Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts: The Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt by Jeremy Naydler (2006). 

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 books reflects and builds upon these earlier authors’ work, and carries their studies of the mystical tradition of ancient Egypt on into the 21st century. Jeremy Naydler eloquently elaborates on this mystical tradition in the published version of his PhD thesis setting out to prove that one of the world’s oldest books – the Pyramid Texts of the Pharoah Unas (2,375 BC) – were in fact mystical accounts of initiation ceremonies and not funerary texts for the benefit of the dead pharaoh as modern Egyptologists tell us. This is simply setting out to prove in an academic fashion what H. P. Blavatsky, and especially Manuel Oderberg, have stated eloquently in the theosophical literature that ancient Egypt was the home of high initiates in the ancient wisdom tradition of which theosophy is a modern expression. Naydler follows up and expands his superb study of 1996, Temple of the Cosmos, in a detailed analysis of the pyramid texts which is astounding in its depth of analysis and its implications for the study of ancient Egypt. In affect he 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, 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

Book Reviews