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Author Topic: Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern World  (Read 3694 times) Average Rating: 5
RandallS
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« Topic Start: February 19, 2010, 08:10:16 am »

Title: Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern World
Author(s): Richard J. Reidy
Publisher: iUniverse
Publication Date: January 20, 2010
ISBN: 1440192464
ISBN-13: 978-1440192463
Current Price and More Info from Amazon

Description:
Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern World is the first comprehensive collection of important temple rituals performed throughout Egypt during the time of the pharaohs. The author presents seven key rites from official temple records and ancient esoteric texts for personal or group use.

This guidebook also:

- presents rituals in a form designed to assist initiates in restoring the ancient rites of Egypt;
- provides for modern usage, key ritual texts coming solely from authenticated ancient sources;
- contains easy to follow commentaries and background information on each ritual, including symbolism and mythology not previously available in one book;
- gives text with commentary for the "Opening of the Mouth" ceremony;
- offers practical information for conducting these rituals in today's world.

Formerly only available to the scholar and professional Egyptologist, these ritual texts reveal the deeply spiritual understanding of humanity's relationship to divinity that characterized the ancient Egyptian sense of the sacred.

This is a practical intermediate level text for those wishing to worship the great deities of ancient Egypt in as authentic a manner as possible, and by so doing tap into the great spiritual heritage that sustained Egyptian culture for over three thousand years.

Special Notes:
none

Legal Notes: Some description text and item pictures in this post may come from Amazon.com and are used by permission. The Cauldron is an Amazon Affiliate and purchases made through the Amazon links in this message help support The Cauldron.



Discussion and reviews of this book are welcome in this thread. If you've read the book, please tell us what you think of it and why.
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« Reply #1: February 19, 2010, 09:49:48 am »

Discussion and reviews of this book are welcome in this thread. If you've read the book, please tell us what you think of it and why.


It can be challenging for the modern Kemetic reconstructionist to find a book on rituals. The majority of books on Egyptian Paganism tend to have strong Wiccan and Ceremonial Magic elements. There is certainly nothing wrong with these practices. However, an increasing number of Pagans are finding themselves called to worship the Egyptian Gods as they were worshiped in antiquity. Those of us who feel that calling have been left with few useful guidebooks. I believe that the publication of Eternal Egypt is a major step toward remedying this situation.


Reidy draws from credible scholarly sources for all of the rites contained in this book. There is no ritual utterance that is not cited, so that the reader can look up the reference themselves. His scholarship is of the quality that would be respected by an Egyptologist. However, it is clear that armchair Egyptologists or the merely curious are not Reidy's target audience! He provides 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. He describes simple alterations that he has made to the rituals so that any of us can perform the rituals in our homes. He is also very clear about which alterations he is making, and points the reader in the direction of the original sources so that they can read the original rituals in their entirety.


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 (Horus), 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 #2: February 19, 2010, 07:05:52 pm »

Discussion and reviews of this book are welcome in this thread. If you've read the book, please tell us what you think of it and why.

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 endnotes- 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 few, 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- or to anyone with an interest in studying ancient Egyptian ritual forms- and I am thrilled that this work is in publication and generally available.
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