Divine Family is the phrase I use to refer to the Netjer that were divined as those that had a part in creating my ba and my ka. They are divined through a process called the Ritual of Parent Divination, or RPD.
What exactly is an RPD and why do you do it?
(please keep in mind that the following information is the RPD as I understand and believe it – aka my perception of it – and any questions you may have would be best directed to the RPD FAQ Forums )
This rite is specific and unique to the Kemetic Orthodox faith, and was created by Tamara L. Suida under the guidance of Netjer. I have seen and heard many people who are practicing Kemetics question this rite and it’s validity because it is not based on any process from antiquity. This is true, as I already stated, this rite was created by Tamara L. Suida. In addition to this, Kemetic Orthodox is not meant to be a carbon-copy of the practices from ancient times, nor has it ever claimed to be such. It is a reconstruction of the practices as Tamara has studied them.
Quotes from Tamara that can be found on the House of Netjer forums:
We instituted the practice of rootnaming our babies, as was done in antiquity. Then, I mentioned to Sekhmet in a Saq that we had a substantial number of people who were *not* babies who were in the faith, who needed some rite of passage to feel they were included yet the idea of rootnaming them didn’t make sense since they weren’t children and it was obvious that different gods than their root-gods were calling them to service.
Sekhmet said, and I still remember this line very, very clearly:
“Even the older ones have to be born into the nation. And to do that, they have to have Parents.”
So, I said to the gods (Sekhmet in particular was big on this process), “what about people who aren’t children?”
She was adamant: “They still have to be born. And in order for that to happen, they have to have parents, parents that choose them, not the other way around.”
Rite of Parent Divination is not just a ritual of divination. It is an initiation, a magical ceremony that creates a physical and spiritual relationship between the child, the Parents and the culture, just as formal rites of passage of any culture do.
And thus the birth of the RPD.
One of the things to keep in mind is that you absolutely DO NOT have to undergo this rite to be a part of the Kemetic world, or even part of the Kemetic Orthodox. The rite is completely a personal choice, and you should only do it if you truly accept the concepts involved. Not taking part does not make your beliefs wrong. It doesn’t mean your relationships with your gods are any less than someone who has undergone the rite. If you choose to be a part of the Kemetic Orthodox, but do not want to take part in this Ritual, that is perfectly acceptable. You are still one of us, still family.
Another common concern with the RPD is that you might not have gods that you are already close to show up in your line-up. It’s true, it happens. I myself would say that I enjoy a strong relationship with Nut, but She is neither my Parent nor a Beloved. Does that mean I can’t still talk to Her, or have a relationship with Her? Not at all. I know of some people who have Beloveds that they just aren’t close to at all. It happens. Parents and Beloveds are the gods that helped create our souls, and our personalities. The strength of our relationships with Them depends on us! They will always be a part of our lives, but it is up to us to choose to accept Them and honor Them as such. Choosing to become a Shemsu in the Kemetic Orthodox means that we accept our divined Family and vow to honor Them first and foremost above other Kemetic gods. This does not mean “only.” In fact, it shouldn’t mean only. Netjer deserves our respect and attention, no matter what god. I like to think of my Family as my patron gods.
How are the Netjer divined?
Tamara does not just sit at a shrine and ask what gods are in our Families. The process is geomantic, and uses shells that fall in patterns on a tray. The patterns were marked years ago, and the way they fall has a meaning that has been the same since the inception of the rite. The system has specific and unchanging meanings. In addition to this, each throw has to have a confirming throw, meaning that if she does not get the same answer twice, she must start over. With literally thousands of possible combinations, and needing it to land twice, it is impossible for her to force a specific answer. She does not choose for us, and we do not choose for ourselves. To undergo the Ritual of Parent Divination is to have Them (Netjer) choose us.
Okay, so Who did you get?!
On March 10th, 2012, 10pm EST I underwent my Ritual of Parent Divination. I have been divined as a daughter of Khepera, god of the rising sun. I am also beloved of Djehuty, god of wisdom, and Serqet-Aset, goddess of protection.
The first and most common question that I’ve been asked since being divined is did you expect any of Them? The short answer is kind of (not very specific, right?).
Did I expect Khepera? Not Him specifically. I have always felt drawn to the sun, and it has always been something in my life that makes every day better, brighter, happier, even when I’m feeling incredibly depressed. When sitting around and discussing the idea of Parents with my own earthly mom, and asking her what gods she thought could possibly be in my Family, her response was well, I don’t know a lot about the specific gods or Their names, but I would bet you have a sun god in there somewhere! I thought it pretty crazy that she and I both had the same thought. My first guess at which particular manifestation of a sun god was Ra, but I would say that’s likely because He is the one that I am most familiar with.
In hindsight I probably should have guessed Khepera all along, and that He has been trying to let me know that He’s been around and I just didn’t pay attention. When I first started to read about Kemetic Orthodox and planned to take the Beginner’s classes, I went on this random search for a scarab necklace, determined to have one to wear while I began this path. My logical reason was because I had read that it was an amulet that symbolized a beginning student. I was gifted one by Meket, the woman who brought me here. When I put together my shrine I had wanted it to be as neutral as possible so that I could be open to Netjer and Anyone who wanted to talk to me. I added a hand carved scarab that I own, just because it felt right, and now I know why. During my first Senut, the necklace that I mentioned was highly coveted, and I ended up making an offering of it. It now sits on my shrine, wrapped around the statue I use to symbolize Ma’at.
Djehuty I would say that I expected. I feel He is around me often, especially when I’ve been more devoted to my writing. I often see ibis around my house, and near places that I frequent. I’m definitely the sort who wishes to continually acquire knowledge, and I enjoy written records, whether it be of my own hand, or someone else’s. It makes perfect sense to me that He has had a part in creating my ka.
Serqet-Aset I can say that while I didn’t really expect Her to be in my line-up, I did hope to see Her. From my readings, She is a protector, especially of children. As a child who grew up in an abusive home, this protection means a lot to me. In dark moments, I’m likely to say that no one ever protected me, that I was always a victim. But I know this to be untrue, and there are many moments in my life where things could have been much worse, and they weren’t. I like to think that She is the One who gives me the strength to continue moving forward, to move beyond just being a victim, and to being a survivor. In addition to this, she is Meket’s Mom, and I’ve spent the last few months hearing wonderful stories about Her, and Meket’s experiences with Her. The one thing I could really say that might have made me think that She could never be part of my Family is that She is symbolized with spiders and scorpions and I am just NOT a spider person.
All in all I would say that while I have some fears about interacting with my Family, I don’t think I could have a better line-up. Dua Netjer!
I am currently a Remetj of the Kemetic Orthodox faith, working towards becoming a Shemsu. My next step is what is known as the Ritual of Parent Divination, where my Divine Family will be revealed to me. When I have completed this rite of passage, this page will list my Family members, and will eventually contain links to separate pages for each of Them. Accurate as of March 9th, 2012.