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Author Topic: Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern World  (Read 3701 times) Average Rating: 5
WebenBanu
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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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Em ma'at,
Banu

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