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Thread: Kemetic religion and offerings

  1. #1
    Jr. Member Banu's Avatar
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    Kemetic religion and offerings

    Offerings play a prominent role in Kemetic religion, and for many people they can be a very stressful part of getting to know the gods. Like a date with someone you deeply respect, but don't know very well yet, many people worry about bringing the "right" type of offering to please and impress.

    I used to do this. I wanted my gods to have the best of everything and so I bought them fragrant oils, candles, jewelry, statues, weaponry, books, and fancy foods. I tried to match offerings with personality types, offer things that I liked, even offer things that I didn't like just in case that was what they wanted. And I tried to maintain a diversity of offerings so that the gods wouldn't get bored with me.

    People told me that this was unnecessary, that the traditional offering was water and bread, and I thought, "Ugh, that sounds so bland." And so I kept trying to give my gods more, and more, and more. Now I have a cluttered shrine and a room full of things I don't need to show for it. Because, you know, after an offering is made it is reverted to us and we are supposed to make use of it. I have been hard pressed to find ways to use some of the things I have offered.

    Now, after many years, I look back on all that and think that it was well intended, but so misguided! I'd been thinking about it all wrong.

    Bread is made from grain, grown by the sun and the air and the rain (or river), then ground and baked by humans. This is a beautiful metaphor for the partnership between nature, netjer, and humankind. Bread is a symbol of what can come of this powerful relationship, and it is a staple of human life as well. Civilizations have been established through bread; revolutions have been fought for it. And water? It's literally the stuff of life: purifying, rejuvenating, living water.

    The gods don't need jewelry or fancy foods. What they need is ma'at. Ma'at is a system of relationships in balance, and that relationship of nature, netjer, and humankind takes physical form in the loaf of bread. By remembering this relationship, by honoring the gods with it, we create ma'at. The physical offerings can be thought of as a type of ritual tool to be used in the creation of ma'at. They are then returned to us and internalized when their role in the ritual is over. Ma'at is the food of the gods and the air they breathe, and that is the true offering of Kemetic ritual.

    What do you think about the role of offerings in Kemetic ritual, and how has your view of them changed or developed over the course of your life as a Kemetic practitioner?
    Last edited by Banu; 06 Nov 2015 at 19:56.
    With kind regards,
    Banu

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    Cat Freak Gleb's Avatar
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    Re: Kemetic religion and offerings

    As you mentioned, roles play an important part in our life, indeed. Since I don't live separately from my biological family I can't have a shrine yet, so my current offering is acting with Ma'at. It can be taken to so many different places... For example, people often ask me for my opinion. Of course usually I'm being sent "far far away" by those people after giving my opinion, because it doesn't fit them. But I also try to help those in emotional pain (as much as I can do for now), give materialistic help, et cetera..
    "Fair means that everybody gets what they need. And the only way to get that is to make it happen yourself."



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    Head Above Water habbalah's Avatar
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    Re: Kemetic religion and offerings

    This makes me think of a related question I've had: I read that all Kemetic offerings of water and food must be consumed. Is that correct?

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    Cat Freak Gleb's Avatar
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    Re: Kemetic religion and offerings

    Banu once told me the gods take the spiritual part of the offering and we take the physical part, as a part of our relationship with each other. I think she'll find better words to explain it, though.
    I still don't seem to quite get it.
    "Fair means that everybody gets what they need. And the only way to get that is to make it happen yourself."



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    Jr. Member Banu's Avatar
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    Re: Kemetic religion and offerings

    Quote Originally Posted by habbalah View Post
    This makes me think of a related question I've had: I read that all Kemetic offerings of water and food must be consumed. Is that correct?
    It's true. Offerings are presented to the gods then are ceremonially reverted back to the giver, and at that point they should be consumed. In ancient Egypt offerings were first presented to the main god or goddess of the temple, then to other gods or goddesses who had side chapels within the temple, then to the spirits of the kings, and then to the spirits of those noble dead who had stellae or statues set up in the temple courtyard. After that, the offerings were ritually reverted and distributed among the priests. Today the process is simpler as we tend not to have big temples filled with kings and nobles. Instead, we have a short prayer which is said at the end of ritual which reverts the offerings.

    When I first started in Kemetic practice, it was explained to me that the gods partake of the spiritual double of the offering, and then the physical part is reverted to the giver along with the blessings of the divine. One takes the blessing in along with the food as it is eaten.

    Nowadays, I think that it is simply the ma'at of remembering and honoring the gods and their traditions which is their food. By giving offerings of bread and water, we create this ma'at. The food itself is highly symbolic and meaningful, but it's not that the gods need the actual bread and water. They need ma'at, and afterward the bread is reverted back to us so that it isn't wasted. I like to think that the offerings are still blessed by having been in the presence of the gods, and that this blessing is taken into the worshiper as the offering is consumed. At least, that's how I currently understand it, and this is my own personal theory.

    Kemetic ritual in particular seems to have many levels and meanings, and I learn new things as I perform them through the years. That's why I'm interested to see other people's take on the subject. Different people with different experiences leads to different insights, and interesting conversation.
    With kind regards,
    Banu

  6. #6
    Head Above Water habbalah's Avatar
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    Re: Kemetic religion and offerings

    Thank you so much for clarifying for me, Banu.
    “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” -- Bruce Lee

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