A DIFFERENT STORY. From the beginning.

19.     INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING LIGHT

According to Josephus in Antiquties of the Jews the ancient lords knew the secrets of ‘the stars’ and inscribed them on the towers of stone – the pyramids of Egypt – where we know them as the Pyramid Texts.

Just to add a little colour, Josephus was a Hebrew who lived in Rome and wrote in Greek. Born Joseph ben Mattathais he became a prominent statesman in Jerusalem where he claimed to have access to ‘all the old books’. When Vespasian sacked Jerusalem in 70 AD quisling Joseph defected to Rome where he called himself Flavius Josephus and translated all the old Hebrew texts into Greek. His entire works survive and were translated into English by none other than William Whiston, successor to Newton at Cambridge – until he too was kicked out for unwisely promoting the heresy that geologically ‘young’ Earth had suffered a collision or near-miss by a comet.

To approach the secrets of the stars it’s useful to have some context for the Pyramid Texts. They were inscribed in hieroglyphs on the walls of the internal chambers of the last series of Old Kingdom pyramids at Saqqara, south of Cairo – where they survive and were ‘discovered’ by European explorers in the 1880s. They were inscribed by the last of the monogene lords before the lights were turned on, in order that the knowledge might not be lost to mankind.

13 PTs.jpg

Then the lights were turned on and the region was sorely afflicted by nuclear radiation for a long period – Genesis said 400 years, or four generations; while modern Egyptologists say the calamity of the ‘First Intermediate Period’ lasted about 150 years. No doubt there was an indefinite transition where radiation faded and life gradually returned. During that awful period the last of the monogene lords had departed (dead or alive), and anyone else with any sense had heeded the warning and fled far away. Any lucky local survivors cannot have been nuclear physicists; at best they may have known roughly what happened but did not understand how it happened. They were like the author of Lamentations who wrote … We know not what happened throughout the land … mankind is destroyed … men say ‘cursed be the inaccessible place’ [the pyramid].

‘Men’ survived who were ‘Followers of Horus’ (descendants) who had only memories of what happened, but no idea of how.  So they preserved their memories in stories, that became rituals, that became religion. These mere men re-developed the Middle Kingdom with its grand monuments and statues and ‘religious’ festivals. They observed a ‘We Remain’ festival to celebrate survival of ‘the flood’ – meaning the flood of winds. And they wrote humanised ‘religious’  versions and adaptations and interpretations of the Pyramid Texts on papyrus scrolls that have survived as The Book of the Dead, and also copied extracts onto the inside of coffin lids in what has become known as Coffin Texts. So now we have a body of related literature including the complete original Pyramid Texts, various copies of versions of the Book of the Dead, and numerous extracts in the Coffin Texts.

The Pyramid Texts are conventionally dated from ca 2350 BC but are probably about 400 years earlier … and they include allusions to even older prior knowledge.  The known versions of the Book of the Dead date from the Middle Kingdom and later and are obviously naive copies – often with chapters out of sequence and with obvious transcription errors. Modern scholars frequently comment that the Egyptian scribes were plainly just copyists and had no idea of the content.

Texts of the Book of the Dead and related literature were translated into European languages from the mid-1800s after the hieroglyph symbols were deciphered from the Rosetta stone by Jean-Francois Champollion in France in the 1820s. That was an era when the gentlemen scholars of the time were themselves ardently religious Christians. They perceived the Egyptian literature as religious and translated it into their own overtly Biblical language reflecting Christian concepts. It was also still the non-technological era of the sailing ship and the horse and cart – so alternative technological interpretations did not even arise. Simply not even thought of.

Where the translations spoke of ‘stars’ the original documents used phrases like ‘precious crystal brilliants’ – which the translators thought ‘must be’ the stars in the crystalline firmament. When the texts spoke of an unseen aura or invisible spirit emanating from the ‘god’ the English translators rendered that phenomenon as ‘efflux’, ‘incense’ or ‘perfume’. Renowned English translator Raymond Faulkner (in the 1960s) footnoted his difficulty with a pair of hieroglyphs denoting ‘efflux or emanation’ and ‘kiln or oven’ – which he decided to translate as a ‘perfume jar’. Instead of literally an emanation [of radiation] from a furnace [reactor?].

What was written literally by monogene lords around 2750 BC was re-interpreted as humanised religion by the Egyptian high-priests of the Middle Kingdom from around 2000 BC onward.  With some dissenters. When Pharaoh Akhenaten (Tutankhamun’s father) came to power in the early 1300s BC he reinstated the ‘old’ observance of the abstract ‘god’ of Aten, the light of the sun. But that move was intensely unpopular and when Akhenaten died the high-priests promptly reverted to the new humanised version – which would retain its grasp for the remainder of Egyptian civilisation. And beyond – the original abstract god of light (Ra) became humanised as Amun-Ra and his son Osiris; which became the Hebrew ‘god’ YHWH who became Jehovah; who became the Christian God the Father and his son Jesus.

What was written in the Pyramid Texts was re-interpreted in the ‘new’ Egyptian religion – then all that was re-interpreted again by fervent Christian scholars into European languages. The original message received a double dose of religion.

This entire body of Egyptian literature is now universally (mis)perceived as being ‘religious’.  The Pyramid Texts contains 759 ‘Utterances’; the Book of the Dead 189 ‘Spells’; and the Coffin Texts over 1000 ‘spells’ … where ‘utterances’ and ‘spells’ are believed to be some sort of magic chant or prayer intended to solicit favour from the ‘gods’.  Much of it is impenetrable mumbo jumbo, without even any apparent meaning or coherence, including a spell ‘For driving off a crocodile that comes to take away magic’; another ‘For repelling him who swallowed an ass’; another ‘Prayer to the baboons of the sun’; and yet another ‘Spell for preventing a man from going upside down, and from eating faeces’.

But, to be fair, the Book of the Dead does contain a discernible sequence of events – or at least of perceived events.  In the orthodox scheme of things the hypothetical body of the dead Pharaoh was supposed to be ceremonially ferried along the Nile on the royal barge; received at the ‘portal temple’; ritually paraded up the causeway; carefully prepared in the ‘mortuary temple’ where it was checked for ‘purity’ and fed cakes and ale for the journey into the afterlife; then carried up the ladder to heaven into the burial chamber – from where ‘he’ ascended in an aura of incandescence to join in glorious reunion with Ra, the sun. This was all humanised make-believe, but it was based on an interpretation of ancient texts. There is a thread of fact in there somewhere.

Beyond that, the titles of the ancient texts offer some encouragement.

The Pyramid Texts are apparently untitled, but the so-called Book of the Dead does have an original distinct title – PERT-EM HRU – which translates as [the book of] ‘manifestation of great light’. It was the book of instructions on how to make a great light. Early European scholars thought the great light ‘must be’ the sun, so they translated the title as ‘Coming Forth by Day’. [1] But that awkward title didn’t stick.

A companion text – Book of Am-Tuat – had an even more revealing title. This text, concerning the workings of the ‘other world’ or ‘inner world’, set out clearly sequential processes for the preparation of the ‘dead’ body to achieve ‘transformation into light’. It had a long explanatory title reading in part:

THE WRITINGS AND THE DRAWINGS OF THE HIDDEN PALACE …OF THE NETHERWORLD OF THE HORIZON [PYRAMID]…CONTAINING THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SECRET SOULS …AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE FORMULAE …AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF THOSE WHO EFFECT DESTRUCTION [2]

Very obviously at least some of the earliest Egyptian texts included literal language that offered detailed instructions on how to achieve the transformation [of something] into great light. These were more than just hints, allusions … mere suggestions. They were direct literal statements – ‘This book contains the knowledge of how to achieve transformation of substance into light!’

But it all fell on stony ground. It was too much. The Egyptian ‘Followers’ of the Middle Kingdom didn’t have the nous to understand; while the European scholars of the 19th century were constrained by both lack of technology and blinkered by the fanatical Christianity of the time. Everything was misinterpreted in a paradigm of religion, magic and alchemy. The closest they got to the truth was to acknowledge the existence of alchemy – pagan alchemy characterised as black-magic. The ancient Egyptians were derisively reputed to have the ability to ‘transmute’ one substance into another!

Christian scholars believed in their own Christian doctrine of ‘transubstantiation’, but couldn’t bring themselves to see that medieval magic was derived from the earlier Egyptian alchemy where the substance of Osiris the son was transformed into the light of Ra the sun.

[1] Early European scholars suggested, ‘manifested in the light’; ‘la manifestation a la lumiere’; “[Kapitel von] der Erscheinung im Lichte”; ‘[Caput] egrediendi in lucem’; and ‘making strong (or perfect) the Khu [light]’, or ‘making strong the blessed dead’ [who were ‘beings of light’]. Naville, Lepius , De Rouge, Birch, Brugsch, cited in Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead.

[2] Budge, The Egyptian Heaven & Hell

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