The Oracle of the goddess Aset (Isis, as She is known outside Her home country) for this coming Kemetic year was delivered in early July. Once again, those of us who were privy to its words had to keep it quiet until Wep Ronpet, the “opening of the year,” or Kemetic New Year, about a month later. This is much more difficult than people realize, especially when the gods drop the sort of verbal bomb we got with this year’s oracle.
This is the first year that the Lady Herself has claimed the year, instead of just giving it Her blessing, since we started soliciting the annual Oracle a decade or more ago. That’s something special. It is also something frustrating, as Aset has a habit of speaking in riddles. This year’s oracle is no exception.
It’s possible to read it as quite negative, and in fact, many of us did when we first went through it. It’s also possible to read it as very positive: essentially, She’s saying that anything goes this year, that whatever we put ourselves to with heka (the ancient Egyptian word for “speaking with authority” generally translated as “magic” in modern English). In further discussion, the conclusion we came to is that it will be a year of heka, a year where our words will come back to bless us — or to haunt us — depending on how we use them. No year with Aset-Great-of-Magic over it, Aset-Clever-of-Speech, will be a simple year. And no year of Hers should be wasted.
Right after we received the oracle, I went to New York to be the keynote speaker at the inaugural Polytheist Leadership Conference. I spoke about organization, in a literal sense: how to start, and how to maintain, a polytheist organization in the modern world. More than two decades of succeeding (and failing!) at that in my own life have given me plenty to talk about on the subject, so I had much to say. If you want to read the transcript, you can read it, and see the slideshow, here:
My experience at the PLC was eye-opening, and anything but simple. It was also, as the Oracle promised, not what I thought it would be. I came home filled with ideas, and with hope. I met with people I knew, and those I didn’t know: allies, friends, strangers, even people who for whatever reason don’t approve of what I do. Yet we all managed to treat each other with dignity and respect, and made plans for continuing to do so in the future. It was a zep-tepi, in a year seemingly designed for them.
Zep-tepi is a Kemetic phrase meaning “the first occasion” or “the (very) first time.” It can be used to describe Zep-Tepi, the Very First Time: that is to say, the creation of all things. It is used as a euphemism for every sunrise: a new day, a new chance, and a new beginning. Zep-tepi is the beginning, the moment when a thing comes into being. It is a very delicate time, the most important time, and best of all, it’s constantly recurring. Every moment is its own zep-tepi. Even this one. Or that one just gone by. Or the one about to occur as you read this sentence — each one a starting point for some destination, known or unknown.
Today I offer a zep-tepi of my own, to the polytheist community. I will be moving my religious blog from its old website here, to enjoy the company and the encouragement of a wider community, one I walked away from many years ago thinking I’d never want, or need, to return. Back then, I didn’t think there would still be a community left to come back to, and in some ways, there is not. The people coming together now are not all of the same people, whether they stayed or left, two decades ago. Those of us who were there are older now: maybe wiser, certainly more experienced. Today we have the benefit of a new generation of fresh minds, eager hands, and hopeful perspectives.
Together I hope that we will be able to forge a more permanent legacy as polytheists: one that honors our ancestors and the gods and spirits they knew. I hope that our zep-tepi grows and creates more, spreading throughout the world.
It won’t be simple. And it won’t be what we expect at all, most likely. But it will be whatever we make of it. Let’s get down to business, shall we?