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Level 1, Lesson 19, Video Assignment; African Origins Fiu 2002 Class 25 Part 1 Sema Philosophy
1. List important themes:
Sema Tawi is African spirituality and yoga. The first fundamental aspects of Sema philosophy involve calming down, leaving the bustle of the world outside, and bringing the mind to poise and relaxation through breathing. This allows for intellectual, emotional, and physical expansion of consciousness so the teachings can be understood and effective.
In Kemetic reliefs the Kemetians are depicted with red skin. In reliefs of Per Ahhs making offerings, red skin would indicate that the individual was Kemetian and coloring was used for both Nubian (black) as well as European (white) Kemetians. When black skin was shown, this was a naturalistic depiction.
Is there such thing as African Philosophy?
Shetaut Neter, Sema Tawi, Maat are all forms of African philosophy.
History and Timeline of Sema-Yoga
The term yoga of India and Sema of Kemet are synonymous. The American Heritage Dictionary defines yoga as a “Hindu discipline aimed at training the consciousness for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility.” This is a good definition. The African discipline of yoga predates the Hindu.
Yoga disciplines allow religion to be effective, therefore yoga is a part of Hinduism like Sema is a part of Shetaut Neter. Yoga (Sema) is the engine that allows the religion to be effective, like an engine that allows the religion to work, and it is the discipline that allows mysticism to occur.
The Indian term “Yoga” first came up in the Rig-Veda but did not have its technical connotations. Vedas emerged in 1,500 BC with Aryans. Upanishads 6-8oo BC. In Vedas yoga meant to “yoke” (to put together.) In Upanishads the term took on mystical connection referring to uniting the higher and lower self. Yoga Sutras of Pantajali are much later development. Yoga is designed to integrate the personality and evolve spiritually. Set and Heru, who tie together the yoga symbol, represent the higher and lower self in a human being and this unity is the basis for Sema philosophy and rooted in the main yoga form disciplines (devotion, wisdom, meditation, etc.) Tantric-Serpent Power philosophy was also evident in Kemet – Serpent power is a latent energy in every human until it is awakened by spiritual practice.
Four Great Truths: Four Great Principles.
How do they relate to Shetaut Neter? They manifest and are inherent in all Kemetic traditions. The great truths are mysteries that are discovered through shedy via Sema.
Ari Shedy Rekh Ab M MaaKheru.
The Shedy disciplines are the Sema-yoga disciplines. Shedy is the process of suckling-excavating-searching-penetrating the mysteries; the process of discovering ones true self – this is the purpose of Sema-yoga disciplines.
The Great Truths are pursued through four disciplines (the different shedy)
b. Acting Righteously
These relate to
Shedy disciplines are the greatest and ultimate devotion to the divine, in particular meditation allows one to go beyond the gross and mortal aspects of the personality and leads to the great awakening (Nehast.) To realize ones true nature and identify with the transcendental Supreme Being. This is the most fundamental basis of Shetaut Neter.
Listening – listen to the teachings of the traditions (myths.) The myths of the traditions contain the specific teachings.
Right action – doing good deeds, to live and act in righteousness, all actions should be performed in a way that they lead to purity of fetters, vices. The most important ritual is to follow the teachings and precepts of Maat in daily life.
Devotion – Uashu, Ushet worship and devotion of the divine and devotional practices. Two main kinds of offering are fundamental. The divine offering and the peace offering – both are interconnected. The temples are not like ordinary churches. In ancient times the temples were more like research centers or quantum physics laboratory. The research and development was on the evolution of the latent life force of a human being. Ordinary people had no place in the temple area, instead the public attended the outer court of the temple and the inner portions were reserved for the initiates, priest and priestess. Domestic and public worship ceremonies and festivals were the two main forms of devotion.
Shedy Discipline of Meditation: Uaa Shedy – Uaa Neter. Multiple forms of meditation were developed in Shetaut Neter. Uaa Neter (identification with the divine) is the highest as putting the ego down leads to awakening of divine consciousness. The GLM by Seti I is the earliest form of complete meditation known currently, depicting all aspects of the meditation discipline. The purpose is concentrating the mind on the inner light, the divine. Divine smile shown in Buddhist and Kemetic culture represents spiritual enlightenment.
Originally in India, Indian philosophers and yogis repudiated the hatha yogis for the focus on series of physical postures. Also women were not allowed to practice yoga even just 100 years ago. The caste system and the imbalances between men and women are not found in Shetaut Neter. Most of the modern yoga practices are not similar or do not contain the elements of authentic or complete yoga.
In temples of Kemet practitioners would get into the postures of the divinities detailed in the myths-reliefs and this would be used as a part of emulating the divinity as an integral form of yoga connecting wisdom, devotion, righteous action, meditation, and tantric. This same idea is symbolized by the posture of the sphynx, the earliest depiction of yoga posture. Ritualistically and mystically when the leonine-body is sublimated, the serpent power will rise to the forehead and awaken the knowledge of that which is above and below.
2. Explain what impressed you the most:
Two important themes stuck out and impressed me. These are the importance of Sema (yoga) in Shetaut Neter (religion), and the value of African philosophy.
In the lecture Sema was described as the heart and engine that allowed the religion, teachings, and shedy process to become effect and mysticalized. This is therefore, a very important topic to understand in the pursuit of Nehast (the goal of Shetaut Neter.)
The lecture raised the question “Is there an African philosophy?” This is personal relevant point as in my academic background I often try and use African studies and examples for my course work. During a Greek history course the teacher said “Greeks invented philosophy” and I wanted to see the teachers opinion on this, so I asked about ancient Egyptian philosophy predating Greece. The teacher explained the ancient Egypt as “wisdom texts” that were moral in nature but not truly philosophical. This is easily disproven by the complete tradition and artifacts of Ancient Egypt and the temples themselves which are clearly excavations (shedy) into the nature of reality. As Sebai Maa says in the lecture “research centers and quantum physics laboratories.” I would say also that the moral discourses come out of a phislophical inquiry into life and were just surface-level discussions on behavior but relate to spiritual-mystical insights such as are gained via Sema (meditation, yoga, etc.)