Last year, around this time, our news sources were embroiled in relaying accounts of revolution all over northern Africa, including Egypt. I would guess that one thing that must have been on every Kemite’s mind was profound concern for the Kemetic legacy, as far as the monuments and artifacts were concerned. We had not forgotten the atrocities of the Afghan Taliban, which included the destruction of ancient Buddha statues, in 2001, or the looting of the Bagdad National Museum, following the US invasion of Iraq, in 2003.
Some of the Black Kemites, on the Facebook forum I frequent, made apathetic remarks, saying that modern day Egyptians are Arabs and Muslims (ergo, non-native invaders of Kemet). Therefore their plight was inconsequential to the religious Kemetic community. Most Kemites, however, were keenly interested in what was going on in the motherland, myself included. I remember checking the progress of the Egyptians’ efforts to oust Mubarak on a daily basis, continuously praying that Ma’at (the neter of Truth, universal law and order) would prevail. I wept when I read a BBC account of a group of Egyptian civilians who, upon recognizing that the army was not successfully controlling the isfet (chaos) on the streets, had created a human chain to prevent would-be looters from having their way in the Cairo museum.
Egypt’s chief archeologist, Zahi Hawass, said, “They know this is their cultural heritage. If the museum is safe, Egypt is safe.” Hawass went on to say that the invaders were looking for gold and didn’t appear to understand the value of the objects they were defiling, mistaking the museum shop for the museum. Really?
I recently had a conversation with an Egyptian man, from Cairo, who spoke with immense pride of what had taken place on the streets, telling me about how seriously the Egyptians take their heritage, even if they have no idea what the symbolism means. It is not due to ignorance (as many young Egyptians are university educated) but it is due to monotheistic piety that the majority of Egyptians choose not to delve too much into the ancient history of their country. Regardless, it is hard to believe that the average ‘joe’ of Cairo is aware of their cultural heritage whereas a looter is too clueless to recognize priceless items. What else is going on here?
Ta Mera is our sacred land. This is an indisputable Kemetic truth. Acknowledging this makes me think of other sacred sites in the world that are under threat. Look at the land of Tara, in Ireland. Once again, the Hapi (Nile) is under renewed threat by Ethiopian movements to build a second dam on the Blue Nile.
There have been many Pagan efforts to establish “watchdog” groups at the political and magical level to protect our collective interests. I’ve signed several petitions to the Irish government to reconsider building a major motorway through Tara. I would like to see more visible solidarity and active concern in the Kemetic community over what’s going on Egypt today. I am not one of those “I’m Pagan but I don’t believe in that mumbo-jumbo” non-magical sorts. I believe in magic. I practice spellcraft. I believe that the thousands of years of accumulated ritual energy still surrounds and protects Egypt today, though I don’t know why the Hapi is no longer allowed to rise and flood every year. That would make for an interesting shamanic excursion (and blog post). However, what one can do, one should do. The Egyptians, despite some of them not being of ‘pharaonic’ descent still considered the museum treasures to be part of their birthright. What lessons does this present to modern-day Kemites who draw spiritual nourishment from Kemet but have the benefit of not contending with the political unrest, while at the same time, live in physical (and sometimes emotional) separation from their legacy?
As an aside: I have a theory that Jewish mysticism is an early offshoot of Kemetic wisdom, so I often go to the well-travelled Jewish texts for inspiration and insight into the often cryptic Kemetic texts. As all rivers eventually return to the sea, Jewish magic, in the Sepher Shimmush Tehillim, had wound its way into Hoodoo, African-American folk magic, via Johannes Gottfried Seelig’s book, Secrets of the Psalms, to be firmly entrenched in the hoodoo lexicon by the 1940’s.
Psalm 122 is recommended for those petitioning the favor of those in high station and for those who wish to pray for the peace and protection of a city.
I am especially drawn to the phrases:
“Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.”
The implication here is that there is a particular blessing to be received by those who pray for the peace of their holy city, or the land of their fathers. It is not only for our own sakes that we might pray for the peace and prosperity of the land but it is also for the sakes of our brethren and companions, whom we may not know, that we are asked to do this. Lastly, it is for the sake of our divine house that we seek the peace of the land.
What is the divine house? E. A. W. Budge included in the book “Egyptian Magic”, page 157, a ‘spell’ for the greening of one’s ren (true spiritual name).
“…If the name of Heru flourisheth, then the name of [Pepi] shall flourish, and this his pyramid shall flourish and this his building shall flourish unto all eternity!”
I would venture an educated guess that the house is more than the physical body but be the whole of a person: their ka (etheric double), ba (soul), sahu and akh (levels of the person’s eternal consciousness). I understand it is a stretch to think that that’s what the psalmist meant when he referred to the house of the Lord, but I make the correlation here to point out the possible importance of maintaining a sense of prayerful and magical stewardship over our sacred places.
How many of us are currently in the habit of including our ancestral sites in our daily meditations? If you were not doing so before, are you inspired to do so now?
Em Khut en Mer (In Love and Light),
P.S. If you find this post thought-provoking, do treat yourself to more inspiring reading materials by subscribing to The Chronicles of Sefek blog, via the home page.