Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts: The Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt

Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts: The Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt

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By (author) Jeremy Naydler

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  • Publisher: Inner Traditions Bear and Company
  • Format: Paperback | 480 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 33mm | 794g
  • Publication date: 28 January 2005
  • Publication City/Country: Rochester, VT
  • ISBN 10: 0892817550
  • ISBN 13: 9780892817559
  • Edition: 1
  • Edition statement: Original ed.
  • Sales rank: 234,572

Product description

A radical reinterpretation of the Pyramid Texts as shamanic mystical wisdom rather than funerary rituals - Reveals the mystical nature of Egyptian civilization denied by orthodox Egyptologists - Examines the similarity between the pharaoh's afterlife voyage and shamanic journeying - Shows shamanism to be the foundation of the Egyptian mystical tradition To the Greek philosophers and other peoples of the ancient world, Egypt was regarded as the home of a profound mystical wisdom. While there are many today who still share that view, the consensus of most Egyptologists is that no evidence exists that Egypt possessed any mystical tradition whatsoever. Jeremy Naydler's radical reinterpretation of the Pyramid Texts--the earliest body of religious literature to have survived from ancient Egypt--places these documents into the ritual context in which they belong. Until now, the Pyramid Texts have been viewed primarily as royal funerary texts that were used in the liturgy of the dead pharaoh or to aid him in his afterlife journey. This emphasis on funerary interpretation has served only to externalize what were actually experiences of the living, not the dead, king. In order to understand the character and significance of the extreme psychological states the pharaoh experienced--states often involving perilous encounters with alternate realities--we need to approach them as spiritual and religious phenomena that reveal the extraordinary possibilities of human consciousness. It is the shamanic spiritual tradition, argues Naydler, that is the undercurrent of the Pyramid Texts and that holds the key to understanding both the true nature of these experiences and the basis of ancient Egyptian mysticism.

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Author information

Jeremy Naydler, is a philosopher who has for many years been interested in the religious life of ancient cultures, receiving his doctorate in religious studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury. He is the author of "Temple of the Cosmos: The Ancient Egyptian Experience of the Sacred" and "Goethe on Science." He lives in Oxford, England.

Review quote

." . . the Pyramid texts are revealed as initiatory texts that give voice to a potent shamanic wisdom, which provides the key to understanding both the true nature of these experiences and the basis of ancient Egyptan mysticism."

Back cover copy

EGYPT / MYSTICISM "Erudite, rigorously developed, impeccably supported, observing all scholarly ground rules, yet revolutionary in its implications. This book should engage serious readers the world over." --John Anthony West, author of The Serpent in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt "A splendid melding of fine scholarship and passionate engagement with themes that are vitally important to us today. It is must reading not only for lovers of Egypt, students of shamanism and religion, and modern practitioners of soul travel, but for all of us who hunger for the real history of humanity's encounters with the more-than-human." --Robert Moss, author of Dreamgates: An Explorer's Guide to the Worlds of Soul, Imagination, and Life Beyond Death "A fabulously convincing piece of work." --Normandi Ellis, author of Awakening Osiris To the Greek philosophers and other peoples of the ancient world, Egypt was regarded as the home of a profound mystical wisdom. While there are many today who still share that view, the consensus of most Egyptologists is that there is no evidence that a mystical tradition existed in ancient Egypt. This book presents the evidence by radically reinterpreting the Pyramid Texts--the earliest body of religious literature that has survived from ancient Egypt--and the ritual context to which these texts belonged. Until now, the Pyramid Texts have been viewed primarily as royal funerary texts that were used in the liturgy of the dead pharaoh or to aid him in his afterlife journey. Jeremy Naydler argues that they are mystical texts that speak of the experiences not of the dead but of the living king. Thrust into extreme psychological and existential predicaments, and undergoing perilous encounters with alternate realities, the experiences of the king are remarkably similar to those described in the literature of shamanism. Far from expressing ancient Egyptian funerary beliefs, the Pyramid Texts are revealed as initiatory texts that give voice to a potent shamanic wisdom, which provides the key to understanding both the true nature of these experiences and the basis of ancient Egyptian mysticism. JEREMY NAYDLER, Ph.D., is a philosopher who has for many years been interested in the religious life of ancient cultures, receiving his doctorate in religious studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury. He is the author of Temple of the Cosmos: The Ancient Egyptian Experience of the Sacred and Goethe on Science. He lives in Oxford, England.