Many of us, upon deciding to become pagans of one stripe or another, left behind religions that provided excellent guidelines for conduct of daily life. This is something that most pagan religions seem to be really, really bad at doing – we’re given ideas for rituals, and offerings, and holidays, and festivals, and colors to use but little to nothing on going about our normal business of living.
(A disclaimer here – some pagan religious paths may provide this and do it well, but I’ve yet to come into contact with one that was as comprehensive as Christianity, or Judaism, or Islam. I’m writing from that point of view – note that this post is filed under “Opinion”.)
I left Christianity, with its Commandments, and Beatitudes, and parables, and found myself in the desert of daily life. I learned how to celebrate holidays, how to do daily prayers and offerings, and the mythic stories behind my gods, but not how to live. I floundered for years, and changed paths half a dozen times until Sekhmet finally smacked me in the head about following a Kemetic path. Soon after that, I found The Cauldron and, through it, FlameKeeping.
Kemeticism and FlameKeeping intersect in interesting ways and in practicing both I’ve been able to put solidify my own set of guidelines for daily life that both help me improve and uphold ma’at without being too “white-lightey” or “super special fluffy bunny”. They may not work for everyone, and they’re not written in stone as part of either of my paths, but they keep me sane and moving forward (which is what we all want, right?).
1) Bring order to what can be ordered.
This can be as complex or simple as one wants it to be. When I leave the grocery store, I remember to put my cart back in the rack. If I pass others on the way to the rack that aren’t put away, I grab those too. I write tip sheets for my colleagues to reinforce training I provide. I go through our mail once a week to separate things into Pay, Save, and Recycle categories.
2) Give people the benefit of the doubt until they do something to cause a change of mind.
Pretty self-explanatory, really. It allows for the notion that someone might do something that causes one to want to bash hir over the head but notes that interactions with people really shouldn’t start from that point.
3) Don’t make shit weird.
The wording’s been used over and over in different contexts, but here’s how I use it – Remember that everyone is different and those differences are what make everyone unique and interesting. Communicate honestly and openly as it will prevent problems later on. At the same time, recognize that tact may be needed when someone is extra stupid. 😉 Stay true to yourself and, if you don’t know how to do this, figure out who YOU are before criticizing others.
4) Send out what is needed; sticking to positivity is dreadfully limiting.
Basically, this acknowledges that there are times when the only thing to do to order what can be ordered is to kick some fucking ass.
5) Make conscious choices.
For this, I’ll use a quote:
“You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear-
I will choose Free Will.” – Rush, “Free Will”, Permanent Waves