Subsequent to my conversation with Cleopatra in which I said she was free to return to the priesthood, but that I did not wish to be her teacher, she returned to Seti and again complained that I was the cornerstone of female oppression in the priesthood. She declared that something would have to be done or she would leave. Seti, keen to encourage participation in the priesthood and foster a sense of inclusiveness decided to make her a high priestess and to agree to her request to set up a separate temple only for women. He had told her she could immediately set up a chapel for women to honor the goddess Isis, inside the temple of Osiris, until a new temple could be built. Berenike and I were somewhat taken aback by this decision as previously it had been agreed at a high priests’ meeting that promotion to high priest should be on the basis of demonstrated knowledge and ability. Amon however was totally fine with it. Horemheb rejected the idea to build a new temple immediately as there were no spare prims to build a new temple with and there was already another temple that was hardly being used at all.
I was confounded by Cleopatra’s assertions of my misogyny, frankly amazed that a person who had exhibited such serious Gorean tendencies (she had practically begged me to subjugate her when showing me the mural) was now advocating for a female only space. Being as I am not a misogynist, there is evidently a complex problem of not knowing the other that is evident in these assertions, of which I shall speak more later.
Cleopatra immediately set up a chapel to Isis in the part of the temple of Osiris that we usually used for our priests’ meetings. This is an interesting echo of ancient Egyptian practice, as Isis didn’t have a temple exclusively dedicated to her until the thirtieth dynasty, but rather was worshiped in the temples of other deities she was associated with1. I found it slightly annoying as it meant we had to find a new space for our meetings. Seti had not notified any of us that this new chapel was going to be set up. We just arrived one day and there it was. Horemheb or Seshemetka must have known about it as Cleopatra would have needed their help to remove the previous contents of the room. Despite our surprise we decided to go along with this new development. I spoke with Cleopatra that day and she told me that this female chapel was just the beginning and that she was looking forward to setting up a temple just for women. She assured me that she had many priestesses keen to join this new temple. As it was the first I had heard of it I asked Berenike if she knew anything about it.
Chat Excerpt – The Girl Temple Thing
Thutmose: do you know anything of the new high priestesses plan to set up an Isis temple? Berenike: The girl temple thing is a project of Cleopatra, who rightly thinks we don't pay much attention to the Goddesses. Berenike: But, paying more attention to the goddesses is one thing...separating out a temple at this point is, in my opinion, too soon. Berenike: We need more people committed. Berenike: Most of the ones who became priestesses are not committed. Berenike: But that is just my opinion. Berenike: The temple at Abu Simbel is coming along nicely...but needs one or two more goddess type statues...and would suffice for some time, if they were there... Berenike: but the female statues are harder to find. Berenike: Nebty-nub is working on that. Thutmose: yes, dividing along gender lines, or any lines, makes no sense when there are so few of us. Berenike: The lines are being drawn in the sand...between the females who just want to hunt for boyfriends and those who are pushing for more historical dress and behavior.
It had honestly not occurred to me before Berenike’s mention of it that people might be in a role play community and have their main purpose be that of finding partners. I knew that some members of the community seemed to be there for the purposes of dressing up and shopping, some for combat and some, like me, for reasons of interest in the topic area. I had encountered sex being role played, but I had no idea at that time of the level of crossover between avatar and meatspace relationships. I was only just becoming aware of the extent of the connection between myself and my avatar, so it is probably not surprising that I had not extended this knowledge to others.
- Wilkinson, R. H., (2003), The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson, New York, p. 149. ↩︎