Serpent in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt by John Anthony West (1996).
Ancient Egypt has had an enormous influence on the modern Western world. In ancient times, Egypt was considered to be the source of the highest learning and the greatest magicians and mystery teachings were known to have existed there. It is very strange then that conventional Egyptologists tend to ignore this aspect of ancient Egypt and relegate all such discussions to the ‘lunatic fringe’ of their profession. Slowly more and more researchers are starting to realize that the very foundation of ancient Egypt was the creation of an environment for the continued teaching of ‘The Mysteries’ and the production of superior men and women who could carry such traditions forward – the ‘ankh’ or ‘living ones’. Much of the modern work in this area has built on the pioneering writings of theosophist HP Blavatsky, and those who followed such as Australian theosophist, I M Oderberg, American psychic Edgar Cayce, and French mystical Egyptologist, Rene Schwaller de Lubicz (1887-1961).
This book ireflects and builds upon these earlier authors’ work, and carries their studies of the mystical tradition of ancient Egypt on into the 21st century. It is a popularization and updating of Rene Scwaller de Lubicz’s pioneering Temple of Man (1957). West develops many of Scwaller’s themes such as the mystical basis of Egyptian mathematics and architecture, especially the design of their temples culminating in the great Temple of Amun at Karnac. Really valuable is West’s work since the 1990s with geologist Robert Schoch to prove the vast antiquity of the great Sphinx due to water erosion of the surrounding structures and his work with police facial-recognition experts to establish that the face on the Sphinx is not the pharaoh that Egyptologists think built the Sphinx. This book is a catalogue of facts and is therefore, rather difficult to read in places. For all of this, it assembles a lot of valuable information that shows the Egyptian civilization we know has its roots in vast antiquity and that ancient Egypt possessed ‘high knowledge’ indeed.
In affect West is saying what theosophists have said for years: that in order to understand ancient Egypt we have to understand and empathize with its mystical traditions and high wisdom. How wonderful to see these ideas reaching a wider audience, especially through John Anthony West’s videos, radio broadcasts, and guided tours of ancient Egyptian temples and monuments, pointing to a deeper intuitive/empathetic understanding of ancient Egypt rather than the sterile academic/intellectual approach that has dominated Egyptology since the 19th century. – Andrew Rooke