Although Kemetic religion has been practiced in varying forms over thousands of years, it has maintained key concepts that continue to be observed in neo-Kemetic religious organizations. These concepts include the idea of Ma'at, the worship of Netjer (the divine power of the universe, or God) in the form of many gods and goddesses, the veneration of ancestors, and the notion of a human king serving as the link between gods and men (or the seen and unseen realms).
Kemetic religion is a modified form of polytheism sometimes called monolatry, where many gods and goddesses are worshipped and recognized, yet each partakes of a single divine wholeness, referred to as Netjer. The Kemetic belief that the gods and goddesses each represent one total divine Whole differentiates the faith from completely polytheistic religions, where many gods are represented in many forms and are never are depicted as One; or monotheistic religions, where one god always has one form (and never many forms).
Ma'at is a concept and a deity which serves as the foundation of Kemetic society, often represented as a woman with an ostrich feather on Her head. Ma'at personifies all that is right, just, true, and in balance--not only the universe and creation as a whole, but also in relationships between people and society. When you are living "in Ma'at," you feel it -- Ma'at flows towards you, and you multiply Ma'at with your good actions towards others. Ma'at's action in the universe is like a pebble thrown into a pond, with ripples extending far and wide. Ma'at is one of the many forms of Netjer (the divine force, or God).
In ancient Kemet, the king, or "nisut," served as the link between Netjer and Netjer's people. He (or She) was the bearer of the Kingly Ka, an emanation of the God Heru (Horus in Greek). The job of the King was to govern the society in Ma'at and serve according to Netjer's will. Some forms of neo-Kemetic religion recognize a Kingly Ka today; others do not. In the case of the Kemetic Orthodox, for example, the role of the "king" is filled by Her Holiness Nisut Hekatawy I, who serves as their spiritual leader.
These four concepts formed the basis of Kemetic religion in ancient times. For more information, these books offer a good start, and a variety of temples and groups bring forth forms of this beautiful and ancient faith into our modern world.
Worship and Practice
In the following description of worship and practice, I speak only from my own experience with Kemetic Orthodoxy. Practitioners of other Kemetic religions may worship somewhat differently, drawing on the Kemetic legacy in their own way. The world viewpoint of the Egyptians--one of balance, community, tolerance, and service to Netjer and mankind, is one that is very needed in today's world. Kemetic Orthodoxy teaches both the faith and the culture of Kemet, striving to impart to its practitioners a completely Kemetic worldview and experience.
The priests and the Nisut (AUS) [In ancient texts, the phrase "Ankh, udja, seneb!" --"Life, prosperity, and health be to Him (or Her)!" -- always followed the word "Nisut."] help us on our spiritual journeys, guiding us when we have questions or problems. We also refer to the practical guidance in the ancient teachings of the Wisdom Literature. Though written by sages many thousands of years ago, these guides for living in Ma'at are still applicable to our lives today. Though Kemetic Orthodoxy is not a revealed religion with a sacred text, it is very traditional and conservative, using ancient liturgies and texts (such as translations of hieroglyphs on the walls of Egyptian temples) for its formal rites, and traditional models as the basis for personal practice.
As part of our responsibility to multiply Ma'at in the world, we try to help others, both in our local communities and around the world. Many members are active in service and charitable organizations, and in this spirit, the Nisut (AUS) of Kemetic Orthodoxy founded the Udjat Foundation (www.udjat.org) to help children in need. We are looking forward to many wonderful projects with which we can help spread Ma'at throughout the world.
The foundation of personal practice in Kemetic Orthodoxy is the daily shrine rite ("Senut") which is performed by every member of the faith, including laymen, priests, and the Nisut (AUS). It is a private time for worship and communication with Netjer, consisting of purifications, prayers, and offerings within the setting of a household shrine.
Practitioners called to a deeper level of dedication have a divination for their Spiritual Parent (a particular god or goddess which chose them at birth, watches over, and guides their lives), make vows of service, and cultivate a life-long relationship with that particular aspect of the Divine.
As a part of the veneration of our ancestors, the akhu, a separate part of the shrine is dedicated to relatives who have passed on to the Blessed West. Offerings and prayers are given there on a regular basis, fostering communication with our loved ones in the Unseen World. During particular times of the year, special remembrances of the dead, visits to cemeteries, and worship services are observed.
In addition to the daily shrine rite, Kemetic Orthodox practitioners may attend a wide variety of both online and offline events and classes. There are weekly Internet classes in various aspects of Kemetic religion, history, and ethics, taught by the priests and the Nisut (AUS). There are bi-weekly worship services as well as weekly fellowship chats. Fellowship ambassadors for various geographical regions coordinate real-life get-togethers, workshops, and celebrations of festivals, in addition to encouraging a spirit of community among the congregants. At the retreat center in Michigan, there are monthly workshops and official celebrations of important festivals and rites, led by the Nisut (AUS). There is also an annual retreat for the faithful, which is the highlight of the year for many that attend.