of its cosmogony and philosophical underpinning. It seeks to reunite the traditions of the founders of civilization into a spiritually empowering way of life that aims at the awakening of the Ausar principle (the Divine Self) within each individual.

Church of the Eternal Source

The Church of the Eternal Source (Burbank, California, since 1970), and the affiliated Temple of Ptah and Circle of Anubis (since 1975, based in Portland, Oregon) are "open to all interested Pagans and Wiccans who have an interest in the Ancient Egyptian Religions."

Kemetic Orthodoxy

"Kemetic Orthodoxy" is a specific tradition within Kemetic reconstructionism. It gained federal recognition in the United States of America as a religion under the name "House of Netjer" in 1994. Although based on ancient Egyptian beliefs and practices, the religion is a modern one which was founded in 1988 by Rev. Tamara L. Siuda, known formally within her faith as "Her Holiness, Sekhenet-Ma'at-Ra setep-en-Ra Hekatawy I, Nisut-Bity of the Kemetic Orthodox faith" [1] She underwent her coronation as Nisut-Bity in 1996 through ceremonies performed in Egypt by herself, and in 2000 she achieved a master's degree in Egyptology[2]. Within Kemetic Orthodoxy she is considered to have been imbued with the kingly ka, a concept which mimics the divine quality bestowed upon the pharaohs of ancient Egypt.[3] Because of this, devoted Kemetic Orthodix members see her decisions regarding the church to be at least partially divinely inspired.

The organization is centered around the Tawy House temple in Joliet, Illinois but there are followers of the faith located around the world who correspond via the Internet[4]. The House of Netjer was legally recognized by the state of Illinois in 1993, and granted tax-exempt status in 1999. By 2007, Kemetic Orthodoxy claimed some 450 members.

Within Kemetic Orthodoxy, there are three categories of devotion which are recognized. The first is state ritual, which include rituals which have been reconstructed from those in ancient Egyptian texts and which are performed in by the priesthood. Next is personal piety, which is practiced by every Kemetic Orthodox and includes all personal religious practices. Most notably, personal piety includes the shrine ritual called senut which is taught to all Kemetic Orthodox as a daily devotional ritual and can be found in The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook. Finally, the third category is devotion to one's akhu, or ancestors.[5]

Kemetic Reconstruction

Kemetic Reconstructionists acknowledge that there is no unbroken Kemetic tradition, and because of this believe that to really understand ancient ways requires much serious study. Kemetic Reconstructionists emphasize the Reconstruction of the ritual and religious practices of the ancient Egyptians as accurately as possible based on Egyptological and archeological academic research. They identify themselves with Pagan Reconstructionist Religions

The experience of Netjer occurs in the context of ritual practice and daily life. Each member is seen as having a unique and personal relationship with Netjer. The truth of the one's experience of Netjer is always measured against the scholarly sources so as to avoid falling into "personal gnosis" (Knowledge of the divine based solely on experience) .

There is little discussion of culture in these groups, which tend to believe that moderns applying such ancient cultural constructs to modern lives outside of religious practices is in most cases unnecessary.

An example of this is their position regarding the role of the "Nisut". They believe that in modern times there is no nation, thus no basis or need for a King. Further they believe that giving that sort of power to any one individual in modern times is dangerous and ultimately may lead to a cult. The temples leadership runs like a modern committee making decisions for the faith based on research and experience.

The largest of these organizations is Akhet Het Heru which describes itself as a mystery school like other occult organizations and provides material for individual study and practice which draws on both western mystery schools and Egyptological sources.

A big difference between the reconstructionists and both the Orthodox and Traditional Kemetic practitioners is the focus on solitary practitioners and individual distance instruction.

In addition, Kemetic reconstructionists are most likely to identify themselves with modern neo-pagan and occult organizations, although through the influence of the two other schools of thought more and more reconstructionists speak of Kemetic faith as an African religion.

Along with this, Akhet Hwt Hrw defines itself as “An educational resource and school for esoteric studies”.

The leader of Akhet Hwt Hrw is Kerry Wisner. Mr Wisner is trained in hypnosis, a martial artist and is a certified Forsensic Hypnotist. He has studied and practiced within the western mystery tradition for over 20 years before starting Akhet Hwt Hwr. He was initiated into the “Egyptian mysteries” more than 20 years ago.

Kemetic Traditionalism

"Kemetic Traditionalism" is a specific tradition within Kemetic revivalism. "Per Ankh, Inc: The Kemetic Traditional Religion" in 2001, and it explains its faith in terms of "16 Principles of Kemetic Traditional Religion". The religion was founded in 2000 by Renee Levant and Jade Falcon.

It is led today by Dr. Renee Levant and Dr. Sedgwick Heskett. Renee Levant received her doctorate in Philosophy focused on Phenomenology of Religion and Ancient Egyptian African thought from Penn State University in 2004. She holds a Masters Degree (with honors) from DSPT (Graduate Theological Union) and a BA in both Religious Studies and Philosophy. Sedgwick Heskett has been teaching and writing about spirituality and growth work for over 25 years. She received her doctorate in Religious Studies and Anthropology of Religion at the Union Institute in 2004, She completed all work but the dissertation in Religious Studies at Northwestern University, where she concentrated in comparative Buddhist studies, and has a BA in History and Art History. Both teach College classes in religion and philosophy online in addition to their duties at their Temple.

For practitioners of the Kemetic Traditional Religion , scholarship and experience, the religious practices and culture of the ancients AND the needs of the contemporary world are equally vital to their practice of Kemetic faith. In the scholarly study of the religion of Ancient Egypt they are most concerned with understanding the worldview and religious culture of the Ancient Egyptians. While relying on egyptological and archeological texts for the actual rituals and practices Kemetic Traditional Religions emphasis on bringing the meaning and spirit of Ancient Egyptian religion to the world today requires studies from Theology, philosophy, religious studies, sociology and various other materials.

Each member is seen as having a unique and personal relationship with Netjer. At the same time individual members are part of a larger whole—the faith community whose collective experience is central to each members experience and understanding of Netjer

Like the reconstructionists they deny the existence of or need for a divine King in modern society. Unlike in KO they do not believe their leader is in any sense divine. The temple leader is not necessarily the primary spiritual or educational leader of the temple. Rather as in Ancient times spiritual and educational roles are served by various qualified high ranking Priests. However, the spiritual role of Nisut as Chief Priest and mediator between human and divine is carried on by their highest Priests their Heri Tepiu. This is most visibly the case in ritual contexts and matters of maintaining Ma'at in the organization.

Like the House of Netjer, Per Ankh though newer and smaller has a internet presence along with a live practice based around their main temple Per Ankh, was legally recognized by the state of Wisconsin in 1999, and granted tax-exempt status in 2001. By 2007, Kemetic Traditionalism claimed over 300 members.

Atenism

Modern Atenism is a reconstructed religion based on the practices of Ancient Egypt as developed under the reforms of Akhenaten. While it is reconstructed, it is also an evolving religion that combines ancient and modern practices to create a new, living religion.

The history of modern Atenism has been one of growth, followed by some stagnation. During the early years of the internet there was work on creating and defining Atenism, but in time the groups tended to dissipate. At the present moment there are only a couple of semi-active Atenist groups.

See also

Notes

  • Marilyn C. Krogh; Brooke Ashley Pillifant, Kemetic Orthodoxy: Ancient Egyptian Religion on the Internet: A Research Note, Sociology of Religion (2004).
  • Ellen Cannon Reed, Circle of Isis: Ancient Egyptian Magic for Modern Witches (2002), ISBN 978-1-56414-568-0.
  • J. G. Melton, Encyclopedia of American Religions, 5th ed., Detroit (1996).

References

External links

Wiccan and esoteric

Revivalist and Reconstructionist

Afrocentric



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