The House of Netjer, a Kemetic Orthodox Temple

[PUBLIC] About the Kemetic Orthodox Religion => [PUBLIC] Netjer (Our Gods & Goddesses) => Topic started by: Hunefer on April 26, 2019, 04:40:56 am

Title: Kemetic Deities inside Sculptures?
Post by: Hunefer on April 26, 2019, 04:40:56 am
Em Hotep,

I have many statues of Egyptian Gods in my home and I spend a lot of time in front of them. I learnt that the gods and goddesses are watching us through our lives, inside our home or outside, it doesnt matter. I don't know but I think that the Gods doesn't need a sculpture to dwell in. What is the purpose of praying in front of sculptures, if it doesnt have an effect on the Gods? And if someone really believes from its heart that the gods are present, does one need a sculpture? Can you please enlighten me on that?

Senebty
Title: Re: Kemetic Deities inside Sculptures?
Post by: Ituiemhat on April 26, 2019, 07:06:58 am
Em hotep, Hunefer!

Most certainly, the Netjeru do not need statues in order for us to worship them. One of the things that I find most fascinating in my own connection with Them is feeling Them in the world that we live in, through people or nature itself (Nature and Netjer- both words have a very similar ring to them! ;) ). If you believe the Netjeru are present, as They are, the statues are never necessary.

Statues, as kept in shrines, are more of a focus for some to direct prayer to. Some people are more visual, and that helps direct that energy. Alternatively, the statue can be had as an item to honor the Netjer in question, to contribute Their imagery to a space or function within a space. The only time to my knowledge that a Netjer is said to "live" within a statue is an open statue, which the State icons of priests fall under.

I hope this helps, and I love hearing the sentiment of worship and connection to Netjer coming directly from the heart, again and again. <3

Senebty,
Emhat
Title: Re: Kemetic Deities inside Sculptures?
Post by: Sedjfaiemitui on April 26, 2019, 10:37:42 am
Em Hotep,

I have many statues of Egyptian Gods in my home and I spend a lot of time in front of them. I learnt that the gods and goddesses are watching us through our lives, inside our home or outside, it doesnt matter. I don't know but I think that the Gods doesn't need a sculpture to dwell in. What is the purpose of praying in front of sculptures, if it doesnt have an effect on the Gods? And if someone really believes from its heart that the gods are present, does one need a sculpture? Can you please enlighten me on that?

Senebty

Em hotep nefer, Hunefer!

Short of the long, and speaking beyond (though certainly not writing-off) "just" Modern Kemetic Orthodox beliefs and practices: Icons provide points of tangible engagement with the Numinous. Statues are "provisional bodies" of the Gods. Gods have many such "provisional bodies" throughout Creation -- up to and including certain living animal avatars, like the Hap/Apis bull and the Living Ram of Banebdjedet, and geographic features like Gebel Barkal vis-á-vis Amun-Re -- though no God is reducible to any one such "provisional body."

What is known as "statue-cult" was hugely important in the daily ritual/worship activities of Ancient Egyptians. Ancient Egyptian religion was decidedly not aniconic, and there are very complex reasons for this -- one cannot downplay the importance of iconography in worship, either Anciently OR Modernly.

If you are able to access the following publications, I highly recommend you track down these titles to get a more comprehensive idea of the whys and wherefores of statue-cult and the importance of iconographic representation across all aspects of Ancient Egyptian religion(s). There is much to this issue that I cannot sufficiently explain, much less in simple terms, in a single forum post (that most people would have the patience to sit through reading, anyway. ;) ).

Goyon, Jean-Claude. Rituels funéraires de l'ancienne Égypte: Le Rituel de l'ouverture de la bouche, les Livres des respirations. Paris: du Cerf, 1972.

Lorton, David. "The Theology of Cult Statues in Ancient Egypt" in Born in Heaven, Made on Earth: The Making of the Cult Image in the Ancient Near East (ed. Michael B. D i c k), pp. 123 - 210. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1999.

Klotz, David. "Between Heaven and Earth in Deir el-Medina: Stela MMA 21.2.6," Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur, Bd. 34 (2006), pp. 269-283.

Senebty!
Sedjfai
Title: Re: Kemetic Deities inside Sculptures?
Post by: Awdjerethethert on May 04, 2019, 12:59:15 am
I don't know but I think that the Gods doesn't need a sculpture to dwell in. What is the purpose of praying in front of sculptures, if it doesn't have an effect on the Gods? And if someone really believes from its heart that the gods are present, does one need a sculpture?

Senebty

Em hotep, Hunefer!

I think that Sedjfai hit the nail on the head in saying that "icons provide points of tangible engagement with the Numinous." Whether that has an effect on the Gods Themselves isn't an argument I feel theologically informed enough to make.

However, I do think that even if those icons don't necessarily have a direct effect on the Gods, they can certainly have an effect on us as worshippers. There's a quote I like by a 20th-century Christian philosopher named Paul Tillich, which tries to argue against idolatry but which I think makes a very good argument for why using shrine icons is so effective:
Or, to paraphrase: icons are valuable because they enable us as humans to more easily interact with the Gods through the Gods' symbols. So much of human thought processes are symbolic. We communicate through and function with symbols. So, having a tangible symbol of the Gods makes it easier to communicate with and honor the Gods.

Consequently, if nothing else, icons do have an indirect effect on the Gods. Because icons make it easier for us to have mystical experiences, they enable us to be better devotees/servants/emissaries/etc. for the Gods. They enable us to better act in accordance with Ma'at.
Title: Re: Kemetic Deities inside Sculptures?
Post by: Hunefer on May 04, 2019, 08:32:44 am
Thank you everyone!