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Author Topic: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.  (Read 17209 times)

Part of the reason that I have difficulty adhering to a belief system is that quite a few of them have roots in certain geographic areas.  As this faith has roots (or, a resurgence) in ancient Kem, do any of you find the lack of immediate presence in the culture or area to be a hindrance to belief?

As an example, take Hinduism.  It has a very strong connection to the area of the Indus Valley.  A lot of its texts refer to events that occurred (or were thought to have occurred) in or near the Indus Valley.  As a result, I can't relate to their culture, deities, etc because I'm not from there.  I am aware that other places have significant Hindu populations (Trinidad, etc) and they seem to flourish regardless of distance so not everyone feels how I do.

Offline Sekhmetnenek

  • Shemsu
  • Country: 00
Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2010, 05:09:38 pm »
When I was practicing Asatru, a religion which attempts to reconstruct the practices and religion of the Old Norse as close to authenticity as possible, this problem weighed heavily on my mind. The Norse people had to be tough, given the tough agricultural climate and the tumultuous inter-relationship of the other civilizations in that area. They dealt with all sorts of problems that we, as a modern culture, don't have to deal with. In the end, the difference in geography, climate, and culture became a large block in my connection to many Norse Gods.

In Kemetic Orthodoxy, I don't really have this problem. Kemetic Orthodoxy, as I am told, is a revivalist religion. This differs from reconstructionist in that we aren't just attempting to do what the citizens of ancient Kemet did when working with our Gods- we are bringing into a modern context. I mean, the people of ancient Kemet certainly didn't offer Nebt-het Coke and Cheetos on a regular basis ;P

And also, as the Nisut (AUS!) points out, Kemet is a kingdom in our hearts which brings us together as citizens in this temple family.

Hope that helps, in some ways.

Senebty!
Sekhmetnenek|Sekhmet Belongs to Me|
Sa Sekhmet-Hethert,
Mery Nebthet-Nit-Seshat

Offline Paymaayinepu

  • Shemsu
  • Country: 00
Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2010, 05:44:24 pm »
Hotep,

Personally, I also share in that disconnect when it comes to some things. While I feel intimately connected to my Gods, the festivals are something in which I have struggled (and failed) to find personal significance and appreciation because many of them are tied to the land and to Hapy, the Nile.
Payma'a
Payma'ayinepu
"This one, Yinepu guides"
Sa Yinepu, Mery Ra
Per Yinepu: Tepy-dju-Ef

Offline Shefytbast

  • W'ab Priest - Lay Clergy
  • Country: 00
Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2010, 06:07:46 pm »

I believe that the geography of Egypt is extremely important to the religion, but for me at least it resonates on an inward level, so even though where I live is very, very different from the desert-enclosed river valley of Kemet, I still have some points of connection. For example, while the northeastern United States has four physical seasons, I find that the three seasons of the Kemetic calendar actually reflect quite well my inner experience of the year: a rush of restless energy and inspiration; a period of internal focus, self-work, and growth; and a harvest/see-how-things-turn-out phase that trails off into dead time. I grew up playing alongside streams, so even though I don't live by the Nile itself the imagery of the river makes sense to me on a deep level. And so forth. Even where things are less immediately relatable, I find it interesting to think about them--an exercise of curiosity and imagination. And having been lucky enough to go to Egypt once--you do understand some things better once you've been there.

On the other hand, it's also possible to see the Names in the place where you are: Set in the whirl of a snowstorm, the Wandering Goddess in the falling autumn leaves, Tefnut in a field spangled with morning dew. I think it's worth trying to understand and get inside the traditional mindset and conceptions of Kemetic religion, even if they seem very foreign at times, but it's also good to observe your own place and see how the Gods manifest there.

Rivers, mountains, transition points between one landscape and another, trees, the horizon, the sky overhead: all are important elements in Kemetic mythic geography, and just about all of us have access to at least some of them. How do you relate to any or all of these?

Senebty,

Shefyt
Rev. Shefyt | daughter of Bast, beloved of Nut, Amun-Ra, and Wenut
Beginners Class Instructor | Heri-sesheta Bast | Divinations
Blog: Gold of the Valley, Lapis of the River

Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2010, 07:24:28 pm »
Shefyt & Vethorn have said it well. I too see the gods in essences, one day while seeing fluffy white clouds floating across the sky, I thought of Shu and Tefnut intermingling happily together, playing, another day I caught a whiff of the river on the morning breeze and thought of Shu, and on yet another day, I felt very powerful, and realized I felt the presense of Aset. As I'm walking back down the sidewalk after dropping my son off at the bus in the morning, I often get this image of Them surveying the quiet suburb, with neat green lawns, tidy houses and a general sense of peace, with approval. Etc etc...

They are there, if you open yourself to Them. I don't personally think They require geography to be "perfect" (whatever that means), like we may tend to want to believe. I don't think They are as limited as we are in that respect.

In Florida, we only really have 3 seasons too, so that doesn't really present a problem for me. I can feel my gods where ever I go, because Their connection is through me, not the land, though I do believe that They do hold special reverence for Their homeland.

I also know for instance, that Aset LOVES driving, and Wepwawet loves Reeses Pieces, which tells me that as much as They are not confined to a certain time period, neither are They confined to a certain place.

I guess it comes down to, do you really think that these gods cease to exist outside of a certain location? Only you can answer that for yourself..

But I too struggle with the calendar, possibly only because I'm in the process of designing my own holidays calendar based on seasonal rhythms local to me.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 pm by Ta_Imu_Aset »
Timu

Sat Aset, meryt Wepwawet her Renenutet


Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2010, 09:27:39 pm »
Em Hotep:

When people travel to other countries do their Gods stay at "home" or do they go with them?

When Leif Ericsson sailed to the New World, did Wotan travel along with him or did he stay at home and play with the kids?

I can't comprehend a deity being limited by time or geography as these are human concepts.

Personally I'm not drawn to Egypt at all.  It's sunny and hot, I don't care too much for the pyramids, the history is uninteresting to me. I know almost nothing about the country.  So why am I here?  Because I was given an invitation by Netjer and accepted it.  I may find Egypt uninteresting but the Netjer are very appealing to me.  So my interest in Them transcends geography, seasons and time.

Let me ask this another way.  If you love someone and you know they love you back, does it matter where you live or where you are from, or what season it is? All that matters is spending time with them where ever, whenever that may be.  Everything else is unimportant.

Senebty,
« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 09:29:26 pm by Kheper »
"Do not be arrogant because of your knowledge, but confer with the ignorant man as with the learned. For knowledge has no limits, and none has yet achieved perfection in it." - The Maxims of Pthahotep

Son of Hethert-Mut/Heru-Wer Beloved of Yinepu, Set and Djehuty

Offline Tanebet

  • Rev Astrid - Ordained Clergy, Semer-Wati
  • Country: 00
Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2010, 03:23:26 am »
Em Hotep *henu*,

I actually encountered people who told me that I couldn't worship the Egyptian Gods because I am white and European.
Personally I never even asked myself the question if I connect or not connect to Netjer because I didn't grow up in Egypt. Why would I?  We have a saying here which says "home is where the heart is" and Netjer and Egypt are definitely in my heart and that in my opinion the really important thing.

Senebty
Tanebet
Tanebetheru "Heru's Lordship"
Sat Heru Sa Aset her Nisut (AUS), Meryt Ra-Heru-akhety her Heru-Behedety
Heri-Sesheta Heru-Sa-Aset

This is what I was born to: to live, to love, to know, to change and embrace the infinite.
Normandi Ellis: "Awakening Osiris"

Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2010, 04:02:27 am »
Quote from: Shefytbast
Rivers, mountains, transition points between one landscape and another, trees, the horizon, the sky overhead: all are important elements in Kemetic mythic geography, and just about all of us have access to at least some of them. How do you relate to any or all of these?


There are often times that I'm reminded just how spiritually defunct I am.  Here is one example.

I never have spiritual moments concerning geography.  A river is just... a river.  A forest is a large grouping of trees.

I honestly think I'm one of those people who just aren't wired to believe in gods.

Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2010, 04:07:30 am »
Quote from: Tanebet
I actually encountered people who told me that I couldn't worship the Egyptian Gods because I am white and European.


I find the ones who usually say things like this are Protestant Christian.  It's easy to counter that perhaps they shouldn't worship a god from Israel (or Rome, depending on your view) since most aren't from there.

I've then had different people tell me that, since I'm white, I should worship the gods of my ancestors which would leave me with one of the northern European cultures.  I have just as much disconnect with that culture's gods as any other.  I countered that with the Out of Africa theory.

Offline Tanebet

  • Rev Astrid - Ordained Clergy, Semer-Wati
  • Country: 00
Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2010, 04:12:23 am »
Hemet(AUS) once mentioned a book which describes how a certain topography can influence the religion and how Gods are seen in this area. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of that book. Anyone else?
Tanebetheru "Heru's Lordship"
Sat Heru Sa Aset her Nisut (AUS), Meryt Ra-Heru-akhety her Heru-Behedety
Heri-Sesheta Heru-Sa-Aset

This is what I was born to: to live, to love, to know, to change and embrace the infinite.
Normandi Ellis: "Awakening Osiris"

Offline Linda

  • Remetj
  • Country: gb
Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2010, 05:50:34 am »
I agree with Hemet and Tanebet. I carry Kemet wherever I go in my heart, and the saying' home is where the heart is' is a saying we believe in UK too.  :)
You don't know what you can do until you try.

Offline Sedjemes

  • Semer-Wati
  • Shemsu-Ankh
  • Country: us
Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2010, 06:24:54 am »
Hotep Tanebet--

The name of that book is _Early Hydraulic Civilization in Egypt_ by Karl W. Butzer.

Hemet has said that understanding the geography and such of Egypt helps understand why the symbolisms are what they are. I think I read somewhere that understanding the social, cultural, and political aspects of Judea and Samaria and Palestine also help understand some of Jesus' teachings. Example, would the Good Samaritan story he is quoted as saying be as important if one did not know how people from Samaria were seen by others?

KNowing how the black land and red land of Egypt come together even today, as one example, does help considerably. It is not essential to the spiritual journey, but it certainly can help.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 pm by Sedjemes »
Khenmetaset ("Aset Gladdens")
Sedjemes ("She listens")
Daughter of Aset-Serqet, Meryt Ra her Sekhmet
Heri-Sesheta Aset-Serqet

Offline Tanebet

  • Rev Astrid - Ordained Clergy, Semer-Wati
  • Country: 00
Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2010, 06:31:31 am »
Thank you Kai-Imakhu Sedjemes
Tanebetheru "Heru's Lordship"
Sat Heru Sa Aset her Nisut (AUS), Meryt Ra-Heru-akhety her Heru-Behedety
Heri-Sesheta Heru-Sa-Aset

This is what I was born to: to live, to love, to know, to change and embrace the infinite.
Normandi Ellis: "Awakening Osiris"

Offline TahekerutAset

  • Shemsu
  • Country: 00
Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2010, 07:27:44 am »
The sun is still Ra to me, the wind is Shu, the sky is Nut and the earth is Geb, vegetation is still Wesir no matter where I am.

Rain is the tears of Aset, sunlight is Sekhmet or another Eye of Ra, and snow and thunderstorms are Set. Libraries are Seshat's home and Djehuty is still the patron god of writers.  

Egypt can help with the symbolism of certain things, but they are definitely understandable without living or coming from Kemet.  

Wilkinson's book Symbol and Magic in ancient Egypt is a great book to read about this.  

Also with the calendar, I just focus on the days sacred to the gods I follow.  Also I see the seasons as a metaphor much like Shefyt.  
TahekerutAset "Aset's Jewel"
Sat Aset
Meryt Nebet Het, Wepwawet, Sekhmet-Mut, Ra her Mut

Website:  Fiercely Bright One

Re: Question on disconnect of culture and immediate geographic area.
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2010, 08:34:49 am »
I've been asked many times why I choose to worship Netjer and not "our local gods", ie. the gods of the Finnish Pagan Traditions. I find I can't even begin to answer this with nothing else than "I have no connection whatsoever with the Finnish gods". It's so simple.

 


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