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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in afterlife

b2ap3_thumbnail_bookofgatesramesses1a.jpgBook of the Dead, Book of the Amduat, Book of Caverns, Coffin Texts, Book of the Night, Book of the Earth, Book of Gates - these and more comprise a group of ancient Egyptian texts which describe the journey of Ra through the night world and, by extension, that of the dead soul following his pattern. First discovered by Champollion in the Valley of the Kings in 1829, they were pretty much dismissed as priestly fantasies by subsequent Egyptologists, though Maspero and Lefébure worked on deciphering some of the books in the 19th century. Only in the 20th century did scholars like Piankoff and Hornung begin to really study this rich material.

But I can understand why some were initially put off. I even found myself commenting last week to a friend, “The ancient Egyptians were in their own way just as nutty as the early Christians!” (If you’ve read all the lately-translated apocryphal texts you’ll know what I mean.) Hornung’s The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife is a blow-by-blow description of what you see in the accompanying drawings. Page after page of embellishments, fantastical netherworld characters, and attempts to graphically illustrate esoteric concepts begin to make me a bit dizzy. I start to wonder just how much artistic license the different priest-artist-scribes employed while creating their masterpieces.
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But I’ve reconsidered. Some say that pre-industrial people did not distinguish betweenb2ap3_thumbnail_hepetglyph.gif the physical and the realm of the soul, as we do now. Certainly, the written record indicates that Egyptians viewed every part of existence as infused with meaning and spirit. The books of the afterlife predominantly depict and describe these ideas, illustrated with a seemingly-endless pantheon of otherworldly deities and characters. Hence, a human figure with the head of an cobra can stand for the motherly protection for which the cobra was noted.  A floating pair of arms may denote protection, or the reverential passing of the sun disk from one place to another. Mummies are shown which have waked from the dead and turned over in their coffin, the implication being that they are about to rise and walk into a new life. And snakes - there are a lot of snakes, some of them a protective coil or ourobouros, and others represent the sinister Apep (or Apophis).

b2ap3_thumbnail_gates21.jpgEgyptian culture was one that valued dreams and the numinous. The Duat was nothing if not liminal, poised as it was on the edges between life and death and new life, between conscious and subconscious, between this world and the next. I can imagine that priests who were truly devoted to their practice and craft would birth fresh ideas in the course of temple life. No doubt, some also wanted to impress the client with elaborate products that might be perceived as better than the last client’s - though most of these works were found in tombs of pharaohs. The texts also span many centuries and several locales; given how different English communications now are radically different from only 400 years ago, I would likewise expect Egyptian texts to show some evolution.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Book_of_Gates_3rd_Hour.jpgThe afterlife books also remind me of the value of personal gnosis. Our scientific era has made this a dicey subject - how can gnosis replace so-called verifiable fact? But ancient Egyptians understood the importance of those insights which can only emerge from within, from the dark waters of the Duat, or from the watery interior of Nut’s body (through which the sun also passed during the night). Pondering the mysteries of the afterlife texts is like stepping into those waters and exploring, one foot in the conscious world and one in that of the soul.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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My family name, comas diaz, means death and or dying in Spanish.  As far as I can remember, I have experienced a special relationship with death.  You see, death communicates in a strange way with me.   That is, it lets me know when a loved one dies.  For example, death speaks to me through premonitions, dreams, and physical reactions.  My first memorable encounter with the death of a loved one was during a lucid dream.  Dressed as a surgeon, I tried to save the life of a young man in an operating room.  “I hope no one died in Puerto Rico,” I told my husband Fred when I woke up.  “This dream was strange, ” I said.   “Dream?  That was no dream, you had a terrible nightmare all night long,” Fred replied.  The absence of messages from family that day relieved my anxiety.  When night approached, my cousin Alberto called.   “Our young cousin Chalito was in surgery last night after a car accident, “ he announced.  “Unfortunately, the doctors could not save him,” Alberto concluded.

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  • Lillian Comas
    Lillian Comas says #
    Hi Ted: Thanks for the information. I totally agree with you: Anne, you and I know what we know!
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    ah, Ted -- something else we have in common. At the age of 54, I've now outlived the lifespan of both my mother and father. Since
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Anne - It does create a more mature perspective on life, doesn't it? In one way more fatalistic and less expecting of miracles, bu

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Portals

I’ve often wondered about portals. Most of what I’ve read talks about places being portals. Yet what about people? Is it possible for a person to be a portal or just to be some type of attracting mechanism for spirits?

All my life I’ve experienced spirits, no matter where I lived. There was a time when this experience seemed to leave my life, but I think it was more because I was focusing and preoccupied by other events in my life.

I grew up in a very small town in NW Pennsylvania. The house we lived in had two rooms in the upstairs and a smallish attic place. When you walked up the stairs , the two rooms were on the left and the attic was a small room with a low ceiling on the right that was situated over part of the kitchen. I hated that space, there was something dark and scary there.

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  • Ashley Rae
    Ashley Rae says #
    Awesome story, I couldn't stop readings. Consider writing a memoir - I'd buy it! To address your question, as a teacher of medi
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Loved your post Laurie. Featured it on my Goddess Spiral Health Coaching FB page: http://tinyurl.com/n4vwfah Perfect post for Sa

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Blessed Place

 

 

I was recently asked by a Christian friend about the Pagan version of Paradise. This question was posed in the context of an ongoing series of conversations and questions as a genuine effort on their part to understand my path. I joked with my friend that often their questions are hard to answer because they are so far afield from my sense of being Pagan, and I told them that this question was a prime example of this difficulty. 

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  • Jae Sea
    Jae Sea says #
    I'd be interested in hearing more about your comment "the place where force-evolves-a-form-that-becomes-a-function" and would you

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