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Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts: The Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt Paperback – Illustrated, 12 September 2004
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"A fabulously convincing piece of work."-- "Normandi Ellis, author of Awakening Osiris"
"A model of how to engage with religious literature and, still more widely, with the sacred dimension of life. . . . Serves as a mirror to our own consciousness, reflecting back to us objective spiritual realities which have fallen out of contemporary discourse, and waking us up to deeper layers of our own humanity. . . . An essential book for all of us who long to experience the greater possibilities of the human psyche."-- "Jules Cashford, Temenos Academy Review"
"A splendid melding of fine scholarship and passionate engagement with themes that are vitally important to us today. It is must reading not only for lovers of Egypt, students of shamanism and religion, and modern practitioners of soul travel, but for all of us who hunger for the real history of humanity's encounters with the more-than-human."-- "Robert Moss, author of Dreamgates: An Explorer's Guide to the Worlds of Soul, Imagination, and"
"An invaluable contribution to the dialogue about the mysteries of ancient Egypt."-- "Rosicrucian Digest"
"Erudite, rigorously developed, impeccably supported, observing all scholarly ground rules, yet revolutionary in its implications. This book should engage serious readers the world over."-- "John Anthony West, author of The Serpent in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt"
"This is an important book for it places our focus for understanding these ancient texts where it should be, upon profound human experience."-- "Michael Baigent, Caduceus, Issue #66"
From the Back Cover
- Publisher : Inner Traditions; Original ed. edition (12 September 2004)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0892817550
- ISBN-13 : 978-0892817559
- Dimensions : 15.24 x 3.05 x 22.86 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 244,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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IMO Jeremy Naydler has managed to convey the magical wisdom behind THE PYRAMID TEXTS in Una's pyramid in Saqqara - with the earliest example of extended writing worldwide. Based on the documented and solid scientific methodology of phenomenology he presents the complex material with elegance and humility.
My own perception of this extremely old wisdom concurs with the view of Antoine Gigal who refers to Manetho's predynastic dating of dynasties of divine origin. Similarly T Wilkinson, G Maspero and John A West all describe this great legacy left over from the lineage of gods and finally the Shemsu Hor - that mingled with humans in our pre-historic past.
Essentially Naydler argues convincingly that these Pyramid Texts are not primarily funerary, but rather mystical initiatory knowledge experienced while living, allowing the initiate to unite the gap between heaven and earth to establish Maat - universal harmony and order.
Naydler's stunning conclusion may be as important and sensational as the much heralded evidence of precipitation induced weathering on the lion-statue Horaktu and its enclosure carved in limestone at Giza. (Evidently this statue has much later been re-modelled during dynastic times to be known as the Great Sphinx.)
Just like Schwaller de Lubitz, John A West and Robert M Schoch have presented convincing evidence that this is part of a rich legacy from the distant past, Jeremy Naydler has succeeded in dismantling the presuppositions of mainstream Egyptology and the funerary theory of the Pyramid Texts. Furthermore it challenges another established conjecture that the pyramids were built as tombs, despite no human body has ever been found in them. The granite box found in many pyramids would more appropriately be called "initiation box", and the "sarcophagus chamber" in Una's pyramid be termed "initiation-" or "transformation"-chamber.
Highly recommended all seekers of higher truth but even those that are just interested in history and Egyptology.
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Contrary to the usual funerary interpretation he demonstrates evidence that the utterances (beginning with Dd mdw, literally 'say words') served functions other than as spells to carry the deceased king on his way to a happy afterlife. His hypothesis is that they served a so-called 'shamanic' function while the king was very much alive. The term shamanism isn't entirely accurate since it really comes from Siberian shamans but fits practices that are referred to as shamanic by anthropologists. The idea that the texts and the pyramids themselves served the function of renewing the king in the duat during an otherworld journey rather than simply serving as funerary spells in a funerary monument makes sense of many things that otherwise don't make much sense. The texts themselves declare many times that the king is alive and not dead. At times he is obviously not resurrected to an afterlife but in fact still alive and empowered by his journey to the world of the gods.
The author very successfully connects not only the texts but the whole pyramid complex to the Sed festival, the renewal of the king's power after thirty years (with many exceptions to that time period). While other authors deny there is any positional significance to the placement of texts in the pyramid of Unas, Nadler develops the idea that there are thematic relationships between not only cardinal directions and the walls the texts are placed on but between texts on opposite sides of the wall between the sarcophagus chamber and antechamber as well as floating a hypothesis about the significance of the retrograde writing on some walls which is otherwise unexplained.
This is one of those books that makes things that didn't make much sense before suddenly make sense. The dots connect and a full picture begins to form. Of course at this great remove in time and lacking so much concrete information it's hard to say exactly how something like this may have been used but I think the author makes an excellent case for the pyramid and these texts being far more than funerary monuments and spells for the good of the deceased.
I would have liked to see more expansion on the apparent fusion and irregular equivalence of Horus and Osiris in these texts but that isn't the author's aim. That's a subject for another day. What he sets out to demonstrate he does in an exhaustive way which challenges the usual assumption that the pyramids, and virtually all remains of ancient Egypt, are essentially dedicated to the dead. So many tombs do remain because they were constructed to last for eternity. Many other things put to use during life surely were not. This creates an obvious bias against those things that are more perishable. But I think the bias of Egyptologists that so many things and so many texts only served the dead is seriously wrong in many cases such as this. I feel, as do many others, that the other books also presumed to be nothing but spells and instructions to the dead also served similar functions.
The whole subject is a bit esoteric if you aren't deeply interested in the religion and magic of ancient Egypt but if you are and want to gain a deeper understanding of the origins of the pyramid texts and the much later Book of Going Forth by Day (Book of the Dead), Book of Gates, Book of Breathings, Am Duat, etc. this book is well worth reading.