I’m a polytheist, which means I believe in the existence of many possible Gods and Goddesses. For this reason, I consider myself to be a Pagan (with a capital “P”). Since I’m specifically devoted to the ancient Egyptian God Seth-Typhon, I also consider myself to be a Sethian or a Typhonian. To be even more specific, I’m an initiate of what my friends and I call the LV-426 Tradition.
You’re probably wondering to yourself: “Why on Earth would anyone living in the world today want to worship an ancient Egyptian Deity?” Some people I’ve known think I chose this path “just to be different.” Others think I’m being deceived by the Christian devil (or that I’m simply delusional). The fact of the matter is that my beliefs and practices are the result of experiences I’ve been having for as long as I remember. It all started when I was a little kid. My parents were in the Church of the Brethren, which is a more progressive branch of the Anabaptist movement. (In case you were wondering, the Anabaptist family tree also includes the Mennonites and the Amish.) But for whatever reason, my parents gave me an agnostic upbringing. I was never indoctrinated to believe any particular religious dogma. I was also friends with several Asian American children whose families were devout Buddhists, Hindus and Taoists. When I later developed an interest in world mythology, the ideas of animism and polytheism were already “normal” for me.
I felt an uncanny attraction to ancient Egyptian mythology in particular, and I was especially interested in Anubis, the jackal God of funerals and mortuary science. I didn’t necessarily believe or disbelieve in any of the Egyptian Gods just yet, but I was certainly open to the possibility that They are real. After all, I already knew people who believed in Buddha, Jesus, Krishna and Vishnu, and I was not in any position to tell any of them that they were wrong. Even as an 8-year-old child, I realized there is absolutely no way to prove or disprove the existence or non-existence of any Deity. If one of Them could be real in some way, why not all of Them?
When I was in middle school, I met some evangelical Christian kids who “worried” about me because of my respectful attitude toward the Deities of other faiths. They were determined to convert me to their faith, and they tried everything they could think of to do so. They threatened me with hellfire and brimstone, they claimed I would be separated from my family in the afterlife, and they told me their parents wouldn’t let them hang out with me if I didn’t go to church. All this did was make me angry. If their God wanted to send people to hell just for not worshiping Him to the exclusion of all other Deities (or for being gay, having sex out of wedlock, or doing anything else they didn’t like), then I wanted no part in Him at all. I could understand sending someone to hell for murdering people or committing rape, but as far I’m concerned, being an atheist or being gay aren’t good enough reasons for someone to roast for all eternity.
Then I started experiencing Him. I began to feel this presence that seemed wild, nocturnal and aggressively masculine (but strangely androgynous at the same time). I felt that this powerful Being had been in my life from the moment of my conception, and that I had just never noticed Him before. It was as if someone had suddenly placed a mirror before me and I could finally see that I was but a single bone in the skeleton of some gigantic prehistoric beast. At first, I thought this Being was merely a figment of my own imagination; but in time I learned it was both sentient and greater than myself. Certain coincidences – or “meaningful synchronicities” – led me to accept that I was experiencing the ancient Egyptian God Seth-Typhon. When I started praying and performing regular rituals to Him, fortunate things happened; but whenever I stopped praying and performing rituals (or whenever I tried calling Him anything else but “Seth-Typhon”), bad things happened instead. It was like starving myself of food, water or oxygen; whoever this Being was, I obviously needed Him in my life, and He seemed to respond to the name “Seth-Typhon” more willingly than to any other. Such is how I came to worship the Red Lord (or as I like to call Him, “Big Red”).
There are any number of possible explanations for these events. Some might say that “Seth-Typhon” is really just an extension of my own psyche that I engage with in imaginative psychodramas. Some might argue that my rituals to Him are merely a form of self-hypnosis, and that the “fortunate things” that happen as a “result” of those rituals are merely coincidences (or the results of positive thinking). Others might think I’m actually contacting something divine, but that it’s the same thing as Buddha, Jehovah and Jesus, and that I’m merely imposing my own preferred name and semblance upon it. Still others will claim that I’m worshiping a false God and that I’ll go to hell when I die. Objectively speaking, I have no way to disprove either of these interpretations, and as far as I’m concerned, everyone is free to accept whichever explanation they like best.
However, I reserve the right to interpret my own experiences in any way that I see fit to do so, and I find the interpretation I’ve chosen to be the most practical option. I can’t claim to know the Truth (with a capital “T”) anymore than the next person, but I do know that regardless of how or why, worshiping and praying to Seth-Typhon works for me. Furthermore, treating Him as a real entity apart from myself – and apart from all other Gods and Goddesses – also works. I can see no reason to fix something when it ain’t broke, and while my personal religion has never made all of my problems go away, it has never failed to see me through those problems either. With that in mind, I’m willing to bet my eternity on the Red Lord. After all, I have no way of knowing if Moses or Muhammed actually experienced what they’re said to have experienced, but I can at least be certain that my own experiences have happened, and that’s enough for me.
I recognize the fact that I live in a predominantly Christian culture and that most people think my beliefs are “weird.” People have often asked me, “Why don’t you follow a normal religion like everyone else?” They might understand Buddhism or Islam, but not Egyptian polytheism. I’d like to point out that the very first Christians in history had pagan friends and family who asked them the exact same question. Back in Roman times, Christians were popularly considered to be a deviant cult; why on Earth would anyone choose to join such a sect when their families might disown them and their government might even kill them for it? The answer is simple: they experienced what they experienced, they believed what they believed, and practicing any other faith would have been dishonest to themselves. While my own situation is considerably less dramatic (thanks to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution), the same is true of myself.
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