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.
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.
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)