For those who don’t know what the Kemetic Round Table is, I would suggest you check out this link first. This is my first post contributing to the project.
The topic is Underground Kemeticism: How public are you about your beliefs and practices? How has it (or not) impacted your work life, your familial and friendly ties? What advice would you give to uncertain Kemetics about how to approach either telling or not telling others about their beliefs?
Personally, I’m public about my beliefs and practices. At the moment, there’s few in my family who don’t know that I’m not Christian and haven’t been for years. It hasn’t always been like this though. My transition from a Christian Orthodox upbringing to a Kemetic belief system was a very smooth one in the sense at one point I knew I didn’t believe in Christian dogma any more, that almost nothing the priest said during sermon made much sense to me or sounded right but that everything I read about the ancient Egyptian Gods and the ancient Egyptian belief system made sense and it echoed with me very deeply. (and that polytheistic systems in general made much more sense to me)
I had been reading and studying about ancient Egypt since I was about 12, it was always a scholarly interest and not necessarily religious. I wasn’t sure what to call what I believed so I was just happy not calling it anything and just seeing where it all took me. Later in life (early twenties) I became accustomed to the online Pagan blogs and sites and to reading about different religions and beliefs. It all started to take shape and I started calling my path very simply ‘The Egyptian Path’. More study and experience led to what has been for years now, a Kemetic who always tries to learn and experiment. At the beginning I even thought that ‘Kemetic’ meant to be a member of the Kemetic Orthodoxy but I learned that wasn’t the case. I can’t give an exact time frame for all of this because it all went so smooth, almost taking shape on its own accord.
It all hasn’t really impacted my family or social life, I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by people who don’t care about your religious beliefs as long as you’re a decent human being. I’m usually met with curiosity because it’s all so different and I’m asked what it’s all about. The usual replies I get are ‘Interesting!’. It has been a bit harder to tell my mother only because I feared she’d be somehow disappointed the religious education she gave me didn’t stick. It was hard for her to accept at first and she still presses with Christian Orthodox traditions some times but it’s not because she’s not accepting of me, it’s because she’s still very much invested in her own practices. I even had a few funny situations with a family member (who is Catholic) and he’d say ‘Thank God’ and I’d ask ‘Which one??’ and he’d reply ‘Hey, there’s only one’ and we’d giggle about it. My father in law was happy when he found out I’m not Christian because he was brought up strict Catholic and he hated it growing up and still hates it now. And I realize how blessed I have been because I know other people with non-Christian beliefs who have been brought up with Christian beliefs and who have been met with negative reactions from their family and friends. And I think it’s sad people mistreat others for having different beliefs.
I’ve had the odd raised eyebrow or the ‘What’s that???’ question but nothing that would affect negatively a relationship. And I’m the sort of person who will accept people for who they are and what they believe in and I expect the same from others. If they start preaching how ‘I’m going to Hell’ and such I just keep a distance. I don’t need that in my life. I respect they believe differently and some times even have a respectful conversation but I won’t put up with abuse from anyone. I’m a firm believer in ‘be nice’. Which at times is misinterpreted or met with snark but I frankly don’t care. That’s how I am and I believe in being kind most of all. Which isn’t to say I won’t stand up for myself if needed.
The only advice I can give is: listen to your instincts and do (or don’t do) what you think it’s right. Tell people if you feel its right or don’t if you don’t want to. If you feel your relationships would be strained you don’t have say anything if you’re not asked and if you are asked directly just say you don’t feel comfortable/want/like to talk about it. Nothing should be forced in my opinion. And, after all, we’re different as individuals and we have different family and social environments. What may have worked for one may not be good for another.