<![CDATA[TEMPLE OF KHEM - Blog]]>Fri, 12 Apr 2019 19:49:02 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Defining the Tradition]]>Thu, 11 Apr 2019 12:25:29 GMThttp://templeofkhem.com/blog/defining-the-traditionPicture

The experienced Adept working with more primitive god-forms will instinctively be drawn to the correspondences which ‘feel’ right for that particular deity.  Again for the sake of simplicity, the Egyptian Mystery Tradition has been divided into three distinctly separate categories or Paths, and only the more important of the principal deities have been included. 
Primitive Path deals with the primeval/primordial forces of the universe usually aligned with ritual magic; the Heliopolitan Path offers a more intellectual, spiritual or mystical approach; while the Hermopolitan Path concentrates on the purely devotional aspects and the ability to move between the worlds, i.e. different planes of consciousness. An intimate knowledge of Egyptian myth is essential for the effective practise of magic at a higher level of awareness; a knowledge that has to extend beyond these stereotypical deities of popular Egyptology to embrace a wider and loftier range of supernatural beings. 
This is why it becomes so important to successful magic that the Adept throws him- or herself into an intensive study programme to enable him/her to differentiate between the different levels of magic, historical influence and religious emphasis that mark the subtle shifts of importance between the Paths.  The Qabalistic and Tarot correspondences given for each deity are not hard and fast rules, since each Adept should design and complete his/her own Tree  of  Life  to  correspond  with  the  inner  messages  that  each individual receives direct from the Guardians of the Path.  Likewise, the images from the Tarot will often convey contradictory messages from one Adept to another - there is no one true Way, since neither Qabalah nor Tarot existed for the priest of Khem.
Primitive Path (Naqada Tradition] PART I
The seeker after primitive sources will find it necessary to dissect later renderings of the classic texts which are, unfortunately, pre- occupied with the Osirian legend.  For the serious student of the Primitive Path, the eye will instinctively  be drawn  to the obscure references relating to Set and Horus the Elder, which can then be extracted from the conflicting Osirian mythos. 
This Path is more closely aligned with the raw natural energy that comes from the bowels of the earth or the furthest reaches of the universe.  The deities, many of whom are in the creator/destroyer mould, equate with the mighty gods of other religions (Pan, Lilith, Tiamat, Asthoreth, Kronos, etc) who were eventually demonised by subsequent social and cultural changes because they were too powerful to eradicate.
The Primitive Path requires a certain amount of courage and daring normally associated with Western Ritual Magic, since when unleashing primordial power it is necessary to maintain a firm control over it.  As in Ritual Magic, the Magus summons the demon or archangel to do his bidding, the Adept of the Primitive Path must show no fear when directing his magical operations within the spheres of primitive power.  Many of the early Egyptian deities are associated in some way with death and rampant sexuality which is, in itself, the strongest method of raising power for magical use. 
The solar aspect is the distinguishing and all-important feature of all the creator-gods.  Following the rebellion of mankind, Atum withdrew to the heavens, abdicating his power to his only son Shu; in the form of Re or Re-Harakhti he remained visible and the solar cult continued through to the end of Dynasty XXX. He is the Divine Father and the following hymn taken from the Book of the Dead (Chapter 15) can be used a prayer to the all-mighty creator:
“Hail to you, Re, at your rising, and to you, Atum, at your setting.  You rise every day, you shine brightly every day, while you appear in glory, king of the gods.  You are lord of the sky and Lord of the earth, who has created the creatures above and those below.  Sole god who came into being on the first occasion, who made the land and created human beings, who made the Nun and created the Nile, who created the waters and imparted life to what is in them, who raised up the mountains and bestowed existence upon men and herds ... Divine youth, heir to eternity, who engendered himself and gave birth to himself, unique one with many forms.”
There are many forms Atum-Re can take and whichever god-form you chose to pay homage, it is advisable to have an image of the Divine Father in your temple even if it does not pay a dominate part in your working.   A sphinx, obelisk, scarab or winged solar disk are all representative of Atum-Re or Re-Harakhte.  He can equates with Kether on the Tree of Life and The Sun or The Universe in the Tarot.  Magically speaking, as The Universe represents the Celebration of the Great Work accomplished, to which we all aspire, it can be a useful card to use in meditation.  His colours correspond to the white, shimmering gold of electum or platinum.  Because he is the all-seeing, omnipotent Divine One he can be petitioned at any time but traditionally his ceremonies would be carried out at dawn.
Set [E=Sutekh] (above)
The most ancient and powerful deity in the Primitive Tradition is, of course Set and here it is necessary to strongly enforce the point that this is neither black magic nor devil worship.  Since, as Professor Emery point out, Set could neither be assimilated nor ignored, he remained a deity apart,  much the  same  as  the  diminished stature of the Great God Pan in Greek mythology.  In both cases, it was easier to belittle and malign a deity than to be rid of him all together.  The majority of modern day occultists still shy away from working with Pan/Set god-forms because of the sheer power of the primeval earth forces that are unleashed by these time-less beings. 
As Geraldine Pinch explains, Set was the force of chaos, but it was not until  a late stage  in Egyptian culture  that he  was seen as totally evil; and even then he still might be invoked since like should be fought with like. “When something dangerous and chaotic had to be overcome, a being who possessed those qualities needed to be enlisted on your side,” she observed.  This form of magical energy is not for the inexperienced or the faith-hearted since it has been generating suppressed power for over 5000 years.”  As an added safety precaution against this radio-active energy, invoke Nut to act as a shield and mediator.
Set is called upon as a guide and protector from the darkness and all that it conceals, i.e. ignorance, hypocrisy and superstition; he is the Path to hidden knowledge, wisdom and understanding and can equate with Daath on the Tree of Life. It is in his negative form he represents confusion and social/cosmic disorder and his unrestrained sexual behaviour is often mentioned  in spells and stories, so anything connected  with passion can benefit from his attention. His colour is red and ideally any workings in his name should be carried out on either a Tuesday or Saturday under the planetary influences of Mars or Saturn.  Tarot: Chariot and The Devil.  He responds well to a libation of vintage port!
Horus the Elder or Re-Harakhte (below)
Magically speaking, Horus and Set, although normally considered as opponents, are combined into a single deity; brothers who are at the same time both enemies and inseparable. Historically speaking these were two distinct and irreconcilable cults, which only became temporarily united at the close of Dynasty II as a matter of political expediency.  The cult of Horus the Elder flourished and divided; on one hand he was reduced to the son of Osiris and Isis, on the other he retained his solar image and was identified in the living image of Pharaoh. For magical purposes it makes sense to pay homage to Horus the Elder as an amalgam of the two ancient sun-gods in the combined identity of Re-Harakhte and discard the later more modernised persona.  His emblem is the solar disc around which is coiled the sacred cobra. Horus in this guise can also be looked upon as a champion and protector, equated with the balancing elements of Geburah on the Tree of Life and sharing The Chariot in the Tarot with Set, or The Sun with Atum-Re.  Depending on the purpose of the ritual, any workings carried out in his name should be performed on a Sunday or Tuesday. His colours are orange and bright gold.
Nut [E=Nu]
The sky-goddess is represented as a woman with an elongated body, touching the earth with toes (east) and finger-tips (west), while her star-spangled belly forms the arch of the heavens.  Her origins as a mother-goddess stem from the re-birth of the sun each morning; the rosy colour of dawn was supposed to be the blood which she shed giving birth to the sun.  Nut and her brother/consort Geb, belong to the third generation of gods; their parents being Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture), the son and daughter of the creator-god.  For those with eyes to see, and urban street-lighting permitting, the Milky Way can often reveal the goddess as she spreads her protection over the darkened earth. In later times, her image was painted on the inside of coffin lids as a protective symbol.  She is represented by the hieroglyph of a rounded vase and The Star in the Tarot. Her colours are dark blue and gold and is best petitioned during the dark on the moon when her figure can be clearly observed in the Milky Way.
Geb [E=Seb]
Can be called upon as the ancient god of vegetation and his image is usually of a handsome man, coloured green; his son Osiris was often depicted with green skin, having inherited his father’s ‘kingdom’.  Geb was looked upon as the third divine Pharaoh having succeeded his father Shu, who handed over sovereignty to his son and ascended to heaven as Re’s herald and arbiter of the gods.  As Geb was one of the divine Pharaohs, and all the human Pharaohs claimed to be descended from him, the royal throne was referred to in the Pyramid Texts as ‘the thrones of Geb’. It would be a mistake to depict Geb as a passive god, since several texts record him as being as rampant and quarrelsome as the rest of the Ennead - there even being a charge of rape against him.  He is the uncontrollable essence of nature, typified by The Fool in the Tarot as his gentle image is an illusion.   (to be continued)

<![CDATA[An Ancient Form of Divination: Icosahedron]]>Thu, 04 Apr 2019 13:29:46 GMThttp://templeofkhem.com/blog/an-ancient-form-of-divination-icosahedronPicture
A unique limestone icosahedron was discovered at the Dakhlish Oasis and probably dates to the first century AD. In contrast to other examples known from Graeco-Roman Egypt, this one is not inscribed with Latin or Greek letters or numbers, but with 20 Egyptian divine names in Demotic script. It was presumably used in an oracular procedure intended to establish which deity would provide help to the petitioner [EES Journal 2007 Vol.93]
This rare find is formed by 20 equilateral triangles – with 20 divine names written on the sides – is imperfectly made, as most of the faces are uneven.  It has been suggested that it was produced by an Egyptian who might not have had much practice in shaping this sophisticated Greek form.  On each of the faces a divine name is written in black ink with the sides outlined in the same.  The gods’ names are as follows:
  1. Imn – Amun
  2. P3-Re – Pre
  3. Pth – Ptah
  4. Dhwtj – Thoth
  5. Itm – Atum
  6. Hprj – Khepri
  7. Gb – Geb
  8. Wsjr – Osiris
  9. Hr – Horus
  10. 3s.t – Isis
  11. B3s.t – Bastet
  12. H‘pj – Hapy
  13. T3-Rpy – Triphis*
  14. Sy – Shai
  15. Nb.t-H.t – Nephthys
  16. Nj.t – Neith
  17. Spsy.t – Shepshit
  18. Mn – Min
  19. Hnsw – Khonsu
  20. Mw.t – Mut
NB: *Triphis is depicted as a lioness-headed woman wearing a crown with disk, horns and plumes like that of Hathor . Her consort is Min and Triphis is sometimes depicted standing behind Min, touching with her hand the flail which appears over his upraised hand, indicating their intimacy as well as her participation in Min’s power.
An icosahedron can be carved from a variety of materials such as steatite, faience, serpentine, limestone, calcite and rock-crystal – all of which can be viewed in several museum collections. The Egyptian pantheon provides no obvious pattern for distributing the twenty names over the Dakhlish version; what mattered was the result obtained when the die was thrown and which god was identified in the process.
Numbered icosahedra were used in Alexandria in games of chance but evidently someone whose pantheon was Egyptian adopted this foreign form, presumably to function as an oracular device.  The deity identified by throwing a die could be a possible solution to the problem. It was suggested that the ‘Egyptian’ icosahedron could perhaps be linked with the ‘oracular spells’ in the Greek and Demotic magical papyri, although they are later in date; in these an array of different gods are called upon to assist the practitioner and the icosahedron could have been used to decide which deity or which spell might be used.
Martina Minas-Nerpal suggests that divination seems to have been the most likely purpose of the Dakhlish icosahedron. “An Egyptian might have taken a liking to the Greek form and found it useful to write 20 divine names on it … While praying he might have moved the die in his hand, rather as is done with a rosary … Because its faces are uneven and non-equilateral, some deities would – in practice – never have been selected by a throw of the die.”
Our student responded:
‘I have obtained a wooden icosahedron and have inscribed it with the names of the 20 deities as instructed in the lesson. I do feel that this will be a useful divinatory and magical tool and oracular device. I feel that some helpful preparatory work to using the icosahedron would be to ground oneself with a good understanding of the various attributes and characteristics of the individual deities named on the icosahedron. This would help increase one’s overall intuitive response to any oracular-type questions asked of a particular deity using the device and would also help focus intention upon an appropriate deity when one is throwing the device and calling on the deity to intercede and communicate.
‘I also think that the icosahedron promotes an individualist approach to divination and the interpretation of correspondences/symbols, in that it is more intuitive to the particular circumstances of a given situation/petition, rather than being confined by the more traditional set of correspondences. I think it is also noteworthy that the icosahedron’s shape is one that is found commonly in the natural world and as such it carries the symbolism of sacred geometry within its form. The icosahedron could also therefore be a strong meditational aid, particularly for contemplating the nature and geometry of the cosmos, which was important to the magical practitioners and temple builders in ancient Khem. My icosahedron actually smells very woody, and this sensation facilitates the feeling of being out in nature and contemplating the patterns of the cosmos.’
Reproduced with the kind permission of Temple of Khem student SW.

<![CDATA[THE UNVEILING OF THE COMPANY OF HEAVEN]]>Tue, 02 Apr 2019 09:34:16 GMThttp://templeofkhem.com/blog/the-unveiling-of-the-company-of-heaven
Even in this high-tech computer age of space exploration, the magical lure of Pharaonic Egypt still retains its hold on the imagination.  The sun-drenched kaleidoscope of palm-fringed temple complexes, statues and obelisks, pyramids and tombs can generate a quickening of the blood in all but the most jaded of travellers.  But more than mere landscape, it is the enduring power of ancient god-forms that probe the hidden corners of mystical awareness. 
Multitudes of Egyptian deities parade in anthropomorphic and animal likeness, but strangely devoid of the demonising qualities usually reserved for such bizarre portrayals from other lands.  So why are we still drawn by the haughty grandeur of these majestic beings from another world? From a magical point of view, Murry  Hope  gives  her  opinion  that  people respond to what she terms as the ‘Egyptian cosmic ray’ either readily and happily, or view it ‘with a suspicion bordering on unease’. These attitudes, she believes, stem from the subconscious and can be traced back through an individual’s psychic roots. 
S. G. Brandon on the other hand, writing in Man, Myth & Magic, felt that two,  more simple factors conspire  to give ancient  Egypt a unique appeal - its religion and the fact that the climate has preserved the relics of this belief system intact.  Religious observance permeated the whole life both of the individual and society, finding expression in such rich variety of forms that it is impossible to separate the actual religion from the magic and mythology of the people.  The sheer volume of detail about the magico-religion of Pharaonic Egypt also provides a concise introduction to the historical aspects of this unique Nile Valley culture which spans an immense time-scale unparalleled by any other civilisation.
“Almost  every aspect  of religious faith  and practice is found in this ancient religion: polytheism (worship of a plurality of gods); henotheism (the worship of a single god; monotheism (belief that there is only one God);  mythology,  magic,  ritual,  divine  kingship,  mighty temples  and mysterious tombs, a professional priesthood, illustrated religious texts, a wisdom literature and religious scepticism.  It also embraced the most elaborate funerary cult, magical resurrection and a complex after-life, and the earliest concept of a judgement after death.”  [S. G. Brandon - Man, Myth & Magic]
As the history and social structures of the country shifted and changed, so did the religion but few people were able to look at the Egyptian religious system objectively in the early days of scientific archaeology.  One possible exception was Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, formerly Keeper of Department of Assyrian & Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum, who wrote extensively on the subject of the religious doctrines and magic.  Today, in the age of computerised assimilations,  Budge’s  work  is  dismissed  as  inaccurate,  fanciful  and romantic but whatever the criticisms levelled at his interpretations by  modern  students  of  Egyptology,  Budge  still has the power to invoke the power and mystery of the gods for the student of Magic.
So, too, does Margaret Murray.   Although  better  known  in  pagan circles for her books on European witchcraft, her reputation as an Egyptologist was gained studying under the great Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie at University College, London.  The Splendour That Was Egypt realistically points out that social conditions affect religion  as  much  as,  perhaps  more  than,  religion  affects social conditions; and as those conditions change, the spirit and therefore the outward form of religion changes also.   As with neighbouring cultures in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley, these social changes eventually  submerged  the  original  primitive  deities  of  the  people and re-introduced a god-form that appealed to the general populace rather than just the ruling classes.
Therefore to follow the Path of the modern Egyptian Mystery Tradition it is essential to have an understanding of the chronology of Pharaonic Khem.  Few people have the opportunity or time to undertake a lengthy study of the science of Egyptology but it is relatively easy to put the history of this ancient kingdom into some sort of present-day perspective.  As a guideline, Egyptologists have imposed their own system of dating which has been based on a royal dynastic  framework taken  from several  ancient ‘king lists’ discovered in tombs and temples at Karnak, Abydos and Saqqara, in addition to the Royal Canon of Turin papyrus and the Palermo Stone.   Since only rarely can a historical date be definitely established with any accuracy, suffice to say that an identifiable religion was already in existence during the pre-dynastic period some 4000 years BC.
Just as all civilisations have developed from small tribal states, each with their own separate kingdoms and deities, so the mighty kingdom of Pharaonic Egypt began as independent provinces or nomes [E=sepat] scattered along the banks of the Nile.   The early deities  of  the  individual  provinces  reigned  supreme  in  their allotted districts and had little, or no influence outside their own region.  During the course of time, either through marriage or war, some districts merged into another and weaker deities were  either added  to the existing  pantheon or  degraded, often becoming ‘demonised’ in the process.  As Murray points out, however, the basic  Egyptian  religion  was  not  confused  until  the  foreign conquerors - Persian,  Greek  and  Roman  -  “forcibly  altered  the  condition  of  the country”.
For the aspiring Adept it is not enough to have a personal affinity for the images of Egypt.   It is not a culture on which we can impose our 20th century prejudices and restrictions; neither should we view the past with benign sympathy for what it never experienced and feel ourselves in any way superior.  It is the wise man who steeps himself in the history of his faith - the fool who tries to draw it forward into his own time to fit comfortably within an  uncomplicated  and  familiar  framework  of  established social interpretation.   To truly walk with the Old Ones the Magus need to become Egypt; to understand it by going back in time, and so the first step is to begin a spiritual journey with a history lesson as an exercise in virtual reality ...
<![CDATA[THE CALENDAR OF ANCIENT EGYPT]]>Mon, 01 Apr 2019 08:29:40 GMThttp://templeofkhem.com/blog/the-calendar-of-ancient-egyptPicture
This ‘Book of Days’ has been compiled from Temple Festival Calendars of Ancient Egypt bySherif el-Sabban; the Greek and Demotic Magical Papyri lodged in the British Museum; the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris; the Staatliche Museum in Berlin; the Rijksmuseum in Leiden; and the Sallier Papyrus IV (No.10184) and The Cairo Calendar (No.86637) currently lodged in the British and Cairo Museums. The latter, (translated into English by Abd El-Mohsen Bakir, a former Professor of Egyptian Philology at Cairo University), shows that although the document itself was made during the time of Rameses II (Dynasty XIX), it was a ‘reprint’ of much earlier material. Parts of all the documents are missing because the texts are riddled with lacunae (probably caused by white ants burrowing into the papyrus).  The papyri list the names of the gods and goddesses whose anniversaries take place on every day of the year including special spells that were devised for protection on the ‘Epagomenal Days’.
Every day was considered to have some magical significance, which caused it to be ‘good, bad, or partly good and partly bad’ and this calendar was compiled for purposes of religious observance. By consulting the lists of lucky and unlucky days, each individual could protect himself and his family against the danger of the day. The Egyptians also had a more liberal attitude to death and the Otherworld, believing that, ‘To speak the name of the dead is to make them live again. It restoreth the breath of life to he who hath vanished’, and consequently there are numerous feast days dedicated to the Ancestors.
That unknown and long-dead scribe who compiled The Cairo Calendar alluded to the ‘mythological entries’ as being ‘collected by Thoth in the great house in the presence of the Lord of the Universe’. ‘They were,’ he added, ‘an introduction to the manifestation feasts of every god and every goddess on their fixed days’. Also, in strict conformity with ‘what has been found in the writings of ancient times’ which, ‘have been deposited in the library in the rear house of the Ennead etc.,etc. The texts were principally based upon the beliefs of Memphis and Heliopolis – older traditions so firmly implanted in the minds of the people that they had survived the religious revolution of Dynasty XVIII.
The original calendar entries were arranged, first according to chronological sequence, and second according to the deities and divine objects or sacred place names in the text. They give us (in the words of that ancient scribe), an introduction to ‘the beginning of infinity and the end of eternity which the gods and goddesses of the shrine and the assembly of the Ennead have made and which the Majesty of Thoth has gathered together in the great house in the presence of the Lord of the Universe. Which has been found in the library in the rear-house of the Ennead. House of Re, House of Osiris, House of Horus [i.e. temples or shrines of the gods].Professor Bakir adds this footnote to his translation:
“At first sight it seems surprising, in view of the fact that this is originally a Memphite composition, that Ptah does not figure in this basic introductory formula. One is tempted to interpret the roles of Re, Osiris and Horus in the light of the well-known statement where Re is equated with tomorrow, Osiris with yesterday, and where Horus is the successor of Osiris and is so equated virtually with today. The relevance of the triadic concept to the calendar lies in the fact that the fate of people in the present and in the future is related to the experiences of the gods in the past, and the suggestion is that the calendar is applicable to all future ages.”  [Editor’s emphasis in bold. MD]
Nevertheless, The Calendar of Ancient Egypt provides an insight into both the religious and everyday aspects of ancient Egyptian life. It also introduces the seeker to genuine religious texts (in the form of prayers or invocations, including prayer times), and offers a general overview of Egyptian belief that makes it possible to see a living, breathing people – not just exhibits in a museum. This new edition of the Calendar has been extended to include mini-biographies of the deities whose feast-days are being celebrated on each particular day, details of ritual offerings, holy places and sacred sites – not to mention the gossip and harem scandals that were recorded on ostraca – fragments of pottery shards - that were scattered the length and breadth of Egypt.

The Calendar of Ancient Egypt, compiled by Melusine Draco is published by Ignotus Press UK. ISBN: 978 1 78876 583 1 is the revised and expanded version of the original Egyptian Book of Days and available direct from

<![CDATA[THE SETIAN]]>Tue, 12 Mar 2019 10:15:38 GMThttp://templeofkhem.com/blog/the-setianPicture
A Memory of Light
Billie Walker-John wrote to me because of Kha’m-uast, the High Priest of Ptah from Memphis. Because of my researches into the obscure magical backgrounds of Dion Fortune and Charles Seymour, I had expected that Kha’m-uast would have been known to some of the more grey-haired members of the Fraternity of the Inner Light. But I didn’t expect to find him well-known to this young American woman, living in south Wales, who had been working with this inner contact privately and personally for many years. In her turn, she had been stunned to read in my book, Dancers To The Gods, of the others who had also been working with this being, decades before she was born.
Billie was … different. No one who met her had any doubt that this woman really was a reincarnation of someone from the very heart of ancient Egypt, whose everyday consciousness often spent more time there than it did in our present world. Neither of us was particularly interested in past lives, oddly enough, but then neither did we doubt that at some period in the long, long history of Egypt, we had been siblings. Think of her as a ‘Mistress of the House of Books’ in the Temple of Thoth. A precise, necessarily fussy, and immensely learned individual who cared only about Knowledge, and its preservation, and the creation of those links which would help us become illumined by our own researches.
My partnership with Billie during the writing of our Inner Guide to Egypt was one of the most fruitful and rewarding of my life. She made it easy for me to evoke the images. She provided the power. She could have written the book without me: I could never have done it without her. I had only to think: I need such-and-such a piece of information and it would arrive by post the next day, or she would raise that very topic in a phone call, and give me what I needed. In those days, on various levels and differing ways, Kha’m-uast was very close to both of us.
She was also one of the kindest, loyal and most generous of people. Never well off, nevertheless she must have spent a small fortune sending me (and many others) books, items, and magazines which she felt might strike a cord - not all of it relating to Egypt. Sometimes, embarrassed by her generosity or the obliqueness of her gift, I was crass enough to wonder: Why has she sent me this? Yet without fail, it quickly proved itself to have an exquisitely apt if unexpected purpose. In the last two years of her life, she started working almost exclusively with Set, the Lord of Darkness. In fact, the same energy/entity came through to me at exactly the same time, although it was some months before we spoke of this to each other. Originally she hoped to do a book about Set with artist Judith Page, but that fell through.
And then we talked about doing a very small one between us, which we called simply the Inner Guide to Set. Billie did a lot of sample essays with the idea that we look at Set through the personalities of differing people from differing classes in Egypt. The idea was that I would then ‘magick’ the prose in the same way as before. It was never going to make money, or even be understood, but it would be a labour of love for what most regard as this most unlovely of gods. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented us both from going too far with this project. Quite simply, the Setian energies we invoked transformed both our lives, made us live our insights, and taught us about Darkness - yet brought us both (in differing ways) towards a newer cycle of Light.

So her writing about Set consisted of numerous articles, which she sent to me, or that éminence grise, John Crabtree, the insightful editor of Liongate; and these were eventually sewn together by Mélusine Draco, who was the real force behind this production, and who has more knowledge of these arcane areas than I will ever have. It should have been her name on the original cover, not mine. I am not being falsely modest (because I’m an arrogant bastard by nature): I am stating a simple fact.
Because the text was written as separate pieces, there are small elements of repetition within the prose that we were tempted to take out at first, for purely stylistic reasons. On reflection, however, these repetitive images and details serve to evoke the image of Billie herself, almost jabbing her finger down at the page as if saying: Listen. Look. This figure is more important than I can openly say. This detail contains magick. See? And you will see. Because as soon as you become aware of Set, then Set becomes aware of you: the more you learn, the more he teaches you.
So I never managed to ‘magick’ more than a short introduction for that limited edition and I always felt that I had failed her in this respect. Yet that short piece was, I know, something that pleased her immensely and lifted her spirits during some bleak times. So if there is one way in which I can publicly honour her memory, and start to give back just a portion of the wealth she gave me, it is by seeing that work finally come to fruition.
Alan Richardson
Introduction to The Setian by Billie Walker-John
This is a book about the ancient Egyptian god named Set. It is also a book about exploring the equally ancient shadows within ourselves. As the Lord of Darkness (to give him but one of his titles, Set has been reviled and feared for thousands of years; everything that ever went wrong, every nasty, cruel, depraved and vicious act was seen as having the hallmark of Set. In time, by juggling about with name-origins and quasi-histories, Set the Lord of Darkness, came to be seen as the proto-type of Satan, the very Prince of Darkness, and thus the root of all Evil.
The purpose of this book, however, is to learn how to work within the heart of Set’s ‘darkness’, to see the outlines of his shadow on the earth and so find our way to those sources of ‘light’ which actually create him, and are part of his very Mystery. In short, it is a book about Darkness as a necessary corollary to the Light; about shadow as a means of defining existence; about those magicks of the Dark and Night which have nothing to do with Evil and everything to do with balance, renewal and - surprisingly - healing.
This is not a question of inverting morality and taking the crass stance of ‘Evil be thou my Good’. Or of trying to win through to purity by indulging our atavistic urges and then conquering them. And even less does it relate to summoning depraved entities from the pit of our subconscious. Dire warnings have always been given out to those who have wanted to invoke Set. Yet in almost all cases, the would-be summoner is moved by entirely the wrong impulse - while those giving the warning are invariably ignorant of the true nature of Set’s energies.

So what we will say now is this: If you work with Set, then the first thing you might experience is Chaos. Your world could be shaken and turned inside-out. Everything might seem to fall apart. Now why anyone might still what to work with Set after learning this, and why it can be seen as a primal magical path, is one of the themes that we will discuss in due course. But in practise, Set usually comes to the fringes of the psyche when there is no other spiritual option, and he becomes that energy which can break chains, and smash down barriers, and set you free …

To reduce everything to its root, we would argue that over the aeons a distortion crept into the way we look at the binaries of existence:
… and so on. The distortion came through adding Good/Evil to this list. Thus the qualities of Darkness, Chaos, Night and so forth, were all seen as expressions of Set and so linked with the quality of Evil. Yet as we shall see, this was never an aspect of Set’s original nature, for the Lord of Darkness (Set) is an inseparable partner to the Lord of Light (Horus). The ancient Egyptians gave no moral dimensions to Set’s role in their earliest Mysteries. This was added much later.

The history of religion is, of course, the history of propaganda, using the standard tools of misinformation, disinformation, manipulation and deceit. The venom that came to be directed toward Set became so intense that any fair-minded researcher eventually pauses to ask whether any deity could be that bad - or whether in fact, something else was going on behind the scenes. Any serious study of archaic Egypt inevitably unearths fragments of worship from times when Set was the deity of choice for the common folk, long before the usurper Osiris came on the scene. They worshipped him, not because they feared his power, but perhaps because they understood the qualities of Night and Darkness better than we do today.
Long ago, before there was even an ancient Egypt as we know it from popular histories, there was a prehistoric proto-kingdom in what is now Southern or Upper Egypt, called Nubt, of which Set was the ruling deity.
Set the Golden. Set the Mighty. Set of Nubt.
Although Set of Nubt, the primal Lord of Night, is largely unknown to us, we can glimpse him through the images his subjects and followers made of him. One of these images showed a mysterious animal that no one has been able to satisfactorily identify. In fact, we can use this odd and often disturbing beast, the so-called Set-animal, as our guide as we follow Set’s journey through time and place.
We can watch with amazement as the image shape-shifts and assumes many different forms, including that of a human being. This ability to change form means that people often see many different Sets. Yet behind the changing shape and the unidentifiable animal head, there is always the one Set.
Set the Golden. Set the Mighty. Set of Nubt.
The aim of this book, then, is to follow this strange and misunderstood deity and tell his story through his subjects and his fabled Companions: the Shayu Net Set. These people lived at different times and in different places, but the one thing they had in common through the millennia was that they were Set’s people, his shayu, his Companions. Through them and the stories they have to tell we will not so much unmask Set as allow him to reveal himself to us, and through him we will learn to practice that magic of the Dark which will give our own inner light a truer focus and effect ...
The Setian by Billie Walker-John has been re-published by Ignotus Press UK in paperback : ISBN: 9781786971395 : Available direct from the printer at a reduced price https://www.feedaread.com/books/The-Setian-9781786971395.aspx
And also in ebook format from Kindle 

<![CDATA[NAQADA: ToK EGYPTIAN MYSTERY TRADITION]]>Mon, 04 Mar 2019 10:57:43 GMThttp://templeofkhem.com/blog/naqada-tok-egyptian-mystery-traditionhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/templeofkhemNAQADA/

Welcome to the ToK facebook page for those who are more interested in the magical and mystical aspects of the Egyptian Mystery Tradition. Those operating the page are full members of Temple of Khem and have completed (or about to complete) the lengthy study course in the Egyptian Mysteries. Anyone wishing to join the group should have a degree of competence in, and a basic understanding of ancient Egyptian history, general magical and occult principles and practice.

<![CDATA[Ancient Egyptian Wisdom for the Modern World]]>Wed, 27 Feb 2019 09:44:35 GMThttp://templeofkhem.com/blog/ancient-egyptian-wisdom-for-the-modern-world6123174
As Principal of the Temple of Khem, Mélusine Draco has tutored Egyptian Mystery Tradition students since the organisation was formed in 1996.  This extract is from her book, The Atum-Re Revival: Ancient Egyptian Wisdom for the Modern World.
The interest in the religion and spirituality of the Egyptians is increasing steadily as people begin to realise that it is possible to follow this ancient belief in the 21st century. This religion is the oldest recorded belief system in the world, having just entered its sixth millennia - and can still teach us how to live in both earthly and cosmic harmony.  But first, we need to put things into some sort of perspective …
In Egypt, the actual worship of the gods was performed by a professional high priesthood with two main functions: the god’s daily offering ceremony (which was a private affair) and the periodic public festivals.   At the next level there were the lower ranks of the priesthood who performed other tasks within the temple precincts at different levels of importance: men and women of letters who maintained the order within the establishment.
On a popular level, the seasonal festivals commemorated various events in which the people could participate, i.e. New Years Day, the sowing and the harvest, and the Inundation of the Nile. Ordinary Egyptians only participated in temple ritual if it linked their destiny or well-being with that of Pharaoh or State (which was one and the same thing), but no doubt they all turned out in force at the great temples when Pharaoh fulfilled his obligations on the principle feast-days. Historical records show that even the poorest were given to celebration and feasting whenever the opportunity allowed, although neither the public nor the lesser priesthood were admitted within the precincts of the inner temple.
To overcome this exclusion ordinary people set up their own sacred areas for worship, which have been found on the periphery of the temples, in their homes and tombs. These rites, whether celebrated in the outer courts of the temple, or in a private personal space, were all considered a divine act of worship in favour of their particular god. If they required a spell casting or a magical talisman made, they went along to the appropriate temple and the priest provided whatever was necessary.
Let’s make no bones about it, today’s Egyptian interpretation belongs to a revivalist tradition and should not claim to be anything else.  Nevertheless, the system needs to be as close as it can to the beliefs of ancient Egypt without falling into the trap of lumping all the gods together in one ageless pantheon … and expecting their heka to work!  In order to follow the Old Ways, it is easier to understand if we use three separate approaches:
  • the Stellar Path that deals with the primeval/primordial forces of the universe usually aligned with ritual magic and inner temple working;
  • the Solar Path that offers a more intellectual, spiritual or mystical approach;
  • the Lunar Path, which concentrates on the purely devotional aspects and the ability to move between the worlds, i.e. different planes of consciousness.
This three-fold approach needs to be understood from the start, but so does the enormous time span of Egyptian history, which always tends to complicate matters when identifying with a particular deity or Dynasty.  For example a pre- or early dynastic Egyptian would probably not have a clue who Isis or Osiris were if they did not live in the particular province or nome, of which these were merely localised deities.  Conversely, a New Kingdom priest would look upon Neith as simply a minor funerary goddess, when in her hey-day she was the mighty hunter-warrior goddess of the pre- and early dynastic Egyptians.
A fundamental study is necessary because not everyone works magically or mystically, at the same level. Some take longer to realise that an intimate knowledge of Egyptian myth and its attendant politics is essential for the effective practice of magic/mysticism at a higher level of awareness.  A knowledge that has to extend beyond the stereotypical deities of popular Egyptomania to embrace a wider and loftier range of supernatural beings; and to accept that the deities are not real ‘gods’ at the student’s beck and call.  This is why it becomes so important to successful magic to be able to differentiate between the different levels of magic, historical influence and religious emphasis that mark the subtle shifts of importance between the different Paths. And to do so safely.
It may appear that this is merely massaging a system that purports to be all things to all men, but this is not the case. The original Egyptian religion was stellar based. Early texts refer to the stairway to heaven, and the alignment of the mortuary temples situated toward the north (the direction of the circumpolar stars) reveal the importance of the Imperishable Stars within the Mysteries. According to Egyptologists, the architectural changes in pyramid design reflect the shift from a stellar cult to one that was fully solar as the religious ideology changed and the newer priesthood gained power. As each new centre became the focus of power, so the religion altered and a new set of myths were created to attest to the local gods’ supremacy over the Old Ones.
These shifting influences on Egyptian history meant that reference texts fell roughly into two separate categories. Firstly, actual magical, religious and mythological sources written by the early native priesthood for the Egyptian people and secondly, later accounts of magic, religion and mythology translated by Greek and Roman historians and philosophers, who recorded information as told to them by latter-day Egyptian priests, since they were unable to read the texts for themselves. And by the time of the Graeco-Roman invasions the priesthood were themselves extremely vague and uncertain about the early dynastic religion of their own country. Subsequent translations indicate that they did not really understand the rudimentary principles of the archaic religious system, the primitive stellar-cult, or the nature of its symbolism.
Unfortunately, many present-day writings on the Egyptian Mystery Tradition make no attempt to unravel the tangled skeins of this magico-religious evolution. Rather, they impose some over-simplified form of order on the chaos created by the multitude of dual-purpose gods from different periods of history. But there is no way of simplifying this complicated tapestry because of the immense time span from pre-dynastic times to the Battle of Actium, which sealed the fate of the last ruling Great House of Egypt. Cleopatra, in terms of dating, was nearer to man landing on the moon than to the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza (Old Kingdom).
In the days of Egyptian antiquity, however, many of the gods were abstract concepts rather than actual anthropomorphic god pictures familiar to us today.  Many of the later fully-morphed deities were originally theological concepts represented by a distinctive hieroglyph, very similar to the correspondences used in modern ritual magic. As the need for a controlling religion grew, so did the spiritual need for more tangible forms on which to focus the common people’s devotions.
The common man’s mind dwelt on the concrete, not the abstract and so the gods took on those easily recognisable animal-human shapes to satisfy the religious-teaching-by-pictures demands of less scholarly folk.  The images recorded in tomb paintings, bas-relief and statuary were intended to represent living forms of the gods themselves, or Pharaoh as a god.  There was a simple reason behind this. Egyptian life, magic and religion were inextricably intertwined, one simply could not, and did not exist, without the other. God, or a male/female/multiple concept of that god, was manifest in everything animate and inanimate.
By the Middle Kingdom, the attributes of the major gods were subsequently extended to create a whole pantheon of relatives and helpers. For example, the concept of Ma’at as the symbolic terminology for cosmic order, and earthly truth and justice, was depicted in the Pyramid Texts by an ostrich feather. This concept later metamorphosed into a beautiful woman, who sat in judgement on those in the Underworld; she was sometimes shown as the wife of Thoth, or the female embodiment of the god himself.  In fact, the popular form of Egyptian religion, as most people know it today, is fundamentally a Greek interpretation.
Egyptian religion developed over thousands of years, with each deity assuming many forms under the influence of the many different religious movements and/or foreign invasions. Each form also developed its own positive and negative aspects, which responded in various ways to different people, and so it is impossible to be dogmatic about how the gods of those different theologies relate and blend.  It is also important to realise that the original religion was never an earth-bound concept since the priesthood explored mysticism on a cosmic scale: their spirituality extending to the stars and beyond. The Egyptian civilisation took over 3000 years to fully evolve and a further 2000 years to decay, which is why the Egyptian Mystery Tradition cannot be encapsulated into convenient modern packaging.
What the Temple of Khem’s teaching attempts to do is to offer a complete guide to practising the ancient system of belief based on sound archaeological and anthropological evidence combined with proven [modern] magical techniques. With its own authentic temple calendar providing a daily framework of observance and dedication, it becomes possible to follow in the actual footsteps of the ancient people of the Nile Valley.
This new ‘Egyptian Book of Days’  has been compiled from the various Greek and Demotic Magical Papyri lodged in the British Museum, the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, the Staarliche Museum in Berlin and the Rijksmuseum in Leiden; the Sallier Papyrus IV (No 10184) and The Cairo Calendar (No 86637) currently lodged in the British and Cairo Museums.  The latter reveals that although the document itself was made during the time of Rameses II (Dynasty XIX), it was a ‘reprint’ of much earlier material.
The calendar lists the names of the deities whose anniversaries take place on every day of the year including special spells (prayers) that were devised for the protection on certain ‘unlucky’ days.  Every day was considered to have some magical significance, which caused it to be “good, bad, or partly good and partly bad”.  By consulting these lists of lucky and unlucky days, each individual could protect himself and his family against the danger of the day.
By viewing the Egyptian Mystery Tradition as a continuing and expanding faith, with its own temple calendar, established history and ‘futuristic’ thinking, it is possible to see that this very ancient wisdom has a very positive place in the modern world.
The Atum-Re Revival is published by Axis Mundi Books ISBN 978-1-78099-437-6 : paperback : price £14.99/US$24.95
www.axismundi-boks.com - www.facebook.com/AxisMundiBooks
<![CDATA[Ancient Egyptian Wisdom for the Modern World]]>Wed, 27 Feb 2019 09:34:24 GMThttp://templeofkhem.com/blog/ancient-egyptian-wisdom-for-the-modern-world]]>