EGYPTIAN MAGIC & ENLIGHTENMENT
SJ: How do you suppose an ancient Egyptian person experienced ‘reality’ in contrast with a modern-day person going about their everyday business, in say, Penge?
LGB: (Laughs ) … Penge ? .. you do like to pick your examples ! ..
Well , an ancient Egyptian would have of course got on with their own mundane daily business, but it is important to recognise that sociologically, situations would have varied as widely then as they do now. The priesthood often held the ultimate power, even seemingly wielding power over the Pharoahs at certain points. But even the common populace had their own special forms of Magic that were very often at odds with the State magic of the time, and so for them reality, as we understand the term, would have been more fluid shall we say, than what we tend to think of as ‘reality’ now .
SJ: What kind of ideas did Ancient Egyptians have about the workings of the human body?
LGB: This features quite heavily in my private tours that I give at the British Museum .
They had an intimate knowledge of human anatomy, and clearly they were continuous practitioners of the embalming process. However, many of their Amulets and Hieroglyphs also reflect a special relationship with an intimate knowledge of anatomy and the use of special energy vortices in the living body .
Much of this knowledge was transmitted through certain closely guarded schools, that formed the basis of what became known as the renaissance, which was in the main, nothing less than a rebirth of the knowledge transmitted from Old Egypt .
Although we think of the Ancient Egyptians as obsessed with death, a huge amount of their special work was about life, and so another thing of major importance for them was that of Sex and Sexuality. You can’t decode or understand the early Egyptians without a shameless look at how they engaged in Sexuality, they did not have the same hang ups on such matters as we have had in the post Judeo-Christian era. This aspect alone has been a great embarrassment and a major blinding veil for many Egyptologists, especially the early ones . Much of their true process is couched in Sexual symbolism .
SJ: How do you think Ancient Egyptian religion and mythology arose and evolved through successive dynasties? Can we chase a thread through time?
LGB: The mythological systems of Ancient Egypt along with its associated religion arose from the Archetypes, or what we may call the essential blueprint of Nature, being the qualities and principles in observable aspects of the natural world. These principles became characterised as the deities of the Egyptian Pantheon, and yes, we can certainly trace a thread through time because the thread is the very symbolism itself, which is as I said, rooted in the archetypal truth of Nature, and this is of course timeless and immortal . The religious drive pays homage to this perceived immortal truth, but is not always itself the truth, not unlike a buddhist monk pointing his finger at the moon and the student only perceiving the finger. Of course in Egypt they were renowned for being extremely devout, but the deeper reality is beyond even the religious forms, and I do believe that those that held the ultimate secrets of the Egyptian practices understood this very well. The symbolism employed in the Egyptian system has been the bridge between the ages, but it is important to realise that it is not to be grasped through any form of intellectual discourse, but rather through the inner sensorium and non-rational means . The principles themselves are timeless, yet appear in all times, even if the forms change and are expressed differently in different ages, for example in Greece or Rome .
SJ: How has this knowledge percolated through to the modern-day? And how are contemporary practitioners able to operate with authenticity?
LGB: The knowledge of old Egypt was brought forth into the modern day, being transmitted through various ages of religious persecution. The Alexandrian period at the decadent end days of Egypt, with its famous episode of the sacking of the libraries of Alexandria is an extremely important point in history, and was recently depicted in the contemporary film ‘Agora’, which although being quite Hollywood in style is certainly important for the masses in terms of an education into what was in my opinion the one most significant event in world history, which may be regarded as the point of our true entry into the dark ages. The world at that point was turned upside down, and yet the knowledge went underground and was preserved by certain very important mystery schools until it was resurrected in forming the basis of what we call the Renaissance. To emphasise this very fact, this is what forms an essential basis of my tour in the ‘Enlightenment gallery’ of the British Museum.
SJ: What are the key or foundation tenets of Egyptian spiritual practice?
LGB: Well, for me the ‘Spiritual’ is such a ‘vague’ term, it can mean a million different things to as many people, just as can the word ‘love’ and so many other concepts. I do not discredit what these things may mean to individuals, but they are in the main impossible to convey to the diverse view-points of reality we call the individual human. Our ideas always being projections. However, we all do share something real and tangible, and this is why the actual Keys were always rooted in the physical, which is quite the opposite to what we imagine to be spirit. To truly understand these ‘foundational’ tenets, we must reverse so many ideas we have of so called ‘spirituality’ and how we tend to perceive such an idea, for as I said, most of the time it is just that .. an ‘idea’ .. a flight of fancy .. for most, to attain to what we call a ‘spiritual’ state is the result of an enormous amount of work and pragmatic application. The hermetic philosophers did not call it the ‘Great Work’ without purpose .
I understand that I speak in a way that may raise more questions than I seem to explain , but there are many, many layers to the mystery of which the Egyptians were the masters.
SJ: What magical objects in The British Museum’s Egyptian Galleries do you most enjoying contemplating?
LGB: All of the objects in the Egyptian galleries of the museum are Magical, they were so steeped in that approach to life . There are a number of amazing artifacts that fascinate me , but I will right now focus on two of them briefly . One is a large bowl which is classified as a ‘Libation’ bowl, but I feel that interpretation is completely demeaning to its possible true purpose. It is dedicated to the Goddess Hathor, and would have very likely been linked to a group of women who were gathered under the auspices of Hathor for the purposes of communing between the worlds of the living and the dead, surrounding the birth of a newborn child. What is incredible is that it has a very powerful energy that has been strongly sensed by many people on the tour, even passers-by can sense it. The other artifact is a table for offerings, used to make offerings for the ‘Ka’ or the astral body of the Egyptians which would have been directed at a specific Mummy. This object has a very deep mystery and function attached to it; anyway these themes are thoroughly explored on my tour. The tour is full of surprises and encourages the opening up of many deep mysteries and questions.
SJ: I am interested in the Ancient Egyptian perspective on the human heart. School books tell us that Ancient Egyptians more or less neglected the brain, but the human heart was weighted with significance. Undeniably, the human heart is full of feelings. What are your thoughts on the energy and spiritual nature of this organ?
LGB: It is perhaps better to consider the weighing of the heart in its symbolic sense than the literal sense, for this is what it points to. It is indeed the vibrations of this centre that we have to really consider, and this intimate connection to the emotive vibrations that may distort the subtle formation of a being in its crossing between the threshold of an important transformation . This is the true challenge that is implied in the ‘weighing of the heart ceremony’.
SJ: Can you tell us something about the Sleep Temples dedicated to Imhotep and the importance of dream interpretation?
LGB: The temple of Imenhotep in Saqquara was used as a therapeutic centre 5,000 years ago in the 3rd Century B.C.E . It is said that very lengthy ceremonies of certain methods of breathings and Mantra-like prayers would induce states of trance that were likely to have been aided by Master guides of these methods. These methods would induce a deep sleep that had been precluded with an intention toward a specific cure. It was thought that after being interred in a dark chamber, that during sleep the cure for the ailment would be presented to the sick person directly by one of the deities, quite possibly being a deity whose function was in relation to the specific type of problem. These practices were continued in the Greek temples of the famous healer Asclepius, and perhaps also a little in the Oracular tradition.
We also know that serpents were closely connected to the symbolism of these types of healing through forms of revelation and knowledge, as also with the Sybylline Oracles, the Pythonesses.
Serpent symbolism has clearly been perpetuated through to our day in medical symbolism, and it is quite apparent that Shamanism is rooted in exactly the same principle. Common therapy is now devoid of reference to contact with deities or spirits, but it is still seen to be connected to ‘parts’ or aspects of the nature of self and the need to unify them in some kind of harmonious relationship. In these so called Temple dream sessions, the interior states that were reached often produced a peculiar form of light , and this light has been understood and depicted in various ways , as the Astral light, the Aud, of Kabbalistic tradition, the vibrations of the entwined interplay of the twin serpents of light and darkness, the Aud and the Aub. This same experiential contact, which was not only light, but a visceral and communicative form of luminous energy, was what Franz Anton Mesmer understood to be the ‘Universal fluid’, that much maligned and misunderstood term that caused him so much disgrace from the medics of his age.
All these ancient traditions became closely related to special inner workings that the Count Cagliostro included in his Egyptian Rites, and these in turn were passed through other closely related and very circumspect schools that survived through the Renaissance right through to our day, that still hold very secret aspects of these practices. Count Cagliostro was known to have been a practitioner of forms of ‘Magnetism’ that Mesmer popularised in France just prior to the French revolution.
Of course it was this form of Magnetic therapy that eventually became the Hypnosis we think of today, although rather than being a non-verbal and energetic form, hypnosis now functions as almost purely reliant upon mental suggestion, but the most ancient forms were always accompanied by elaborate forms of ritual for the reprogramming of consciousness, using special forms of touch, perfumes, oils, movement, and sonic vibrations.
SJ: Where did you learn the things you know about Ancient Egyptian Magic?
LGB: For many years now I have been lucky to have met with practitioners of the old tradition who are predominantly on the continent in places like Greece, France and Spain, who taught me many important things, to some small extent there are some also here in England. If this is part of one’s calling or path, so to speak, then it tends to happen that way. Once in contact with a living source, then all the various texts and books we have available in the public domain are open to be read in a completely different light. The purpose of giving my tours to the public is to make that experience possible for others who genuinely are looking for it. It is not meant to be an ordinary tour.
SJ: Which aspects of Ancient Egyptian spirituality are most relevant and useful today?
LGB: The entire vital essence of the ancient magic of Khem, which is the real name of Egypt, is no less relevant today than it was then. It is simply that we are now in such a degenerated form, that we can’t recognise it at all .
The genuine Knowledge, the true magic is not lost, but it has such a subtle nature that it can only be embraced by those who themselves possess as suitably subtle nature and openness to receive it. As I mentioned the use of rationality, to be interested in what the Egyptians were doing from a historical perspective, or or the general Archaeological perspective, has nothing to do with the true purpose of their work, and is even incompatible with its comprehension.
If grasped then, it is a map for transformation, not only for a perceived transformation after death, but also a complete code for coming fully into life in the ‘here and now’. And, this is why the Egyptian Book of The Dead was in truth named ... The Book of ‘Coming Forth by Day’!