Grave Moss & Stars

Posts Tagged ‘ptah’

PBP Friday: P is for Polyvalent Logic

Kemetic Orthodox and many other Kemetics employ polyvalent logic, more commonly known as fuzzy logic, to understand and integrate many of ancient Egypt’s myths. Polyvalent logic proposes that true/false is not a binary, a switch to be flipped on or off, but a sliding scale instead—and with that increased vagueness, more than one thing can be true at the same time (even if one is frequently slightly “less” true than the other).

For example, there are half a dozen or more Kemetic creation myths, none of which reference any of the others; rather than choosing one to be the singularly “true” one, they’re all considered to be true. (With the caveat that most Kemetics don’t take them to be literal truths, but metaphorical or symbolic ones.) Similarly, all the gods involved in those myths are all called creator gods, none excluding the others. Nit (Neith), the Great He-She, Who gave birth to the sun and thus created childbirth as well as all of creation, and Khnum, the artisan, Who created Himself in the primordial waters of the Nun and Who shapes each human’s body on His potter’s wheel, are just as much creators as Ptah, the Master Architect, Who made creation from the thoughts in His heart that He spoke aloud. Neither the gods nor Their stories negate each other as true.

This is, in part, because Netjeru are bendy. They flow into each other’s roles. Over time, one can become equated with, syncretized with, or aspected with another. Older gods will get consumed by the popularity of newer gods and fall into obscurity‚Ķ or They’ll combine, creating an entirely new Netjeru with properties of both. Depending on how you tilt your head, the Horus that you greet may be Heru-wer, the solar warrior and Set’s twin; Heru-sa-Aset, young king and son of Aset (Isis); Heruakhety, of the two horizons; Heru-behdety, the winged disk; Heru-pa-khered, the child; Heru-em-akhet, the divinization of the Giza Sphinx; or others.

I am extraordinarily grateful that Kemeticism supports polyvalent logic, as I have a hard time thinking in true/false binaries myself. I can acknowledge Nit as the Creatrix and Ptah as the Maker of All in the same breath, and neither is false, neither overrides the other. And that fuzzy logic can extend outwards and make room for multiple belief systems in the world, none of them a singular truth and none of them invalidated by the rest. There are many paths we can take, be they spiritual or not, and they are vastly different, and none of them are wrong.

Standard Disclaimer: I do not support paths that promote hatred, unnecessary violence, bigotry, etc. But there are plenty that have a core of love, peace, balance, respect, responsibility, and humility, and those are the ones I write of here.

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

PBP Fridays: F is for Father Gods

As a Shemsu (follower) of Kemetic Orthodoxy, I have undergone the Rite of Parent Divination, a geomantic divination which reveals my divine Parent(s) and Beloved(s). I have two Parents, my Mothers, Nebt-het (Nephthys) and Hethert-Nut; I also have Sekhmet as a pre-divination “surrogate” mother-figure, and I will frequently call Her my mother. Some of my dearest Kemetic siblings, including the wonderful person who introduced me to Kemetic Orthodoxy and my own sister, have a divined Father; in fact, one of my close friends was divined with two, like I have two Mothers.

But I don’t have any deity I unofficially call Father, and I’d like to explore what it’s like to have such a female-centric divine family.

(What do polytheists call the grouping of their deities that they interact with and worship? I want to say “personal pantheon,” but that’s not quite dictionary-accurate. In Kemetic Orthodoxy, it’s our “lineup” or divine family if referring to the Netjeru we were divined with, but I need a term for the Netjeru of my divination plus Sekhmet…)

I have one god consistently in my life, and that is Ma’ahes, the Living Lion; I have called Him brother for nearly as long as I’ve known Him, and He is not paternal in the least with me. Other male Netjeru, all of Whom happen to be my sister’s or friends’ Fathers and Beloveds, will infrequently touch base but aren’t a part of my daily practice so much that we have a strong one-on-one relationship.

So, as things stand, I am a goddess-worshipper. Sekhmet devotee, born of Nebt-het and Hethert-Nut, protected by Serqet. Ma’ahes is so supportive and non-obtrusive, letting me approach Him instead of actively demanding time and attention, that He doesn’t radiate the traditional “lordly” vibes that many male deities do. (Heru-wer, I’m lookin’ at You.) Ma’ahes, the only male Eye of Ra, an executioner personified by the sweltering summer heat… is extremely gentle and patient with me. He is, in fact, as kind as the most compassionate of my goddesses, Hethert-Nut.

This is probably due to my own nature: I am a non-Newtonian creature and will react to blunt force or aggression by steeling myself and raising my defenses, or simply sidestepping and walking away, whereas slower and softer movements are allowed access to my vulnerable insides. In other words, any deity approaching me with any kind of “macho” attitude would not find a berth in my practice. I am mindful, rational, emotional, and compassionate, and I don’t relate well to a lot of posturing or strict hierarchy. (This is also why I don’t deal with many gods of royalty. I respect Them—I just don’t grok Them.)

Perhaps that’s why I didn’t end up with a Father or a kingly god in my divination; it would take a very special sort of god to fill a paternal role without rubbing me the wrong way. Of the hundreds of ancient Egyptian gods, Ptah is one of the few male Netjeru Whose demeanor jives very well with me, and the only Netjeru I could envision having a positive paternal relationship with me. I adore Him and His myths, and the fact that He is Sekhmet’s consort only endears Him further to me. If He were willing, I would happily involve Him in my regular practice and accept that added paternal flavor… but that has yet to happen, mostly through my own inaction.

I’ve wondered if my bias towards goddesses has anything to do with my transition away from Christianity, but I wasn’t brought up so religiously that it left a bruise. Even my human role-models were both strong women and compassionate men, individuals who were solidly good people without being restricted to any extreme of gender stereotype. Being genderfunky myself, I don’t seek out one sex over the other for friendship or company; I tend not to judge at all based on sex or gender, but based on personal characteristics that mesh well with who I am. I find myself very comfortable with many goddesses, but I have not been exclusionary towards gods; it’s been something of an accidental ratio of female-to-male.

So I am a goddesses’ Kemetic, sort of the polytheist version of a ladies’ man, albeit not through any conscious, deliberate choice. Given the wealth of joy and contentment in my spiritual practice, I can’t say I’m complaining—just curious about how the dice fell. My Mothers and my Ladies are beautiful and fierce and fathomless, and I adore Them wholeheartedly… as I do Ma’ahes, as I would any god or goddess Who won my heart.

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

Last year’s first F post was on five pillars of Kemetic Orthodoxy, which later became a permanent page.

What have I built?

I did not want to answer this question, posed on the Kemetic Orthodox forums as a way to contemplate the past Kemetic year in preparation for the new one, which begins August 3rd.

My avoidance is probably a sign that I should, indeed, explore my answer. ^^;

Ptah’s year was not a building year in the way I expected, planned, and hoped. My love and I moved to Texas shortly before the Kemetic year changed over; my job relocated me with a very promising paycheck, which we wanted to use to pay off my debts and make some serious inroads on my partner’s student loan debts. I intended to build my skillset, my network, my seniority, and my savings account. My goals were all pragmatism and foundation-shoring.

Instead, I’ve endured some of the rockiest company transitions I’ve ever experienced, a flurry of managers in quick succession, and a wildly fluctuating job description. I have shifted back into my “lean times” budget with admitted reluctance (but also with gratitude that I have lived as dirt-poor before and know how to handle it). My savings account stands empty thus far. I have broadened my professional network, but only because so many people have come and gone through my office. I have increased my seniority by virtue of outlasting the roughest waves, but those who are above me now are newer than me, and so my seniority doesn’t matter a whit as I re-prove myself to them, as I proved myself to their successors and those who came before.

But rather than looking to the bricks I’d hoped to lay down, what about those that were unexpected and strong?

Thanks to the madhouse at work, I am tenfold a better worker in both capacity and skills. I feel I have matured greatly because of what I’ve experienced, grappled with, and adapted to.

With Texas came a house that is beyond wonderful. Our landlords are gracious and superbly respectful of our privacy, we have a fenced back yard, and we have a glorious amount of space that is laid out in an atypical, delightful way. (Our house is horseshoe-shaped!)

My partner and I are even more tightly tied as a family, and we were able to adopt a stray we found recently. Despite already having five cats and a dog, this new dog has fit in unbelievably well in what I had always considered was a household of critters prohibitive of having a bigger dog. My partner and our animals bring me so much joy.

Ptah’s year saw me engage and evolve as a Remetj of Kemetic Orthodoxy, drawing increasingly closer to Ma’ahes and Serqet, and then getting my RPD in November, where I was divined a child of Nebt-het and Hethert-Nut, beloved of Ma’ahes and Serqet. I have deepened and explored my relationships with my gods, and while perhaps I have not done as much as I would have liked to in this regard, I have certainly done more than nothing. :)

My crafting sort of exploded this year, unexpectedly and unplannedly. I wrote music for my gods, including my first-ever experience putting guitar to original lyrics, and I participated in a challenge to write an album in one month. I began painting. I began making sigils. I opened up Mythic Curios with my love. I began making jewelry. I began making sculpeytures. I wrote over 100k on a rough draft of a new novel in the late fall/early winter, then 50k on a rewrite of another novel idea, and almost a dozen short stories in May. I laid down the groundwork for a consistent creative habit that I intend to last me indefinitely – I am never done making things.

I am incredibly grateful for the skillset, family, spirituality, and creativity that I have built in Ptah’s green year. Dua Ptah!

happy Kemetic New Year!

Happy Wep Ronpet! Today is the first day of the Kemetic new year, a year of green and building under the guidance of Ptah, creator and patron of artisans and craftsmen, consort of Sekhmet. I like Ptah a lot and was leaning towards Him before the year’s oracle was announced, so it fits extra-well to me.

I rather like having two new years – one in January, my personal new year, and now one almost perfectly opposite it, for Kemetics. More fresh starts and renewal energy. Is good.

In the tradition of Wep Ronpet activities, one makes a representation of Ap-p (Apophis), the snake that embodies isfet, the monster that Ra in His solar barque must defeat each night so that the sun may rise at dawn– and then one slays that representation.

J made a pansnake (pancake-snake), and we slew it with great fanfare. It bled boysenberry syrup. I left the severed head, along with a blood-colored drink, on my altar.

We’re a caring, gentle people… :D

Since I could not do the ritual of the Red Pot, where one smashes a terracotta pot to symbolically destroy the thing(s) holding one back, I made do with fire magic instead. I’d acquired a copper bowl for exactly such a purpose, in Sekhmet’s name, a while back, and this was the first time in using it. (Anyone familiar with magic will probably already know what I did – write down the thing(s) I want destroyed, burn the paper, scatter/bury the ashes. Standard stuff.) I felt better afterwards.

And then I went the hell to sleep because it was almost 2 am and I was exhausted.

me and Ptah

I just had a weird moment where I thought about Ptah creating the world with his voice, with words, and how I might identify with that, with Him, in writing with words to create my own worlds.

Uh.

synesthetic impressions of Netjeru

Renenutet is barley-wheat-golden, the color of indirect sunlight, the softness of grain and the practicality of threshing it. Harvest-goddess, protective of the crops before and after they’re taken from the fields, and likewise protective of and involved with the vineyards. Mother-goddess, divine nurse, nurturing and sustenance-giving. Cobra, fiery-eyed to enemies (but not nearly so strong or purely-aggressive as Sekhmet), linked to the uraeus and thus to the Eye of Ra (but softly, distantly, not as much as Wadjet). Sun-golden and harvest-bountiful and earthy-practical and loving.

Ptah is… pale blue but not directly, like the color is filtered through an open room and barely seen as an aura/overlay. Beautiful Of Face, with skin like faience and stars, bearded and smooth-headed. Craftsman, patron of artisans, blue-collar in that He works with His hands where most the other Names don’t, but sophisticated in that He is a master at what He creates. Gentle, quiet-voiced; not the epitome of compassion and coddling, but relaxed, unassuming, understanding. Sovereign in what He does and is, and allows others, including humans, to be sovereign in what they do and are; there is no pressure to conform or to change or to Do/Be This Thing. I feel like I could sit in the room where He’s working and not need to say anything, just be comfortable in the silence, in the dim softly-lit air that is somehow dusty, maybe with sawdust or just murky sunlight through small windows. Craftsman-Ptah is Creator-Ptah, and it makes sense to me that He could make all that exists and then take joy in working physically, building structures and other things within that creation. Other than the pale blue aura, all the color I see with/around Him is in browns– woods, dust, muddy golden light through a needs-cleaning window.

Yinepu… I blame my sense-impression of Him on someone (I think Per-Sabu.org?) saying the key word “cthonic” and cuing up in my head all sorts of visceral reactions and sensations/imagery normally reserved for Celtic deities, for Cernunnos. See, Celtic deities feel like home, like all that’s in the earth and a part of it, thickly elemental and tangible and sensory; Kemetic deities feel clear and spacious, open, bright, but not perfectly clean or flawless– just delineated, complex but well-lit. If my experiences are a tree, Celtic is the twining roots and Kemetic is the stretching branches. But Yinepu bridges the gap between Kemetic clarity and Celtic visceralness, with strong arms and black fur, a sense of the underground that feels familiar to me, an animal force matched with a thinking mind and a feeling spirit/soul. Silence, and coolness, and a heavy male-canid presence, a crouching, a waiting. No hostility or even intimidation, no fear, and probable considerable gentleness/compassion for the dead or the (more spiritual, more shamanic) death-rebirth process– but also not a bouncy, tail-waggy jql-pup. I am intrigued and, while not specifically drawn to Him, I don’t know what to do when I get that strong a sense of Someone but find out more about Them.