May 14, 2011

Blogsolidation - Join me at !

Most of the people who will read this, and who know me, are aware that I am involved in a lot more things than just Kemetic Orthodoxy. Some might suggest I'm a polymath; others would say I just have too many curiosities, and both are right.

I'll be posting from here on out on a new blog at Join me there if you like; I'll be talking about more than Kemetic Orthodoxy and Egypt but you can just click on the categories links if you'd rather not read about the other things I ponder.

Thanks for reading!

May 2, 2011

Death and Remembrance - Osama bin Laden and the world

On September 11, 2001, I wrote a letter about the attacks Al Qaeda, and its leader Osama bin Laden, carried out on the United States. An excerpt of that letter was taken off the Internet and appeared in a book put out by Beliefnet, along with the writings of many clergymen and women far more wise than I am.

Earlier this evening, I listened as President Obama announced the news that the man behind the terrorist organization responsible for these attacks had been found, and that he had been killed. And afterward, I watched as people began to gather around the White House, and around Ground Zero, and all over the Internet, to discuss the news.

Legend has it that Mark Twain once said "I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure." Many people will feel that way this evening; the media has been photographing them celebrating all over the world since the news was released. Others, on the other side of the conflict, might mourn. Still others might find themselves in the place that I am, quiet, thoughtful, wondering if one life makes up for the hundreds of thousands lost while he was searched for. And then one even wonders if that is a valid way of thinking. Can one count human beings like apples or stones? What is a life worth?

I went back to the shrine, that shrine I talked about in my 2001 letter, though now it is in another room in another building in another town. Yet the feeling, and the sound, was the same. One death will not bring all those he killed back to life. One death will not atone, cannot atone, for all the pain and suffering terrorism has brought to the world. A chapter has ended, but the book of evil is still being written. There is no gaining back what was lost on September 11, 2001, nor anything that happened between that day and today.

There is only what we choose to do now. And I will pray that what we choose to do makes the world a better place. I can do no more.

February 3, 2011

On "Departure Friday" : An Open Letter

It has been suggested that I have not said enough about my personal opinion about what is going on in Egypt, particularly as pertains not so much to my background as a professional Egyptologist, but as the spiritual head of the Kemetic Orthodox Faith.

While I consider myself strictly a religious leader, and do not concern myself with the politics of Egypt or any country as a rule, the position that I hold sacerdotally once also belonged to the men and women who ruled the country now ruled by Hosni Mubarak. There are those who, embarrassingly enough, would refer to me as a "pharaoh," and others have referred to President Mubarak with the same term. (Semantically that is correct but direct comparison of either of us to, say, Ramses II is more than a bit absurd in my case and only vaguely accurate on Mr. Mubarak's).

It is probably completely ridiculous of me to write this. He will never see it, and even if somehow he did, he probably wouldn't care. But I will write it anyway, because it needs to be said, whether from one "pharaoh" to another, or one human being to another.

An Open Letter to Hosni Mubarak, Current President of the Arab Republic of Egypt

Salaam, Mr. President, or as your ancestors would say it, em hotep: in peace.

There have been many discussions in the media worldwide and on the streets of the country you have had the honor to lead for the past three decades about today being "Departure Friday." While you are no more obligated to listen to me than you are to anyone else who is giving you advice, and I am certain there are people who know you and have better advice for you than I do, I must repeat what is being said. It's time. Please go.

Back in ancient times, if an Egyptian monarch made it to Year 30, there was a special celebration called a Heb Sed, the "festival of the tail," where that king was blessed and consecrated and renewed for another three decades of rule. At the beginning of that ceremony he or she was tested for fitness and had to prove his or her worth to be renewed. Nobody got to be king without passing that test, and one assumes that in addition to the ritual and to the ceremonial "running of the boundaries" held in a semi-public place, the king thought about the past and contemplated the future.

I don't think it's any coincidence that the same word in ancient Egyptian that is used to name a king "your Majesty" also means "slave" or "servant." Additionally it can be interpreted as meaning "person of character." Real kings, real rulers, know that they rule only at the will of their people, and their entire lives are structured to make sure that they are serving those people - as their servant not their overlord. They do what is necessary to serve the people because it is only with the people that they will continue to exist. They rule only as long as it is appropriate to do so, in Ma'at which is truth, Ma'at which is so holy it is also considered a form of God.

If you love your country, and I would like to believe that you do, listen to her. Stop sending forces to quiet her voice and still her limbs. You may believe you have been wronged and perhaps that will come out in the future. You have taken steps to make changes and appointed a new government and opened the table for negotiations. These are all good things. I urge you to add to them now by using today as Departure Day. Go and let them make their decisions. Show that you love your country enough by letting it make its decisions and by removing the obstacles to its repression. Show your fitness to rule by recognizing the will and the heart and the passion and the capability of your countrymen. Be Egypt's servant and not her master. It has never mattered more and by doing so you have an opportunity to show your worth to your people in a concrete way that cannot be misinterpreted.

Thirty years has passed. Whether or not you will be acclaimed by your God and your people lies in what you choose to do in the next few days and hours. With all sincerity and prayerfully I ask that you do the right thing and allow for a peaceful transition of power. Recall your police force and signal that you do love Egypt more than you love your position. Be a pharaoh that people want to remember, and not one who will forever be equated with repression and fear.

May Ma'at be with you today, and may Allah grant you wisdom in this time.

Rev. Tamara L. Siuda
Nisut of the Kemetic Orthodox Faith

February 2, 2011

Welcome, 22 New Remetj!

In the midst of change, growth. Nekhtet!

Em hotep to the children of Netjer!

Please join me in welcoming the following 22 new Remetj to the House of Netjer.

Dave A. of Scotland
Robert A. of Alabama
Angela B. of Georgia
Nicola B. of England
Joshua C. of North Carolina
Ruimar B. of Brazil
Lana D. of Indiana
Hope E. of Alabama
Carol F. of Nevada
Tracy G. of England
Ashley H. of Kentucky
Will H. of Indiana
Lawrence H. of Illinois
Michelle B. of Nevada
Paul K. of Ohio
Ann K. of Connecticut
Amber P. of Virginia
Livy R. of Georgia
Sarah S. of Michigan
Renee S. of New Jersey
Jenn T. of Canada
Karlixle W. of Ohio

Nekhtet and welcome to each one of you.

January 30, 2011

Egypt Links and Various News, 30 Jan 2011 UPDATED 31 Jan 2011

So much is happening. Please forgive the information dump but I hope it will be of use. Note: January 31's updates are all in BOLDFACE. If you have any information you'd like me to post please feel free to send it along to nisut at kemet dot org or hit the reply/comment button at the bottom of this post and link it up.

There are some excellent websites out there collecting and distributing the news from Egypt. I'm watching everything I can and also collecting material and putting it out via my Twitter feed, which will also pick up anything I post on Facebook as it's set to do that. In the meantime, here are some updates along with links so you can follow yourself.

For news inside Egypt live: Al Jazeera is still broadcasting as it can, despite being shut down by the Mubarak government. You can follow a live stream in English here:  UPDATE 31 Jan 2011, 8:30pm Chicago time: Al Jazeera has been banned and shut down inside Egypt and a media blackout is happening sporadically; you may not be able to view this but keep trying.

Some excellent blogging by my colleagues, some of whom are in Egypt right now and are telephoning outside the Internet blockade to get the news out:

Ancient Egypt Online - news out of Egypt. Sunday, a map of damaged Museum areas:
UPDATE: Now there is a listing of sites and their known conditions:

Egyptology News (Andie, Kat and Kate)
UPDATE: Kate now has a special update site especially to gather and confirm/deny looting reports:

Jane Akhshar's Luxor News

The Eloquent Peasant (Margaret Maitland) - many photos of damaged Cairo Museum items:

News from the Valley of the Kings (Kate Phizackerley):

Sarah Carr's excellent blog about conditions in Egypt, which may be disabled sporadically: (note strong language and photos).

An excellent website (again, note strong language) about how NOT to talk about Egypt, discussing racist, political and other tropes that are really NOT helpful:

The Coptic Orthodox Church in North America has declared the next three days to be days of fasting and prayers for the people of Egypt. For those of you who feel compelled to join them in solidarity I encourage you to do so. Many protests have occurred and continue to occur in larger cities in the USA; I have observed footage from events in New York, Toronto, Chicago and LA so far. There are a number of Facebook "groups" that have been created to get news out of Egypt and the #Jan25 hashtag on Twitter as well as the #Egypt hashtag will also supply much news and real-time information.

In other news I can substantiate as being first-hand and/or confirmed by experts in the field:

January 25 and Beyond: Egypt Today

It's been quite the roller-coaster the last few days with events in Egypt, the homeland of our gods and faith and a place that is very dear to me as the home of friends and people I call family.

I can't get in touch with any of those people, haven't been able to since Monday, and that along with the video and photographs we are managing to get from various news sources has left me more than a little bit worried about all this.

Yet, at the same time, I have a lot of hope for Masr. No matter what the last gasps of the regime bring, the people are united to overcome, and at least for now, the army seems inclined to help. This makes sense, since the army was built for so many years out of and by the same people it protects. What is happening in Egypt is the natural reaction of people who have had enough. It is not some random act of terrorism or even some outside group pushing its will on the nation - I wish I could make this clearer to those I've been talking to over the last few days who want to believe it's "Islamists" or Al-Qaeda or Iran or some other shadowy group trying to make the Egyptian people unhappy. They simply reached the end of their patience with a Father-knows-best government where Father is completely dysfunctional, and so they are doing what they were unable to do within the government or at the ballot box.

Please pray for Egypt, for Masr. Please pray for all the wonderful people of this incredible country, that they continue to be heard, and safe, over the next hours and days and months as she transitions into something new. If you are not the praying type, think good thoughts, inform yourself as what happens in Egypt will have great impact on her neighbors and allies, and accept my gratitude for your concern.

I'm posting news as I get it on anything I can get from Egypt on my Twitter feed and on my Facebook fan page, both of which are linked to the right of this entry. Please feel free to watch them or send me any information you might have. I appreciate all of the help and news and goodwill that has been extended to that effort so far, and the Egyptian people also appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers. The people of our gods, even if they do not worship Them, need us to stand with them now, and thus we will.

January 6, 2011

The Year 18 Oracle...and cats? (a long reply to the original post)

Received this e-mail today, and am posting it here as it is another interesting story of Zep Tepi ("First Occurrence") at work.

I suspect it didn't let you post it because of the length, Ma'atemhet, but I'm happy to reproduce it here for you. As a proud human owned by two cats, the younger of which is a Mau (my giant, chatty spotted boy, "Zigzag" is now about four years old), I wish you all the best with the rescue work.

January 5, 2011 issues - don't panic

Em hotep (in peace!) is having some issues after we transferred to a new server at our ISP. We're working on the issue and hope to have it back up very soon. In the meantime, and the forums are up and working fine; we're just missing the main site and some mailing lists including the mailing list for this blog.

Thanks for your patience!