Ekunyi's Embers

Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Kemetic Round Table – One Person at a Time

The Kemetic Round Table works to connect Kemetic bloggers of various practices and paths in order to provide helpful information for those new to Kemeticism. More information about the project can be found here.

There were many questions included in this prompt, but I have chosen to focus on: “When you look at the Kemetic community as a whole, what flaws, hindrances, and negative trends do you see at work? What methods and tactics should we employ to improve Kemetic presence on a local level; to encourage Kemetics to network not just online, but also in ‘the real world’ ?

 The Kemetic community has its fair share of obstacles to overcome, as other Round Table authors have discussed. We are mentally divided by our opinions on the appropriate way to worship; physically divided by our many, varied locations across the world; and emotionally divided by our seeming inability to hold rational and respectful conversations without the moments of disagreement devolving into unproductive vitriol. For such a small community, a community that could so greatly benefit from developing a network of support amongst its members, regardless of their particular brand of Kemetic belief, many of us still find ourselves bobbing along, solitary.

The internet provides some relief for this. For some, like myself, the House of Netjer offers weekly fellowship or duas — group rituals led by Rev. Tamara Siuda or a high ranking priest — in IRC chats, and for that hour, give or take, we participate with other people in the worship of Netjer, we commit ourselves as a group to a cause of self or community-improvement, and the connection is fulfilling. There are also less formal methods of Kemetic networking. Facebook hosts a relatively lively community across several different “pages” and the Kemetic Round Table, of which this post is a part, has created a space for the exchange of ideas on different Kemetic topics in a more involved manner.

Yet I often find that the internet cannot completely fulfill my desire to experience the Kemetic community in my day to day life. It serves as more of a salve that briefly soothes the lingering ache of something missing, than an actual cure for what I lack. I suspect I feel this way for the following reasons:

1.) The juxtaposition of my communal life online with the physicality of my individual practice is quite jarring.

I don’t use a computer when I am in shrine. So much of my practice involves a physical and mental shift from the profane to the sacred: the purification with water and natron, the burning of candle and incense, the reversion of offerings. It is a deliberate time to be away from the stress of my work, so much of which takes place at a laptop, staring at a screen. It can be difficult to really feel like I’m entering the right “headspace” when I participate in virtual rituals, as much as I cherish them and understand that they are really the only option at the present time.

2.) I am jealous of the physical communities of churches/synagogues/mosques etc. I see near me.

Thank Netjer I don’t belong to a faith where coveting is some terrible “sin”, because come Sunday mornings, I freely admit that I am envious! While I don’t miss my childhood experiences of receiving a guilt-trip of a sermon once a week, I freely admit that I do miss the experience of going to church. I miss seeing the people who considered me part of their religious family, singing together, sharing coffee and brunch as a spiritual community after the service was over. It was good to belong to something, good to have a place to travel to once a week, good to have a special space where people gathered and praised God and acknowledged the start of a new week. The internet just can’t quite match this.

3.) The internet provides anonymity.

Whenever I teach an older relative how to use Youtube, I always warn them: “Don’t read the comments.” Why? Because the internet is full of anonymous faces hiding behind computer screens, ready and willing to say whatever the hell they want without threat of repercussion. You don’t have to look a man in the eyes when you insult him, the filter of conscientious interaction is removed. I think this contributes to the frequent flare-ups of drama within our community, where in-person interaction might inspire greater diplomacy.

The virtual wall of anonymity can also make it more difficult to meet new people. There’s no coffee hour after a dua where you can walk over and introduce yourself to that intriguing woman who raised a poignant question after worship. In the ‘real world,’ you might see a group of long term friends chatting and be inspired, or invited, to join them. On the internet, they’re likely chatting in a private space, and there’s no way to add your voice unless given the appropriate web address or password.

 Okay Ekunyi, the internet sucks, we get it. What do we do about it?

Reach out, one person at a time.

There may not be any self-proclaimed Kemetics living near you: I live in a decent-sized city and it’s slim pickings even here, so this is a highly probable situation to find yourself in.

But there are other spaces, other groups, that will welcome you. Try Meetup.com, use Facebook, seek out groups welcoming Pagans, Heathens, Wiccans, or Druids. They exist, and if their gods are different than yours, so be it. There’s still something to be learned, something to be gained through conversation, something viscerally ka-feeding that can be found in the companionship of another polytheist over coffee. Visit a Unitarian Universalist church and I suspect you’ll find that their Covenant fits quite nicely into the concept of ma’at, plus the discussions in such a multi-faith locale can be quite inspiring.

And those discussions are key. You want to have conversations with the people you meet in these spaces. In teaching others you will simultaneously be learning more about your own beliefs, and perhaps will even find another person who also worships Kemetic deities, or was always interested in learning more. Community is built just like a road, you lay the mortar between bricks, one at a time, establish connections between people, one at a time. It doesn’t matter if these people are “little” or “big,” only that they reach out, seek each other in the physical world, and live their religion by living it with others.