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Author Topic: Self harm and ritual purity?  (Read 1629 times)

Offline barghestbones

  • Country: us
Self harm and ritual purity?
« on: May 12, 2018, 06:52:45 pm »
Em hotep.

I'm sorry to say that this is a heavy topic I want to discuss, but one that I desperately need an answer to.

I have had a long history with self harm. Along with bipolar depression, which makes me constantly (though passively) suicidal and want to self harm at all times, I'm schizophrenic, anorexic, and lots of other fun things that everyone wants to be.

Sorry, my humor is dark and bitter a lot of the time... Anyway, what I need to know is, how do the Netjeru view self harm? Is it a practice that creates isfet? Will my heart outweigh the feather of Ma'at and get devoured by Ammit because I hurt myself compulsively? How does self harm affect my ritual purity (with specific regards to burning my skin, not drawing blood)? Does my desire to hurt myself for punishment, self hatred, attonement for my misdeeds/failures, so on and so forth, mean that I'm creating isfet and eating my heart?

Again, I apologize for such a heavy topic, but I don't have anywhere else to turn, and I desperately want to know what will happen to me when I pass West or attempt to purify myself for ritual and cleanliness in the Netjeru's eyes. Thank you for reading.


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Offline ubenet

  • Guest
  • Country: us
Re: Self harm and ritual purity?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2018, 07:06:16 pm »
em hotep!

i don't think They blame us for things that are out of our control. do They enjoy it when we hurt ourselves? no, of course not. do They understand that sometimes it's the lesser of two evils? yes, i think They do. trying to minimize the harm you do to yourself is a good thing, but if you slip up, They get it. as regards burns and ritual purity specifically, my instinct is to think that it depends on whether the skin is broken and whether it hurts too badly for you to focus. but overall, i don't think you're going to be devoured, no.

<3 ubenet
ubenetsenu - "two appear shining"
sat Sekhmet-Mut her Khonsu
meryt Wesir her Serqet-Aset

tarot and heka by request

Offline Sedjfaiemitui

  • Shemsu
  • Country: us
Re: Self harm and ritual purity?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2018, 08:54:01 pm »
Em hotep nefer, BarghestBones! :)

Traditionally speaking (that is, in terms of Ancient Egyptian worldviews insofar as scholars presently understand them), these things would be classified along the lines of illness, as we Moderns do now. This is not necessarily a byproduct of sin, or of willful wrongdoing. [Redacted] happens, for a LOT of reasons, and not even remotely all of those reasons are traceable to "[God] loves/hates me."

Now, Ancient Egyptians may have attributed these particular illnesses to demons as most ANE cultures did and would have, but unlike much of Mesopotamian thought "nextdoor," in Egyptian medico-religious thought "demonic illness" wasn't necessarily seen as having a direct, causal relationship with whether or not the patient leads a moral, pious life. Even in Mesopotamian religions, though -- harsh as they may sound from a brief description like the one I'm giving now -- there was usually some kind of recompense that could be made to help restore the balance of life and order (all in addition to taking the medicines or having the surgeries prescribed by the attending physician; people were visited both by priests and by doctors when seriously ill).

As for ritual purity: Yes, illness of ALL kinds interferes with ritual purity, whether physical or mental-emotional. Ritual impurity, however, is NOT a permanent condition you can never be free of. All you can do is take your afflictions in stride, go to your healthcare professionals for care regularly and responsibly as needed, and follow their care instructions as best you know how. Make time for the Gods as best you can when you feel you are capable.

And another thing: When you feel like crap and everything around you is crap, you are completely allowed and encouraged to pray to the Gods. You don't need to be "pure" to pray!

Not being in-shrine all the time does not make you a bad person. You are not going to Hell or any of its functional equivalents in ANE religions for being sick, especially chronically sick on an hereditary basis -- there is no "Original Sin" Doctrine here or anywhere in related/neighboring ANE religions. In no ANE religion is a person born in a state of irremediable sin, and that includes Egyptian religion(s). Illness in itself is not any proof of the Gods' "hatred*," and the Gods do not "hate" you. None of us here is "special enough" to be the unique focus of the Gods' perceived "hatred." ;)

*Scare-quotes because "hate" is a subjective and human emotion. The Gods are not human and do not do anything arbitrarily. Religions become a lot more sensible, practicable, and edifying when we stop projecting our own feelings -- especially our fear and self-loathing -- onto Divine Beings. :)

I hope this helps. <3

"Endowed by Two Fathers"
𓁣 𓁠
Sat Set her Amun-Re-Banebdjedet
Meryt Herishef, Wesir-Narefy, Heru-Wer, her Yinepu

Offline Ematsen

  • Shemsu
  • Country: us
Re: Self harm and ritual purity?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2018, 09:32:58 pm »
I learned a very important lesson recently that helped me a LOT re: ritual purity.

Pure or impure is based on YOUR baseline.

F'ex: I always have asthma, it's a part of me no matter what, even when I'm breathing okay. Most of the time I have joint pain, and a skin condition on my hands that makes me very dry, itchy, hurty, and sometimes - it bleeds. My own personal daily baseline is maybe a little wheezy, sore, moving a bit slower than totally abled people, etc. Being more impure than normal means that something is extra bad - i hurt so much it's breaking my focus, i can't breathe enough to say prayers out loud, my hands are actively bleeding when i bend my fingers, etc. Then I would avoid the shrine (or if it's Real Important, purify twice.)

I used a physical health example, but this goes for mental health too. If I'm so anxious i can't focus, or my OCD is making me upset because I'm Not Doing It Right, then I'm more impure than normal and maybe today isn't a good day to be in shrine.

Sedjfai made a really good point too: just because you're not in shrine doesn't mean you can't pray! They will hear you, and They love you no matter what. Always. Netjer wants to support you and care for you no matter what mental or bodily state you're in, They want you to be well - and if taking a break from physically being in shrine to take care of yourself is a part of that, They understand!
Senuwiematsen - My Two, In Their Moment.

Sat Sekhmet-Mut her Set.
Meryt Wepwawet-Yinepu, Aset-Serqet, Heru-Wer, her Nut.


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