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The ancient Egyptians had a different spin on prosperity, and it requires a change in thinking. Prosperity was not individual, though they did have upper and lower classes. Prosperity was agriculturally-based, so if the crops thrived, everyone benefited; if they failed, it affected everyone. So, how can a modern practitioner approach Egyptian prosperity magic? Simply put, light a black candle.
Black, really? For the ancient Egyptians, black symbolized fertility and abundance. It was the color of the earth laid down by the annual inundation. Fertile soil meant abundant harvests; in ancient Egypt, that meant prosperity. Other colors appropriate for Egyptian prosperity: green and white. Green symbolized the lush vegetation that grew around the river and in the Delta. White was the skin of Osiris, god of the Underworld, and he was associated with rebirth and regeneration.
Items of great value to a desert people were water, wood, and tree resins. The Nile aided in trade and moving materials and people. Ebony and cedarwood were treasures few could afford. And, even the Bible attests to the value of tree resins; frankincense and myrrh were two of the gifts brought to the Christ child. What about gold? Gold was plentiful, as evidenced by the many artifacts found that were crafted in gold, though silver was a more scarce commodity.
Prosperity had nothing to do with money in ancient Egypt, since it had not yet been invented. The Greeks introduced coinage to the Egyptians during their occupation of the land. So, a wealthy man in Egypt did not possess caches of gold and silver, but he might show off his wealth with beautifully crafted jewelry and furniture of imported wood.
So, what does this have to do with prosperity today? If one wishes to practice Egyptian magic, one must understand where their spells came from. Approaching Egyptian magic is not like other traditional paths; Egyptian magic is more forceful, filled with threats and curses to the gods, and definitely, the spells are written from a great need.
That is not to imply that other traditions do not write their spells from the heart or from a need, but the spells of the ancient Egyptians reflect their love of their gods, their land, and their fellow man. Reading the literature, religious and secular, that has been left and meticulously translated really brings their beliefs to life, and proves they are just as relevant today as they were when they were written millennia ago.
Using this as a starting point, let's look at some simple ways to use Egyptian magic for prosperity by today's practitioner. Since the vast majority of ancient peoples were illiterate, all of the magical practices were performed by priests in the temples. Pagans today are cast in the role of high priest and are therefore responsible for their own worship.
The temples performed rituals to the gods three times daily, at sunrise, noon, and sunset. Offerings of food, grains, incense, and other items were presented to the gods, libations were placed in the sanctuary, and oil and incense pots were lit. In your role as high priest, you need to set aside a time, not necessarily three times every day, that will work for you to perform your spells and rituals.
Start with an appropriately colored candle, which will work nicely in place of an oil pot. The candle does not have to be anointed, though many practitioners do like to anoint their candles. Anise, cinnamon, sesame, and acacia are all good prosperity oils that would have been used by the Egyptians. Cinnamon was a favorite spice for the Egyptians, often offered to the gods in the temples and used heavily in preparing the dead for their journey into the Underworld.
Next, light an appropriate incense. Whether cone or stick or loose, it really is a matter of choice to the individual practitioner. Resinous incenses, frankincense, myrrh, galbanum, acacia, and copal would all be good choices. Frankincense and myrrh were two resins burned extensively in the Egyptian temples, as well as specific blends, and some of the recipes do survive to the present. Frankincense was considered the tears of Ra and acacia wood was used for sarcophagi.
The gods always appreciated a good libation and, surprisingly, beer would be an excellent choice. Though the upper classes did enjoy a variety of wines, locally produced, as well as from Cyprus, Kush, Canaan, and other Mesopotamian regions, beer was drunk by all in ancient Egypt. It was brewed in large quantities by the temples, but it was also brewed personally by the average citizen. Brewing beer was even considered an acceptable excuse to not report for work.
Acceptable libations to the gods would include beer, wine, and any number of fruit juices. Wines were fermented not only from grapes, but from dates, figs, plums, and pomegranates. A glass of grape or prune juice would be just as pleasing an offering as would an expensive wine. Water, though used in some rituals in other traditions, would have been too precious for use in rituals, preferring instead to use water in purifying the priests before entering into the presence of the gods.
Purity was strictly observed in the temples. All priests were circumcised, bathed four times each day, and shaved their entire bodies before they were allowed in the sanctuaries. Only the high priests were allowed in the inner sanctuary, where they tended to the statue of the god.
Offerings to the gods ran the spectrum from animals sacrificed specifically for the ritual to flowers, grains, spices, fruits, incense, resins, and vegetables. The choice is up to the practitioner. Obviously, slaughtering an animal is no longer a practice in Pagan religions, but there are plenty of offerings available that would be just as pleasing. A handful of sesame or pumpkin seeds, cinnamon sticks, a bunch of grapes, a pomegranate, a bunch of marigolds, all would be pleasing to the gods.
Now that all is in readiness to make your plea to the ancient gods—what do you say? The ancient Egyptians loved word play and, unfortunately, many of their intentions have been lost in translation. However, the ancients believed that the words themselves had a magic all their own. Spells and rituals did not have to rhyme or have a particular cadence; it was the words that carried the power of the spell to the god's ear.
What does this mean to today's practitioner? It means a little bit of work because you will be either writing your own spells or speaking off the cuff at the moment of ritual. You see, in Egyptian magic, there are no right or wrong words. The words should come from the heart and speak to the nature of the request. And, be specific. If you are in desperate need of a new job, then say so. Don't use flowery language, just state the purpose of the spell.
Now, the next dilemma: which god to address? The gods associated with fertility would be the most obvious choice: Osiris, Min, Hapy, Ptah, Hathor, Renenutet, though there are others. And, the god Amun hears all requests, so he would be a good choice for the beginner. Amun was venerated throughout ancient Egypt, eventually being considered the state god. His temples and priesthood were almost as powerful as the king, to the point where the temples actually held more land and wealth than the ruler of the empire. Yet, he was the god of the common man, as well. Many Egyptians had a niche in their homes for personal devotion and Amun was quite popular. He may have been popular with the common man because Amun was an accessible god. Questions could be posed to the god's statue during festivals, though the answer was conveyed by the priests. Amun was often called upon to settle disputes, bring blessings, and cure illnesses. So, for an all-around god, Amun would be beneficial to the beginner.
You have all the tools at your disposal to call upon the ancient Egyptian gods. Their appearances may be odd (gods with animal heads or bodies), but their appearances had a purpose in the Egyptian cosmology. Getting past appearances, the gods exist as they did thousands of years ago, just waiting to be called upon again. All they ask from you, the practitioner, is the respect that any deity should be shown, and a vessel of beer now and again.
Claudia R. Dillaire is a practicing Pagan and has been researching Egyptian magic and religion for twelve years. She is a freelance writer and the author of two additional books on Egyptian spells. ...