Today, Ankhie offers you an entertaining excerpt from the mighty magical, Ancient Egyptian Divination and Magic – a book that is always on my desk!
*Fair warning – DO NOT go putting paint in your eyes or invoking deities that you are not completely familiar with! Ankhie is here to tell you that’s a bad idea!
The Egyptians practiced divination for two purposes: to inquire about the present and obtain useful information to make changes to a situation, and to beg or threaten for answers and assistance from a god to make desired changes to current circumstances. Thus the magician compelled the god(s) to do his or her will.
The primary methods used in ancient Egyptian divination were trance; mediumship; fire, water, and oil scrying; dream and dream interpretation; and oracles. The following is an outline of the preparations required once a divination is planned.
- First, prepare yourself. It is stated in papyri that the magician must be pure for three days, and specifies celibacy and “purity from every abomination.”
- Locate a secret place to divine. this is defined as a dark, clean recess. It is specified often that the recess face east or south.
- Gather all required divination tools. Commonly, the tools were: natron-water to purify the location, a new white lamp (or a lamp without red color; a vessel or bowl can be used instead of the lamp), a clean linen wick, lamp oil or kerosene, vegetable oil to pour in vessel or bowl, frankincense, natural ink to write magical symbols or words of power onto the linen wick, *eye-paint to place into your eyes to assist in seeing invoked deities, and, at times, a crude brick to set the lamp upon.
Magicians usually practiced divination in secret, at night or at dawn. It was thought that at these times the psychic currents were strongest.
- Place the *eye-paint into your eyes when you are ready to inquire of the lamp in any lamp-divination.
- *Invoke a specific god, or say a spell over the lamp. If you use eye-paint, you will see the god standing behind the lamp.
- Depending upon the divination purpose and script, repeat the spells either seven or nine times.
- If an answer is not forthcoming, threaten that the god’s lamp will not be lit, and will be filled with fat instead of oil.
The script is recited seven or more times so that the conscious mind can concentrate on the work at hand. A trance state is induced. For this reason, it is very important that you follow the script specifications to obtain the best results. Depending upon the script, a god may or may not be invoked. One reason for a god not to be summoned is that the god Souchos dwelled in the liquid oil of the lamp.
There are a number of gods that may be invoked. The Leyden Papyrus tells us that the word “compeller” within the script refers to the invoked god who compels the (other) gods to do the magician’s will. One of four gods was usually invoked: Anpu, The Opener of the Ways, Tehuti, Chief Over the Mysteries, Pshoi, A Graeco-Egyptian god of Destiny, or Khons, a Moon god called upon in Moon divination. Any deity to whom you feel attuned with can be invoked. While it seems true that Egyptian scribes recorded and tested excellent scripts to be used “as is” without alteration, you may achieve the best beginning results by working with gods and goddesses that appeal to you.