December 28, 2009

Teh Ceiling Cat's Cow

Note: The following is intentional humor, given that this week's festival is a lighthearted and joyous occasion. While this blog demonstrates that I am perfectly capable of being Very Serious, I think that of late it's being forgotten that I also have a sense of humor, and the following is intended to re-establish that, as well as to answer the challenge of a child of a Cat who dared me to do it...

This is the way my cats tell the myth of this week's festival, the Establishment of the Celestial Cow, to each other....

Cuz teh d00dz r ebil, Ceiling Cat finked 2 leaf Erfs 4 gud.

December 22, 2009

Homeward Bound - The Return of the Eye

Home where my thought's escaping
Home where my music's playing
Home where my love lies waiting
silently for me

- Simon and Garfunkel

The Winter Solstice is upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere. As the longest night of the year, the Mother Night, it is dark and cold. This year's celebration graced the grounds of Tawy House with a small bit of falling snow; I can look out my window and watch it slowly, tenaciously, bury the yard and the gardens and the cars in the streets.

While the phrase "Mother Night" belongs rightly to European indigenous religions, we can apply it as Kemetic Orthodox even if we are not in the Northern Hemisphere, because the Solstice belongs to a Mother: the great Eye of Ra, mistress of Kemet, the Wandering Goddess Who went southward starting back at that solstice in June.

In Kemetic mythology, the Creator initially had two children, a boy and a girl, Who are referred to as His Eyes. Shu was the first and Tefnut was the second. Whether They are twins or elder brother and younger sister is not always clear, but the story says that at some point, Tefnut took offense at something Her Father said... and left wherever it was that They were all living, wandering off in anger.

Later versions populate the myth with more gods, who are upset at Her leaving as the Wandering Goddess is a solar divinity and Her leaving causes daily sunlight to lessen the further she gets from home. Eventually, either one or two gods are dispatched to find Her and bring Her back.

Shu is the first god usually given the job of finding His sister; once He has done so He gains the title-name "Anhur," or "bringer of the distant one." If a second god enters the story it is Djehuty, ever-present companion and wise helper of the Creator, Who tells the alternately bored and raging goddess fables and jokes until She calms down enough to come home.

There are people who say one of Aesop's fables about a lion and a mouse is originally Kemetic and was part of Djehuty's stories for the Wandering Eye; I can't confirm or deny it but it certainly makes an interesting thing to imagine, with the goddess standing around on the hot rocks of Lower Nubia while Shu and Djehuty try to get and keep Her attention.

Eventually, Shu/Anhur (and Djehuty) are successful. Suddenly She is filled with a desire to go home as quickly as possible. Whether it was the mention of all the great things She was missing, or the people She'd left behind or She'd simply run out of anger and changed Her mind is never detailed. Evidently that's not important to the myth, but the trip homeward is.

The Eye-Sun "breaks free of Her sojourn in Nubia" and starts north again. Various cities and towns are filled with rejoicing and laughter and music and song as She passes, racing northward, to be with Her family again, at the time of the Spring Equinox. Happily the gods welcome the Wanderer with open arms.

Maybe She'll stick around this least until something sets Her off again.

This myth isn't historical truth in terms of the Seen World. It's a story used to explain the flow of seasons: why it gets dark and cold in winter and warm and sunnier in the spring, only to start turning darker again after the summer solstice. It's far more entertaining than "it takes 365.25 days for the earth to complete its solar rotation, during which time the poles are shifted on the axis of..." (Well, if you're an astrophysicist or really like astronomy the latter might be really entertaining too, but many cultures have myths around explaining the turning of the year so we seem to like to use poetic language for such events as a species).

Even if it's not "true" the myth has value, whether or not we live in the Northern Hemisphere. Those in the Southern Hemisphere can both give thanks that the Lady has finally come to Her senses and is going home; and wish Her well on the journey that takes Her away from them for half a year now, knowing She'll be back.

As a story it is entertaining. As myth it is something we can use for a holiday meditation, and beyond. From this myth, we know that time comes and goes but some things can be relied upon, like the changing of the seasons and the "wandering" of the Goddess. We understand that even gods are allowed to have emotions and to express them - and that They can be negotiated with and even change Their minds.

How wonderful is the divinity that can be free to do what She pleases - and then think better of it if it turned out not to be the best thing to do? How can we beat ourselves up about our own mistakes, our own wanderings, when we are given a myth that says that even gods sometimes have to take time out and that time away from the things that make you angry might be healthy? Or that no matter how far away you might wander, it's never too late to go home?

I'll have lots to think about while this snow keeps falling. It'll get even better when I see Her symbol, the sun, shining above it as it finishes rising. Happy Return of the Eye. May She bring all good things to you as She brings renewed light, and love, to the people Who have been waiting for Her to come back home.

November 30, 2009

Administrivia: The Kemet Today Mailing List

Em hotep!

In case you weren't aware, there is a way to receive the posts that are made on this blog on a mailing list. You can sign up for that mailing list at:
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If you have an AOL-related email, PLEASE make sure that when you're done reading, or if you aren't interested in reading a post you receive from the Kemet Today list, that you click on the button marked "Delete Mail" and not the "Report Spam" button.

According to our ISP we've been getting a number of spam reports against us that have AOL considering blacklisting, which would cause serious issues for not only this mailing list but for all the mails that come from our temple to our various members and friends. We asked what we could do about this problem and received the following:


It seems your mailing lists members are clicking on "report spam"
option instead of "delete mail" in their mail boxes which is causing
this issue. You need to inform the members not to mark your mails as
spam ones.

We will keep you updated about the email IDs those marked your mails
as spam.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Please, please help us out and remember to click the right button in your mailboxes. Also: we do not and will not ever send emails to anyone without their permission. If you do NOT want to receive mails from Kemet Today or any other mailing list from us and you don't want to go to the subscription/unsubscription page above, drop us a note at and say so. We'll be happy to remove you from our mailings.


November 28, 2009

Dua Wesir! Nekhtet! (Mysteries of Wesir (Osiris), Sixth Hour Vigil)

The incense has been laid upon the fire and offered with the prayers. Natron and water have provided the purification, both the natron and water I poured into ritual bowls and the natural salt and water of the tears we have given to our dead and to Wesir, the Lord of Them All.

Six hours into the ceremonies Wesir is upright again, standing among the icons of the rest of the gods. We are reminded by the visual change that the god Who gave Himself utterly for us was not lost in the giving; rather He came up stronger than before and able to provide even more to us in the giving. Like that other deity to Whom He was often compared by Victorian Egyptologists, He has gone to prepare a place for us, to whence we will go someday after our final judgment to join all of those people who have gone before us. We do not have to make that journey alone. Not only does He wait there, but so do all of those who have already gone - and all of us who will someday join them have shared in that journey once again, for another year, as we keep the annual vigil.

The sun will rise in another hour or so. For now, the sky lightens and the city stirs, and the promise of life is still shrouded in darkness. But we know it is there, and we have Wesir to thank.

Mysteries of Wesir (Osiris), the Fifth Hour Vigil

"Your mouth is the mouth of a milking-calf..."

My students recognize those words as part of the Senut, or our daily ritual of prayers and offerings. They occur at the end of the personal purifications and indicate that what comes after is purely celebratory, purely stepping into the presence of Divinity.

Five hours into the vigil, we purify Wesir as He prepares to emerge with Ra.

I washed the statue, after I'd washed my hands a second time. They weren't dirty, but I'd gotten a bit of smudge on them from one of the altar candles and I didn't want to wipe soot on a clean icon. Even rituals with much preparation end up having little things go wrong, little mid-practice corrections. We're human. We make mistakes, and we fix them. Ritual purity is like this. It's not the end of the world or a moral dilemma if there's a little spot on your ka. Clean it up and get on with what you were doing. Vexing yourself about every little mistake, whether in ritual or in life, is a little like rubbing the stains in so they'll be harder to clean -- or worse yet, so they won't ever go away.

In another hour we will have completed the cycle, and then we rest, until it's time to rise and prepare the next portion of the day. We will visit with those who can't be with us, and then return for the traditional feast before we part ways until our next holiday brings us together. I'll check in again.

Water for the Dead (Mysteries of Wesir (Osiris), Fourth Hour)

We offered water to Him, among other things, in the fourth hour vigil prayers. As I stand before the shrine then back away to take my seat among the other participants I notice as if for the first time just how bright His icon's eyes are, watching me from a deep green face. It is the first time I've noticed all night that His eyes are open, even though they always have been. Earlier, in the ritual, I could not see His face.

At the head of the funeral bier stands Nebt-het (Nephthys), Her icon's arms extended in both protection and mourning, and next to Her, Her son Yinepu (Anubis). To Their right, and toward Wesir's feet, Djehuty (Thoth) and Aset (Isis) stand together, planning, waiting, speaking the words of transformation that will make Wesir change from Dead King into King of the Dead. Nebt-het and Yinepu wait silently for what has happened; Djehuty and Aset create what will be. This is how it always was, always has been and always will be. The past becomes present; the dead are restored to life. The cycle in all of its intricacies plays out there in the form of five gilded statues on a flat surface, standing at the joining point of two walls literally covered with golden stars listing the names of the blessed dead, our ancestors. We can read the names in the half-light, and add Them to the magic of becoming.

Sunrise is closer. The fourth hour of the night passes, and we pass with it. We taste the taste of the water of life and we emerge as Shemsu, His followers, refreshed with it.

Stirring in the Third Hour (Mysteries of Wesir)

"This is the Eye of Heru. Take it, that You might be refreshed with it."

I read the words, as I always do, from a hand copy made in 2003, the first year I started celebrating the Mysteries with anyone in a formal temple setting and not in private homes. About a month before we'd purchased the temple building here in Joliet, and we'd barely finished unpacking everything let alone set up the temple for use, but here we were sitting around the Holy Family Shrine saying the words that have been said for thousands of years on this most quiet night, laying the great god to rest and enabling Him to enter the world of the dead.

It's not easy to read the words in the dark, lit only by a few candles and a single string of clear lights that Nehwen and Padjai brought one year to make the shrine more festive. But they always ring out, raw in the silence, and the icons watch as the prayers are said and the incense goes up and the water and natron sprinkling goes down. By the third hour I am expected to recite on my feet and not on my knees, but it feels strange, as if my legs don't want to leave the floor. It feels odd to rise up, yet appropriate, in this third of the six hours of the night, the hour when everything changes.

The danger of death has been passed. Life shines before us, renewal and daylight. The skies outside are not yet showing dawn, but we know it is coming, from the stirrings of the neighborhood and the occasional calls of birds. Daybreak is coming. A new day will be upon us soon. And in another hour, we will pray some more.

November 27, 2009

Advancing with Your Ka: the Mystery Vigil, Second Hour

When people left the temple after the first hour's prayers it was slowly, quietly. The building was so silent I could hear the water in the heating pipes moving around and little else. Even as the participants returned to their rooms or went downstairs to find a glass of water and sit at the dining room table to wait for the next hour, it was quite a few minutes before anyone spoke. Wesir's Mysteries have that effect upon you. Nothing seems quite so important to say in the face of His holy power, after spending your time in the temple gazing upon His icon which for this event does not stand proudly as it usually does, but lies fallen upon its side within a wooden box, surrounded by the icons of each of His mourning family members.

Eventually, as the second hour nears, sounds and life return. The second hour's prayers, which we have already said, encourage Wesir to go forth into His new life with the ancestors. "Advance with Your Ka," the prayers say. Put your hands and feet out there, one after another. Move. Live again. Do not remain inert, in the place which is neither death nor life. Go forth by day and Become.

Once the third hour of the vigil has come, more will move, imperceptibly, within the shrine. The spoken words and prayers will gain length and cadence as Wesir moves through the Duat and heads for that place where He will unite with Ra and bring the sunrise, and life, to us once again. For now, though, we begin with baby steps.

God is Dead: Thoughts about the Mysteries of Wesir (Osiris)

In a few minutes, I will be entering the temple to begin the lamentations of the great god Wesir, known to the classical world and beyond as Osiris. Once again the cycle of the year turns and we honor the most quiet, most somber, most moving of holidays. Once again, God is dead.

Not dying; not about to be resurrected. Wesir is a dead god, a god that goes to the otherworld/afterlife/netherworld/whatever you want to call the place where dead people are and doesn't come back. Ever. He is as gone from us as gone can be. His voice is no longer heard among the other gods as They gather; His face no longer lit with the rosy glow of life itself. Unlike Jesus Who is returned to his place after a time of testing...Wesir will not come back to us shining in bright white robes as an angel rolls back the stone. He will not come back to us at all; only through the memory of His life, and His sacrifice, will we continue to understand Him and know Him and love Him. This god loved people so very much that He was willing to forsake His immortality to make sure they had a god wherever it is that they go when they die, and a brother Who loved Him enough to help Him achieve death. It is this selfless, permanent act that is remembered overnight in the Vigil we now face and face again one night every year.

The scope of our loss as human beings, and our gain, cannot be measured. Wesir's life and death are intertwined in such a way that He cannot truly be separated from either. What He offers us is renewal, continuance, life in the form of going on. He shows us that there is no such thing as an ending, only a change of position. He assures us that we will not go to that place alone, nor will we be forgotten or neglected once we get there. Every dead person is a Wesir, a dying and yet living one, Who is part of the eternity of life's endless cycle, reborn at dawn in the sun and in spring as the life-giving ground, emerging from the life-giving waters of Aset's tears. Where He goes, so shall we one day, and then we will understand the Mystery in full.

I will pray for all of our ancestors tonight, and all of the living: the continuous circle of beings that inhabit our planet and whom we can call family. May we all be together in the darkness, praying for them and Him as They pass.

September 30, 2009

Another Shemsu, and two beautiful boys Rootnamed!

Em hotep!

Tonight we had about 30 members come for the Naming of one of our Shemsu and Daryt's little boys received their Rootnames.

Nekhtet! for Shemsu Subaitui and our newest children in the faith, Hethertemheb-ka and Uasetemheb.

These ceremonies are always very happy. I'll probably have a smile on my face for hours now, as I'm sure our newly-named will and Hebka and Uaheb's godparents too.

Nekhtet! again. I'll be checking in soon, either here or on the Facebook or Twitter pages. Lots of news for this time of year.

September 11, 2009

Eight years ago...

I wrote an essay about the events of 11 September. I don't have to tell you what events those were, or where they happened, or what happened afterward, as I believe that anyone who is on the Internet in 2009 has to be quite aware of what they were (and are). It's hard to believe it has been eight years since Ini and I sat in a living room with five telephones between us, waiting for them to ring or making calls to try and account for all of our loved ones who were involved in the situations that unfolded that day. It's hard to believe that those we did lose have been in the West that long, or that our naive thought that "we'll get the people who did this" was just that naive.

Eight years in, grief is different. It is no less sharp or painful; it hurts the heart no less than it did at the moment it arrived. But we have learned to live with this grief now. It is no longer the unwanted guest that no one knows how to deal with, but the expected party-crasher that simply will not leave. We have gone from trying to push our grief out of our minds to learning all of its angles in an effort to make peace with it, to try and keep it from spreading any further than it already has. Like the events of that day in 2001, our grief cannot be undone, it can only be accepted, reluctantly.

Acceptance requires perspective. We should never forget what happened that day, nor should we allow our grief to be lessened simply because we are more comfortable with it. At the same time we cannot allow it to rule our lives or to skew our perspectives of everything else. Other tragedies, other griefs, have come before and came after, and will continue to come. This one event, while significant to some, is less significant to others. Its relative importance must neither be understated nor overstated. We can neither pretend it never happened, nor pretend that the repercussions and responsibilities that happened after are not as important as the initial events of 11 September 2001.

I'm using a lot of big words, so I'll stop.

Do not forget the past. Do not forget those in the beautiful West, who were killed or who gave their lives trying to save others. Remember them at this time and every time you remember your Akhu. Remember all those who have died since, in the military actions designed ostensibly to punish those responsible. Remember all those who have suffered from religious persecution or other persecution simply because one group allows its own grief to overshadow the grief of another group, and use it as a lesson in your own life. Your grief is yours, and while you know it better than someone else's, it neither cancels theirs nor renders theirs less important. Both are evils we face, and there is greater evil in forgetting this.

I made the audacious statement in my initial letter that the gods were weeping when I entered my shrine. While that statement made its way into a commemorative volume about the tragedies, it was taken there out of context and caused some controversy. I didn't believe that the gods of ancient Egypt were specifically crying over one incident that ultimately is overshadowed by many other tragedies past and present; it wasn't a patriotic sort of "even my gods are sad for my country" comment. I believed then, and I still believe now, that the weeping I heard was not necessarily for the dead and wounded and lost and for the pandemonium of the bombings that happened that day. I think that They wept for what was to come, when even eight years later, the swath of death and destruction cut by the forces set into motion that day continues to spread.

I think about the news we got this morning that three platoonmates of one of my students in Iraq were killed by a roadside bomb. I think about the handful of students I have in Afghanistan, most of whom I can't even get in touch with because they are moving around in dangerous places with no way to contact home. I think about the people I talked to in Egypt last year, about the Muslims I know here in the USA, who face even more difficulties in the world simply for the colors of their skins or the name of their God. I think about the burden on the shoulders of our world's leaders to deal with terrorism in all its forms, and the things they end up having to do to try to cope with that burden. These are the things that make my gods weep. These are the griefs we must learn to live with and lessen wherever and whenever we can, no matter who we are. These are the lessons of the past and the present.

September 7, 2009

This Podcast is the End!

Kai-Imakhu Antybast (a.k.a. Rev. Craig) had some fun in the Kemet This Week podcast this week, talking about the end of the world. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

Back to work

Back to work after time to deal with the medical tests (results: same as last year, which is both good news in that it's not any worse, and bad news in that it's not any better. Interesting feeling, to be relieved and frustrated at the same time...)

There's quite a bit going on at the temple as autumn begins. Last weekend we hosted the Wag Festival here in honor of the ancestors, or Akhu. We visited several cemeteries, including two potters' fields and the largest cemetery here in Joliet, Oakwood. Many photographs and stories were shared, and there's quite a bit of material about the blessed dead that we gathered. I may post some of it here, just for interest's sake. Gatherings are being planned and classes are resuming for our students and teachers. The Year 17 calendar is available from the Seminary, and a hardcover version of the Prayerbook is awaiting ISBN approval. There are trips later in the year, including our annual pilgrimage to Kemet and the Parliament of the World's Religions (Melbourne, Australia in December). People will be coming to visit to do work-study and share ceremonies with us and we will be visiting them too.

I'll do my best to keep up with you as we engage in all these busy things. For those who shared Retreat with me, tomorrow is the day that you want to open up your New Year's letters! (I've got those you left for me to mail you in the mail and you should receive them soon). It's been a month since the Opening of the Year. How are you doing on your resolutions and plans and challenges? My prayers, and my love, are with you all.

August 24, 2009

A quick response to yesterday's blog!

It seems Djehuty's speed is still definitely happening with words and their impact. This morning I finally got a response from the people I'd phoned last week. Seems they have been listening to the desire not to lose the property to a frivolous purpose... and they're evidently working with a group to open a center for the kids in the neighborhood using the building as a focus.

This is something I can definitely get behind, and we'll support it 100%. They said that while this project is going on they are "not entertaining other offers for the property" so at very least my fears that the building will be lost are not a reality right now. And this is very good.

I'll keep you posted about it. For now, however, it's time to get myself to those tests.

August 23, 2009

This week's work and thoughts

Em hotep (in peace!)

As I promised Tamiwi, my "new year's buddy," I will write something in this blog at least once a here we go. I apologize that it's not nearly as eloquent as the Kemet This Week podcast that Kai Antybast put up about our ancestors, but I am also thinking about the past and the future as is pretty apt during Wag Festival time.

The year of Do-ing is underway. There's been a great deal of talk among our congregation and planning for various things. We'll be hosting a gathering here in Joliet again next weekend for Wag Festival. School is about to resume in the US and so a majority of us are either readying ourselves or our children for the year to come. I'm readying myself, too; on Wep Ronpet morning, fittingly for the year of Djehuty, I finally received the news after 18 months of working out the details that my doctoral candidacy is on and the preliminary research stage of my Ph.D. work is about to begin.

It's definitely a busy August. In addition to the work around the doctorate I'm readying for an annual exam of the liver tumor I was diagnosed with in 2006. It's benign, so the tests are to confirm that it's still benign and to see if it's changed in size at all. The hope is that the hysterectomy I had right after it was discovered will cause it to go away eventually. After next week I suppose we'll know if we're getting anywhere. Most people would probably be terrified to talk about this kind of stuff. I can't say I'm not anxious about the testing, but since I've walked this particular walk before I know how it works and know it's not time for panic. (I am a cancer survivor from my 20s; the reason I even have the tumor is probably connected to treatments I had then).

While this is going on there's also suddenly a lot of bustling next door, as the diocese readies buildings in the church compound for sale. This is probably the biggest thing on my mind right now, actually, for a couple of reasons. One is that when we bought Tawy House Joliet back in 2003 it had been mentioned that those buildings might go for sale over the next decade, and so the possibility of expansion was a major selling-point for us.

The other is more personal. I'm furious about what they're doing to the parish. There's been a church on this block since the founding of the city. The actual church that stood next to us burned down in the 1970s, and the parish was unable to reconstruct it; instead they raised enough money to have the gymnasium portion of the parish hall/school that sat behind the church transformed into their new sanctuary. It's beautiful. From the inside you would not really be aware it was once a playing floor; even the gym windows were replaced with stained glass that depicts symbols and images of Joliet's history.

Father James passed to the beautiful West two years ago, and we knew something was wrong when there was no mention of a replacement for him. At first the assumption was that since there was a very new bishop in town perhaps they needed time to figure it out, and then when summer passed into autumn and still our neighbors were holding no masses, the truth became clear: the little Slovak church was being abandoned. Christmas came and went, and no mass...and then the week after Christmas the sister who was Father James' caretaker came to me in tears. "They've shut the church down, and they're sending someone to close it and they're going to sell the buildings."

Maybe I have some old demons to work out around Catholic closing policies. I was at Mundelein College in 1991 when the Church decided to shut it down and give its properties to its neighbor Loyola University while they shipped the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary who had founded the place as one of the first women's colleges in the midst of the Great Depression back to Iowa, to live out their days quietly in a convent rather than to teach young women.

As the editor of the college paper I was deeply involved in covering that entire process of Mundelein's demise, and even after desperate attempts to save the school including raising the amount of money they said we needed to stay open via a personal appeal to Oprah Winfrey (her producer was a Mundelein alumna and she's always supported women's causes), and audiences with the Cardinal and even the Holy Father in Rome...we lost the school anyway.

Not very long after they started talking about the "merger" we found out this had been the plan all along regardless of what faculty, staff, students or alumnae wanted. The architects of the plan were rewarded by getting their names put on the buildings that weren't torn down or sold off, and five years later all mention of the women's college disappeared except for a token gesture of allowing one of the buildings to house a "women's studies" archive. The most vocal of Mundelein's faculty were forced out (illegally given tenure laws mind you), and spent years in legal suits trying to recoup their losses. What happened at Mundelein was perhaps my first really negative experience with organized religion, and reminded me that even the most zealous and caring servants of the Divine might sometimes make decisions based entirely on finances.

So my heart broke when I talked to Sister and some of the parishioners. I knew exactly what they were going through, as I'd been through it myself. They were feeling the grief that no matter how hard they had tried to save their home and history, some person or persons who had nothing at all to do with them had made a business decision and it was all over. I asked one of the Latino parisioners why they couldn't relocate the very large congregation a few blocks west of here who meet in an old big-box storefront, so that they could have a "real" and beautiful church to worship in instead of an empty shell of a building and so that the historic church next door would not be sold and torn down or made into something else. "They need money," was all I got in response.

The sale is evidently on. Sister is being moved out on Thursday, to a convent 30 miles or so east of here. Her house will go on sale sometime later in the week. The three elderly Mexican sisters currently renting the rectory where Father James used to live are trying to convince the bishop to let them move into the smaller house, but we don't know if they will be successful.

Some local restaurateur is interested in the church/parish hall to gut it and turn it into a banquet facility and restaurant; another, who according to parishioners has political connections, is interested in making it into a nursing home facility. Nobody seems interested in keeping it a church, and one of the oldest churches in Joliet. Nobody seems to want to let the Latino Catholic community, which could really use a bigger and more suitable place to worship their God, use this perfectly good and beautiful place, because the diocese needs money to help pay off their bills and legal issues and the place they are now wouldn't sell as well. Nobody seems to care that the parishioners who went to this church since the founding of the city, the descendants of the Slovenian steel workers whose families are all buried in the church yard a few miles down Route 6, will lose the last connection they have to this location and their traditional house of worship. Nobody seems to care that the neighborhood is going to lose a great opportunity to do something for its people and replace it with outsiders who just want to develop it to make money. Nobody seems to care about how wrong this is.

Nobody but me, anyway. I talked to them, and told them if I can figure out a way to make this happen I will open a community center in the parish school building, something sorely lacking in this neighborhood that we could really use to keep our kids happy and safe and not falling into crime and gangs like they are a few blocks over across the tracks.

I told them that I don't think there's any reason why the Latinos can't rent the church from us to hold masses in, so they don't have to be in that stupid storefront. There's nothing we use in our ceremonies that couldn't be put away or moved out of the way during times when they would be present, and I cannot think of any reason why my gods would object to us sharing our holy places with other devout people who just need a place to pray. After all, we did it with a number of temples in classical times for centuries. Contrary to rumor, it was not Christianity that killed our gods' worship in Kemet; it was Roman pagan emperors like Septimius Severus who limited participation and the use of Kemetic language and ritual first. Christians and worshippers of Netjer honored the gods alongside each other in our temples for a very long time. At Philae our priesthood even gave the Christians a part of the hypostyle hall to put a church in for their use, while Aset "Mother of God" was being worshipped a couple of doorways further in.

I've put in calls to the diocese, and the parishioners are encouraging me to just go over to their offices and talk to them directly about what can or cannot be done. It's an empty building now, has been for a year and a half, and there doesn't seem to be any good reason to allow a part of Joliet history to disappear without comment.

It's one of those days when I wish I was wealthy in money and not just in spirit. I know we can do good things for the community while we honor our gods. We'd have to have more people move here to help, and it would take a depth of commitment that we've never asked for before, but we made a miracle happen when we bought the first building and the faith was about half the size it is now.

I've got so much on my mind around this. To quote an old film, "if you build it they will come." But I don't know what to do, really. I don't know if this is something my people want, or it's just a dream I have to help the place I live and the people who don't deserve what is happening to them while at the same time helping my own dream for our own faith to grow. We don't have the money to make any outright purchase, and there aren't enough people here in the area yet to help do the things we'd want to do with the property. But would they be interested? Would they come? Would it work? Does the church need to be saved, or is this just my nostalgic history-loving soul bemoaning the fate of progress? I don't know.

Terecita said "I will pray so very hard..." after I told her about what we would do with the place if we could figure out how to acquire it. I'm praying hard. Something good needs to happen next door, whether that's caused by us or somebody else, or whether the property goes to new hands and they manage to figure out a way to do something new with it that doesn't disrespect the ancestors who went before. It doesn't matter that they're Catholic and we aren't. God is God, on a certain level. May God and God's people be served no matter what happens.

August 14, 2009

Year 17 - The Year of Djehuty

Di Wep Ronpet Nofret (Happy New Year!)

Welcome to Kemetic Orthodox Year 17. We brought in the new year with a really wonderful Retreat here in Joliet. Forty-five members and their families came together to perform the ceremonies and welcome the year of the god Djehuty with great excitement. Thank you to everyone who came and shared the week with us. It was a wonderful time. I'm still catching up on my sleep, but in the meantime I thought I'd share with my readers the oracle of the goddess Aset given in honor of the New Year. Each year, we receive a message from the great Lady pertaining to the god of the year and what sort of year it will be. I think this year's message is quite wonderful.

The Oracle of Aset for Year 17 (given at Aset Luminous, July 2009)

Perfection multiplied has passed, but is not gone.

I say unto you that wisdom is now required, so that you remember and repeat it. Be wise. Speak wisdom. Act wisely. Most of all, DO.

Be as wise in action as in word. The Great Ibis knows well what wisdom you require, for He writes what is in your breath, in your heart, and watches the movements of your ka. Ask Him. Heed Him.

This is a time of Decision, of Choice. Do not be content with thought.

The Year will not Become from a simple idea. To know what is needful serves you well, but thought flies all around and leaves little result in its wake. Do not be content with clever speech. This Year will not Become with simple words. Words can be quickly breathed, but with little wisdom. But words themselves are the actions of your thought.

Think. Speak. Then, Do. Be wise and do.

He Who Writes will show you and teach you. Are you yourself ready to Become wise? Are you Wise enough to know that alone, it is more difficult to Do? You need your family. You need My Son, your Mother. You need all of your brothers and sisters. You are needed by them. Each of you is far wiser than you believe. Each of you requires far more wisdom than you believe. Listen. Speak. Do.

The Great Ibis writes your Year. What will He write? Your anger? Your fear? That you are alone? That you tremble? That you can not? That you helped this one and not that one? These are not the things of the People. These are not the things with which We bless you.

Ask Djehuty for what you need to make this Year Become.

Be Clever. Speak. Do.



What do you hope and dream for this year? How will you make that Become?

Tell the others. Tell The Great Ibis. Tell Us all. And Do so.

May you be blessed as the people of Netjer.

August 3, 2009

Happy birthday to Heru-wer and new priesthood!

Today was the second of the Five Days Upon the Year, the days dedicated to the birthdays of gods. This one was for Heru-wer, the Greatly-Speckled Hawk Whose Eyes are the Sun and the Moon. As one of my personal gods Heru-wer gets great attention in my household and today was no exception: for His birthday I presented him with a bottle of Glenrothes Scotch that I had been saving for the occasion, and then I went and trained priests for our priesthood at the beginning of our Wep Ronpet retreat.

This morning we witnessed the vows and training of two new W'ab priests, or purity technicians, the priesthood that cares for altars and implements and makes sure that liturgies are ready to be held. A huge congrats to Hatyt'ahethert and Yinepuwaret. I'm proud of both of them and think they're going to do an extraordinary job. (And what a birthday present to yourself, Waret! More work! *grins*)

In the afternoon after we finished with the basic training we completed some advanced training. Nine priests total were recognized as Heri-sesheta, or those who are "over the secrets" of their particular god(s). These priests include Djehutymenekh, Shefytbast, Tuwerherbastmut, Qaitsenu, Kai-Imakhu Meresinepu, Wenemaset, Imakhu Asetmekti, Imakhu Senyt-menu (Senut) and Kai-Imakhu Neferu. I could not be prouder of this crowd. Each made an exemplary presentation to earn their right to bear the secrets proudly in their personal work.

Very, very soon we'll be entering the day of Set and the first open public day of our Wep Ronpet retreat here in Joliet. As is almost prophetically usual on His birthday, it's starting to rain and the storm clouds are coming in from the West. I'll try to check in as soon as I can with more news including the news you've all been waiting for on the God(s) of Year 17.

Love to you all. May you continue to have a good Intercalary season!

July 29, 2009

Nine Shemsu Named!

Em hotep!

This evening we were delighted to be able to name nine Shemsu as our final group ceremony for Year 16.

Nekhtet! for Pa-isu-Itu, Hedebbast, Ma'atiuwepwawet, Emtehiserqet, Khenteshibemsekhmet, Tawaisenu, Tahekerutaset, Darytessekhmet and Khumekitu!

It was wonderful to have 50 people watching the nine get named, along with family guests.

We are getting ever closer to the Kemetic New Year. Are you ready?

July 27, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

There's another new podcast, this one by Rev. Craig and all about New Year's Resolutions.

I'm going to take his advice and set myself a reasonable goal: one blog post a week. Since this is "Kemet Today," it should really be once a day, but I've also realized that right now I'm not always able to keep such a goal. So once a week means that at bare minimum I will make "today" true 1/7th of the time.

Okay, so I'm not being very adventuresome with this. But I have to start somewhere!

What'll you be resolving to do this Kemetic year?

July 19, 2009

Wep Ronpet Podcast!

So there's a new podcast up about Wep Ronpet. It may or may not reveal the gods of the year...

Check it out at Kemet This Week.

I also want to thank everyone who sent wishes for my birthday; you helped make it a very nice one.

July 15, 2009

Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook re-released!

Em hotep!

And yes, here's the big news I was hinting about on Twitter earlier....

I'm really excited today. Finally, after a great deal of effort and all the help of our friend Jordan at Azrael Press, The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook has been republished. It will be available in any bookstore in a couple of weeks using its ISBN number (978-0-578-03071-5), but for now it is available at the website,

The new format is larger (6x9 inches) and so the text is a little bit bigger for easier reading. Other than a new cover and an expanded index, it's the same as the original version. Please spread the word that the book is back in print. I know that we had a lot of members in the temple who were waiting for it to come back so they could purchase one.

And now that the big project is out of the way, other projects will be following.

Back to work!

July 5, 2009

Welcome 19 New Remetj!

Em hotep!

I want to welcome our 19 newest Remetj to the faith. There are likely to be more coming over the next few days as we're still gathering responses from our last class, but these members have already confirmed their desire to stay on with the faith as friends of our family. Quite an international bunch this time!

"Tree" B. of Colorado
Maria C. of Colombia
Ember C. of California
Renan F. of Brazil
Simon H. of Germany
Kathleen H. of Louisiana
Jeremy H., stationed in Iraq
Crystal R. of Georgia
Stephanie K. of Wisconsin
Emily K. of California
Karina M. of Argentina
Lucia M. of Argentina
Gus P. of South Africa
Elin S. of Sweden
Padme S. of Arizona
Katie W. of California
Kari W. of Indiana
Andrew W. of Scotland
Jennifer W. of Scotland

Welcome home.

June 27, 2009

News, New Shemsu and the podcast has returned!

We've entered the "crunch time" before Wep Ronpet, the Kemetic New Year and the busiest time of the year for me. I'm going to do my best to make sure this blog and the Twitter and Facebook fan page stay updated for you, but if they should slip behind, know that it's just because I'll be spending a lot of the next 30 days offline getting ready for the week when 45 of our members will be meeting to celebrate the new year at our 12th annual retreat.

It's hard for me to believe it's been 12 years since we started getting together to celebrate Wep Ronpet as a temple. We've come a long way from eight people sharing a very tiny room at a hostel; now our workshops take place in two conference rooms at the biggest hotel in town and we actually get to hold the rituals in our own temple. If you'd told me twelve years ago this would've been happening I think I would've been rather shocked. Where will we be in another 12 years?

As I'd mentioned in a previous Twitter post, the state finally finished dealing with our challenge to the property tax zoning, and has upheld its original ruling in 1994 that we are indeed a tax-exempt religious organization. We still have some legal bills to deal with but mostly the 14-month fight is over. Dua-Netjer (thank you) to the gods and to the people of this faith for holding us together, and even more thanks to Valerie, our legal counsel, who worked really long hours right up until she left for her maternity leave to make sure that our paperwork was exact and everything would work out.

In late May we added seven more Shemsu to the rolls, bringing the grand total of named Shemsu in the faith to 364 (wow!). Nekhtet for the naming of Ta'iawepwawet of Scotland, Pekhretwepwawet of Argentina, Tahaibast of Pennsylvania, Udja'nyinepu of Canada, Emhatiaset of Washington state, A'aburaheruakhety of Pennsylvania, and Parudjyinepu of Massachusetts.

And last but certainly not least on the news front for today, the Kemet This Week podcast that Rev. Craig put together last year has returned with much better sound quality. If you check the website at, you'll find two new podcasts, the first being Craig's response to current events in Iraq and the second an interview with me about next week's Aset Luminous holiday, as well as the archives from last year's podcast attempt. Now that we have hardware that will work expect the podcast to return to its namesake weekly delivery format.

April 30, 2009

Three more Shemsu and a word on RPD

This past weekend we hosted an RPD Intensive at Tawy House. For those of my readers who aren't familiar with the acronym, RPD stands for Rite of Parent Divination, and is one of the major rites of passage of the Kemetic Orthodox Faith as well as its first one, unless you count the rootnaming of children born into the religion. Since we are modern practitioners of an ancient religion, we do not have the same indigenous, contemporary context of its original devotees, who lived in one single country with our gods as the majority gods and the worship of our gods as a public institution. As a result, we do not inherit the gods of our towns or professions or spouses or cities, and "finding our place" in the religion is somewhat more difficult.

There are two ways to approach this. One could pick and choose one's own favorite gods, and in fact, many devotees of our gods do this quite successfully. For myself I have come to the conclusion over many years of practice that choosing the gods you worship is a wonderful freedom that comes with a high price. This price seems to be that the relationship then becomes dominated by the human individual and not the god(s) in question. When it's all about what I want and what I like and what I am willing to do or say or be, the other person in the relationship with me is going to be limited to only being part of the relationship in the ways that I permit.

I wasn't prepared to tell my gods how to interact with me, mostly because my experience of Them has suggested that if anybody in this arrangement is doing the choosing and's not me.

So, way back when I was first teaching, and we were all worshipping whatever gods spoke to us personally and the ones we chose, I realized this was going to be an issue going forward if we were really going to break the modern philosophy and try to think like the people whose gods we were trying to honor. While they were certainly individuals, they also had a serious sense of place in the larger whole of the society. They didn't think they had a "right" to anything. They knew that the order and place of the universe -- which they respected so very much they even called it a goddess -- would make sure that they were provided for, if only they found their place and acted in it with all sincerity to the best of their ability.

Finding that place, or Ma'at, as they would've known it in Kemet, was a central part of existence for them. Once found it would help with all aspects of life. Finding it, however, required an enormous commitment of time, and love, and above all trust in the gods and Ma'at Herself.

I wondered how we could echo this commitment, this trust. And I went to shrine and prayed for many days, asking Ma'at how we could have the personal relationship with the gods that the ancients did, how we could trust Them to bring us to a place where we had this relationship with the gods like they wrote in the ancient texts, calling them Mother and Father and talking about how the gods would be benevolent to Their children when certain things were done.

One day, a very quiet but firm voice said "if you want Parents, then you have to let them give birth to you. You don't give birth to yourself in physical life, do you? Why would it be any different in your spiritual life?" The revelation was followed by a great deal of divination and research. Over time it would become the basis of the philosophy for the RPD, in which we learn which of the gods created us, personally and directly, and after which we begin to learn the dance of trust that is the basis of all good relationships.

It works for us, and has worked for us, for more than a decade. Hundreds of people have found meaning in it; most recently, this past weekend, three more went through the process and came out the other side satisfied. I don't pretend to believe that it would be the best idea for everyone, and we've never suggested anyone outside our religious community would need, or even necessarily want, to go through such a rite of passage. But it's important to us, perhaps more important than anything else we do save live our lives and pray, and so this RPD weekend was a big deal.

I have a lot more to say on this subject, I suspect. But for today I've gotten too long-winded and I'll stop, with a congratulations (nekhtet!) to Huyitw, Sekhmetbitu, and Tahotepirty. Love to you all and may your new adventure in trust be very exciting.

April 21, 2009

Yet more Namings, and news from Tawy

More Namings happened in March, at a ceremony simulcast in IRC. On 28 March we welcomed Hetesibastmut, Sekherdjehuty and Minwywesir to the ranks of Shemsu.

The rest of the last two months have almost entirely been taken up in dealing with paperwork concerning the tax exempt status of the property on which Tawy House in Joliet stands. Last April we learned that the property had accidentally been entered into the tax rolls as a for-profit corporation by the title company at the sale back in 2003. As we'd never received a tax bill, and had never expected to receive a tax bill since we are a recognized 501(c)(3) in the US, imagine our surprise to be told we owed five years in back property taxes! Hijinks with lawyers ensued.

Most recently the state has been attempting to work with us rather than against us, which is a good thing considering that the city and the county have both already approved amendments to the tax rolls to fix the error, and we're simply waiting on the final notice from the state to go ahead. For a time the counsel actually suggested she did not believe we were "a real religion," prompting at least a hundred members of the faith to send in detailed and very heartfelt testimonials indicating what value the Kemetic Orthodox faith and the Tawy House temple had to their religious lives, and our legal team prepared almost 20 years of documented proof including all of the proof that the Internal Revenue Service had used to issue our original 501(c)(3). It was rather surprising to be challenged on this by the very entity that was the first entity to recognize us as a church back in 1994, but, thank Netjer, we seem to be working out the communication errors. After tomorrow I will have a full report on where we stand in this long, expensive and frustrating process. Now I know why so many minority religions don't even bother to try for legal recognition...

This weekend, we're hosting a special intensive weekend for new Remetj who wish to go through the Rite of Parent Divination. Yes, that means that on Saturday we'll have some new RPDs to celebrate. Watch the private mailing list, members, for more details on that. Supposedly the weather is going to cooperate and it will be one of our first real spring weekends. The flowers are coming up in the yard, though the high winds last week damaged one of the evergreens and I'll have to go out there with the hacksaw to remove the dangling branches. The neighborhood is starting to show signs of spring with some outdoor parties and all the children playing in the lot between us and the Catholic church. Schedule for the rest of year 16 will also be released soon, and I'm hoping we'll see more of you out at Tawy this year. Not to mention Wep Ronpet coming up in August!

More things to do for the lawyer, so I had best get to them. Love.

April 17, 2009

Some updates

Updating this and other websites is ongoing now that I've completed some offline work. "Real life first" sometimes means that this blog goes quiet.

There is a quick way to find out what I'm doing, though, if I don't post here. You can find out small things from the official Twitter feed (listed under Twitter name "nisut"). Since I haven't been able to figure out how to find other people there, I suppose you will have to find me.

Things are good in Illinois. More news soon and love to all of you.

March 5, 2009

Namings, New Remetj and more news


On 28 January we Named Yineputjeryt and Senusenu as Shemsu of the faith, nekhtet! We also gave four rootnames to children of the faith: Iahemheb-khemet, Hatyt's son; Sherinutemhebet, Ikemwy's daughter; Hekauemhebet, Nai's daughter; and Biquemheb, Takhau's son. Nekhtet for all the people of Kemet!

A warm welcome to the 30 newest members of the Kemetic Orthodox Faith who completed their beginners' class and opted to stay with us:

Patricia B. of Kansas
Shannon B. of Missouri
Jade C. of England
Denise D. of California
Samantha F. of Arkansas
Clare H. of England
Holly H. of Pennsylvania
Raisa L. of Connecticut
Jamie L. of Portugal
Marina M. of England
Allati M. of Scotland
Samantha M. of England
Janice O. of North Carolina
Amber O. of England
Heather P. of Pennsylvania
Ya (Samantha) P. of Washington, D.C.
Nuria N. of Argentina
Kate R. of Texas
Miriam R. of Oregon
Jessica S. of New Zealand
Catlin S. of Pennsylvania
Dylan S. of Brazil
Zach S. of Kansas
Jacob S. of Connecticut
Kate T. of Washington state
Brent T. of Canada
Brittany U. of Pennsylvania
Rebecca V. of Iowa
Rachel W. of Ohio
Denise W. of Massachusetts

Our Los Angeles gathering scheduled for next week is being rescheduled for June. We're also having to reschedule the Texas gathering in April; however, the New York City gathering in April is still on. Contact your Imyu-ra, or my office, for more information on how to attend. I'm looking forward to several days of events with all of you on the East Coast!

January 24, 2009

Welcome two new Shemsu!

This afternoon we named two new Shemsu ("followers," or converts) to the faith. A big congratulations goes out to Azebetamunra and Ta-ankhet-senu. Congratulations! More names and some rootnames for children will follow after Wednesday night's ceremonies.

January 19, 2009

On the Audacity of a Dream

Those of my readers who aren't from the United States (and some of those who are) have probably already heard more than they will ever be able to take in about the historic events surrounding tomorrow's inauguration of the 44th president of the country I call home.

Generally I avoid discussing anything remotely resembling politics in my religious blog.
I do this for several reasons, most notable of which is that in the United States of America there is a legal precedent for religious and governmental institutions to maintain a strict division, referred to in our Constitution as a "separation of church and state." I also have a more pragmatic reason, which is that our church currently is registered as a tax-exempt religious organization and that such registration can be lost if the organization can be shown to be violating that legal separation of religion and politics, and I believe the distinction is a just one that should be respected and I intend to do so wherever possible.

But enough of an aside. What I meant to rant about discuss in today's entry, which is of importance to all thinking people regardless of their religious or political persuasions, was the unfortunate characterization of the election of Barack Obama, our nation's first mixed-race President, as, and I'm going to quote CBS News here, "fulfilling Dr. Martin Luther King's dream."

A suggestion that Barack Obama is somehow the final culmination to Dr. King's contributions to the civil rights movement has been growing in volume and reached its crescendo today, the day we celebrate Dr. King's birthday as a national holiday. It seems to have been added to an already unhealthy attempt to portray the President-Elect as some sort of superhero or messiah figure to a degree that not even Dr. King was ever subjected.

Barack Obama is a pretty amazing man; don't get me wrong. I, too, did my time in the community organizing trenches of Chicago after I moved here in 1987, helping with the electoral process at my alma mater, Mundelein College Chicago, and subsequently working on the campaign of a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in the early 1990s. I heard about him and about the work he was doing on the South Side (I was located on the North Side, so we did not work together). I heard good things.

President-elect Obama was very active in the University of Chicago community during the time I was working on my master's degree there, where he also left me with a fair amount of positive things to say about him. He is a thoughtful, capable individual and perhaps precisely the person we need to represent our nation to the world in this most challenging time for us.

He also represents the face of our nation's future: a little younger, a little less privileged, a little less white. In the Native American community I am part of as an Onondaga, I know that we are excited to have a man about to become president who finally seems to acknowledge that this is not a country belonging only to one race or one tax bracket, and I expect that the same things are being said and believed in other minority communities and cultures across this country tonight.

However, President Obama, as he will be before the next sun sets, is not the fulfillment of the civil rights movement, in the United States or elsewhere.

He represents a significant figure to be certain. On some levels, he is the first and best of those working toward the changes that need to happen before any of Dr. King's dreams become realities across our nation and our world. He is a trailblazer and a representation of a good new beginning, but not the culmination. We're not over the mountain yet, folks, even if Dr. King got there before us and Obama's height has put him in a position that he can see where we can head if we only have the courage to walk along.

Dr. King's dreams will never be fulfilled as long as anyone loses a job or can't get a loan or isn't welcome in a neighborhood because of the color of their skin, the name of their God, the land of their origin or the gender of their spouse. Dr. King's belief in a fair and open world as a possibility will remain a dream as long as individuals choose reaching for themselves over reaching out. Civil rights can never, and will never, occur unless we are willing to act in the civil ways those rights demand. As long as civil rights in the United States of America remain civil possibilities, or civil privileges, or (as they often are) civil impossibilities -- the dreams will only be dreams and continue to elude our grasp.

Obama may very well help us to reach for those dreams in ways we have never before considered, and encourage us to remember what it is to be good citizens and neighbors of our nation and our world -- but he cannot be expected to do this alone or embody it alone. We cannot put all our dreams on this man who is climbing the ladder ahead of us; we will only weigh him down with their expectations and slow his rise. What we must do, is start climbing up behind him, and reach back with the other hand to help the one behind us to reach up and climb too.

I will be praying for Barack Obama tonight, alongside the prayers I usually say for Dr. King's ka on this day. I'd like to think Dr. King is sitting on the other side of that mountain watching what we're doing and being very happy for us, but he's probably praying for Obama as well. I'd like to offer some of Dr. King's thoughts for each of us to contemplate, taken from his acceptance speech for the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize:

I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today's mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land. "And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid." I still believe that we shall overcome!

This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.
- read the rest of Dr. King's speech by clicking here -

For my part, I can speak no better words than these, made just over 45 years ago. I can only echo them and honor their speaker by pointing out something important in the face of those who would suggest all the hard work is over just because there is "a brown man in the White House" as of tomorrow afternoon.

I refuse to accept that Barack Obama alone will be responsible for culminating the dreams of a better world, or that they are somehow fulfilled simply by the fact that he managed to win an election.

There is much, much more work to do, every day, to make the world a better place in Ma'at. Each one of us has a place in this plan, no matter what nationality or religion we embrace. The dreams of Dr. King should not require audacity -- they should be the united aims of compassionate and rational people everywhere -- but until we have achieved that reality, it's time for more of us to be a little audacious. Who's with me?