Ekunyi's Embers

The Scholar and the Muse

There are many “Women of Set” out there whose writings I both enjoy and admire, and whose attitudes on theology and research I respect. One of these is Sarduriur, of “Shadows of the Sun.” She has previously touched on a number of issues that hit close to home for me, but perhaps her most recent post was the first to give me a swift kick in the arse, if you will, to consider the balance in what I bring of myself to my spiritual practices. In other words, is the dedication of the scholar matching the dedication of muse?

I came to Kemetic belief through purely experiential means. In May of 2011, after approximately four years of what amounted to atheism, I began to, in my mind’s eye and ear, see and hear a being who would later identify Himself as Set. Despite earning degrees in Anthropology and Musicology, despite heading for a PhD program in Ethnomusicology, my research had never approached anything resembling ancient religion. Initially I sought out  a wide variety of sources to better understand my experiences. Te Velde’s Seth: God of Confusion and entries in several printed dictionaries of Egyptian Gods gave me a scholarly background on the subject, while admission to the beginner class in the House of Netjer provided assurances that I was not losing my mind.

When I began graduate study the scholarly side of things fell away in the wake of several hundred pages of ethnomusicological assignments every week. I’ve had a copy of Meeks’ Daily Life on my bookshelf since I moved to Pittsburgh, and there it remains, unopened. My years of academia grant me the knowledge to know precisely what I need to do to write up a respectable entry on each of the Names in my divined line-up, and yet each page under my Virtual Shrine remains blank, works in progress.

In contrast to this, I’ve written and recorded several songs and created more ceramic portrayals to honor my gods than I can fit on my current shrine space. I “speak” with Set nigh daily, or at least try to dedicate some aspect of my day to Him, and spend time “in shrine” once a week, contemplating aloud, before Netjer, the issues in my life, re-reading myths and examining symbols for possible guidance in the solution to my present challenges. So much of what I do as a Kemetic stems from that which I know to be wholly unverifiable, wholly personal.

It is, of course, still valuable to me. The experiences I’ve had stemming from “UPG” have taken me out of a toxic relationship, given me the strength to forcibly haul myself out of depression, and granted me the courage to, for the first time in my life, make a career choice for my own health and happiness rather than the perceived demands of those around me. I intend to formally dedicate myself to Set, and Netjer, in the months ahead. I do this both in gratitude, regarding how much has changed for the better in my life; and in affirmation that I will no longer live a life any less empowered, driven, and brightly-burning than the life I have been living for the past year and a half.

But with this dedication, I wish to also dedicate myself to the cause of balance that I have been working towards this year. I am a scholar as much as I am an artist; one of the joys of my chosen field is that in order to do what I do, I must become both creator and observer, author of the soul and the mind. Its high time I do a better job of not neglecting the mind.

So, a small promise here.

Before I take Shemsu vows I will do the following to be a better balanced, more-educated member of the Kemetic community:

  • Complete the “god-bios” on my virtual shrine.
  • Re-think, re-organize, and document my physical shrine in such a way that it is meaningful to my current goals. (Inspired by the posts on Shrine Beautiful.)
  • Read the Meeks. It’s bloody well past time.

Thanks again, Sarduriur, for the inspiration.

5 Responses to “The Scholar and the Muse”

  • “Initially I sought out a wide variety of sources to better understand my experiences. Te Velde’s Seth: God of Confusion ” World of difference right there.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve responded to requests for information on (Bast, Anubis, Set… ) linking the person to solid info on per-sabu, henadology, and other quality sites. Only to see a response like “not interested in that boring stuff”

    Great goals though, and thanks for the mention of SB. It’s been fascinating to see how different people’s approaches are, and to hear their reasons for what they include.

    • There’s certainly no lack of interest here, just a lack of energy and time courtesy of graduate study. (Granted, I am a self-proclaimed knowledge-nerd of the highest order, so perhaps the reading that might seem daunting to many is, for me, a pleasure. ^_^) Thus far, it’s been easy enough to dedicate fifteen minutes a day to reading the Meeks; and I’m already a good portion of the way through.

      I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to structure my re-organized, simplified shrine. I suspect it won’t happen officially until after my holiday travels, but it will be a nice, fresh start for the calendar New Year.

  • I have found that my artwork featuring Netjer serve as great devotions to Them. It is not to be underestimated. I feel that artistic expression of Netjer will play a great part in the modern remanifiestation of Netjer and Kemeticism.

    • I do love your art, Setken, just as I love making music! I certainly didn’t mean to imply that creativity is not a tremendously important part of my personal practice — just that it’s good to balance it out with a bit of scholarship now and again.

  • [...] readers, and the discussions it prompted. If you have not done so yet, I encourage you to peruse Ekunyi’s, Helmsman of Inepu’s, Senneferet/Claudia’s, and Kiya’s perspectives on the [...]

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