Magic In Ancient Egypt: Dr Geraldine Pinch, a supervisor of lectures on Egyptology for the faculty of Oriental Studies, Cambridge, provides a clear insight it all aspects of Egyptian magic and its fundamental place among the ancient Egyptians.
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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Magic In Ancient Egypt

Magic In Ancient Egypt

Magic In Ancient Egypt By Geraldine Pinch

"The theory that magic is always unorthodox and subversive, part of a religious and political counter culture, does not seem to apply in Egypt where ritual magic was practised on behalf of the state for at least 3000 years."

Many European and Western Magick Traditions owe many of their origins from Arab Magicians, whose roots were based in the valley of the Nile, the 'Cradle of Magic' that is Egypt. Indeed, many symbols, names and aspects were incorporated into Freemasonry and Masonic Lodges and later into The Golden Dawn. According to the Kabala, of the ten shares of magic that the Earth received, nine fell in Egypt, while the rest of the world shares the tenth.

Indeed Egypt has long been famous throughout the ancient world for its magic, even the Greeks themselves described themselves as children compared to the ancient Egyptians, and Egypt is often referred to as 'The Temple of the World'. The book aims to point out to the reader, that the Egyptian religion had two sides, a spiritual nature and a magical nature is often overlooked and the working of magic was a recognised art and as such is impossible to think of a time when this was not the case.

Dr Geraldine Pinch, a supervisor of lectures on Egyptology for the faculty of Oriental Studies, Cambridge, provides a clear insight it all aspects of Egyptian magic and its fundamental place among the ancient Egyptians. She argues that magic should not be seen as 'the disreputable basement in the house of religion' nor that it 'was a form of senile imbecility' and that this judgemental attitude was based on the outdated attitude that religion and magic were separate entities, a case clearly not applicable to ancient Egypt.

Each chapter sets out to define certain aspects of Egyptian magic, from describing what Egyptian magic was, its role and how it was perceived by the ancient Egyptians; to the roles of myth and magic within the Egyptian culture; the fearsome landscape of the Duat and its fantastic array of supernatural being; the interchangeable functions of priests, magicians and medicine; the components of magical rites and techniques; the components used within a magical context such as statues, figurines, amulets and wands; the surviving sources of magical texts; and the influences and symbology from Egyptian magic used by later cultures and its development under Graeco-Egyptian influence and thinking. How religious movements and secret societies of the nineteenth century continued to utilise Egyptian symbolism, to the most well known of all, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Crowley's elaborate pseudo-Egyptian rites.

The book provides a window to another world, the world of Egyptian magic, written in a clear and informative way, it imparts the understanding of the central role of magic in Egyptian religious thinking, in such as way as to cater for the academic and non-academic mind. The numerous photographs of various magical texts, amulets, figurines and statues amply expand upon the text providing an excellent reference of the practical aspects of Egyptian magic, its uses and roles within the Egyptian culture.

As a resource for the practitioner of Egyptian magic, student of anthropology, archaeology or Egyptology it provides an invaluable reference material and a refreshing approach to the much-maligned subject of magic within the context of ancient cultures.

In conclusion, Geraldine Pinch delivers a book that avoids treating its subject matter as primitive superstition whilst introducing the reader to the complex nature and concepts of Egyptian religious, mythological and magical beliefs, in an easily understandable format that is full of fascinating pieces of information. For anyone with an interest in Egypt or Egyptian magic this book provides a welcome addition to any bookshelf.

Magic In Ancient Egypt By Geraldine Pinch
Paperback: 192 pages (26 September, 1994)
British Museum Press
ISBN: 0714109711

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