History of Witchcraft (part 3)

History of Witchcraft (part 3)

From  here, let us move on to Egypt where we will look  at  other
mystical symbols and more history of magic and the craft.

The Sphinx was a mythological creature with lion’s body and human
head,  an important image in Egyptian and Greek art  and  legend.
The  word sphinx was derived by Greek grammarians from  the  verb
sphingein (to bind or squeeze), but the etymology is not  related
to the legend and is dubious.

The winged sphinx of Boeotian Thebes, the most famous in  legend,
was said to have terrorized the people by demanding the answer to
a riddle. If the person answered incorrectly, he or she was eaten
by  the sphinx.  It is said that Oedipus answered properly  where
upon the sphinx killed herself.

The  earliest  and  most famous example in art  is  the  colossal
Sphinx  at Giza, Egypt.  It dates from the reign of  King  Khafre
(4th king of 4th dynasty; c. 2550 b.c.)

The  Sphinx did not occur in Mesopotamia until around  1500  b.c.
when  it was imported from the Levant.  In appearance, the  Asian
sphinx differed from its Egyptian model mostly in the addition of
wings  to the leonine body.  This feature continued  through  its
history in Asia and the Greek world.

Another  version  of  the sphinx was that of  the  female.   This
appeared  in  the  15th  century  b.c.  on  seals,  ivories   and
metalworkings.   They  were  portrayed in  the  sitting  position
usually  with one paw raised.  Frequently, they were seen with  a
lion, griffin or another sphinx.

The  appearance of the sphinx on temples and the like  eventually
lead  to a possible interpretation of the sphinx as a  protective
symbol as well as a philosophical one.

The Sphinx rests at the foot of the 3 pyramids of Khufu,  Khafre,
and  Menkure.  It talons stretch over the city of the dead as  it
guards its secrets.

The myth goes that a prince who later became Thutmose IV, took  a
nap in the shadow of the half-submerged Sphinx. As he slept,  the
Sun-god (whom the Sphinx represents, appeared to him in a  dream.
Speaking  to  him  as a son, he told the  prince  that  he  would
succeed to the throne and enjoy a long and happy reign.  He urged
the prince to have the Sphinx cleared of the sand.

In his book on Isis and Osiris, Plutarch  (A.D. 45-126) says that
the  Sphinx  symbolizes  the  secret  of  occult  wisdom,  though
Plutarch  never unveiled the mysteries of the Sphinx. It is  said
that  the magic of the Sphinx lies within the thousands of  hands
that chiseled at the rock.  The thoughts of countless generations
dwell  in it; numberless conjurations and rites have built up  in
it  a mighty protective spirit, a soul that still  inhabits  this
time-scarred giant.

Another  well know superstition of the peoples of  Ancient  Egypt
was that regarding their dead.

They believed that in the West lies the World of the Dead,  where
the Sun-god disappears every evening.  The departed were referred
to as “Westerners.” It was believed that, disguised as birds, the
dead  soar into the sky where in his heavenly barge Ra, the  Sun-
god,  awaits them and transforms them into stars to  travel  with
him through the vault of the heavens.

The  occult of the dead reached it’s height when it  incorporated
the  Osiris  myth.   Osiris was born to  save  mankind.   At  his
nativity,  a voice was heard proclaiming that the Lord  had  come
into  the world (sound familiar?).  But his  brother/father  Seth
shut  him  up  in  a chest which he carried to  the  sea  by  the
Tanaitic mouth of the Nile.  Isis brought him back to life.  Seth
then scattered his body all over the place.  It is said that Isis
fastened  the limbs together with the help of the  gods  Nephtis,
Thoth, and Horus, her son.  Fanning the body with her wings,  and
through  her magic, Osiris rose again to reign as king  over  the
dead.

The  Egyptian  believed that a person had two souls.   The  sould
known  as Ba is the one that progressed into the afterlife  while
the  Ka  remains  with the mummy. The Ka is believed  to  live  a
magical  life  within  the  grave.   Thus  the  Egyptians  placed
miniture belongings of the deceased into the tomb.  Such items as
images, statuettes, imitation utensils, and miniture houses  take
the place of the real thing.  They believed that the Ka would use
these  as  the real item because the  mortuary  priests  possesed
magic that would make them real for the dead.

The priests believed that the gods could be deceived, menaced and
forced  into  obedience.   They had such trust in  the  power  of
magic,  the  virtue of the spoken word,  the  irresistibility  of
magic gestures and other ritual, that they hoped to bend even the
good  gods  to their will.  They would bring retribution  to  the
deities  who  failed  to  deal leniently  with  the  dead.   They
threatened  to  shoot lightning into the are of Shu, god  of  the
air, who would then no longer be able to support the sky-goddess,
and  her star-sown body would collapse, disrupting the  order  of
all things.

When Ikhnaton overthrew the Egyptian gods and demons, making  the
cult  of the One God Aton, a state religion, he  also  suppressed
mortuary magic.  Ikhnaton did not believe in life after death.

As  Christianity  became  a part of this nation,  there  is  much
evidence to show where the Christians of the time, and the pagans
lived peacefully together.

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