Joining formal temples

For those of you that have joined a formal temple, perhaps even made vows, are you comfortable chatting about your reasons why, and how things have gone since you joined?

For those of us who have stayed independent, why?

I ask because I’m still mulling over whether to join a temple. I haven’t found one that fits with my belief system (I am a hard to squishy polytheist) but worry that my practice might be stagnating without proper structure.

I was also discussing the recent topic of vocations based on our religion with my husband. I do want to serve the community more but am not sure how. The word priest comes to mind but I worry that I’ll just be another poobah on the internet if I give this title to myself.

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Sorry for the word salad, I’m finding it hard to articulate what I’m feeling recently :flushed::smiley:

I think it’s a very good question!

I’ll come back to this later.

You’re part of an e-Temple :grin: I see Kemetic Temple UK as a temple in itself.

Perhaps the way forward is to see if there are any Kemetics in your area? Maybe start a small local group?

I’m at the stage where I’m starting to try out local groups. Perhaps I’ll find local Kemetics there. Who knows?

I think the challenge is once you have a group of interested people, how do you structure the group? What do you all want from it? How much time can you put into it?

Perhaps this forum could be an online support/encouragement for those trying to start up local groups, but the challenge is finding interested people first.

I’d been suggesting online meet ups on here, so that we can see other Kemetics… Albeit virtually, but still helps I think. It’s a chance to discuss topics or questions and say ‘Hi’.

The word ‘priestess’ came to mind for myself also, but some days I feel more like one than others. I do doubt myself at times, but I do feel that Djehuty sees me that way regardless. It is possible to be a priestess in training and in ancient Egypt, the word ‘priest’ means serving a deity. That can mean different things… Even in ancient times. Also, perhaps developing as a priesstess will happen over some time rather than overnight.

I’m inspired by Petosiris (I posted in the Temple of Thoth). He made do with what he had and the people that put themselves forward. He had and restored a couple of temples and many shrines. He did a lot for one person if his autobiography is true. He still couldn’t do it without others though.

I’m sure the ancients ‘made do’ with what they had in times of turmoil.

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Forming one is my long term goal however I don’t want one going anywhere like KO which seems heavily bureaucratic and too structured. OK Kemetic practice is perhaps more structured than most pagan religions. Its a difficult one. Due to the low numbers of practitioners and vast number of deities, I’m really against having a temple structure that has the whole lot in, which then unfortunately excludes people if the focus is narrow.

I do get where you are coming from @Senneferet having some regular practices does help to keep things going. The question as always comes back to why do we need this? Are we lving in temples with structure or an chaotic home, or a bit of both? (No need to answer that btw). I’m possibly a bit of both like most :slight_smile:

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Well, I started in KO, and slowly drifted. I am fiercely solitary at the best of times, and for me, initiations by other men or women mean very little. I do not aspire to have a title. I am happy doing my devotions and rituals in my home and living my life in accordance with Maat as best as I can.

I like the online kemetic temple and our occasional meets, but that’s enough for me.

If you want to join a temple, you need to find one where the beliefs and practices are in line with yours and even as kemetic we all have our own ways nowadays. Would you want a kemetic role within your community or more of a spiritual/well being one?

What do you have in mind?

I’m wondering whether a lot of Kemetics tend to go for solitary practice.

Im not sure initiations are the best way to go these days… Not for Independents anyway.

When i talked of initiations, I meant I don’t really believe anyone else is going to do it for me. I see initiations as part of our spiritual journey, but they happen in many ways - dreams, meditations, astral travelling, through real life experiences that aren’t quite what they seem (for example, on my very first long drive home, which I was quite scared of doing, I spotted many things like road signs, songs that came up in the radio, animals that appeared and when journalling it later, I realised it linked to where I was and how I should proceed on my path).

I know we can learn from others, and I don’t dismiss those who give themselves titles and try to guide others. It’s just not for me.

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Been a while since I’ve posted here but I caught sight of this in my inbox and realised I had input (I should really try to be more active).

I am currently a Shemsu-Ankh in Kemetic Orthodoxy, although I consider myself to be an independent Kemetic and boat paddler in addition to that. I was also an independent Kemetic (and non-KO member) for many years, having joined the temple and then left.

I find KO pretty flexible on the “how do you view the Gods” scale. I consider them hard polytheists regardless of what terminology they use (after a very convincing article a long time back, I consider most “soft polytheism” to either be hard polytheism or monotheism and soft polytheism to not, or only very rarely, exist).

Kemetic Orthodoxy provides a lot of things for me. Structure, ritual, community and family, tools, a path. And it provides as much or as little of those things as I desire. If I wanted I could be Remetj and have very few commitments to the temple or to the Gods they divined for me, I would basically be an independent. If I wanted I could be a Shemsu, but I could interact with the community the bare minimum amount. And if I wanted, I could be Shemsu-Ankh but firmly on my own independent path. Nothing about the structure KO has mandates that your religious life must be strictly structured.

I ended up Shemsu-Ankh because a) I was impulsive and young and at the time you could become Shemsu-Ankh extremely fast, so I did, I was one of the fastest that they’ve had I think. But b) Because I feel that the temple is my family. It’s a loving connection. Now, you don’t always like your family. But they’re still your family. I feel this more with the temple than I ever have with blood. Because of this I felt the need to connect strongly to that family and to possibly be in service to it. I also came to know Rev. Siuda better, and I trusted her as my king (which does not mean what we think it does in the West, or what people make it out to mean when they rag on KO).

I’d like to become a priest some day, if my health improves, and for me KO is the perfect place to do that. They have a good framework for both priesthood and post-priesthood training, and also, being in KO, and my time serving as a priest outside of KO, has driven home for me that priesthood is about service to a community. To a nation, in essence. Even when I was independent, I was in many ways a priest of KO, just not in any official capacity.

The way to not be a poobah, is to recognise that priesthood is not about a title, about being “a priest of X”. It’s just a ritual that you do to uphold Ma’at for the good of all. You don’t even need to ever call yourself a priest. I didn’t, for most of the time that I did it. You’re a servant, that’s it. Nothing poobah about it.

(FWIW, I don’t feel I’ve been “initiated” and I don’t think anything in KO is classed as, nor would I class it as, an “initiation” really. That or everything in KO is an initiation but that’s really looking at it from a different, looser angle, kind of the angle mentioned here that doesn’t involve anyone doing anything to you.)

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Thanks for the replies. I will write a more thoughtful response (when toddler is not making aeroplane noises by my feet) but for now I will plop this here, mostly as a reminder for myself later; one of the reasons I am both leery of joining a temple and forging my own path is that I got caught up with a dodgy group years ago. They were strongly anti-KO and had aspirations of forming their own temple…but didn’t do any of the work. They were very much about titles and people doing things their way. I’d even get the figurehead emailing me with “messages” from Netjeru, mostly telling me to buy them stuff.

I suppose there’s also a bit of imposter syndrome. I have been Kemetic since 2007 and pagan for many years before that, yet still feel I have nothing to offer. I even have a degree in ancient history and archaeology, and a background in the funeral industry. On paper, I am everything that is needed to start serving the community in a more pastoral sense. The bottom line is I am scared!

Perhaps it’s a case of working out whether some of your fears are based on valid concerns or whether you can work through your fears to resolve them? Perhaps ask the Netjeru for guidence?

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Being a little scared is a good thing in a way. You are not throwing yourself into gunho into the first thing you see. Having spent a decade working in the community myself, it is hard work, exhusting physically. mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The break I’ve had has allowed me to rethink how I do this. My advice from what I’ve been through and how I intend to do it differently next time:

  1. Don’t throw everything in. Just provide one or two areas of expertise. It’s not possible to be everywhere for everyone.
  2. Stay a little distant but still make it clear you are available.
  3. Decide, and this may seem a little selfish but stay with it, what do YOU want to get out of it? If you don’t enjoy helping or solving problems then it will quickly become a drag and you won’t be helping anyone.
  4. At all times stay true to yourself and be ready to say no more for now.

I really hope @Senneferet as well as anyone here who wants to help the community, you find a good middle ground that helps and benefits both sides. While I’ve found it hard, I’ve also found great satisfaction in being there for those that have had need at the time.

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Lots of little bits right now. The grand plan is to open a retreat with my wife eventually. Offer spiritual retreat for various faiths as well as provide complimentary health space for locals, events, shop, cafe, B&B. From there a Kemetic temple would be viable. Physical space is an absolute must.

Current state is still working on building things up enough to launch. Maybe in the next 3-4 years will be in a position to decide if it can happen or not.

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They sound like exciting ideas :slightly_smiling_face:

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Yes and a lot of work and expense. Time will tell if it works out. :slight_smile:

Oh and sorry been an intense week, welcome back @Allati been meaning to catch up. Tc