Alternate Title: Saying Goodbye to an Abusive Goddess
Disclaimer: This is just me finally putting the experiences I’ve been struggling with over the last several months/years to paper. This is not an attack against Kemetic Orthodoxy, or against anyone who happens to worship the goddess who abused me. Please do not let this taint your view of either. I know of so many people who have had nothing but positive experiences with both groups. Also, this is very stream of consciousness, and all written up at around 3-4 AM, so please bear with any typos.
Long time no talk. I honestly forgot this blog existed. In the last (roughly) eleven months since I’ve posted on this blog, I’ve had a lot go on in my life, some of it good, some of it not so good. Least of all, I went through a period of massive spiritual upheaval that almost led to me cutting the netjeru out of my life for good. I started to feel really distant, like they were drifting away from me, and alongside the general frustration regarding certain Kemetic Orthodox things I grappled with, I wondered if the path I was on was really my best choice. I started looking into other paths. I started to build a relationship with Ninhursaga, of the Sumerian pantheon. I started to introduce myself to various Roman gods and goddesses. I was looking for the sense of fulfillment that I just didn’t seem to get from Kemeticism anymore. It felt like the Netjeru were drifting away from me, and gods that I had been close to prior to my RPD and Shemsuhood didn’t seem to come around anymore, didn’t seem to respond when I called, none of that. As such, I was starting to get disillusioned with the whole thing, with Kemetic Orthodoxy and Kemeticism in general, and I couldn’t quite figure out why.
It took me coming back to this blog, stumbling across it one day stashed deep in my mobile browser’s favorites, to realize what the deal was. Rereading this post after a period of distance made the warning bells ring and the red flags to shoot up. What I had thought was just “tough love” for so long was anything but. It was abuse.
Let me start by naming my abuser. And this will be the one time I write her name on this post, because it’s pretty well-attested, both in historical sources and in modern personal gnosis, that voicing one’s name, or writing it without taking proper precautions such as strikethroughs or dividing up words with sl/ash/es or the like, will give the entity spoken or written about more power. My abuser, if you couldn’t guess by this point, is
Aset. And from this point forward, I will be referring to her only by “ A.”
Now, my relationship with
A has never been a particularly sunshine and roses relationship. There have been times where she has been gentle with me. I don’t deny that one bit. When my grandfather, the member of my family I loved above all others, passed away back in July 2017, A was the one who stepped forward to console me. But, in hindsight, that was probably the only time she ever showed compassion toward me.
My first encounter with her was back in 2014, during my time in college where I was an edgy Dawkins-esque atheist who would share my undying devotion to Talos and the Flying Spaghetti Monster to the annoying wandering evangelicals. Before that period of atheism, I was a disillusioned catholic that had started to reach out to the Netjeru, before I got dragged through the mud by someone claiming to be a priestess of Bast, abusing and manipulating me into doing things I, in hindsight, am very ashamed of. But that’s not the point. When
A finally showed up, her first action was to show up in my dreams and beat me within an inch of my life as proof that the Netjeru weren’t dead. Oh, no. They were very real, and, according to her, they wanted a relationship with me. And so I took her at her word. I started reaching out to Anpu again, and I started worshipping A in the process, too. In time, others showed up. Hethert. Djehuty. Seshat. Ra. And they were all, for the most part, very warm and supportive. Except for A. A was always aloof, cold, hard to please. She had her standards and wasn’t willing to lower them. Quick to criticize, but equally quick to praise when I did something right.
I never considered
A to be the god I was closest to. That always went to Anpu, or Hethert. But yet, somehow, despite that, A always remained prominent in my worship–that never changed. Even if she was never first and foremost in my heart, she was always a very close number two. I loved her, as I thought she loved me.
If anything, I felt my RPD and subsequent Shemsu naming is where everything started to go downhill.
A was divined as my “mother.” At that time, I think I was so hopped up on the adrenaline of the RPD process that all I felt was excitement and sheer bliss. One of the goddesses that had been with me since almost the very beginning had chosen me as her daughter. I couldn’t believe it! I had heard so many scary things about people feeling like they were all so wrong, and at that point in time, mine felt nothing but perfect!
Then, at my Shemsu naming (a brief insight for those not familiar–people who make the vow to become Shemsu, by accepting their RPD results and agreeing to put their parent god/s first above all others, get a new name at their “initiation” ceremony, which the parent god apparently gives to Rev. Siuda through meditation or something), where I got the name that meant “the one
A summons.” I was overjoyed for a while over the name. It was my name, and it was the name my divine mother gave to me!
And then that joy crashed. When I started to see the names other “children” of A were getting. Their names were things like “pleasant to
A,” or “ A embraces me,” or “ A is my protection,” or “delightful to A,” etc. Those felt like names that would come from a mother who genuinely loved her children. Meanwhile, my name felt so…distant.
It wouldn’t be until just recently that I realized what my name really meant. I was the one A called on because she knew I’d come when called, without fail. That’s all I was good for, apparently. I was good at coming when called. I wasn’t beautiful in her eyes, or one she hugged, or one she protected like a mother should. I was the one she called on when she wanted me to do something. I wasn’t a daughter. I was no better than a servant.
Anyway. After my naming, things just started to spiral downhill. Now,
A has always been pretty demanding. She was never particularly flexible with offerings, as all the others had been. But after I took the vows, things started to get out of hand. I had been on the ketogenic diet for about six months at the time of my naming, and it was doing wonders for me, but a good portion of my diet was meat, which, given its low cost, meant a lot of fatty things like sausage, bacon, and pork in general. It’s apparently pretty common that A doesn’t accept offerings of pork, and that became painfully clear when she confronted me about it. The exchange went something like: A: Don’t you dare eat that stuff. It’s offensive to me.
Me: But my diet hinges on this stuff, it’s cheap and it’s fatty enough to help me reach my daily goals.
A: Ugh, fine. Then eat it, but don’t you dare offer it to me, and don’t you dare come before me during the same day you’ve eaten it.
Me: Okay, but that means I probably won’t be able to come before you very often. I usually have pork for at least one meal a day.
A: Fine! Eat it, but you better purify yourself inside and out before you come anywhere near me. If I can smell it, you didn’t do a good enough job.
She gave me a specific way she wanted me to purify. In addition to the ritual purity requirements for Kemetic Orthodoxy’s daily ritual senut, A wanted me to also use water and a little bit of mint to purify myself before going before her. That meant washing with water with a tiny bit of mint mixed in, as well as drinking some water with a little mint. I modified it, and it turned out drinking things like mint tea, or swishing with mint mouthwash, were “not great, but good enough” substitutes. I did it dutifully, because I found out when I didn’t do it well enough, I’d get the cold shoulder, or I’d get to speak to her, but only after she ripped into me for not being able to do one simple task. And this went for all sorts of things. I stopped asking for her to guide me when doing divination because of how she would berate me when my interpretation didn’t fit her standards. I stopped asking her to take me to the Duat because whenever I went, I wouldn’t be able to do anything for myself because she’d have me doing things for her, right alongside the beings she had serving her as it was.
It eventually got to the point that I stopped going to my shrine at all. I stopped doing senut. I stopped speaking to her, but I kept up my connection to the other gods. I prayed regularly to the other three gods of my RPD (Djehuty, Anpu, and Hethert), as well as to other gods I had connected with prior to my RPD (Seshat, Ra, Nebthet, and some others). At that point, I knew I was breaking my Shemsu vows, because I wasn’t putting my “parent” god before all others, but at that point, I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with that. I started drifting away from Kemetic Orthodoxy at that point as well.
Then those connections to the other Netjeru went dead. I started noticing it back in November–gods suddenly stopped answering me. I’d reach out, and I wouldn’t get a response. No “busy signal,” no “voicemail,” nothing. It was as if they had all just walked out on me without so much as a word. I could still feel
A there, tapping her foot, but no one else.
So I figured the Netjeru had walked out on me, so what else was there to do than pack up and move on? I started looking into other pantheons. I did brief stints venerating Mesopotamian gods, Roman gods, even looking into Celtic and Gallic polytheism.
Last week, I found the post I linked above. I reread it, and my time apart from the Netjeru made me realize what I had been enduring, the intimidation, the yelling, the belittling, all the things I thought were “tough love” from a goddess who “was ruthless and did things by any means necessary,” were anything but love. That post was written by someone who was so fundamentally brainwashed that she couldn’t even see that abuse was abuse.
So, almost a year later, I’m calling a spade a spade. I had been abused, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it had probably been going on since the very beginning.
So, one evening not too long ago, I confronted her. I told her enough was enough, and that I was no longer going to venerate her, and I no longer wanted her in my life. I told her I was done with her abuse, and I wanted to move on without her. I was worried. I was scared out of my mind. What if she retaliated? This is a goddess who could, and would, kill other gods if it got her what she wanted. What about some human child who no longer wanted to put up with the abuse? She could incinerate me if she wanted, right?
But she didn’t. She just…left. She didn’t say another word. She just huffed, turned around, and left. And almost immediately, the other gods started showing back up. Djehuty. Hethert. Anpu. Seshat. Nebthet. Ra. Along with others I had never venerated before. Heru. Set. Ma’at. And I’m feeling like there are others I haven’t properly identified yet that are trying to get hold of me, too. I’m convinced now that she was blocking, or intercepting, or otherwise fiddling with the connections I had to these other gods, whether I knew it or not. But now that she’s gone, it feels like I’ve come back home. The Netjeru have always been my family, it feels. And it feels so good to be back to them.
I desperately hope
A is now gone from my life now. I worry that her power and persistence will mean she will try to come back, but I feel like I’m better-equipped to handle it now. I’ve got so many on my side that I feel like strength in numbers will help a lot.
So that’s why I’m leaving this blog, and that’s why I’ve packed up my things and left Kemetic Orthodoxy. There’s no chance for me to redo the RPD, as convinced as I am now that
A probably messed with the results to make sure no one else got to me, so there’s no way I can, in good faith, remain a shemsu and keep the vow that puts my abuser above all other gods. As much as I wanted to stay around as a remetj, I just didn’t feel I would get a warm reception from the community if I said “hey, I want to step down from shemsuhood because the goddess divined as my mother has been abusing me since she came into my life and I didn’t realize it was abuse until now.” For all I know, that could be totally wrong, but given Rev. Siuda’s assertion that all gods love us (a position which I can now no longer agree with), I feel me speaking out would just lead to confusion, and perhaps even hostility, rather than understanding.
I doubt anyone reads this blog anymore. But if you do, and you still want to keep in touch with me, contact me. It may take a while to get back to you, since I might only check the email this blog is connected to maybe once every couple of months (if even that often), but I’ll get back to you eventually and give you my Discord, my email, or my tumblr.