Who is Senyt-menu?

I was raised in a moderately liberal, Christian home. My father was a teacher and intellectual, and therefore encouraged an open mind. After years of resisting altar calls in my church, school functions and revival meetings (which never felt right to me), I decided in my late 20s that the religion I was brought up in no longer met my spiritual needs.

I became involved with various groups that practiced Earth-based religions, and I found this experience to be more satisfying than the strictly-defined monotheism I had known. I liked the concept of being a part of the Earth and celebrating its cycles rather than holding myself apart from the world in hopes of achieving a better existence in an afterlife or promised kingdom. I followed this path for 14 years until I began dreaming of Yinepu (Gr. Anubis). In these dreams He would appear to save me from difficult situations, and seemed to want to lead me somewhere. I was extremely perplexed by this, especially since I was already a member of a Wiccan coven. Other than having a general interest in Egypt, I hadn't actively pursed its religion. But the dreams persisted, culminating in a mystical experience with Het-hert (Gr. Hathor).

Having already formed a friendship with a Shemsu (follower/member) in the House of Netjer, I now knew where I must go. I had admired the House of Netjer for its practice of the Egyptian religion as revealed by the ancient texts (i.e. Kemetic Orthodoxy) since I personally didn't care for the blending of seemingly unrelated spiritual traditions I often found in other so-called "Kemetic" groups. I also liked that its founder and spiritual leader, Rev. Tamara Siuda, was an intelligent and educated woman with a Master's Degree in Egyptology from the Oriental Institute in Chicago and a PhD in Coptic (which evolved from the original Kemetic language). I applied for membership, went through the required Beginners Class and became a member of the House of Netjer on December 18, 1999.

My Spiritual Parents, Sekhmet and Wepwawet, were revealed to me on June 14, 2000 by the casting of cowrie shells by Rev. Siuda. This divination method, called the Rite of Parent Divination (RPD), is similar to practices in many African Traditional Religions that determine what god "owns" a person (we don't believe that we choose our gods, but that They choose us). I decided to become a Shemsu at this time as well. Needless to say, I was not surprised that one of my Parents was Wepwawet, Who is dual-aspected with Yinepu! Also, Het-hert is the "flip side" of Sekhmet. My previous dreams now made sense.

Photo by Jeff Spencer

I was given my Kemetic name at the New Year’s Festival and Retreat in Chicago in August of 2000 by Rev. Siuda. The picture on the left shows my naming ceremony.

I was granted Shemsu-Ankh status later on in 2001, which is a "senior member" category for those who have maintained a commitment to the House of Netjer for at least two years following their divination and decision to become Shemsu.

Photo by Neferuhethert
In August, 2002, at the Fifth Annual Retreat for the Faithful sponsored by the House of Netjer, I completed my training to become a w'ab (purity) priest, which qualified me as a "ritual technician" or lay priest (the House of Netjer uses the term "priest" for both sexes, as do other faiths).

My hands are washed by Rev. Siuda (foreground) as part of my w'ab consecration showing that I am "pure of hands."

At the Sixth Annual Retreat in August of 2003, I was dedicated as imy-set'a (minister-in-training) in preparation for becoming an officially ordained cleric.

On the evening of February 17, 2006, I was ordained as a priest (we use the gender-neutral term for our clerics) of my Spiritual Parents. My ordination name is Aha-ti em Nakhtsen Mereret, which means "She stands in/for Their loving strength." I later resigned from the priesthood in 2012 due to pressing health and family concerns, but I still remain a Shemsu-Ankh, a senior supporting member of the House of Netjer.

On the more secular side, I began my study of belly dancing in 1991 and have danced with several troupes. I occasionally teach beginning dance classes, conduct workshops and give private lessons. I also enjoy drumming on a variety of drums including the doumbek, ashiko, djembe,
frame drum and riq.

I have found my spiritual calling in a religion that I experience every day, and not just once a week or on special holidays. I wish the same happiness for everyone who reads this. May you always be open to God’s communications—expected or otherwise!

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