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READING ASSIGNMENT, TEMPLE OF ASAR – LESSON1
Foreword Reflections – African Religion Vol. 4 – Dr. Muata Ashby
Q. What do I want most in life?
A. Enlightenment in this very lifetime.
Q. For what am I truly looking?
A. Supreme and abiding peace.
Q. What is there in life to fulfill my deepest longings, needs, and desire?
A. The teachings of Shetaut Neter and my intent of purpose to fulfill my deepest desire for true freedom.
The above answers to the questions presented, sum up my goals in their entirety to attain spiritual elevation and the consequent transcendence of worldly illusion. Through the wisdom imparted in the following lessons, it is my intention to achieve the goal of “Nehast” (Enlightenment).
“There are two roads which human beings can follow; one of wisdom and the other of ignorance.” ( Ashby, p. 11)
Throughout my lifetimes I have traveled the road of ignorance, which has brought me to the crossroads I currently face. This path has proven to be a source of ever changing ups and downs, pains and pleasures in a never ending cycle, lifetime after lifetime. My intent is for the cycle to end, here, through the yogic disciplines of Shetaut Neter and the teachings of the Temple of Asar. Htp.
When reflecting on the readings in the preface of African Religion Vol. 4, it is established that Neterianism can be dated back as far as 10,000 B.C.E., by evidence of the Sphinx (Horemahket) which scientific study has proven to be far older than Western Egyptology previously dated.
This is significant because it documents Neterianism as the oldest Religious philosophy on record, meaning that it is the blueprint and foundation for all other religious traditions—moving beyond Shamanistic practices and superstition to a Sage based, Gnostic practice.
The fact that Neterianism is of African origin is also very significant as Africans have been systemically denied credit for the magnificent Kemetic civilization that flowered in ancient times directly as a result of Neterianism. My thoughts are that this is relevant to understanding the African paradigm of spirituality vs. the Western model of religion that dominates and influences modern society with its myriad social and environmental ills.
In reflection, this brings me to the fundamentals of Neterianism, which comes out of the term “Shetaut Neter,” meaning “Hidden Divinity.” This implies that the Divine cannot be seen with the eye but can be directly experienced by way of initiation. Such initiates are referred to as “Shemsu Neter,” (Followers of Neter). This differs greatly from the Western religious tradition that is faith based.
In contrast, Neterianism can be summed up in a quote from the text:
“Neterianism is the science of Neter, that is, the study of the secret mystery of Neter, the enigma of that which transcends ordinary consciousness but from which all creation arises.” (Ashby, p. 21)
To put it simply, Neterianism is the study of the Secret Divine which leads to transcending ordinary consciousness. Therein lies the fundamental difference between Neterianism and faith based Orthodox Judeo/Christian religions, devoid of the initiation process that leads to transcending ordinary consciousness. This transcendence is essential to experiencing the Divine Self—Enlightenment.
Thus, it becomes necessary to “listen attentively” and to “fill the ears,” (Mestchert) with the teachings of Shetaut Neter as laid out by the six main Neterian Traditions, namely Shetaut Anu (Teachings of Ra), Shetaut Menefer (Teachings of Ptah), Shetaut Waset (Teachings of Amun), Shetaut Netrit (Teachings of the Goddess), Shetaut Asar (Teachings of the Asarian Tradition), and Shetaut Aton (Teachings of the Aton). This particular lesson is focused on Shetaut Asar or Asarian Theology but it correlates to all of the other Neterian Traditions and vice versa.
One other important reflection on the reading was that of “entropy” vs. “evil.” The African Neterian Tradition recognizes the former and rejects the concept of the latter. “Evil” as in “(d)evil” is a Western religious concept that creates a demon, outside of oneself that influences one to do evil. This is a foreign concept to the Neterian Tradition which places the onus on one’s own egoistic deeds/actions. As explained in the text Set represents the ego personality and nothing more. A quote from the text explains it best.
“ Egoism is the idea of individuality based on identification with the body and mind only as being who one is.” (Ashby, p.36)
Entropy, on the other hand, is a constant force of nature that works to bring that which has been created by human hands back to its original state, according to the text. In my view the ego (Set) is an agent of entropy. However, when the ego is put in the service of the Higher Self “it fights the forces of entropy,” whereas “evil” exists for its own sake, so says Western Religious philosophy.
Thus, the image of Set in the service of protecting the Divine Boat of Ra by spearing the serpent Apep—a representation of entropy—is a direct example of the ego in the service of the Higher Self. The significance here is that the ego can be controlled by the Higher Self to act against the forces of entropy. The ego is only a problem when it is in control, therefore it is essential for the ego and the Higher Self to become united in the common cause to defeat the forces of entropy and attain Immortality.