Basic Concepts and Ideas
Egyptian deities did not require human sacrifice or annihilation of people with their religious beliefs. Temples were not considered a place of communal worship. They were looked upon as houses for the deities; there, statues were kept and attended by priests and priestesses. The priesthood was not celibate. The pharaoh was considered an incarnated god upon Earth.
The life of the average Egyptian was a blend of religion and the use of magick. Magick was a vital part of every day life. The people believed that worship was basically a private, personal concern and duty. After all, the ancient Egyptians said, when you stood in the Hall of Judgment after death, no one could tamper with the scales that weighed your heart for truth and goodness. Your soul was laid bare; everything was revealed.
Individual worship was performed at home altars and certain shrines, with the populace as a whole participating in in the great seasonal festivals. The common people were not admitted to the great temples, but they made pilgrimages to certain shrines.
Since worship was considered a private concern, the ordinary person visited the temple of his choice for healing or to present petitions when he needed something. Even then, he entered only the outer courts of the temples. The inner sanctuary of the deity was entered only by the highest priests, priestesses, or the pharaoh.
Originally, the priests and priestesses did not believe in polytheism or animal worship. They believed that the god-forms each represented a principle or aspect of the Supreme Creator. They believed that as long as the spiritual needs of humans were met, it did not matter how the Ultimate Spirit was pictured. These priests / priestesses used a sacred language known only to them for all rituals and worship, probably the remnant of a very ancient language.
Some temples were centers of healing, “sleep houses,” where dream therapy and hypnosis were used to cure the sick. In these places, quiet music of special sounds and rhythms were employed for healing the whole person – body, emotions, mind, and spirit.
Egyptian worship was intertwined with music and dancing. The Singers could be either male or female, depending upon the deity they served. The Temple Dancers were most often female, spending their early years actively participating in the sacred dances, and their later years instructing the new Dancers.
Dancing and chanting made it necessary to have musicians. These were attached to the temples, as were the Dancers and Singers, and were usually female. Sometimes there were dramatic performances for very special religious rites.
The ancient Egyptians were well aware that humans had more than just a physical body. They said that humankind had seven souls. Much of the esoteric meaning of these forms has been lost. What we now know of these “souls” is limited.
Here is a simplified explanation of the seven souls:
- Khat – the physical body
- Ka – the body – soul. It came into existence when the body was born, lived in the body, but was distinct from it. I could assume any form, travel wherever it pleased in the realms of the gods. Did not die at the death of the body but continued to live in the tomb of the deceased.
- Ab – the heart. Seat of the life-force and home of the emotions and passions. Formed from the mother’s heart blood.
- Khu or Aakhu – the spirit-soul. Resided in the blood as a primordial life force. It was eternal and could not be injured or killed.
- Kkaibit – shadow. If the shadow was lost or stolen while the person was alive, it was believed that the physical body would exist in a diseased or dying state. To steal someone’s shadow was to steal their magickal power and their life and was considered a crime.
- Sah or Sahu – spiritual body. the eternal dwelling place of the soul. The khu lived within it.
- Sekkem – power. We might call it willpower or purpose. It animated the sah.
The soul name, ren, was believed to be a vital part of every person. It as given to each person at birth by the goddess Renenet. The Egyptians believed that only by knowing the correct soul name of a person, animal, or object could you have power over it.
Egyptian magick was primarily of two kinds:
- Magick to benefit the living or the dead
- Magick used to harm people
At the beginning of each ritual, four lighted lamps were set at the four quarters or directions. They represented the four sons of Horus. Symbols were also set at these quarters. At the east was placed a tat (pole or pillar) and in the south a model of a palm tree. At the west was set a figure of Anubis, in the north a figure of a mummy, sometimes lying in a coffin.
The power of any spell, incantation, or any word of power was considered greatly increased by the use of magickal pictures and amulets. The ankh was a favorite symbol, along with the tat of Osiris (also called a tet or djed), the solar disk, the scarab, the lotus, the buckle of Isis, and the Eye of Horus.
Wax images were used in certain rituals, primarily for gaining someone’s love or harassing enemies. The name of the individual was cut or written on the image. After spells were recited over the figure, it was stabbed, destroyed, of (for love) carried next to the heart. The priests of Amen-Ra at Thebes regularly burned a wax image of the evil god Apep. These wax serpent forms were subjected to all kinds of abuse before they were destroyed in a fire.
Gods of the Four Elements:
- Air (east): Tuamutef – with a jackal head
- Fire (south): Akeset – with a human head
- Water (west): Qebhsennuf – with a hawk head
- Earth (north): Mestha – with an ape head
Gods of the Four Directions:
- East: Bast, Min, Osiris, Ra
- South: Nekhebet, Sekhmet
- West: Ament, Hathor, Neith, Anubis, Temu, Sebek, Nephthys
- North: Buto, Shu, Mehueret, Isis
Source: Magick of the Gods and Goddesses
Here, one member of the group makes up a sound, call or statement and shouts it out, and the rest of the group shout it back at them. This can be especially effective as a kind of freeform invocation, for example, if everyone is familiar with the qualities, attributes and features of a particular God or Goddess. It can also be used as light-hearted introduction to designing invocations.
This form of repetition is commonly used in tantrik ritual, as salutations given to the god who is the object of the ritual. The example below is just a few of the 108 ritual salutations to the god Ganesha:
Salutations to him who has an elephant’s face
Salutations to him who wields the mace
Salutations to the son of Gauri
Salutations to the lord of planets
Salutations to him who transcends all qualities
Salutations to him who is lion-like
Continue until you have shouted out all the attributes you can think of. Follow the shout out with a humming meditation:
Each member of the group sets up a humming note, which can change in tone and power at will. The seed sound for the Ganesh Mantra could also be used: Gum gum gum gum… etc .The Humming should be kept up for at least 20 minutes for people to feel the effects of it.
Alternatively, it could be a shout out to the Goddess. Hecate for example:
All Hail the Queen of the Crossroads
All Hail the Mistress of the Underworld
All Hail Holder of the Keys
All Hail She Who Serves
Continue until you have shouted out all the attributes you can think of. This could be followed with a humming meditation as above, or a group chant to the specific deity. Here’s a chant to Hecate:
Hecate, Dark Mother, take us in
Hecate, Dark Mother, let us be reborn!
How do you get God’s attention?
Try sweet talking his girlfriend!
An amazing prayer by Rob Breznsy:
This is a perfect moment. It’s a perfect moment because I have been inspired to say a gigantic prayer. I’ve been roused to unleash a divinely greedy, apocalyptically healing prayer for each and every one of you, even those of you who don’t believe in the power of prayer.
And so I am starting to pray right now to the God of Gods, the God beyond all Gods, the Girlfriend of God, the Teacher of God, the Goddess who invented God.
Dear Goddess, you who never kill but only change: I pray that my exuberant, suave, and accidental words will move you to shower ferocious blessings down on everyone who reads this benediction. I pray that you will give them what they don’t even know they need, not just the boons they think they want but everything they’ve always been afraid to even imagine or ask for.
Dear Goddess, you wealthy anarchist burning heaven to the ground: Many of the divine chameleons out there don’t even know that their souls will live forever. So please use your brash magic to help them see that they are all wildly creative geniuses too big for their own personalities. Guide them to realize that they are all completely different from what they’ve been led to believe about themselves, and more exciting than they can possibly imagine. Make it illegal, immoral, irrelevant, unpatriotic, and totally tasteless for them to be in love with anyone or anything that’s no good for them.
O Goddess, you who give us so much love and pain mixed together that our morality is always on the verge of collapsing: I beg you to cast a boisterous love spell that will nullify all the dumb ideas, bad decisions, and nasty conditioning that have ever cursed the wise and sexy virtuoso out there. Remove, banish, annihilate, and laugh into oblivion any jinx that has clung to them, no matter how long they’ve suffered from it, and even if they’ve become accustomed or addicted to its ugly companionship. Please conjure an aura of protection around them so that they will receive an early warning if they are ever about to act in such a way as to bring another hex or plague into their lives in the future.
Dear Goddess, sweet Goddess, you sly universal virus with no fucking opinion: Please help all the personal growth addicts out there to become disciplined enough to go crazy in the name of creation, not destruction. Teach them the difference between oppressive self-control and liberating self-control. Awaken in them the power to do the half-right thing when it is impossible to do the totally right thing. Arouse the Wild Woman within them, even if they’re men.
Dear Goddess, you pregnant slut who scorns all mediocre longing: I pray that you will inspire all the compassionate rascals communing with this prayer to kick their own asses and wash their own brains. Provoke them to throw away or give away all the things they own that encourage them to believe that they are better than anyone else. Show them how much fun it is to brag about what they cannot do and do not have. Give them bigger, better, more original sins and wilder, wetter, more interesting problems. Most of all, Goddess, brainwash them with your freedom so that they never love their own pain more than anyone else’s pain.
Oh Goddess, you wildly disciplined, radically curious, shockingly friendly, fanatically balanced, mysteriously truthful, teasingly healing, lyrically logical master of rowdy bliss: I ask you to give your unconventionally unconditional love to all the budding messiahs who read this prayer; love them with all of your ocean and sky and fire and earth. Cultivate in yourself a fervent yearning for their companionship. Play with them every day. Answer their questions. Listen to their stories. Inspire them not just to nag you for what they want, but also to thank you for the uncanny gifts you flood them with. And if there are any pockets of ignorance or hatred these insanely poised creators might be harboring, any inadvertent idiocies that keep them blind to your blessings, please flush them out as soon as possible.
Dear Goddess, You psychedelic mushroom cloud at the center of all our brains: Bless all the inscrutable creators out there with lucid dreams while they are wide awake, and their very own spin doctors, and solar-powered sex toys that work even in the dark, and vacuum cleaners for their magic carpets, and a knack for avoiding other people’s hells, and a thousand masks that all represent their true feelings, and secret admirers who are not psychotic stalkers. Arrange for a racehorse to be named after them, or an underground river, or a boulevard in an exotic vacationland, or a thousand-year-old storm on Saturn or Jupiter. Teach them to push their own buttons and unbreak their own hearts and right their own wrongs and sing their own songs and be their own wives and save their own lives.
Dear Goddess, You fiercely tender, hauntingly reassuring, orgiastically sacred feeling that is even now running through all of our soft, warm animal bodies: I pray that you provide all the original sinners out there with a license to bend and even break all rules, laws, and traditions that keep them apart from the things they love. Show them how to purge the wishy-washy wishes that distract them from their daring, dramatic, divine desires. And teach them that they can have anything they want if they’ll only ask for it in an unselfish way.
And now dear God of Gods, God beyond all Gods, Girlfriend of God, Teacher of God, Goddess who invented God, I bring this prayer to a close, trusting that in these mysterious moments you have begun to change everyone out there in the exact way they’ve needed to change in order to become the gorgeous geniuses they were born to be.
The dark powers emanate from the dark aspects of the Goddess and the God. This is the power of the Crone and the Lord of the Shadows; the Hag and the Hunter. The dark powers are more than just a personification of the negative influences in life, however, and the energy raised through the dark imagery of the Divine is very potent. As such, be careful what you do.
The Dark Goddess is manifested in mythology as various kinds of death crones, wise hags, devastation, war, disease and barrenness of the land. She is the Bone Mother who collects the skulls of the dead for the ossuary. In Irish mythology, Morrigan and Nemain would be considered Dark Goddesses in that they are associated with War and Death.
The Dark God is seen in mythology as the silent host to the dead in his underground realm of gray shadows and deep sleep, knowing of secrets and wise of the universe, death, war, destruction, gatherer of souls and harbinger of chaos. He is the Hunter, whose wild hunt, or raid, ingathers the energies of the soul.
There is sense to this ancient cosmology. Cults of ancient times focused on the dark aspects of the Divine so that their followers would move past their fear of mortality to seize upon the recognition of their eternal immortality.
In Irish mythology, Crom Cruach, and Donn would be considered “Dark Gods” or “Dark Powers” because Donn was the god of the dead Milsians. At death, Mannannan Mac Lyr carried the soul to Tech Dunn or the House of Donn. In texts like the Dinsenchus there is references to Crom being considered to be a dark god, contrasting a light god, in a way that is very similar to the Slavic god Czernobog.
As a power, the Dark Lord is the Chaos from which Order must evolve. Yet there is no ending to this cycle, Order resolves again as Chaos to be reborn as New Order. The Lord of Shadows as Death becomes the process of new life by gathering the energy of dying life, and the Passage into a new material form is through the Crone.
In the aspect of light, the god dies willingly by entering the ground to bring his vitality to crops that will be harvested to feed humanity. Through this selfless act, he revitalises the earth. He does this through the Crone. The marriage of Lugh in August, celebrated as Lughnasadh, is the start of the descent into Mother Earth. Once there, he is transformed into the son within the goddess. Hence, the pagan god is both Father and Son, which is yet another concept that Christianity absorbed from the pagans. The harvest comes, the seasons change, and the Mother becomes the Crone of Autumn and Winter, only to be transformed into Mother again at Winter Solstice with the rebirth of the Sun (her son, the god). See Also: Cernunnos, Green Man and Herne.
The womb-tomb is the domain of the Crone and is a place of great power. This is where the transformation takes place, with energies of death given repose and returned to form as the energies of life. When this power is confronted and recognised, there comes a freedom from fear, a new sense of independence and a recognition of personal responsibility. We are not judged in Death by the Lady and the Lord, but we are Self-judged. From the quietude of the realm, we move through her into new life. That is the balanced, pagan theme of the cauldron, the god of self-sacrifice and the resurrecting goddess. It is this power of the goddess that significantly differentiates the old and new religions.
Thus, in an historical sense, while the Dark Lord guides the chaos of social and cultural changes through the Crone into a new life, the Crone becomes not the terror of death, but the joyful passage to new vibrant societies through the death of the outmoded and stagnant ones. She is Fata Morgana, the Huntress Diana, Minerva, Cerridwen, Sati and Kali. He is Pluto, Hades, Cerunnos, Herne the Hunter, Set and Shiva. But the names may not convey the image needed by the practitioner unless you are able to move beyond the modern association of darkness as evil.
By accepting that the dark powers are in balance with the light powers, you are able to utilise the wholeness of the Power. The dichotomy of good and evil do not apply to what simply is. Energy can be drawn to the light or to the dark; thus death provides the soul’s passage to whichever realm the soul-energy has been drawn. Energy is always in motion, and flows back and forth between light and dark. What at one time is light energy turns and becomes dark energy. Through the practice of the Craft, the witch directs this energy for beneficial purpose. To do otherwise, is to inflict Self-harm.
To face the Underworld and the power of the dark aspect of the Divine is to understand that dark is part of the necessary blend of light and not something to fear. The unifying of the dark and the light within the individual offers wholeness and peace, which may then be transferred to external contacts.
From: Green Witchcraft II
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