Sunday, May 22, 2016

Book Review: [Egyptian Magic by E. A. Wallis Budge]

Reading history is a fun past time for me. I enjoy the time travel and nostalgia. to return to a great time in history especially a time as far back as ancient Kemet (the original name of Egypt) is of great interest to me because it is a past dear to my essence being a descendant of such a great people. The title of this book is quite alluring considering what the world already knows about Egypt's past greatness and how even today the land and its monuments are consider magical just to behold, but to have chance to explore the details of the internal workings of Egyptian magic made the book quite irresistible to leave on the shelf any longer.

Being a student of ancient Kemet spiritual studies i have a great respect for the write Wallis Budge because he dedicated the majority of his life to studying, learning and sharing so much knowledge on ancient Egypt that one cannot read a work on Egypt without there being a reference to his works. However upon reading many of his works I have come to learn to ignore many of his Janus-faced comments that is clearly a sign of his cultural heritage of prejudice and superiority complex from being European. Aside from that his writing is indeed masterful.

Egyptian Magic is a great combination of folktales and factual observations that intertwined into the life and death of every Egyptian. It is clear compilation of the origins of many religious customs and "magic" ceremonies that many people of the world have adopted throughout the ages and still present themselves to date among those who practice indigenous religions. Let's see if any of this sounds familiar to you and be reminded that we are talking about a time span more than 2000 to 5000 years ago.

Egyptian magic entailed using dolls and wax figures to stick pins in to produce a desired affect on a particular person. They used magic stones and charms for protection against evil and demons. Certain pictures and writings were consider needed to produce a desired outcome of an event. The Egyptian magicians and priests were trained in incantations, spells and words of power to manipulate nature, people, animals and objects. Dreams were magic, names were magic, and certain days of the week were magic too. There was also a belief in the lucky and the unlucky.  I bet you can name at least ten instances where these forms of "magic" are still believed and practiced today in churches, mosques, temples and at ceremonial grounds and events. As they say, there is nothing new under the sun.

The thing that makes this book so charming is the nice folktales that are added as examples of stories that were written and preserved in the papyri about magical events in the lives of the kings and lords of Egypt. They led very interesting lives and did things a lot different from us today. Wouldn't it be something if you could make a stone god come to life!  I also admire how Budge adds in the origins of astrology and gives a vivid example of how the priest did the readings. Every lover of astrology needs to know this.

As I said before, reading history is fun and Egyptian Magic is a nice read with a fabulous ending! Its an easy read of 234 pages. I give this book four ankhs.

K. Akua Gray
May 22, 2016
Houston, TX

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