Lesson 14 – Level 1
1. PRESENTATION OF MAIN POINTS OF THE PRESENTATION
The lesson is an introduction to the philosophy of Shetaut Neter and its purpose with a review of the problematic of religious practices among African communities in general.
A) Perspectives on Religion
Shetaut Neter is a term not ordinarily heard that is normally translated as Egyptian mysteries. The philosophy of ancient Egypt has been the object of misinformation and people have been recommended to shy away from it. Shetaut Neter is a Kamitan African Religion and from that standpoint, it is not a cult, nor a church, nor a new Age philosophy. The new Age movement can be seen as a reaction to the oppression of orthodox Religion and to some extent, it is not applying the religious principles in the deeper sense. In fact, Religion is inherent to human nature as it addresses the deepest question within him/her about the understanding and realization of his/her true nature. The questioning and the process to answer that question is what elevates man above animals in general and that is the object of Religion which can stated in other words as a process allowing human to activate his or her highest nature. In that sense, it not only defines the nature but also provides the means to reach that higher essence. True religion includes from that perspective a process that has three steps: myth, ritual and mysticism. There is a myth and then, the rituals to enact the myth. The first two aspects define the true nature of human and how to enact that nature. The third step, the mysticism, leads to the ultimate realization of the goal of the teaching described on the myth allowing the transcendence of the myth itself. At that stage, there is realization that the myth was a mean to the end of enlightenment and not the end itself. Most religious system practices remain at the second level and that is source of strive between several doctrines; that is also one of the characteristic of orthodox religion.
B) Culture and Religion
Religion or the denial of it constitute the most powerful force driving culture throughout time. In a context of denial or misapplication, the related culture may attain some level of material efficiency however, it does not provide to the human being the mean to reach his or her higher essence. It creates instead a conditioned mind that needs to rely constantly on external objects for happiness hence leading to a state of ignorance of the mind about true nature of human. The application of true religion as the foundation, leads to empowered culture that allows elevation of human consciousness.
Such hallmarks of human beings have been reached in several ancient civilizations which have been able to attain higher stage of human development in psychology and material realization; a stage not yet reached in current time, despite the material efficiency experienced today. The ancient Egyptian have represented the highest realization from that standpoint. The current perception of Religion provided by western cultures have been lowered to a point where the culture loses the dimension that can lead human beings to higher consciousness. From a general standpoint, we have witnessed a process of alienation of local cultural practices in other countries driven mostly by western civilisation with the intent of creating a global culture sustaining their effort of imposing a unique culture and this fact in itself is detrimental to human development as well as having negative impact on the Natural environment. In fact, the material efficiency attained is not sustained in a balanced and controlled way, and that will also lead to the collapse of civilization as known today.
C) African people and Religion
The people from the continent of Africa and their descendants have been the object of cultural denigration for many centuries, that have negatively impacted their practices of Religion. Consequently, we have observed two main psychological behaviors: either the people practice the newly imposed religion or there is an adaptation of the traditional religion to the context of the culture of the oppressor. Both behaviors manifest psychological reactions to real threats to physical existence of the communities. The psychological conditioning leads to complexes and continuous denigration of the African descendants in general, creating a mental void with a very deep need to reclaim a lost identity. In the mystical term, one may describe this as a fragmentation of the Soul and the need to reclaim identity, expresses the redemption aspect, the Heru aspect of the Soul acting to activate awareness of higher Self as a way to resolve the suffering born out of darkness of ignorance of true Self.
In order to reclaim a lost cultural identity, African people and descendants need to practice their own religion in a way that can transform their consciousness to transcend the barriers of culture as opposed to legitimate their own spirituality through other culture. As said by one author, African need to practice their religion without apology meaning they need to practice in a way that does not require legitimacy from other sources of spirituality. As Religion is the main force behind culture, practicing it in a higher way meaning with the goal of reaching higher consciousness, will ultimately lead to victory over cultural oppression and related social aggression understanding that is a transient goal toward the highest purpose of life, which is to attain Nehast or a state of consciousness apart from body consciousness.
D) Shetaut Neter is an African religion
Shetaut Neter is an African Religion that was practiced in ancient Egypt, KMT, located in North eastern part of Africa. Several related phenomenon have altered the knowledge of the essence of African traditional religion: death of the Griots altering the process of knowledge transfer about the essence of the rituals; the diffusion of Arab in the beginning and later the Western cultures within African civnilizations. However, the ancient Egyptians have been able to write about their philosophy in a symbolic way that transcends barriers of cultural invasion allowing us to reclaim and live buy it provided one has developed the proper initiatic mind to do so. Such legacy of African ancestors is currently lived through the Neterian Religion and allosw practitioners not only to study the essence of the ancient teaching but to live by it in order to transform realities and consciousness in a higher way thus paving the way to win the battle with egoism, cultural imperialism; in other words, becoming enlightened is enacting then the essence of the teaching of the myth of Asar, Aset and Heru.
E) Time line of religion
Although there have been many claims among civilizations about ancestry of Religion, the oldest evidence was found in Ancient KMT about 10,000 years ago. Therefore, the oldest form of Religion known is the Ancient KMT before Arab, before Christianity, Buddhism, etc. The Sphinx also known as HeruMakhet or Ra-hrakti, is used in religious text and it means Heru in the horizon. It is the first evidence of practice of Religion known in history. The Sphinx also means giver of life, of stability and power as well as, the director of truth, the ruler of Upper and Lower words.
F) More insights on Neterianism
Neterians are those who practice and follow the religion of Shetaut Neter of the Ancient Egypt; they are also named Shemsu meaning followers. Shetaut Neter means hidden divinity or the teaching about the secret and Supreme Being that is encompassing all objects of creation, the ultimate essence of all. From that perspective, Shetaut Neter is ultimately teaching us about how to realize the hidden divinity within us, which is the goal of life.
As stated above, the goal of entire Neterian philosophy is to allow the practitioner to discover the meaning of life and that realization can be done in the context of emulation of the ways of the Neterus, gods and goddesses becoming thus Akhu or a person who has achieved Nehast, the great enlightenment. The Neterus represent cosmic principles that shape creation as well as our personality. They have been represented through zoomorphic, anthropologic or mixed symbolism to facilitate understanding of their essence and their worship is in fact invocation to activate those principles that are within us with the ultimate purpose of bringing back the memory of our true nature; a memory that was lost due to darkness of ignorance. The activation of the Neterus principle within us and beconing one with them in the process, illuminates the darkness of our ignorance and allows us to attain Nehast.
There are six main traditions of spirituality all related and they all emerge from the Anunian theology, Shetaut Neter. There can be tendency to think of the diversity of traditions as if they were each a sect. However, it is like a branch with one spiritual tradition that relates to different forms of spiritual practice; some being more psychological, other being more devotional with the primary goal of compatibility to several different types of personality. The theology of Ptah relates to the mysteries of mind; there is also the Goddess path related to devotion to the goddesses Aset, Net and Netheru; the Asarian theology was the most popular in KMT. It is important to note all traditions existed side by side without any conflict.
There are great traditions around Amun, Ra, and Ptah with expansion into Ra theology; Amun theology; Ptah theology. Paut Neterus, group of gods and goddesses, or cosmic principles, emanate in fact from a single one and are manifestations of the all-encompassing Supreme Being in time and space. From that standpoint, African Religion is not polytheistic and in essence, expresses a philosophy that divinizes the entire creation. As an example, air and space is Shu, earth is Geb, fire is Ra, etc. The philosophy informs us about the fact that we can’t take a step outside of creation. The underlying essence, called Shetaut Neter, is not visible and what we perceive in time and space is called images. We can’t see the hidden divinity with our physical life and that is why we propitiate gods and goddesses, the cosmic principles that sustain creation so we can arrive to the essence of it, the Neberdjer. Everything in time and space is expression of a cosmic principle and, mastering these forces allows us to become a master of nature instead of being controlled by it. This teaching gives us easy access to spirituality allowing a person to approach the divine with the proper understanding and devotion that lead to the great awakening.
G) The pursuit of happiness
The pursuit of psychological happiness is the main driver of life for most people in time and space. They do that through different means and generally rely on human relationships, material wealth, celebrities, political battle etc. However, the joy resulted from such objects are only temporary reliefs and entertain a cycle of endless search for a situation that can lead to permanent satisfaction in life. In other words, within all things pursued, there is always a problem leading ultimately for some to the realization that nothing is permanent in time and space as there are always changes. Ultimately, the realization of the non-permanence of the objects of our pursuit of happiness in time and space lead to frustration. The mystical teaching of the Ancient Egyptian coded in the Shetaut Neter philosophy informs us about the illusory aspect of such pursuit as well as what the true goal of life is: to attain a state of consciousness apart from body consciousness. In other words, the happiness we are looking for in time and space is in fact the expression of a deeper need of realizing our true nature, the higher Self; a nature that has been hidden from our consciousness due to the darkness of ignorance. That darkness needs to be illuminated in order for us to realize who we truly are and it is only with that realization, we will be able to transcend our needs to be happy in time and space.
The Harper Song in Ancient Egypt gives further insights into understanding about the meaning and purpose of life. It informs us that one’s acts on earth are like a dream. When we sleep, we are dreaming and upon waking up, there is realization it was a dream. It means that there is something in us that is beyond physical consciousness and realizing that, means we are enlightened. In other words, we have the wisdom inside of us but, we do not know how to tap into it. When we reach higher consciousness about our true Self, we arrive at the beautiful West and we become sage and sound.
H) The philosophy of afterlife.
Life means essentially awareness; in fact, there is no life in time and space without awareness of something. The awareness is what causes all experiences to occur but, the problem is that we get caught in perceiving the experiences as abiding reality and therefore lose our ability to live fully. Being able to live fully and be aware of our higher Self as abiding reality is the goal of the process of rebirth allowing one to experience life process beyond reduced physical life we are currently leaving in darkness of ignorance, entangled in awareness of duality.
The mystical teaching informs us that Body belongs to the earth and Soul belongs to the heaven. That means we are not the body, we instead have an association with physical earth that allows us to have physical experience. Family, wealth, being famous in time and space, would wash away. The purpose of life is to realize existence beyond physical awareness, realizing that our true nature is all encompassing no matter what happens in time and space reality, we will be beyond that.
Success in the spiritual path requires we change our belief system in a way to believe that highest consciousness is possible for anyone, in a similar way it was for the Sages of Ancient times, including Imhotep as an example. For that to happen one needs to practice purification of the mind through the disciplines; the attainment is what is called the great awakening to higher existence, Nehast.
I) Symbolism of the Neterian Temple System
The temple system represented the context for transformation of consciousness and in that sense includes deep symbolism that describes the Neterian philosophy as well as the rituals to practice to transcend duality. The temple was conceived in a way to emulate the transformation process from an exoteric view of life toward a more esoteric understanding. The system of temples expresses the relationship between the Neterus with the exposition of male and female aspect emphasizing the path to enlightenment through the balance of opposites, reaching the ultimate stage of peace, Hetep, transcending thus our ignorance of our true nature.
In the outside, the temple exposes the exoteric teaching showing the worshiping of gods and goddesses. The temple has three main sections: the peristyle, with column placed in the periphery allowing openness to the sky; the hypostyle hall, including many columns trying to recreate the original model of creation; and, the holy of holies, the most sacred area for more advanced and mature aspirants. The sections of the temple represent areas for diverse types of worship in relation to three levels of consciousness: The Mortals, the Intelligents and Creators. The access to the temple is provided according to the degree of spiritual consciousness; the more external section to the mortals, the middle section, the hypostyle, to the ones more advanced and the innermost, the holy of holies opened to the most advanced.
The outer court is a representation of offering to the divine; the peristyle represents places of purification which is the lower part that is opened to the lowest advanced in the teaching where one can do physical offering to the divine, chanting, singing, etc. The middle part, the hypostyle, is a section reserved for more advanced study and practices and is destined for words and the Wisdom teaching. The inner shrine is dedicated to the highest aspirants in terms of maturity.
The three areas of the temple represent respectively aspiration to go the higher level of the teaching, striving to realize it and ultimately being established in the highest goal. That process emulates also the three levels of Religion including myth, rituals and mysticism as well as the trinity of Amun, Ra Ptah.
The two pylons outside of the temple symbolize duality of life or, Maati, the dual goddess of truth. There is symbolism in the way one works within the temple emulating the path to oneness; if one goes to the North, one is seeking oneness, meaning to resolve awareness of duality in time and space. The processions are going straight to the North with doors blocking access to the next stage representing obstacles one needs to overcome in other to access higher level of spiritual maturity.
K) The four great truths of Shetaut Neter.
Four great truths are formula that condense the entire teaching of Shetaut Neter, they encapsulate the entire teaching, provide keys to understand the entire philosophy of SN. Intellectual knowledge only can’t lead one to enlightenment; one needs to also have experience through the practices in other to attain Wisdom.
First Great Truth: the Neter the Supreme Being is one and alone and as Neberdjer manifesting everywhere in the form of gods and goddesses.
There is only one Supreme Being manifesting as cosmic principles, named gods and goddesses; it is encompassing everything in time and space. Every object of creation emanates from the Supreme Being and there is nothing outside of the Supreme Being. This is the first essential key to understand the teaching as it is not about a Religion with many spirits having their own existence apart from each other but, the cosmic principles as such represent manifestation of the essence energy in time and space. On the book “On the mysteries”, the Sage AbAmun provides more insights about the essence of Shetaut Neter. He says:
“ The deification however of dead men and the worshiping of men as gods, formed no part of this theology, when it is considered according to its divine purity”.
Since everything emanates from Neberdjer therefore, there can’t be a devil, like another Supreme Being acting as a challenger. In Shetaut Neter theology, the suffering only originates from our ignorance of the divine as the only reality. Being conscious of the unity encompassing all aspects of creation brings ultimate freedom, Nehast and being ignorant of that reality and throughout perception of duality as abiding leads to suffering. Lesser and lesser awareness of duality as abiding reality leads to gradual enlightenment and on the other side, more awareness leads to greater ignorance hence more suffering. The task of Shetaut Neter and Religion in general is to help the aspirants to be in harmony with creation.
Second great truth: lack of righteousness brings fetters to the personality and these fetters cause ignorance of the divine.
Unrighteousness manifests as selfishness or the perception of Oneself as having in essence a separate existence from rest of creation. That is the greatest ignorance and represents the first fall of humanity. The misunderstanding about the nature of the divine and our unity with it leads to a path of unrighteousness where our actions are directed toward finding happiness in time and space, hence reinforcing our perception of separate existence in time and space which is in itself a pursuit of an illusion. Science has already confirmed the affirmation of the teaching with the conclusion that all matter is composed of energy; every object of creation in time and space emanates from the same stuff that is called the Nun in the Neterian philosophy. The manifestation of the essential principle in time and space is done by the word. Unrighteousness leads us to ignorance therefore, righteousness leads to purity and wisdom activating our awareness of our innermost essence as one with the Supreme Being.
Third great truth: devotion to the divine leads to freedom from the fetters of Set.
When acting in an unrighteous manner, our personality is being fettered causing us to be conscious of the ego, as a mortal being to be the essence of our identity. When acting with righteousness, we are activating the transformation of our consciousness in a way that brings harmony with cosmic order.
In the symbolism of Shetaut Neter, the metaphor of the covered mummy’s mouth represents Saui Set or the clouds that bring the darkness hidding the true nature of the Self to consciousness. In that stage, there can’t be illumination and one is unable to touch the mummy with the Seba Ur. In order to remove the clouds of darkness or leave Saui Set, bringing thus clarity of consciousness, one must have purity allowing us to open the mouth. In mystical philosophy, if the mouth is covered and is fettered, this leads to inability to speak and higher consciousness can’t be expressed and therefore the person is not able to live fully. When we have lower consciousness, we do not have full life. To open the mouth meaning having higher consciousness, one must have purity of heart, expressing righteousness, and all goodness in time and space and, that begins with devotion, Uashu meaning directing our feelings to the Supreme divinity and not toward objects of creation as being able to bring happiness. The establishment in devotion done with sincerity and with persistence, with the support of right understanding about the nature of the divine, leads to freedom from the fetters of Set which is egoism allowing the mouth no longer to be covered but be able to be opened with the Seba Ur, leading to ultimate freedom and higher consciousness.
Great truth 4: the practice of the Shedy disciplines lead to knowledge of Self and the divine and this is called being true of speech.
In order to reach the highest goal of Religion, one needs to practice the teaching and these practices are called Shedy disciplines; together, they represent the technology that will allow the activation of our higher consciousness dormant until then due to ignorance about our true nature. That activation leads to freedom and we become true of speech as it means we are establishing on truth and operating in harmony with our Akhu nature, being enlightened or operating with awaking consciousness.
In summary, the great truth represents the formula that explains the nature of the divine, how we fall to lower consciousness about it, gives the path towards reactivating higher consciousness as well as the practical way of getting there. In that sense, it is the complete recipe for the aspirant in the path of enlightenment. It is important to review the important words of the formula.
For the first great truth, the operating word is UaUa meaning One One, without a second and manifesting as all. From the Shetaut Neter standpoint, it is not different from the one that Christian calls God, the father; also, same one that Hindus call Krishna; same one as the one the Muslims call Allah. The Orthodox religion often characterizes by exclusiveness and the belief in their theology as being true and not as a mean to reach higher consciousness; in that context, they can’t be inclusive as in other for their philosophy to be true, the others must be false. Within the same line of thinking, orthodoxy does not comprehend the concept of henotheism through the idea of God manifesting as me, as you, meaning in essence, we are gods and goddesses in the making and the difference is only related to our awareness of that essence.
In regards to second truth, one of the operation word is Saui Set meaning fetters of the mouth, or ignorance. It also means negative blackness or darkness as opposed to positive aspect of blackness that is Asar. Saui Set also relates to darkness of consciousness which is the highest darkness.
In the third great truth, the operating word is Uashu that means devotion or the path whereby our feelings are directed towards the divine as the only abiding reality. Uashu when supported by wisdom leads to Nehast. However, knowledge of the scriptures without practice of devotion leaves the aspirant at the mercy of negative Arius with no real capacity to transcend them; devotion without proper understanding of what our true nature is, lead to fanaticism. Both aspects need to be practiced in a balanced way in order to reach highest goal of Religion.
In the fourth great truth, the operating word is Shedy meaning spiritual disciplines. They are refereed in
Shetaut Neter as the yogic discipline helping the aspirant to have purity of heart and being true of speech. They allow the opening of the heart and they offer a balanced set of practices that help illuminating all aspects of our personality. More importantly, they offer a path to penetrate the mysteries in a way for the transformation of consciousness to occur. Essentially, Nehast can only be reached by self-effort and the shedy disciplines offer the context for that Self effort.
2. WHAT IMPRESSES MOST IN THE PRESENTATION?
First of all, it is about the clarity with which the essence and goal of the philosophy of Shetaut Neter has been presented in a way that does not give possibility for confusion which promotes instead thorough understanding.
The second point relates to the proposition of a clear path for redemption of the Soul to African descendants to practice a Religion that is completed in its theology and aligned to their cultural context allowing them to transcend hatred and elevate themselves to higher consciousness of the Self. In my humble opinion, that is the highest achievement of this presentation to bring to light a legacy of the ancestors that is universal, going beyond barrier of races and civilization.
Third point of impression relates to the Temple system of KMT as the enabler of the process of consciousness transformation in order to attain enlightenment. The organization of temples around the three levels of consciousness emulate clearly the spiritual journey from ignorance to enlightenment.
Fourth point that impresses me concern the concept of the Neterus as the cosmic principles, sustainers of the creation in offering a psychological matrix for the aspirant not only to understand the essence of the teaching as well as to have a clear devotional path and understanding that will lead toward realizing the highest goal of life.
Another point that impresses relates to the evolution aspect of the teaching being able to adapt to all types of personality. The many traditions have been conceived in a way to adapt to reality in time and space as well as with the various personalities of the individuals. That denotes a thorough understanding of human psychology by the Sages of KMT which is an indication of the degree of advancement of that society.
In conclusion, despite the beauty and glory emanating from the Shetaut Neter what highly impresses, is the fact that the philosophy presents its main teaching in a context of a practical working model to attain enlightenment; however, enlightenment can only be possible if one is able to transcend even the teaching itself. That is contradictory to orthodox Religions holding to their teaching as absolute truth denying validity to other perceptions different from their belief systems. The need to transcend the teaching considered not as an end in itself but as mean to an end, is fully aligned with the purpose of life which is to experience life beyond physical existence, beyond mind, in the state of Anrutf.