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Roots of modern magick: Egypt

Roots of modern magick: Egypt

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Published by Mogg Morgan
Some thoughts on modern magical practitioner 's love affair with ancient Egypt
Some thoughts on modern magical practitioner 's love affair with ancient Egypt

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Mogg Morgan on Feb 07, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The importance of Egypt to contemporary magical practitioners(A collection of posts from the SASM elist)As a magician & amateur Egyptologist I don't find it surprising that Egyptian magic isso influential on the western mystery tradition. I suppose I'd also say it figuresmuchly in GD* because it is so effective. Not surprisingly Egypt was famous in theclassical world as the "most advanced" of magical cultures and internal evidence backs this up. There is hardly any technique in magick of the modern period thatdoesn’t have a precedent in Egypt e.g.: wax image spell, encircling,cardinality, and importance of colours especially red,The earliest "graded course of magick" / the Corpus Hermeticum - is essentially asummary of the Egyptian magical religion of its time - and has an Egyptian context -for example Hermetic texts are found at Nag Hammadi (in Egypt). The earliestgrimoires have an Egyptian connection (See Testament of Solomon) and oftencontinue to make reference to their source e.g. Goetia says the spirits speak in theEgyptian tongue, Abramelin has Egyptian authorship etc., Important aspects of Kabbalah originate in Alexandria, an Egyptian city, Kabbalah also seems toincorporate many Egyptian religious concepts.Some of this is obscured by the fact that Egypt was colonised by Greece and later Rome. It is also the historical "contrary" of Israel which perhaps contributes to itserasure from intellectual history, the famous closure of its temples andsuppression of its ancient language -There is a prophesy in the CH that after the destruction of "The temple of the world"the Egyptian magical religion will one day rise again in the west - and this is part of the purpose of modern magic. For written work may I tentatively recommend materialon my portal and indeed my bookswww.ombos.info But then again some, such as Christopher Lehrich view "Ægypt is a pretty myth, andone that still resonates with a great many people in this (post)modern age." Andthat ....there is no provable connection between Kabbalah and Ancient Egypt. Andthat “The connections between such grimoires as the Solomonic keys, which areclearly of Medieval and not ancient origin … and have no ties to Ancient Egypt.”Which makes me think the above views "might" fall in the category of thereductionist of Egyptian magical religion and indeed reflect the old classical bias thatstill exists in some classics departments but is become less common in Egyptologywhere there is much new research -I think its maybe the kind of thing that needs more discussion in a forum such as ourswhich is trying to make a new start in study of magick- Not all grimoires are medieval as recent studies, including Owen Davies’, show -although I think he makes a small error where he talks about nature of late Egyptianreligion but that doesn't negate his general thrust. Most seem to agree that theTestament of Solomon is late classical and certainly incorporates Egyptian theoriese.g.: the decanal spirits
Here's an interesting lecture on the dating of TOS:http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/divinity/rt/otp/guestlectures/harding/ The flowering of QBL may well be the middle ages but although its not really myarea - I thought its origins were in the late classical world - including Alexandria ? Ican certainly recognise Egyptian elements in it - and AFAIK it's own foundation mythcites the sojourn of the Hebrews in Egypt - I.e. Joseph and his brothers; Moses theEgyptian etc??But then again there are still those who insist that it’s all about “an exotic culture[Egypt] receiving projections - the Greeks and Romans 'projected' magical virtuesonto Persian and Jewish culture in the same way, but the elements of magical practicewere not necessarily even foreign. They maintain that the Egyptian elements of theCorpus Hermeticum are just local colour and are mostly outweighed by those of Babylonian and Greece.And yes it is true that Greeks & Romans projected an image onto the Egyptian priests- which they in turn adopted - as it enabled them to earn a living as magical practitioners at a time when normal ways of earning a livelihood were restricted bytheir colonial masters - previous scholarship tended to use this to argue there that's allthere is - i.e. the exotic persona but nothing more - which seems to me reductionistand steadily proved wrong by new research see for example Jacco Dieleman "Priests,Tongues and Rites" - I think many modern commentators may have subconsciouslyadopted this classical bias . . .For a definitive summary of Egyptian magical techniques see Robert Ritner "Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical practice" which includes the material onencircling and circumambulation in Egyptian magick - a good example of which isthe ubiquitous image of the cartouche - in which the name of the king is encircled as a protection etcThe CH is indeed a synthesis but there are many strong arguments for a substantialEgyptian component - (whereas it used to be argued there was NO Egyptiancomponent whatsoever apart from a bit of local colour). New editions and newdiscoveries of Hermetic texts have tended to underline the Egyptian context - thematerial on the decanal spirits being the Egyptian contribution to astrology, thecentrality of the sun, the material on activating statues and fetishes, the prophesy andindeed the whole philosophy of language (see again Dielemann, and Garth Fowden,David Frankfurter et al)Yes indeed the Testament of Solomon is written in Greek and is a synthetic text - theargument is whether it is contemporary with the PGM (Papyri Graecae Magicae – aancient “grimoire” or “Book of Shadows”) rather than some sort of medieval forgery,and whether is has any authentic Egyptian magical components. A “testament” as in“will” is an Egyptian technique with a long pedigree and certainly Ring Spells, likethose it contains are common in Egyptian magick. But the section on decanal spirits,thought perhaps an interpolation, is a very characteristic Egyptian text.

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