On Novemeber 22 the Kemetic Reconstructionist community was shocked to hear of the death of one of its foremost authors and ritualists – Richard J. Reidy.
Richard Reidy received his Master of Divinity degree in 1979 and, then nineteen years later in 1998, he founded one of the first Kemetic temples in the United States,called The Temple of Ra, based in San Francisco. Richard went on to found three more Kemetic temples located in the cities of San Jose, Sacramento, and Denver. He stayed personally active in the both the San Francisco and San Jose temples, meeting monthly for rituals and study.
In 2010, Richard published his book Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern World, which was hailed as the first comprehensive collection of key ritual texts performed throughout Egypt during the time of the pharaohs. At the time of his death, he was working on a successor volume to Eternal Egypt. This volume was said to include 30 additional Kemetic rituals. The Kemetic Temples’ family have said that they intend to complete this work posthumously in Richard Reidy’s name.
Richard was known in the greater Pagan community through the many workshops and rituals that he led at Pantheacon, a conference for Pagans, Heathens, and polytheists held each February in San Jose, California. He was scheduled to lead a workshop on Ancient Egyptian Divination at the upcoming 2016 Pantheacon.As news of his death spread through the Kemetic community, members began lighting candles on their altars and praying for his Ka, or Richard’s life force that left his body at death, so that it may find its proper home in the afterlife. Many photos of these lit altars were shared on Richard’s facebook page. Reverend Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa, co-founder of Temple of Ptah in Nevada, shared a formal liturgy that may be used for honoring the Ka of Richard Reidy:
May you, O Richard Reidy, wake up pleasantly and remain eternally. Every illness that comes before you will be driven away. Your mouth is opened by Ptah! Your mouth is opened by Sokar, with this copper instrument of his. Your mouth is opened by Ptah. Your mouth is opened by Sokar, and Djehuty puts your heart in your body.
A funeral for Richard Reidy will be held today in San Jose.
The Wild Hunt spoke to some of Richard’s friends and colleagues, who shared their memories of him and how he affected their lives:
Matt Whealton, Temple of Ra, San Francisco:
Tony Mierzwicki, author of Graeco-Egyptian Magick:
Richard Reidy was both my mentor in the Kemetic path and also my friend. His foremost goal in his work has been to further the worship of the Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt in the modern world. Though he certainly held strong opinions about how that worship should be carried out in our temples and in more formal temple settings generally, one point he always emphasized is that there is no one way the Gods speak to or lead us, and no one way to approach them.
He was available for any individual to call or email with questions about his book or how to get started with Kemetic practice – and was passionate about making his writing and talks accessible to people in a way that was as accurate to the ancient sources as possible without being overly technical. I know I will miss him keenly and will work to continue and expand the work he started, one more thread in the widening tapestry of Kemetic paths throughout the world. I am sure my Temple Brothers and Sisters feel the same way.
I had the privilege of knowing Richard for a little less than a decade. Richard founded the Kemetic Temple of San Jose and was the author of “Eternal Egypt : Ancient Rituals for the Modern World.” He was one of those rare souls who was both a meticulous scholar of Egyptian magic and religion as well as being ardently devoted to his gods. He also had a compassionate heart and always made himself available to those who needed advice.
Richard was a regular presenter at PantheaCon and TheurgiCon. We would attend each other’s workshops whenever possible. We shared a love of Theurgy, which is an ancient magical system leading to a union with the divine. We were also very drawn to the Egyptian god, Set, drawing our understanding of his nature from the Pyramid Texts, which were the oldest Egyptian religious texts. We saw Set as benevolent, aiding the deceased in their ascension.
I miss Richard and honor his many contributions, which will live on through those whose lives he changed. The heavens are one star brighter, now that he has ascended through the spheres one last time.
Soror Amsw, Denver Kemetic Temple:
Rich was the only Pagan author I knew who put his actual phone number inside his book. And you know what? If you called him with questions, he would pick up and gladly provide guidance for anyone new to the Kemetic path. I would not have been able to start my own temple without his mentorship. I have saved so many emails that he sent me, because of the wisdom found within. I am blessed to have known him.
Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa, Nevada Kemtic Temple
Holli Emore, Executive Director of Cherry Hill Seminary
Blessed Richard, Your friendship, life and commitment to helping others are deeply cherished, and you will be greatly missed. It is because of your openness and wealth of wisdom that Temple of Ptah Nevada has been able to succeed in its sacred work, and as a true friend you have left us a legacy to hold onto with love. You are now an Effective Spirit, and surely the Netjeru have welcomed you with gratitude for all you accomplished for Them. Thank you, thank you for everything. I love you, and will always honor your blessed memory.
[We will] hold the Sacred Fire for the Ka of Richard Reidy in our main Shrine. Our stela of Ptah Who Hears Prayers receives our tears and our petitions for the safe maintenance of Richard’s Ka, for his passage through the Duwat, until he reaches the Field of Reeds. For the next few weeks, we will have candles burning 24 hours a day in honor of Richard, who has now become an Effective Spirit of Ra.
The first time I heard Richard Reidy speak I was late, so I went to the front of the already full room and simply sat on the floor a few steps from his feet. From that vantage I could see close to a hundred people hanging on his every word, leaning forward with anticipation, exuding a love for the ancients, the neteru (gods) and this rather quiet, unassuming man.
I was very fortunate to spend some time with Richard on rare occasion (we lived on opposite coasts of the U.S.); for his generous and caring heart I will always be grateful. My first years as a Pagan were characterized by frustration as I sought teachers who would actually share with me. Richard has always been happy to share with anyone who asked, though he never sought the attention of fandom.
It’s not easy being a tiny minority within a minority religious group. Osireion is its own tradition, and not strictly reconstructionist, but Richard gave us a measure to strive for. He took Egyptian religion seriously, and because he did, many more of us have found our way to a richer experience.
What is remembered, lives.