I am writing this article to respond to the emails readers are sending me. Yes, I now have regular Blog readers and people that claim me to "like me" on Facebook or Twitter! Yeeee haaaa! (giggles) It seems that a lot of you are interested in my personal path, which is Egyptian, and since you are interested in this path you are asking me where should you start, and what with. Since I do not have a problem sharing, my deities but not my husband, I decided to answer this question here because if some of you are interested...then maybe there are a couple more tucked away out there in the vast internet universe?
Where do I start? <------This is the number one question I am being asked. I believe you should always start by reading a book of mythology, and I am recommending two books here: Egyptian Mythology A guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt, by Geraldine Pinch and Egyptian Mythology by Veronica Ions. You can read thousands of books on Egyptian Mythology, these are not particularly slanted toward paganism but they are more in-depth and I feel do the best job of gathering the scattered stories from all the sources and explaining to you where they come from, what the differences are, etc. That being said let me explain why I am not recommending The Book of the Dead (any version) as a start off point.
The Book of the Dead is a series of writing that are spells and incantations for people who have crossed over or have died already. These spells are to be said over the dead body while prepared for death (we would call it embalming) and are left with the body so that their soul part the BA *((the Egyptians/Tamerians believe that the soul had five parts this is the part that looks like a bird and can see and read after dying)) can read those texts as a “cheat sheet” if need be. Originally, it was believed that only the royal house and special “wealthy aristocrats” could go to greet Osiris and thus in the beginning these scrolls were prepared for them. Please remember in Ancient times, that the majority of people could not read or write. It was believed that after you died, you would go through a series of trials or meet deities in whom these recitations/spells would be important and so it was that you studied these and memorized them so that at death you would know what to say when faced with Anubis, or Osiris, or Maat.
The Egyptians were not fixated with Death they were into celebrating life! They did not dwell in morbidity, they believed in the principal that Death was a total rebirth (another life). I realize a lot of this sounds like the modern Western and Eastern religions you know a lot about now: the afterlife, reincarnations, preparing bodies for death, immortality, the soul, but keep in mind this religion is much older than modern times and has influenced it heavily. So why not the Book of the Dead? Well, it may sound cool and seem interesting but unless you understand the stories of these Gods and Goddesses and put together a bigger picture and a relationship between them and us…well the Book of the Dead really is just “mumbo jumbo” and makes no “real sense”. It also might throw you because it was written for a "special class" of people and we all know that none of us are Pharoahs today. Though, let it be stated my personal opinion is that you should NEVER commit to a Pantheon or religion if you do not accept its stance on "what happens to you when you die".
So, you tell me you have always been fascinated by my religion and you want to learn more. Here is my response, and it is sincere and with the best intention. I am going to share with you where to start and you should realize that this is a “baby step” just a starting point but "baby steps" are essential to finding yourself miles down the path. When you are a “newbie” at anything in life, including a new pantheon it is overwhelming and many times you do not know where to “start”. You want all the Gods and Goddesses, all the tools, and to tell the world this is your path because it is a lot like falling in love. But like love, you should take your time there is no reason to rush...the Gods and Goddesses are not going anywhere, be certain, and give it your whole attention and disciplined mind and please realize if you just started last month there is no way you are an expert. Spiritual paths take years and years of practice and application as does magick (and that don't mean a couple of years but that is a great start!).
Do you remember when you first “saw” a person that you found yourself attracted to? They caught your eye, they were the only person you really noticed in the room. You started to notice your eyes and your attention focusing back on that person over and over again. Then you went up and approached them and talked to them, you both have exchanges through conversation. You noticed the details about them, their eyes, their hands, their hair, their smile, the sound of their voice, how they smell, etc. Then you asked for their phone number, or Facebook page, and you started to call them and talk, or text and flirt, or chat box and get to know them better, you started to build “from scratch” a person of your own making for you to desire (yep, you make them who they are to you!). They give you information for you to add into the correct place or slot in your mind so that they become real to you. The information they give you are details like...where they graduated high school from, where they were born, how old they are, how many siblings they have, how many marriages or divorces, children if they have them, likes and dislikes (favorite foods, colors, music, hobbies, extracurricular activities). Before you know it, you are “in love” and the next thing you know you are “becoming intimate” physically with this person, and you wake up next to them in bed (or it could be the floor or sofa, you know what I mean),
I am sharing this analogy with you because it is the accurate and the perfect analogy for a person looking for a “new spiritual path” or getting to know a “new deity”. You are falling in love with a God or Goddess. You cannot love them all at one time, so you choose one. You read all the stories to find one, the one that catches your attention is…THE ONE (just like the person in a crowd that you noticed). You then spend time fleshing out that deity, find out its likes, dislikes, holidays, relationships to other deities, find out about what kind of magick they are good at, what they are famous for, their names their titles, favorite colors the element they are associated with. (you are starting a spiritual dialogue with this deity like talking to a human face to face). Then you go buy a representation of them (usually a statue), you set up an altar for just them, and you start doing magick with them or praying to just them.(this stage is equivalent to waking up in bed next to a person you were courting and enamored with). You will find yourself laying out “offerings” for them, talking to them all the time, making “sacrifices” (many times offering a personal compromise or giving up something for them), and the next thing you know you are changed forever.
Now, I am not telling you just because you are interested in the Egyptian path and might find one deity you feel drawn to (I am going to use Anubis as an example) that this means that he will be the GOD that you will forever be with. That would be like telling you that every person you find yourself attracted to and having a relationship with is your “happy ever after rainbows and butterflies”. You and I both know life don’t work that way. Anubis could be the “one” though, you never know. On the other hand, he might just be the God that is introducing you to the other Egyptian deities, or he might just be helping you realize you are really Pagan, or it could be that he is essential to helping you realize the relationship between life and death, or he could want to introduce you to his half- brother Horus, or his mom Nephythys you never know. Just like every person we fall in love with, might no be the “one”. But they might introduce us to the “one” or they might just be an essential lesson we need to learn so that we can be better people and be better at a relationship when we do meet a person we can settle down with.
Ten years, twenty years later, thirty years later, you might stop long enough to contemplate your path and be tickled to death to realize Anubis has walked with you that long, and loved you through it all….and you are happier than a pig in a pigpen. Who knows? But, you will never figure that out…if you do not open a book of mythology first, and figure out who Anubis is; rather than depend on a Hollywood or bad Scifi movies to define him for you. You, and only you, can do the work and research and practice that it will take to get to know Anubis. I can relate a few things about him to you, I can even give you “hints” to point you in the right direction, but when it comes down to it…I cannot make you put in the time, money, effort, or energy into building a relationship with deity, just like I cannot “force” you to date someone and really listen to them and get to know them.
I hope this analogy helped you, no one shared anything like this with me when I was starting out I was just given a syllabus and a “way of doing things” and it was after many years that I came to figure out that there was a much more simple organized way of approaching deity if you tried. I pray these books are the keys that opens up the door to wherever it is you are meant to go; and I also hope you realize that our “myths” are no different than any other spiritual books they are analogies, metaphors, and sometimes true regurgitation of events and are what draws you to a deity because you begin to realize they too walked the earth like you and experienced loss, happiness, pleasure, excitement, wandering, acquired skills, etc. I also want you all to know, that my email box is always open…as is my heart.
Thank you for the gift of your time!