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Author Topic: Unknown spell question, spell questions.  (Read 16433 times)
Journey
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« Reply #30: August 31, 2007, 02:25:58 pm »

I kind of interpreted that verse as 'you've got magic, sort it out yourself' (the vulgar version, anyway!)  I didn't really see the 'it only works for good' in that - just a 'Shit happens.  This might help.'
But I might be reading it wrong too.

LOL -  love it!

That's pretty much what it said to me as well.
I know I could be -- I'm interpreting it through my culture and mores, not those of ancient Egypt.


Yes, I think the whole thing is simply a matter of interpretation.

The same can be said for a Bible passage too. Ten people can read one and come away with ten different interpretations. A lot of holy works are like that (full of holes) But maybe that is the point, maybe they are supposed to be different for everybody.

Personally speaking, since I am not the best at translating hieroglyphics, and am also a product of the Western World, the interpretations I respected the most were those of women here and there who actually went to Egypt and lived among its people. These were learned women who worked alongside some of the "big names" in Egyptology.

The difference was that some of these women were more on the fringe, I guess you would say, because while there they started practicing ancient Egyptian magic.   (And I honestly don't agree with all of them on all issues)

At any rate, because they lived among the people (although more modern ones, true) they noticed there were still many old beliefs and customes that the people there followed despite the influence of the Coptic Church and Islam.  (Even today women still seek out ancient statues of Hathor and Aset for healing although their current religions forbid it)

I weighed what these women noted about customs and traditions still being practiced, along with their interpretaions of ancient texts against what I myself have read about various practices (ancient and modern) and various other interpretaions of the texts and came to highly regard most of their interpretaions.

(Yes, I know, I am over-using the word interpretation here, dang! Why don't I have a better flare for writing?)

So, anyway, that is why I believe the particular interpretation that I do.
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Journey
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« Reply #31: August 31, 2007, 02:42:07 pm »

Thanks, now I get what you meant by your statement. With this background what you said makes sense to me.
It seems a bit to be another explanation why not everybody gets everything he wants.
In this it says: it was not in the plan anyway or you overstepped the line.
Modern motivation coachs would say: you havn't thought positive enough.
Some other folks might say: you havn't visualized good enough.
Some fluffies might say: you used the wrong candle Wink

Yes, that is exactly what I was trying to say.  We just don't have the big picture from our vantage point.
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« Reply #32: August 31, 2007, 06:52:48 pm »

I was not disagreeing with you. 

Err, sorry, I guess that comment seemed more aimed at you that I intended. It was more taking your new info and thinking about it in context of the original claim and just not getting how the original "the Gods gave us magic only for good" claim could come from those texts.
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« Reply #33: August 31, 2007, 07:29:30 pm »

It was more taking your new info and thinking about it in context of the original claim and just not getting how the original "the Gods gave us magic only for good" claim could come from those texts.

There's another text somewhere, and I wish I could remember it, that goes something like, "And Ra said: I did not put it in [humans'] hearts to do evil," and continues with, basically, 'but kids these days, what can you do.'

That people have hekau to take care of themselves in intent doesn't have any predictive value about what they choose to do with it.

If the gods were playing Magic Traffic Cop and not letting anyone use it who wasn't benevolent, we wouldn't have records of magicians being tried for their part in the murder of Ramesses III (as presumably the 'magic used against the gods' representative on earth' would at least flag a little attention, even if they couldn't be arsed dealing with petty execration rituals from the peasants).  "I have not made conjuration against the king" (Faulkner translation; Budge has 'worked witchcraft') would not be in the Negative Confessions lists, because the concept of negative magic would not exist, being logically impossible.  (The Negative Confessions include things like 'I have not killed men', 'robbed', 'been deaf to words of truth', 'been neglectful', 'reviled God', and so on -- all entirely possible things for people to engage in, that they oughtn't.

The ancient Egyptians treated the overwhelming majority of magic as set word formulae.  Read the words?  You can work the spell.
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« Reply #34: August 31, 2007, 10:39:32 pm »

The ancient Egyptians treated the overwhelming majority of magic as set word formulae.  Read the words?  You can work the spell.

Off topic, but do we have any idea what percentage of the population of ancient Egypt was literate enough to be able to do that?
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« Reply #35: September 01, 2007, 02:25:11 am »

Off topic, but do we have any idea what percentage of the population of ancient Egypt was literate enough to be able to do that?

I think we do, but I don't have the knowledge to give you a guess off the top of my head.

What we know:

The elites were all educated.

It is reasonably likely that the wealthier craftsmen and their children had some level of literacy, though I imagine that would depend a great deal on how much the kids were needed to help with the crafting business and subsistence stuff.

There is evidence of the call-it-middle-class sometimes writing their own letters, but the existence of scribes for hire from the educated classes meant that not a lot bothered with it when they could get someone to write it nicer and more skilfully.

Also it's worth noting that most temples had rotating staff drawn from the notable people of the village/town/city, each section of staff serving a quarter of the year.  Many of these staff jobs required literacy; temple work was in many cases a bit of a sinecure, guaranteeing food and nepotism for one's family, so it would be wise for a family with the appropriate resources to educate themselves and their children so as to have the opportunity to get in on one of the priestly work rotations if there was space at the local temple.

Many people had smatterings of characters, not enough to read, but stuff like me and Chinese -- I can identify a handful of numbers, the character for 'person', and the character for 'earth', and a few others I don't recall at the moment but would recognise in person.  Not enough to read, but enough to fumble.

The rest of the population was extremely symbolically literate.  So while they couldn't, say, read the texts written on the temple walls (or their copy of the Book of Going Forth By Day if they could afford one), they could look at the vingettes and artwork and identify what the relevant text was for.

So I would say, "All the elites in theory; many of the skilled craftsmen; a smattering of other people".
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« Reply #36: September 01, 2007, 08:22:20 am »

So I would say, "All the elites in theory; many of the skilled craftsmen; a smattering of other people".

Thanks for the rundown on this. It sounds like ancient Egypt was much more literate than I had expected.
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