March 13th, 2013
The Uses of Ancient Egyptian Magic
Magic is the power to produce a desired effect by the assistance of supernatural forces, mystical gestures and spoken words. Just like the many other people of the antiquity, Egyptians also had their own myths, such as the myth of Heka, which was a kind of divine force and through it magic was cast (Pinch, text 1 par. 1). Egyptians were famous for their knowledge of magic since they owned it nearly four thousand years ago (Pinch, text 2). So having this supernatural force in hand is one thing, but why use it was a more important matter, as it had different causes. Therefore, Ancient Egyptian casters of magic didn’t use the force at will, as they found that the great power of magic was in its aspect of harming first, but also in its aspect to heal, and even protect the living and the dead.
As presented by Dr. Geraldine, ancient Egyptian culture developed different kinds of magic, and one of those kinds was the destructive kind, which was a dark magic spell casting, and served as a weapon to destroy the enemy or punish the traitor. In other words, harm or curse a target. An example of this kind was writing a target’s name on urns or potteries, which will be burned or destroyed later on, weakening the target. In other means, ceremonies and events were performed by Egyptian priests to curse a chosen target, mortal or God. These ceremonies consisted of priests, who drew images of targets on papyrus, and by annihilating these papers they struck the chosen target. Such ceremonies were later on turned against king Ramesses III himself. (Pinch, text 1 par. 5). The written texts of destructive magic are known as execration texts (Pinch, text 2, 179). In the book “Ancient Egyptian magical texts”, a couple of execration texts are printed (Brill, 1-2). It’s clear that, the intention to harm, curse and damage in order to destroy or punish a person, caused...
Cited: Brill, “Ancient Egyptian magical texts”, Volume 9 edited by J.F.Borghouts, Netherlands (1978), 1-19. eBook. 12 March 2013.
Pinch, Geraldine Dr. “Ancient Egyptian Magic" (2011). Web. 11 March 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/egyptians/magic_01.shtml
- “Magic in ancient Egypt”. Great Britain: British Museum Press (1994).1-191. eBook. 15 March 2013
Steven, Robert. "Reviews of books -- The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice (Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization, no. 54) by Robert Kriech Ritner." Journal of the American Oriental Society”. 114. 3 (1994) Web. 12 Mar. 2013.
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