From the Kemetic Round Table:
When your practice leaves the beaten path: what happens when the gods throw you for a loop? What do you do when the gods present you with a situation that doesn’t seem “normal” for a Kemetic? How do you handle things when your practice wanders off the map?
There have been many times when Typhon has totally changed things on me. I’m not referring to initiatory crises like those I’ve described happening to me at Miew Khem, but to situations that are considerably less traumatic (if not less challenging or confusing). While I liken the former to the death of Osiris (since they involve a very real sense of being spiritually “killed” and then “rising again”), the latter are more like when Seth steals the the Eye of Horus, blinding Him until His Eye is healed and the Two Partners are reconciled. It’s a disturbance that occludes my “clear vision” of how things actually are, and which challenges me to “learn to see” all over again, leading me to develop an entirely new “vision.” My initiatory crises make me realize just how little control I actually have over anything in my world apart from myself (just as Osiris is “helpless” against Seth), but these situations are more like “wrestling” with Big Red (just as He wrestles with Horus), which involves a bit more control on my part. (I should also reiterate that in my view, Horus is not only a God but also the Pharaoh or messianic priest-king within every living person).
Horus in action
When I was still new to the path, these “wrestling matches” were literally a dime a dozen; within my first year as a Typhonian and a Pagan, I had at least four. The first came as a result of my initial conversion experience in August 1997, which clued me in to the fact that there was this powerful spiritual force in my life and that it could be identified as Seth. I didn’t believe that Seth was actually a being yet, and I treated Him simply as a force (not unlike the Tao) with which I could identify my own Higher Self. “Worshiping the Red God” therefore meant worshiping myself as my own God (a la most forms of Western “left-hand path” occultism) as far as I was concerned. I probably would have stuck to that idea, too, if it hadn’t been for what happened in January 1998. As explained in my review of Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark At The Moon (1983), that was when I started playing around with things like astral travel and the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. This led to certain experiences (like my “truck stop” dream) that convinced me of Typhon’s existence as a sentient entity apart from myself. It still wasn’t clear that I was meant to worship Him in a devotional sense, so I explored the Gnostic idea of trying to free myself from matter to become a purely spiritual being.
But then one day in March, I was out walking and suddenly felt like there was an invisible presence following me around. Since it was a windy day, I asked the spirit to answer a series of “Yes” or “No” questions for me. I asked it to please make the wind blow really hard for “Yes” and to make it die down for “No.” Then I asked it some questions to which I already knew the answers, just to establish that this process might actually work. The wind blew hard and died back down instantly after each question was asked, which cemented my notion that something paranormal was actually happening here. Then I asked the entity some real questions and learned that it was Anubis. While I had already come to believe in Seth as a discarnate intelligence, I was still one of those people who smirk at the idea of anyone having a “personal relationship” with a Deity. It wasn’t until then that I became the polytheist I am today. (And as if to reinforce this attainment of gnosis on my part, I experienced several “meaningful synchronicities” over the next few days. The one that stuck with me the most was when I went to school the very next day and my homeroom teacher turned on our classroom TV, only for Anubis to appear in an episode of Disney’s Gargoyles.)
The last thing I was expecting to see that day!
This experience with Anubis threw me for a loop and made me realize that the quasi-Thelemic thing wasn’t for me. It was roughly around this same time that I also discovered the House of Netjer, which led me to explore Kemetic Orthodoxy. For the next several months, I gave up ceremonial magic and “left-hand path” occultism in favor of simply worshiping, praying and making offerings to Anubis in a strictly devotional context. This lasted until August 1998, when I had another crazy gnostic experience. Not only was it Wep Ronpet; it was also the first anniversary of my initial conversion experience. I literally woke up one morning and felt like Seth was calling me back. I realized He had only “traded” me with Anubis for a while so that Anubis could teach me about religious devotion, and that it was now time for Anubis to “trade” me back. I’ll never forget my last prayer to the Jackal God during that period, when I gave Him a very tearful goodbye and promised that I’d never forget Him. Then I began worshiping Seth for the first time in my life, and for whatever reason, it seemed important to Him that I should find a way of doing this in a non-Kemetic context. This road would take me on many other zany adventures, including the 14-month period from November 1999 to February 2001 when Seth “traded” me with Ishtar for a while.
So as you can see, Typhon “blinded my inner Horus” several times during that first year. First He revealed Himself to me but didn’t make it clear that He was actually sentient, so I engaged in an Egyptianized version of LaVeyan Satanism. But when He revealed to me that He’s sentient after all, I switched to a more Gnostic mode of belief and practice. Then He traded me with Anubis, who motivated me to follow Kemetic Orthodoxy; and then Anubis traded me back and I started worshiping Big Red for real (in a non-Kemetic way). This was a lot of information for a 15-year old kid to process in just one year, and I’m surprised my brain didn’t turn into mush as a result. Things like this happened throughout the entire first decade of my walk with Typhon, and there were times when my inner Horus became so blinded that I wasn’t even sure if I was really walking with Big Red at all. Sometimes I wondered if I wasn’t experiencing Odin, Marduk, the angel Lucifer or even Ta’usi-Melek, and I alternated from polytheism to monism and even to atheism at one point. Things finally simmered down shortly after Wep Ronpet 2007, when I made a pilgrimage to my hometown of Malvern, Pennsylvania the following December. That was when I was “born again” in Seth, and everything has been much clearer for me ever since.
The All-Seeing Eye of Horus
The Big Guy hasn’t “blinded my inner Horus” for a while now – or at least not in a way that forces me to radically re-think my entire belief system. It could be that there will come a time when I’ll need to be “shaken up” like that again (though I honestly hope there isn’t). But for the most part, I believe the first ten years of my journey were basically Typhon’s idea of a spiritual “boot camp.” He would reveal Himself to me, and then He’d either hide Himself, pretend to be some other Deity, or actually trade me with Someone Else for a certain amount of time. I would learn invaluable lessons during each of these ordeals, and I would learn to think critically about my experiences from a number of different vantage points. In the long run, it’s helped me to more accurately understand some of the different viewpoints Seth’s various companions can have, including those of His laity, friends, and allies. It also helps me understand some of the different Pagan perspectives floating around out there, including those of hard Polytheists and those of Atheopagans.
The most important thing to know is that no God or Goddess who’s worth Their salt will ever ask you to murder, rape, or enslave anyone (and I don’t give a high holy shit what ISIL says). If an actual Deity truly wants someone dead, He or She is perfectly capable of making it happen Him or Herself; He or She doesn’t need any mortal to do it for Them. If “He” or “She” does, then you can be sure it isn’t a God at all; it’s probably either a delusion (in which case, please seek mental help) or an evil spirit (in which case, please perform an execration ritual). This is literally the only certainty I can offer you. If someone comes along and tells me that Neith wants them to offer Her twinkies while wearing a pink raincoat and singing “Over the Rainbow” backwards, I really can’t say anything against it. We can debate all day as to whether “the real Neith” would ever “really” want to be worshiped that way, but no one can ever be certain, and the only point at which it would become a serious problem is if the person insists that all Neith worshipers need to do the exact same thing. Otherwise, it’s just something the individual has to figure out for him or herself.