Pagan Paths

Alchemical and spiritual journey together with Thoth-Djehuty – exploring Kemeticism, Hermeticism, spiritual alchemy, and following the path of devotion.

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Why kemeticism?

My personal spiritual journey started, when I was 12 years old.

There are people who were raised in religion, and the idea that God exists is therefore very natural for them.

But I was raised in soviet-style secular atheism. I had read a lot of things about religions, but the default mindset ingrained from childhood, was that “religion is a human invention, and an instrument of oppression and control. Gods are just mythology.”

When I was 15, I joined Russian Orthodox Church (mostly because I was baptized there when I was a kid and it seemed like a natural decision), but left it in 2005 to become Roman Catholic. However, the existence of the Gods of Egypt (Netjeru) was shown to me in obvious experience - and now I’m trying to live with it.

Growing up, I had always been interested in different ancient religions and mythology (and the magazine “Science and Religion” was my favorite), I had been drawn to Egyptian pantheon first and foremost.

And so, I'm devoted to Thoth-Hermes-Djehuty (this is a very long-term relationship, as he've been around for many years – I will write about it more in the future). However, only after my second visit to Egypt in 2012 have I let myself to honor the Netjeru as I always wanted, without trying to push myself back into a Christian/monotheistic box.

I fall into category of people who were attracted to Egypt from childhood. I always loved the art and culture and history of this land. My interest and love to the country as a whole was always very intense. In 1995, this love intensified to a whole new peak level: I started writing a circle of poetry about Ancient Egypt “The Country of the Setting Sun”; I also wrote two historical novels set in Ancient Egypt. And, I made a life-changing decision to study hieroglyphics.

I was amazed by The Divine Language and by the wonderful discovery that yes it is possible to learn it! I rushed into study. I found new friends between Egyptology students. As soon as there were books about Egyptian mythology and culture newly printed in Russia – I hurried to get them all. In one of these books, I first encountered the legend of the Book of Thoth...

When I started studying hieroglyphics, I'd been keeping in mind, how many signs I should memorize to successfully apply for a job in a temple of Thoth. And this I guess is how I caught Djehuty’s attention, as someone who enthusiastically studied hieroglyphics - his perfect creation - and who was so attracted to his myths…

So I really always loved everything about Egypt and it was as natural as breathing.

When I started studying ancient-Egyptian language, I enjoyed going to Hermitage museum and trying to read the stelae inscriptions.

My uncle happened to know about my obsession with Egypt and the language, and he was not pleased. He was Russian Orthodox, very devout, and I guess he enjoyed the fact that in my quest for religion, when I was 15, I turned to him to be my trusted advisor about Christianity and the Orthodoxy. Thanks to him, I became educated about Russian Orthodoxy really well. But because of this, my uncle had some authority teaching me about all things related to religion, and he started exploiting this influence. So, he told me that all the names of the Egyptian deities from the Book of the Dead are “true names of demons”. And he said “Don’t you realize what you are doing, by reading these stelae?! You are invoking these gods! If you read these stelae that call upon Anubis, you are praying to Anubis, so beware because he will come to you!” (and “drag you to Egyptian hell”, - as he worded it).

He tried to frighten me away from Egypt, but my inner response was rebellious. I wanted to read the stelae, I wanted to respond with prayers to these people who were asking for voice offerings and asking for living to recite their names. I tried to play with my mind saying that I’m only studying the language, but my uncle’s words were making me to face the reality: yes, by reading these things, the reader invokes the Gods. Only, my uncle believed that They are demons, and evil, but I knew deeply in my heart that they were not. They were not evil, and - an even more intimidating discovery - they were REAL, not just human fantasy inventions, not just characters from the mythology, and they were so beautiful and loved by their worshipers who wanted to spend their afterlife in eternity with them…

… but yes, there is a small splinter in my mind that may sometimes echo from this long past: “But what if they are just demons in disguise? They lured you out of the Church!”

… but, my answer is: let’s judge by fruits. The fruits of my relationship with Netjeru are LOVE, confidence, harmony with myself and the world and the people, perfect balance, and lack of fear. I have more inner peace and I try to do more “good things” for people around me. Just be nice “to the neighbors” in a Biblical sense. Be more open and forgiving. Be more creative. Be able to enjoy more wonderful things in real life without thinking that the world is full of sin and deserves to be burned in apocalyptic fire.
Fruits of love bring more love to the world. Devotion brings more Ma'at.

It was a dangerous area for a Christian, to explore egyptian religion and want it to be true. I've been translating ancient egyptian inscriptions with russian poetry, drawing inspiration from them, admiring ancients' devotion and trying to figure out how all these wonderful people would reach their desired afterlife, as Christian (Russian Orthodox) ideas of afterlife fates of ancient "pagans" were not satisfactory. It was a long journey, and I tried very different approaches to religion and spirituality and mind-play with different theories, feeling obliged to stay with Christianity and experiencing the obvious reality of the Netjeru in the same time. Loving Egypt whole-heartedly and desperately wanting its religion to be true, in the same time I honestly tried to be perfect Christian. “Recovering” from monotheistic mindset forged by russian orthodoxy is a complicated process.

I wanted it to be real, but I didn’t hope for it to be real. For a long time, I agreed to that Christian bait that ancient religions were merely mythologies. Or at least I tried to believe this. When the “real presence” of the Netjeru in my life manifested, it was followed by long and hard struggle to find an explanation that would fit for “normal” people. So much happiness came to my life when I allowed myself to be myself – not what the society wants me to be.

One of my friends helped me a lot with giving me a food for thought in her words “You don’t owe being a Christian to anyone. There are millions of good people who are not Christian.”.

And in 2012, after visiting Thoth' sanctuaries in Dakka and Hermopolis, I said to myself "I will follow the desire of my heart. My True Will. And if my heart longs for Djehuty, so be it."

There are many awesome things about kemetic religion.

One of them is that the world, through Kemetic view of it, is much better place than the world pictured by fundamentalist Christian churches. The world is good. The people are good and welcome to join the company of the Gods in making the world a better place. Also, the Netjeru don’t look at the humans down as at unworthy creatures, sinners, “energy food source” or lowly servants. And so, they don’t really demand worship. You may just live and maintain Ma’at and that’s awesome, because the Netjeru live on Ma’at. You don’t have to feel yourself like a sinner who is worth nothing unless they believe in a Savior.

You don’t need to feel guilty for the actions of some mythological ancestors whose story is told in a “holy book”, who ate the fruit and disobeyed their God. And you are responsible for your own “deeds and misdeeds” and for your choices and mistakes, and the judgment is just. Also, the afterlife is interesting and contains many, many amazing options. And the Kemetic pantheon together with the akhu and living followers of the religion, sometimes I think of them as about “final frontier” of battling the World Entropy and Isfet … Imagine the barque of Ra as one giant Enterprise!

(* On the image: fragment of Stele of Setau, Hearer of the Summons. End of XVIIIth Dynasty; in State Hermitage Museum, St.-Petersburg)

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Born in USSR and living in St. Petersburg, Russia; my spiritual journey started when I was a young teen. After more than 20 years of being practicing Russian Orthodox and later, Roman Catholic, I followed my heart always calling me to honor the Gods of Ancient Egypt. My devotion belongs to Thoth-Hermes-Djehuty, Thrice Greatest, Lord of Khemenu (Hermopolis), and I try to serve him as a priestess (hmt-Ntr). My path is independent, solitary and not hardcore reconstructionist, and I don’t belong to organized Kemetic temples.I studied biology in University, but after graduation, for many years have been working in telecommunications and computer networking. Now I work in international trade; but this is what I do “for a living”, as I’m poet and writer before all. I write poetry and prose since early childhood (of course, my writings are mostly in Russian) and I have some published books, science-fiction novels and poetry. I follow hermetic philosophy and viewpoints, and my interests, besides Ancient Egypt, include medieval history and art, Spiritual Alchemy, traveling around the world, translating books from English and studying more foreign languages (including Egyptian hieroglyphics). I am also president of the St. Petersburg chapter of the International Alchemy Guild.  


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