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Topics - Senushemi

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[color:#990099]Some of you know that I'm a big Phantom of the Opera fan. Gerard Butler played the role of The Phantom in that movie. So when I saw this I just had to share:

Gerry (you know, the guy from 300?) has been cast to portray Set. I can't wait to see this! :D[/color]


Em hotep everybody and welcome to “Kemet this Week.”

So, last week I gave you a little homework.  I asked you to think about how, in your spiritual practice and in your everyday life, you serve the gods.  If you’re like me you might have found this a deceptively tricky question.  How much of what you do on a given day can really be said to serve the gods?  Well, maybe less than you think, maybe more.

Here’s the real key; do you know what God wants?  Very few of us are blessed with some magical hot-line to the Names.  My ever-present Blackberry phone has a calendar, address book, notes, and a ‘to do’ list, but it does not have the secret agenda of the Goddess Bast complete with a step-by-step timeline for world domination.  I have to buy the upgraded model for that.  Plus, I can’t just call Her, long distance charges being what they are.  I tried asking my cats figuring they were much closer to the Lady than I, and much more clued in when it comes to the mind of the divine, but they kept insisting that Bast wants a cheeseburger.  I give up.

There were times in my spiritual life where lack of direct burning-bush levels of divine guidance frustrated me.  It almost seems like something is broken in the system, some piece of missing cause and effect.  We set out with eager hearts, ready to serve, to turn our energy into positive work.  Like the Biblical Prophet Isaiah we say, “Here I am God, send me!”  But the tickets don’t come in the mail and we find ourselves standing in the exact same place, untransformed.

Let me tell you how I got through it.  The first step was to realize that it was not some dramatic failing on my part, some spiritual deafness or undiagnosed malady.  No, we are all in this boat together.  Very few people get a hot-line to the heavens, and to be honest, I wonder if those who do might be losing a little something in the process, missing out on part of the journey.  But, if my brother is eager to serve and struggles for direction, and my sister is eager to serve but struggles for direction, who am I to complain that nobody has handed me a conveniently marked road map?  We share this search and we share this road to wisdom.  There is something powerful in that, for those willing to seek it out.

The second step is the hard part, even though it sounds like simple common sense.  I stopped waiting, and started looking.  It’s easy to sit on your butt and wait for the gods to swoop in and hand you everything you’ve ever wanted, but as the old saying goes; “you can wish into one of your hands and …” uhm … anyway.  The point is, one hand will fill up a lot faster than the other hand, and it isn’t the one with the wishes in it.  Then you have to wash your hands.

Is it frustrating, looking for divine guidance without a road map, and seeking signs without a translation guide?  Yes, it is.  But it’s also worth doing.  Here is the truth; the act of seeking transforms the seeker.  You may spend years feeling like you’re getting nowhere, but as long as you’re striving, as long as you’re trying to understand god’s will in your life and the world, as long as you’re eager to spread that will, to be an instrument of Ma’at …. you are succeeding.  The very least of our actions can have ripple effects that we scarcely understand.  A butterfly flaps its wings and a hurricane rages half a world away.  Have confidence, even when it doesn’t seem that way that your work is worthwhile.  Dare I say it?  Have faith!

Here’s something I do every morning and, if you’re looking for a place to start, it might work for you too.  I make a point as I’m setting out for the day to ask Bast (obviously you would put the Name of your own Parent or Parents here) to understand Her a little better every day and help me to serve Her will; to help me know what that will is; and to use the tools I’ve been given the very best I can.  Beyond the obvious benefits of prayer, this starts my day in a contemplative mind-set.  Because I’ve reminded myself of my goal, I am immediately more alert and more thoughtful about my Mother’s nature and Her presence in my life; and more responsive to opportunities to serve.  If you don’t already do something like this, give it a try for a week and let me know what happens.

For now, this has been “Kemet this Week” for October 23rd, 2009.  Be safe, and I’ll see you next time.


Hello everybody and welcome to “Kemet this Week.”

A few days ago one of our newer members asked me a question about vocations; becoming a priest.  How do you know if you're called to become a priest?  I have this conversation a lot, and I thought it would be good to take a few minutes and talk about this whole vocation thing and what it really means.

We are not a religion of priests.  This is not a faith where priesthood is considered the natural evolution of initiation, the end goal for all members.  No.  As a Shemsu or Remetj, you're not in any way less spiritually advanced than the priests, nor are you missing out on some magical transformative experience you'd never be able to get without taking up the mantle of the clergy.

In antiquity, priesthood was often a seasonal job. You'd spend a few months down on the family farm raising your crops just like everybody else, then spend a few months serving in the temple.  It's sometimes hard for modern folks to adjust to the uniquely Kemetic paradigm of priesthood, so laden are we with conceptions and misconceptions from other faiths.  Here's the biggest misconception of all; the idea that a Kemetic Orthodox Priest serves the gods. That's not correct.  A Kemetic Orthodox Priest does not exist to serve the gods; a Kemetic Orthodox Priest exists to serve the people.  While the W'ab (purity priests) do carry out a daily Rite and maintain state shrines, where do you see them most?  At our rituals.  What are they doing there?  Ensuring purity, seeing to the needs of the attendees, and working to create a pious and contemplative environment for all of us.  If you remember nothing else today, remember this; the W'ab priest who greets you at the door to the temple is the last person to come inside.  And the Imakhu?  Please.  As your Heri Tep, my job is 10% spirituality and 90% paperwork-ality.  We Imakhu take care of the nuts and bolts, the practical concerns of running a church, attending to every day emergencies, and dealing with the very, very unglamorous details that have to be taken care of every day so that everyone can enjoy the benefit from this wonderful faith.  When I'm done recording, mixing and uploading this podcast, I'm going to go work on a membership spreadsheet for a new beginners' class.  It's going to take me about 2 hours.  It will not be a holy 2 hours.

So, who does dedicate themselves to serving the gods?  You do.  I could say this a million times, and still not stress it strongly enough; when you become a Shemsu or a Remetj, you're acknowledging the glory of Netjer and opening yourself to that glory.  We are, all of us, from the King Herself, to someone who has just joined the House yesterday, called to the service of God.  It's in your daily shrine rite; it's study and reflection, and fellowship with your brothers and sisters in the faith. You are a servant of God and a child of God with all the rights and all the responsibilities that come along with it.  Look yourself in the mirror and say that out loud, and say it with confidence, and know that it is true.  There's no title you must earn before working to promote the will of the gods, before striving to manifest Ma'at in your life, and in the lives of others.  

So here's a homework assignment for you.  In your spiritual practice, and in your everyday life, how do you serve the gods?  Think about it.  Brainstorm.  See what you come up with, and we'll talk about it next week.

For now, this has been “Kemet this Week” for October 16th, 2009.  Be safe, and we’ll see you next week.


Hello everybody and welcome to “Kemet this Week.”
We live in a world of cycles.  As Kemetic Orthodox this is keenly reflected in our spirituality.  But you can see it in everyday life too, even in fashion and pop culture.  An idea or a genre comes out of nowhere and all of a sudden, as long as it’s hot, it seems like it is being shoved down your throat everywhere you look.  Usually this is pretty innocuous like when every movie studio seems to be making the same kind of film, or all the clothes in your favorite store suddenly look like repeats from the 1980s.

Cycles come and cycles go, pushed by the wheel of profitability.  But there’s one particular trend I want to talk about today because it has started popping up in the mass media a lot recently, and I think we’re just at the beginning of a deluge.  I’m talking about 2012, end of the 5000-and-change year long  Mayan Calendar at which point, depending on who you ask, we will be swept into a new age of Cosmic Consciousness or suffer a horrible apocalyptic doomy-gloom.

What do I think?  I think you should get ready, because here come the signs.  First of all; Mayan calendar?  Not the Mayan calendar.  What people are talking about here is what’s called the “Meso-American  long-count Calendar”, which was used by the Maya and several other Meso-American cultures, and it was one of three calendars!  See, the important thing to understand is that we take a lot of cultural inventions for granted.  We keep track of time using a 365-day solar calendar and an incremental year count.  When our calendar ends, we advance the year by one number and start the calendar over.  It’s so simple and it works so well, it’s hard to imagine anyone would use a different method.  The ancient Meso-Americans did have a solar calendar but they did not invent the incremental year.  Their second calendar was a ceremonial one which ran for 260 days.  If you wanted to pinpoint a particular date, you’d say X-day on the first calendar and Y-day on the second.  Because of the different lengths, it took about 52 years for the two calendars to synchronize and start repeating again, which was fine for most things because 52 years was longer than the average human life span at the time.  Now, it doesn’t work so well if you need to make a record of historical events, royal dynasties or all that good stuff we love to put on monuments, so the long-count calendar was created which works like the other two, except it was designed to last for over 5,000 years – you can’t say these people didn’t plan ahead!  So, what happens when you get to the last day of the solar calendar?  It ends, it starts over.  What happens when you get to the end of the ceremonial calendar?  It ends, it starts over.  What happens when you get to the end of the long-count calendar?  Well, that’s when the celestial aliens land and usher us all into a spiritual utopia  -  wait;  no.  No.  Actually, there are two schools of thought regarding 2012, which fall variously into the ”everything’s going to be wonderful” camp, or the “Oh, dear God, we’re all going to die!” camp.

One of these is more troubling than the other and it might not be the one you think.  Let’s start with the “doom and gloom” first.  You’ve probably seen the trailer for that new movie, also called “2012,” which shows the planet being destroyed in an orgy of computer animations, special effects, and bad acting.  A few writers, researchers and prognosticators have jumped on the apocalyptic bandwagon, theorizing about how the end of the calendar will mark the coming of Armageddon which, co-incidentally, was the name of another lousy movie, and I want my money back.  

But seriously folks, didn’t we get over this back in the year 2000, or the year 1000, or any of literally hundreds, and I mean hundreds (if not thousands) of doomsday prophecies and predictions that go back as long as we’ve had the power to write them down?  Scaring people is big business, and nothing sells like doomsday which, co-incidentally, was the name of a pretty good movie with an awesome sound track.  But I digress.

So, what’s supposed to happen according to these nattering nabobs of negativity?  Well, it could be a catastrophic gravitational shift caused by the celestial alignment of certain astronomical features sacred to the Mayans, except that actually happens every 36 years and the last happened in 1998.  I don’t remember much about 1998, but I’m pretty sure nothing blew up - more than usual.  

Let’s see; it could be a devastating geo-magnetic reversal, shifting the magnetism of the poles. True, geo-magnetic reversal would probably destroy all life on the planet and it is scary stuff to contemplate, which is why it’s good it takes several thousand years to happen.  You know, on a world where we face so many real ecological dangers, you’re pretty safe not losing any sleep over that one.  

It could be, and this idea is gaining popularity, that the rogue planet “Nibiru”, which no astronomer has ever actually seen, but is nonetheless going to swing into our solar system and then crash into Earth.  No.  Stop.  Seriously, science does not work that way, and how do we know that “Nibiru” exists?  Channeled messages from aliens.  I’m guessing that these are the same kind of aliens that enjoy picking up lonely farmers and subjecting them to unscheduled proctology exams.  Are you seriously going to take astronomy advice from somebody with hobbies like that? I didn’t think so.  I imagine it would be good to do a talk at some point on how personal gnosis needs to be back-checked against things like history, science, and logic, but that’s for another episode.

OK.  Moving on.  Now we get to the real problem.  The idea that the new age, beginning with the calendar’s end, is going to be a spiritual new age as well.  Didn’t we get over this back in the year 2000, or the year 1000, or the harmonic convergence of the Age of Aquarius, or Woodstock? Beyond the logical problem of anticipating a “sea change” in human consciousness based on a man-made calendar, there are very real and present dangers associated with this kind of thinking.  Like hippies.  Teaming hordes of hippies, on my lawn, smelling like patchouli.  

No, the real problem is that the belief in some artificially induced New Age, whether you want to thank the astrological alignment, the aliens, flying spaghetti monster, whoever – fundamentally absolves and robs human beings of their ethical rights and responsibilities.  Saying, “What’s that?  There’s going to be a magical rise in spiritual consciousness in 2012?  Well, let me check my watch; yeah, it’s only 2009, so I guess I can spend a few more years making money, raping the environment and being a jerk to my fellow man, and it’s all going to get fixed for us in the end, right?”  Wrong.  This is not the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, my friends, and there is no magical panacea waiting to sweep away the accumulated silt of the centuries.  We live in a world ravaged by neglect, by corruption and greed, by all manner of Isfet, and nobody - not the aliens, not the gods, and not the right pattern of stars in the sky - is going to wave a wand and clean up our mess.  Who is?  We are, because it is our challenge, because it is our birthright, and because it is our job.

For the Kemetic Orthodox, every sunset marks the end of an age, and every sunrise begins a new one.  Every day is Zep Tepi, the First Time, and that big ball of fire up in the sky is a symbol of our contract with the gods to care for this world and all of our brothers and sisters, doing the best we can to fight against Isfet, and spread Ma’at to every last corner of the globe.  Nobody is coming to save us, so we’ve got to save each other.

You’ve been listening to “Kemet this Week” for September 4th, 2009.  Thanks for listening and I’ll see you next week.


Hello everybody, and welcome to “Kemet this Week.”

So, how’s your Ka doing?  The Ka, that’s K – A, is a spiritual concept analogous to the Western concept of the soul.  In reality, the Ka is just one of many pieces including the Ka, the Ba, the Khaibit, and so on, that all go together to make a complete human soul, but I’ll save the heavy theology for another discussion.  Bottom line, it’s kind of like your heart, and everyone knows how important a light heart is to our people, especially when you’re standing before the gods and the scales come out!

What else do we know about hearts?  Hearts can get broken, hearts can ache, and hearts can get sick.  Most of us don’t exactly live in a healthy emotional environment when you get right down to it.  If you want reasons to be depressed about the world and the state it’s in, look no further than your radio, your television set, or just off your front porch.  The effects of Isfet surround us every single day and it can get overwhelming sometimes.  Even when things are going just right, sometimes we still need a little positive re-enforcement.  For example; me, I’m very light-sensitive, and out here by the Temple it has been raining; and I don’t just mean rain, I mean thunderstorms, flash-flooding warnings, the whole works for just about 3 days now.  I don’t know about you but 3 days without sunlight brings me pretty down low.

Our Faith has an important concept for times like this.  It’s called “feeding your Ka,” giving your soul the basic nourishment it needs to stay healthy and strong.  Your Ka needs the same things as your physical body does, like regular exercise and good nutrition.  If you let it lie on the metaphorical couch all day and fill it with junk food, well, you can imagine what you’ll end up with.  So, what should we feed our Kau with, and how?

At the simplest level, feeding your ka can just entail doing something nice for yourself, taking a rest, clearing your head.  It may sound funny in a way that our religion actually specifies that it is important to treat yourself nicely.  I mean, duh, right?  But think about it this way.  If you don’t take care of yourself, if you don’t respect yourself enough to nourish your own heart and soul, how can you possibly take care of the people around you?  Besides, life is filled with challenges, and if you’re not of sound mind and in fighting shape, a lot of opportunities to spread ma’at to others might very well pass you by.  People sometimes mistake feeding your Ka for self-indulgence.  It’s easy to understand the confusion, since the two concepts aren’t entirely separate.  I’ve indulged in a little retail therapy from time to time, most people have. The trick is, don’t let feeding your Ka become an excuse for materialistic excess.  If you’re acquiring stuff to fortify your soul, all you’re going to end up with is the same old blues, and a lot of stuff you don’t need.  In this world, everybody wants to sell you something to make you feel better.  Buy this shiny new junk, or pop this shiny new pill, it’s all the same song and dance.  But the right way to feed you Ka is to find out what will make you truly happy and fulfilled, not what some pitch man on T.V. says.

I apologize for the cliché, but more often than not, the best things in life are pretty close to free.  Me?  I’m going to finish this podcast and put on a B.B. King record.  I’m going to head out tomorrow morning with some of my fellow faithful, visit a local cemetery, and take some time to celebrate my Akhu; then I’ll be going out to dinner with some old, close friends to share some good food, good drink, and good conversation.

That’s the way to do it, and this has been “Kemet this Week.”  Take care, feed your Ka, and I’ll see you next Friday.


Em hotep everyone, and welcome to “Kemet this Week.”  There is a time when we commemorate the spirits of our ancestors, when we celebrate and make offerings to the dead and give thanks for their guidance.  No, not Halloween, wrong part of the world.  I’m talking about the Wag Festival, and while there may not be costumes and candy, we don’t have to wait until October either.  It's right here, right now, and there is no better way to start the new year.

Does that sound a little odd?  Starting the new year by thinking about dead people?  We’re about beginnings, not endings, right?  And that is exactly the point.

We believe, as Kemetic Orthodox, that death is not the end of our experience.   It is the end of a cycle, nothing more.  Once judged and found pure, we live anew as the Akhu, the blessed dead.  The Akhu are all around us, watching over us, looking after their descendants (that’s you and me), and helping to give us all a little nudge when we need it most.  I’m sometimes amused; you know, we do a segment on heka and such in the beginners’ classes and folks are always drawn to the spooky stuff.  I think that’s human nature.  We get a lot of questions and a lot of worry about mu’uet, the unclean spirits; those who flee the weighing of the heart and remain in our world to make trouble.  I respect their concern, but what I always say is; “Of all of the things in the universe to worry about, of all the dangers out there, that ought to be near the rock-bottom of your list. Why?  Because you’ve got Akhu.  Even if you don’t know their names, you have ancestors and relatives in the west, and there is nothing, nothing in the world that an unclean spirit can do that the Akhu can’t stop flat.  The Rev. Siuda has said many times, and I believe her, that you can go your entire life never hearing a one word about the gods, never seeing a statue, or reading a prayer; as long as you had a good relationship with your Akhu, you’d be just fine.

Think about someone you knew, someone you loved, who went to the west.  You know, they are still here.   They never left, not really.  And remember that the Akhu are just like us, they are us, and we will one day be them.  They understand what it’s like to have a bad day at work, or see the bills piling up, or sleep with a broken heart.  They know because it’s happened to them too.  And, if you’re willing, you can reach out to them.  They would love to give you a helping hand.

So take some time this weekend, during this Wag Festival, and think about your ancestors.   Think about the people who have traveled to the west before you and what they did in this life to lay the bricks in the road you’re traveling down now.  Make an offering and say thank you.  It doesn’t take long, and I don’t think you’ll regret it.

As we enter our Year of Djehuty, this year of planning with a focus of action, we’re going to need some powerful resources to make our dreams come true.  Whatever your goals, you don’t have to do it alone.  You have a community; and our community includes both the living and the dead.  Now is the time for you to get right with your Akhu, to make sure they’re standing in your corner.  In doing so, you cement your own place in this community of faith and establish your role and legacy that has stretched for thousands upon thousands of years; the chain of life from the land of the living to the blessed west to the living once more is endless and never ceasing.  None of us is an island, and that is truly something worth celebrating.

You’ve been listening to “Kemet this Week” for August 21st, 2009.  Thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you next week.


Hello everyone and Happy Wep Ronpet.  It’s a brand new episode of “Kemet this Week” for a brand New Year; and what a year it’s gonna be!  You see, every New Year falls under the dominion of one or more of the Divine Names.  This year we greet Djehuty, Lord of Wisdom and Knowledge.

But before we get into that, let’s take a moment to talk about the New Year’s Retreat.  Held in Joliet, Illinois, this year we welcomed visitors from as far away as Scotland and Finland.  The event ran from Tuesday to Saturday and, like every year, we enjoyed panel discussions, lectures and fellowship – leading up to the big event, which was greeting the sunrise of the New Year in our Temple at Tawy House.

I think it’s safe to say that by the end of the week most of us were pretty darn tired, but so sad to see it end. You know, these events always make me step back and reflect on how wondrous it is that we’ve come together to build this amazing place.  I was sitting there at lunch on the 3rd day of the Retreat and I’m looking down this long table at the restaurant and marveling at the scope of the community we have assembled.  We are so many things.  We are artists and mechanics and carpenters, we’re students and college professors, we’re police officers and doctors and nurses; and above all else, we are Kemetic Orthodox!

To all of you who attended this Year’s Retreat, and to all of you who couldn’t join us this year - thank you.  I am proud more than I can say to have you with me, helping to build this great dream and make it a reality.  

All right, enough of that before I get all sad.  It’s the New Year and we’ve got work to do!

Djehuty is the Lord of All Knowledge.  What does that suggest?  Your knee-jerk response; what comes to mind?  A cerebral nature, retiring and quiet?  He’ll be sitting wrapped in an afghan, sipping Earl Grey tea while pondering a chess move?  Not so fast!

In the Western World we are often bombarded by stereotypes, suggesting a dichotomy between thought and action. We’ve got the big, burly, shoot-first-ask questions-later tough guy, and he’s the hero of the movie, while his bumbling genius sidekick stays at home building gadgets and occasionally being kidnapped.

Ours is not a world that values learning.  The highly-educated are often assumed to be ineffective in “real life,” if not completely socially inept.

Djehuty, I think, challenges us to see the lie behind this image. He is the wisest and most learned of all of the Names of Netjer and He is also one of the most active, putting His powerful mind to work and doing things that no other God can possibly do.  He is the reason that we have the days upon the year, the reason that so many of our most beloved Names can even be born in the first place.

While we may not rise to such lofty heights in our own lives, He sets an example for us all to follow in this coming year.  Look at it this way; actions without thought or wisdom are a good way to walk right into a big pile of Isfet.  I know it, you know it.  We’ve all been there before – right?

Conversely, sitting around and contemplating your shoelaces, even if you’re the smartest thing on two legs, doesn’t make the world a better place for you or anybody else.

The perfect expression of Ma’at begins with thought, an idea.  That idea passes through wisdom, then - tempered by understanding - it blossoms into action.  The well-lived life requires these elements to bloom and Djehuty is where it all begins.  Smart is cool.  Smart is sexy.  Don’t let anybody, and especially not the media, tell you any different.

So, what will you do in Djehuty’s year? There’s never going to be a better time to get out there and explore; see the world, see your world, learn its mysteries, educate yourself; and when you do, put that education into action.  Do something with it.  Knowledge is a tool.  Wisdom is a blueprint.  You are the artisan, and ma’at is the final creation!

This has been “Kemet this Week” for August 14th, 2009.  Have a great weekend and we’ll see you next time.


Hello everybody, this is Rev. Craig Schaeffer and you’re listening to “Kemet this Week” - and what a week it is!  Today is August 1st, last day of the Old Year.  Tomorrow we enter the Intercalary Days – days outside of time, days when anything can happen, as we get ready for Wep Ronpet and the birth of a brand new year.  This week we thought we would bring you some prayers, translated from an Old Kingdom papyrus that you can say at home if you can’t make it out to the Retreat.  

But, first things first.  Today is the last day of the year, so if you haven’t made those New Year’s Resolutions yet (remember last week?), and you’ve decided you want to, well, don’t let the day pass you by; now is the time.  And while you’re thinking about what you want to do with your new year and what you want to accomplish, don’t forget to give thanks for the old one.  Give thanks to Khnum, The Creator, and light candles and lamps after sunset.  It is a feast of lights.

Tomorrow is the 1st Intercalary Day and the birthday of Wesir.  It is also called,”The Day of the Pure Bull in His Field.”  Take a candle, a plain white candle is fine, light it and pray:

“Oh Wesir, bull in His cavern whose name is hidden from His mother and His children,

Hail to you, I’m your son, Heru”

August 3, the second Intercalary day, is the birthday of Heru-wer, also called “The day of One with the Powerful Heart.”  On this day, light a candle and say:

“Oh Heru-wer, Great of Strength, Master of Fear, Great in Awe;

may You save me from all bad unholy things, from any slaughter in this year.”

Day 3, August 4th, is the birthday of Set, also called “The day of One with the powerful heart, the Son of Shu Who is in His nest.”  Light a candle for Set on this day and pray:

“Oh Set, Son of Nut, Great of Strength, protect Your companions of Your arms.

I am the son of Your son.”

The 4th Intercalary day is the birthday of Aset, on August 5th, also called “The Day of Readying Terror.”  Light a candle for Aset on this day and pray:

“Oh Aset, eldest daughter of Nut, Mistress of heka who paints its scrolls, Lady who satisfies the Two Lands, Whose face is shining,

Aset who follows the Akhet Eye, daughter of Nut, Mistress of the Two Lands,

Save me from all bad and unholy things as you saved your son Heru,

I am the brother of your sister.”

Lastly, the 5th Intercalary Day, August 6th, is the birthday of Nebt-Het, “The day of the Child who is in His Nest”.  Light a candle for Nebt-Het this day and pray:

“Oh Nebt-Het, daughter of Nut, sister of Set.

Look at me Father! You Who make Your daughter healthy, Who is steady of face,

I am the power of the Goddess in the womb of her Mother Nut,

Save me from any evil thing of this year, from any slaughter of this year,

As you have prepared my protection.

May you repeat my protection in the name of this day,”Child who is in His nest!”

Finally, August 7th is Wep Ronpet, New Year’s Day.  On this day, light a candle at the moment of sunrise, and say:

“Hail to you, Great in your Names, Children of the Great Goddess,
Who came from the holy womb,

Lords because of your Father, Goddesses because of your Mother,

Without knowing death, may You protect me and save me,

And keep me healthy and protected,

And may you protect me constantly,

For I am the one who is in Your name”.

You want to repeat this prayer four times, and greet the New Year.  Remember; it’s a time of unlimited potential.  A new year, a new slate, and new opportunities.  You can make this year into anything you want, and anything you dream, as long as you are willing to work for it, reach for it, and give thanks when you get there.

Next week, if our computer equipment is willing, I’ll hopefully be bringing you some audio from the Wep Ronpet Retreat, and some commentary from old and new friends.  We’ll see you there!

You’ve been listening to “Kemet this Week, Episode 6” for August 1st, 2009.  We’ll see you next week.

Happy New Year!


Hello, everybody, and welcome to “Kemet This Week.”  Wep Ronpet is almost here, so this year I’d like to talk to you about... New Year’s resolutions.  I know, I know, just like most of you I’ve made my share over the years and broken my share as well.  Sometimes it seems like one naturally follows the other and the question isn’t whether I’ll keep a resolution all year but how many months or weeks or days it’ll take before breaking it.

So why do we do it at all?  On the secular calendar, the New Year’s Day marks the start of a new year and another milestone in our lives.  While people are living longer than ever, we still only get so many years, and the changing of the calendar is a reminder for us to value the time we have.  For the Kemetic Orthodox, our New Year’s Day takes on even greater significance.  It’s the dawn of renewal in the truest sense.  The old year, the old slate wiped away, and the beginning of a new world, a world that will become whatever we make it.  What a powerful time to contemplate the things in your own life that you’d like to change and resolve to improve yourself in the year to come.  Almost too powerful, really.  By attaching our goals to the turning of the year, there’s a certain urge to reach for the grandiose, to match the momentousness of the occasion.  This’ll be the year that I exercise every single day, that I write the great American novel, that I lose a hundred pounds, that I pay all my bills and get out of debt completely.  Is it any wonder, setting the stakes so high, that the temptation to give up is almost insurmountable?  And once we do surrender to inertia, it makes it that much harder to keep future resolutions.  After all, we’ve failed once--why bother trying again?

I believe that New Year’s resolutions are a valuable and worthwhile tool, but it’s important to temper optimism with realism.  A small, manageable goal might not seem terribly impressive, but ask yourself this:  what’s better, a small objective that you successfully meet, giving you the sense of pride and accomplishment to help you move on to your next goal and then the next after that, and so on and so on, or an enormous task that ends in defeat?  So here’s one of my new year’s resolutions, which I’m sharing by way of example.  I want to put more emphasis on my writing career in the coming year.  At first I considered resolving to write 2,000 words a day, every day.  It’s a feasible goal - I’ve sustained that kind of pace for a few weeks at a time in the past - but then I thought about it honestly.  I’m working longer hours than ever at my job, the Temple takes up more and more time as our membership grows, I have some projects that have to get done around the house in the near future, and I realized – 2,000 words every day?  Every single day, meaning the moment that I have a crisis or a large block of appointments I’ve failed to meet my goal?  With that resolution, I’d be setting myself up to fail.  So I’m dialing it back a little.  My new year’s resolution is to write 10,000 words a week. That’s about 1,400 a day, or, to put it another way, I can still write 2,000 words every day and afford to skip two days a week if I have something else that has to get done.  It’s close to my original goal, but I’ve built in a little padding, so to speak.  It’s a goal that will challenge me to stick to a schedule and improve my discipline, but loose enough that I won’t feel daunted before I even start.  I think I can do it!  Of course, I’ve just announced my resolution to you all on this podcast, so now I’d better stick to it or I’m really going to look silly.

In a nutshell, look for resolutions that will challenge you, stretch your boundaries, but not pile so much on your shoulders that you can’t hope to succeed.  New Year’s resolutions should be a fun opportunity to grow, not a year-long uphill struggle.  I encourage you to think it over and give it a try.  Now is the time, because Wep Ronpet is less than two weeks away.  There’s change in the air.  Can you feel it?  Don’t let the chance to become a part of that change pass you by.

This has been “Kemet This Week,” Episode 5, for July 24, 2009. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.


KAI-IMAKHU ANTYBAST:  Hello, everybody.  Welcome to “Kemet This Week.”  This week we’ve got a special treat in the studio, which is still hot as we close out August.  I’m here with Reverend Tamara Siuda, the Nisut of the Kemetic Orthodox faith. How’re you doing?

TAMARA L. SIUDA: I’m fine. Good afternoon.

A: Good afternoon, and thanks for being with us. This week we’re talking about Wep Ronpet.  Now, for the people in the audience who may not be Kemetic Orthodox, can you give us in a nutshell: What is Wep Ronpet?

T: “Wep Ronpet” is the ancient Egyptian word for “Opening the Year,” and it is the holiday of the Egyptian new year--the ancient Egyptian new year, or the Kemetic new year, as we tend to call it today. It is the biggest holiday of the year, obviously. We celebrate it not in January with the secular new year but actually in what is now secular August. This year Wep Ronpet falls on the seventh of August – Friday, the seventh of August - and we will be having a huge ceremony, a week of ceremonies, and a big celebration here in town with about 45 of our members.  There are also a number of Wep Ronpet celebrations going on with our members around the world.

A:  Now you said it falls on the seventh this year.  What determines what day of the year Wep Ronpet falls on?

T:  Wep Ronpet is determined by celestial phenomena, in particular the sighting of a star called Sirius. It’s called Sopdet in ancient Egyptian, but we know it as Sirius. It is the brightest star in our sky. In the summertime, the star Sirius disappears over Egypt - it falls below the horizon and it cannot be seen.  It can’t be seen for 70 days. On the 71st day, suddenly it can be seen again, and because it is the brightest star in the sky, people noted this. Additionally, not very long after the star appeared in the sky, the inundation would begin. The Nile would begin to rise again, the summer would end, and the seasonal harvests and growing would start.

A:  So they saw a correlation there.

T:  Yes. They considered the star to be a symbol of the goddess Aset or Isis, Who was out looking for Her husband Wesir or Osiris, the dead God Who had gone to the land of the dead, and Who was also embodied in the green land, which of course is dead and sandy and covered in sand at the end of the year.  And then Her searching, the star lit Her way, She found Him, and the green returned.

A:  So in a religion filled with cycles, this is kind of the great grandmother of cycles here, for the entire year, the entire nation.  Now what about the days leading up to Wep Ronpet, the intercalary days - what’s that all about?

T:  In our calendar, we know that the earth takes 365 and 1/4 days to circle the sun, and the ancient Egyptians had a calendar that they worked out that was 12 months of 30 days, and if you add that up in your head you get 360 and you’re short by five.  Mythologically they explained this by suggesting that there were 5 days that did not belong to any year, that occurred between one year and the next, which we call the intercalary days or the epagomenal days.  Those days were assigned to the birthdays of certain Gods.  The first of the Gods is Wesir, or Osiris, on the first day.  Heru-wer, or Horus the Elder, on the second day.  Set on the third day. Aset, or Isis, on the fourth day. And Nebt-Het, or Nepthys, on the fifth day.  Then the sixth day after that is of course Wep Ronpet, and the new year starts.

A:  You mentioned that we have a general House Retreat, which draws people in from literally all over the world.

T: Yes, this year we have people coming from Finland, and from Scotland, and from Canada, and a bunch of other places.

A:  Do you remember offhand - I know that every year we try to guess who came the farthest, and I’m trying to remember who the world-record winner is.  Was it South Korea?

T:  It might have been South Korea, it might have been Australia, it might have been New Zealand; it might have been South Africa.  I’m not sure.  Get a map!

A:  Personally I’m better at geography when it’s just around Upper Nile, Lower Nile ... I’m kind of limited that way. So what can people expect if they’re coming to Retreat for the first time? What happens at Retreat?

T:  At Retreat, we actually start Retreat at the beginning of the days that are “between the years.”  We spend time ... there are religious events, prayers, rituals, ceremonies. We do some heka, or ritual magic, to ensure good luck in the coming year. There’s teaching of many sorts. There’s fellowship. There are lots of things that go on at Retreat. We usually have a very good time. People get to know each other if they’ve never met before. Some of them ... we have people who come every year, we have people who come as often as they can. We have people who are not here who contact us, and we try to keep track of what’s going on at Retreat and let people who are at home know about what we’re doing as much as we can.

A:  People will be able to, as always, get updates on the official House boards at  A lot of people see that.  And as you mentioned, there are people holding their own smaller regional gatherings, for people who can’t make it out to Illinois for the main event.  So it’s a big time. You know, it’s kind of funny - I think this time of year more than anything reminds me of back when this was you and me and one person in a basement, which I think was our first Wep Ronpet celebration.  How far we have come.

T:  Yes, and this year we’re going to have about 45 people, and we are using a conference center in a hotel as well as the temple here. So we have multiple venues and lots of people, and every year it gets a little bigger and a little more exciting, and that’s really neat.

A:  Okay, so now I’ve got to get the burning question. Every year belongs to a god or gods, such as last year was...

T:  The year of Ra and Khnum.

A: The year of Ra and Khnum. And every year there’s an oracle, which is presented to the members at new year when we come to Retreat, and then later on it’s posted up for everyone to see.  And of course we know what the god of the year is and what the oracle says before the actual event, because it has to be, you know, divined and researched and written up. So ... Who’s this year?

T:  Well, I can neither confirm nor deny that there is a god and/or gods in charge of Year 17. We know Who it is and which Ones it is, or One, and I can’t tell you.  Yet.

A:  Okay, so I’m going to pretend there was a major hint in there, because it makes me feel better, and in the meantime I’ll just say thanks for being on the show, and I’ll see you at Wep Ronpet.

T:  You’re welcome.

A:  You’ve been listening to “Kemet This Week”, Episode 4, for July 17, 2009.  Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.  


Hello everyone and welcome to “Kemet this Week.”  It’s the 4th of July, which in the United States we celebrate as Independence Day.  For international listeners, this commemorates our birth as a nation.  On the 4th of July, 1776, 56 men gathered in Philadelphia to sign their names to the Declaration of Independence.  It was an incendiary document that, after it was delivered to King George III, sparked a revolutionary war against Great Britain.

These men were not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  In addition to any number of other flaws, they were products of their time.  Very hostile to the indigenous population, opposed to suffrage, many were slave owners.  They held many views that, by contemporary standards, we would consider pretty barbaric, and I’m not here to put the signers on a pedestal.  But on this momentous holiday, we see that these men shared something that we highly prize as members of the Kemetic Orthodox Faith – courage, and character.

At the time, the eastern seaboard was a cluster of colonies, legally the territory of Great Britain and everyone there was a British citizen.  That is, until the signing of the Declaration, which declared a permanent break with the mother country whether the mother country liked it or not!

Now, think about this for a second.  At the time, Britain had one of the largest standing armies in the world, and one of the most powerful navies.  They had the force of International Law and a globe-spanning empire.  And these guys, these 56 guys, sent a formal letter to the leader of this global empire, one of the most powerful men in the world, saying “Hey George, get lost!”

Now you may feel outnumbered from time to time, but I guarantee you’ve never been outnumbered like that.  By putting their names on that piece of paper the signers were committing High Treason.  In effect, they were signing their own death warrants.  They had no guarantee that the British Army would not just roll over their incipient rebellion like a squirrel on the road. They also had no guarantee that, once the reprisals started, their own people wouldn’t panic and offer them up on a silver platter as a means of restoring the peace. They were, in effect, taking responsibility for the entire revolution on their own shoulders, saying, “If we win, all of our people win; but if we lose, we’re willing to pay the price.”  

Now that’s real courage, and real character; to take an immeasurable risk, knowing that at best they’d be hunted for the rest of their lives if their gambit failed, but doing it anyway; doing it for a greater good,  a good they believed was worth the sacrifice.

So, what can we learn from all this?  The signers were few in number.  So are we.  The signers changed the course of history.  So can us.

You don’t need armies, vast fortunes, or untold power to change the world.  All you need is the will, the creativity, and the intellect that are our birthright as children of Netjer.  That and the integrity, the courage, and the moral character to stand up for what you believe in, even in the face of overwhelming odds.

The power to change the world isn’t something limited to a lucky and elite few, it’s something that all of us possess.  Sure, you may not give birth to a nation, or fight a revolutionary war, but take a look around.  Look at your home, your neighborhood, your city – do you see something going wrong?  Do you know how, even in some small way, to work towards making it right?  The gods have given us the power to create change and, if you know you have this power within you, do you have any excuse for not using it?

Happy 4th of July everybody! This has been “Kemet this Week,” Episode 3, and we’ll see you next time!

KEMET THIS WEEK – PODCAST #2 for June 26, 2009


Hello and welcome to “Kemet This Week.”  This week we have a special treat for you.  The Rev. Tamara Siuda, the Nisut of the Kemetic Orthodox faith, is in the studio with us.
Rev. Craig Schaefer:  Thanks for coming.

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  You’re welcome.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  This week we are going to talk about Aset Luminous which is coming up.  When is Aset Luminous?

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  This year it will be actually on the 4th of July.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  Good timing.  Umm, now that we know when it is, what is it?  Let’s have the basics for people who have never heard of Aset Luminous before.

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  For those who are not in our religion, Aset is the Egyptian or Kemetic way to say Isis, the Goddess Isis, and so Aset or Isis Luminous is the holiday which in ancient times was called the “Procession of Aset, Mother of God.”  That may also sound familiar.  Ironically enough, they still celebrate this holiday in a certain manner in Italy where it is called part of the Ave Maria Festival and is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  Do we know how old Aset Luminous is?

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  We’re not entirely certain.  Most of the sources that we have for Aset Luminous come from the Later Period, but most of the sources for all of Aset’s worship do come from after Dynasty VI.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  So what’s the point of the festival?  What’s it all about?

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  The festival occurs at an interesting time of year.  It is exactly ten days, which is one kemetic week, after the celebration of the summer solstice which is the day of the Eye of Ra’s escape, and it’s exactly three weeks, three kemetic weeks, 30 days, before Wep Ronpet or the Opening of the Year, our Kemetic New Year.  This is significant.  It comes at a time right after we are acknowledging that the days are getting shorter; the sun, which is the visible symbol of the divine on earth is disappearing for the people of Kemet, or being there less, and just before we start to get ready for the largest festival of the year and the renewing of the year.  That is not lost on me when I look at the calendar and think about the significance of that.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  I was just thinking about how we make a lot about how, in the days right before Wep Ronpet there is sort of a sense of disillusion, the whole winding down of the year, things coming apart, breaking apart really as the whole year kind of disintegrates and this almost seems an answer to that, a preemptive answer.

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  Very much so.  People like to talk about how the end of the year is somehow less than the beginning of the year, that, you know, the year is getting old.  This continues to exist in modern understandings of New Year.  At the end of December, people talk about the old year being replaced by the New Year that’s symbolized by a baby and that, you know, we are going to make resolutions for the New Year and do all these new things.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  Which people do with Kemetic New Year also.

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  Absolutely! But there is sort of a sense on top of that in the Northern Hemisphere that this is summer, this is the hottest time of the year, the slowest time of the year, these are the Dog Days when people are tired and frustrated and have short tempers.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  And as we record this it is something … is it 90,000 degrees out right now?

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  It’s pretty hot.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  We have killed the fans in the studio so we may not make it to the end of this podcast.  So this … this is a one day festival.
Rev. Tamara Siuda:  Yes

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  How… how is it celebrated?

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  What we do today is very similar to what was done in ancient times.  In ancient times it was done on a very large national scale.  The images of Aset would be taken out of Their temples and placed on boats and taken – They were paraded through the streets to the Nile and then paraded around on the Nile.  It was sort of a river festival with boats and lights after dark.  The point here was the reminder that even when it’s dark outside, divinity in the form of light is still there.  Houses would be lit up.  Temples would be lit up.  People would carry around candles.  Small boats were filled with people who had lights.  Even smaller boats were made out of papyrus and people who knew how to write could write prayers on them and then they would put little lights in them, little lamps, and float them alongside the very large boat with the Goddess’ image in it.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  Sounds like it is very big emphasis on community which really underlies a lot of our rituals.

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  Yes … yes.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  … and a lot of our ceremonies.

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  Very much so.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  So is this something that someone could still celebrate alone in a pinch, if someone doesn’t have any other worshippers in their area?

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  Absolutely!  Anyone can light a light – one candle - and if you don’t have a candle you can turn on the lights in your house.  We used to have some fun with some of the younger members of the Temple to have a “safe race” to see how fast you could turn on every single light in your house, leave them on for a couple of moments, give thanks for light in the darkness, and then turn them back off.  Obviously we don’t want to burn up too much electricity, but, this could be done.  I am told every year of a lot of devotees who light small candles, make small paper boats and take them to a local source of water, a river, a lake, a pond, a kiddie pool, the bathtub.  Lots of things have been done.  The main objects of the ceremony which are associated also with Aset as a goddess, are water and light, and anybody can do water and light.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  And as I recall you can put prayers in the boats, either laying written prayers under the candle (if you put a little candle in the little paper boat) or you can actually write it on the paper you make the boat out of.

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  Yes.  We have a couple of sources on our website if anybody comes to our website.  Uh, we have a couple of people who have researched how to make paper boats that will actually float and here at the Temple when we have our ceremonies we will take all of the prayers that are sent to us and write them out on paper and then fold that paper and make them into boats and take them out and fill all the boats with tea lights and send them all on their little way.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  If people are interested in having their prayers added to our own celebration here should they go to the forums for that?

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  Actually they can email them directly to me if they want.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  And what email address should they use for that?

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  Let’s use the Temple’s address.  Tawy House.  T-A-W-Y H-O-U-S-E at Netjer N-E-T-J-E-R dot org.  It’s a lovely holiday.  It’s something that you can do outside when it’s nice outside, in the dark with the light, the moonlight.  For those of us who live in the United States there will probably be a lot of fireworks light that night.  I’m sure She appreciates them even though Independence Day has absolutely nothing to do with Aset Luminous.  It’s kind of nice that they coincide this year.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  Well, you know, in a way they are both ceremonies of hope.

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  Um hum, very much so.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  And a little hope is probably just what the world needs right now.  Well, thank you for being with us today.

Rev. Tamara Siuda:  You’re welcome.

Rev. Craig Schaefer:  You have been listening to “Kemet This Week”, Episode 2, for Friday, June 26, 2009.  Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.

KEMET THIS WEEK – PODCAST #1 for June 19, 2009


And we’re back.  Hello everybody, I’m the Rev. Craig Schaefer and you’re listening to “Kemet This Week.”  It’s been a long time since we were able to bring you these regular podcasts.  O.K., semi-regular podcasts.  Would you believe… infrequent podcasts?  

Anyway, we are back with a fresh start and a slightly revised format.  Instead of longer and more sporadic episodes, I’ll be aiming to bring you a slightly shorter but brand new podcast every single week going up either on Friday night or Saturday morning.  Rev. Tamara Suida will sit in as her schedule permits.  I will be conducting some interview segments in the coming weeks that I think you’re going to like and a few other nifty surprises.  As always, our show’s music is provided by the highly talented Rev. Dave Dean.  

This week my attention has been half a world away.  Like many of you I have been glued to the reports coming out of Iran, gleaning a kind of a picture from the jigsaw puzzle pieces of information that have slipped out.  If you haven’t heard the news don’t feel bad, the Western media thinks you’re far more interested in the state of Jon and Kate’s marriage, or how Octomom is treating her children, than learning about a budding revolution.  But that’s a talk for another time.  

See, this week, Iran held it’s tenth presidential election and you know, I’m not going to even mince words here, take it from dozens of experts the world over who study these things for a living - the election was stolen.  The incumbent president, Ahmadinejad, supposedly won by an unprecedented landslide, and by unprecedented – folks, I think you could run against Hitler and not get these kinds of numbers; and the ballots were hand counted, I... I think by the Flash, apparently, because apparently millions upon millions of votes were hand counted in less than three hours time.  Now the Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme leader of the Guardian Council (the real power in Iran), has held up the results as ordained by Allah.  In other words, don’t question it.  

But they did question it.  The next day, an estimated two million people in Tehran alone, proudly wearing the green of Islam, took to the streets to demand their rights.  It was not without incident.  The Basij, a “student union” who served the purpose in Iran as the brown shirts did for the Nazi regime, opened fire on unarmed, peaceful protestors.  They viciously beat innocent men and women in the streets and then they stormed the dormitories of Tehran University, attacking sleeping college students and destroying computers and books.  Now the government has shut down all lines of communication, from telephones to the internet, and they are rounding up dissidents whose only crime was to ask to be treated like human beings.  But the next morning, the very next morning the protestors returned, wearing black now in mourning for those who had been murdered by Ahmadinejad’s thugs and filling the streets in silent protest; and the day after that, after another night of brutality at the hands of the Basij militia, they did it again.  

Now I can’t say they are unafraid, gods, wouldn’t you be? I know I would.  But that’s the definition of true courage; being afraid, but marching ahead in spite of that fear because you KNOW it’s the right thing to do.  At the time of this recording, I don’t know how this story is going to end.  It appears the more moderate liberal clerics on the Guardian Council are seeing the situation not just as a referendum on the dictator Ahmadinejad but on the Ayatollah Khamenei as well.  In return of course, Ahmadinejad and Khamenei are doing what all tyrants do; the threatening of swift escalation of violence if the protests do not cease.  Things could get a lot worse before they get better.  They probably are.  No one can say what the face of Iran will be one day, one week, or one month from today, but I’ll tell you what I do know; God gave us a world.  God gave us a world of amazing abundance, and beauty, and potential, and said I made this for you, do good things with it.  And that’s part of what ma’at is all about.  Doing the best we can with the resources we have been given to build a world that reflects the wonder of the Divine.  A world of compassion, a world of freedom, a world of love.  

What we are seeing in Iran this week I believe is nothing less than a movement toward ma’at.  The collective will of a people who are rising up against a corrupt system and saying no more, this is wrong and we are done with it.  They are saying it with their voices, they are saying it with their deeds, and many - too many - are saying it with the sacrifice of their lives.  When Isfet gets its claws into a person or a government, when weeds take root in the garden of Netjer, the price to uproot them is bitter and hard.  But in the end, and history has shown us this time and time again, in the end NO EVIL can stand against the power of the human spirit.  I stand now and salute these brave men and women, our brothers and sisters in Islam, who are showing that spirit to the world.  I hope that you will join me in praying for their safety.  I pray that those who stand against them will open their hearts and allow peace to spread; spread not just to the borders of Iran, but all the world over as we work towards the day when all people, no matter their nationality, no matter their faith, share in the same basic human rights.  I pray for the souls of the fallen that they will be remembered, and that they will know watching over us from the West that their sacrifice was not in vain.  Let us pray.

You have been listening to “Kemet This Week”, Episode 1, for June 19, 2009.  Thank you and I will see you next time.

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