Recently on tumblr, a few fellow polytheists and I got together to form Aggressive Devotions, a lighthearted blog that posts informative devotionals in such a way that it seems like we’re yelling. An early post prompted a brief discussion between Kemetics as to what is considered a proper offering. We typically tell new Kemetics that bread and cool water are staples and that incense and fire are acceptable as well. However, what a lot of new Kemetics don’t realize–and what we sometimes forget to tell them–is that the perfect offering to the gods is ma’at.
Ma’at is a very difficult and complex concept for modern Western thinking, and there’s no equivalent of it in the English language. Other Kemetics have touched on their view of it in greater detail, and I’ll be addressing my understanding of ma’at in a later PBP post; for the purpose of this writing, however, understand that ma’at is a very vital force in Kemetic theology. Kiya Nicoll in The Traveller’s Guide to the Duat describes it as ”the natural state of the created world” (74). It encompasses many things, including–but not limited to–truth, justice, order, balance, and reciprocity. There is no air to breathe in the afterlife, only ma’at (46).
For his version of the Morning Ritual at the Temple of Amun-Ra, Richard Reidy comments that “the offering of Ma’at is at the heart of the entire service. It is the central act because it reveals, confirms, and renews the divine-human collaboration in establishing and maintaining the cosmos” (31). In my case, offering ma’at also reminds me of my duties as a Kemetic layperson–to uphold ma’at in my daily life as best as I can.
In addition to physical representations of the concept, however, I’m firmly of the belief that an excellent way to make offerings to the gods is to do Their work. I touched on this briefly in an older post I’d written about patronages. Since my revelation, I’ve been trying to understand just exactly what Anpu wants from me. Guiding and teaching others seem appropriate, and I suspect that I have His approval whenever I enter intelligent discussions with other polytheists and recons. I know I could be doing more than that, but at this stage in my life, I feel like I have a lot of personal work to do before I can start helping others. The little things that I do now in the polytheist community are sufficient.
Naturally, this train of thought brings me to Wepwawet. I don’t consider Him a patron, but He is working closely with me so that I can better myself. I’ve offered Him playing cards that I now use in cartomancy and playing various solitaire games. I’ve also considered picking up belly dancing in His honor, but that’s still up in the air since I don’t know if I’ll have the money or time for it.
I couple of years did pass before I came to understand what Anpu really wanted me to give back to Him and to the community, so it might be a while before Wepwawet demands something like that from me. Even so, I plan to keep an eye out for anything that He might appreciate. I would do the same for any god, really; if I served Djehuty or Nebt-het or anyone else, I’d feel the same inclination to find a method of devotion that earns Their approval, something beyond bread and water.
- Nicoll, Kiya. The Traveller’s Guide to the Duat. Stafford: Megalithica, 2012. Print.
- Reidy, Richard J. Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern World. Bloominton, IN: IUniverse, 2010. Print.