Kemetism obelisk (Photo by Wikimedia Commons).

In recent years, people have been looking back to beliefs of the past to make sense of our modern lives. Several ancient belief systems have returned to popularity, including an Egyptian religion known as Kemetism.

The basics of Kemetism

The name “Kemetism” comes from the old word for Egypt itself: Kemet. Practitioners of Kemetism consider themselves to be following the religious beliefs and the rituals of ancient Egypt. While historians are still struggling to understand the complexities of Egyptian beliefs, followers of Kemetism forge ahead with what they know and believe.

At the core of Kemetism is the belief in “ma’at.” Ma’at is the principle of divine balance as well as a guiding force for the entire universe. Another core belief is in the existence of a single supreme being: Netjer. The different gods represented in Egyptian mythology are all considered to be different manifestations of Netjer, each with their own name.

Other Kemetic beliefs

There are many Kemetic beliefs which are not agreed upon by every practitioner, however. One of the biggest discussions is whether Kemetism is a monotheistic (worshiping one god) or polytheistic (worshiping many gods) religion. This is due to the nature of Netjer and its many different manifestations.

Many kemetics also practice the veneration of their ancestors. These individuals have a shrine to their ancestors, known as an “akhu,” in their home and will pray to them for guidance.

Modern resurrection of Kemetism

The revival of Kemetism in the modern day can be traced back to the 1970s. It began a comeback alongside several other forms of neo-paganism. By the late 1980s, Kemetism had become popular enough for large groups of believers to organize, create institutions and found a few different branches.

One early Kemetic leader, Tamara L.Siuda, was especially influential and greatly responsible for the rise in popularity. Siuda founded Kemetic Orthodoxy in 1989 and attracted followers so quickly that the religion was federally recognized in 1994.