This month is International Pagan Values Blogging Month. A nifty idea, and one I plan on weighing in on as the month goes on.
My values are deeply defined by my own personal life experiences. This is deeply important to me. As a Kemetic polytheist, I seek to uphold Ma’at, which is truth, and rightness. It should be something to note that Ma’at is both a concept as well as a deity, whereas the polar opposite, isfet, is simply an insidious and faceless force, though sometimes represented by the serpent Apophis. Perhaps, to put a face on something is to give it more power. Perhaps that is why I’ve been known to shut down my emotions when it comes to dealing with certain things. Emotions seek to put faces to things, and when something is trying to drag you down or hurt you, sometimes it is better to not give it a face, or look it in it’s face. Better to look straight through it, straight to your goals.
But, I digress a bit, I think.
During the month of June I’ll be addressing the 42 Negative Confessions. These are deeply important to the Egyptian pagan/polytheist. Or they should be. Despite the cryptic verse and the sheer age of these words, the concepts therein are timeless and can easily be applied to postmodern living. I may not be able to address them all, but I will try to hit on some key ones, and discuss those, at least how they mean to me.
Earlier I had this discussion with my fiancee about religion. For those of you who read me or keep tabs on things, my fiancee is a Christian (Lutheran). I’m sure there are some out there who genuinely wonder how a conservative German Lutheran and an American Pagan could possibly hit it off. Sometimes it saddens me when people talk like this. My question would be, why not? Our religions may be different, but our values are fundamentally the same, if not similar. Anyone who tries to boil down my own personal values as being throwbacks to, or just influences of, my former Catholic upbringing, would be to insult me. I am not a drone, nor would I dare to insult myself and my gods gods by assuming that we would have no moral standard by which we should all be accounted for. Sannion hit on some very great points in this area in his post Unity Through Diversity.
In any case, in our discussion, one of many, on the topic of religion and related, he explained to me that he is glad that we share the same values, and happy still that because of my strongly-held beliefs, I would not convert to his or any other religion. This shows that I am strong in my beliefs, that I, as he puts it, have a strong backbone. This is important, deeply important. You would think sticking by one’s beliefs and values to be easy, but it is so much harder when put to the test. One of our greatest tests was to stand before each other, exposed in our spiritual nakedness, and yet to still love each other deeply despite our differences in religion and choice of god or gods. His god and my gods dwell under one roof, if only metaphorically at the moment. This requires a mutual respect and honor. I am not, nor will I ever be, a Christian. But I will respect the god that watches over my lover, because he means more than the world to me. Even the ancient Egyptians acknowledged the gods of other peoples, even if they did not take their gods as their own (though obviously, in the Ptolemaic eras, that’s clearly what they did, and vice versa!).
Separatism can never exist for a healthy relationship. And the more we discuss these values together, the stronger we grow, both within, and with each other. This is deeply important. The willingness to be strong, to hold fast and to not, as one of the 42 state, to transgress. From our beliefs, from our values, or one another. If only I could see this more amongst other pagans. We speak of equality and fairness, but we have to be willing to give it to others, too.
More on this, and related as time rolls on.