How to be kemetic

As much of the world exits poverty and achieves a comfortable standard of living, our attention turns inward. Now that we have improved our material conditions, the human spirit naturally begins to focus on itself. We see a rich modern revival of interest in the metaphysical. In this, Kemetic spirituality and Kemetic meditation have found fertile ground in which to grow. Those who practice them, moreover, demonstrate that this ancient spiritual system is still very useful today.

Kemeticism Spirituality: A Beginners Guide

In this article:

What Is Kemetic Spirituality?

Kemetic spirituality, also known as Kemetism, may also be called Neterism or Egyptian Neo-paganism. The name derives from “Kemet.” This is the original, native name for the Ancient Egyptian homeland. Kemetic spirituality derives heavily from many sources. Traditional African spiritual practices. Ancient Egyptian architecture and tradition. Modern infusions. Even yoga.

Together, these combine to form a branch of modern spirituality. Its adherents also refer to it as Kemetic Orthodoxy. They strive to return to the old Egyptian ways as closely as possible. For some, this includes instructions on how to worship. For others, however, the religion takes the shape of a spiritual tradition.

The Kemetic traditions are grounded in a cycle. From birth through life and death, then back to rebirth. These same roots characterize many traditions. The Kemetic tradition, though, focuses strongly on moving adherents from a state of confusion to a spiritual rebirth. Adherents express these many different ways. Some pictures show colored areas that represent states of confusion or enlightenment. Other Kemetic traditions use a chakra-like system, equivalent to yoga.

All traditions ground themselves in spiritual truths. Kemetism is no different. The tradition is rooted strongly in Maat. This ancient Egyptian idea rolls truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice all up together. The result: A harmonious system of practical and spiritual teachings.

The Foundations of Kemetic Yoga

Today, the spiritual foundations laid by Ancient Egyptians manifest in different ways. One of the most common is the yoga studio. Interested people can take yoga classes based in Kemetism. Many of the poses look the same. This is especially true of the common human positions. This includes child’s pose or warrior pose, explains the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Such poses are natural positions for the human body. As such, we gravitate to them without effort.
Other poses mimic Ancient Egyptian traditions. Some poses stem from temple carvings. Others represent specific gods in the Egyptian tradition. Some adherents believe in those gods – Kemetism is a polytheistic tradition, after all. Others practice the spiritual side of Kemetism without worrying. Whatever god you believe in, the spiritual principles remain available.

The Goals of Modern Kemetic Spirituality

Though Kemetism mimics ancient beliefs, it embraces modern goals. Today, people want to live healthfully. We understand intuitively that health is the greatest gift. More and more people try to protect their health from younger ages. Yoga and meditation step to the forefront in many traditions. Kemetic spirituality is no different. It focuses on several aspects of health:

  1. Physical: In order to maintain health, you must stretch and tone your body, so it functions at peak performance.
  2. Mental and Emotional: A clear mind can manage much more, and much more peacefully.
  3. Energetic: Your body needs energy, and the right approach to health can ensure you have enough.
  4. Spiritual: When your body and psyche are in alignment and energized, you have the best shot at spiritual wholeness.

Kemetism also prizes balance. Without balance, harmony cannot exist. Nor can order, truth and so forth. Thus, Kemetic spirituality has a strong foundation in the male-female opposites. These are also represented by yin and yang, perhaps a more familiar image to most moderns.

The Importance of Breathing

For instance, the breath. Breathing comprises a central tenet of yoga. It is also key to many other traditions. Think meditation, or tai chi. Gurus advocate special breathing while chanting or praying as well. In Kemetism, the breathing takes the shape of the “Rule of Four.”

Rule of Four breathing works like this. Close lips. Press the tongue to the roof of the mouth. Keep lips sealed. Inhale through the nose. Inhale gently while counting to four. Hold for one second. Exhale while counting to four. Contract abdomen to squeeze all air out. Repeat.

This breathing technique works for a huge array of applications. Yoga. Sports. Meditation. It grounds the body, as well as clearing the mind. It makes room for spirituality to seep in. This is true for people of all backgrounds. It’s not limited to practices of Kemetism.

The African Roots of Kemetism

Kemetic spirituality strives for inclusion. It’s important to acknowledge, though, that it has its roots in a range of African traditions. Anyone can benefit from these. Those with African ancestry may get even more out of the spiritual practice, though. Many Western practices aren’t very inclusive, intentional or not. Kemetism is. This translates to real value for many people of African descent. Kemetism provides an anchor to the past.

Here’s a video by The Shrine of Ma’at showing the 7 principles of Kemetic spirituality:

Whether you’re from Africa or not, you can get a lot out of this practice. The breathing. The spiritual sides. The balance. The poses. Whatever your goal, Kemetic spirituality has something to offer. It is relatively accessible too. All you have to do is find a studio that teaches it. These are more and more frequent these days, so keep your eye out.

Do you have other methods of Kemeticism for beginners? Let us know in the comments section below.

How to be kemetic

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There are some traditions of modern Paganism that follow the structure of the ancient Egyptian religion. Typically these traditions, sometimes referred to as Kemetic Paganism or Kemetic reconstruction, follow basic principles of Egyptian spirituality such as honoring the Neteru, or deities, and finding a balance between man’s needs and the natural world. Like many ancient cultures, such as the Greeks or Romans, the Egyptians incorporated religious beliefs into their daily lives, rather than keeping them separate.

Kemetic Reconstruction

A reconstructionist, or recon, tradition is one based upon actual historical writings and attempts to literally reconstruct the practice of a specific culture.

Richard Reidy at The Kemetic Temple says there are a lot of misconceptions about what Kemeticism actually is. “I do not speak for all Reconstructionists, but all the Recon temples I am familiar with use the ancient texts as guides, not as rigid, unalterable models. [We] are fully aware that we are citizens of the twenty-first century, coming from cultures very different from that of ancient Egypt. It is not our goal to abandon our way of thinking for some imagined ancient way of thinking. Such a feat is neither possible nor desirable. We do know, however, from our personal and group experiences that the gods transcend the limits of any particular time or place. [There is a] clear implication was that Reconstructionists are so preoccupied with scholarly research that we neglect or devalue the personal encounter with the gods. Nothing is further from the truth.”

For members of most Kemetic groups, information is gained by studying scholarly sources of information on ancient Egypt, and working directly with the gods themselves. There are a number of smaller subgroups within the Kemetic framework. These include — but are certainly not limited to — the Ausar Auset Society, Kemetic Orthodoxy, and Akhet Het Heru. In these traditions, there is an acknowledgement that each person has their own individual interactions with the Divine. However, these experiences are also measured against historical and scholarly sources, to help avoid the trap of unverifiable personal gnosis.

Devo at The Twisted Rope offers some tips on getting started in Kemetic studies, and recommends the basics of interacting with the gods and other Kemetics, and reading as much as possible. “If you want to get to know the gods better, reach out to them. Sit with them, give them offerings, light a candle in their honor, do an activity in their name. Something. Anything. And it doesn’t have to be a specific god. Trying to establish a connection is what matters.”

Egyptian Paganism in a NeoPagan Framework

In addition to the Kemetic reconstruction movements, there are also many groups that follow Egyptian gods within a Neopagan framework, utilizing the northern European Wheel of the Year and Wiccan sabbat dates.

Turah lives in Wyoming, and honors the Egyptian gods within a Neopagan structure. She marks the traditional eight sabbats, but incorporates the Egyptian deities into that system. “I know a lot of the recon people frown upon this, which is why I practice alone, but it works for me. I honor Isis and Osiris and the other gods of the Egyptian pantheon as the seasons change, and based upon agricultural makers. I’m not trying to fit square pegs into round holes or anything, but the more I practice and interact with my gods, the more I realize that they don’t seem to mind how I honor them, but more that I just do.

Pyramids, mummies, tombs, and other icons of aristocracy and the afterlife dominate our images of ancient Egypt. But love poems composed thousands of years ago may provide a more intimate glimpse of the lives of everyday ancient Egyptians.

“Poetry is perhaps the greatest forgotten treasure of ancient Egypt,” said Richard Parkinson, an expert on ancient Egyptian poetry at London’s British Museum, home to the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts outside of Cairo.

While historical accounts and biographies inscribed on the insides of tombs often give idealized accounts of ancient Egyptian life, poetry gives real insight into human nature and its imperfections, he said.

A group of love poems have been found in an excavated workers’ village on the outskirts of the Valley of Kings, where many pharaohs are entombed. The verses allow poetry lovers and Egyptophiles alike to tap into the emotional side of Egyptian daily life. “People tend to assume all ancient Egyptian writing is religious, so the secular nature of these songs and of much other poetry continue to surprise readers,” Parkinson said.

Written during Egypt’s New Kingdom (1539-1075 B.C.) but likely composed much earlier, these songs are surprisingly direct about love and romance in ancient Egypt, using metaphors, repetition, and other poetic techniques familiar to poetry readers today.

The Flower Song (Excerpt)

To hear your voice is pomegranate wine to me:
I draw life from hearing it.
Could I see you with every glance,
It would be better for me
Than to eat or to drink.

(Translated by M.V. Fox)

From Hieroglyphics to Hymns

The earliest poetry in Egypt was likely part of an oral tradition. Hymns, stories, and prayers were passed down from speaker to speaker. It’s likely that only one person out of every hundred could read and write, according to Jacco Dieleman, an Egyptologist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Egyptian hieroglyphic writing system was likely invented to help with trade, allowing merchants record their wares and account for their stock. Later hieroglyphic writing found on nobles’ tombs gave biographical accounts of the tombs’ occupants for passersby to read. Over time, longer biographies, narrative poems, and songs also began to appear.

To read ancient Egyptian poetry and other writings is a two-step process, Dieleman said. Much of the writing was done in hieratic script, a shorthand form of hieroglyphs. “When you have to write all of these beautiful [hieroglyphs] of birds, men, and women, it takes days to write a letter to your grandmother,” Dieleman said.

To begin deciphering the ancient texts, Dieleman uses detailed photographs of excavated writings, along with his own observations of actual artifacts, if possible. He then translates hieratic writing into hieroglyphs. From there, he gives sounds to the hieroglyphic consonants and pieces out words, sentences, and entire passages.

Historical tales and hymns had been inscribed inside tomb walls, written on papyrus, and often scribbled onto shards of limestone pottery. “These shards are considered the scratch paper of the Egyptians,” said Terry Wilfong, an Egyptologist at the University of Michigan.

Wilfong said that students in ancient Egypt inscribed many of the surviving examples of the culture’s poetry. The students likely copied down poems from other texts and dictation as part of their lessons.

Mummification Step by Step

How to be kemetic

Mummification was mainly done to wealthy people as poorer people could not afford the process.

The chief embalmer was a priest wearing a mask of Anubis. Anubis was the jackal headed god of the dead. He was closely associated with mummification and embalming, hence priests wore a mask of Anubis.

How to be kemetic

This is the step-by-step process of how mummification took place:

  1. Insert a hook through a hole near the nose and pull out part of the brain
  2. Make a cut on the left side of the body near the tummy
  3. Remove all internal organs
  4. Let the internal organs dry
  5. Place the lungs, intestines, stomach and liver inside canopic jars
  6. Place the heart back inside the body
  7. Rinse inside of body with wine and spices
  8. Cover the corpse with natron (salt) for 70 days
  9. After 40 days stuff the body with linen or sand to give it a more human shape
  10. After the 70 days wrap the body from head to toe in bandages
  11. Place in a sarcophagus (a type of box like a coffin)

If the person had been a Pharaoh, he would be placed inside his special burial chamber with lots of treasure!

*To see a more detailed explanation of the mummification process, see another My Learning resource: Make me a mummy! Embalming tips.

How to be kemetic

To learn about an Egyptian tale of how mummification started, see Osiris and Isis: The Origin of Mummification.

Here is a beginners set

What is ancient Kemet?

For most people, ancient Kemet is synonymous with Egypt. Egypt definitely owes a lot of its culture to Kemet. However, Kemet is the name for an area in Africa that “bubbled” up from the southern Nile river valley all the way into present-day Egypt.

How to be kemeticAncient Kemet from the African rift valley up the Nile river

“Nubia (present-day Sudan) is the mother of Egyptian Knowledge, Ethiopia is the daughter, and Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda is the grandmother.” – Egyptologist Dr. Yosef Ben Jochonnan

In other words, the knowledge you now see on the walls of ancient Egypt originated within interior Africa.

LEARN TRUE AFRICAN SPIRITUALITY STEP-BY-STEP

Unlearn the colonized mind of religion and step boldly into 2021 to make it your year!

Kemet means the “black land” or land of the blacks depending on who you asked about the interpretations. The people of ancient Kemet were black African people. This is important to note because western society has been silent on Africa and its history.

Egypt is the only country in Africa that has left a historical record in stone. That’s why we know so much about the history of [ancient Egypt] today, but not interior Africa. The black African people ruled Egypt Exclusively until c.a. 1650 BCE. This is the time when a “mixed group of Asiatic people” known as the Hyksos invaded Egypt.

That statement is to recognize this point, that Egypt was distinctly black and African for thousands of years. Why is this important to note? Because people of the African diaspora need to recognize that they built the greatest civilization known to exist on this planet. And that Africans had one of the most profound impacts on civilization the world has NEVER known. [Learn more here.]

How to be kemetic Kemetic culture was African culture (You can now click image to purchase book)

That is until very recent times. There are many people now starting to bring forth the truth of the impact that Africa, and its people, have had on the world beyond the slave trade.

I’ve already mentioned Dr. Ben as he was affectionately known. On this idea of Africans, he states: “Egypt is not the first great civilization along the Nile river, it is the last. The only difference is their legacy was preserved in stone.”

Let that sink in! “Egypt was not the first great African civilization, it was the last.” This is being borne out by many people that call themselves Kemetologist. They see themselves different from Egyptologist because they are using multi-disciplinary fields like:

Geology, which is the science that deals with the earths physical structure and substance, its history and the processes that act on it.

Archeoastronomy, which is the investigation of the astronomical knowledge of prehistoric cultures.

And Paleoclimatology, which is the study of climate taken on the scale of the entire history of the earth [weather patterns]. All three of these sciences are being used to uncover the mystery of Egypt and not just Archeology.

Ancient Kemet

The indigenous wisdom teachings date the civilization known as ancient Kemet to around 65,000 years old. Give or take a few thousand years. This idea fly’s in the face of Egyptology who want to date Modern civilization from around 6,000 years ago to fit their theoretical model of the development of civilization.

Egyptologist believe in a paradigm that civilization moves from the simple to the complex. There is starting to be much evidence from the Kemetologist that make this paradigm seem ridiculous!

That’s doesn’t mean all the new information is correct, but it does open up things for a lot more questions. Now I’m not going to make what I share with you solely about race. What I share effects humanity, not just one facet of this fabricated idea of race. However, it does need to be recognized that in today’s highly racialized society that Africans were front and center in the development of world civilization.

How to be kemetic Kemet was ancient before there was a Europe (You can now click image to purchase book)

I speak of ancient Kemet to give credit where credit is due for some fascinating ideas in science, philosophy, theology, and metaphysics. Over the past 500 years, this contribution has been completely dismissed or ignored on the world stage. For the African diaspora, this information is relevant and important for the healing of deep wounds.

For other cultures, this idea may be foreign to you for many reasons. I’m not asking [permission] for you to accept it or validate it. Just know from the perspective of one [that is] from the African diaspora that it is real and necessary.

I will be moving forward from here to share some history and metaphysical ideas expressed in the stones that are amazing and life-transforming. The focus will be more on the metaphysical aspects with history as a context for the ideas.

I know you’re probably used to really getting deep into the factual history. But, ancient Kemet and its effects go so much deeper when you understand the metaphysical practices and practical application to your life. If you were raised Christian what you will find often time scripture you thought was literal, was in actuality a Kemetian metaphysical idea that was changed and reinterpreted as a literal and religious idea.

Just one example is John 1:1 and it states: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This was a reiteration of a Kemetian proverb that was reinterpreted by Christians as proof that God was made flesh through Jesus. [Learn more here]

In reality, it is a reference to a Kemetian metaphysical concept that is thousands of years old! I know this will be a challenge for many to accept, but this is the knowledge we will delve deeper into moving forward.

It’s not just about the history of civilization. It’s not ultimately about race. It’s about transforming and empowering humanity. The truth is, EVERY human being is a descendant of Africa.

Thank you for watching.

Ancient Kemet Post video knowledge

The Greeks are giving credit as the mother of western civilization. But what is starting to come forth is that the Greek Miracle in European civilization was due to the influence of its African teachers. [learn more here]

Ase’
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Mummification Step by Step

How to be kemetic

Mummification was mainly done to wealthy people as poorer people could not afford the process.

The chief embalmer was a priest wearing a mask of Anubis. Anubis was the jackal headed god of the dead. He was closely associated with mummification and embalming, hence priests wore a mask of Anubis.

How to be kemetic

This is the step-by-step process of how mummification took place:

  1. Insert a hook through a hole near the nose and pull out part of the brain
  2. Make a cut on the left side of the body near the tummy
  3. Remove all internal organs
  4. Let the internal organs dry
  5. Place the lungs, intestines, stomach and liver inside canopic jars
  6. Place the heart back inside the body
  7. Rinse inside of body with wine and spices
  8. Cover the corpse with natron (salt) for 70 days
  9. After 40 days stuff the body with linen or sand to give it a more human shape
  10. After the 70 days wrap the body from head to toe in bandages
  11. Place in a sarcophagus (a type of box like a coffin)

If the person had been a Pharaoh, he would be placed inside his special burial chamber with lots of treasure!

*To see a more detailed explanation of the mummification process, see another My Learning resource: Make me a mummy! Embalming tips.

How to be kemetic

To learn about an Egyptian tale of how mummification started, see Osiris and Isis: The Origin of Mummification.

How to be kemetic

  • Facebook Facebook
  • Twitter Twitter

There are some traditions of modern Paganism that follow the structure of the ancient Egyptian religion. Typically these traditions, sometimes referred to as Kemetic Paganism or Kemetic reconstruction, follow basic principles of Egyptian spirituality such as honoring the Neteru, or deities, and finding a balance between man’s needs and the natural world. Like many ancient cultures, such as the Greeks or Romans, the Egyptians incorporated religious beliefs into their daily lives, rather than keeping them separate.

Kemetic Reconstruction

A reconstructionist, or recon, tradition is one based upon actual historical writings and attempts to literally reconstruct the practice of a specific culture.

Richard Reidy at The Kemetic Temple says there are a lot of misconceptions about what Kemeticism actually is. “I do not speak for all Reconstructionists, but all the Recon temples I am familiar with use the ancient texts as guides, not as rigid, unalterable models. [We] are fully aware that we are citizens of the twenty-first century, coming from cultures very different from that of ancient Egypt. It is not our goal to abandon our way of thinking for some imagined ancient way of thinking. Such a feat is neither possible nor desirable. We do know, however, from our personal and group experiences that the gods transcend the limits of any particular time or place. [There is a] clear implication was that Reconstructionists are so preoccupied with scholarly research that we neglect or devalue the personal encounter with the gods. Nothing is further from the truth.”

For members of most Kemetic groups, information is gained by studying scholarly sources of information on ancient Egypt, and working directly with the gods themselves. There are a number of smaller subgroups within the Kemetic framework. These include — but are certainly not limited to — the Ausar Auset Society, Kemetic Orthodoxy, and Akhet Het Heru. In these traditions, there is an acknowledgement that each person has their own individual interactions with the Divine. However, these experiences are also measured against historical and scholarly sources, to help avoid the trap of unverifiable personal gnosis.

Devo at The Twisted Rope offers some tips on getting started in Kemetic studies, and recommends the basics of interacting with the gods and other Kemetics, and reading as much as possible. “If you want to get to know the gods better, reach out to them. Sit with them, give them offerings, light a candle in their honor, do an activity in their name. Something. Anything. And it doesn’t have to be a specific god. Trying to establish a connection is what matters.”

Egyptian Paganism in a NeoPagan Framework

In addition to the Kemetic reconstruction movements, there are also many groups that follow Egyptian gods within a Neopagan framework, utilizing the northern European Wheel of the Year and Wiccan sabbat dates.

Turah lives in Wyoming, and honors the Egyptian gods within a Neopagan structure. She marks the traditional eight sabbats, but incorporates the Egyptian deities into that system. “I know a lot of the recon people frown upon this, which is why I practice alone, but it works for me. I honor Isis and Osiris and the other gods of the Egyptian pantheon as the seasons change, and based upon agricultural makers. I’m not trying to fit square pegs into round holes or anything, but the more I practice and interact with my gods, the more I realize that they don’t seem to mind how I honor them, but more that I just do.

The Kemetic Mystery System

How to be kemetic

It’s well-documented that classical Greek thinkers traveled to what we now call Egypt to expand their knowledge. When the Greek scholars Thales, Hippocrates, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and others traveled to Kemet, they studied at the temple-universities Waset and Ipet Isut. Here, the Greeks were inducted into a wide curriculum that encompassed both the esoteric as well as the practical.

Thales was the first to go to Kemet. He was introduced to the Kemetic Mystery System — the knowledge that formed the basis of the Kemites’ understanding of the world, which had been developed over the previous 4,500 years. After he returned, Thales made a name for himself by accurately predicting a solar eclipse and demonstrating how to measure the distance of a ship at sea. He encouraged others to make their way to Kemet to study [source: Texas A&M].

In Kemet, Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” learned of disease from the previous explorations of Imhotep, who established diagnostic medicine 2,500 years earlier. This early renaissance man — priest, astronomer and physician — was described as “the first figure of a physician to stand out clearly in the mists of antiquity” by the British medical trailblazer William Osler [source: Osler]. In Kemet, Pythagoras, the “father of mathematics,” learned calculus and geometry from the Kemetic priests based on a millennia-old papyrus.

None of this is to say that the Greeks were without their own ideas. On the contrary, the Greeks appeared to have formed their own interpretations of what they learned in Kemet. Nor did the Greeks ever deny the credit due the Kemites for their education. “Egypt was the cradle of mathematics,” Aristotle wrote [source: Van Sertima]. But one could make the case that the Greeks also felt that they were destined to build upon what they’d learned from the Kemites.

The Kemetic education was meant to last 40 years, although no Greek thinker is known to have made it through the entire process. Pythagoras is believed to have made it the furthest, having studied in Kemet for 23 years [source: Person-Lynn]. The Greeks seem to have put their own spin on what knowledge they’d learned.

Plato’s education may have expressed it best: The Kemetic Mystery System was based upon a wide array of human knowledge. It encompassed math, writing, physical science, religion and the supernatural, requiring tutors to be both priests and scholars. Perhaps the aspect of the system that best represents this merger of religion and science is Ma’at.

Ma’at (/mi ‘yat/) was a goddess who embodied the concept of the rational order to the universe. “This idea that the universe is rational … passed from the Egyptians to the Greeks,” writes historian Richard Hooker [source: Hooker]. The Greeks’ name for this concept was logos

In his “Republic,” Plato describes a dichotomy between a higher and lower self. The higher self (reason) pursues knowledge, reason and discipline. The lower self — the more prominent of the two — is base, concerned with more crude aspects like sex, addiction and other self-serving pursuits. Reason must ultimately win over emotion for a life to be worthwhile. Thus the emphasis of reason over all else was born. And the concepts of spirituality and reason began to diverge.

It is the survival of the Greek interpretation of Ma’at over the Kemites’ that may explain why schoolchildren learn that the Greeks provided the basis for our modern world.

Read about some other ideas about why the Kemites have been banished to antiquity on the next page.