Egypt, Pharaoh’s magic | History – Planet Doc Full Documentaries
“One of the most interesting concepts of the Egyptians’ religious ideology was Maat. Maat is order, justice, truth. It’s usually represented as a feminine deity with an ostrich feather. But Maat is actually order, just as it was established by the Demiurge, or Ra, in the moment of creation.” Ancient Egypt was a mythological world in which its inhabitants feared to lose cosmic order, for that would lead them to the primeval chaos and prevent them from achieving their eternal destiny in the magic world of the gods. But in order to maintain the balance between those two worlds and be able to travel between them, they had to use the same tool the gods used: magic. “One of the most important aspects of Egyptian religion is, undoubtedly, the connection between magic and religious beliefs. The Egyptians could not understand one without the other. Every aspect of Egyptian life is connected with religion and, therefore, with magic.” “The creator god will, though the spoken word, create the world and materialize what the ancient Egyptians perceived as magic. Whenever they didn’t understand some thing or action that had happened, they would always resort to magic, because they couldn’t comprehend a supernatural event that wasn’t related with their earthly lives.” “The important thing was that those texts and rituals that can be found in the texts of the pyramids and, later, in the texts of the sarcophagus were said out loud. That’s the importance of the spoken word. The only way for magic to really be understood and materialized is through the spoken word.” The ones in charge of performing magic were the great wizard, the pharaoh, and the priests. But communication with the gods was limited to the only mortal that possessed the magic powers needed: the living god, the pharaoh. “I’m Usermaatre Setepenre, Ramses Meriamon. I came from Ra and was created by my father Menmaatre. The Almighty himself made me great when I was a child, until I reigned. The great ones kneeled before me when I was empowered, both as the elder son and as Prince Heir to the throne of Gueb.” Twice a year and thanks to the location of the Temple of Ramses II, the sun illuminates the little sanctuary. The king is illuminated by Amon and Ra the two divine forms that pass onto the sovereign the light he needs to preserve his divine nature. The temples were one of the possible connections between the real world
and the world of the gods. The other one was, of course, the tombs and funeral temples. The rituals and the magical ceremonies had to take place in a space where they could communicate with the gods. A place where the gods’ material self could be smothered with attentions and worshiped. An Egyptian temple was not a place where the believers went to communicate with their god or pray to him, as it happens in a Christian church or in a Muslim mosque. It was the sacred home of the gods. Access to the temple was completely off-limits to the common people, who could only enter the first courtyard. The rest of it was reserved to the priests and, of course, the pharaoh. Although the pharaoh was the one in charge of maintaining the universal order and the cult to the gods, the offerings made in the temples actually had to be made by another type of person: delegates of the pharaoh. In order to maintain an adequate cult to the deities in all of Egypt’s temples, those delegates were the priests. “The most important ceremonies and rituals that took place in the Egyptian temples were carried out in this chapel in the ‘sancta sanctorum’ of each temple, the most recondite and secret place of the cultural building.” “However, the preparation for the ceremonies and the actual ceremonies themselves, started long before dawn. The priest would enter this chamber and approach this tabernacle where the statue of the god was kept, in the precise moment the sunrays would rise in the horizon.” The priest had to carry out a series of rituals before the statue of the god, destined to ensure his purification and nourishment. Everyday, the clothes and foods of the divine statues were replaced. After the ceremonies were over, the doors of the sanctuary were closed and the priest would leave the place, once all ceremonial proceedings were concluded. The deities did not consume the actual food, obviously. They would take its immaterial part, its essence which was the basis of their nourishment. That food was taken out at the end of the day and divided among the temple’s personnel. The earthly homes of the gods — the hut-netcher, as the ancient Egyptians called them — should be designed and built in order to allow a perfect connection with their divine dwellings. The pharaoh and the priests were needed to establish the magical link, but they required the mechanism that channelled their sorcery. They found the necessary tools to carry out their rituals in Architecture and Astronomy. The Egyptian temple was a door to another dimension, and its design demanded precisely that. The height of its ceilings, the level of its floors, the shape and elements of the columns and its capitals, the games of light and shadow… Nothing was placed randomly, everything had a purpose. Being a divine residence, it should be eternal. Therefore, its placement, direction and building materials had to be carefully chosen to that end. At first, mud was used. But, soon enough, more durable materials started to be used, and that entailed long journeys to get them. The builders didn’t limit themselves to creating a home for the gods. The Egyptian temple was also a representation of the world and the cosmos. The explanation for the extraordinary dimensions of the temples of the Nile lies in the ideology of Egypt’s mythological Architecture. While Greek and Roman classicists built in accordance with the standards of human proportions, the Egyptians built according to ‘godly measurements’. As we already know, their primary purpose was to worship the gods in name of the pharaoh. To beg them manly for two fundamental things: the perpetual regeneration of Maat — the universal order — and the timely flooding of the Nile that made the fertility of the fields possible. But its mission wasn’t limited to the cult. Temples were centres of erudition and wisdom in which the knowledge of magic was formed and initiated, and the sacred writings were kept. The Egyptians’ way of life depended greatly on the priests. The measurement of time, the calendars, the festivities and the worshiping of the gods were decided and planned inside the temples. In all those acts, the gods were invoked through magic. It was the way to establish the connection between the celestial dimension and the earthly world. However, the temple wasn’t the only access door to the underworld. There was another more direct and definite one. At the eastern end of Papua New Guinea, there’s a tenebrous place the natives call The Sacred Rock. From high above, the Kukukuku’s mummies watch over this people of fearsome warriors. In the Island of Sulawesi, the Toraja place human carvings called Tau Tau to watch over the spirits of their ancestors that lie buried between the wooden balconies. Man didn’t settle for obtaining the approval of the gods. We know through many cultures that his aim was to go beyond — try to overcome death, reunite with his creator and live alongside him for ever. In Peru, two cultures emulated the Egyptians’ funerary formulas. Two thousand years ago, the Moche culture buried their leaders in pyramids with numerous objects and food, to ensure their existence in the afterlife. Hundreds of years later, the Chachapoyas that lived in the surprising stone fortress of Kuelap mummified their dead. To preserve them, they would first empty them, and then seal them. they would burry them in several layers of cloth that they would later adorn with traits of the deceased. The purpose was the same: the body had to be preserved so that its immaterial form could live in the afterlife.