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Author Topic: "Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the modern world" recommendation!  (Read 10569 times)
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« Topic Start: February 11, 2010, 01:03:38 pm »

Hi Everyone,
I wanted to recommend a great new book "Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern World" by Richard J. Reidy.  Richard's book is amazing, he uses authentic rituals from temple walls and provides commentary to aid the modern practitioner.  He is an amazing scholar and provides footnotes & sources! - WOOT.  I have know Richard personally for 4 years and I find his dedication to the Netjeru inspiring.  His book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online retailers.  I hope you enjoy the book!

Em Hotep,
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« Reply #1: February 12, 2010, 03:33:28 pm »


I second that recommendation!!!  I've been waiting a long time for a book like this to come out, and I am very excited about it!  I posted a review on Livejournal and from the response so far I can tell that there are several Kemetics out there who are just as thrilled as I am.Smiley

Eternal Egypt is a gold mine of carefully researched and lovingly, conscientiously presented ritual liturgies for the modern Kemetic reconstructionist.  Rarely am I this enthusiastic over a single source, but then again rarely have I found a book which manages to be at the same time academically responsible- with sources cited, and an abundance of footnotes- and presented in an easy-to-read fashion, geared toward the modern practitioner, and with so many practical applications. 

This book is essentially a collection of rituals drawn from the records of ancient rituals inscribed on temple walls.  The author has included descriptive notes about their enactment, along with brief discussions of the significance of each ritual and the sources from which they were drawn.  These rituals have a distinctly traditional tone- they are presented much as they have been found written on temple walls.  This author has worked with professional translations of original inscriptions, and endeavored to present these rituals in modern language which flows and preserves the beauty of the original works.  There is a degree of completion in the rituals which I have not often seen elsewhere.  The author mentions where a few things have been omitted, such as the presentation to the deity of specific pieces of jewelry and the like, which may have been prohibitively expensive and unattainable to the average modern practitioner- however these omissions are rare, and as the sources for the rituals are given they are there for the enthusiastic reader to track down should you feel that you desire even more.  There are also some simplified versions of important rituals given alongside the more in-depth versions.  The shorter, alternate rituals are drawn from the same traditional sources and encourage those of us caught up in the hectic schedule of modern life to be able to share in this legacy of support and power which has been so wonderfully preserved for us. 

A quick run through the Table of Contents shows general rituals adapted to the honoring of a handful of specific deities- for those whose deities are not among those listed, these can serve as templates from which to draw inspiration for creating your own ritual along traditional lines.  There are also two rituals here for honoring the spirits of those who have gone before us- ancestors, the beloved dead, akhu, or however you prefer to know them.  There are 3 formal temple rituals for warding off Apep or other destructive spirits.  You will also find a ritual for the Opening of the Mouth- and I strongly caution anyone considering performing this ritual to carefully read the introduction to the rite provided.  It describes the responsibilities involved in caring for an open image, as well as concerns to be weighed by any practitioner considering taking on these responsibilities.  A very helpful commentary takes the reader through each step of the ritual.

The book appears to be written for an audience of intermediate-level practitioners, although beginners could get quite a bit out of it if they were willing to put in some extra effort to research unfamiliar topics, and old hands may well find a good deal of inspiration (and a handy reference source).  I highly recommend this book to any Kemetic reconstructionist, and I am thrilled that this work is in publication and generally available.

As Nefer has mentioned, you can find this book at several places- I like Amazon personally because they often have sections of books online for browsing- and that's the case with this one as well.

I'd like to hear from other folks about your thoughts on this book- after reading through the sections on Amazon, or picking up a copy of your own what is your reaction?  Was it helpful?  Did you find any inspiration for your own practices?  Or is there something in particular from the book which you might use regularly?  What are your experiences with using these rituals?

I might post more of my own response after someone else has had a chance to respond, but I've probably gushed enough for now.Smiley  I'm headed out for a Pagan convention today, and will be out of town for a few days!  If you're going to Pantheacon, maybe I'll see you there! 
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« Reply #2: February 14, 2010, 01:21:13 pm »




I've heard he used Budge with some translations within the book.  Is this true? 

As far as I know, Budge is not considered a reliable source by current Egyptologists. 
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« Reply #3: February 14, 2010, 04:41:22 pm »

I've heard he used Budge with some translations within the book.  Is this true?  

As far as I know, Budge is not considered a reliable source by current Egyptologists.  

That's a good question to bring up, and it's one I discussed with him.  The resources he uses are sometimes in different languages, like German or French.  For example, Alexandre Moret's Le Rituel du Culte Divin Journalier seems to have been a helpful source and is cited several times throughout the book.  For those who do not read French, however, he cites equivalent passages in Budge if other English sources can not be found and if Budge is saying the same things that Moret was saying in the cited passages.  Budge is not presented as a sufficient source on his own grounds- and several times Reidy cautions readers against using him as their primary source because he is so out of date.  He's done the verification for the passages in the specific cases which he presents, and where available presents both sources (the foriegn language and the English) as a courtesy for readers who are not fluent in the other languages.  Information which has neither been disproven nor further discussed in modern literature to the best of his knowledge is cited soley to Budge, and those passages are marked in the endnotes for the personal judgement of the reader.

You're absolutely right that Budge is a very tricky source, although it is not true that he is never used as a source by modern Egyptologists.  Just pulling a couple books off my shelves, I can verify that Erik Hornung, Dimitri Meeks, and Christine Favard-Meeks are among those modern and respectable egyptological authors who occasionally cite Budge in their bibliographies.  The trick is to know which parts of Budge have been disproven by more modern discoveries and which parts continue to be upheld by modern interpretations and evidence.  Trying to cross-reference every passage in a book by Budge is far too inefficient a study for new comers, however, and that's why we warn them away from him.  Another problem comes when the other, more modern source for a particular subject is either in a language which is inaccessible to the student, or is in a professional collection which is unavailable to the general public.  Reidy has done quite a bit of cross-checking in the course of his own studies and presents that in his book.  I think it was handled well. Smiley

Like several other authors who have used Budge in their citations, Reidy has made some of this information available to us.  The question here, as with all other authors, is: do you trust him to do that checking?  Reidy has gone through the process of earning his Master's degree and has received formal training on research techniques.  As a fellow reconstructionist, his motivation for writing the book is to present ancient Egyptian rituals for modern use, in a manner which is as true to the traditional forms of ancient Egypt as possible, and in a way which gives all due respect and honor to the people who performed them before us.  Reading through the book, what I have seen resonates closely with what I have read in academic, trustworthy sources.  None of this material has raised red flags for me, and this is why I give the book such an enthusiastic endorsement.
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« Reply #4: February 17, 2010, 12:05:32 am »

That's a good question to bring up, and it's one I discussed with him.  The resources he uses are sometimes in different languages, like German or French.  For example, Alexandre Moret's Le Rituel du Culte Divin Journalier seems to have been a helpful source and is cited several times throughout the book.  For those who do not read French, however, he cites equivalent passages in Budge if other English sources can not be found and if Budge is saying the same things that Moret was saying in the cited passages.  Budge is not presented as a sufficient source on his own grounds- and several times Reidy cautions readers against using him as their primary source because he is so out of date.

You're absolutely right that Budge is a very tricky source, although it is not true that he is never used as a source by modern Egyptologists.  Just pulling a couple books off my shelves, I can verify that Erik Hornung, Dimitri Meeks, and Christine Favard-Meeks are among those modern and respectable egyptological authors who occasionally cite Budge in their bibliographies.  The trick is to know which parts of Budge have been disproven by more modern discoveries and which parts continue to be upheld by modern interpretations and evidence.

Good point, Banu, and thank you for bringing that up. 

One thing that I really like about this book is that there is no ritual utterance that is not cited, so that the reader can look up the reference themselves.  There are absolutely no elements of Wicca or Ceremonial Magic in Reidy's book.  There is certainly nothing wrong with those practices, but I know that most people on this SIG feel called to worship the Netjeru as they were worshiped in antiquity. We haven't had many useful guidebooks.  I believe that the publication of Eternal Egypt is a major step toward remedying this situation.  His scholarship is of the quality that would be respected by an Egyptologist.  Of course, it is clear that armchair Egyptologists or the merely curious are not Reidy's target audience Smiley.  He provides some very practical guidance on how to actually go about performing the ritual, including comprehensive lists of materials needed, along with suggestions on how to make or obtain them.

The book is described as "intermediate", and I do not argue with this description.  The rituals are somewhat complex.  However, I would encourage beginners who are serious about their path to study the rituals in conjunction with Reidy's commentaries on what they mean and why they are performed.  In these commentaries, he explains the Kemetic understanding of the Divine in an authentic and deeply moving manner, consistent with the polytheistic theology of the ancients.  He shows how even small things such as lighting a candle can have a deeply mystical significance, as the light becomes the eye of Heru, nothing less than the light of creation pushing back the forces of darkness  (pg 6).

"Eternal Egypt" presents a uniquely Kemetic vision of ritual and magic.  The practitioner is not only invited to develop a relationship with the Gods, but also to embrace their own divinity and work alongside the Gods in the protection and continuous renewal of the universe.  I believe that those who choose to study and enact the rites contained within will find them truly transformative.  Reidy has given a great gift to the Kemetic community by making them so accessible. 

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« Reply #5: February 17, 2010, 08:51:35 am »

Good point, Banu, and thank you for bringing that up. 

One thing that I really like about this book is that there is no ritual utterance that is not cited, so that the reader can look up the reference themselves.  There are absolutely no elements of Wicca or Ceremonial Magic in Reidy's book.  There is certainly nothing wrong with those practices, but I know that most people on this SIG feel called to worship the Netjeru as they were worshiped in antiquity. We haven't had many useful guidebooks.  I believe that the publication of Eternal Egypt is a major step toward remedying this situation.  His scholarship is of the quality that would be respected by an Egyptologist.  Of course, it is clear that armchair Egyptologists or the merely curious are not Reidy's target audience Smiley.  He provides some very practical guidance on how to actually go about performing the ritual, including comprehensive lists of materials needed, along with suggestions on how to make or obtain them.

The book is described as "intermediate", and I do not argue with this description.  The rituals are somewhat complex.  However, I would encourage beginners who are serious about their path to study the rituals in conjunction with Reidy's commentaries on what they mean and why they are performed.  In these commentaries, he explains the Kemetic understanding of the Divine in an authentic and deeply moving manner, consistent with the polytheistic theology of the ancients.  He shows how even small things such as lighting a candle can have a deeply mystical significance, as the light becomes the eye of Heru, nothing less than the light of creation pushing back the forces of darkness  (pg 6).

"Eternal Egypt" presents a uniquely Kemetic vision of ritual and magic.  The practitioner is not only invited to develop a relationship with the Gods, but also to embrace their own divinity and work alongside the Gods in the protection and continuous renewal of the universe.  I believe that those who choose to study and enact the rites contained within will find them truly transformative.  Reidy has given a great gift to the Kemetic community by making them so accessible. 



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« Reply #6: February 17, 2010, 02:25:08 pm »

The book is described as "intermediate", and I do not argue with this description.  The rituals are somewhat complex.  However, I would encourage beginners who are serious about their path to study the rituals in conjunction with Reidy's commentaries on what they mean and why they are performed. 

Not only that, but right in the front cover he gives his address for people to send him mail if they have questions.  I recently purchased the book at Pantheacon and had the chance to meet him.  Besides being very friendly and outgoing, he was also very knowledgeable in the presentation he did.  He gave the people there his phone number and email and encouraged people to contact him if they had questions that weren't answered in the book. 
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« Reply #7: February 19, 2010, 08:47:04 pm »

Not only that, but right in the front cover he gives his address for people to send him mail if they have questions.  I recently purchased the book at Pantheacon and had the chance to meet him.  Besides being very friendly and outgoing, he was also very knowledgeable in the presentation he did.  He gave the people there his phone number and email and encouraged people to contact him if they had questions that weren't answered in the book. 

Yeah, Rich is pretty freakin' awesome Smiley
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« Reply #8: February 23, 2010, 12:33:02 am »

Yeah, Rich is pretty freakin' awesome Smiley

I would have to agree!  Rich has been so helpful to our temple and he is always willing to share new found information!
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« Reply #9: May 05, 2010, 06:37:20 am »


Now that some of us have had a chance to read Reidy's Eternal Egypt, would anyone like to share their thoughts, or ask questions about what is in the book? Smiley
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« Reply #10: May 05, 2010, 10:03:38 am »

Now that some of us have had a chance to read Reidy's Eternal Egypt, would anyone like to share their thoughts, or ask questions about what is in the book? Smiley

I personally enjoyed the book. I thought it was well written, and pretty accurate based off of other books I've read.

The only question I had was the ritual purity of leather and wool- why those weren't allowed, yet skins and meat were. Otherwise, I liked it.

-Devo
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« Reply #11: May 07, 2010, 06:40:15 am »

Links! Always link something you want me to buy :p

http://www.amazon.com/Eternal-Egypt-Ancient-Rituals-Modern/dp/1440192464/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273228633&sr=1-1
http://www.amazon.ca/Eternal-Egypt-Ancient-Rituals-Modern/dp/1440192464/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273228676&sr=8-7

I have added this to my wishlist and will probably buy it as soon as I have slush money again. Thanks for the title!
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« Reply #12: August 13, 2010, 09:53:54 am »

Now that some of us have had a chance to read Reidy's Eternal Egypt, would anyone like to share their thoughts, or ask questions about what is in the book? Smiley

I've done two out of three of the "general" rituals, the one for Sekhmet and Djehuty.  If found both of them to be wonderful ways to connect with the Gods.  As I said, the Sekhmet ritual I did was very peaceful and I felt like I saw a side of the Goddess that I hadn't seen before.   I'll probably end up doing the ritual to Sutekh pretty soon.  That would be my first formal ritual to him so I'll let you all know how it works out Wink

I'm really interested in using the template to create rituals to other Gods.  I'd really like a ritual to Nebet-het.  I'm not sure how many hymns I can find for her. Admittedly I've been running around with other projects and haven't had much time, but I WILL do it eventually.  I wouldn't mind having a general ritual to Ausir, either.  The rituals I have for him are all for specific holidays, so I'd like one I can do whenever I want.  Hymns for him will be easy to find.  The problem is making up my mind!

Anyone else played around with the general ritual template? 
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« Reply #13: August 14, 2010, 08:53:03 am »

I've done two out of three of the "general" rituals, the one for Sekhmet and Djehuty.  If found both of them to be wonderful ways to connect with the Gods.  As I said, the Sekhmet ritual I did was very peaceful and I felt like I saw a side of the Goddess that I hadn't seen before.   I'll probably end up doing the ritual to Sutekh pretty soon.  That would be my first formal ritual to him so I'll let you all know how it works out Wink

I'm really interested in using the template to create rituals to other Gods.  I'd really like a ritual to Nebet-het.  I'm not sure how many hymns I can find for her. Admittedly I've been running around with other projects and haven't had much time, but I WILL do it eventually.  I wouldn't mind having a general ritual to Ausir, either.  The rituals I have for him are all for specific holidays, so I'd like one I can do whenever I want.  Hymns for him will be easy to find.  The problem is making up my mind!

I am only just doing the daily greeting to the Lady, but I can't wait until I feel comfortable enough to do the big, the bold, and the beautiful.
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« Reply #14: October 31, 2010, 03:15:10 pm »

I'll probably end up doing the ritual to Sutekh pretty soon.  That would be my first formal ritual to him so I'll let you all know how it works out Wink

Hm.  I finally did end up doing this ritual a few weeks ago. 

It was interesting. The sky just happened to be thick with dark clouds at the time and it felt like the presence of the God was very "heavy" in the room.  There was sort of an "eye of the storm" type of feeling.  I'm not sure how else to explain it.  I went into that ritual with what were, admittedly, some rather ignorant assumptions.  "Oh, he's going to mess with me because I serve Ausir."  I realized that it was completely ridiculous to think of how Sutekh would interact with me solely on the basis of who my "primary" patron happens to be.  Sutekh is Sutekh, infinitely bigger than that one story.  Heh.  Sometimes I really like learning I'm wrong.  Wink

One interesting thing I've found as I work with the "general" rituals is that I've actually started to find ritual less overwhelming because of them.  I've done them enough times now that I understand the general flow of things, and I know what's coming.  I think it's easier for me to have meaningful experiences because I'm not worried about how to plan the ritual or what I'm going to do.  Since everything is all laid out for me, I can just focus on the experience itself.  I seem to get a deeper meaning out of the texts every time I perform the ritual, as well.  Since there are so many different layers of meaning I feel like I could do the ritual a hundred times and each time come out of it with different insights.  The commentaries in the book are really helpful, too.  It's not like he just dumps a ritual in your lap and says "here, now do it."  I find myself referring to those commentaries again and again, especially when my friends ask me what the heck I do in a Kemetic ritual.

I still want to work on general rituals for other Gods but I've got so many irons in the fire.  I have a friend who is a devotee of Het-heru and would probably love a general ritual to Her for our temple.  If I ever finish my general ritual projects I'll let ya'll know.
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