Sunday, August 21, 2016

What Death Is

The following material was excerpted from two of P. M. H. Atwater's books – "Beyond the Light: The Mysteries and Revelations of Near-Death Experiences" (Avon Books, New York City, 1994), and "We Live Forever: The Real Truth about Death" (A.R.E. Press, Virginia Beach, VA, 2004). It is based on first-person commentaries from over 3,000 adult experiencers of near-death states. To learn more about the near-death research of P. M. H. Atwater, L.H.D., Ph.D. access

There is a step-up of energy at the moment of death, an increase in speed as if you are suddenly vibrating faster than before.
Using radio as an analogy, this speed-up is comparable to having lived all your life at a certain radio frequency when all of a sudden someone or something comes along and flips the dial. That flip shifts you to another, higher wavelength. The original frequency where you once existed is still there. It did not change. Everything is still just the same as it was. Only you changed, only you speeded up to allow entry into the next radio frequency on the dial.
As is true with all radios and radio stations, there can be bleedovers or distortions of transmission signals due to interference patterns. These can allow or force frequencies to coexist or commingle for indefinite periods of time. Normally, most shifts up the dial are fast and efficient; but, occasionally, one can run into interference, perhaps from a strong emotion, a sense of duty, or a need to fulfill a vow, or keep a promise. This interference could allow coexistence of frequencies for a few seconds, days, or even years (perhaps explaining hauntings); but, sooner or later, eventually, every given vibrational frequency will seek out or be nudged to where it belongs.
You fit your particular spot on the dial by your speed of vibration. You cannot coexist forever where you do not belong.
Who can say how many spots there are on the dial or how many frequencies there are to inhabit? No one knows.
You shift frequencies in dying. You switch over to life on another wavelength. You are still a spot on the dial but you move up or down a notch or two.
You don't die when you die. You shift your consciousness and speed of vibration.
That's all death is ...a shift.

Wiccan Beliefs

What is Wicca really, and what do Wiccans believe in?

1. Witchcraft means “Craft of the Wise Ones” and is also known as the “Old Religion”. Its practices can be traced to Neolithic (“Stone Age”) cave paintings. In early times, the Witch was the local lawyer, psychiatrist, and doctor. The field of modern medicine can trace its origins to the herbal medicines of the Witch. Witchcraft is a nature religion, not unlike the shamanism of the Native Americans. As the concepts of male and female exist through-out life — indeed, are necessary to create it — most Witches perceive Deity as male and female: the Goddess and the God. Like the concept of the Trinity, these aren’t “many” Gods; they are aspects of the ONE Creator. The Goddess is seen as Mother Earth and Mother Nature, and is represented by the Moon. She is seen in the fertility of the plant, animal, and human kingdoms. Her power is at a peak in the “fertile half” of the year, from May until October. The God is seen in the woodlands, the Sun, grain, & the hunt. Because most of the animals that prehistoric humans hunted had horns, He is usually depicted as the “Horned One”. His power is at a peak in the “dark half” of the year, from October to May.

2. Wiccans don’t do evil. They believe in the Wiccan Rede, which is “If It Harms None, Do What You Will”. (In other words, “Dowhatever you want; just as long as it doesn’t harm anyone — including yourself “). Witches also believe in the Three-Fold Law, which states that whatever you do — be it good or evil — comes back to you three times over, so (obviously) there is no incentive to do evil.

3. Wiccans do NOT believe in or worship Satan, and do not perform any sort of human or animal sacrifices. Satan is a relatively new concept that originated with Christianity. Witches put the responsibility for our own actions squarely on whom it belongs: ourselves. Witchcraft teaches us to be responsible people who take responsibility for our own actions. When the Christian Church decided to obliterate religions that were a threat to its power (including Witchcraft), they decided that their “Satan” had horns and that Witches were actually worshipping the Devil. This became the death warrant for millions of innocent people. What is wicca - pentacle

4. The Pentagram (a five-pointed star in an upright, one-point-up position) is the symbol of our religion. The top point symbolizes Spirit (the Creator) being ‘above’, or ruling, the Four Elements of Life — Air, Fire, Water, & Earth — which are the four lowerpoints. The Circle, being without beginning or end, symbolizes the Deity. It is completely encompassing the Star within it (which represents the out-stretched human body, reaching out in search of its connection with Spirit). Together, they represent the Creator’s Protection & Wisdom. Inverting the Pentagram, as is done by Satanists, symbolizes that the Elements (the “material world”) are superior to the Creator. Unfortunately, through misunderstandings that have been repeated by the media, the Pentagram — in whatever position — has become wrongly equated with Satanism. (Please note, though, that in England, there are several traditions that use the inverted pentagram as a symbol for a second degree — which obviously has nothing to do with Satanism).

5. A male Witch is not a “Warlock”. This is a Scottish term, meaning “traitor”, or “oathbreaker”. (A male Witch is a “Witch”).

6. Wiccans are non-proselytizing; we don’t seek to convert anyone. We feel that all religions are equally valid, and that you should be free to choose the one with which you are most comfortable. No religion has the monopoly of God (despite what some may claim). In our opinion, far too many religions place too much emphasis on the actual religion (or it’s leader), and seem to be worshiping that, instead of God. This, in our opinion, is wrong thinking. As long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others, we all have a right to our own method of worshiping the Deity.

Aleister Crowley: The Wickedest Man in the World Documents the Life of the Bizarre Occultist, Poet & Mountaineer

Perhaps no one single person has had such widespread influence on the countercultural turns of the 20th century as Cambridge-educated occultist and inventor of the religion of Thelema, Aleister Crowley. And according to Crowley, he isn’t finished yet. “1000 years from now,” Crowley once wrote, “the world will be sitting in the sunset of Crowlianity.” The self-aggrandizing Crowley called himself “the Great Beast 666” and many other tongue-in-cheek apocalyptic titles. The British press dubbed him “The Wickedest Man in the World,” also the title of the above documentary, one of a four-part BBC 4 series on famously sinister figures called “Masters of Darkness.” Crowley is perhaps most famous for his dictum “Do what thou wilt,” which, taken out of its context, seems to be a philosophy of absolute, unfettered libertinism.

It’s no surprise that the particular treatment of Crowley’s life above adopts the tabloid description of the magician. The documentary—with its ominous music and visual effects reminiscent of American Horror Story’s jarring opening credits—takes the sensationalistic tone of true crime TV mixed with the dim lighting and hand-held camerawork of paranormal, post-Blair Witch entertainments. And it may indeed take some liberties with Crowley’s biography. When we’re told by the voice-over that Crowley was a “black magician, drug fiend, sex addict, and traitor to the British people,” we are not disposed to meet a very likable character. Crowley would not wish to be remembered as one anyway. But despite his pronounced disdain for all social conventions and pieties, his story is much more complicated and interesting than the cardboard cutout villain this description suggests.

Born Edward Alexander Crowley in 1875 to wealthy British Plymouth Brethren brewers, Crowley very early set about replacing the religion of his family and his culture with a variety of extreme endeavors, from mountaineering to sex magic and all manner of practices derived from a synthesis of Eastern religions and ancient and modern demonology. The results were mixed. All but the most adept find most of his occult writing incomprehensible (though it’s laced with wit and some profundity). His raunchy, hysterical poetry is frequently amusing. Most people found his overbearing personality unbearable, and he squandered his wealth and lived much of life penniless. But his biography is inarguably fascinating—creepy but also heroic in a Faustian way—and his presence is nearly everywhere inescapable. Crowley traveled the world conducting magical rituals, writing textbooks on magic (or “Magick” in his parlance), founding esoteric orders, and interacting with some of the most significant artists and occult thinkers of his time.

As a mountaineer, Crowley co-lead the first British expedition to K2 in 1902 (the photo above shows him during the trek). As a poet, he published some of the most scandalous verse yet printed, under the name George Archibald Bishop in 1898. During his brief sojourn in the occult society Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, he exerted some influence on William Butler Yeats, if only through their mutual antipathy (Crowley may have inspired the “rough beast” of Yeats’ “The Second Coming”). He’s indirectly connected to the development of the jet propulsion system—through his American protégée, rocket scientist Jack Parsons—and of Scientology, through Parsons’ partner in magic (and later betrayer), L. Ron Hubbard.

Though accused of betraying the British during the First World War, it appears he actually worked as a double agent, and he had many ties in the British intelligence community. Crowley rubbed elbows with Aldous Huxley, Alfred Adler, Roald Dahl, and Ian Fleming. After his death in 1947, his life and thought played a role in the work of William S. Burroughs, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, Genesis P-Orridge, and countless others. Crowley pops up in Hemingway’s A Movable Feast and he has inspired a number of literary characters, in for example Somerset Maugham’s The Magician and Christopher Isherwood’s A Visit to Anselm Oakes.

So who was Aleister Crowley? A sexually liberated genius, a spoiled, egomaniacal dilettante, a campy charlatan, a skeptical trickster, a cruel and abusive manipulator, a racist misogynist, a Nietzschean superman and “icon of rebellion” as the narrator of his story above calls him? Some part of all these, perhaps. A 1915 Vanity Fair profile put it well: “a legend has been built up around his name. He is a myth. No other man has so many strange tales told of him.”

As with all such notorious, larger-than-life figures, who Crowley was depends on whom you ask. The evangelical Christians I was raised among whispered his name in horror or pronounced it with a sneer as a staunch and particularly insidious enemy of the faith. Various New Age groups utter his name in reverence or mention it as a matter of course, as physicists reference Newton or Einstein. In some countercultural circles, Crowley is a hip signifier, like Che Guevara, but not much more. Dig into almost any modern occult or neo-pagan system of thought, from Theosophy to Wicca, and you’ll find Crowley’s name and ideas. Whether one’s interest in “The Great Beast” is of the prurient variety, as in the investigation above, or of a more serious or academic bent, his legacy offers a bountiful plenty of bizarre, repulsive, intriguing, and completely absurd vignettes that can beggar belief and compel one to learn more about the enigmatic, pan-sexual black magician and self-appointed Antichrist.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Egyptian Ghosts

What did Ancient Egyptians Believe About Ghosts and Spirits?
Ancient Egyptian beliefs in the afterlife and ghosts consistently changed over more than a couple thousand years, but belief in the existence of the human soul after the physical body perishes has remained a standard throughout time.
Early ancient Egyptians thought that part of the human soul was made up of a separate entity not unlike other religions' beliefs in a god giving life to all people. This "other" part of man was described as "light" and called, "Khu." Later, the definition of Khu would morph into a word for ill-spirited ghosts that possess the bodies of the living for purposes of torment (sort of a more scary meaning, similar to popular beliefs in demons, if you will).
These ancient Egyptian beliefs in the soul and spirit would later become more complex and consist of 5 parts: the heart (thoughts and feelings), shadow (we can assume this to mean the darker or negative nature of man), soul (the personality known as "Ba"), spirit (the life-giving source known as "Ka") and name. When the body expires, the Ba and Ka were believed to be back together, again, and called the "Akh." It is the Akh that is said to be the spirits (or possibly ghosts) of Egyptian people. The Akh could be either a blessing or curse upon the living, effectively interacting with people to affect their feelings, both positively or negatively. Akh, Egyptian "ghosts," have been blamed for things such as bad dreams, ailments and mental suffering. This idea would be very similar to modern spiritual beliefs in "ghost attachments."
Sightings of ghosts in Egypt have, of course, been reported and documented over many centuries. Curses of people being condemned to walk the desert as disembodied spirits have been some of the more interesting tales of Egyptian haunting. Pharaoh Akhenaten was purportedly condemned by priests who, after his passing from this world, cursed him to be trapped as a ghost who must walk the Earth for the rest of time. Consequently, sightings of Akhenaten still surface, even today; whether or not these are true ghost sightings of the ancient Pharaoh cannot be confirmed. After all, his banishment took place some 3300 years ago!
In contrast, in some ancient beliefs of Egypt, the ghost or spirit of the person would live with the body in its tomb. This is why food would be interred along with other items the person might potentially need in the aftelife. The tombs of Egyptian mummies might also contain a small statue, made to look like them, as a backup plan should the body ever be destroyed. The spirit of the person was said to transfer to the statue in such a case.
Interestingly, in 2013, a strange report surfaced in England about a 10" statue taken from a mummy's tomb and the possible spirit activity attached to it. The Egyptian relic, on display for 70 years in the same spot on a glass shelf at the Manchester Museum, began slowly turning away from visitors. Time-lapsed video recorded the statue-turning phenomenon multiple times. It was revealed that the icon, placed in a row among 3 other statuettes from tombs, moved slowly during museum visitation hours. This has led some scientists to believe that vibrations from people walking near the display might have caused the stone statue to rotate 180 degrees on the smooth, glass surface. But others have asked, if true, why has the ghost-like trick taken 7 decades to suddenly begin happening? Is it a discontent spirit within the effigy? No one knows, for sure.

Neb-Senu’s Mysterious Movement

Neb-Senu is a small statue from ancient Egypt that is kept in a glass case at the Manchester Museum in England since 1933. The statue is inscribed with prayers for the dead. The case is kept locked and only authorized museum curators have access to the statue. Not long ago, the statue was found by a curator to have changed position—spun around—inside the case. No one admitted to having touched it out of the few who have access. Nothing else in this same case had moved, just the single statue. And the statue moves around in a perfect circle. It has never wobbled off to the side or toward another of the artifacts kept in the case. It is believed that the statue is inscribed to a particular person. Could this person be haunting the statue?

Thoughts About Love Spells

 Here is a topic that I often get people asking me questions about, and I am usually reluctant to discuss it. Since this topic is so often asked, I have decided to weigh in and give my readers my perspective on this kind of magic.

Love magic is typically considered one of the main elements of “low magic,” right up there in importance to money magic, magical healing and magical retaliation, or getting justice through backhanded mechanisms. I don’t usually write about love magic because I have found it to be not particularly useful or efficacious, particularly if it is targeted on a specific person. My opinion is essentially that if you want to really mess up a potential relationship possibility, then by all means, use love magic on your desired target. Of course, there are ethical considerations as to whether or not you are justified in performing such magic, but I have found that those who do it are so obsessed with their targets that such considerations don’t even register.

In my opinion, projecting your will upon another and dressing it up with spirits, energy, sigils, dolls, pictures, ancestors and even some hoodoo based alchemy in order to target an innocent person so that they would love and desire you against their will could be considered highly negative magic, since the intent is obviously to dominate someone’s will. I have often thought that the next best thing to outright cursing someone is casting a love spell on them, particularly if they are not in the least bit attracted or interested in the perpetrator.

If you work such a magical operation and it’s successful then you have overturned someone’s will in an obviously deceitful and disreputable manner just to satisfy your fancy. Do you think that all is fair in love and war? Well, think again! If that were true then date rape and other forms of sexual assault would be legal and even encouraged. It would also be quite acceptable if the potential victim struck back and murdered their assailant. If love is your object then it hardly helps you if you are engaged in a veritable war with those whom you would shower with your affections. Love is one thing, and dominance is altogether another thing. It is important to be clear about your intentions and what you want to accomplish, since if your objective is confused then all else is even more murky.

Magic always has some basic ground rules that are practical and even obvious. A completely non-magical and practical approach to achieving a relationship should follow some basic steps, and no amount of magic can make them happen if there isn’t a mutual interest between the two parties. What I have found is that magic often makes these stages either more difficult or more complicated then they already are. Also, many people have the belief that magic will somehow make something that is highly improbable or impossible happen, as if it were a miracle. 

Here are the practical steps, and I think that just about everyone knows this on some level. If you love someone, then that love must be perceived by the other person and returned in some fashion if anything is going to develop. The whole process of courting a potential lover is getting that exchange to occur. This is called mutual attraction, and if it doesn’t exist or even have the potential for existing, then forget about anything further happening. Thus getting your beloved’s attention so that they will focus on you is the first important step. However, that is just the beginning. You have to somehow appeal to what that other person desires in some manner (or stumble upon it by accident), so changing and augmenting how you look, act and even smell is important. I might also add that people who are considered naturally attractive usually have more confidence in their ability to attract others to them. The rest of us who are not so endowed must make the best of what we have. Yet certainly attractive clothes and an attractive style can make up for what one lacks in stature, physique and appearance - at least to a point.

There also has to be a social connection between you and the other person, and you have to have something in common with them. At some point if this process is going to be successful, then you have to access and gain an intimate social contact with them, and it has to be situations that are periodically repeated (like dating). Obviously, courting in our post-modern world, despite how fast everything happens around us, still takes time and patience, but seduction can happen very quickly. This is true even though a successful sexual encounter doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be a romantic relationship as well. Relationships between people are quite complex and also quite fluid, and anything can happen to either enhance the connection or destroy it completely. The most important consideration is that you can’t control everything that happens, and as they say, sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you.

I think that the most difficult and problematic aspect of looking for love has to do with the fact that unlike many other things in our lives, we can’t really control other people. We can try, but it eventually fails, even for the most sophisticated of manipulators. This is also why I believe that working love magic on someone is so difficult, since it is a form of continuous domination. For example, you have forced someone to love and desire you who wouldn’t normally be so disposed, and as the enchanter, you have to always be glamorous, mysterious (or at least your underhanded intentions have to be invisible), and you have to always be engaged with feeding that love spell so it can be maintained. It’s a lot like pretending to be someone you aren’t and somehow over time, keeping up the pretense.

When the truth is discovered by the victim of such magic (and it usually does happen at some point), then the perpetrator of that magic experiences a full and complete reversal or backlash. The ensorcelled individual suddenly realizes that their lover is a fraud and not at all attractive or even interesting, and this makes them not only enraged by the deceit but also repulsed by the one who has been deceiving them. It’s doubtful that such a catastrophe could ever be mitigated, and usually it represents a profound end to such a relationship. It is, in a word, an emotional train wreck, and worse, it often attracts a lot of public attention. The victim usually is not content to just slip away, they also have to let everyone they know that they have been deceived and outrageously defrauded, thereby justifying why they spent any time with that disreputable scam artist they have so recently dumped. Besides, the victim’s friends were probably wondering about that as well. This kind of occurrence happens even without magic, and to outsiders it is highly amusing. It’s also the kind of situation that is used in romantic comedies. Yet in real life, it represents a terrible tragedy without a happy ending that is best avoided by being honest.

That’s why I think that working love magic on a specific person is not only unethical, but it is also fraught with possible failure. We can embellish ourselves to a point so we can be seen as attractive, but in the end, we have to be who we are, and that includes our flaws and unattractive qualities, too. It’s something that is unavoidable - we just are who are and nothing more. Pushing the envelop on this stark reality is to perpetrate a fraud, and if a relationship is to emerge from an initial infatuation, then it must be followed by honesty and integrity.

Another thing that typically happens when someone tries to cast a love spell is that they haven’t made certain that all of the practical steps that could potentially build up a relationship have been done first. In other words, there isn’t an established link and social process for a relationship to occur. They might be lazy or just confused, or they might think that the other person is the perfect match for them, as if willed by fate itself. Thus they will believe that the potential for love is mutual when it actually isn’t mutual at all. Then to confound matters they’ll work a love spell hoping that whatever shortcomings are in play (if they are even aware of them) they will somehow achieve their desired outcome. The psychic energy that they are projecting won’t be able to reach the target because there isn’t any link, but that magic will have to go somewhere, and it does. What happens is that the love spell rebounds back onto the perpetrator and causes them to become obsessed with the object of their desire. They have managed to merely ensorcell themselves, and then their odd, creepy behavior will completely turn off the person that they are unwittingly stalking. In my experience, this is usually what happens when someone attempts to cast a love spell.

In my humble opinion, working a love spell on a specific person is really a bad idea. I always try to talk someone out of this kind of approach if they happen to tell to me about it. Usually, I only hear about the failure and the collateral damage, and it elicits from me a typical face-palm kind of response. Yet human nature is what it is, and the question remains, what can a person do to magically help them attract a lover and build a rewarding relationship? My response is always the same - make yourself desirable and lovable, and then let nature take its course. Make certain that you have a wide social network of people that you actually visit and spend time with, and learn to be open, kind and compassionate to others. You can help yourself by being presentable and attractive in your chosen social network, and also by learning to listen and empathize with others. Where magic comes into play is to address any internal issues that you might have that would obstruct or keep you from having a relationship.

You should also do this simple and practical exercise. Ask yourself these questions and make certain that you get clear answers. Are you open and available for a relationship right now? Are your expectations too high or do you judge others too harshly before even knowing them? Have you cleared yourself of all of your previous emotional baggage or relationship histories. If you are pining for someone with whom you once had a relationship or if you are seeking someone who would never want to have a relationship with you then you will have to eliminate this obstacle before you will be able to find someone. These considerations are so practical and basic to human relationships that they don’t require any kind of occult interpretation or intrusion.

Finally, I would like to say forget about finding your soulmate or that pre-destined love that you have been looking for your whole life! Besides, soulmates aren’t discovered, they are made over time with a lot of hard work and effort. If you can eliminate these erroneous romantic ideals from your head and be open to any possibility, then you won’t be disappointed. Perhaps the most important bit of advice that I could ever give any magician who is seeking a lover is actually quite simple. Do you want to work magic to get a lover? Then work that magic on yourself! In other words, use your magic to discover the lover within you and then you will find a corresponding lover in the material world. It’s really that simple, even though it took me decades to truly realize it.

What is Thelema?

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Thelema ("They-LEE-mah" or "They-LEH-mah") is a Greek word meaning "will" or "intention". It is also the name of a new spiritual philosophy which has arisen over the past several hundred years and is now gradually becoming established worldwide. One of the earliest mentions of this philosophy occurs in the classic Gargantua and Pantagruel written by Francois Rabelais in 1532. One episode of this epic adventure tells of the founding of an "Abbey of Thelema" as an institution for the cultivation of human virtues, which Rabelais identified as being squarely opposite the prevailing Christian proprieties of the time. The sole rule of the Abbey of Thelema was: "Do what thou wilt". This has become one of the basic tenets of Thelemic philosophy today. Although touched upon by various prominent visionary thinkers in the following few hundred years, the seeds of Thelema sown by Rabelais eventually came to fruition in the early part of this century when developed by an Englishman named Aleister Crowley. Crowley was a poet, author, mountaineer, magician, and member of the occult society known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. In 1904, while traveling in Egypt with his wife Rose, Crowley became inextricably involved in a series of events which he claimed to inaugurate a new aeon of human evolution. These culminated in April when Crowley entered a state of trance and wrote down the three chapters of 220 verses which came to be called The Book of the Law (also known as Liber AL and Liber Legis). Among other things, this book declared: "The word of the law is Thelema" and "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law". Crowley spent the rest of his life developing the philosophy of Thelema as revealed by the Book of the Law. The result was a voluminous output of commentary and works relating to magick, mysticism, yoga, qabalah, and other occult subjects. Virtually all of this writing bears the influence of Thelema as interpreted and understood by Crowley in his capacity as prophet of the New Aeon. One theory holds that each chapter of the Book of the Law is associated with a particular aeon of human spiritual evolution. According to this view, Chapter One characterizes the Aeon of Isis, when the archetype of female divinity was paramount. Chapter Two relates to the Aeon of Osiris, when the archetype of the slain god became prominent, and the world’s patriarchal religions became established. Chapter Three heralds the dawning of a new aeon, the Aeon of Horus, the child of the Isis and Osiris. It is in this new aeon that the philosophy of Thelema will be fully revealed to humanity, and will become established as the primary paradigm for the spiritual evolution of the species. Some of the essential elements of belief in Thelema are:

"Every man and every woman is a star."
    This is usually taken to mean that each individual is unique and has their own path in a spacious universe wherein they can move freely without collision.
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." and "thou hast no right but to do thy will."
    Most Thelemites hold that every person possesses a True Will, a single overall motivation for their existence. The Law of Thelema mandates that each person follow their True Will to attain fulfillment in life and freedom from restriction of their nature. Because no two True Wills can be in real conflict (according to "Every man and every woman is a star"), this Law also prohibits one from interfering with the True Will of any other person. The notion of absolute freedom for an individual to follow his or her True Will is a cherished one among Thelemites. This philosophy also recognizes that the main task of an individual setting out on the path of Thelema is to first discover his or her True Will, giving methods of self-exploration such as magick great importance. Furthermore, every True Will is different, and because each person has a unique point-of-view of the universe, no one can determine the True Will for another person. Each person must arrive at the discovery for themselves.
"Love is the law, love under will."
    This is an important corollary to the above, indicating that the essential nature of the Law of Thelema is that of Love. Each individual unites with his or her True Self in Love, and so empowered, the entire universe of conscious beings unites with every other being in Love.

Of course, with the emphasis on freedom and individuality inherent in Thelema, the beliefs of any given Thelemite are likely to differ from those of any other. In the Comment appended to The Book of the Law it is stated that: "All questions of the Law are to be decided only by appeal to my writings, each for himself." Although Thelema is sometimes referred to as a "religion", it accommodates the full range of individual beliefs, from atheism to polytheism. The important thing is that each person has the right to fulfill themselves through whatever beliefs and actions are best suited to them (so long as they do not interfere with the will of others), and only they themselves are qualified to determine what these are.

Love is the law, love under will.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Book of Thoth

In Egyptian mythology, Thoth is the god of wisdom, time, writing, magic and the moon. The Book of Thoth is a legendary book containing powerful spells and knowledge, said to have been buried with the Prince Neferkaptah (meaning perfect ka of Ptah in Egyptian) in the City of the Dead.

The reader of the rolls would know the language of the animals, be able to cast great spells, and be able to enchant the sky and earth themselves. Anyone who read the book was punished by the gods (who would cause the reader's loved ones to die until the book was returned).

In recent years books such as 'The Orion Mystery' by Robert Bauval have created a popular belief that The Sphinx and other Giza monuments are thousands of years older than is currently claimed by orthodox Egyptologists. Members of this movement often suggest that the Book of Thoth has been positioned beneath the paws of the Sphinx for some 12,000 years.

Another legend

Rameses the Great, Pharaoh of Egypt, had a son called Setna who was learned in all the ancient writings, and a magician of note. While the other princes spent their days in hunting or in leading their father's armies to guard the distant parts of his empire, Setna was never so happy as when left alone to study.

Not only could he read even the most ancient hieroglyphic writings on the temple walls, but he was a scribe who could write quickly and easily all the many hundreds of signs that go to make up the ancient Egyptian language. Also, he was a magician whom none could surpass: for he had learned his art from the most secret of the ancient writings which even the priests of Amen-Re, of Ptah and Thoth, could not read.

One day, as he pored over the ancient books written on the two sides of long rolls of papyrus, he came upon the story of another Pharaoh's son several hundred years earlier who had been as great a scribe and as wise a magician as he greater and wiser, indeed, for Nefrekeptah had read the Book of Thoth by which a man might enchant both heaven and earth, and know the language of the birds and beasts.

When Setna read further that the Book of Thoth had been buried with Nefrekeptah in his royal tomb at Memphis, nothing would content him until he had found it and learned all his wisdom.

So he sought out his brother Anherru and said to him, 'Help me to find the Book of Thoth. For without it life has no longer any meaning for me.'

'I will go with you and stand by your side through all dangers,' answered Anherru.

The two brothers set out for Memphis, and it was not hard for them to find the tomb of Nefrekeptah the son of Amen-hotep, the first great Pharaoh of that name, who had reigned three hundred years before their day.

When Setna had made his way into the tomb, to the central chamber where Nefrekeptah was laid to rest, he found the body of the prince lying wrapped in its linen bands, still and awful in death. But beside it on the stone sarcophagus sat two ghostly figures, the Kas, or doubles, of a beautiful young woman and a boy - and between them, on the dead breast of Nefrekeptah lay the Book of Thoth.

Setna bowed reverently to the two Kas, and said, 'May Osiris have you in his keeping, dead son of a dead Pharaoh, Nefrekeptah the great scribe; and you also, who ever you be, whose Kas sit here beside him. Know that I am Setna, the priest of Ptah, son of Rameses the greatest Pharaoh of all - and I come for the Book of Thoth which was yours in your days on earth. I beg you to let me take it in peace - for if not I have the power to take it by force or magic.'
"I come for the Book of Thoth which was yours in your days on earth. I beg you to let me take it in peace."

Then said the Ka of the woman, 'Do not take the Book of Thoth, Setna, son of today's Pharaoh. It will bring you trouble even as it brought trouble upon Nefrekeptah who lies here, and upon me, Ahura his wife, whose body lies at Koptos on the edge of Eastern Thebes together with that of Merab our son - whose Kas you see before you, dwelling with the husband and father whom we loved so dearly. Listen to my tale, and beware!:

'Nefrekeptah and I were the children of the Pharaoh Amen-hotep and, according to the custom, we became husband and wife, and this son Merab was born to us. Nefrekeptah cared above all things for the wisdom of the ancients and for the magic that is to be learned from all that is carved on the temple walls, and within the tombs and pyramids of long-dead kings and priests in Saqqara, the city of the dead that is all about us here on the edge of Memphis.

'One day as he was studying what is carved on the walls in one of the most ancient shrines of the gods, he heard a priest laugh mockingly and say, "All that you read there is but worthless. I could tell you where lies the Book of Thoth, which the god of wisdom wrote with his own hand. When you have read its first page you will be able to enchant the heaven and the earth, the abyss, the mountains and the sea; and you shall know what the birds and the beasts and the reptiles are saying. And when you have read the second page your eyes will behold all the secrets of the gods themselves, and read all that is hidden in the stars."

'Then said Nefrekeptah to the priest, "By the life of Pharaoh, tell me what you would have me do for you, and I will do it - if only you will tell me where the Book of Thoth is."

'And the priest answered, "If you would learn where it lies, you must first give me a hundred bars of silver for my funeral, and issue orders that when I die my body shall be buried like that of a great king."
"All around the iron box are twisted snakes and scorpions, and it is guarded by a serpent who cannot be slain."

'Nefrekeptah did all that the priest asked; and when he had received the bars of silver, he said, "The Book of Thoth lies beneath the middle of the Nile at Koptos, in an iron box. In the iron box is a box of bronze; in the bronze box is a sycamore box; in the sycamore box is an ivory and ebony box; in the ivory and ebony box is a silver box; in the silver box is a golden box - and in that lies the Book of Thoth. All around the iron box are twisted snakes and scorpions, and it is guarded by a serpent who cannot be slain."

'Nefrekeptah was beside himself with joy. He hastened home from the shrine and told me all that he had learned. But I feared lest evil should come of it, and said to him, "Do not go to Koptos to seek this book, for I know that it will bring great sorrow to you and to those you love."

I tried in vain to hold Nefrekeptah back, but he shook me off and went to Pharaoh, our royal father, and told him what he had learned from the priest.

'Then said Pharaoh, "What is it that you desire?" And Nefrekeptah answered, "Bid your servants make ready the Royal Boat, for I would sail south to Koptos with Ahura my wife and our son Merab to seek this book without delay."

'All was done as he wished, and we sailed up the Nile until we came to Koptos. And there the priests and priestesses of Isis came to welcome us and led us up to the Temple of Isis and Horus. Nefrekeptah made a great sacrifice of an ox, a goose and some wine, and we feasted with the priests and their wives in a fine house looking out upon the river.

'But on the morning of the fifth day, leaving me and Merab to watch from the window of the house, Nefrekeptah went down to the river and made a great enchantment.

'First he created a magic cabin that was full of men and tackle. He cast a spell on it, giving life and breath to the men, and he sank the magic cabin into the river. Then he filled the Royal Boat with sand and put out into the middle of the Nile until he came to the place below which the magic cabin lay. And he spoke words of power, and cried, "Workmen, workmen, work for me even where lies the Book of Thoth!" They toiled without ceasing by day and by night, and on the third day they reached the place where the Book lay.

Then Nefrekeptah cast out the sand and they raised the Book on it until it stood upon a shoal above the level of the river.

'And behold all about the iron box, below it and above it, snakes and scorpions twined. And the serpent that could not die was twined about the box itself. Nefrekeptah cried to the snakes and scorpions a loud and terrible cry - and at his words of magic they became still, nor could one of them move.

'Then Nefrekeptah walked unharmed among the snakes and scorpions until he came to where the serpent that could not die lay curled around the box of iron. The serpent reared itself up for battle, since no charm could work on it, and Nefrekeptah drew his sword and rushing upon it, smote off its head at a single blow. But at once the head and the body sprang together, and the serpent that could not die was whole again and ready for the fray. Once more Nefrekeptah smote off its head, and this time he cast it far away into the river. But at once the head returned to the body, and was joined to the neck, and the serpent that could not die was ready for its next battle.

'Nefrekeptah saw that the serpent could not be slain, but must be overcome by cunning. So once more he struck off its head. But before head and body could come together he put sand on each part so that when they tried to join they could not do so as there was sand between them - and the serpent that could not die lay helpless in two pieces.

'Then Nefrekeptah went to where the iron box lay on the shoal in the river; and the snakes and scorpions watched him; and the head of the serpent that could not die watched him also: but none of them could harm him.

'He opened the iron box and found in it a bronze box; he opened the bronze box and found in it a box of sycamore wood; he opened that and found a box of ivory and ebony, and in that a box of silver, and at the last a box of gold. And when he had opened the golden box he found in it the Book of Thoth. He opened the Book and read the first page - and at once he had power over the heavens and the earth, the abyss, the mountains and the sea; he knew what the birds and the beasts and the fishes were saying. He read the next page of spells, and saw the sun shining in the sky, the moon and the stars, and knew their secrets - and he saw also the gods themselves who are hidden from mortal sight.

'Then, rejoicing that the priest's words had proved true, and the Book of Thoth was his, he cast a spell upon the magic men, saying, "Workmen, workmen, work for me and take me back to the place from which I came!" They brought him back to Koptos where I sat waiting for him, taking neither food nor drink in my anxiety, but sitting stark and still like one who is gone to the grave.

'When Nefrekeptah came to me, he held out the Book of Thoth and I took it in my hands. And when I read the first page I also had power over the heavens and the earth, the abyss, the mountains and the sea; and I also knew what the birds, the beasts and the fishes were saying. And when I read the second page I saw the sun, the moon and the stars with all the gods, and knew their secrets even as he did.

'Then Nefrekeptah took a clean piece of papyrus and wrote on it all the spells from the Book of Thoth. He took a cup of beer and washed off the words into it and drank it so that the knowledge of the spells entered into his being. But I, who cannot write, do not remember all that is written in the Book of Thoth - for the spells which I had read in it were many and hard.
"...a sudden power seemed to seize our little boy Merab so that he was drawn into the river and sank out of sight."

'After this we entered the Royal Boat and set sail for Memphis. But scarcely had we begun to move, when a sudden power seemed to seize our little boy Merab so that he was drawn into the river and sank out of sight. Seizing the Book of Thoth, Nefrekeptah read from it the necessary spell, and at once the body of Merab rose to the surface of the river and we lifted it on board. But not all the magic in the Book, not that of any magician in Egypt, could bring Merab back to life.

Nonetheless Nefrekeptah was able to make his Ka speak to us and tell us what had caused his death. And the Ka of Merab said, "Thoth the great god found that his Book had been taken, and he hastened before Amen-Re, saying, 'Nefrekeptah, son of Pharaoh Amen-hotep, has found my magic box and slain its guards and taken my Book with all the magic that is in it.' And Re replied to him, 'Deal with Nefrekeptah and all that is his as it seems good to you: I send out my power to work sorrow and bring a punishment upon him and upon his wife and child.' And that power from Re, passing through the will of Thoth, drew me into the river and drowned me."

'Then we made great lamentation, for our hearts were well nigh broken at the death of Merab. We put back to shore at Koptos, and there his body was embalmed and laid in a tomb as befitted him.

'When the rites of burial and the lamentations for the dead were ended, Nefrekeptah said to me, "Let us now sail with all haste down to Memphis to tell our father the Pharaoh what has chanced. For his heart will be heavy at the death of Merab. Yet he will rejoice that I have the Book of Thoth."

'So we set sail once more in the Royal Boat. But when it came to the place where Merab had fallen into the water, the power of Re came upon me also and I walked out of the cabin and fell into the river and was drowned. And when Nefrekeptah by his magic arts had raised my body out of the river, and my Ka had told him all, he turned back to Koptos and had my body embalmed and laid in the tomb beside Merab.

'Then he set out once more in bitter sorrow for Memphis. But when it reached that city, and Pharaoh came aboard the Royal Boat, it was to find Nefrekeptah lying dead in the cabin with the Book of Thoth bound upon his breast. So there was mourning throughout all the land of Egypt, and Nefrekeptah was buried with all the rites and honors due to the son of Pharaoh in this tomb where he now lies, and where my Ka and the Ka of Merab come to watch over him.

'And now I have told you all the woe that has befallen us because we took and read the Book of Thoth - the book which you ask us to give up. It is not yours, you have no claim to it, indeed for the sake of it we gave up our lives on earth.'

When Setna had listened to all the tale told by the Ka of Ahura, he was filled with awe. But nevertheless the desire to have the Book of Thoth was so strong upon him that he said, 'Give me that which lies upon the dead breast of Nefrekeptah, or I will take it by force.'

Then the Kas of Ahura and Merab drew away as if in fear of Setna the great magician. But the Ka of Nefrekeptah arose from out of his body and stepped towards him, saying, 'Setna, if after hearing all the tale which Ahura my wife has told you, yet you will take no warning, then the Book of Thoth must be yours. But first you must win it from me, if your skill is great enough, by playing a game of draughts with me - a game of fifty-two points. Dare you do this?'

And Setna answered, 'I am ready to play.'

So the board was set between them, and the game began. And Nefrekeptah won the first game from Setna, and put his spell upon him so that he sank into the ground to above the ankles. And when he won the second game, Setna sank to his waist in the ground. Once more they played and when Nefrekeptah won Setna sank in the ground until only his head was visible. But he cried out to his brother who stood outside the tomb: 'Anherru! Make haste! Run to Pharaoh and beg of him the great Amulet of Ptah, for by it only can I be saved, if you set it upon my head before the last game is played and lost.'

So Anherru sped down the steep road from Saqqara to where Pharaoh sat in his palace at Memphis. And when he heard all, he fastened into the Temple of Ptah, took the great Amulet from its place in the sanctuary, and gave it to Anherru, saying: 'Go with all speed, my son, and rescue your brother Setna from this evil contest with the dead.'

Back to the tomb sped Anherru, and down through the passages to the tomb-chamber where the Ka of Nefrekeptah still played at draughts with Setna. And as he entered, Setna made his last move, and Nefrekeptah reached out his hand with a cry of triumph to make the final move that should win the game and sink Setna out of sight beneath the ground for ever.

But before Nefrekeptah could move the piece, Anherru leapt forward and placed the Amulet of Ptah on Setna's head. And at its touch Setna sprang out of the ground, snatched the Book of Thoth from Nefrekeptah's body and fled with Anherru from the tomb.

As they went they heard the Ka of Ahura cry, 'Alas, all power is gone from him who lies in this tomb.'

But the Ka of Nefrekeptah answered, 'Be not sad: I will make Setna bring back the Book of Thoth, and come as a suppliant to my tomb with a forked stick in his hand and a fire-pan on his head.'

Then Setna and Anherru were outside, and at once the tomb closed behind them and seemed as if it had never been opened.

When Setna stood before his father the great Pharaoh and told him all that had happened, and gave him the Amulet of Ptah, Rameses said, 'My son, I counsel you to take back the Book of Thoth to the tomb of Nefrekeptah like a wise and prudent man. For otherwise be sure that he will bring sorrow and evil upon you, and at the last you will be forced to carry it back as "a suppliant with a forked stick in your hand and a fire-pan on your head."

But Setna would not listen to such advice. Instead, he returned to his own dwelling and spent all his time reading the Book of Thoth and studying all the spells contained in it. And often he would carry it into the Temple of Ptah and read from it to those who sought his wisdom.
"One day as he sat the temple he saw a maiden, more beautiful than any he had ever seen with 52 girls in attendance."

One day as he sat in a shady colonnade of the temple he saw a maiden, more beautiful than any he had ever seen, entering the temple with fifty-two girls in attendance on her. Setna gazed fascinated at this lovely creature with her golden girdle and head-dress of gold and colored jewels, who knelt to make her offerings before the statue of Ptah. Soon he learned that she was called Tabubua, and was the daughter of the high priest of the cat goddess Bastet from the city of Bubastis to the north of Memphis - Bastet who was the bride of the god Ptah of Memphis.

As soon as Setna beheld Tabubua it seemed as if Hathor the goddess of love had cast a spell over him. He forgot all else, even the Book of Thoth, and desired only to win her. And it did not seem as if his suit would be in vain, for when he sent a message to her, she replied that if he wished to seek her he was free to do so - provided he came secretly to her palace in the desert outside Bubastis.

Setna made his way thither in haste, and found a pylon tower in a great garden with a high wall round about it. There Tabubua welcomed him with sweet words and looks, led him to her chamber in the pylon and served him with wine in a golden cup.

When he spoke to her of his love, she answered, 'Be joyful, my sweet lord, for I am destined to be your bride. But remember that I am no common woman but the child of Bastet the Beautiful - and I cannot endure a rival. So before we are wed write me a scroll of divorcement against your present wife; and write also that you give your children to me to be slain and thrown down to the cats of Bastet - for I cannot endure that they shall live and perhaps plot evil against our children.'

'Be it as you wish!' cried Setna. And straightway he took his brush and wrote that Tabubua might cast his wife out to starve and slay his children to feed the sacred cats of Bastet. And when he had done this, she handed him the cup once more and stood before him in all her loveliness, singing a bridal hymn. Presently terrible cries came floating up to the high window of the pylon - the dying cries of his children, for he recognized each voice as it called to him in agony and then was still.

But Setna drained the golden cup and turned to Tabubua, saying, 'My wife is a beggar and my children lie dead at the pylon foot, I have nothing left in the world but you - and I would give all again for you. Come to me, my love!'

Then Tabubua came towards him with outstretched arms, more lovely and desirable than Hathor herself. With a cry of ecstasy Setna caught her to him - and as he did so, on a sudden she changed and faded until his arms held a hideous, withered corpse. Setna cried aloud in terror, and as he did so the darkness swirled around him, the pylon seemed to crumble away, and when he regained his senses he found himself lying naked in the desert beside the road that led from Bubastis to Memphis.

The passersby on the road mocked at Setna. But one kinder than the rest threw him an old cloak, and with this about him he came back to Memphis like a beggar.

When he reached his own dwelling place and found his wife and children there alive and well, he had but one thought and that was to return the Book of Thoth to Nefrekeptah.

'If Tabubua and all her sorceries were but a dream,' he exclaimed, 'they show me in what terrible danger I stand. For if such another spell is cast upon me, next time it will prove to be no dream.'

So, with the Book of Thoth in his hands, he went before Pharaoh his father and told him what had happened. And Rameses the Great said to him, 'Setna, what I warned you of has come to pass. You would have done better to obey my wishes sooner. Nefrekeptah will certainly kill you if you do not take back the Book of Thoth to where you found it. Therefore go to the tomb as a suppliant, carrying a forked stick in your hand and a fire-pan on your head.'

Setna did as Pharaoh advised. When he came to the tomb and spoke the spell, it opened to him as before, and he went down to the tomb-chamber and found Nefrekeptah lying in his sarcophagus with the Kas of Ahura and Merab sitting on either side. And the Ka of Ahura said, 'Truly it is Ptah, the great god, who has saved you and made it possible for you to return here as a suppliant.'

Then the Ka of Nefrekeptah rose from the body and laughed, saying, 'I told you that you would return as a suppliant, bringing the Book of Thoth. Place it now upon my body where it lay these many years. But do not think that you are yet free of my vengeance. Unless you perform that which I bid you, the dream of Tabubua will be turned into reality.'

Then said Setna, bowing low, 'Nefrekeptah, master of magic, tell me what I may do to turn away your just vengeance. If it be such as a man may perform, I will do it for you.'

'I ask only a little thing,' answered the Ka of Nefrekeptah. 'You know that while my body lies here for you to see, the bodies of Ahura and Merab rest in their tomb at Koptos.

Bring their bodies here to rest with mine until the Day of Awakening when Osiris returns to earth - for we love one another and would not be parted.'

Then Setna went in haste to Pharaoh and begged for the use of the Royal Boat. And Pharaoh was pleased to give command that it should sail with Setna where he would. So Setna voyaged up the Nile to Koptos. And there he made a great sacrifice to Isis and Horus, and begged the priests of the temple to tell him where Ahura and Merab lay buried. But, though they searched the ancient writings in the temple, they could find no record.

Setna was in despair. But he offered a great reward to any who could help him, and presently a very old man came tottering up to the temple and said, 'If you are Setna the great scribe, come with me. For when I was a little child my grandfather's father who was as old as I am now told me that when he was even as I was then his grandfather's father had shown him where Ahura and Merab lay buried - for as a young man in the days of Pharaoh Amen-hotep the First he had helped to lay them in the tomb.'

Setna followed eagerly where the old man led him, and came to a house on the edge of Koptos.

'You must pull down this house and dig beneath it,' said the old man. And when Setna had bought the house for a great sum from the scribe who lived in it, he bade the soldiers whom Pharaoh had sent with him level the house with the ground and dig beneath where it had stood.

They did as he bade them, and presently came to a tomb buried beneath the sand and cut from the rock. And in it lay the bodies of Ahura and Merab. When he saw them, the old man raised his arms and cried aloud; and as he cried he faded from sight and Setna knew that it was the Ka of Nefrekeptah which had taken on that shape to lead him to the tomb.

So he took up the mummies of Ahura and Merab and conveyed them with all honor, as if they had been the bodies of a queen and prince of Egypt, down the Nile in the Royal Boat to Memphis.

And there Pharaoh himself led the funeral procession to Saqqara, and Setna placed the bodies of Ahura and Merab beside that of Nefrekeptah in the secret tomb where lay the Book of Thoth.

When the funeral procession had left the tomb, Setna spoke a charm and the wall closed behind him leaving no trace of a door. Then at Pharaoh's command they heaped sand over the low stone shrine where the entrance to the tomb was hidden; and before long a sandstorm turned it into a great mound, and then leveled it out so that never again could anyone find a trace of the tomb where Nefrekeptah lay with Ahura and Merab and the Book of Thoth, waiting for the Day of Awakening when Osiris shall return to rule over the earth.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ancient Egyptian Handbook of Spells Deciphered

 Researchers have deciphered an ancient Egyptian handbook, revealing a series of invocations and spells.
Among other things, the "Handbook of Ritual Power," as researchers call the book, tells readers how to cast love spells, exorcise evil spirits and treat "black jaundice," a bacterial infection that is still around today and can be fatal.

The book is about 1,300 years old, and is written in Coptic, an Egyptian language. It is made of bound pages of parchment — a type of book that researchers call a codex.

"It is a complete 20-page parchment codex, containing the handbook of a ritual practitioner," write Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner, who are professors in Australia at Macquarie University and the University of Sydney, respectively, in their book, "A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power" (Brepols, 2014).

The ancient book "starts with a lengthy series of invocations that culminate with drawings and words of power," they write. "These are followed by a number of prescriptions or spells to cure possession by spirits and various ailments, or to bring success in love and business."

For instance, to subjugate someone, the codex says you have to say a magical formula over two nails, and then "drive them into his doorpost, one on the right side (and) one on the left."

The Sethians

Researchers believe that the codex may date to the 7th or 8th century. During this time, many Egyptians were Christian and the codex contains a number of invocations referencing Jesus.

However, some of the invocations seem more associated with a group that is sometimes called "Sethians." This group flourished in Egypt during the early centuries of Christianity and held Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve, in high regard. One invocation in the newly deciphered codex calls "Seth, Seth, the living Christ." [The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological Finds]

The opening of the codex refers to a divine figure named "Baktiotha" whose identity is a mystery, researchers say. The lines read, "I give thanks to you and I call upon you, the Baktiotha: The great one, who is very trustworthy; the one who is lord over the forty and the nine kinds of serpents," according to the translation.

"The Baktiotha is an ambivalent figure. He is a great power and a ruler of forces in the material realm," Choat and Gardner said at a conference, before their book on the codex was published.

Historical records indicate that church leaders regarded the Sethians as heretics and by the 7th century, the Sethians were either extinct or dying out. 

This codex, with its mix of Sethian and Orthodox Christian invocations, may in fact be a transitional document, written before all Sethian invocations were purged from magical texts, the researchers said. They noted that there are other texts that are similar to the newly deciphered codex, but which contain more Orthodox Christian and fewer Sethian features.

The researchers believe that the invocations were originally separate from 27 of the spells in the codex, but later, the invocations and these spells were combined, to form a "single instrument of ritual power," Choat told Live Science in an email.

Who would have used it?

The identity of the person who used this codex is a mystery. The user of the codex would not necessarily have been a priest or monk.

"It is my sense that there were ritual practitioners outside the ranks of the clergy and monks, but exactly who they were is shielded from us by the fact that people didn't really want to be labeled as a "magician,'" Choat said.

Some of the language used in the codex suggests that it was written with a male user in mind, however, that "wouldn't have stopped a female ritual practitioner from using the text, of course," he said. 


The origin of the codex is also a mystery. Macquarie University acquired it in late 1981 from Michael Fackelmann, an antiquities dealer based in Vienna. In "the 70s and early 80s, Macquarie University (like many collections around the world) purchased papyri from Michael Fackelmann," Choat said in the email.

But where Fackelmann got the codex from is unknown. The style of writing suggests that the codex originally came from Upper Egypt.

"The dialect suggests an origin in Upper Egypt, perhaps in the vicinity of Ashmunein/Hermopolis," which was an ancient city, Choat and Gardner write in their book.

The codex is now housed in the Museum of Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University in Sydney.