Obviously, it is impossible here to describe every Egyptian Recon’s belief, for not only are there hundreds of gods and cults, but simply because 100% “pure” reconstructionism is possible, and so everything comes down to degree. That is before we even begin to delve into such areas as the value of personal religious experiences verses academic research and so on. Therefore, here I shall discuss only my beliefs, and hope to answer a few general questions about the religion.

What is Reconstructionism?

Egyptian Reconstructionism (Egyptian Recon), sometimes called Kemetic Reconstructionism or Kemetic Revivalism, is an attempt to reconstruct the religious beliefs and practices of Ancient Egypt. Within this there is wide variation relating to both the depth and breadth of such an undertaking, but at the heart of all such efforts is the aim to revive worship of the Gods of Egypt, and the beliefs, principles and rituals associated with that worship.

How Do you Do That?

Primarily though the study of the literary legacy of Pharaonic culture. Many key mythological texts survive, providing much detail of the core mythology of the religion. Whilst these also provide insight into the ethical or social dimensions of such beliefs, for these matters we can also make use of “secular” texts, the “wisdom” or “instruction” texts that the Egyptians were very fond of. In addition to this, details of rituals can also be obtained by examining decorative wall carvings in temples, which often illustrates rituals of festivals performed at the temple in question.

However, this does still leave sizeable gaps in our knowledge, particularly with regards to private religion, which was very different to that of the state, and about which not a great deal is known. The gaps are often filled in by either taking the missing material from the nearest available time period (i.e. using Middle Kingdom sources to fill in blanks on Old Kingdom practices), or by using a process of estimation as to the nature of a given issue by examining similar or related issues and using a process of deduction – which is a nice way of saying we bascially have to make an educated guess based on what we know from elsewhere.

There is, of course, also the role of personal religious experience, which can throw up something completely new. How much people rely on this varies. I personally make limited use of it, as my worship is highly formalised, and also is state-cult centric, which has far more surviving detail than personal religion. Others with more flexible relationships with the divine, personal experience can be very useful and important, especially when working with personal religion.

So You Worship All the Gods of Egypt?

I recognise all the gods of Egypt, but I specifically follow the Heliopolitan theological school and the Royal cults.  My “patron” gods, (i.e. the focus of my worship) are Ra and Ahmose I, whom I worship formally in the nature of a state cult. To a lesser degree, Horus, Ramesses II, Seshat and Neferirkara Kakai are also part of my personal (informal) worship.

What is the Heliopolitan Theology?

The Heliopolitan theology is the mythology and theological worldview of the solar cult centre of Heliopolis (ancient Iunu, north-east Cairo), centred around the three manifestations of Ra as Ra, Atum and Khepri, as supreme god of the Heliopolitan ennead (“family of gods”).

Egyptian religion was not monolithic, and the religion contained a number of theological schools, each with it’s own teachings and perspectives on the cosmos, or more accurately their own twists on shared themes, for they varied in details rather than broad theological concepts.  The main schools of thought were the Heliopolitan, solar orientated and centred around Ra, Theban, centred around Amun as the mystery/unseen creator,  influenced by Heliopolitan thought in the New Kingdom, and the Memphite, centred around Ptah. Numerous others existed, of which the Hermopolitan (Thoth and the primordial Eight Gods) is particularly interesting.

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