The magician papyrus of orgy sexual organs in ancient Egypt

May 3, 2011

The magician papyrus of orgy sexual organs in ancient Egypt
Gold bangles from Mostagedda in the form of a protective knot c 2100 BC The knotted cords mentioned in spells have been translated into precious metal to make a permanent piece of amuletic jewellery
The Graeco-Egyptian papyri contain spells demanding an extraordinary range of ingredients. These are sometimes divided into male and female ingredients. Some are bizarre, such as bat's blood or the hair of a murdered man; some exotic, such as Syrian honey; and some expensive, like frankincense, gold leaf or real lapis-lazuli. Lizards, especially double-tailed ones, are a popular ingredient. This could account for a curious find of hundreds of jars packed with lizards at a Roman Period settlement near Lisht.
In the Graeco-Egyptian papyri, strange ingredients cannot always be taken at face value. The rubric to one spell explains that the 'navel of a male crocodile' actually means pondweed and that 'heart of a baboon' means oil of lilies. One papyrus gives a list of the 'secret meanings' of ingredients. Snake's blood is interpreted as haematite, crocodile dung as Ethiopian soil, and the semen of Ammon (a Libyan deity) as the humble houseleek plant


It is difficult to know whether such interpretations should also be applied to earlier texts. Animal dung is one of the most frequent ingredients in magic and medicine of the second millennium BC. The substitution of Ethiopian soil for crocodile dung should probably be seen as a late rationalization of ingredients, rather than as a true explanation for all periods.

The material from which magical objects were made might have its own symbolic role. Substances of mysterious origin, such as resin, had intrinsic beka. Resin was used to make funerary amulets and, at some periods, to coat the skin of mummies. The fact that resin is naturally translucent and golden linked it with the light of the creator sun god.
The uncharitable luster of gold was an appropriate symbol of eternal life, so this metal was much used in funerary magic. Until the first millennium BC, only imported or meteoric iron was available in Egypt.
Its scarcity and exotic origins account for the protective powers attributed to iron blades. An iron spear was traditionally used by Seth against the chaos serpent Apep. The Graeco-Egyptian papyri state that many spells were to be incised on thin metal tablets known as lamellae.
These may be in gold, silver, tin or lead. This last metal was associated with curses and other kinds of aggressive magic.
Malleable substances such as clay, wax, animal fats and bread dough were often used in Egyptian magic.
These materials enabled the magician to imitate creator gods, like Khnum who formed gods and people from clay and gave them the breath of life. Dough, fat and wax could be made to look and even feel like actual flesh. Human detritus such as saliva, hair or nail clippings could be incorporated for magical purposes into objects made from them. Materials which are easily destroyed were desirable for certain rites. Wax, which melts away to nothing at high temperatures, was ideal in this respect.
The colours of the clothing, utensils or ingredients used in magic were carefully chosen. Egyptian colour terms do not directly correspond with our own.
Shades of yellow, red and orange can all be described by one word, probably because they all occur in fire. Black and green were positive and powerful colours, linked with growth and regeneration.
Black was particularly favoured in magic. The blood or milk of a black animal is often specified. Blue and turquoise, were heavenly colours, appropriate to divine beings and places.
Red was a very powerful colour, linked with the solar eye goddesses.
This power could sometimes be harnessed by the magician, as in the spell which uses the red ribbons of the Seven Hathors to bind demons.
The color red was also associated with chaos and evil. Doing 'red things' meant to do evil, and Seth was said to be red-haired. In books of ritual magic the names and images of chaotic forces such as Seth or Apep are often drawn in red, while the rest of the text is in black
In the Graeco-Egyptian papyri, a special kind of red ink, which included ochre and the juice of flaming red poppies, was used to write spells invoking Seth. At this period an elaborate system of beliefs developed based on the colours of the precious and semi-precious stones used as amulets.
The fact that diverse objects shared the same colour was thought of as a significant connecting link, which could be utilized in magic. Thus the blood of a black calf might be used in a potion to restore grey hair to black. Shape, sound or even smell might form the link rather than colour.
These qualities might be used to attract or to repel.

This may account for some of the repulsive ingredients, such as menstrual blood and fly dung, used in spells. In the early part of this century, Egyptian peasant women might wear the pickled head of a puppy as an amulet during pregnancy. Since dogs were held to be unclean animals, this amulet was thought to deter any spirit from getting close enough to harm the unborn child. One ancient Egyptian spell to protect against various hostile forces was to be said over the excrement and fat of a range of dangerous or ritually impure animals.
These substances were probably intended to drive away the agents of harm and make them leave the client alone.
Things were deemed to be upside down in the underworld. Demons were said to have their mouth where their anus should be, so eating faeces was natural to them.
Another reversal of normal behaviour is found in a spell where honey is used as a repellent on the grounds that if it is sweet to living people, it must be bitter to ghosts and demons.
A magician might also do or eat things that were normally taboo in order to establish himself as a superhuman power. In some spells, faeces are probably offered as tempting fare to demons, just as the best food would be offered to the gods after prayer.
Divine beings were sometimes said to live on perfume, so the smell of incense was supposed to attract deities. Incense was often burned during magical rites. It must have helped to heighten the atmosphere and increase the aura of mystery surrounding the magician.
The strong smell of garlic was thought to repel supernatural beings. The Egyptian word for garlic sounded like the word for harm, and the fact that individual cloves of garlic were thought to resemble teeth was an additional reason for using it as a repellent. A charm against ghosts, snakes and scorpions, involved pounding garlic with beer and sprinkling the mixture over a house or tomb at night. The European belief in garlic as a protection against vampires and witches has an ancient pedigree.
Some bodily fluids, such as menstrual blood, might be used as a repellent. The Egyptian words for semen and poison are closely related, and the semen of some demons was particularly feared. One spell seems to be a formula for protecting a sleeper against a demon ejaculating into their ear. The spitting of saliva could be a hostile action, but saliva was also used in healing. The contact of saliva with the tongue, and therefore with the words of the spell, imbued it with destructive or healing power according to the nature of the incantation.
Urine was sometimes thought of as destructive and sometimes as cleansing. The urine of pregnant women had life-giving properties.
The standard ancient Egyptian pregnancy test was to make a woman urinate on young plants. If she was pregnant, the plants would grow; if not they would die. The symbolism of mother's milk, human or animal, was always positive. Women who wanted to find out whether they could conceive drank the milk of a woman who had borne a son.
If they vomited, they were or would be pregnant. The milk of the mother of a son was used as general ingredient in medical prescriptions and protective spells. It was stored in special mother-and-child-shaped pottery containers. Such milk could be equated with the milk of the divine mother.
In myth, the divine mother can be Isis, Hathor, or various other goddesses
The infant god is most commonly Horus. This role is often taken by the reigning king in temple reliefs. The king can be shown suckling from goddesses in human, cow or even snake form.
A pendant found in Tutankhamun's tomb shows him suckling from Weret-Hekau in her snake form. Drinking the milk of the sacred cows kept in Hathor temples was part of the coronation ceremony, and seems to have been regularly repeated to bestow 'life, dominion and power' on the king.
In a magical context, the milk of any mother who had borne a son could symbolize the divine milk and bestow vitality, strength and power.
Objects and ingredients used in magical rites might have intrinsic heka or it might be conferred on them by words, actions or gestures. Gestures are not often described in detail in the rubrics, but a few can be reconstructed from visual evidence. A standard protective gesture consisted of clenching the hand and pointing with the thumb and first finger. In tomb reliefs ranging in date from c.2400 to 1800 BC, men are shown making this gesture. They are usually pointing towards domestic animals at moments of potential crisis, such as the birth of a calf, the start of a desert hunt, or when driving cattle across a crocodile-infested canal. The accompanying inscription sometimes makes it clear that this gesture was part of a protective charm.
In one anti-venom spell, the magician is instructed to symbolically enclose the poison, first with his right hand and then with his left hand.
The rubric of another anti-venom spell in the same papyrus (Papyrus Chester Beatty \/II) says that the words are to be spoken over some kind of soaked plant material, tied by the magician into seven knots, and applied to the mouth of the wound. Here, the idea seems to be to imprison the poison by tying knots. In other spells, the knots are described as a barrier which hostile forces cannot pass. In a spell from a Graeco-Egyptian papyrus the magician ties 365 knots in black thread, saying each time 'Keep him who is bound'.
Pair of ivory clappers from Thebes, c. 1300 BC. Below each hand is the cow-eared face of the goddess Hathor. She was one of the goddesses who had the epithet 'Hand of Atum' 
Sometimes the role of the knots is to prevent something happening until the right time, such as the birth of a child. The untying of magic knots would then be an important stage in the ritual. Knotted cords are linked with Anubis, who as god of mummification was concerned with wrapping and binding. Rope was very important in ancient Egypt and was an essential part of many hunting techniques, all of which were used symbolically against supernatural enemies. Harmful spirits might be caught in a net , or with a lassoo of rope, so a magician could use these objects to frighten off potential trouble-makers.

The Underworld Books are full of episodes in which the enemies of order and light are bound with ropes to restrain them. Human or semi-human figures called the 'Enemies of Ra' are shown with their arms tied behind their backs.
Magical figurines representing enemies were treated in the same way
Another method of restraint was sealing. The ancient Egyptians constantly used incised seals, often in the form of a scarab beetle, to seal documents, jars, boxes and chests.
A hymn that describes the creator god Amon-Re in the role of a magician states that 'Anything harmful is under his seal'. The harmful forces would be unable to pass this symbol of divine authority. Images of hostile forces might be placed in sealed boxes to restrain them. One of the rites performed in temples was known as The Book of Sealing the Mouths of the Enemy. Some anti-venom spells promise to seal the mouths of poisonous snakes.
Sometimes it might be desirable to 'seal' the magician or a patient to prevent harmful forces from entering them. Symbolic sealing of the seven natural orifices of the body is mentioned in texts of the late first millennium BC. The gesture of laying a hand on the patient is sometimes linked with sealing. One spell to safeguard a child promises 'My hand is on you, my seal is your protection.' In another spell, the goddess Hathor is described as laying her hand on a woman suffering in childbirth.
Ivory rods ending in hands represented the divine hand and were part of a magician's equipment. A figure wearing an animal or Bes mask seems to be holding such a hand rod in a relief dating to the twenty-fourth century
BC
Hand-shaped clappers of ivory or wood were used in music and dance. In these, the hand is sometimes combined with the mask of Hathor
Hathor, and other goddesses, who embodied the female creative principle, were given the epithet 'Hand of Atum'. This refers to the myth of Ra-Atum copulating with his hand on the Primeval Mound
The divine hand could be a symbol of creative energy as well as protective power.
The combination of Hathor mask and hand can have sexual connot-
ations. Hathor was the 'Lady of the Vulva' as well as 'the Hand of Atum'.
In a literary text known as The Contendings ofHorus and Seth, which has much in common with the myths used in spells, Hathor shows her genitals to the sun god to drive out his bad humor

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