[Welcome to our column, Talking My Path. Here, polytheists, witches, and Pagans of any tradition are invited to discuss and celebrate their spirituality in a series of five short questions. If you would like to participate, don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
ev0ke: How do you define your particular tradition or path? Does it have a specific name?
Brandon Hensley: I consider myself a Kemetic, focusing on the gods and practices of pre-Hellenic Egypt. I lean more reconstructionist, utilizing historic liturgical forms whenever possible. The Kemetic Reform church (not yet incorporated) is probably the closest to a formal affiliation I would give myself. I am also the only object-oriented theologian (amateur as I may be!) that I am aware of.
ev0ke: Which Deities, powers, or other spirits are honored in your tradition?
BH: The gods recognized in Pharaonic Egypt, broadly. Specifically, I focus on Thoth/Djehuty in a non-Hermetic context. Maat and Ra–Atum–Kheprialso feature in my practice, though to a more limited extent.
ev0ke: Among the various festivals and holy days celebrated in your tradition, which is the most important to you, and why?
BH: The Kemetic New Year — Wep Ronpet. It is preceded by a five-day period of “days upon the year” that historically existed “outside” the normal 360 day solar year, each one connected with specific members of the Kemetic Ennead — Osiris, Isis, Seth, Horus (the elder), and Nephthys. I celebrate it both as a theogeny of the Kemetic pantheon-at-large and as a universal cosmogeny. Specific to Thoth is also the celebration of the New Moon. As a lunar deity and officially the creator of the calendar, the moons marking each month are his holy days.
ev0ke: Which texts, websites, or other resources would you recommend to someone interested in your tradition?
BH: Sharon LaBorde’s Kemetic Independent channel is the primary outlet for information regarding Kemetic Reform. As far as primary texts, I utilize the sebayt corpus of Ancient Egyptian literature as a major source of inspiration. These are Egypt’s contribution to the wider genre of “Wisdom” literature from the Ancient Near East (the Biblical books of Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes also fall under this heading). The Teachings of Ptah-Hotep, Kagemni, and Amenemope are the ones I like the best. Funerary inscriptions, dedication stelae, and other ephemeral texts help fill in some gaps. Miriam Lichtheim’s Maat in Ancient Egyptian Autobiographies is an excellent source for speculative philosophy on ethics throughout Egyptian history.
ev0ke: Is there anything you would like to add, such as creative projects you are undertaking, festivals or events you will be attending, and so on?
BH: I am currently working on two small projects and a larger project: a non-denominational lunar calendar and a Pagan Sabbath, as well as attempting to score selections from the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Pyramid Texts as a Kemetic version of the more well-known Christian Requiem setting for orchestra. I am hoping to have a fully-functional calendar available come 2021 alongside a libretto and full preview treatments for the Kemetic Requiem. May 2020 be a year of ambitious creativity for all!