If You Are Searching for Netjer, Observe Nature!

These passages are taken from Eternal Egypt by Richard J. Reidy, found on pages 159 – 161.

“It was with good reason that an ancient writer stated, ‘Ten measures of magic have come into the world. Egypt received nine of these, the rest of the world one measure.’ (Talmud, b Qid. 49b) Egyptian magical techniques engage all of the sense. They are by no means a cerebral affair devoid of materiality. Rather, they take the material and imbue it with cosmic potency. A bit of wax becomes the frightful enemy. But now that enemy can be ‘dealt with.’ By means of material from nature–such things as spittle, iron, flint, thread, fire, and clay–the priest-magician can enlist the powers inherent in such substances in order to work his heka-spell.

“Unlike modern secular man who mistakenly sees materials as void of any meaning, the ancient priests saw mythological associations and symbolic significance in stones and woods and plants, in colors and shapes and numbers. All creation teemed with potency, with meaning, and therefore, with theological implication. And those priests experienced themselves as capable of using those potent materials of nature to momentous effect.

“How really-really-can this be? It is because the ancient Egyptian saw himself as coming from the essence of the creator god. He as with every human came from the tears of Re. As the Netjeru came from the creator’s sweat, so humans came from his tears. This is more than a picturesque metaphor of the genesis of humankind. It is a pre-industrial, pre-scientific intuition of humanity’s deep connection with deity. Unlike the Hebrew story of their god Yahweh creating the first human from the soil–the soil itself being a created thing separate from the creator–the Egyptians envisioned a more intrinsic, more intimate and organic link with divinity.

“The degree of separation was fundamentally and dramatically less than for other cultures. Just as the gods could speak and bring into being through the power of their spoken word and through heka-power, so humans were–and are–endowed with these powers. After all, the destiny of humankind is deification. Men and women are to be deified and, in mythic terms, together with the creator god and all the Netjeru will embark on the sun boat ‘Millions of Years’ on a cyclic journey through cosmic time. That is the vision of ancient Egypt. Humanity springs from deity and, in turn, each individual is capable of becoming a deity. Humanity can regturn to its Source, but without melting into or merging with that Source. The creative powers of the Source are in some real sense shared by humanity. And heka is one of those creative powers.

“We come, though, to a final question: Why enact such rites? Perhaps we only should lead good lives, to do ma’at. Focus on the positive. And certainly this is a valid and vital point of view for many. But some who read this will know in their heart that these rites are important. These rituals do matter. Heka-power–magic–is our birthright. Not all will choose to practice it. Not all need practice it. But some–those called to be fighter-priests or warrior-priests–will resurrect those ancient rituals and resume the old magical struggle against the chaos-serpent. It is not a taste for the occasional magician, nor for anyone not able and willing to study and reflect carefully on the profound spiritual legacy of ancient Egypt. But we today are only beginning to recover and reclaim our full heritage from Egypt.

“Surely the ancients did not have greater or more ferocious enemies than we. Surely societies have no achieved the longed for peace with justice that we and all humankind long for. Such rites as revealed in the Book of the Overthrowing of Apep point to the power of heka for combating evil. A gift to us from the creator, heka enables us to call into service that divine strength within each of us…”

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