What is Kemetic Yoga?
By Sehu Khepera Ankh (edited)
Yoga was practiced in Kemet – North East Africa and Arabia – for a very long time. Kemet, meaning black or the black land of the Nile and along what is now called the Red Sea. Research has indicated that the philosophy of personality integration, or yoga, was already practiced in Kemet for about 10,000 years, which is a great expanse of time.
The teaching of yoga in Kemet was derived from the meditations and insights of the early temple priests. The term YOGA is not indigenous to Kemet. Yoga is “yoke” in Sanskrit, one of the languages of present day India. To yoke or to bind what, some may ask? Each person has an individual consciousness and individual mind upon which they perceive the world. No two people can be assumed to think in exactly the same manner, nor have identical ideas on things. This is the manifestation of individual reality.
At the same time, there is universal consciousness that is beyond the scope of the normal realm of consciousness, or individual reality of persons. Hence, the practice of yoga is a personality integration method that allows people to bind their individual transitory reality with the universal consciousness. The universal consciousness is stable and unchanging – unmoving – from the individual perspective, therefore it is the substantial reality while people exist in transitory phenomenon. When this process is accomplished one can say that they have experienced the way things really are or have experienced reality; universal consciousness.
Yoga is the practice of binding individual consciousness with universal consciousness. This individual reality that you are experiencing is actually only a small reflection of your true nature and yoga is the practice of how to achieve the knowledge of one’s abiding and immortal aspect.
In the Kemetic teachings this process of yoga is called Smai Tawi which means UNION OF THE TWO LANDS, not to be confused with physical land masses, but is an explanation of the higher and lower nature within the human entity. The hieroglyphic inscription for Smai Tawi is also […], the term for union is Smai and is illustrated with a standard that represents the trachea and lungs.
Notice the similarity between union and yoke. In the Kemetic teachings, it shows how every human being is composed of a higher nature and a lower nature. The practice of Smai Tawi is to unite the lower with the higher; in effect, the same understanding comes through from the word yoga.
The above depiction shows the Nile Divinity, Hapi, in dual form, binding the Sema symbol. [Smai Taui or Sema Tau.] The one on the left holds the symbol with a papyrus plant (lower self) and the one on the right binds with a lotus flower (higher self). This means that the duality of spirit and matter, temporal and transcendent becomes unified in such a way that one’s temporal nature dissolves into the transcendent reality; one’s higher nature.
Yoga is not a religion in the common sense of the phrase. Yoga is a system of disciplines by which one can achieve the highest state of consciousness. However, religions in their mystical aspect, that is religions that teach that one can make union with the transcendent, have as their core, yoga disciplines. So yoga is inherent in mystical religion, but in and of itself is not a religion.
The Kemetic Gods are the primary focus in the practice of Kemetic Yoga. The Kemetic term for Gods is NETERU. This term can be found in the extensive and extant philosophic and religious literature of the olden civilization.
The early sages knew that the untrained mind is very fickle and actually needs an anchor to stabilize it through the yogic process. So they created the spiritual symbols, gave them names and applied certain myths and rituals around each one to foster a greater understanding of the human experience. The Gods are not deities in the common sense of the word, but are cosmic principles.
Actually the term Neteru means COSMIC FORCE; Cosmic meaning: of or pertaining to the universe. They are spiritual implements that are designed to communicate certain insights and secrets to the mind. This allows the mind to grow in subtlety until one can experience this higher consciousness directly. This consciousness is called by many names by different cultures around the world. The most common among the English speaking nations would be God. Yoga then, is the practice of how to unite oneself with God.
The Gods are the lesser divinities that are emanations from the Supreme All Powerful Transcendent Being that is outside the reach of normal human consciousness. This Transcendent power is known as NEBEDJER and is also called NETER. So the Neteru emerge from the Neter. This system of handling gods can be seen in all indigenous African religions, such as the Akan and Yoruba traditions. Therefore, Kemetic religion is a native African system of veneration. The lesser divinities are like training tools for the mind until it can develop the capacity to be transcended – and you experience God as one’s own innermost being.
Based upon this very brief introduction, the proper name for the Kemetic teachings of yoga would be KEMET SMAI TAWI. Meaning to unite oneself with the dark of universal consciousness. It does not denote an actual physical color, but the state of undifferentiated consciousness. People who follow this discipline are called The Followers of Nebedjer. In the Medu Neter scriptures this is called SHEMS N NEBEDJER. ‘Followers of God’. [Shema and Nehema. Neb-uchedn-edjer and Neb-Edje-Ra.]
This term is found specifically in the Papyrus of Ani, what is commonly referred to as the Egyptian Book of the Dead. [Coming Forth By Day] When it says to follow God, this should not be seen as to have a dogmatic view of the Kemetic religion and mystical training system. God is in reference to any of the Divinities of the Kemetic pantheon and should not be viewed as a personal God who exists outside of oneself. The teaching is saying to revere the sustainer of the three worlds, the physical, astral and causal planes respectively. Hence the understanding is to gain insight into the nature of objectified phenomenon so as to understand the ultimate cause of things.
Thus the term God is in reference to the innermost reality of the entire universe, which is also the essence of ones own existence. Also, the term Nebedjer is being translated to God but Nebedjer implies The All Encompassing Divinity, that which is beyond name and form. Thus Nebedjer is the Shetaut Aru, free of form, hidden of form, or formless. The term Nebedjer is an inference to that which transcends consciousness.
From a broader philosophical perspective Kemetic Yoga is a sophisticated system of personality integration. The human person is composed of four major aspects; that is the will, emotions, intellect, and actions. The will is harmonized by the practice of meditation, emotions are harmonized by the practice of devotional service, intellect is harmonized by the practice of wisdom and the actions are harmonized by the practice Ma’at (acting with righteousness). When all of these are blended then a well integrated personality emerges from the contracted condition it once existed as. This four fold process can also be found in Hinduism and Buddhism as well as Taoism.
Thus it can be readily seen that Kemet gave to the world the practice of what is commonly referred to as Yoga. However, among all of the mystic traditions there is no contradiction because the essential message and trainings are the same. Although the outward manifestation of the practice and techniques may differ and vary from system to system, they are all leading the human person to the state of enlightenment.
The African system of personality integration is among the family of legitimate spiritual traditions and as such can be practiced by anyone regardless of race or ethnicity as it was in ancient times.
Kemetic Yoga is a vast ocean of wisdom that was originally created to lead human beings to a realization that goes beyond the material expression of matter. What is meant by this is that the teachings are to lead a human person to a state of awakening that is referred to as the Tao in Taoism, but in the Kemetic teachings is called Nehast. The word literally means to awaken, thus the implication being to awaken to ones true nature, pure Divinity, beyond objectification. This idea is also expressed as Nibbana in the Buddhist tradition which implies to become free from the afflictions of generated phenomenon. This generation may be internal such as afflictive emotions and thoughts or outward such as stressful conditions in life.
In the Kemetic teachings to be free from generated phenomenon is referred to as ‘knowing real from unreal’. Thus the great implication of this is that Kemetic Yoga is a teaching that allows one to experience reality and enables one to discern what is actual from what is illusion. In Hinduism, this is called Liberation; that is, to become free from matter, and in essence implies the boundary where objectification ends and pure spirit begins; in other words to trespass the boundary of generated form into the realm of the Absolute. However, no such boundary actually exists as the world is a manifestation of the same spirit that is essentially formless.
Therefore, what we experience every day of our lives is a continuum of spirit in its many manifestations. The teachings of Atonism explain this clearly; there is only one essence in existence. Therefore, the meditative ritual allows the practitioner to experience the end of the pole that is spirit. This idea is clearly shown in the teachings related to Lord Tehuti from the city of Khemenu, which is referred to as the Kybalion (See the book The Cosmic Mind for detailed discourse).
However, for the mind it is necessary to explain things in concrete form rather than abstract for understanding, until the mind becomes purified to ingratiate a more subtle teaching. That is to say, to experience spirit the mind must become purified.
This experience allows the human person to become transformed in a substantial way and hence exist in a state or condition of enlightenment. The highest state of health is knowing oneself as the Divine. However this knowing is not through intellectualization, but transcends cosmic intellect itself.
Kemetic Yoga is a process of mysticism. Anyone who aspires to God Realization through serious study and reflection, or who has achieved union with the Divine is called a mystic. Mysticism is the study and practice of attaining God Realization. A mystic undergoes the process of gaining experiential understanding of the teachings. A certain aspect can be learned through books, DVD’s and lectures, however, the highest form of the teaching is what you gain from experiencing Nebedjer as one’s own self. It is an experience that goes beyond body and mind awareness, it transcends cognition and therefore is outside the realms of the powerful but finite mind. To effectuate the process the mind must be made pure through the successful integration of the personality.
Therefore, Kemetic Yoga has far reaching implications and the adoption of it as a spiritual program, under proper guidance, is a magnanimous undertaking that can yield Nehast in this very lifetime.
Peace and Blessings,
Sehu Khepera Ankh