Techniques of Graeco-Egyptian Magic exhibits a soft spot I have for magick: the academic approach. This Ph.D. paper by Stephen Skinner is the latest of the his many works on the Western esoteric tradition, in addition to many books on feng shui. His clear grasp on the historical data and his academic lens make this paper-turned-book a highly educational though sometimes mundane read. There is no fluff here — just facts, charts, and the occasional historical backtracking. Yet, Skinner’s painstaking translation, organization, and interpretation bring to light many long-standing traditions’ origins in the magick of Late Antiquity. Skinner describes a snapshot in time when magick held reverence as part of a tradition tied to the mystery cults and religions of the day. Continue reading
The decentralization and shifting of power from the Pharaohs to the common people in ancient Egypt came about during the period of Middle Kingdom (2050 – 1786 BCE). With the change of power or democratization, the common people, known as nomarchs, began to revise funerary spells of The Pyramid Texts (writings engraved in stone walls) that had existed from the preceding pharaoh-governed Old Kingdom.
They then inscribed those modified funerary spells on and inside the coffins, known as The Egyptian Coffin Texts, and it is in the Coffin Texts where more extensive descriptions of the goddess Hathor were found. However, her family linage can be traced back in the Pyramid Texts of the pharaoh-governed Old Kingdom, specifically in the Fourth Dynasty, between 2613-2498 BCE.
In spell 405 of the Pyramid Texts, Hathor was described as the “Eye of Ra” or “Eye of the Sun.” Ra was the sun god in ancient Egypt, and as the Eye of Ra, Hathor has come to be known as the daughter of Ra, although some accounts suggest that Hathor was also the wife of Ra. Continue reading
Thoth: The History of the Ancient Egyptian God of Wisdom, by Lesley Jackson
Avalonia Books, 9781905297474, 225 pp., 2012
This is a rather unique book in that it does not attempt to be anything other than an attempt to show how Egyptians through the millennia related to Thoth. It isn’t designed to detail the hymns and rituals associated with Thoth, although they do figure into the account. It isn’t about his priesthood or his temples, although they also enter into the account
There are numerous books which relate how the dynastic families of ancient Egypt related to Thoth, but very few which give any indication how commoners saw their interaction with the God of Wisdom in his various functions of scribe, messenger of the gods, protector, and psychopomp . While the average Egyptian might expect that they would never encounter the majority of their gods, Thoth was their guide in the afterlife, and everyone – no matter how high or low their status – would meet him during their transition between life and afterlife. Continue reading
Tony Mierzwicki’s Graeco-Egyptian Magick is an excellent beginner’s guide to the astrological magick found in the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM or Papyri Graecae Magicae as it is referred to in academic circles). It’s clear that this is not the only source text he’s well acquainted with.
Those who practice modernized astrological magick may find this book difficult at first. The astrological sequence of initiatory and practical processes follows the Ptolemaic Order (Luna, Mercury, Venus, Sol, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) because that was the order most prominently used in Antiquity, particularly by the magicians whose works form the basis of the book. He also includes the Homeric hymns for six of the planets, and all of the Orphic hymns for the seven planets. Continue reading
Creating the Soul Body: The Sacred Science of Immortality, by Robert E. Cox
Inner Traditions, 9781594772214, 263 pp., 2008
Creating the Soul Body is largely unlike what I expected from the synopsis and title, I expected it to focus on the Soul, and perhaps reincarnation, but instead it takes another route altogether. The immortality in the title refers not to a physical immortality or a spiritual immortality dependant on reincarnation, but a mental/spiritual immortality in the sense of Enlightenment and Oneness with everything, though this notion was largely cast aside in favour of the theories of the knowledge it reveals. This book was also not in the least on the practical side, but a book purely of theory and information, and that made for an interesting read.
This immortality is often expressed in terms of Continue reading