Egyptian Magic – Soul Magic and Conclusion – Part 8
In my brief survey of Egyptian Magic, I have found nothing that states on a level with the Tapirape a strong claim for soul magic. But there are some hints pointing to the claimed activity of knowing with the soul and moving in unseen dimensions.
Sauneron quotes from the “Astrologues” to tell us about fakirs and visionaries who frequented temples in later times. They practiced asceticism and gave oracles in states of trance. (78)
Sauneron gives us another hint of supernatural goings on with his quote from the story of Lucien. In it a young man visiting Egypt meets a sacred scribe who claims that he spent 23 years in subterranean sanctuaries learning magic from Isis. He also cites the priests of Karnac bathing daily in the divine water of the sacerd lake and slowly becoming ever more divine by absorbing the divinity of the water. (79)
Finally our same source cites the initiation of Lucius into the cult of Isis at Rome as told by Apulius in “Metamorphoses 11”. He tells us what he experienced in the most secluded part of the sanctuary after 10 days of fasting. “I approached the limits of the dead; I trod the threshold of Persephone, and I was carried beyond all the elements; in the middle of the night I saw the sun shine with a brilliant light; I approached the gods from below and on high, I saw them face to face and I worshiped them near at hand.” (80)
As mentioned earlier, these are only hints pointing toward what we are looking for. In fact, the last entry is not even happening in Egypt, but in Rome. Its connection to Egyptian magic is that it is a cult of Isis. As Sauneron mentions, Greek influence needs to be considered. Possibly a deeper study of Egyptian literature, poetry, and texts would clarify the question of the existence of the claim of soul magic in Egypt.
This concludes our brief survey of Egyptian Magic. If we review all the topics mention here, we can see some underlying principles in terms of the dynamics behind magic and the purpose for doing magic. I made a list of these things and noticed the following. Magic was done to: accomplish a great many constructive and destructive things, survive death, relate to the unseen, renew oneself religiously, know things, and raise oneself to higher levels of being. The dynamic behind it has two levels. On one level certain things were thought to have supernatural efficacy naturally within them. At the other level, things or actions or situations were created in special ways in order to have supernatural efficacy. The things from the first level most frequently rested on by the second level were the gods, the magic of words, the belief in the supernatural, and possibility the belief in the existence of the psychic faculties in man.
I originally defined magic as interaction with the unseen predicated by a belief in the unseen and executed through a knowledge of the unseen. I suggested that it expressed itself in three ways; cultural magic, divination, and soul magic. Two of these, cultural magic and divination were very apparent in our study. The third, soul magic, remained elusive. The shaman with his limited resources utilized his mind, his body, his soul, and whatever halleucinagenic helpers he could find for magic. The Egyptians with their civilization loaded with stuff brought more materials into their magic; objects, temples, statues of gods, etc. Egyptian magic was an integrated functioning system of magic in which they interacted with the supernatural which they believed in and described as though they knew it intimately. But it had a materialistic focus and was also intimately related to their religion. You needed priests and temples, and lots of stuff. If you enter a modern Catholic Church, you see a great many holy things in a sacred place run by expert priests. The holiest item in the church is the created host in the created monstrance in the created sanctuary into which the god has been invited. The closest that we can get to Egyptian magic in the modern world is the religion of the Catholic Church.
What we are seeing when we look at Egyptian magic is the motion in the evolution of human culture from magic to religion and the move toward materialism. Still our allusive and ancient soul magic is something that is available to all of us. Just get in a corner, meditate, and explore. The closest you can get to ancient soul magic is a quiet space in your home.