This is basically a try to write down and structurize my thoughts on a matter I have been trying to figure out for quite some time. So if I appear kind of confused I would like to apologize in advance. I have been asking myself over and over again if being an aspie AND kemetic is somehow connected. Firstly I know quite a few aspies who are also Kemetic and secondly there are many things about the Kemetic practice that seem to fit the way my brain functions.
One thing that definitely suits my mental structure are rituals. I am not overly good at praying my thoughts are basically a complete mess and if you want to get a clue of what it is like to have my brain try to have 200 tabs on your PC open jumping from one to another constantly. I am kind of dependant on repetitive actions and daily rituals to feel some structure in my daily life. When I get up in the morning one of the first things I do is my offering ritual.
- I wash myself to make sure I am clean to touch the shrines
- I take the offering bowls and cups from the day before put the contents into another bowl for later use (because I do not waste any offerings)
- I fill the offering bowls anew both for the multi-deity shrine and the Sutekh shrine and a little bowl of water for the multi-deity shrine.
- I place the offerings into Sutekh’s shrine and then I move on to the big shrine and place my offerings onto the offering plate and the little water bowl in front of my little Anuket figurine.
Sometimes I make mistakes. I change the order or I realize that I have placed the water on the offering plate instead of in front of the Anuket figurine. Or sometimes I catch myself not serving Sutekh first. When this happens I usually know that I have to take it slowly this day and that I am less concentrated for whatsoever reason. If everything goes smoothly I can leave the house with a pretty safe feeling. Whenever I forget any of those ritual steps which can occasionally happen I need to repeat them the same day or sometimes I even ask someone who has access to my house to do it for me. Because it needs to be done! This is how I feel about it. You may call it devotion or even compulsion it really doesn’t make any difference to me. I need it, it makes me feel save and it gives my inner mess some structure and I feel the duty to do this for the gods.
I think the main part of my kemetic practise is being a terrible nerd. Reading books, articles, scholarly blogs and racking my brain on Ancient Egyptian history is probably 80% of what I am doing every day even if it is just a background noise somewhere in the back of my brain. I am so hooked on reading and learning about history (among other things) that I feel extremely unsatisfied and grumpy if I lack the time to do so or if I am charged to work on something else. I can perfectly well work a whole day on medical research and “relax” with Ancient Egyptian history inbetween even if it’s just little bits and pieces. To educate myself on the Ancient Egyptian burial cult or the kingship of the Middle Kingdom is probably like reading a novel for others (I hardly ever read novels because it makes very little sense to me to read a modern invented story).
And I have a terrible book hoarding syndrome. I purchase all the books I want to read and I tend to read either none or 5 at once, some I do not even finish at once and come back to them later. My problem is I have so many interconnective thoughts and mental linking after just a few pages of a book that I need time to digest this huge input before I can move on to read. My brain stores so much and recalls it immediately that I can hardly concentrate on the contents of a book because my brain starts to work on several memory layers all at once.
I am not very good at communicating emotions. My emotions work differently than those of other people and whenever I try to explain them I am likely to fail. I see fellow human beings very selective. Standing in front of a crowd of people I am likely to find perhaps not more than one person I can connect to personally and this connection can almost grow into some sort of fixation. The rest is just “crowd” and the crowd may occasionally speak to me and I will answer what my rational brain tells me to be appropriate. But with this aforementioned one person whom I can actually see as a person I will probably develop a closer bond and possibly even an emotional one. The problem is that my emotions are so overwhelming and strong that they are mostly considered inappropriate. For a long time I have referred to them as “being in love” because that seems to be the closest to what other people would call it if they felt similarly but meanwhile the misunderstandings tied to this “love thing” are so incredibly wrong and hurtful for me that I would rather categorize them as ” a special aspie kind of bond” which, obviously, no-one is likely to understand. So I am basically cursed to keep my emotions to myself as best as I can – or withdraw with them and hope to somehow get rid of them which basically means to stop liking a person. And this is saddening and painful and made me extremely lonely over the time.
Whenever I try to verbalize my emotions as they are they will be misunderstood and what is worse urge people to categorize ME in a way I do not relate to at all. Most people have no idea what it means to be ASD. I am 39 and I have the emotions of a child and they are not going to mature over night. I am a self-employed, standalone woman and I am expected to be strong, reflected and independent. Emotions from someone like me are highly irritating to people. I don’t know if you can imagine what it means to lead a life where emotions are constantly invalidated, misunderstood or judged wrong? Where they have absolutely no room to be – let alone be SHARED? Sometimes I am afraid of my emotions. Because I know I am the only one to see them and there is no way of sharing them the way they are. I have to down-regulate them a lot until I am able to show them.
When I communicate with the gods I don’t need words because I know they see and feel my emotions way beyond the best explanation I could think of. I hardly ever talk verbally to them. I receive their messages in just the same way – as emotions, maybe thoughts occasionally. My emotions are pure and not colored by any interpretation and any form of expressing them already distorts them. So to communicate with the gods allows me to share my inner life undistorted and pure as it is.
I view the myths emotionally charged to a very high extend as well. You can read them word by word and concentrate on the mere storyline but if you read them with some empathy you realize how strongly they are filled with emotional power. Our modern society has rationalized emotions. They are not “productive” in fact they are destabilizing and threatening and to show them is basically regarded as a lack of maturity or self-control. But I am neither lacking maturity nor self control I am simply extremely emotional but unable to express them authentically.
The kemetic practice allows me to express my emotions in a non-verbal way. Sometimes all I need to do is light up the candle at Sutekhs shrine, do the opening ceremony for my big shrine and feel… heard. Without saying ONE word. This is something that seldomly functions with people. You have to ASK for a hug or you have to EXPLAIN why you cry or why you look worried and mostly it is impossible for me to explain all those 200 tabs open in my brain so I just say “I’m ok” and try to smile to avoid further questions.
I am a crafts person. I love working with my hands and I love making nice things for my shrine or presents to the gods. It is my way of praying. My prayers do hardly consist of words but they may consist of colors, cents, fabrics, materials. That is my vocabulary and I feel understood.
It sometimes worries me that I feel closer and more understood by gods than by fellow humans. I am dependant on a very small group of people who seem to understand more than others do and yet there is always this very inner part of me which is trying to get used to its earthly loneliness constantly and seems so clearly visible to the gods. I can’t help to sometimes wonder what the hell I am doing here on this planet?
Order vs. disorder
The Ancient Egyptian assumption of the beginning of the world, the creation, is – unlike in other religions – not evolving from a pre-existent nothing into a something it is rather a disorderly something (like a primordial chaos) setting up itself into an orderly something. This order is a dynamic one which means it needs to be kept up actively by the intervention of gods and human. Therefore creation is not a finished process of the past that has lead to the creation of the world it is in fact still ongoing and taking place every day in multiple cycles.
This concept of disorder and order or in a more dramatic notion “Isfet and Ma’at” (referring to non-existence/existence) is indeed another aspect that suits an Asperger’s brain pretty well. My brain is struggling to set priorities; I am basically flooded constantly with random thoughts which I need to put in logical and functional order constantly. Scientific facts mix with emotional issues, feelings of anxiety, anger or insecurity, creative ideas and innovations and simple impressions I receive from my social environment that occasionally demand appropriate reaction from my side. Additionally I seem to have little borders between my subconsciousness and my daily awareness. I don’t seem to have filters like other people do which could lead me to automatic behavior I am more or less constantly reflecting EVERY APPEARANCE in my mind and trying to cope with it. I am also struggling to make a distinction between “my” very own inner processes and those of others and define the meeting points of both spheres. So setting up an order into this “primordial ocean” of perception is my daily task.