ANCIENT EGYPTIAN METAPHYSICS
Many requests for me to do some teaching (largely from a book
that I am now writing on ancient Egyptian Metaphysics and Personal
Worship) about metaphysics, worship and the ancient Egyptian trad-
itions. To start off, I want to briefly quote some ancient Egyptian
philosophers to give you the gist of ancient Egyptian philosophy and
Metaphysics. The next note I enter will be on general comments on
ancient Egyptian metaphysics. The material I will use is NOT from
Masonic or Rosecrucian but from authentic Egyptian sources. In many
cases I can quote the exact sources, most are translations of papyrus,
temples, tombs, etc. Having studied the subject for 33 years, gotten a
degree on the subject, and working on the book for 10 years, I will
pass on some of what I have learned. All of the translations are from
Egyptologists and Archaeologists. To quote an old Egyptian philosopher
(found written on his tomb), Ptah hotep :
"To give a few words of Truth,
And what you make of Them will be your Test."
From the College of Priests House of the Temple of Horus at Edfu:
"The Lamp of Wisdom burns steadily,
If the soil that feeds it be reality.
If the oil that feeds the lamp be Love,
The beloved will meet the Lord or Lady
and be blessed.
(Lord or Lady means personal God or Goddess, ed.)
If the air that feeds the Flame be Truth,
The Breath of He who breathes will inhale Wisdom.
If the Spirit enters the Flame,
The Fire will be as bright as a Star."
Next little lesson; what is a hymn when I mention one or quote
one (which I will from time to time)?
The hymns of Egypt tell of the nature and workings of the God/-
dess they glorify. They mention his /her name and his/her ties to a
locality, allude to the myths and describe his/her appearance and
powers and attributes.
A occult tradition is like a journey. Before one ventures onto
any unknown journey it is best to have an idea of the dangers and
preventive protection. Ancient Egypt had 14 traditions. I will, in
these notes, outline them all.
To share another "wisdom texts" as the ancient Egyptian philos-
ophy is called: This one is from Kagemni, whose tomb can be visited at
Sakkara, as is known as one of the wisest men around.
This text is for a student in order for him to select the right
"He who is a Priest of the Living,
whom a Neter* favors
Like the Bennu on the Obelisk,"
Performs Right Actions without seeking a reward for them.
Such a Teacher lives a life of true piety.
He seeks no gain from any good deed he does,
But sets his Heart only on the Neter's service.
He has compassion upon all Living creatures.
He holds fast to the Neter's name and inspires
others to meditate on it.*
He accepts joy and sorrow with an equal mind.
He is always happy and never set apart from his Neter.
To him gold and dross are as one;
Nectar and poison are as one
The King and the beggar are as one."
* 1. Neter - Neter is the ancient Egyptian word, that we would
equate with God or Goddess. But Neter's exact translation is "Abstract
Principle" or "Divine Principle" and is not a male or female word.
* 2. Bennu on the Obelisk - the Bennu bird is the Egyptian
Phoenix, which lives in Arabia, and comes every 500 years to built a
nest on an obelisk where it lays an egg, and when the egg starts
hatching, it dies in its own flames, and is reborn from the egg. The
obelisk is the Egyptian symbol of the first ray of sun light striking
the earth, and when built, is usually covered in gold or electrum. The
top of the obelisk is like a pyramid and is called the Pyramidion; and
the pyramids are all representations of the suns first light on the
Newly Born Earth.
* 3. "He holds fast to the Neter's name and inspires others to
meditate on it." - In addition to the common name of any god, like
Heru for Horus, they also have a hidden name, a name of power, that
the priest/esses use in ritual and meditation.
PRIESTS AND PRIESTESSES
How did a person become a priest/ess in ancient Egypt?
Well, each family had their own family worship area, the size of
which is wholly dependent upon the size of the house they lived in.
More about this when we get into the path of the Aait-Shesheta.
Therefore, in each family, someone had to act as the family priest/-
ess. If the father or mother was a priest/ess, then he or she was the
family religious leader, in charge of the family rituals. If the
parents were not initiated priest/esses, then usually the Elder Son
acted as the religious leader. However, in some nomes (or states),
matrilineal descent (through the female) was a tradition so the Eldest
Daughter was the religious leader.
The only schools, including most crafts, were taught in the
temple colleges. A child would be sent to a college to learn a craft
between the ages of 6-10. If the family had a tradition of priest/-
esses then usually the children would go to the temple college to be
interviewed and tested for the priesthood. Exactly how the priest/-
esses at the college tested the would be initiate is not well known
yet, but we do know that usually the following priests would be
1. A Divine Scribe (reader and writer initiate)
2. A Prophet (who uses divination of some sort and inner visions)
3. A Purification Priest
4. A Priest of Anubis (or some other sort related to traveling in
Egyptian heavens (astral plane directly related to Egyptian
Every Egyptian temple had 2 types of staff, a magical one and a
working one (working meaning the scribes, bakers and people who run
the every day part).
If the would be initiate was found wanting in the magical staff
(called People of the Circle, which we will get to when we talk about
temple organization), the person may be sent back, or taught a craft,
or go into the working temple staff.
One of the first things that any initiate is taught is Egyptian
Philosophy, which is really less like Voltaire, and more like Ethics
and Conscious. The would be priest needs to come up with his own
ethics or philosophy before embarking on to magical training.
Therefore ethics and morals was the beginning of the training. If
one had to make a "Readers Digest Condensed" version of all of the
Egyptian ethics and philosophy teachings it would be; as one Egyptian
Philosopher put it (but not quite as well).
Do anything you want, but only in moderation, and while doing so,
do not harm anyone physically or psychology.
Almost exactly like the Wiccan motto : Do what they wilt, but
But to the ancient Egyptian, theirs also says, "don't harm
yourself, and don't go overboard on anything: Moderation.
DIVINATION OF BES, BAST, OR HATHOR
(from Leyden Papyrus)
Use a divining bowl of pottery. Use green or some vegetable based
ink. Preferable to use hieroglyphics, but try it a few times without
them and use english (but if you can, do as the Egyptians do) Write
your request or formula in base and inner sides of bowl using the
vegetable ink. Also write in either Bes, Bast, or Hathor's name three
times while meditating on the goddess and your request. (pick one
goddess, not all three)
Pour consecrated water in it to dissolve the writing.
Go to sleep
(If you can sleep in a temple, sacred area, so much the better,
otherwise at home, and record your dreams when you wake up.)
A divination bowl, in Egypt, was specially made for the purpose;
however, if you're not a potter, pottering around, find one out of
pottery, usable (no lead based paint or in the clay), about the size
of rice bowl. Consecrate and bless it, and viola, a divining bowl.
Back in those days, green paint was either a vegetable dye or
green ochre. They didn't use the ochre, but a vegetable dye would
work. Although I know of people who specifically prepare a vegetable
ink (macerated herbs in a small bowl of water), a food coloring would
be okey, but I would still suggest using a mortar and pestle and
grinding some herbs you specially selected, and putting it into the
food colored water and let it seep for a bit, and then use that. It
would definitely be closer to the spirit of the occasion. I know, next
you are going to ask, what herbs?
Well, the ancient Egyptians had comfrey and you can heal thyself
at the same time. Lettuce was considered an aphrodisiac, sacred to Min
(so if your request or question is along that line, add that); they
also used mint a lot.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF EGYPT
Egypt wasn't always a thin ribbon of life surrounded by desert.
From 200,000 to 10,000 bce most of what is now known as the Sahara
desert used to be verdant grasslands and plains with many trees and
several rivers. There was an accumulation of different cultures down
to 5,000 bce.
From 6,000-4,000 bce different belief structures, and both
matrilineal and patrilineal societies existed along the Nile, for by
then the Sahara was rapidly turning to desert and the cultures went to
the only remaining source of water, the Life Giving Nile. Agriculture
was already developed, and irrigation systems in use. There was
already predominant Goddess and God worship in these societies.
From 4,000-3,100 bce, Egypt now evolved into states, between
36-44 of them, called Nomes. From time to time, Egypt became united
into two kingdoms, the Upper Kingdom, from about Aswan down to Cairo,
with its capital at Nekhen, whose chief god was a goddess, Nekhebit,
the Vulture Goddess; and Lower Egypt in the Delta with it's capital at
Uatchet, whose chief god was also a goddess, Uatchet.
Nekhebit, the Vulture Goddess was an Earth Mother, and considered
very maternal (the type of vultures in Egypt are very maternal birds).
She also symbolized regeneration of life, from Death comes Life, as
the vulture is one of the few animals that can survive and mainly
subsists on bodies of animals that would poison others.
Uatchet, the Snake Goddess, was also venerated as protection from
snakes, and of fertility (snakes lay many eggs).
The two goddess, Nekhebit and Uatchet, Vulture and Snake goddess
became the part of the crown over the third eye, look at the two on
most crowns of egypt. Later, the snake goddess became associated with
the Serpent Fire of the Egyptian equivalent of the Kundalini, and it's
power came out at the third eye, instead of the top of the head (which
became associated with another god).
The worship of Hathor, Amon, Thoth, Horus, Bast, Sekhmet and a
few others have already been well established. Isis is yet to be found
The first three Dynasties: I
The 1st king, Narmer, united the kingdoms forever (after a brief
unification prior), and on the famous palette of Narmer is found not
only the Nome standards (our equivalents of flags), but the 1st known
name of Hathor.
The 2nd king of the 1st Dynasty established the right of women to
It was during the 1st Dynasty that a woman ruled Egypt, to take
that into perspective, if the US followed that, we would have a woman
president well before the Civil War. She was one of
the 11 women to rule one of the greatest civilizations in the world.
And it, like most of the others, was peaceful.
Rights of women were established. they could marry and divorce;
there was no community property; women could establish their own
businesses without a man's consent or cosignature; they could conduct
them before, during and after marriage. Married couples were con-
sidered co-partners and co-equals. Pregnant women, by law, had to be
taken care of by the husband or the police came and beat him up!
ANCIENT EGYPTIAN ASTRAL HEAVEN(S)
Ancient Egypt had more than one heaven, and most of their heavens
were subdivided into sections or parts akin to, and probably best
equated with the astral plane.
As the astral plane has many different levels, the lowest next to
the earthly plane, and highest sections up to and pass most of earth's
religions concept of heaven, the astral plane is like a onion with the
material world in the center, and the layers going outward (or inward,
or higher, or whatever). As most religions heavens are manifested in
the astral plane, they are also separate from each other.
This is also true in Egyptian heavens of the astral plane. The
Book of the Dead (a misnomer as the egyptians never called it that),
lists the sections of the Heaven of Osiris. As you read the book, you
also see that there is a specific way to get to the heaven and through
There is an ancient Egyptian writing from a scribe that says, in
effect: "If you don't use the specific directions to get to a par-
ticular heaven, you won't get there but to a false heaven."
As most of us are aware, the astral plane is composed and made up
of the thoughtforms of mankind and of the gods, hence, there is an
Egyptian heaven that was formed by the thousands of people who have
conceptualized it since the beginning of the 1800's, made stronger
through the Rosecrucians and Blavatsky's, and into the modern metaphy-
sical movement. But it is NOT the ancient Egyptian heaven. Hence, you
can't simply just astrally project in order to get to a real Egyptian
You have to follow the directions by the ancient Egyptians in
order to make it to one of their specific heavens.
You may even have to change your astral form to conform to a
certain type in order to enter. For example, one of the ways to get to
the Horus heaven is to have project to the Nile, and do certain things
in order for a boat with a hawk on it to come over to the bank and
pick you up to take you to the Horus Heaven.
One of the things you have to do, and not the only thing, in
order to get into the Heaven of Isis is to change your astral body
into the shape of a bird, a Swallow!
So if someone, no matter how much you respect them, tells you
that they dreamed or astrally projected to astral Egypt, they are
wrong, unless they know the specific ways to do it. The Egyptians
then, have a sort of astral lock on the proverbial doors to the
entrance of their heavens, and you can't just blindingly end up there
without the right keys to get there. I can probably safely say that no
more than a couple of dozen people in the last century have been able
to enter these heavens, and no one who has written a book about
Egyptian metaphysics has (including Eliz. Hatch who wrote Initiation;
who knows nothing about Ptahhotep).
The teachers are still pretty much in the Egyptian heavens,
waiting to teach the student who is able to get there.
Although the ancient Egyptians had the wherewithal to go into
drug induced states (they had mandrake and poppies for medicine), I
have yet to find one example of them using them for magic or astral
Astral sight was taught before astral projection, using tech-
niques that we still use today.
Several techniques that are used today in astral projection today
were also used in astral projection then, but usually, a priest led
the student in the first several experiences in order for the student
to get used to the experience and feelings associated with projection
to a particular heaven.
Therefore the guided trips were first used. Usually the first
trips were done in the temples (easier to do with all of the power
already resident in the temples). Some, like the priests of Horus were
also done by the Nile's edge, the student going into a sleep, the
priest astrally projecting and drawing the students astral body and
consciousness out doing what is necessary for the Horus boat to arrive
on the astral Nile, then going on the trip through the Horus heaven.
Sometimes it was done out in the desert.
Once when I was in Egypt, after finding a Eye of Horus between
the pillars of the temple of the ka of Ptahhotep, I went into the
Serapeum (desert underground chambers for the burials of the Serapis
bulls; talk about sensory deprivation! Light wouldn't go farther than
20' and normal talking didn't extend past 30-40'.) and in the Serap-
eum, while sitting down next to the stone coffin of one of the bulls I
instantaneously, and lack of trying on my part, astrally projected. I
found myself several hundred feet over the desert at Sakkara and flew
to the Nile and commenced on a trip to an Egyptian heaven.
When a teacher died, such as Imhotep, he went to the appropriate
heaven and taught from there (according to the ancient Egyptians, who
said that at that point their teachers on earth would astrally project
to the heaven to be taught by him). At that point, all priest/esses
called him Master, or another appropriate remark. Since apparently
there was much connections between the two worlds, the priest/esses
knew when Imhotep finally left the astral heaven to ascend beyond and
into the world of the god/desses. At that point Imhotep on earth was
called a God (this process is found in a papyrus fragment translated
courtesy of the French Institute of Archeology of Cairo).
Hence, if you know when Imhotep or some other lived, and know
that after death he was called a master, then the earliest time that
he, or she, started being called a God was the time he moved out of
the astral plane.
Some other traditions use the symbology of ladders as an analogy
of the ascent to their astral plane. Each rung represents a god or
goddess to invoke, the ladder is always held by two gods, which
symbolize the type of path being used. In some other traditions, there
was a way to ascend through the astral plane and into the spiritual
realm, reserved for the higher priests who have passed the Guardian of
the Threshold. These traditions can be found when you go to Egypt for
in some of the temples the staircase to the roof will have a god/dess
for each step, symbolizing those that you will need to ascend to the
Certain god/desses and spiritual beings can assist or deter you
from your astral trip.
THE HELPERS: Anubis is one of the best. Hathor is also great, for
she gives you magical power during your astral projection. The god Seb
supplies all a person needs to astrally travel in many places. The god
Seb, Shu, the goddesses Nut and Tefnut defend people during their
There was also the Souls of the West, Souls of the East; Lady of
the Evening, Calf of the Goddess (Morning Star), Souls of several
different cities for their special heavens; The Catcher of Gods, the
Divine Being who Examines Gods for Men, the God who Binds Gods.
THOSE THAT YOU WANT TO AVOID: The Unmentionable Terrible Serpent
(with Lovecraftian powers and would be great in his novels, like
Chuthulu or Hastor the Unspeakable, occasionally used in Black Magic,
which apparently was very uncommon in Egypt) I won't give you his
There is of course, Apep, Apophis, and a few specific to each of
the heavens, but are usually particular to the Osirian heaven (Reading
the Book of the Dead will give you a great idea about them).
A zoomorphic projection is when you astrally project then change
your astral body into a zoomorphic figure in order to get to specific
egyptian astral heavens. An example is turning your astral body into a
swallow to get to Isis's heaven, or into a hawk to get to one of
Following the Eastern Tradition of the astral plane, the Egyp-
tians have an almost exact duplicate of the concept. Basically it says
that there is a plane of existence between the realm of the high gods
and earth, called the astral plane, which has layers like an onion.
The astral plane is made up of the mind stuff of heaven and earth
dwellers alike and is as real as both. To the Eastern people, all the
heavens of all the religions are there. To both Egyptian and Easter-
ners, to get there you astrally project or out of body experience.
Although the Egyptians had a more elaborate version.
The Egyptians, therefore, which had several religious traditions,
of which Isis plays in a couple) had several heavens. These were
usually conceived of in layers or parts, corresponding to the layers
of the astral plane. In Heliopolis there were 12 layers or planes to
Each tradition had a different heaven and a different way of
getting there. The temples trained the people how to do it at home, at
the temple, or elsewhere.
Sometimes more than just the astral body took the trip, there was
also a spiritual body, the soul, the spirit and other forms.
According to ancient Egyptian practices, you can project your
astral body, soul, spirit, or spiritual body. However, there is no
ritual to do all at once, probably because it would kill the person.
Of course the sa is considered the spiritual power of a person and the
animating force of the body. As long as you have the sa and one of the
three (soul, spirit or spiritual body) you're body can still live
during the projections.
The Egyptians are the only ones that I am aware of (other than a
very few Native American tribes) that even project the spirit or the
spiritual body or the soul.
Altered state of consciousness was used in Egypt, usually by NOT
using drugs, although they did have mandrake, poppies and hemp (used
in medicine as an anaesthetic). What was taught differed by tradition,
and what kind of altered state differed also. For example: A scribe of
Anubis: Does he want to become a doctor/priest, a mummification
priest, or a priest/guide to the astral plane? If the latter, then he
is taught the basics of the Egyptian astral planes and how each one
differs, and how each tradition of Egypt has a different path to their
own. He is taught how to astrally project, and then his teacher will
project and take him on a guided tour. Eventually he will astrally
project to the Anubis temple in the astral plane and receive higher
knowledge from their teachers. Eventually he will teach others to
project, and lead them on journeys. No one except probably about 15
people know how to astrally project to an ancient Egyptian astral
plane. The form you take, the route you take, what you see determines
if you will get there, and if you don't know these things, according
to the Egyptians you will not reach the plane. Instead you will end up
on an astral plane of Egypt created by people who lived from the 1700-
1800's on, such as Golden Dawn people, Rosecrucians, Wicca people. Is
there an astral plane? It's up to you. I have my own opinion. My
opinions are almost always based on experts in their own fields.
ANCIENT EGYPTIAN INITIATIONS
The mysteries and initiations varied from temple to temple. In
the Lesser Mysteries of Isis there is preparatory instruction, medi-
tation within the temple and introduction to the sanctuary for par-
ticipation in a performance of drama of death and resurrection.
In today's society, there are many groups that give initiations,
but the initiation usually fails, and usually for the following
1. The group doing the initiation does not know enough to do one
successfully (usually through lack of full knowledge of their trad-
2. Incomplete preparation of the Initiate.
3. Incomplete preparation of the group.
4. Incomplete Initiatory Ceremonies or process.
5. Initiation Rituals becomes a bad play at best.
6. The people directing the Initiations weren't properly prepared
or initiated in their own initiation.
In Egypt, they allowed for self-initiation (but only for some
levels). All cognition, after all, comes from the inside. We
are therefore initiated only by ourselves, the master or teacher gives
us the Key.
In some Egyptian initiations the goal is the receive the Sa, the
innate virtue or power of the gods as a sort of fluid (or magnetic
fluid or aura). It is transmitted by the God's (I will sometimes say
God, but take it as either God or Goddess) hands through touch or
passes on the neck or spine of the individual. This operation is
called the Satapu-sa.
"The Summit is the Apex of the Mountains height, but there are
both Summit and Valley, hence, something exists which causes both.
Equally there is within you that which wants to lift itself despite
the animal instincts, and also that which wants to remain earthly.
Summit and Valley, are 2 powers manifested. If there were not these
two there would be only one. Since there are two
there are also all the others which sprang from these, the other
Neters or Gods/desses."
"One should pass through complexity in order to exhaust the
various possibilities until the awakening of the consciousness which
leads towards simplicity; it is on intermediate phase between dream
"If the essence and perfection of all good are comprehended in
the god/desses, and if you adhere to a more excellent nature, you will
obtain a union with them, the contemplation of truth, and the posses-
sion of intellect. A knowledge of the gods is accompanied with a
conversion to and knowledge of ourselves."
I'll let you contemplate that one for awhile. Written on the
college walls of the Temple of Horus at Edfu.
The Egyptian path can be considered (as defined by Frankfort) as;
1. Evolution = Ignorance
2 Destruction = Knowledge
3 Dissolution = Experience
4 Reintegration = Understanding
5 Integration = Wisdom
FROM: JANA HOLLINGSWORTH
Dear Michael, Not only was this the usual excellent note on Egypt, but
I was most impressed by your concise description of failed initi-
ations. You have touched on a topic only a few Pagans are willing to
think about. Too often initiation in Wiccan and other Pagan groups has
become a spiritually meaningless ritual, and the worst part is that
people don't even know the difference. Then there are all these
novices with no qualifications "self-initiating" themselves. I was
once initiated as a Dianic Witch, but it didn't "take." I never refer
to myself as a Witch or a Wiccan. I am a Pagan, and I don't need to be
initiated for that.
So many who use the name Wiccan
Could use, in the pants, a good kickin'.
A Pagan I am!
I'd give each dam
Self-proclaimed Wiccan a lickin'.
Jana, Pagan and Proud!
FROM: MICHAEL POE
Except for those very few hereditary witches, most of Wicca is
new (1940s and later) and as such, much of it is from books and people
who taught themselves from books and then taught others. All of the
spiritual exercises and goals that need to be done to be truly init-
iated are usually missing (unless you are lucky enough to be one of
the few who was disciplined enough to intuitively done all the right
things first. I have been to many Wiccan initiations and while a few
have been magical, none have been fully effective, and most have been
more like a Catholic mass, all pomp and circumstance and no magic.
That's also essentially true of white people learning shamanism, they
don't get the teachers that really know.
Ancient Egypt had 14 traditions in which the majority of them
were magical ones. After more than 30 years of studying ancient Egypt,
even I can't tell you about the proper initiations of several of the
traditions; but at least I now have the spiritual exercises and whole
initiations for some of the them and in the group that I am involved,
we have done a couple of them.
Most wicca systems that I am aware of need to spend more time on
the spiritual and magical development of the individual. Some ancient
Egyptian systems took a minimum of a year to two years of spiritual
exercises before the person cast their first
spell. The priests had the ability to make people astrally project at
will, for example.
It's also a mistake being too eclectic. For example, Mercury is
equated with Thoth by the Greeks and Romans, but while they did share
some powers and attributes, they were not the same. 8 track tapes and
regular cassettes both play music, but try putting a 8 track tape into
Isis, for example, is never invoked as a Great Mother Goddess
unless she is holding baby Horus. NEVER! I have seen many wiccan
ceremonies where they use the wrong Egyptian god/desses in their
rituals, or the wrong god/desses forms for the powers they are invok-
ing. Remember, that despite some current thinking that it's only the
association in your mind that counts, and if you want to invoke
Sekhmet with a knife (for example) as a gentle mother goddess, she
will appear as that; it just isn't so. This is coming from people who
have never been properly initiated.
the prevailing thought up to 10 years ago is that if a form and
function of a god/dess has been worshipped for thousands of years by
hundreds of thousands of individuals, including those properly in-
itiated, then that form and function will always override what one
individual or group over a few years may invoke. The thoughtform was
constructed in the Astral plane and is extremely strong, and a few
people who have decided that (usually through ignorance) he/she had a
different form or function, will never be able to compete with the
stronger form. Which is probably why many eclectic wiccan magic
doesn't work or work well. They don't know what they are drawing from,
and instead of trying to get the vast astral power out there to work
for them, it works against them, or else their own little power will
be the only power they will be able to tap into. Michael
FROM: BRENDA RYAN I was wondering about those temples that have been
moved, do they still retain the power. Is it in the temple building
itself or in the ground upon which the temple stands? As you know, the
temple at Abu Simbel had been moved during the building of the Aswan
Dam but I think you mentioned it one time as a power spot. Also, I was
more impressed with the temples and tombs in Upper Egypt than in the
pyramids and the Sphinx. In fact, the Great Pyramid was musty smelling
and claustrophobic so I didn't go all the way up. My friend thought I
was missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime, but I just wasn't
impressed. I didn't "feel" anything there. The tombs in the Valley of
the Kings were another matter. I felt completely comfortable going all
the way down in the tombs that were open and was much more in awe of
the whole area.
FROM: MICHAEL POE To make a short answer long, let me
respond by this: Back in pre-dynastic times, the priest/-
esses had no stone temples, they worked outside (or later,
in mud and dabble temples) and cast circles; hence their
name; "People of the Circle". Eventually they had temples of
sun dried brick, but still retained the name.
During the Dynastic period they were building temples
out of stone. Now the stone temples, if you have seen them,
are covered with figures of the gods and goddesses and
religious texts and invocations. The walls became the
psychic circle of protection and were imbued with their own
power. Despite the fact that the magical group no longer
needed to cast circles for protection from without or raise
power within (as the temples walls did that), they were
still called the "People of the Circle". Some traditions
just won't die! So, yes, the temples themselves, despite
having been moved, are still full of power as the walls
themselves is the stone circle of power. Now you might ask,
well, that makes sense, magic being used in them for thou-
sands of years, but what about the power spot it was orig-
inally built over, if any? Well, of course, the temple,
being built over the power spot and with all the magic
working in it for hundreds or thousands of years, the power
from the spot would seep into the temples walls. That power
would still be there if the temple was rebuilt. Remember
that the ancient Egyptians would sometimes take an older
temple apart and incorporate the stones into the walls of
another temple far away. That is the method of getting
stones already imbued with power and "precharging" the new
temple with power. So yes, any temple that has been moved
still retains it's power. Michael
Imagine if you will, a temple 2/3 of a mile long and 1/4 mile
wide, 6 stories tall. The courtyard, big enough for over 4 football
fields surrounded by a high, 2 story wall. You enter through 20 foot
high doors encased in gold into the courtyard at night. The courtyard
is done in highly polished black granite, so well polished that it
reflects the milky way. It is like walking in space! In the middle of
the courtyard is a full size tree, made with trunk and branches of
blue lapis lazuli, and leaves of turquoise. A dream you say? No, for
it was the Temple of Ra at Heliopolis, built around 1800-1900 bc, and
shown to Greeks during 500-200 bc. And if you think that was a truly
magical and awe inspiring courtyard, imagine what was inside the huge
covered temple that took up over 1/2 of the area! Complete with it's
secret corridors and chambers, etc.
Also, you are familiar with Egyptian temples in Egypt, but did
you know that Egyptian temples also existed in Lebanon, Syria, Greece,
Delos, Crete, Italy, Spain, France, Britain and Germany?
The ancient Egyptians in addition to doctors, also had special-
ized surgeons, psychologists, OBGYN's, midwives, vets,
brain surgeons (with 80% success rate in trepanning, dentists, herb-
alists, in addition to their botanists and ethnographers.
The Temple is the House of God. The Body of Man is the House of
God, therefore the Temple is the Body of Man.
(from temple of Amon).
In nature, everything is linked with everything else, and you are
a part of nature. Observe outside, observe inside, you begin to see
the relations between things.
The ancient Egyptians didn't worship animals. They had sacred
animals, but what they worship was the Divine Principle made manifest
in that animal. Hence, the Serapis bull symbolized the Divine Prin-
ciple of Strength. The Baboon of Thoth for two things: Society (bab-
oons have, among the animals, one of the most complex societies), and
of Contemplation (Baboons will sit and watch the Sun rise, among other
things). Horus with the Hawk, one who sees or watches the earth from
above, and sees it extremely well (hawks and birds of prey have a
binocular vision of about 7x
power); Hence the celestial Horus eyes were the Sun and the Moon. The
attributes of Bast and of the Cat is very close.
And so, to the Egyptian, while man is an example of ALL the
powers of all the god/desses; certain animals manifest specific
powers, and manifest them more than man. Hence they worship the power
behind the animals. Observe outside, observe inside, you begin to see
the relations between things.
An animal does not reason, it experiences directly. Man is
deceived by the incomplete testimony of his senses and his reason and
has allowed the instinctive consciousness to atrophy without having
learned to use his intuitive faculties which to the Egyptians, is the
wisdom of the heart. Therefore there are ancient rituals to strengthen
Raise your eyes to know what relates to the laws of the heavens,
Look around you to study the principles of nature,
Look inside you to determine your attributes, to integrate your
personality, and identify it with the heavens and nature,
One can cast your heart ahead on the Chosen Way,
then go and retrieve it, and let your steps loyally follow its voice.
The Egyptian Way of Life is of Harmony;
Within the All-Inclusive Unity of God/desses,
Nature and Society;
Man can move with Dignity, Safety and Happiness.
The Egyptian essential Unity in the conviction that man can find
immortality and peace by becoming part, or as one, with the perennial
cyclic rhythms of Nature, a recurring movement, part of the estab-
lished and unchanging Order of the Universe.
With the occasional exception, I will start posting notes on the
different traditions; The Ceremonial Tradition, the Philosophical, The
Arts and Crafts, the Hermetic like, the Wiccan like, the Alchemical,
Stuck in between will be the occasional hymn to a god/dess,
observations on astronomical god/desses; parts of man, temple struc-
ture, etc. Make any comments or questions that you want that are
related. Michael Ankh em Maat
THE PATH OF THE CRAFTSMEN IN ANCIENT EGYPT
One of the traditions in ancient Egypt was that of the artists
and craftsmen. All of the best artists and craftsmen were trained in
one place, the Temple of Ptah in Memphis (presently 20 min south of
Cairo). all other artists and craftsmen were usually trained at the
Temple or by people who were trained there.
These artists and craftsmen include: Architects, draftsmen, stone
workers (large stones and small), jewelers, painters, eventually glass
workers, dyers, (but not weavers, who studied at the Temple of Neith
in the Delta). All the architects and draftsmen who produced all of
the pyramids, temples, palaces, royal tombs, and even forts were
Have you noticed how all the men and women in paintings and
statues have a similar body? Unlike the Greeks, who wanted to show how
a persons body really looked like, the Egyptian were interested in
showing the "inner essence" of the person. Therefore only in the
background, the workers, and not the central family, are people shown
as they really were, crippled people, occasional starvation, over
weight persons, etc. Therefore the Egyptians were interested in the
"inner man (or woman)".
Look at a book on Egyptian art and check out what the god/desses
are holding or wearing. That is important to see what powers and
attributes are being portrayed. For example, if Bes is holding a
knife, she/he becomes a protector and avenger; if holding a sistrum,
he/she (it's hard sometimes to tell which sex Bes is), becomes the
God/desses of joy, pleasure, music, dance, and another kind of protec-
tor; if holding other objects or wearing other outfits, she/he becomes
a Protector of Women and of the Family, of Mothers. The same holds
true with all of the other gods and goddesses. Hence, Isis can be a
Mother Goddess or a Goddess of Women, or of the Visible World depen-
ding on what she is wearing or carrying. All of this is taught by the
temple of Ptah to the artists.
The similar thing occurs with amulets and talismans. Some amulets
and talismans are always shown in a certain color or always made of
certain material. The Buckle of Isis is almost always of red carnelian
or garnets. The Ankh is almost never down in silver (because the ankh
is associated with the Sun, and gold is the metal of the Sun).
The temple of Amon at Luxor is patterned after a human body; in
fact, in the sanctuary part, if you observe the stones in the floor,
you see that two different stones were used. If you had an archaeolog-
ical map of the temple with the floor stones shown, and color in the
darker stones, you end up with a huge side profile of a face! So the
Temple of God reflected the Temple of Man!
Ptah had other powers and attributes than just artists and
craftsmen (he was one of the Great Creator Gods), and was married to
Sekhmet (who was into other traditions including healing). Ptah is
also associated with the Science and Art of Alchemy. Their offspring
is Nefertum, the God of perfumes and aromatherapy, and of the Lotus.
As you will see in future discussions, more than one god/dess is
associated with a tradition. Ptah is one of the few gods who ever
since predynastic periods, was always portrayed as a human.
Remember that most of the popular literature is from material of
the New Kingdom and later periods. By then Horus was associated in the
popular ancient Egyptian mind as the son of Isis, and especially
popular as that during the Greco-Roman period.
RITUALS and RITUAL ELEMENTS
How many times do you get into a Book of Shadows and look at the
rituals? How many of these rituals are complete from opening or
drawing the circle, invocation of the four directions, blessings,
consecrations, invocation, and closing? And how many are incomplete;
in other words, missing some of the elements to the rituals, but maybe
referring to use a certain 4 direction invocation or closing rite? Or
missing complete elements; such as a hymn or invocation to a Goddess
but no rituals around it?
To the major ancient Egyptian temple colleges, the elements of
ritual were emphasized. A magician, priest/ess, magic worker
at home would end up with several invocations to the four quarters,
several closings, etc.
To the Egyptian; The Way of the Ritual; it's chief god/dess to be
invoked and the way the ritual is to be directed (weather magic for
example) will determine which other ritual elements are used.
Also remember that the Egyptians had generic ritual elements,
usually blessings, consecrations and hymns. A generic hymn to a
goddesses will have spaces in which the goddesses name, titles and
some of her powers would be included.
There were more than one set of god/desses for the four
directions; and even the direction that you started your ritual
changes with the orientation of the ritual.
For example; if you wanted to do a ritual for fertility of the
land, you start off facing south (the Life Giving Nile), then West (to
appease the desert), then North (symbol of fertility), then the East
(rising sun, cosmic fertility), then back to South. Naturally if you
are solar oriented using gods like Amon, Ra, Horus, and goddesses like
Sekhmet or Bast, you started with the east and work your way around
If you are invoking a goddess in your ritual you DO NOT invoke
the four sons of Horus, UNLESS it is Isis or Nepthys that you are
invoking. There are 2 sets of goddesses of the four directions, and
one of the sets would do better.
There are at least three different sets of gods for the four
directions, more, since Thoth has his own set, as does some cities.
I have a hand written 35 page list of powers and the god/desses
associated with them. It probably corresponds to a book listed in the
Library of the Temple of Horus called "The Book of God and Goddesses
and their Powers".
So a magician at home would have more of a recipe collection of
ritual elements rather than a book of Shadows of complete rituals, and
would have the know how of how to put them together. I have about
3,000 such recipes, from Astral projection to Zoomorphic projections,
including blessings, opening and closing rites, spells, divination,
consecration, initiation, weather, tantric, etc. The Pyramid Texts
contain about 700 more, and the Coffin Texts, over 1,200 more. Orig-
inal, not new.
The only fully developed cult of the cat existed in Egypt and it
lasted for over 3,000 years. No one knows when the cat was first
sanctified in Egypt.
Bast wasn't associated with Isis until the New Kingdom, about
1600 bce and later. When associated with Isis it came to be recognized
as the incarnation of deity, and it was the daughter of Isis and her
husband, the sun-god Osiris (Osiris was also a Moon-god) (Isis was
also a Sun/Moon/Earth Goddess by then).
The worship of Bast overlapped that of Isis, Hathor, Mut and
others depending on the district in Egypt.
Bast had a solar son, Nefer-tum (He is associated with unguents,
perfumes, aromatherapy, alchemy, Lotus) by the Sun God Amen-Ra, and
Khensu, the Moon God, by Ptah.
Bast or Bastet, was originally a lion headed goddess, associated
in powers and attributes with Sekhmet and Tefnut, and as such, Bastet
has powers of ferocity and rapacity.
It is her later cat-headed form that Bastet became so immensely
popular, although she never ceased to be worshiped as a lion headed
The earliest known portrait of Bastet was found in a temple of
the 5th dynasty, a lion-headed goddess who was known a "Bastet, lady
of Ankh-taui." One of the earliest forms of her as a cat headed
goddess is in a papyrus of the 21st dynasty.
Bast cult center was at Bubastis, situated east of the Nile
delta, and hence, Bast became known as the "Lady of the East" (also
because of her association with the sun).
She then, is almost without exception, invoked while facing the
East, and is one of the Goddesses of the Four Directions.
In the XII dynasty, Middle Kingdom, she had her own temple at
Bubastis. In the 22nd dynasty, about 950 bce, she was known as the
Lady of Bubastis and became an immense power in Egypt, due to the
Pharaohs embracing her as a national goddess.
The temple of Bastet has been vividly described by the historian
Heroditus, who travelled in Egypt about 450 bce. It stood in the
center of the city of Bubastis and was virtually on an island, since
it was surrounded (except at its entrance) by canals from the Nile,
which were a hundred feet wide and overhung with trees. While the
houses were gradually raised, the temple remained on its original
level so that the whole city commanded a view down into it.
The temple was a building in the form of a square, and was made
of red granite. Stone walls carved with figures surrounded the sacred
enclosure, which consisted of a grove of very tall trees within which
was hidden a shrine. In the center of the shrine was a statue of Bast.
Note: this is the only temple in Egypt known to have had a sacred
grove of trees in the center of it, and a shrine in the center. There
are other sacred groves, some with shrines; but instead of being
inside of temples, these are all out in the open.
Cats were found within the sacred temple area and were ritually
fed. Temple maidens carried cats or kittens in baskets. April and May
were the chief festivals and rituals for Bast.
All cats were revered in the Temple of Bast. Now the question is,
what kind of cats did the Egyptians have?
Orange stripped cats
A Tabby Type
And an Abyssinian (I used to do well in spelling!) type.
Of course, Bast is also associated with Lioness, so small cubs and
adult lionesses were also sacred to her.
Of the principal Egyptian festivals, that of Bast was one of the
most popular. Herodotus describes how, in April and May, thousands of
men and women set off on the pilgrimage in parties which crowded into
numerous boats. The voyage was gay if not positively orgiastic. Men
played the flute, women a type of cymbal called crotala, and all
joined in singing and hand-clapping. As they passed towns, the boats
drew near to the banks and the women shouted bawdy jokes, often
flinging their clothes up over their heads.
Eventually they arrived at Bubastis, sacrificing many animals,
and consuming vast quantities of wine.
Cats were portrayed in every conceivable activity, sculptured
every material from gold to mud, and in every size from colossal to
A orange brown cat is depicted on tomb walls, and so is a ginger
cat, and grey tabbies.
During the Bubastite period (XXII dynasty), cat cemeteries became
popular, and a huge profusion of cat amulets were being made.
During the entire time of Egypt, household cats were treated with
the greatest respect. Many of them were bejewelled, and they were
allowed to eat from the same dishes as their owners. Sick cats were
tended with solicitude, and stray cats were fed with bread soaked in
milk and with fish caught in the Nile and chopped up for them.
Cats love basking in patches of sunlight, and Bast was first
worshipped as a form of the sun, the source and sustainer of life and
light. Some of the Egyptians believed that when the Sun went down, a
combat of cosmic proportions took place in the underworld. One of the
legends had a persea tree with a cat with a knife leaping on a spotted
serpent and cutting off its head. During solar eclipses people would
gather in the streets and shake knives and rattle sistrums in an
effort to spur on the celestial cat and to terrify the threatening
serpent in their struggle beside the Tree of Life.
From the cat's identification with the sun arisen the "cat's
cradle", a name given to certain string-games. The cats cradle was
used to control the movement of the Sun through sympathetic magic.
Sekhmet was combined with Bast and Ra for a triparte goddess
combining the attributes and powers of all three. It was a combination
made for ceremonial magic only, as there is no public worship of
Sekhmet-Bast-Ra at an individual level.
Are you soaking this all in with no questions?
Remember the story about the cat and the Persea
tree that I just related? You should have asked
about the Persea tree and if this Egyptian Tree of
Life is or can be grown in the U.S. and if we know
it by another name. Come on, ask, come on,
come, after all, its the Cat's Meow!
There are two sacred trees in ancient Egypt. I
mean SACRED! One is the acacia (which varieties
grows all over the US.
The other is the Persea. There are only 2 variet-
ies of Persea in the entire world. One is the
Egyptian persea, which I have no idea if it bears
fruit. The other variety of Persea (which by
Egyptian thought would be just as sacred) bears
fruit. The other varieties common name is AVOCADO!
That's right, the avocado is a sacred tree of the
ancient Egyptians. So the next time that you are
preparing to eat guacamole, remember that you are
eating a sacred dip! The green avocado would
probably also be sacred to Osiris and any other
god/dess of vegetation. The ancient Egyptians
usually made their wands out of acacia or persea,
so if you have any of these trees, you can make
yourself an Egyptian wand. Also remember that if
you trim your tree, use the branches in the firep-
lace for a sacred fire!
To relate a story, true: When I was married my
wife and I brought home a tabby, and a very young
boy, about 5 came up and wanted to pet the cat. He
asked me what was her name, and I replied that we
haven't named it yet, what would he suggest? He
said Abaton. I replied that I would consider it,
thinking that it was a strange name for a kid to
come up with ("out of the mouths of babes...).
About 3 days later, I was going over a book of
cities and towns in ancient Egypt, and on a whim
(which I have a lot of), looked up Abaton. LO AND
BEHOLD, there was an Abaton in the Delta part of
Egypt. AND IT WAS KNOWN AS THE CITY OF THE CATS
WITH "TON" MEANING CITY, AND "ABA" MEANING CAT; OR
"CAT CITY" to us folk.
So our Tabby became known as Abaton, or Aba for
short. A year later she became pregnant and we
decided that in honor of the Egyptian intercalary
days (those 5 remaining days of the ancient Egyp-
tian calendar of 365 days, divided into 12 months
of 30 days with 5 intercalary days left over,
sacred to certain god/desses); as the kitties
would pop out (so to speak), we would start naming
them for the 5 god/desses.
Well, eventually here they came, Isis, Nepthys,
Osiris, Horus, and the last, a black kitty, Set.
Set died that night, the only one that didn't live
to a ripe old age. Horus grew up (a male cat by
the way, we named them regardless of sex; when the
first popped out, it became Isis; luckily sexually
matched their names) to be a hunting cat, who
would bring home live rabbits bigger than he was.
Nepthys, a black female, was a loveable, loving
cat who went to an excellent Wiccan friend, along
with Isis, who was occasionally disruptive, usu-
ally loveable. Osiris stayed with us and even
disappeared for a little over 2 months (close to
the 72 day mummification process) until we thought
that he was dead, but he came back and lived out
his life playing big daddy, master of his domain,
and approving the field mice and rabbits that
brother Horus would bring back for his approval.
They are all gone none, but never forgotten. I now
have 2 cats, a blue eyed, long white furry female
originally called "Popcorn" (forgive her previous
owners, Lord and Lady, they do not know better),
but now called Sheba (although, to be truthful,
she answers to any name). The other is a Calico,
previously named Nikita (little one in Russian,
and she is a little cat); now called Spook (she
spooks easily, still hasn't figured out shadows
yet, and doesn't come to any name called to her).
Sheba, by the way, will willingly join you in
the bathtub if you're taking a bath! In ritual she
just lays there looking bored, but Spook, ah
Spook; stays inside the circle and even watches
A LIMERICK FROM JANA HOLLINGSWORTH
The five cats of Michael were named
For five Gods of Egypt far-famed.
Each suited its title
In character vital.
A five-year-old boy can be blamed.
FROM LDE BLACK Cat Fancy March 1993 pg 13, at bottom.
A French scientist has found evidence confirming that the domestic cat
existed 4,000 years ago. During excavations of ancient Egyptian burial
chambers, Alain Pierre Zivie, an Egyptologist, found a network of
tombs that contained stacks and stacks of cat mummies. "Some histor-
ians believe the first house cats were wild with long coats," Zivie
said, "but these cat mummies have short hair and look much like modern
cats." Zivie made his discovery in Sakkara, 20 miles south of Cairo.
FROM BRENDA RYAN I have a set of hieroglyphic stamps put out by the
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Have you seen these? Are they useful at
all for actual writing, are they accurate translations, or are they
FROM MICHAEL POE The hieroglyphic stamps are very
useful, extremely accurate of the hieroglyph. If
using them in magic, be sure to bless and con-
secrate them first, along with the ink. You can
use henna as an ink. Michael
FROM ANDY BALESTRACCI Did Hieroglyphics play a
similar role in the Temple philosophy(ies) as seed
syllables, i.e., that symbolized and embodied the
first levels of creation(for lack of a better
word) such as the Sanskrit alphabet of Hinduism (&
FROM MICHAEL POE Hieroglyphics did play a part
in the Temple teachings, as symbols of the god/-
desses, of power objects, of inter-relations. They
themselves had power within them and the mere act
of writing them down (or using a rubber stamp in
today's world) would give the spell more power. As
for being seed syllables, I'm not sure; you will
have to give a few more examples, but there are
hieroglyphics that do stand for and embodied the
levels of creation, but not all of them were
syllables or letters. Remember that while a
number of hieroglyphics stood for letters, and
some syllables, most of them stood for showing
what the letter/syllable was for; so that if two
objects were spelled the same, another hiero-
glyphic of the object would be inserted. Example:
Aunt and ant. In Egyptian Aunt would have a female
human figure next to it, and in Ant, an ant would
be next to it.
FROM: ELLEN GUSTAFSON I was just wondering if you
ever checked out the Stele of Revealing and stud-
ied It in relation to Its time frame, etc. Crow-
ley's intent never was to reproduce the ancient
Egyptian religion, as you know. In fact, the
A:.A:. has as a guideline, that all cultural
references are incidental, not to be taken liter-
ally. The Aeon of Horus is a new aeon, and not
meant to return to the beliefs of ancient Egypt. I
guess that's the difference in perspective. The
Stele of Revealing is a funerary monument to
Ank-f-n-Khonsu, a Theban priest of Month,or Mentu,
who flourished, according to modern scholarship,
725 B.C.E. in Egypt's 25th dynasty. I copied this
from notes in The Holy Books of Thelema. There is
much about the Stele there. It is interesting that
in the Bolouq (sp?) Museum, the Stele was clas-
sified as #666! LVX, Ellen
FROM: MICHAEL POE That's cute, and very appro-
priate about the 666. Such stelaes of that period
were for protection primarily, invoking various
gods, including lesser spirits and beings, includ-
ing many that weren't in existence prior to about
1,000 bce.I have read Crowley's work, and unfor-
tunately, he doesn't know ancient Egyptian, and
the Golden Dawn, and A.A. knows very little; when
they do use original material, it is always Greco-
-Roman Egyptian, a usually decadent form of Egyp-
tian magic. Their interpretation of god/desses
forms from ancient Egypt doesn't always jive with
ancient Egypt's. That is probably because of the
both the Greco-Roman later period information and
their efforts to try to peg Egyptian god forms
into Cabbala Sepheroah. Crowley is NOT ancient
Egyptian magic. Even he acknowledges that his
ritual that he did in Egypt didn't work out right.
It's always potentially dangerous to try to fit
square pegs into round holes! Or for that matter,
try and change a religious tradition that was used
for over 4,000 years by over a hundred million
people (based on population estimate of 5-10,000,-
000 people at any one time, life span of 40 years,
or 15-30,000,000 per 100 years X 4,000 years.
Isis is also Goddess of the Sun as well as the Moon, so don't
invoke her unless you know what you are doing (what symbols she should
hold, what items should be on her head, etc.). Usually she is
invoked as both Goddess of the Sun and Moon at the same time, rarely
as Moon by itself.
IMPORTANT METAPHYSICAL SPOTS IN EGYPT TODAY
Since the Great Pyramid was built by the ancient Egyptians for a
king, Khufu, that is not an important metaphysical spot. Before we get
into an argument about that let me point out that the Great Pyramid
has tombs around it by the workers who built it and mention it's
building and its use as a burial place. There are also ancient Egyp-
tian records of the Keeper Priests who lived
there providing food to Khufu. There is absolutely no mention of it as
an initiation place, and beside the stone coffin, Khufu's viscera was
found there! However, Europeans are impressed by what is large and
commanding (it embarrassed the ancient Egyptians) and put greater
stock in the Great Pyramid than the Egyptians. Also what with the vast
number of people in the occult who have visited there, it now has it's
own aura added to it, and most people today can't tell the difference.
So let's list the truly sacred.
The Temple of Bast at Bubastis; Delta area. Although not much
remains there, it still exudes a feeling of serenity and peace there.
Center to the Bast cat tradition.
Memphis: Temple of Ptah: also not well preserved, but serene with
the ponds of water within the temple enclosure.
Sakkara: The tombs of Ptahhotep and Kaegemni are extremely mag-
ical, housing at one time two of the greatest teachers of Egypt.
the Labyrinth, near the Fayyum; Herodutus described it as having
3,000 rooms; 1,500 above, and 1,500 below ground that was so sacred,
no one but high priests could enter the underground rooms. Extremely
magical, and what is better, almost no tourists, even at the height of
the tourist season! Initiations took place here.
Temple of Hathor at Denderah. Magical place with secret chambers
and passageways, Initiation center of Hathor. The Zodiac ceiling was
found in the Temple of Hathor at Denerah (original in British Museum,
replica in temple).
Osirieon at Abydos: Center of the highest initiations of Osiris
(his tomb is located nearby but has not yet been discovered). You can
visit the once underground chambers where the initiations took place,
surrounded by a pond, with a secret passageway (now underwater) sup-
posedly going to Osiris's tombs.
The Ramesseum: west bank of Thebes; Luxor. Sit on the stone
throne of Rameses, feel the power, or go find the initiation chamber
there (the only one that utilizes a coffin). Highly magical.
The Temple of Hatshepsut, same general area.
Temples of Amon and Mut at Karnak and Luxor; if size impresses,
this will! The courtyard itself can easily hold Notre Dame! Too bad so
many tourists, but seek out the small temple of Sekhmet (but beware of
doing rituals there, Sekhmet is unforgiving).
Temple of Horus, Edfu: Most complete temple in modern Egypt, lots
of subtle power waiting to be reawakened, doing a gentle chant in the
sanctuary can be heard over the entire temple!
Temple of Isis, Philae; despite being moved from the original
island; still very magical, especially because of the surroundings.
Temple of Shahabu: The Egyptian equivalent of Tantric magic, it's
place is unknown, and even to the ancient Priests, it's location was
kept a secret!
Oracle of Amon; Siwa Oasis, where Alexander the Great went and
never spoke of his prophecy!
The great god Horus was one of the most popular gods of ancient
At least a 1,000 years before Egypt was unified a new group of
people entered Egypt called the Followers of Horus. Whether from
southern Africa, the Sahara are from the Red Sea area we don't know,
but they settled in Upper Egypt and opposed the Followers of Set in
the Delta. Eventually the Followers of Horus united Egypt and their
king, Narmer or Menes became the first
king of Dynastic Egypt, and the Horus name of the king started being
Who was Horus the Hawk or Falcon God? We are especially blessed
since the Temple of Horus at Edfu is the best preserved temple in
ancient Egypt, and on its walls contains such things as the different
forms and powers of Horus, the names of the books in the Temple lib-
rary, many rituals, hymns, and parts of the types of initiations.
First and foremost, perhaps, Horus was a sky god, whose right eye
was the Sun and whose left eye was the Moon, and where we came up with
the concept of the right side being solar, the left, lunar. Associated
with the hawk soaring over the land, and his eyes being the Sun and
Moon, came his attributes as "All-Seeing, All-Knowing", yet not inter-
fering unless he chooses to, or is summoned (like a Master of Falcons
summons his Hawk or Falcon).
Probably associated with the idea of a Falconer being protected
by his birds, Horus is one of the most popular gods of Protection.
Now remember that we have to speak in generalities, for Horus had
over 24 different forms with associated aspects, so invoking one form
would not necessarily get you another one of his powers (now you can
understand why I am writing a book explaining all of this fully!).
Horus was also the patron god of martial arts, and a couple of
his temples, and their colleges taught military warfare, strategy,
tactics, and all sorts of fighting, the officer corps or military west
point of ancient Egypt. this is one of Egypt's tradition.
Another tradition in which Horus figures prominently is Alchemy.
Ptah, Horus, and Thoth were the leaders in the Egyptian school of
Although Horus, during the New Kingdom and later was especially
popular as the Son of Isis, remember that that designation is only one
of his many forms.
His real consort was Hathor. and Hathor means House of Horus.
During one festival, the statue of Horus was removed from his sanc-
tuary and sailed down the Nile in all the pomp and circumstance re-
quired and was put into Hathor's temple at Denderah for a connubial
One of the most powerful forms of Protection Rituals in Ancient
Egypt was invoking the four Sons of Horus as the four directions, and
Horus as the Protector (and/or as the Avenger). In fact, the most
common form of invocation of the four directions was the 4 sons of
Horus; For women however, there are 2-3 sets of goddesses of the four
While the four sons are associated with various parts of the
human body, stomach, liver, etc., Horus himself is associated with the
Eyes (it figures, doesn't it?), but not the third eye (which is one or
both goddesses, Uatchet and Nekhibet). Sometimes used for astral
sight, there are actually two ways to get to his heaven, by turning
your astral body into a hawk, or a boat with a hawk on it.
Note that I will use the term god in place of neter, but if you
are goddess oriented, you can use that instead.
Early Egyptian saying:
Put not thy faith in length of years,
For the Gods regard a lifetime as but an hour;
A man remains over after reaching the haven of Death.
His deeds are laid beside him for all treasure.
He who has reached it without wrongdoing,
Shall continue yonder like a god,
Stepping forward like a Lord of Eternity.
God does not confine his favor to the prosperous and the
He bestows it also upon the poor.
His will is that they be fed and clothed, and exempted from tasks
beyond their strength.
That they may not be oppressed, and unnecessary tears be
From Rameses II:
The mortal person is a manifestation on earth of His Divine
Splendid actions and great deeds are worthy and precious to the
gods. but the tasks the Gods alone see- they surpass all.
The Ways to God are as many as the breaths in the bodies of men.
Quote from the entrance to the College of Priests, Temple of Horus at
"Knowledge is the Way to Life;
The Way to Life leads to the Way to God.
The Way to God leads to Inner Knowledge.
Inner Knowledge leads to Wisdom.
Wisdom becomes Life."
The Egyptian word "Neter" is neutral and literally translates as
"Abstract Principle" or "Divine Principle."
Ancient Egypt had no conception of the Ultimate as being either
male or female, for to them, the Ultimate Deity combined both sexes.
It's only when the "Divine Principle" starts descending down through
the planes that male and female deities begin.
Ancient Egypt, for those who don't know, may have had a god, or a
goddess as a national deity (worshipped during national holidays,
etc), and a god or a goddess has head of a city or nome (state); such
as Bast, head of Bubastis; but to the Egyptians, god and goddess were
CO-PARTNERS, were in reality none was above the other (exceptions
might be during certain festivals, or the Sun goddess rules during the
day, the Moon God during the night; that's right, many male moon gods
and many female solar goddesses!).
ps. Although that inscription was found at the College of the Temple
of Horus, it did not directly refer to Horus, or Heru by name, there-
fore, "Divine Principle" is the logical translation since they did use
the word "neter" in the saying.
EGYPTIAN RITUAL MUSIC
They used a 5 note scale, and had such instruments as lutes,
pipes and flutes, drums, zills, tambourine, and sistra. The sistra or
sistrum was the most magical instrument used, based on three hori-
zontal metal bars with round metal clappers sliding on them.
These were used by women only, and only during ceremonies and
ceremonial singing. We have made several reproductions, most don't
sound very well. But I was able to "rattle" an original and it sounded
wonderful. Something of a cross between a babbling brook and wind
chimes. Developed by the Egyptians to help bring on trance states and
whatever other emotional responses prior to and during ritual, it may
very well have worked, especially with half a dozen or more going at
THE METAPHYSICAL PARTS OF MAN
The material body: the spirits of the heart is called Hati. Of hear-
ing, Setem; of sight, Maa; of taste, Hu; of touch, Saa; of the mat-
erial body, Khat.
The astral or Inner Self: Setem, compassion, the ability to feel
rightly. Maa, justice, the ability to perceive rightly. Hu, command,
divine utterance. Saa, perception, knowledge, understanding. Heka,
magic. Ab, the seat of life, source of will and intentions. Ka, the
astral body; principle of the body and protective genius. Khu, the
intellect; low form Khu, highest intellect.
Then we have the Khaibit, or Dweller; the Shadow, the part before, at
and after the Dweller of the Threshold.
Higher up, the Ba, soul, sublime, and multi-leveled.
Next comes the Sahu, part of the spiritual self and is the spiritual
body otherwise called the spiritual body.
There is also the sekem; lower force; the power of forms, names, and
There is also the Sa, the higher force, essential energy of all.
To give you an idea of the complexity of it all:
Touch: Saa (Sia) god of feeling, knowledge, understanding, intel-
ligence. Personification of perception, to feel, to understand (comes
from Memphis and the Ptah/Sekhmet/Nefertum triad).
As Saau-ur "The Great Intelligence: the cognitive reception of a
situation, object or idea. Saau-ur is mentioned as early as the Vth
As Saa Amenti-Ra "The Intelligence of the Amenti of Ra" god of
conscience and character.
Sa is a god of protection within his functions and is associated
with Hu, taste. Oddly enough Sa is associated also with the heart. Hu
and Saa together are the Eyes of Horus. More importantly they are the
tongue and heart of Ptah; as such it is thur the heart that men relate
their lives to moral precepts, and to be craftsmen.
EGYPTIANS AND THE TAROT
The first Tarot cards known were found in Italy. A reproduction
of them has been done and is usable. I believe that they were nailed
to something. Perhaps someone can fill in where it was found and the
time period they were made.
Bernard Bromage, in his book, which I can't recall the exact
title of (it was years ago), but is something like The Secret Wisdom
of the Egyptians (I'll look it up). Basically the book is fairly
uninteresting as it relates to how ancient Egyptian traditions really
worked. But there was, in one paragraph, something that struck my eye.
In discussing, I believe, the Tarot he says (and despite not remember-
ing the title, I do remember the sentence) "The Tarot, of course,
originated from the Temple of Serapis in Naples, Italy." Well, here is
something specific. Now to find a picture or reference from another
source on a Temple of Serapis in Naples. Ancient Egypt did expand
their temples outside of Egypt, and had temples and sanctuaries in
Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, and other plac-
es. To make a long story longer, it took about five years before I
finally found a reference to the Temple of Serapis in Italy. The
reference referred to the excavation report done early in this cen-
tury; that the temple is now pretty much at water level, that the
illustrations on the wall were destroyed by WWII. That means that if
the Tarot came from a chance find, it would be in the excavation
report, if it came from illustrations on the walls, it would still be
in the report. A friend of mine was in Naples and took a picture of
the temple, and indeed, it was awash with water and the illustrations
were definitely not there. Was Bromage right? Did there exist a pre-
tarot illustrations in either wall form or chance papyrus? If true,
did it include the minor arcana as well? If only the major arcana,
what was it supposed to portray at that period of time? Perhaps the
path of the initiate as supposed today? And whose initiate; a Roman/-
Egyptian one or an Egyptian one? Where indeed is the excavation rep-
ort? It was printed in Italian, but is there illustrations or photos
of the illustrations? Is there a reference to cards or a papyrus or
manuscript? Are there English translations? How did the Tarot get from
a 3-5th century ad temple to 13-14th century cards? We know that the
Italians were interested in retrieving Greek and Roman statues and
works during that period; was that why and when the transition was
made? All of these things depended on finding the excavation report.
And if the report confirmed it, then did it mean that an even earlier
version existed in Egypt? Lo and behold this could take forever (like
this note is). But finally, voila! The French Institute of Archaeology
in Cairo found the report for me and sent me a translation of the
illustrations found on the wall. The report consisted of, among other
things not particularly germane here, of descriptions of the illustra-
tions, and a statue standing in the entrance. There are 20 illustra-
tions that were on the wall prior to their destruction during WWII.
Assuming for a moment that Major Arcana card number 0, which is
the fool and generally interpreted as the initiate starting out on his
journey, it would follow that, given the sequence of illustrations on
the temple's walls, that indeed the ) card would be the initiate of
Card One: Magician:
Found at the entrance to the temple, just inside, was a partially
damaged statue of the god Khnemu, and in front of him, an altar. The
god Khnemu is the only god in ancient Egypt that is shown (and even at
that, rarely), and applies in this case, with one hand pointed towards
the sky, the other towards the earth. Khnemu is the god of the Nile,
and since in the major arcana, water in the cards represents the flow
of consciousness, it follows that the flow starts from Khnemu, the
Nile (at least for Egyptians it would). The ritual equipment would
have been placed on the altar.
Card II: High Priestess:
The first illustrations, the first one on the left side is of
Veiled Isis (also one of only two Egyptian goddesses ever shown veil-
ed). The illustration was between two pillars, the lotus and a papyrus
pillar, and in the illustration Isis is seated, holding a lotus. Crown
of sun and crescent moon.
Card III: Empress:
The second illustration again shows Isis, this time holding and
suckling the baby Horus. Crown of Isis, the throne, symbol of the
maternal power behind the throne, etc.
Card IV: Emperor:
The third illustration is of a Roman emperor in Egyptian garb,
holding the was and flail.
Card V: Hierophant:
The next illustration is of an Egyptian priest, dressed in the
leopards garb, making offerings to an altar.
Card VI: Lovers:
The next one is of the unification of Northern and Southern
Egypt. The intertwining of the lotus and sedge plant, two Hapi gods
(Showing both male and female traits). The Egyptian meaning is very
similar to the card.
Card VII: Chariot:
Shrine procession, with two sphinxes in front of the shrine,
being dragged by 4 anubian priests and 4 Horus priests (in a Temple of
Serapis in Egypt, it actually is a chariot scene).
Card VIII: Strength:
The illustration is of the goddess Sekhmet, the Lioness goddess,
who is the Egyptian symbol of strength. The scene also has a priestess
offering a symbol of her heart to her (which is done after the bal-
ance, weighting of the heart).
Card IX: Hermit or Sage:
The next illustration on the temple wall is of Imhotep, the prime
example of the perfect man or Sage/Priest, with a scroll in hand.
Card X: Wheel:
The illustration is of the 7 Hathors, long regarded as the 7
fates in ancient Egypt and part of the concept of time as regarding
Card XI: Justice:
This illustration is a quite common one in ancient Egypt, the
Judgement scene, where the initiate or deceased is judged of his heart
(actions, etc.) against truth.
Card XII: Hanged Man:
This illustration in the temple walls, although badly damaged,
does show Osiris, who you may remember, was martyred, cut into bits,
put back together, etc., and who symbolizes resurrection.
Card XIII: Death or the Reaper:
This scene, also badly damaged, clearly shows the god Set (Lord
of Chaos and Disorder) with what looks like Anubis before him (the
Guardian of your soul, the Guide of the Initiate). The interpretation
works in well with our interpretation of the 13th card.
Card XIV: Temperance or Alchemist:
The illustration in the temple, damaged up to the waist of the
individuals, shows Horus and Set, which would mean in its broadest
sense, the tempering of one's bad traits with the good, the unifica-
tion from within.
Card XV: Devil or Black Magician:
This illustration is a classic Egyptian one of the solar god Ra
fighting Apophis, with a lesser scene of priests offering. In Egyptian
initiations, this is the part of the Dweller of the Threshold, and the
Card XVI: Tower or Lightning:
The illustration is of two obelisks. Obelisks, you may remember,
always stood in front of the temple. Obelisks represented the first
ray of light striking the earth. It would symbolize here the initiate
passing the Dweller and now ready to enter the temple for final in-
itiation for the first time, like the light hitting the earth for the
first time, the transition is almost complete.
Card XVII: Star:
The goddess Seshat and a libation scene. Priestess with two
bowls, one of water, the other of earth in front of Seshat, a Bennu
bird in the water. Seshat has many attributes, but she has a star as a
crown, the only one that does, and she is a consort of Thoth (god of
Ceremonial Magic) as well as being the goddess of Libraries and Sacred
Knowledge. The initiate is about to, or is receiving his sacred know-
ledge about the world, himself, and of magic.
Card XVIII: Moon:
Top part of illustration only, of Khonsi, God of the Moon, and
possibly of Thoth, also a God of the Moon.
Card XIX: Sun:
Clear painting/carving of the sun god Ra. flanked by hawks (also
solar deities, Horus) and the sign of eternity. Perhaps at this point
the initiate, now at dawn, is led out (or the doors are opened to
reveal the morning sun) with the initiate now in the light (symbolic-
ally and realistically).
Card XX: Judgement:
Illustration scene of initiate, hand in hand with the god Thoth,
being led away from the Weighing of the Heart scene. His heart has
been found true and just, in balance.
Card XXI: World:
The last illustration is somewhat damaged but clear enough to
show the famous Nut, Geb, Shu scene. This scene is of the goddess of
the Heavens, Nut, over the god of earth, Geb, with the god of space,
Shu, in between. This is the classic Egyptian motif of all the world,
heaven, earth and everything in between. The initiate is now one with
Now, although all of the above scenes are for initiates, this
could mean two things:
1. This is a "storyboard" set of illustrations of one, albeit,
long and very involved type of initiation.
2. This is a "storyboard" set of illustrations of a series of
steps and initiations of any initiate of Serapis and could conceivably
take a lifetime to achieve.
It is important to note that this room does not have one illust-
ration of Serapis himself in it! He shows up on the outside of the
temple in illustrations! The excavation report concluded that this
room was either a special place of initiations or a special place of
worship. During the 10th-16th centuries, when the Europeans were
rediscovering Greek and Roman statues, books, etc., this temple could
very well have been recovered and uncovered. In fact the illustrations
were partially still open to view before the excavation! I have traced
several temples of Serapis, and have been trying to get notes on their
illustrations as well. Two temples of Serapis in Egypt, one during the
Greek/Ptolemaic period, and one of the 19th dynasty also show like
illustrations, getting more and more Egyptian as the temples got
Did the Egyptians actually have tarot cards of the major arcana?
Not likely, as papyrus would be pretty much impossible to shuffle!!
But here is the initial result of my study, it took years to find this
material. Did the Temple of Serapis inspire the Italians to make the
Major Arcana of the Tarot? It certainly contained the elements and the
interpretation! Perhaps Bromage, who is rarely right, was right about
this one. Further studies on Serapis temples that I did seem to keep
the illustrations in order, but we do have a big gap between the
temple and the first known cards!
The tradition of Serapis starts from an early age, from the 1st
dynasty of about 3,100 bce with Seken-ka as the first master of the
tradition. In the XVIII dynasty Amenhotep enhanced the tradition, as
did XIX dynastic Khawmwese, XXVI dynastic Amen-em-apt, XXXth dynastic
Nectanebus, the last native king of Egypt, who ordered the spread of
Egyptian temples throughout the known world.
During the Roman period, Psoiphis and Chaeremon were leaders in
We have possible other sources of the ancient origin of Tarot
including the ancient book, "78 Phases of Ra," the Book of Gates (it
has 21 gates).
There are temples of Serapis at Alexandria, Naples, Rome, Mem-
phis. The nome state of Ament's capital was sacred to Serapis, called
Apis, from the pre-Serapis tradition of Apis, from which Serapis is
derived. There is a temple of Serapis in northern Amant called He-t
There is a temple of Serapis at Pithom (the Bible mentions the
city); a cult center at Mendes, one at north Meteliles.
Now, is the word Tarot actually Egyptian or a derivation of an
ancient Egyptian word or words? It very well could be. Ta and ro or
rot are two Egyptian sounds.
Ta = the following words:
thou bread, cake to give
staff (wand) this moment/time
land/earth TO JOURNEY THOTH
earth god time forms/likeness/image
essence of a god glory the
You also have the possibilities: tara: (long a) meaning time or
season; teru: meaning a god of light.
Ra, ro, or rot (no Egyptian vowels):
man chapter of a book a covered court
mouth, entrance, opening, door, gate
entrance to a path or road
sun, day sun god words, acts
storehouse or chamber
Chapters of Coming Forth by Day
" " Divine Rites
" " Mysteries
" " Praisings
So you see, if Egyptian, it could mean "journey of the road" or
"journey of time" or any number of things! It could mean "the glorious
road." Or it all could be just a coincidence!!!! It's up to you.
A LATER RELATED NOTE: To give you an example of the differences,
take the Strength card. That normally is depicted as a woman holding
open the jaws of a male lion, quiet strength in check. In the temples
of Serapis that corresponds to the illustration of the goddess Sekh-
met. Sekhmet is a lioness goddess, but is usually depicted with a
small mane! Hence, in Egypt, the female and male are combined into the
Sekhmet form. The Isis Veiled card is almost the same in the two
illustrations. Isis is shown veiled (one of two goddesses ever shown
that way), sitting, holding stalks of wheat and a container of water
in the Roman Serapis temples.
ANOTHER LATER RELATED NOTE: So far, there hasn't been found any
evidence of wood, stone, papyrus, or any other form of the major
arcana for use in divination. Note that many of the arcana of the
Temple of Serapis are common motifs, and as such, can be found in
clay, stone, papyrus, etc.; but never has been found in a group,
incomplete set or not. Perhaps to the Egyptians, the Major Arcana was
not a form of divination but the initiate's initiation or life cycle.
Divination was used in ancient Egypt, by both priests and people
alike. I have various types of divination by bowls, by oracles, by
dreams, by ceremonies. There is even divination by casting stones into
a certain type of decorated bowl of water. There is divination by
using a particular set of the popular Senet game. But, alas, none yet
there is a lot of information out there about divination and
ceremonies, but much of it, like I said before, is in German, French,
Arabic, and part in english.
for example, there is a two volume work on Senet, including the
divination part, but alas, it is in German.
See if you can get a book by Serge Saureon, called, the "Priests
of Ancient Egypt." although it is mainly during the greek period of
ancient Egypt, much has not changed.
if you look at the translations of the Pyramid Texts, the Coffin
Texts and the Book of the Dead (Papyrus of Ani, translated by Faulk-
ner), you would find that it is a lot of disjointed rituals put toget-
her. Most was not originally written for the dead, it was just sligh-
In the Pyramid texts and Coffin Texts, for example, you have texts
on astral projection, blessing tools, consecration, initiation, hymns,
etc. If you can find an english copy of the Harris Papyrus (good luck,
long out of print, very expensive), it is THE magical texts and divin-
I am familiar with the Church of Light organization in Los An-
geles. They are no help in assistance, as all of their information is
of Greek/Roman period and doesn't go any further back, and I already
have the Greco/Roman period down. It's true that Iamblichus did write
about Egyptian initiation, but the translations of his work do not
include any descriptions of Tarot-like illustrations. Unlike what the
Church of Light says, the translations are readily available. One must
remember that initiations done in the 4th century do not and will not
accurately reflect the initiations that took place in ancient Egypt.
Egypt took a profound change in the late dynastic period prior to the
Greeks, and even more during the Greek and Roman periods. Much of the
magic, mysteries were lost and new ones invented or gaps were sub-
stituted by current thought. It was a decaying period for Egypt,
adopting to Greek ways and then to Roman ones. The mysteries and
initiations became an echo of what they once were.
The Church of the Eternal Source, also in Los Angeles, on the
other hand, is a very Egyptian mystery oriented organization, but
centers around the Old, Middle and New Kingdom, using the original
papyrus and temple inscriptions for their mysteries and initiations.
But still, in both cases, their knowledge is limited by what has been
published and available. The translations and the original documents
about such things are either not published, or published in limited
editions and not available in most libraries. The French Institute of
Archaeology in Cairo has the most complete library of all published
and unpublished material related to ancient Egypt. I use them exten-
The Church of Light, on the other hand, uses adapted to modern
symbolism, not ancient ones. The Tower card would never have been done
in ancient Egypt like the Church of Light did it. In essence the
Church made up a Neo-Egyptian religion incorporating ancient symbols
and modern thought, when they just could have used the ancient symbols
as is. In other words, they tried, without much research, to make a
modern Tarot deck using ancient symbols out of place, rather than
making an ancient tarot deck using ancient symbols in place. Then they
think that this is going to get you in touch with ancient Egypt.
Wrong! It may get you in touch with modern man's (since the time of
Blavatsky) metaphysical idea of what ancient Egypt was, but to get in
touch with ancient Egypt, you need to use ancient Egyptian methods.
Kind of like getting a model airplane and putting it together without
a picture to go by or the guide to do it right.
THE INHERENT DIFFICULTY OF STUDYING
ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RELIGION
Throughout its 4,000 odd year old history there is no systematic
account of the doctrines used. Different men living at different times
do not think alike; and no college of priests had formulated a system
of beliefs that was received by all clergy and laity alike. 42 nomes;
42 religions in 4,000 years! Changes were extent, differences, even in
the same periods, were great. But all had one thing in common, Organic
Organic Totality: the physical environment, human organizations,
conscience, language and ultimate goals, all make up Egypt's totality.
Egypt did not have a central dogma or sacred book. But the one thing
that prevented them from losing their individuality and from coa-
lescing into a common unit is the belief in more than one set of gods.
The Egyptian religions were both personal and nationalistic. It was
personal to each individual or family; private, interwoven with a
sense of personal right and wrong, with a personal shrine or "niche"
in every house to their personal gods/desses. It was nationalistic
because usually the place of the national seat of government deter-
mined, for the most part, the overall thought of the period, the
morality of the period. The Egyptian religion offers a variety of
paths to the ultimate source by individual contact and tailoring
information and guidance according to an individual's needs and level
Three aspects of the Egyptian religion and culture.
1. Polytheism; all gods and goddesses are emanations or forces from
one source (although in each state, the one source may have a dif-
2. Actualization of the Individual; the development of the potential
of the individual was important to the Egyptian colleges.
3. Direct communication/relationship of an individual's surroundings.
The kings of Egypt had from three to five "great names" and Lee
mentioned only one, the Horus name. There is also the "nebti" name.
This name is from the Two Ladies, Nekhebet and Uatchet, and Pharaoh
becomes the force uniting the dual monarchy. This name goes back to
the 1st dynasty and is based on the two capitals of pre-dynastic
Egypt, Neken and Buto, seats of the two goddesses. The third name is
the "bee" name. "He who belongs to the sedge plant and the bee," the
"nesu-list" name, symbolizing the union of Upper and Lower Egypt.
Predynastic: According to Manetho, a race of people came into Egypt
and some became the founders and rulers of This and Memphis. The
system of solar theology arrived in Lower Egypt (Delta) as early as
5,000 bce in the form of the "Shensu Heru" or Followers of Horus. They
made their way to upper Egypt before the 1st dynasty. In predynastic
times there were two distinct kingdoms, Upper and Lower Egypt, with
their capitals at Neken (slightly north of Thebes) and Buto (in the
Delta). We have names of at least 12 kings of these two areas, al-
though the Book of Sothis lists 86 kings, and the "Old Chronicles"
There are several approaches taken by metaphysically minded
people of today about ancient Egypt. There are those who see only what
Edgar Cayce or something like Urantia has to say about Egypt, and
don't take the time to discover Egypt for themselves, or to see if
what they learned was actually true. There are those who have worked
beyond Cayce, and find a "pull" towards Egypt and read many books
about the subject. Unfortunately, Budge, the most predominant writer,
gives an unrealistic view of ancient Egypt, and many things are not
mentioned, such as personal worship, initiations, changes of con-
sciousness; therefore the reader is forced to rely on another source,
who may not know anything at all about Egypt, but a lot about meta-
physics and give you bum information. Elizabeth Haitch's (?) book,
"Initiation," supposedly an Egyptian initiation, bears no relation to
an actual Egyptian initiation and should be treated as fantasy. Then
there are those in metaphysics that like to practice the ancient
religions. Their approach is usually through another tradition, i.e.
Golden Dawn, or Wicca. Both of these traditions (Wicca having many
traditions and only some incorporate Egyptian into them) do not draw
upon real Egyptian traditions. The Golden Dawn uses Greco-Roman Egyp-
tian Tradition, acknowledged by Egyptologists as the period when most
of the Egyptian traditions have been radically changed by outside
influences, much already lost, and even hieroglyphic writing being
incomprehensible. The Wicca traditions take god/desses wholesale, give
them new attributes, new powers that they never had, have the rituals
in English, etc.
No one studies the Egyptian traditions from the texts, temples,
or tombs in order to find out how it works. Except me. Perhaps that is
because I believe in finding out about a tradition by getting it from
the original sources. And a major part of the problem is that although
there are a lot of books, they are for the most part, too general. To
find out what the Egyptians practiced, how, why, when and by whom
requires years of searching obscure journals, papers, translations of
texts, excavation reports (which have illustrations, translations of
what was excavated) of tombs, houses, temples, and how many people
have the time, money, experience to do that? Almost no one. So every-
one else makes it up or speculates about it. I am going to try to make
up for this loss by publishing a series of books on the ancient Egyp-
tian personal worship, and the Temple Priesthood. What was taught, how
was it taught, who did they teach it to, who were the teachers, how
were they qualified, where was it taught, what differences are there
between personal worship at home and temple worship, etc.?
There was a note about religions borrowing elements from others
and that it happened for millennia. Such is definitely not the case.
Granted it is easy to find a few that did, Christianity, Islam, Roman.
And granted it is easy to find more that borrowed SOME of its trad-
ition, but let's look at a couple of those.
There is no evidence that the Ancient Egyptian religion came out
from somewhere else. From pre-dynastic to the Middle Kingdom there
were only one or two examples where borrowing took place, but in each
and every case, they adopted THE ENTIRE SYSTEM. In fact in almost
every case of a pagan religion part of another system, they almost
invariably adopted the priesthood with it, or had the priesthood teach
them, Or made it a part but separate from the main religion. This is
totally different from today's pagans. Instead of being taught from
the priesthood of the other religion or adopting the entire priest-
hood, they take bits and snatches that they don't understand and adopt
Now it is agreed by both Egyptologists, The Church of the Eternal
Source (see Drawing Down the Moon), and many Hermeticists that in the
Late Period of ancient Egypt, the priesthood not only started forget-
ting the important esoteric side of their own religion, but started
adopting others bits and pieces, without the total integration that
they practiced earlier. It resulted in a almost total breakdown of
usefulness in practicing magic, mumbling now meaningless phrases, and
effectiveness in their magic and rituals.
One can count numberless examples of just how much one can be
effective when you only know a small part of the whole (kind of like
driving a car for the first time when the only thing you know about is
Also in ancient Egyptian, Hindu, Buddhism, and many American
Indian religions (and paganism in the 1950-1970's) there was a belief
that a symbol, if believed in by a large number of people over a large
span of time, is far more effective than a symbol that is used by a
small group over a short period of time. Does it not hold true that a
magical object is imbued with more magic every time it is used?
Thus, then how effective can a system be if it is 20-30 years old,
practiced by 500 people, using symbols that are either brand new or
misunderstood? (Like using a red pentagram for bring forth the earth
element; how less effective is it as opposed to a green one which has
been used by millions of people for thousands of years?)
Occult philosophy by these groups and many others maintain that
the more powerful an object is based on the formula: # of people using
it + # of years in use + the ability of the individual to use it + the
correctness in its use. The astral plane is exclusively made up by
just this principle, and it's this plane where much of the magic is
The effectiveness of the individual to practice his magic or
religion is also directly proportional to the abilities and effective-
ness of his/her teacher, and the degree of success in achieving the
goals in his/her training.
FROM MARK REYBURN On borrowing, syncretism is and was
common among many religions, including Egyptians, as you
note. It tends to occur most frequently in cultures with
regular contact with different practices. One of the Sun
Dances, I think it's the Cherokee, is supposed to be syn-
cretic. Who they got it from escapes me, my anthro classes
are practically history themselves by now! Selective borrow-
ings are, as you note, tricky things. But, we would be
poorer without it. And ceremonial magic aside, symbol use is
more free-form than most of us would prefer. Not quite,
words mean what I want them to mean, but symbols are much
more personal than the "Official" correspondences. The
"well-worn path" of symbol meaning is certainly helpful IN
SOME TRADITIONS, but is completely irrelevant to someone who
is using symbols on a personal level. Although less potent
magickally, religiously personal symbolism is much more
potent than time-worn symbols. Besides, how else do new
religions develop symbolism?
FROM DOMI O'BRIEN In ADF ritual we specifically note that
the more-- and the more of us-- that call upon the old gods
the more they respond to our need-- one is reminded of "the
old gods only sleep, you know, although betrayed and slan-
dered; they guarded us from every woe, and blessed each crop
and fine herd..." and, oddly enough, Tinker Bell-- if you
believe in fairies-- read DDW-- we focus belief, and will...
FROM GARY OHLEMILLER This is an interesting dichotomy I
haven't heard much about before. One group seems to prefer
the Bonewits/Parapsychological approach which holds that the
power of a symbol comes from the strength of association it
holds in the individual's unconscious. Mr. Poe seems to
advocate a Jungian approach in which the archetype exists
"objectively" and is waiting there to be used. Does anyone
out there have enough practical experience to tell us which
is more efficacious? I sure don't.
FROM MICHAEL POE In reference to what is more (?) effec-
tive or powerful, actually both together would be the most
powerful of all.
My little experience, such as it is, has been working in the
area for 20 years, bring apprenticed to an Havasupi shaman,
personal knowledge from four other systems, watching and
working with 3 other shamans, and personal tours to sacred
sites around the world. Go to a sacred site and see just how
powerful it still is, like a huge untapped battery.
Feel a talisman that was made and used 4,000 years ago, yet
still has as much or more power than anything you have
touched by a modern worker of almost any system.
I gave a 4,500 year old scarab that hasn't been used since
to a friend of mine who put it in a box. 2 months later,
when he opened the box to use it he found the box has been
burned from the inside out. (although admittedly that scarab
is an exception).
I have found that both ways can work, but an old cultural symbol
(in Jungian terms) is more in our subconscious as a type of
universal symbol, and will be more powerful and last longer than
a personal one.
Get the most magically powerful person you know, have him/her do
a circle ritual in a square area, and go back a month later and
see if you can find it by feeling for it. Go to a ancient sacred
spot that hasn't been used for hundreds or thousands of years and
feel its power. Which is greater? My bet goes to the ancient
one. More use over more time.
There are some definite misconceptions expressed here on Alchemy.
Alchemy is not about transmuting lead into gold (that was, at the
most, a test on your elixir), it does not involve using electricity,
it is not part of tantric.
One of the problems involved is that people get a tradition that
they don't understand and misuse the term until it loses almost all of
its original meaning.
Alchemy is a spiritual experience that is a combination of two
things, the transmutation of the workers spirit with the transmutation
of physical substances (which creates the Elixir of Life).
while in the broad sense that Alchemy is a transmutation, it has
no part in Tantric.
The physical and metaphysical process has always been described
in allegories, hence the confusion of work with metals.
In order to practice alchemy today, you need to read only about 2
or 3 good books on the subject
"Gold of a Thousand Mornings" is a non-fiction book describing
alchemy by a man/wife team in France. It dwells on both the spiritual
and physical aspects and describes the work that they did.
"An Alchemists Handbook" has a brief description of the meaning
and the "Great Work" (as it is called), and gives you in great detail
how to do the physical work.
In order for alchemy to work, you need to do both at the same time
as you need self transformation to work in order for the physical
transformation to work.
the chemical side of work delves mainly into herbs, and if you use
herbs in your regular work, then you will have real use with alchemy.
In the chemical aspect, the herb's essence is extracted (the gold
from the dross), as well as yourself (your essence is purified). To do
so, you usually need chemical glassware such as a condenser, or
soylent extractor. This is a typical operation when making perfume
from flowers or making an herbal extraction. The main difference is
that the extraction takes place with a magical bent to it. rituals are
done during the extraction process, timing is essential (astrological,
lunar, and solar, and seasonal timing) .
So, since you may already be familiar with blessing and con-
secration of magical tools, and putting power into them, a very
similar thing is done to yourself (an human vessel) and your herbal
product during the alchemical process.
also, there are two existing alchemical schools, one in France,
one in Utah (of all places!)
If you already use herbs in your other work, following this
process will net you much more powerful herbal concoctions as well as
a more powerful and spiritual self.
I myself use the process. One of the aspects in alchemy is that
one gathers certain herbs, minerals to produce an elixir that will
extend life (as one of it's benefits). but before ingesting it, an
alchemist would sometimes test it by adding a pinch of it to lead, and
if it turned into gold, then your elixir is finished and can be used.
However, turning lead into gold was never the end product for the
work, but merely a test. You can make other useful herbal/concoctions
without achieving the 'Elixir of Life.' Since alchemy is non-denom-
inational, it can be used with practically any tradition.
The source of the word Alchemy has had a lot of discussion among
alchemical writers and alchemists. Although chemy did eventually
become chemistry, the origin of the word did not.
The most agreed upon definition of the term Alchemy is this: Al
(arab word meaning THE) Khemia; meaning Egypt, which comes from the
ancient Egyptian word for Egypt meaning "black land" thus: The
since Alchemy does originate in Egypt, it makes sense.
The first alchemical work is called the Emerald Tablet, written by
Thoth, or Hermes Trismigistos.
the father of alchemy is Zoismos, an Egyptian.
the mother of alchemy is Marie, the Egyptian, who describes in her
works the actual equipment used. (the only person who does!!!!).
The Fellowship of Isis is the only group that I am aware of that
worships only Isis and is not a Wiccan group. Their headquarters is on
the British Isles but has many members in the US. They do, however,
use almost exclusively late Dynastic and Greco-Roman Isis rituals,
which many people believe are disbased and not well understood (true
of most of the Egyptian traditions at that time).
The Church of the Eternal Source uses rituals from the Old to New
Kingdom ( I-XXIst. Dynasty) and includes Isis. It is a federation of
Egyptian temples, so there are Priests of Horus, Thoth, Ptah, Pries-
tesses of Bast, Sekhmet/Bast, Hathor and Isis. And, oh yes, a priest
and priestess of Osiris. They are currently looking at an initiation
plan based on ancient Egyptian sources to possibly adopt as their own.
If there is a group by the name that the person mentioned, it may
be either a new Egyptian traditions group, or an eclectic Wiccan
Isis was never worshiped by Wiccans prior to the 1950's and should
best be worshipped by people acquainted with the ancient Egyptian
Traditions related to her. Isis went through many changes, adding more
powers and attributes as time went on. She wasn't even called a Mother
Goddess for the first 2,000 years of her worship.
Most people who don't know ancient egyptian traditions don't get
the response from Isis that they expect (or a totally different
response). Isis is very powerful, but exacting. It's always best to
know what power relates to which of her forms in order to invoke her.
One thing to remember. Isis belongs to several ancient Egyptian
traditions. As such, you won't be aware of her powers and attributes
unless you are familiar with the Egyptian traditions.
For example, as an Enchantress, she is invoked with a special form
in mind (holding specific objects, in specific positions, wearing
specific clothes). Not to have that form in mind, according to ancient
Egyptian tradition, is to negate your entire ritual, or to degrade it
(it won't have the effect as much as if you did it the right way), or
to have an effect entirely different.
Isis, for one, has many powers and attributes, and many forms.
Just invoking her in a different direction invokes a power you may not
be aware of. As such she can appear to be both benign or terrible (she
is one of the Dweller of the Door, or Threshold goddesses).
Even during the Egyptian period, 4,000 bce (predynastic) to 641 ad
(the closing of her last temple) she went through many modifications
and changes. She wasn't even known as a mother goddess for at least
It's too bad that people borrow god/desses from traditions that
they know little about, to use in ritual. If they knew the tradition
better, their ritual would be better.
There is also an Isis heaven to astral project to, but again, in
Egyptian tradition, you must know the way, the form to use to get
there, otherwise you go to a false one.
She also appears as an astral guide, but again, only assumes a
Unfortunately there is little written about how to actually prac-
tice Egyptian ritual (although the Church of the Eternal Source
knows). That is a gap that I hope to fill one day, having spent over
30 years studying ancient Egypt, worked there for several years in the
tombs and temples, and have the best resources available to me in the
term of published and unpublished material. I am currently working on
what could be
several volumes on the Theory and Practice of the Ancient Egyptian
Traditions (good title!)
INFORMATION ON BAST
from ancient Egyptian sources
Powers and Attributes of Bast:
Lady of the East (IVth Dynasty on)
Female Personification of Fire
the Light Bearer
Female power of Light, Heat, Sun, Fire, Mild Heat of the
day and Year
Power of germination of seeds
Power of early Summer
Goddess of the Birth Chamber
Goddess of Full Moon
Goddess of Cats
Bast festivals occur in April and May in her temple at Bubastis,
The Greeks associated her with Diana.
Bast was also used to learn words of power to vanquish the powers of
darkness (IVth Dynasty).
Bast attributes are also related to cats.
Bast had at least four different forms (and no breastplate related by
another, more contemporary book)
FROM BRANDY WILLIAMS Ref.: THE BOOK OF GODDESS &
HEROINES by Patricia Monaghan. "She originated in
the Nile delta, but by 930 B.C., the power of Bast
was acknowledged by all Egyptians. At first she
was a lion-goddess of sunset, symbolizing the
fertilizing force of the sun's rays. Later her
image grew tamer: she became a cat carrying the
sun, or a cat-headed woman who bore on her breast-
plate the lion of her former self." Bast ruled
pleasure and dancing, music and joy. At Bubastis
("House of Bast"), the center of her worship,
great celebrations were held. Boatloads of wor-
shipers - hundreds of thousands of them, Herodotus
said - were greeted by pleasant flute melodies as
they debarked for a worship service combined with
a vast trade fair. Bast's followers believed that
in return for this reverent celebration Bast
bestowed both mental and physical health.
As a cat goddess of the moon she lit up the night, throwing light
on things which would otherwise be concealed. Moon lights up a world
hidden in darkness, and the cat gives us insight with her light of the
under, or inner world. The Moon is the searcher, a seeker of Truth.
Bast is known as the Lady of Truth. Beams of the moon point the way
and a narrow path called a cat walk, usually called in Egyptian as the
Middle Way or Path.
When a cat curls up with its head touching its tail, it forms a
circle, symbol of eternity.
Bast also symbolizes sensuality, grace, coordination of movement.
Bubastis (town of Bast) also called Per-Bast, Pa-Bast, Pibeseth,
Location: lower Egypt, northern kingdom and capital of the 18th
nome or state, Am-Khent.
time Period of Bubastis: IInd Dynasty to at least 640 ad.
IInd Dynasty: "in the reign of the 1st king, a chasm opened up
and many people perished."
IV: Khufu (builder of the Great Pyramid) built here.
XXII: Libyans ruled Egypt here
640 ad: Bubastis still alive and worshipping cats here.
Temple of Bast on an island with only an entranceway bridging it.
There is also a Temple to Thoth, and a shrine to Temit. Minor gods:
Temit: Lady of the Two Lands and Osiris: the thigh of Osiris is in a
hidden chest at Netert.
Triad at Bubastis: Bast, Osiris, Heru-hekennu, and to a lesser
Invoke the cat Bast to learn words of power to vanquish the powers of
darkness (IVth dynasty on)
Bast attributes related to cats;
refusal to take things overseriously
science of relaxation, never waste energy
accepts the nature of things, superb indifference to opinion,
refusal to be at beck and call
insistence of complete freedom of expression
when a cat curls up with its head touching its tail, it
forms a circle, symbol of eternity
luxuriating sensuality, grace, coordination of movement
Egyptian cats are typically orange-brown, ginger and a gray tabby.
As a lioness, (her earliest forms), painted green, she personifies the
Sun. As a cat, she has connections with the moon.
Mother of lion god Ari-hes of Aphroditopolis, Mother of Sekhem, of
Bast is also considered to be the Soul of Isis.
Forms usually seen:
1. Upright cat, holding a sistrum and aegis, surrounded by four
2. woman's body, head of lion or cat, holding sistrum and either a
basket or a aegis (can hold uatchet)
3. Aegis of Bast sometimes has a head of a cat crowned with solar
disk and uraeus, emblems of Sekhmet.
4. Lion headed woman, oldest form of Bast. In 5th Dynasty temple
called, "Bastet, Lady of Ankh-Taui."
Also associated with:
Mut-Bast: personification of the moon in Thebes, she is a woman
wearing horns on her head with a sun's disk between them. Mut-Bast is
the counterpart of Amen-Ra-Temu-Khepera-Heru-Khuti
Sekhmet, as a counter-part
Assessor Thenemi (he who goes backwards) and who comes forth from
A good description of the Festival of Bast, called the Festival
of Lights, has been described by various Greek and Roman writers.
The temple of Bast in Bubastis, while on a island, is lower than
the rest of the city, and therefore, is the only temple that the
people can see into the courtyard. Also there is a sacred grove of
trees in the courtyard (the only one known of all temples in Egypt).
At the festival of Lights, all light in the city is extinguished. then
a new fire is made in the temple and the priests come out to light the
torches of the people who then parade throughout the city to relight
all the home fires. by the Greek/Roman period there was also a kind of
sexual license at the time at the festival. Food and drink for all
(which is typical of the temple festivals).
Speaking of cats! I had a request from Jennifer about Wadjet,
the rearing cobra, sometimes lioness. Good observation, most people
don't know that Wadjet is VERY occasionally depicted as a Cat. Here is
Wadjet, the cobra depicts two things: the real snake (in the prov-
erbial papyrus grass) with it's dangerous forms and powers. And 2, the
Kundalini, or Serpent Fire of the human body coming out of the third
eye! That's why the serpent is always on the crown or is the crown
over the third eye. It's also symbolic of the sun. I know, you think
that the Kundalini comes out of the top of your head, as Hindus would
have you believe. Could be true, but in Egypt, when one works with
Wadjet's fire, you direct the route to the third eye (the burning,
purifying fire), while redirecting a lesser (gentle growing heat of
the sun) to the top of your head (hence, the Lotus depicted on top of
So, yes, different aspects of her nature. As depicted as Wadjet
the cat, here is a dichotomy! Cats protect humans from snakes, so
Wadjet is also invoked to protect humans from her very own physical
manifestation, the deadly cobra.
As depicted as a cat, it shows her protection from her very real
counterpart, the asp. Asp and you shall receive! (g)
Now as to relationships with Bast/Sekhmet/Mut.
Think of fire and think of sun/moon. Think of opposing sections of
the same thing (burning fire, gentle heat; light of day, dark of
night) and you have some basic differences between Bast/Sekhmet. Have
you seen the National Geographic special on cats: our pets and how
they relate to the big cats. think of the attributes of the big cats
and think of Sekhmet; think of the attributes of the domesticated cats
(really, cats domesticate people) and think of Bast. The shared at-
tributes of Bast And Sekhmet are the same as the shared attributes of
big vs. little cats. Mut is a maternal cat, big or small.
Sekhmet destroys, but she is also a healer
Bast is playful, but also protective
When the Christians decided to kill all the cats in Egypt in the
700's ad, they did so. Two years later, the Black Death came out of
Egypt and devastated Christian europe.
Was this revenge by Sekhmet and Bast onto the Christian
population for destroying their physical symbols, the little kitties?
Or was it because the amount of cats kept down the rat population
enough that the Black Death (a rat flea borne disease) didn't come out
until the decline of the cats? Or both?
A BLESSING FOR THE DEAD
Having worked with the High Priestess of Sekhmet-Bast-Ra (and
taught most everything she knows), and member of the Egyptian temple
federation, Church of the Eternal Source, I have the information you
Since you don't practice Egyptian traditions, instead of giving
you a whole ritual, I will give you a hymn/prayer to Bast that is a
Blessing for the Dead, that you can incorporate into your ritual, plus
Bast is a goddess for the Sun and the Moon, but for the dead
Sunset is the best time; Night comes second, sunrise third, and
daylight comes in fourth for ritual for this.
Face the West, setting sun (or if not at sunset, either the moon
or the sun depending on you doing it in the day or night time.
If you have an oil lamp lit it; if not use white candles, and a
little votive candle. Bless the two white ones to Bast, the votive to
the dead cat.
Meditate upon the cats attributes; able to see at night, intel-
ligent, quick, independent, very maternal, luxury minded and sensual.
(if you have a cat, invite her in your circle).
Bast nefer dy ankh
Beautiful Bast giving Life,
A Bast, shu asenu
Hail Bast, in visible form, casting light into the darkness
sesept em kekui,
I have come before you, the path is opened,
the earth is at peace.
i kua ser-ten, uat sesh-tha, ta em hetep.
(Egyptian pronunciation is optional, but in ancient Egypt
was imperative to speak the language to create the sounds to
get the response.)
O Great goddess, Bast,
Soul of Isis,
Heart of the Sun-hear my call.
Enter now this consecrated shrine (or circle)
Make Thy presence known to me.
(envision the dead cat)
Aid thy servant in reaching the source of all things,
Guide thy servant's steps on the true path
Answer your physical manifestation's soul's desire for Thou.
Blessed be Bast,
Who gathers her children into life everlasting.
Blessed be Bast,
The Beloved of Bast has gone to the Horizon,
Your physical manifestation lives now only in the sunset.
May it's ka endure and it's shadow seek the light.
The power of Bast protects her,
Shut en Bast sau.
FROM PETE STAPLETON Michael Poe, I knew if I posted here i would
find someone who could help me resolve some of problems regarding the
failure of certain historical astrological techniques. The Egyptian
calendar I was referring to was the 30 day lunar calendar - the one
introduced to the Romans. To my knowledge there has never been an
Egyptian Solar Calendar. I'm sure I must have misunderstood your post
- or you may have confused my reference. So we will both relate to the
same calendar - I refer to the 360 day lunar Calendar composed of
twelve 30 day lunar months and with the extra five days added on each
year. This was the calendar discussed at the meeting called to discuss
what to do with the extra five days of the year - which resulted in
the Decree of Canopious - I think if was first published about 250 BC
or thereabouts - hope this helps. I am impressed with your EZ cosmos
program which shows the sky 4,117 BC to 10,000 AD - how delightful for
you. I wonder if you could tell me how such a program handled the
calculation past 500 BC - to my knowledge even Ptolemy's eclipse
tables only go back to about 580 BC - which suggests some problems
with calculations beyond that date - but I'm certain you must have
taken this factor into account - so could you help me understand what
they are? Certainly the meeting to account for the extra five days of
the year at that time must have been the reason why there is not any
contiguous record extant in the entire world past 580 BC. I would
appreciate your help here. Then next area where you have set me stra-
ight is the day starting with sunrise at that time. I know the marking
stars and the water clocks of that era all showed the day starting
with Sun set - but certainly you have a better grip of the details and
can explain why all the WATCHERS began their vigil and day at sunset.
I do think the evidence points very definitely toward the source of
the constellational names being that of river based culture where
there was a great inundation once a year - but since you make the
point that the Egyptians at that time didn't have the present names,
then what did they have - or what other river based culture was there
where there was a flood of the dimensions of the Nile river within the
Nile valley. The zodiac at one time on the ceiling of the Temple of
Dendrah has to have been painted about 100 ad and the constellational
names as we use them today were in existence much before that time. I
am also a little confused about your reference to Sign as being dis-
tinct from Constellations. There never was a zodiac of Signs prior to
the 8th century AD. All previous reference were to the star spangled
constellations - each precisely 30 degrees in length - each measured
by a precise 30-day lunation - again I refer you to the problem of
what to do with the extra five days of the year meeting. It is my
understanding that the Kings list and the dynasty lists are in com-
plete disarray - so how do you know these astronomical texts you
mention relate to the 18th dynasty. Also, I do believe the Pleides
were referred to as the seven sisters in ancient Egypt - but of course
I will bow to superior knowledge - I wonder if you could cite the
reference. As far as being the goddess of Fate and Fortune - the
influence of this particular pattern was then and is now considered
quit negative - bad luck.
FROM MICHAEL POE You are partially out of my league except
for the Egyptian lunar calendar, which was not made up of 30
days months, but 28 day months. Of course since the Egyp-
tians was made up of 42 states, 2 kingdoms, and at least
13-14 traditions, there was more than one calendar. there
was one based on the Sothic year (when Sirius sets just
before the sun rises, which is a 365 day solar calendar; a
Lunar calendar of 28 day months (which eventually coincided
with the solar during the "Sothic" cycle), a 260 day calen-
dar not based on any aspect of the sky, a solar 360 day
calendar with 5 "intercalerary" days. Their lunar calendar
was made up of 7 day weeks, while the solar had 10 day
weeks. Oddly enough (or perhaps not so oddly), the solar
calendar was the civil calendar for working, the lunar
calendar was for the farmers.
My EZ Cosmos program, which shows the sky from anywhere
on earth from 4,117 bce to 10,000 ad, can give me the
beginning Sothic year during ancient Egypt. It gave me the
date of the 1st day of the 1st use of the Sothic calendar
(which also coincided with the lunar calendar that year). A
friend of mine did an astrology chart that showed a most
intriguing configuration for that time.
In case you're wondering, the year always starts on
sunup, so the date was sun up at Memphis, Egypt at a certain
day in July, in a certain year. Of course the Egyptians
didn't, at the time, have the same zodiac names, although
they recognized the constellations. The first zodiac of the
common signs (or today's signs) in Egypt were done in the
temple of Denderah (temple of Hathor), a beautiful work on
the ceiling. Astronomy played a big part in ancient Egypt,
notice the astronomical texts of the 18th dynasty.
In case you are interested, Pleides was called the
seven Hathors in ancient Egypt, and were considered the
goddesses of fate and fortune.
THE TEMPLE OF RA AT HELIOPOLIS
The Temple of Ra in Heliopolis as described by Herodutus.
Probably the largest temple in the world, it was about 2/3 of a
mile long, and a 1/4 of a mile in width.
The courtyard was described as made with polished black basalt
stones, so polished that it reflected the stars above and made it look
like one was walking among the stars. In the middle of the courtyard
was a full size tree, its trunk and branches made with Lapis Lazuli,
its leaves made with Turquoise! No doubt a most impressive court-
The entire temple is now under the suburb of Heliopolis, a suburb
A small portion was uncovered 3 years ago, and showed the black
basaltic paving stones of the courtyard.
FROM: MICHAEL POE Since the tarot is not related to any Hindu
philosophy, I don't, and neither do the earlier tarot references,
refer to their philosophy to the symbolism, which is generally Her-
metic (Hermetic is derived from Hebrew, Christian, Greek, and Egyp-
tian). In hermeticism the eye is also symbolic of the Eye of Horus,
the Egyptian Hawk god, who soars over the earth seeing everything that
White, red and black also refer to Egyptian garments worn by Initiates
at least as early as the Greco-roman period and represents something
completely different than the Hindu. White is the undergarment because
it symbolizes the purified; the first garment put on after the
initiate bathes in the sacred lake. The red lining is for the Inunda-
tion of the Nile, or potential life giving. and Black is symbolic of
the black earth of Egypt, the life, manifested.
In the Waite deck, the dog also represents God, which it is if
spelled backward, nipping the initiate along the path, but in
ancient Egypt it is Anubis, the Guide and Guardian of the Initiate.
Right hand and left hand have always in Hermeticism been
associated with the Sun (right) and Moon (left), with the symbolism
and meanings associated with both (and corresponds to what was prev-
Actually, all of the early Tarot decks, from the very first found
in Italy up to the 1970's, reflect Hermeticism, and probably should be
interpreted that way.
However, currently there are so many different types of variations
that interpretations of elements may need to be referenced to a
particular deck. Hence, although, taking the Waite deck in view, the
Hindu interpretation of the clothes changes the meaning from the
original meaning of the card.
Symbolism of the tarot is not universal. For example, black
represents death (as a color) in Hermeticism, the tarot, and western
civilization; but in eastern civilization black represent life, and
white represents death. clearly a problem there!
Skeletons generally represent death or afterlife to western
civilization, but to some native american tribes and other people, it
represents power and not death! Hence, not every symbol in the Tarot
is universal or has a universal meaning. The tarot cards in general,
like Jungian's archetypes, are universal, but the individual symbols
Another example: the lightning hitting the pyramid and the person
falling off has no meaning with civilizations that don't have pyra-
mids, and little to most that do. However, did you know that the
pyramid in ancient Egypt represented the obelisk, which symbolizes the
first ray of light (lightening) striking Earth? And that the pyramid,
represents the top of the obelisk. that the obelisk were lightning
rods? Pyramid in ancient Egyptian language means "Place to Ascend",
whereas the card shows the person falling off after being struck by
the first ray of light!
Now, as to the left/right hand depictions. Of course in the
earlier decks the Magician does not hold all four elements, but are
located on the table.
The Ace of cups, representing water, is not feminine in ancient
Egypt; it is either masculine or both. Wands are neuter (the word for
wand is neither male or female), earth can be either male or female,
and air is male (while heaven is female). In fact the variety of male,
female, neutral of the elements vary greatly in shamanistic religions
of the Native Americans. But it is Hermeticism, which combines the
Hebrew, Christian (more accurately Gnostic/Coptic), Egyptian and
Greek, than assigns our present meanings to the four elements and
Since the earliest deck is Italian of the 14-15th century, the
major influence would have been Hermeticism, not Hindu or other
eastern religion. Bernard Bromage builds a decent case for Egyptian
origin, which I explored in previous notes (did you see it, the
symbols were so close that there had to be an influence). One may
expect some Arab/Islamic influence (the Crusades were over), but the
interest in Greek/Roman art and writers were great at that time.
MIXED PANTHEONS, ETC.
Pan is not Bacchus, or the great horned god of Europe.
Despite the eclectic mind of today's Wiccan, that is of associat-
ing all male gods with each other and all female gods with each other,
is a disservice to both the god/dess and to the tradition.
Ancient Egyptian traditions (of which there were a dozen or more)
taught that you don't mix gods and goddesses indiscriminately, even if
they do share SOME attributes or powers. Their "High Concept" was that
even any one god/dess has several powers and to invoke specific powers
required the knowledge of what sacred symbols are associated with that
power, even if he/she (the god/dess) should be sitting down or stand-
ing up, the ritual done in daylight or nighttime. Many shamastic
religions don't mix and match their god/desses, don't do sun god/des-
ses at night and vice versa. The thoughts or reasons behind it is that
mixing and matching causes:
a. The ritual will not be as effective.
b. The ritual may not be effective.
c. The ritual or the residue afterward will have powers that weren't
intentioned by the person, but was part and parcel to the god/dess
d. The ritual will backfire.
e. The ritual will have residue that will be uncomfortable.
f. It's warps the lines of power (more shamanistic thinking than
Egyptian, who says that it warps the Sa, which translates as spiritual
Many shamanistic religions do not ground their power after the
ritual (after all, it usually is being held at a sacred spot). They
feel that either because the power will be contained at the power
spot, or the powers you invoked were clear enough not to leave a side
effect. Still, I am not proposing to not ground yourself afterward.
So, what I do propose is to not try to associate one god/dess
with another. None of them will have the exact same attributes or
powers. And invoking Pan and Bacchus at an Egyptian temple, or Pan at
Stonehenge is just as bad as invoking Gabriel at the Great Pyramid!
It won't work, you won't get the power from the spot you want, only
your own, or negative power.
Isis, for instance is considered by most Wiccan's as one of the
Great Mother Goddesses. yet in ancient Egypt, out of her 3,000 year
history, most of the time she was not known as a Mother Goddesses.
At the Church of the Eternal Source (federation of Egyptian
temples) Isis Priest/esses rarely held out for very long. All kind of
terrible things generally happened to them. The main reason is that
all of them used part of Isis's powers, and would not work, or refused
to recognize her other powers. Eventually though, they seeped in
anyway and to their detriment. Had they recognized all of her powers
in the first place, things might have been different.
Perhaps your basic misconception is that all goddesses represent
the same forces; they don't; and neither do the gods.
Yes, basically there is one great force that encompasses both
male and female powers. This basic force, as it filters down, dif-
ferentiates into different types of forces, and these forces are the
god/desses that we know.
Isis doesn't have the same powers as Sekhmet or Hathor or Bast.
they may share some of the powers, but they have powers unique to
Kind of like Leonardo De Vinci knowing a lot about everything, but
Cellini was an excellent goldsmith, Van Gogh a painter, Perot a
Hence, not all goddesses are the same, nor do they have the same
You might consider it like rivers and oceans in reverse. The ocean
has all the attributes, and it drains it attributes into separate
rivers (some swift, some calm, some wide, some narrow, some short,
In Egypt the ultimate deity was called "Neter", which translates
as "Divine Principle" and the work is neuter, having both male and
female principles within. The next in order is a male neter and a
neteriat, a god and a goddess. Below that comes numerous god/desses
which more specific powers and attributes.
Now the question is, where these receptacles of specific powers
invented by mankind or higher powers? In the long run, it doesn't
matter as long as they work.
Patheonists generally believe that there was a highest deity,
followed by two (male and female), followed by others down to the
spirits of earth, air, fire and water.
If you want to make use of a specific power, you should go to a
specific spirit or god/dess who has that power. You may not have a
great success with one who only has some of it, or is so undefined or
has so many other powers that it may get a little lost.
If you want spicy food, don't go with a mole sauce, go for a
Also it seems that the further away from the highest deity to get,
the closer and more responsive it is to you.
You may find that you get a better response with a fire ritual
when using a fire elemental than of Sekhmet, and even less than using
Amon (a solar god).
Unfortunately the entry for "Ankh" in Barbara Walker's "Women's
Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets" got just about everything wrong.
The ankh is not evolved from an ancient symbol of the Goddess in
Libya and Phoenicia; the narrow triangle surmounted by a crossbar and
a round or oval head in both Libya and Phoenic evolved long after the
standard Egyptian ankh was made. In fact, it wasn't until after the
ancient Egyptians either conquered or did extensive trading with both
areas did their symbols evolve.
Well, maybe the book didn't get it all wrong. It is a symbol for
life (although not universal, for universal means that it was used
universally or all over the world, and it isn't). It is true that both
gods and goddesses in ancient Egypt held it, but they never presented
it to kings and the people, the scenes show the god/dess holding it to
the person's lips or head (which means bestowing life, and was not a
present). the part about the Christians is true, and it's true that
the ankh is the hieroglyph for the word "life", and is used in a
common saying "Life, Health, Strength."
But the ancient Egyptians never said that the ankh represented
the union of male and female sexual symbols (which were quite dif-
ferent symbols and bore no relation to the ankh, or resemblance to
it). It was not the "Key of the Nile" (except maybe it was mentioned
by the Greeks, who got most everything wrong about Egypt), nor is
there any sacred marriage between God and Goddess taking place at the
source of the Nile before the flood. In fact, in all of the Egyptian
mythologies there is not one mention of any God and Goddess being
married at the source of the Nile.
the copts and the Gnostics both used the Ankh or Crux Ansate
(Coptic word) before the 5th century ad, and both are Christian (well,
an argument can be made about the Gnostics being Christians).
The question is then: what did the ancient Egyptians consider the
ankh representation? There are two ancient Egyptian references to the
ankh representation, and both agree.
The round oval or loop represented the Sun rising above, but not
yet above the horizon; in the desert that makes the Sun elongate next
to the horizon, making a loop like affair.
The crossbar represents the horizon.
The vertical section below the crossbar is the "Path of the Sun",
which would be the light casting a path across the Nile.
Hence, the Ankh represents Life because it represents the Path
across the Nile (life blood of Egypt, but oddly enough the Nile is
either male or hermaphrodite) past the horizon to the Sun (which,
depending on the traditions of Egypt can be either male or female, but
The most ancient ankhs cross bar was actually the symbol of the
two mountains of sunrise and sunset (life and death, east and west),
and also consisted of papyrus (or some other plant tied together).
Taken as the two mountains, then the ankh represents the path of
birth, life, and death. It never had male or female attributes, but as
the path of birth, life and death, represents both.
CO-PARTNERSHIP IN ANCIENT EGYPT
The goddess dominated group seem to be the most outspoken in the
*p* BBS, and it's a good thing that this particular subject was
broached, as all the co-partner groups have come out (and alleviated
the possible false impression that Wicca was just goddess oriented to
those who are new).
Horned gods in Egypt include Amon, Menthu, Serapis, Sokar.
Since at the inception of ancient egypt, 42 different societies
were involved in the consolidation of the kingdom (later to become
nomes or states), and these societies were patrilineal or matrilineal,
accommodation had to be made for both, so laws were passed making male
and females equal. It was the 2nd King of the 1st Dynasty (around
3,070 bce) that passed a law that women could rule Egypt.
Here they are, with the dynasties that they belonged.
1. Ist Dyn. Merneith
2. " Horneith
3. IV " Henutsen
4. V " Inty
5. VI " Ankhsenmerira
6. " Nitrokris (Noblest and Loveliest)
7. VII queen, name unknown
8. VII queen, name unknown
9. XII Sebek-neferu-Ra
10. XIII Aufna
11. XVIII Hatshepsut
12. Ptolemiac Period Cleopatra II
13. " " Cleopatra III
14. " " Cleopatra VII (the famous one)
In the high magic section of ancient Egypt (the temples and their
staff), in the temples to Gods the male priesthood predominated.
Conversely in the temples to the Goddesses the female priesthood
predominated (yet you still find male and females in both). Since many
of the groups of gods in the cities were triads (male, female, off-
spring), there were rituals to each separately, and rituals for both.
Many times the god was worshipped in the day, the goddess at night,
but of course, in Egypt, where many traditions did their own thing,
sometimes it was reversed. In others, such as the city of Memphis, the
female was the Sun, the male god was the moon or something else.
Now as to magic and worship within the family and village. this is
the part that is closest in tone to Wicca, so those of you into Wicca
may find this interesting (especially as this is a little explored
area even within Egyptology!). All families had a family shrine. Who
presided over the shrine was usually determined by whether any in the
family was an initiated priest/priestess. If none were, the eldest son
usually presided (but again, there were many exceptions, in states
where goddesses predominated, it was the eldest daughter). The orien-
tation of the family life (farmer, sailor, trader, etc) determined the
chief god/dess. A farmer's family usually had Osiris and Isis and
co-partners; a healers, Sekhmet and Thoth.
In villages, where there were no temples, then there were groups of
interested people who belonged to a group, more formal than the family
group, less formal than a temple, and was headed by an initiated
priest/ess. Hence, in a village where there may be four initiated
people, there usually would be four groups. For example, in a suburb
of Hermopolis state there was a male healer of Thoth, a female healer
of Sekhmet, a priest of Thoth, and a Priestess of Isis. Hence, there
was a healing group, a female oriented (emphasis on midwife types)
group, a divination group, and a family group (Isis). Some people
belonged to several groups. All groups also worshiped other god/dess
besides the chief one, and even in Isis, Osiris, during part of the
year, had more emphasis than Isis. The Isis group did their magical
thing in a sacred grove (another similarity, as sacred groves were
Many families had dual shrines, with eldest son leading the god
rituals, and eldest daughter leading the goddess, and neither predom-
inated. In fact, god AND goddess were considered essential, each
predominate in their powers, but always complementing each other.
In the big temples, there was a lot of god/dess images going on
visits to their spouses, and once a year, all of the god/desses
journeyed down the Nile to the main temple.
There is a book called "Mythological Papyrus" that has exact
copies of the initiations of both priests and priestesses of various
god/desses of the 21st Dynasty. All involved astral journeys of some
sort according to their traditions.
For those who are really into goddess worship you will be pleased
to know that the last operating temple of Egypt was the Temple of Isis
at Philae before it was closed by the Christians in the late 5th/early
6th century, however people continued coming for 100 years later,
despite the Islamic conquest over the Christians in Egypt during that
Hatshepsut is well known because the next Pharaoh became famous
and his monuments (and those of hers that he defaced) are still in
In case you, or anyone else is interested, and especially if you
are planning on a trip to Egypt in the future, Queen Henutsen, also
called Isis, Mistress of the Pyramids and wife of Khufu (or Cheops) is
sometimes seen in a white robe flittering (if that is a correct term)
around the Great Pyramids and the other pyramids. The Egyptians raised
Henutsen to the status of a Goddess and shrines were built for her. if
you visit the pyramids, give an offering or a prayer to her, for she
is the Mistress of the Pyramids and Guardian thereof. In ancient
Egypt, to say the name of a person who is deceased is to make them
live forever in heaven.
by the way, other ruling queens were later elevated to Goddes-
shood, Nitrokris, Merneith, Hatshepsut.
If one looks carefully at the legends (also the sources and time
periods of each legend) concerning Isis, one is led to the conclusion
that there were indeed, two Isis's. There was Isis, the Goddess
worshipped in the Predynastic period, and there was Isis, the Queen,
who eventually merged with the goddess to our presently known Isis.
the early stories of Isis's, shows a definite mythology of Isis
the goddess, and a historical treatment of Isis the queen. Can it be,
you ask? Yes. Predynastic and early Dynastic rulers had very short
names, many of them named after their local gods. There was a predyna-
stic king of Upper Egypt called Aher, named after Anher, the God of
War. There are other examples,and everyone knows that later kings
still incorporated God/desses names into their own names.
Perhaps then the Contendings of Horus and Set, which is a tale of
Osiris the King and Isis the Queen battling their brother Set, between
the two kingdoms is actually a revised version of 2 brothers vying to
unite the kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt in predynastic times, with
the names of the King and Queen of Upper Egypt being Osiris and Isis
(or a close version thereof), versus Set of Lower Egypt (or a version
thereof). It is interesting to note that up until the 7th Dynasty, the
Egyptians reported to have known exactly where the tomb of King Osiris
was in Abydos, and regularly put offerings there. during the 2nd
Intermediate period (civil wars abounded), this knowledge was lost,
and another tomb was misidentified as the tomb of Osiris.
Therefore, if indeed, as the ancient Egyptians insist, that there
was indeed a real Osiris, then it follows that there was an Isis that
lived and breathed.
The canonization of people in ancient Egypt into a form of saints
or even gods are as old as predynastic times and existed all the way
through to Cleopatra VII, last ruler of Egypt. There are famous women
who were not rulers who were thus canonized.
If you want to read more about Osiris, I suggest you read:
Henri Frankfort: Ancient Egyptian Philosophy
E. Wallis Budge: Osiris (not great, but comprehensive)
W. Faulkner: The Egyptian Book of the Dead
Rundle: Ancient Egyptian Religion
Sigmund Morenz: Ancient Egyptian Religion
Klaus Baier: Osiris, His Tomb in Abydos (article in the
French Institute of Archaeology of Cairo, if you read French).
Have you gotten a newsletter in May? The CES is currently
undergoing a restructuring, there should be 4 newsletters and 1 to 2
Khepera (journals) per year. I will be contributing to both. In past
newsletters I have contributed some spells, rituals, and many hymns
that have been translated from temple walls or papyri or osteraca. I
will be doing more extensive articles for the magazine, like one that
will be on the metaphysical parts of man in ancient Egypt. Much of the
material are extracts from my Magnum Opus. 90% of it is on paper as
notes, and 1st drafts. Only 10% currently on computer, and that is
where the future time will go. As putting it on computer, the notes
will become 1st drafts; the 1st drafts will become more finished and
polished to the 2nd draft stage (with additional notes added in; isn't
computers a wonderful tool; insert note between sentences or add a
paragraph without having to retype the entire page!). The 3rd and
probable final draft will be adding last notes, final polishing,
footnotes, indexing, and grammar and sentence checking.
the Rituals, hymns, spells, blessings, consecrations, 4 direct-
ional rituals, initiations are complete on paper, with about 10% of
that on computer. Basically all of this is going into a data base, so
cross referencing can be done.
Although it may not be needed (but you may want to think about doing
it) in Wicca, in Egyptian it is essential because of the traditions
and large time frame involved.
Type: Blessing, Consecration, astral projection, mantras (yes,
even mantras in Egypt).
Main God/dess or Goddess: Main goddess invoked, plus any others,
also there are some generic rites.
Traditions: identifies the different traditions this particular
ritual comes from.
Source: Where did I acquire this? Much is from translations from
published books (like Excavations at Abydos by Petrie (translations of
hymns on temple walls), or from the French Institute of Archaeology in
Time Period: important occasionally because the god/dess powers
and attributes changed over time.
Form: what does the god/dess look like, stand/sit, hold during
this spell/ritual. Visualizing one form of Isis that naturally invokes
one set of specific powers, but using a ritual that invokes another
set of powers creates conflict, and at best, won't be effective, and
at worst, down right dangerous.
Corresponding Codes: Since most Egyptian rituals are composed (as
are wicca) of elements, such as drawing the circle, consecration,
blessing, hymns, etc.; in Egypt they were given to the individual in
parts. the individual was already trained on how to put the parts
together. Hence, he or she may have 5-6 ways to invoke the 4 direc-
tions, using three sets of god/desses. He/she may also have 10 bles-
sings, 20 hymns, etc to different gods/goddesses. He has to know (like
a alchemist) how to successfully match the parts together to make a
Recommendations on books on ancient Egypt and it's practices:
Priests of Ancient Egypt: Serge Sauron (last word is probably
Egyptian Religion: by Morenz
Ancient Egyptian Thought and Culture: Henri Frankfort
Egyptian Temples: by Margaret Murray
Isis in the Greco-Roman World: probably by Michael Hoffman.
MICHAEL POE'S EGYPTIAN READING LIST
Compiled by Lady Lyn DenElder Black
Ancient Egypt Thought & Culture, Henri Frankfort
Ancient Egyptian Literature, Miriam Lichtheim 3 vol. set
Ancient Egyptians, A. Rosalie David
Egyptian Astronomical Texts, 3 vol. Neugebauer & Richard
Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Mercer, SAB vocabulary & exercises
Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Faulkner
Egyptian Reading, deBuck, Middle Egypt texts, exercises
Egyptian Religion, Sigmund Morenz
Egyptian Temples, Serge Sauneron
Egyptian Temples, Margaret Murray
Isis in the Greco-Roman World, ? Michael Hoffman ?
Origins of the Zodiac, Rupert Gleadow, astronomy/astrology
Priests of Ancient Egypt, Serge Sauneron
Rise & Fall of the Middle Kingdom, H.E.Winlock
anything by Henri Frankfort
NO - BUDGE!!!
There are some more specific books out, one on Thoth, one on Hathor,
one on Imhotep, and a couple of others. The most interesting ones not
on the list are also long out of print; The Coffin Texts (XI-XII
Dynasty) of about 1,200 rituals and spells. The Pyramid Texts (IV-VI
Dynasties) of about 700 rituals and spells, The Harris Magic al
Papyrus, whose English edition runs around $ 1,700 or more, assuming
you can find one. I finally found a German and perhaps a French
translation and have a friend whose roommate reads both. The Harris
Magical Papyrus is considered THE MOST IMPORTANT magical papyrus EVER
found. I believe that Michael Grant is the author of Isis in the
Greco-Roman world, but will check up on that.
Next: Beltane. 90