Interview: Clan of Kheper Temple
As part of Occult Heritage Month here at PENTON we interviewed Rt. Rev. Raene Packery of the Clan of Kheper Temple to find out more about its beginnings and beliefs.
“I founded the Clan of Kheper Temple in 2005 because there was a need for a new Correllian Temple in Cape Town. (The Clan of Kheper Temple is a Chartered Temple of the Correllian Nativist Tradition and Correllian Nativist Tradition South Africa. The CNTSA has recently obtained NPO status.) As a second degree Correllian Priestess at the time, having taken a sabbatical from the active Pagan community for two years, I felt it was time to re-establish my group previously known as the Temple of Awen, under a new name, with a new charter, purpose and focus. There were no active Correllian Temples at the time and local leadership and mentors were lacking, so by establishing our Temple, we were successful in been able to help elevate South African Correllians to a level where they would be on par with the International Tradition as a whole.”
What inspired the name ‘Clan of Kheper Temple’?
“Our name was inspired by the Egyptian God Khepera. Khepera is said to be the name taken by Ra (Re) at sunrise or the birth of a new day; he is usually depicted as a human with a scarab on his head or as his head. Khepera means “To Become” and symbolizes the rejuvenation of life and the resurrection of self, thus coming into existence. More specifically, our coming into existence and resurrection as a Temple and our continuous evolvement as a spiritual family. My personal patron Deities are Egyptian so it felt right to honour them in this way. It must be said however that while these (my patrons) Egyptian Gods prevail as guardians of this Temple, we work with all pantheons in our practices and accept all forms of Deity.”
What are the core beliefs of the Clan of Kheper Temple and what makes it unique?
“We believe in Deity as the centre of all things and all things reflect the nature of Deity. Deity is both masculine & feminine, both Goddess and God, and contains within Itself the nature of all things. Everything which exists is part of Deity and has its origin and destiny in Deity through several incarnations. We believe that Deity communicates with humankind through many faces and names and that each person’s relationship with deity is individual and personal. We believe in reincarnation and that reincarnation is the method through which Deity expresses itself in the physical, through souls gathering experiences. We believe in Karma and that Karma is the system of spiritual attachments through which the soul learns. We believe in the three fold law and our (re)actions return to us until we have learned the lesson of the situation. We live by the Wiccan Rede, “An harm ye none, do as ye will”. Wiccan morality is about how you treat others and conduct yourself in life. We believe that magic is the conscious use of the powers of the soul, which has its origin in Deity. We believe that religion is constantly evolving to adapt to peoples’ understanding of Deity.
We are slightly more philosophical in our beliefs but ultimately share the same core beliefs and practices of most Wiccan Traditions. What makes us unique is that we are not an exclusive Tradition. Our members may follow other practices and Traditions as long as they respect our Tradition and practices when attending our rites.
What sets us apart however is our membership base and the calibre of our clergy training. We have a lengthy clerical training structure and our dedicants are assessed very closely both in theory and practice. (It’s hard work!) Our membership base ranges in ages but for the most part we attract more of a mature crowd – individuals that are serious about their spiritual growth and who are secure in their beliefs. This is in essence wonderful because everyone has something important to contribute and teach the other.”
So many Pagan groups come and go, what is the success that keeps the Clan of Kheper Temple going?
“I believe there are several factors that contribute to our success. Firstly, we are true to ourselves in our convictions and we are true to our Tradition. What you see is what you get. We don’t draw attention to ourselves by going to extremes. We don’t seek publicity but we are always willing to educate where necessary. We respect our path and our fellow Pagans and we express our beliefs as a way of life; it is who we are, more than what we do. We have a dedicated core membership, a structured degree system (published by Llewellyn) and support from the Correllian Tradition International. We adhere to strict training and ritual guidelines and we are a fun loving group of individuals that consider each other more extended family than fellow Temple members. Like any group we have had members come and go, but we believe that each person touches our lives for a reason; and when members do leave, we wish them well, mourn them for a while, and then get on with it. We have a great responsibility to our local Correllian groups because our role is to guide and empower them. In that, we owe it to ourselves and our fellow groups to always represent our Tradition and Temple in a positive light, striving to always enrich the Tradition as a whole. This is our motivation.”
Has the Clan of Kheper Temple played a role in the greater Pagan community in SA
“Yes, I would like to believe that we have.
- We have successfully organised three Pagan Freedom Day events in Cape Town.
- Our Tradition is recognised by the Department of Home Affairs and can nominate Marriage Officers. Our specific Temple has three Civil Union Marriage Officers in service to the Pagan Community.
- I have been interviewed on several radio stations and TV about Paganism in South Africa.
- Our Sabbats are open to guests so we provide a safe environment for individuals of the Pagan community to worship and meet with other Pagans.
- We offer recognised degree classes.”
What are some of Clan of Kheper Temple’s most significant milestones?
“Besides having our own legal marriage officers, organizing and hosting the first ever Correllian Lustration of the Ancestors on African soil with international guest speakers such as the Head of our Tradition was a significant and auspicious event in our Timeline.
Our Temple has its very own Elder of the Correllian Tradition at its helm…. ME! Our Temple has produced the very first African Correllian Elder – something to be proud of – what a great honour.”
Where do you see Clan of Kheper Temple in two years from now?
“Within next 2 years we will have the first ever public Pagan interfaith library in Africa with over 1000 books, dvd’s, divination tools etc., donated by Tradition members worldwide. We will provide more information as the project progresses.”
What ideals do you hold for the future of Paganism and other occult-orientated beliefs in SA?
“I have no doubt that Paganism will continue to grow, evolve and establish itself more deeply within the religious sect, despite the difficulties that may arise. We have become resilient and I think this has a lot to do with the fact that we have worked so hard to achieve so much and that we are starting to get the recognition we deserve. I can’t however speak on behalf of other occult-orientated beliefs.”