Articles by Rev. Tamara L. Siuda

Rev. Tamara L. Siuda

Tamara L. Siuda is a professional Egyptologist and the founder and spiritual leader (Nisut) of the Kemetic Orthodox Religion, a modern form of ancient Egyptian religion. She has written books and numerous academic papers about Egypt, has been featured on a History channel documentary, and recently attended the Polytheist Leadership Conference in New York as keynote speaker. She has more than 20 years of experience as a teacher, published author, and lecturer on Egyptian religion.

Year 24 Oracle of Aset

I am Aset the Great, Mother of God, Great of Heka. I am Aset the Widow, She Who Mourns, She of the Throne. I hear your prayers. I hear the prayers of the people. I tend to your needs. The year is new. The year is old. The year has come to be as one. To stand up together as one. To speak out. To be heard. To be who you are and what you have become. The time is now. The year is now.

Do not hesitate. Be bold. Walk the path of your own choosing. This is the year of My Son, My Uncle, My Brother, My Father. This is the year of divine power (literally, “of Netjer”). Do not look away. I place My Son Who Avenges His Father upon His throne, for the First Time, for every time, for all time. I place My Son Who Speaks for the Two Lands on Her throne, to fulfill Her promise and bring your renewal. The royal promise is re-established. In its renewal you go forth shining in peace. King and Great King, together, shine in glory and protect you.

Gates and mountains are among you. They surround you. They embrace you. One opens the gate, and the other leads you through it. One royal son leaves, and two appear. There is lightness in darkness and darkness in lightness. There is no difference. There is light in the dawn, but it cannot come before twilight and the battle that follows. There is comfort after loss, depth after scarcity. There is love. There is always love.

Do you not understand how much you are loved? Creation was born of love. Creation is the love of the creators for the created. This love is in your being. This love will never leave you. This love must be protected at all costs. This love is the best of you. This love is your birthright and your promise. See to it that love continues. It is left to you to tend this work. We cannot do it for you alone. You too must serve.

It is not done. It is not lost. It is not gone. Look to the horizon. It has merely been forgotten in some places and left behind by others. Do not despair. Love is what we offer you and love is what you need. There is love in the light of the dawn and in the firing of every star. There is love in the sky and the sea and the tomb. There is love everlasting. Seek it with both hands open to receive. It is your gift in this year of light, this year of delight.

It is time for love.

Do not hold your hands tightly against your hearts. Do not use your hands to guard yourselves. Move your hand away and accept those around you. Accept them, accept their pain, and they will accept yours. Open yourselves, open your hearts, and accept the help that others will give. None of you are alone.

Turning your back when others come to help will close your hearts. Being silent closes them. When the back is turned, do not be surprised when others speak. Do not be surprised when doors close, and do not be surprised at the damage this can cause. Do not be surprised at the effort to re-open them.

You are cleansed in the waters. Now, you must stay clean. Take what you need of Our waters, cleanse yourselves, cleanse the creation. Your purity is the purity of the great Name of Creation. You are the children of light and delight, of the Guardian Princes. As children they come to bring you joy and remind you of the innocence you think you have lost, but have only forgotten to remember. Do not forget.

The Music Belongs

Once, long ago, in the Black Land, lived a man named Ptahhotep. Ptahhotep had three fine sons, one of whom he hoped would succeed him in his position of Overseer of the Singers of the God in the temple of Ptah in Mennefer, city of the White Wall. Ptahhotep’s family had served the great god as overseers for tens of generations. There had never been a time when Ptah’s temple music had not been part of family life.

From an early age, Ptahhotep taught his sons to respect the instruments of his trade, and especially the drums used to announce the god’s presence on feast days. As Ptahhotep watched his sons grow, he began to despair that any would be inclined to the family legacy. In the hope that he might inspire them to continue the tradition, Ptahhotep decided that upon his death, he would leave each son a drum from the temple storehouse.

In time, Ptahhotep’s ka went to the horizon with the blessed spirits of his ancestors. And just as it had been provided for, on the day of Ptahhotep’s funeral, priests from Ptah’s temple presented each of Ptahhotep’s sons — Ankhmaat, Shai, and Nebnefer — with a sacred drum. The priests solemnly explained the drums’ purpose and their father’s final wish, then left the house and headed back to the temple.

Nebnefer, the youngest son, scooped up his drum and headed for the roof, so he could examine it more closely in the sunlight. After turning the drum over and over and looking at it from all angles, he was disappointed. The drum was old: worn in places by loving hands, painted but flaking, and its sound, while rich, spoke of years of use. Nebnefer immediately decided this silly old drum wasn’t going to be good enough, if he was going to play it. So he descended the house stairs and made for Ptahhotep’s workshop, where he picked up paints, pieces of wood and leather, and set to work.

After a few hours, Nebnefer proudly appraised his gift. In truth, it was difficult to tell that it was the same drum the priests had given him. It was shiny. All the parts of the drum one played were new, and Nebnefer had even replaced the lacings on the outside for carrying. Who needed beadwork, anyway, when there were colorful cords, like those he’d seen Nubians use on drums in the marketplace? Excited, Nebnefer centered his drum on his lap and began to pound.

Not much sound came out. For some reason, the drum seemed to have lost most of its voice. Nebnefer tightened the skin and made some modifications to the cords, but he couldn’t seem to achieve the same rich sound the drum had made as he’d carried it away from the funeral priests. Nebnefer was just about to throw his drum away and start constructing a completely new one when he heard interesting music coming from outside.

Shai, the middle son of Ptahhotep’s family, marched into the workshop with a proud grin, banging happily on his own drum. He glanced over at Nebnefer sitting quietly in the window and stopped. “What’s wrong, Neb?” Shai asked, raising an eyebrow as he took in the garish shell of the drum sitting silent in his brother’s lap.

Nebnefer shook his head, determined not to be outdone by his sibling once again. “Nothing at all, actually. I was deciding what else I should do to my drum. Isn’t it beautiful?”

Shai smirked. “What did you do? That doesn’t even look like a drum anymore.”

Nebnefer refused to be baited. “Sure it does! I painted it and replaced the old parts with new things from Father’s workshop,” he began. “It’s better now. It’s got Nubian lacing, and I painted it the colors Mother’s pots are, the ones from Keftiu — that blue is really popular. See?” Nebnefer tapped the drum head, and a sound unlike anything Shai had ever heard came out. “It even sounds like new. Isn’t it great?”

“Shame on you,” Shai admonished. “Father left us a wonderful gift and you took it apart and messed it up—”

“Father left me a piece of junk. It’s my responsibility to the god to make sure whatever He gets is the freshest and newest,” Nebnefer said. “If I were the god, I wouldn’t want to listen to the same old drum the same way for thousands of years! I’d be bored.”

“How do you know what the god wants and doesn’t want?” Shai shot back. “How do you know He’d be bored?”

“How do you?” snapped Nebnefer. “Is your drum that much better?”

“Of course it is,” Shai said proudly. “I asked the priests about our drums’ history. These drums have been in our family —our family alone — since they were made, by one of our ancestors,” Shai declared, running a protective hand across the top of the drum he held. “This drum is mine. It’s mine because my family made it, and I’m not going to let anyone else touch it as long as I live, unless they’re worthy.”

Nebnefer looked at Shai’s drum in a new light. “Can I play it?” he asked, reaching out.

“No,” Shai replied, pulling his drum away from Nebnefer’s inquisitive fingers. “I’m tired of being second in everything, so I’ve decided only second sons can play my drum,” Shai explained. “I’ll wait until my second son is born so I can teach him, and he’ll teach his second son, and….”

“That’s stupid,” Nebnefer interrupted. “What if you don’t have a first son, let alone a second son? What if it takes a long time, or you die first?”

“It is not stupid,” Shai argued. “I will make sure I have at least two sons. And my second son will keep my drum safe. Second sons are the only ones who should play drums, anyway. Your mess of a drum proves that.”

The discussion between the brothers degenerated into a vicious argument. They were nearly to blows over whose drum was superior, when suddenly, both stopped. Outside, carried on the balmy summer wind, came a soft and lovely music, being played on a single drum.

“What is that?” Nebnefer cried.

“Where is that music coming from?” Shai echoed. At once, both Shai and Nebnefer rushed out from the workshop door in search of the beautiful sound.

A little further down the path from the workshop, under one of the many trees in the family courtyard’s garden, their older brother Ankhmaat sat, with the third temple drum set lightly between his knees. A crowd had gathered: priests, family members, neighbors, and even strangers. Some knew how to play drums, others knew little or nothing of music at all, and still others had never even heard a drum, but had been walking by the house and felt compelled to stop and listen.

Shai and Nebnefer took a seat and watched as Ankhmaat shared his drum with everyone in the courtyard, passing it around until everyone had played a rhythm or two. While every pair of hands touching Ankhmaat’s drum created slightly different music, there was no doubt that the instrument they all held was a true instrument of the god: one of Ptah’s sacred drums, from Ptahhotep’s family tradition.

At dusk, the group broke up and left the three brothers to sit alone in a circle, their drums at their feet. Nebnefer and Shai could not take their eyes off their older brother’s drum, wondering what magic he had conjured that all of the village seemed caught up in it. Finally, Nebnefer spoke up, rubbing the side of Ankhmaat’s drum thoughtfully.

“How is it, brother, that your drum sounds more wonderful than mine, and you have drawn more of a crowd than Shai?” he asked. “Well, I know why Shai didn’t draw a crowd,” he added as an afterthought. “He has this silly idea that only second sons are allowed to play drums—”

“How about you, and your plan to change the drum into something else so it will be better?” said Shai, starting the argument afresh. “How can a drum be made to be anything more than a drum? As if it will even make music, now that you took all the pieces apart and—”

Ankhmaat began to laugh aloud.

“What’s so funny?” Shai snarled.

“Tell us,” Nebnefer agreed, glaring at Shai.

“You’ve both forgotten,” Ankhmaat began, tapping the drum at his feet, “that this is not just a musical instrument. It belongs to the god and is holy. And maybe even more important than its sacredness, it is more than a drum.”

At Shai and Nebnefer’s bewildered looks, Ankhmaat continued. “The music this drum makes is the legacy of our family and the history of our people. And more than just our family, or me, or either of you, it is a symbol of the god and the country our god calls home. It’s more than just an object. It is a being. You have to treat your drum with respect. Locking your drum up in a storehouse, until someone worthy enough comes to play it, silences its voice.” He glanced meaningfully at Shai and then looked to Nebnefer.

“But so will too new paint and flashy ornaments, if you replace too many of the original pieces of its body. A drum is what it is because it was made that way. But it remains that way only as long as you let it.”

Shai looked down at his drum. “So, I should share my drum with everyone?” he said.

Ankhmaat nodded. “The drum’s music doesn’t belong to either of us,” Ankhmaat reminded him. “It belongs to the gods, and to all Their children, no matter who they are.”

Nebnefer could not be consoled. “I thought I had a good drum by making it mine, but even with these new pieces, it cannot compare with yours, Ankhmaat,” he sobbed. “This is a nice drum, but it’s not the drum my father left me. What will I do?”

Ankhmaat smiled. “We can build another, like this one,” he offered, holding out his drum. “Come, Nebnefer, I will help. Shai, I will help you find people to play your music with. And the three of us shall make a family of drums to keep the gods’ music alive.”

And there were stars: How a time out turned into the nighttime sky

Have you ever been angry with other people?

I’m not talking about being annoyed with one or two particular people, or general frustration. I’m talking about the kind of seething, frothing misanthropy that makes you furious at the human race in general, the kind of rage and disgust that makes you think, “If I never see another human being again, I could live with that.” This is the kind of all-consuming anger that makes you sick of trying to get along with anybody, that has you cursing everything and everybody and just wanting to be left alone.

This is how angry Ra was with human beings, according to the myth where Sekhmet was born. In His rage – and mind you, as far as the myth goes, He was right to be angry – He sent Hethert down as the Lioness of the Blood Red Garments and told Her to chew up evil. Then She got carried away, and started chewing up everybody, not just the evil ones. Her rage was “pleasant to her heart,” and She would not stop.

So Ra came up with a clever ruse with the help of a small army of priestesses and a large quantity of beer and hematite powder. Transformed into a lake of “blood,” this red-tinted beer was poured out alongside the town where Sekhmet had gone a’slaughtering, and once She found it, She drank it. And once She drank it, She fell asleep. End of angry lion, end of destruction, end of story.

Or was it?

The story of the Destruction of Mankind is only the first half of the Book of the Celestial Cow, inscribed on the funerary shrines of Tutankhamun, the walls of Seti I’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and alluded to in some other source material. There’s far more to this story once the Lady comes home, once She has transformed from raging feline to joyful bovine. Traditionally, this story gets translated is several different ways. Some of them mimic the other Near Eastern mythologies of a time when a deity got angry at humans and it all ended in some sort of a flood.

This story is different, and not only because the flood is beer and it saves people instead of killing them. In this story, the deity (in this case, Ra) isn’t withdrawing because mankind is evil and doesn’t deserve to live, or because mankind is not perfect enough for the gods to live among.

The reason that Ra withdraws is because He’s still angry, but NOT at humans. If He was, why did He try to call Sekhmet off, and then why would He find a way to stop Her from destroying them all?

Ra’s withdrawal comes after His anger turns inward: at Himself, rather than at the humans who angered Him. Like the process of coming down from our own blind rages, Ra goes through the stomach-churning of guilt – people are dead for the very first time! He also realizes that as long as He lives among mankind, They will not be safe from the consequences of His rage.

Sekhmet as Ra’s Eye embodies His power, and the myth indicates that She cannot be stopped once unleashed. So, to keep creation safe, Ra realizes He must put some distance between Himself and His creations. He must withdraw, not to damn mankind….but to save it.

The Eye, Who has become a cow again, called mehet-weret or “great of the flood” to remind Ra (and the reader) exactly what it took to make Her this way again….lets Ra climb on to Her back, and Ra withdraws. He punishes Himself by separating Himself, by permitting Himself to be distant, so that humans and everything else on earth has a chance to live without having to worry about divine retribution lurking around every corner.

He trusts us to not screw it up, and He climbs to the sky.

Several times, the Cow stops, being afraid of the height. This is new territory for Her, too. Maybe She wondered why Ra was leaving, or maybe She hoped He’d change His mind. In any case, each time She stops, Ra encourages Her to keep climbing, up and up and up and up. Eventually She is up so high that She can’t stand without help, so Ra calls the sons of Shu, the “pillars of the sky” and the four winds, to steady Her legs so She can stand without falling, and the two of them find themselves alone at the top of the sky.

Ra looks down. He can still see everything He created, but He knows that from up here, His vengeance is unlikely to find its way back down without intent – and with plenty of time to stop it, if it’s not headed to the right place.

For Her part, the Cow is lonely. Where She was, there were people and gods and things to do, and now She’s up here in the middle of nowhere with Ra, barely able to stand. And Ra notes Her difficulty, and tells Her that She should think of all the good people and creations that She can….

The next line of the text reads, in the original, “and there were stars.”

In Kemetic thought, the stars are symbols of the justified, blessed dead. As this is also the myth where death originates, as a result of defying Ra…these stars are the souls of the people She killed. They represent Her first victims – and Ra’s first consequences.

In creating the Celestial Cow, Ra has both made sure that She will never be lonely – and righted the wrong of killing people in the first place, by making sure that they can have another life after the lives they lost, and another chance at redemption.

From rage to guilt to redemption, the story turns. From cow to lion to starry sky, the Eye turns, and Ra shines in the sky as a reminder that He is always watching, even from the height.

(That’s some deep thought for a quiet “moo-mas” evening. If you’d prefer something more playful, I wrote a humorous version of the myth in 2009 that you’re welcome to peruse. Tonight, however, I look at the stars, and I see the concrete manifestation of a promise of gods Who are willing to take a time out rather than smite me, and I think about my own relationship with anger and its consequences.)

This article originally appeared at NISUT.ORG on December 25, 2013, and is reproduced here at with the author’s permission.

Year 23 Oracle of Aset, spoken at Aset Luminous, July 2015

Arise; you have been awakened. Arise; you have been prepared.

You have passed the place of judgment. You have passed the place of ignorance.
You have passed.

The flood rises. The sun rises. A year passes, and a new year is born.

The throne is established. Your foundation is established. This is as I provided for it to be. Do not lament your building, nor long for the joy of that building. That year is not now. That year is placed at the foot of the throne, under the feet of He Who is crowned with the flood and the sun.

His Majesty, Himself, uniter and avenger, shines from the Two Crowns.
His Majesty, Herself, defender and helper, shines from the Two Crowns.
I, Aset, Great of Heka, Mother of God, have established My Son upon His Throne.
His Majesty Who places Ma’at on Her Throne, is placed once more on His throne.
Heru of the Living; Heru, Avenger of His Father;
Heru, the son of Wesir and Aset.

After disorder, there is order. After sadness, there is joy. After violence, there is peace. After work, there is rest. After the year of beginning, there is the year of continuing what you have begun. My Son offers strength and power to those who accept the task.

Zep Tepi sits on the foundation of what was built before. It attains its place in Ma’at, guided by Two Crowns. Strength and power are yours, but you must be worthy of them both. Be worthy, and be given His protection. Dare you attain that which is permitted for you to attain? Or will you sit in your fear and let it pass you? Dare you speak Ma’at where it is needed? Or will you close your mouth and make Her wait?

I say to you that this is the year where you need to be strong, not only for yourselves, but also for those who cannot be strong. Your strength is not only for yourselves. Your weakness is everyone’s weakness. Will you be strong together or will you be weak together? Will you lift each other up or push each other aside? My Son comes with Zep Tepi. He comes to bring you strength and to bring you help, but you will have to use these gifts for them to have any worth at all.

May you use your gifts wisely.

Reconstruction, Revival, and Styrofoam Cake Syndrome

Back before I became Nisut, when I was mostly teaching people Kemetic religion face to face, I experimented with taking some students via a combination of mail correspondence and occasional telephone calls. This was before we had video chats and reliable email and a permanent streaming Internet, and it worked fairly well despite sounding like the slowest thing ever to our modern tech minds.

I had a student who came to me from a personal practice of Kemetic religion, one we’d probably label now as “Kemetic reconstructionism.” He was serious about making sure that his religion matched the ancient religion as closely as possible, down to teaching himself how to cook ancient foods, create his own ritual clothing out of the proper kind of linen, and teaching himself the ancient language as best he could. He was intelligent and very well educated, eager to know everything and sincere in his practice. He worked very hard at getting his rituals just so, from the proper timing to the proper gestures and offerings. I had a great deal of respect for the amount of effort he put into the craft of his religion, even if I did not always agree with his methods, or think that the gods would punish him if he used six figs for his Sweet-is-the-Truth offering instead of seven, because one fell on the floor when he was moving the platter into the shrine room.

For years, I simply indulged his obsession with “getting it right,” offering him academic sources to find out more about the fuzzy areas he wasn’t sure about, divining when he felt that something wasn’t correct and needed correcting, or reassuring him that his best efforts really were not ruined by one tiny mistake. During our time together, my own practice took on more of a form, from being strictly devotional to growing into its own temple and its own, living form of that ancient religion he wanted to reconstruct. At some point, I introduced the Rite of the Senut, the central daily ritual that every member of the Kemetic Orthodoxy shares in, and I remember him being very excited about it. He couldn’t wait to try it out, and several of our phone calls were involved with his describing to me how he’d tracked down the proper sort of libation jar, and how he was working on the proper sorts of offerings to match up with the sources I’d provided for the ancient part of the rite. He understood that Senut wasn’t entirely ancient, but for his part, he wanted to make sure the ancient part was “authentic,” so he was putting much effort into getting it all into place before he would try Senut for the first time.

We went back and forth over offering bread. I mentioned that the standard daily offering loaf was either a small, unleavened loaf like a modern lavash or pita, or a cone-like cake baked in a terra-cotta pot. He researched everything he could get his hands on about ancient breads, trying out various recipes, but ultimately being upset that he couldn’t re-create the shape of a particular loaf of bread he’d seen depicted in a tomb painting. I provided the archaeological context and even showed him how he could make a terra-cotta bread mold to duplicate THAT loaf of bread, if it was that important to him. I pointed out that there are modern cookies and biscuits that have the exact same shapes, if he was worried about his baking skills. Nothing seemed to satisfy.

One day I got a message from him asking if he could call. The conversation went something like this:

“You won’t believe what happened! I got the bread right and I did the Senut! But I have a question.”

“Congratulations! I’m really glad. I know you’ve been working at it for a long time. What’s the question?”

“Remember how I was having trouble with the bread loaf?”


“Well, I was at Michael’s looking for some paint so I could retouch the hieroglyphs on the offering table, and I noticed that in the floral section, they had these styrofoam cones that were exactly the same shape and size as the bread loaf in the Petosiris painting….so I bought one and painted it so it looks just like the loaf there, and I used it in my offering! But now I don’t know what to do with it now that I offered it.”

“You eat it.”


“It’s an offering loaf. The bread is an offering of life to the gods, and once it’s reverted to you, then you eat it.”

“But I can’t eat it! It’s made out of styrofoam!”

I tell this story as a funny anecdote, but it illustrates something very important at the heart of Kemetic “reconstructionism,” or any reconstructionism or revival or whatever you want to label a modern polytheism based on an ancient one. There’s an important difference between what an ancient polytheism does — or how one acts in that religion — and why one acts in that way. Is the importance of the offering bread that it is shaped or colored a certain way, or offered on a certain kind of plate, or made with a certain kind or number of ingredients? Or is it important because it’s bread? Or is it simply that the gods are given a food item?

The Shinto poet Matsuo Basho, who also lived during a period of thoughtful, intense polytheist reconstructionism, wrote: “Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old. Seek what they sought.” When I came to my work with Kemetic Orthodoxy, despite that Basho never worshipped the same gods that I do, I took his advice to heart, and it has remained with me since. It is just as important to know the how of one’s polytheism, as it is to know the why. Rituals are important to us as polytheists, often to the exclusion of creed or belief, whether we are the polytheists of today or five thousand years ago. Going through the motions of a ritual with neither a purpose nor an understanding of the meanings of those motions is pointless. Especially for post-Enlightenment polytheists, for whom the cult of Reason has been given its own, large altar by the secular world we also live within, the idea of doing rituals just to make them look like someone else’s rituals is absurd. If we do not believe in commandment or creed, why should we then demand such requirements of the way our polytheistic practices are done? We must be wary not to replace the gospels of the “book religions” with new gospels by archaeologists, ethnographers, ancient writers, or even the paintings of bread in a tomb. If we are to succeed at living religion, we must live it, not merely copy it from a model.

Even the psychological and other benefits of making our rituals to resemble those of the religions from which they are derived must be balanced against their purposes and intentions. Our offerings need to be offerings, not pictures (or styrofoam models!) of offerings, if they are to be offerings and not simulacra. For as serious as we take ourselves, we need to be careful to avoid false equation, or only a surface rendering, of the important subjects of cultic practice we seek to study or to engage in. Knowing the why of our religion just as well as the what of it becomes a crucial balance, and the way in which we breathe life into our practices. It is how we create living religion instead of spiritual theatre, and how we approach the real gods who exist outside our minds in an equally real way.


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.

(Click here to read it for yourself.)

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?