Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Story of Pagan Struggle in Mid-Missouri

Credit: Porsha Williams and kbia.org
Hailing from a community in Mexico, Missouri, Porsha Williams is devout in her religion.  However, it may not be the religion you would think for the region she lives in. “You either go to the Methodist church, the Lutheran church or the Baptist church," says Williams. "There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. [...] So not to see me there, knowing that I was raised in that church, and then to realize why, because I’m very open about it – that was hard on my parents … and it was hard on me because it alienated me more.”

Why is Williams not attending church on Sundays?  Just what is she so open about?  Her pagan religion, Kemeticism.  Derived from the native name of Ancient Egypt, Kemeticism (or Kemetism) is neopagan revival of Ancient Egyptian religion.  It first appeared in the US in the 1970's as paganism saw a rise (source).  Kemeticism is not a goddess religion and the revival does not associate itself with the New Age movement.  Kemetic holidays are based on Ancient Egyptian ritual calendars, beginning with a late summer New Year (source).  There are "hundreds of feasts, festivals [and] holy days on the religious calendar," according to the International Network of Kemetics.  "Observance of specific festivals will vary amongst temples dedicated to specific Neteru." Neteru is a term that refers to the Gods of the Black Land.

Three and a half years ago, Porsha Williams decided this religion was her lifepath, despite being baptized Methodist. She described why telling her family was one of the biggest challenges she has faced in life by stating, "When you say the word ‘Pagan,’ ‘Kemetic’ or otherwise, their immediate thought is devil worship. [...] They don’t see that there is any other religion, other than that."

Though there are few pagan organizations in her area, KBIA 91.3 lists Hearthfires and Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride.  In addition, there are many more online pagan meets and organizations where you can find connections.  "They're coming out," says Williams. "And I think that that was the biggest hurdle, was for them to come out and to say, ‘OK we are here, we do practice we do want to be recognized."

Williams writes for Columbia Faith and Values.  Read her work here.

Read the original article by clicking here.

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