Last night listened to Diana Kreikamp’s presentation on The Amduat: the Great Awakening, for the Magical Woman’s Summer Salon. which is also the title of her book. See link below for recording. Amduat Salon7 Recording
I learned how this important ancient text brings together two important threads of Egyptian magical religion – the cult of sun god Ra & cult of underworld deity Osiris. At the midnight hour of Sun’s journey, when he makes the transition and begins his regenerations. Here he meets with Osiris, and the two cults merge.
Later, when the existential threat comes in the form of personification of “evil”, the snake Apophis. The still frail sungod needs strong protections, which he gets from Goddess Isis and also her companion, the “Elder Magician” who use their magick to ward off the threats.
Then, as now, different people were supporters of the cults of different deities, all of whom are part of the drama in some way. The ancient Sethians, viewed the “Elder Magician” as an avatar of Seth.
Members of mystery cults identified with these underworld myths, looking for their true selves in the unconscious. Is there really the basis to the idea of an ancient mystery cult of the living, made up of priests and scribes? The archaeological evidence indicates this to be the case.
I also explored this phenomenon as background to “Isis goddess of Egypt & India”
Such ancient mystery cults in temples are mentioned in Great Hymn to Osiris as well as in other places.
“Praise to thee, Osiris! Thou Lord of eternity, king of gods! Those with many names and lordly of being! With mysterious ceremonies in the temples” Great Hymn of Osiris / Hymn of Amenmose
These were the precursors to the famous mystery cults of the classical world, a lively account of one dedicated to Isis & Osiris is found in Apuleius’s novel “The Golden Ass”.
A hymn for god Amun-Min on the final day of his lunar month. When Repyt, ancient lion goddess of Athribis,
hymns the god from the eastern gateway of her temple, greets him as he rises in the morning in his house on
the eastern side of the river at the “Horizon of Min” (Akhmin)
“May you be satisfied,
May you awaken in peace,
may you be awake,
the lord of the sanctuary,
who with great power of destruction against his enemies … now rise in peace
“May you be content,
may you awaken in peace,
You who gives life to your father Osiris,
awaken in peace, wake up and be content.
“May you be satisfied,
may you awaken in peace,
Awake leader awaken
The great Horus in Akhmin,
the nemesis for those who will suffer at your hand,
You who now sleep in peace.
“May you be content,
may you awaken in peace,
awaken with transfigured body
But awaken in peace.
May you be happy,
Your majesty awakened,
the living one who gives the air
to the one whose throat is constricted.
Awaken in peace,
To keep the one who is within him/her healthy, and in peace.
“May you be satisfied,
May you awaken in peace,
may you be awake,
lord of the sanctuary,
one with great power of destruction against his enemies .. . now rise in peace
“You who loves the beautiful day,
for whose soul the gods are in peace.
in whose hand is life and death, rise in peace.
Victories for you over all the of the rulers of the nine bows,
to you the gods bow, in peace.
You are called Lord by the kings of upper and lower Egypt,
the Lords of the two lands,
the chosen ones of ptah,
who moved by the image of Min-Re,
The sun god
And by Horus, the Lord of letopolis,
And all their names,
You are their truth
I offer you Myrrh and wine,
and all good things,
treating you like a king.
I see your morning glory
As on the first golden day
when our souls were united,
And we are are transfigured at the gate
forever, as gods
This land shall flame and glow …
You shall be the satisfied as one who is in the seat of the Bastet,
Where those of earth also sit,
Enjoying the fiery warmth of Sekhmet,
the mistress of heaven …
The one whose cheeks glow red at a feast,
As she eats raw meat
To whom the gods pray when they see it,
Because the gateways are open
The heart melted by the mistress of the flame
Rejoice, for the mistress, clothed in red linen,
Loves her lover
Composed, based on translated fragments by Mogg Morgan for Diti
The ancient Egyptian Amduat is an important funeral text with twelve illustrations from Egyptian antiquity that describes the journey after life.
The Amduat tells the story of the Sungod Râ as he travels through the twelve hours of the night. At the end of the day the sun has lost his power to shine. Aged and exhausted Râ sinks beneath the horizon of the West. The sun has died and the world becomes shrouded in darkness. Then, twelve hours later, the sun arises again from the horizon of the East. Râ is reborn and his renewed appearance returns the light to the world. Thus, Râ has transformed death into a new life.
The extraordinary thing about the Amduat is the fact that the transformation process of the death and subsequent rebirth of Râ, has been described and depicted in twelve phases, or hours. The Amduat sends a clear message that death isn’t the end. Death is simply a transition from the old into a new phase; a new life. This grants men insight and trust in the mysteries surrounding death. It is clear that the Amduat is so much more than a simple mythical story telling the nightly voyage of the sun.
The word Amduat means; “Book of the Hidden Chambre”. The word can also be translated as “What is in the Duat”. When a person dies, their soul goes to an area known as the Duat. After sundown, the Sungod Râ disappears in the Duat to start his journey through the First Hour of the night. The Sungod sails on a river through this nightly landscape on his boat. There are various Gods and animals standing on both sides of this river to support Râ during his journey. However, there also are creatures there intending to destroy Râ.
Every hour is inhabited by different beings and has a different landscape. For example, one such hour is dominated by a dry dessert whereas another one contains an abundance of water. The twelve hour journey proves to be full of challenges. Râ has to brave many counteracting forces to eventually become reborn at the end of the Twelfth Hour in the Eastern horizon.
To understand the ancient symbolical language of the Amduat, I completed many years of research and translated various old hieroglyphic texts anew to properly understand the underlying message. During ten years I meditated daily using the texts and images of the Amduat. The Egyptian heritage centers on spirituality and goes far beyond the layer of rational thinking. Back then, life was about making contact with the Divine through worship and servitude of the Gods in the many temples.
Meditation exceeds rational thinking and allows you to descend into the dimension beyond the visible and tangible earthly life. You connect with a different layer of knowledge that lies deep within the sub consciousness. In doing so, I discovered that the nightly voyage of the Sungod is a symbolical reference to the universal journey of mankind.
The sun, or the light, is the symbol of consciousness and of the higher aspect of oneself. On a more profound layer, the journey through the Duat is a voyage that makes one aware of his True Self. The Duat symbolises our inner world, or our sub consciousness. In order to become aware of it, we have to descend into our inner world. The knowledge we gain while there, can be brought up so we can reflect it to the knowledge in the world outside of ourselves. The reflection of two opposites gifts us a reference and allows our consciousness to expand, or our awareness to rise.
During our lives, we develop ourselves as a child into adulthood, which makes our consciousness grow naturally. Each time, old perspectives and convictions are let go to make place for a renewed vision and consciousness. This makes us grow and become more aware of who we are and our place in the world.
However, there lies the paradox since this natural process of becoming aware usually happens unconsciously. Most people live their lives without knowing exactly who they are. The connection with the true core, or their Higher Self, is on a subconscious level. Every human being has to follow their own path. When we are conscious of the higher aspect of ourselves, then our inner Sungod can take the lead. Then we can connect and identify ourselves with the hidden light within and use it as our inner power. The Knowledge of our Self reveals our unique talents that can subsequently be put to use in your daily lives to complete the tasks we are meant to do.
The Amduat contains an ingenious system that we can use to become aware of who we truly are. It teaches us to connect with our True Self to awaken in a higher plane of consciousness. By following the sun through the twelve hours of the night, we are brought back to our core and make contact with our own inner Sungod, the Higher Self. On the way, inner blockades need to be cleared that otherwise impede the descent into our true core. Every time again a layer is scraped off in your inner being, similar to polishing a diamond in the rough.
This is an intense process for during this journey your True Self is revealed. Of course, this sounds fantastic. However, do be aware that the confrontation with this light aspect will have the same impact as the confrontations with the shadow part of yourself. We are inclined to deny both sides and to turn a blind eye to the truth.
Death and rebirth
The journey through the twelve hours of the night is an initiation during which a transition takes place. The old consciousness is dissolved and transformed in the rebirth and awakening of a new consciousness. This is why it is a journey of life and death. During our life, only our old consciousness dies to make place for the birth of a renewed self. We no longer are the child we once were, nor the same person we were yesterday. We have transformed ourselves again and again into a renewed version of ourselves.
When working with the Amduat, we simultaneously learn to die in a befitting manner at the end of our lives. That is the moment when we truly experience the journey to rebirth. Therefore, the voyage through the Duat is destined for both the deceased and any living soul on earth.
Even though the Amduat is thousands of years old, the system is still applicable now. In my book I explain the voyage of the sun in great detail. Each hour is described from an academic as well as an esoteric perspective. By bridging the gap between rational and inner knowledge, you are able to gain a more profound understanding. Furthermore, every hour I explain the process of transformation that you will experience when you partake in the journey through meditation.
The Amduat contains many texts and hundreds of Deities to focus your meditation on. These Deities are gateways that open when you focus your attention on them. All of them are reflections of your inner being and set something in motion within you. The resulting inner images then take on a tangible form in real life as well. They subject you to trials and hold up a mirror to you. Each hour has its own energy and specific effect on you. Step by step, you learn to look beyond the outer layers and make contact with the true reality hidden underneath. That is how the Amduat provides a system to stimulate the process of raising awareness in a structured manner.
Reading the book
Do you want to dive into the heritage of the ancient Egyptians; the Amduat? Then read the book; Amduat: The Great Awakening. It contains the nightly voyage through the Duat in much detail as well as a wealth of information about the ancient Egyptian tradition.
Tanutari bhasilo amar
(The boat of my body is floating on the ocean of existence)
The boat of my body is floating on the ocean of existence.
My Mind, my good helmsman,
Row carefully. See That you
Don’t drown me at sea.
Our oarsman are the five senses and their objects –
But they’re paddling the boat in the wrong direction.
Please try to control them
Steer the rudder in Kali’s name,
Hoist the kundalini sail,
And let’s set off in a favourable wind.
Thwart the six
Lust and his band
With the great mantra
Lest they harass us on our way.
Take Kamalakanta. Let’s sing a boat song
In Kali’s name, and be happy
For we’re heading to the city
Of ceaseless bliss.
From selection in “Tantra in Practice”
For some the idea that Tantra is all about trance states comes as a bit of a shock and is resisted. But seems like
a reasonable insight to me. Here’s something from academia, as many find this significant. Though has to be said, the idea is not common.
“Theravada meditation, places considerably emphasis on the development of Samadhi (concentration or trance),
perhaps better described as focussing of the mind-body” Samuel 2008: 219
A story that needs to be told, this ground breaking documentary does the trick. Although at 1 hour 15minutes maybe a little overlong for the format and could be a bit faster. Even so it was great to see and hear her biographer, the late Nevill Drury contributing to the story he did so much to research over several editions of his book Pan’s Daughter : the magical world of Rosaleen Norton. I found the first half the most interesting, when she was younger and a rising star, before the grey men in the Australian patriarchy, and the catholic church brought her down and mostly extinguished her fire, sometimes literally in the fire, when the police were ordered by the courts to burn two of her paintings. Outrageous stuff that courts order burning of pictures, a real witchhunt.
The dirty tricks, the illegal raids on her home by the press are all there. And though she fought back and embraced and reclaimed her witch archetype, it was something of a pyric victory as she ended her days mostly as a recluse and died alone in a hospice run by nuns. Many of her former friends in the film seemed too untogether to be there for her at the end.
She became something of a parody of herself, sometimes grotesque in the media game. I was so glad to see the pictures of her in her sister’s garden, her hair down and unbleached, no fringe and no crazy eyebrows – just the beautiful person she once was.
So overall, despite a great body of work, she was well ahead of her time. But a wasted genius, and not through any fault of her own, other than being a woman and a witch. Her astral magick, with which she connected with Gavin Greenlees and Eugene Goossens enabling them to connect across space and time, is experiencing something of a revival just now and the greater details in Nevill’s book will be useful for that. The patrician musician Goossens was an important occult influence though in the end, the career of this magical superstar was destroyed by a media conceived scandal. He died soon after but never blamed Roie for the any of it; despite her keeping a photographic record of their work, which was stolen from its hiding place in her flat by a hostile journalist and they then sealed her, and his fate. So let us remember her, and induct her into the company of gnostic and tantrik saints. A true original, whose magick and witchcraft did not come from the usual suspects of the time, but was a power of love, direct and from above.
Honorable mention to the choreographer, actors and sound people for great soundtrack, though was odd that subtitles when pan danced musick subtitled as esoteric when Lilith danced is was dramatic, great track called “Dark Arts” by Brian De Mercia. Everyone should see this film and support the makers by paying the modest fee to own it.
1. O MOTHER and lover of the Destroyer of the three cities, beautiful with the beauty of the dark rain clouds. Those who recite, Your mantra, their speech, whether in poetry or prose, like that of those who have attained all powers, issues with ease from their mouths.
2. O MAHEŚI, You with great and formidable ear-rings of arrow form, who bears on Your head the crescent moon. If one, even of poor mind, at any time recites but once this doubled mantra of yours, they become all powerful, conquering the Lord of Speech and the Wealth-Giver, and charming countless beautiful people with lotus-like eyes.
3. O KĀLIKĀ, O auspicious Kālikā with wild hair, from the corners of whose mouth two streams of blood trickle. Those who recite this double mantra of yours destroy all their enemies, and bring under their subjection the three worlds.
4. O Mother with gaping mouth, Destroyer of the sins of the three worlds, auspicious Kālikā, who in Your upper lotus-like left hand is a sword. and in the lower left hand a severed head; who with Your upper right hand makes the gesture which dispels fear, and with Your lower right hand that which grants boons; Those who recite your name, meditate upon the greatness of Your mantra, possess in the palm of their hands, all eight of your powers.
5. Kreem Kreem .
O MOTHER, they who recite Your charming Bīja, twice, and thereafter, O Smiling Face, O lover of the Destroyer of the Deva of Desire contemplating Thy true form, become themselves the Deva of Love whose eyes are as beautiful as the petals of the lotus which Lakṣmī holds in Her playful dance
6. O full breasted DEVĪ, whose throat is adorned with a garland of heads, They who meditating recite any secret and excelling mantras together with Your name, her moonlike face is ever before them, and as speech goddess she wanders, the lotus-like eyed Kamalā plays
7. O MOTHER, enjoying Mahākāla, even a fool becomes a poet who meditates upon you, naked, clothed in space, three-eyed Creatrix of the three worlds, whose waist is beautiful but from whose skirt hang dead men’s arms, and seat on the chest of a corpse, left in the cremation-ground.*
8. THOSE who meditates on you, the lover of the destroyer, seated in the cremation-ground, strewn with funeral pyres, corpses, skulls, and bones, and haunted by female jackals howling fearfully; youthful, in sexual union with your consort, will be revered by all and in all places.
9. WHAT, indeed, O Mother, can we of so dull a mind say of your True Being, which not even the gods know? Yet, despite our dullness and ignorance, our devotion makes us talk of Thee. Therefore, O Dark Devī, forgive us our folly. Do not be angry towards ignorant creatures such as we.
10. IF by night, I, your devotee, unclothed, recite your mantra, whilst meditating on you with dishevelled hair, when with my Śakti youthful, full-breasted, and heavy-hipped, such a one assumes all powers and dwells on the earth as a seer.
11. O lover of Shiva, as (a Sādhaka) I recite daily your mantra over the course of a year, meditating the while with knowledge of its meaning. My heart is fixed upon your union with the great Mahākāla, above whom your are, knowing every pleasure he gives upon the earth, holding all great powers in the fingers of his lotus-like hands.
12. O MOTHER, you give birth to and protect the world, and at the time of dissolution withdraw to yourself the earth and all things; therefore you are the supreme god Brahmā, and the Lord of the three worlds, the consort of Śrī, and Maheśa, and all other beings and things. Ah Me! how, then, shall I praise your greatness?
13. O MOTHER, people there are who worship many other Devas. They are greatly ignorant, and know nothing of the higher truth, (but I) desire Thee, the Primordial Power, who enjoys the great Bliss arising from union (with Śiva), and who are worshipped by Hari, Hara, Viriñci, and all other Devas.
14. O KĀLĪ, lover of the mountain god. You are Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. You are all. You are one and beneficent. What more can be said in praise of you, O Mother? Show favour towards me, helpless as I am. By Your grace may I never be reborn.
15. I, O Mahākālī with wild hair, shall in the cremation-ground, naked, intently meditate upon you, reciting your mantra, and with each recitation make an offering of a thousand Ākaṇda flowers with seed, thus shall I become, a sovereign of the earth.
16. O KĀLĪ, on Mars day at midnight, in the cremation-ground, having uttered your mantra, I make a devotion to the hair of the Śakti; then I become a great poet, a master of the earth, and mounted like an elephant.
17. I as devotee, am placed before you, meditating again and again upon your abode, strewn with flowers, a Deva with a bouquet of blossoms, reciting your Mantra, Ah! I shall become on earth the Lord of celestial musicians, and the ocean of the nectar will flow in my poetry. And when I die, I shall live in your supreme abode.
18. If at night, when in union with my lover and meditating with you with centred mind, O Mother with gently smiling face, who sits on the breast of the corpse-like Śiva, lying on a fifteen-angled yantra, deeply entwined in sweet amorous play with goddess Mahākāla, then I become the one who consumed the God of Love.
19. O DARK One, wondrous and excelling in every way, who becomes the accomplishment of all worshippers living in this world, those who freely make bloody sacrifices** to you, offering in worship, greatly satisfying flesh.
20. O MOTHER, whosoever, being a controller of their passions, eats ritual food, and, being proficient in meditation at your feet, rightly recites your mantra many times by day, and who, afterwards at night, naked, united with their lover, makes your great mantra many more times; they shall not die.
21. O MOTHER, this Hymn is the source of your mantra. It sings of your real self, and enjoins us to worship your two lotus Feet. Whoever reads it at midnight or at time of worship, even occasionally, receives the elixir of poesy.
22 May lovers with large eyes, like those of the antelope, impatient for love, ever follow me. Even the powerful do as I ask. I becomes like Jupiter. My enemy fears me as if I were a prison. Living in continuous bliss, this devotee is liberated when yet living, and is never again reborn.
(Sahajanath’s new rendition of the great Hymn to Kali, for Navaratri 2019)
There are many books on how to do magick, but not so many with stories about actually doing it and what happens. NakedTantra lays bare the inner states of the two brave souls involved in this extended magical work.
An experiment, two people, two countries, one mind, experimenting in tantra meta-magick, cosmic astral travel to the land of no boundaries, looking for the doors of perception.
Of necessity the contents of this grimoire might be considered erotic. And, with that thought in mind, it might also be that the reader is occasionally aroused by our story as it progresses. Some might find this an unwanted intrusion, into what is otherwise an exploration of a magical world. Others we surmise, will take this in good part, accepting that, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. To those who do not share these sensibilities, and are unmoved by what you are about to read, we offer our sincerest apologies.
Mogg Morgan talks to MIRYAMDEVI & MINANATH, pseudonymous authors of NAKEDTANTRA
About The Authors
These are not their real-world names but neither are they false, they emerged in the dialogue. In real life, they both have experience in eastern and western magical styles.
You obviously have chosen to write under names other than those of your birth, which is not uncommon in magical publishing. The story of how you came by your writerly names is told in the book so I won’t spoil the surprise now. Even so, can you introduce yourself and say a little about what you do, your aims and objectives with your writing?
Minanath: When I first met Miryamdevi she called herself a simple “cowgirl”, which immediately brought to mind the Gopi-maidens who trail after Krishna. But then I discovered she really likes Tom Robbins who wrote Even Cowgirls get the Blues. So there’s something in that, but also, what she says about growing up on a farm; she has a certain earthiness and salt of the earth strength.
Another thing that came up when we got into working with the archetype Babalon – who we, or could be Miryamdevi, worked out, is not some rare breed but is in every woman, Miryamdevi is in a very real sense: “Everywoman”.
My name Minanath literally means (lord of) fish, and it seemed appropriate somehow. It is the name of a Hindu magician/mystic from old times. Also known as Matsyendra, Macchendra, and others. His biography can be seen as mythic or real, depending on who you read. I like the version that he worked in the sea, probably as a fisherman, a fairly taboo or lowly profession in India. But somehow he had a revelation and put together much of the spiritual system we know as Tantra. Perhaps it was because of his humble status people applied the story of his getting the wisdom from a secret scroll, written by the god Shiva, and hidden in the belly of one of the fish he caught. Sometimes it is he who ends up in the fish. But sometimes I just think he learned stuff from people he met on the harbour, maybe mariners from distant lands, like Egypt and Greece.
Anyway, my name Minanath is a reference to that guy who lived a long time ago, not thousands of years but long enough. I think magical tantra started or reemerged in India at the same time when things were getting difficult for magicians in Egypt, with the rise of Christianity. To put it romantically, when the light of knowledge was being extinguished in Egypt and the Near East, the torch passed over to India.
Miryamdevi: Miriam (מִרְיָם Mir-yām) is described in the Hebrew Bible as the daughter of Amram and Jochebed and the sister of Moses and Aaron. She was a prophetess and first appears in the Book of Exodus.
It is all in the name actually, the name Miryam suggest the strong connection she had with the sea and water (Yam in Hebrew means sea and the very obvious Mer-Mir). In the Jewish tradition and culture, The Tambourine is widely associated with Miryam and her love for music. Within the circle of Jewish midwifery especially the Israeli ones, Miryam and her mom Jochbed were the first midwives of the Israelites. I relate to all of this as I was born near the sea, I love music and I’m a doula.
The name Miryam is very popular in my family but although all the Miryams’ are very strong women, most of them had very difficult and unhappy lives. When Minanath said that I have to choose a magickal name it didn’t take long for me to understand that I have the chance to take the name Miryam and turn it into a healing name that will heal a long ancestral line of ‘broken Miryams’. Miryam became MiryamDevi and as soon as I started to use it I felt the healing has begun.
Without giving too much away, are you able to say a little more about your family background, ie past and current – ie are you married, children, work – people like a little bit of personal stuff if you ok to share?
I was born in Israel and grew up on the family farm. My dad was a horse breeder so we had lots of horses, I love horses, I love all animals. In my early twenties, I moved to the UK. After my husband died I moved back to Israel. No children. When Mina and I met I was living in Israel. I’m an aromatherapist and a doula.
I always lived in the UK originally from Wales. Divorced with no children. I work in the world of books, selling and occasionally writing them.
Naked Tantra is rather a striking title – can you say that a bit more about that, what does it signify?
The word Naked in this particular connotation – NakedTantra, signifies the naked truth of our practices. NakedTantra is a very intimate and personal book that reveals some secrets about ourselves and the way we do things. When Mina came out with the name NakedTantra I thought it is the perfect name for the book which reveals so much about us. It feels like we are standing naked in front of the reader.
Miryamdevi said it really, although of course, in the first part of the book there is an account of Miryamdevi’s initiation, which like mine a few years back, and like many initiations, requires some nudity as an act of love and trust. There is a fair amount of nakedness in our book. But mostly really it’s what for us is the naked truth – revealing things as we see them. It may not be true for everyone but it is true for us. Perhaps like those energy bars that have no additives, that’s us, pure and honest, as much as it is possible for anyone to remove the mask and record what they did.
Well, that’s the Naked aspect covered. Can you explain something about the Tantrik aspect of the story? Most of our readers will have a general idea of what it means but I think, as there are so many misconceptions, it would be good if you could say what exactly you mean in this context?
Tantra, yes, a massive subject to talk about… The way I see it, it’s all about cycles within cycles, relationships, the balance between physicality and spirituality, SivaSakti and Lingam-Yoni, Yoni-Lingam, Lingam-Lingam, Yoni-Yoni, whatever.. you cannot do all this without some Serpent Power. I think Mina is the person to ask about Tantra for a clearer answer 🙂
What Miryam said is really good. Miryam always has a very down to earth way of expressing things, hopefully, you noticed that in the book. But technically, Tantra is a South Asian, Indian subcontinental esoteric tradition. Like the term Yoga, I think you could translate Tantra with the western term magic, but not everyone will agree and we probably need to argue that more.
In the book Naked Tantra, you list many songs and poems, some of which you wrote or translated yourselves. Are music and poetry very special to you, can you say a little bit about that, why it is so special?
I love music. Music is a big part of my life and there’s always something playing in the background especially when I cook or clean the house, I’ll have the radio on and will sing along and dance to my favourite tunes. I also make lots of playlists. I have playlists that will suit any mood at any time and any day, I’ve got a good ear for mixing tunes and songs and fancy myself as a secret DJ. Music helps me write. It took me ages to write chapter one, I knew what I wanted to say but the words didn’t come out. One day I was listening to the Ganesha mantra and immediately I knew what to write, so I sat down and wrote chapter one. If you read that chapter you’ll see that there are few mantras which are linked to each other, each mantra was like a key that when played the words just came out flowingly without stopping. Poetry is also very special, when Mina and I met we were living in different countries and as we both like to write as much as we like to talk we found ourselves corresponding on a daily basis via emails. Sometimes situations in life can be very lyrical and when I sit down to write about it the words flow out of me in a lyrical rhythm, a poem of sorts some may say. Separation, longing and Karessa can turn one into an enthusiastic poet.
Miryamdevi is the DJ. I like her style. I think we are a little part of a long tradition of mystics such as the troubadours, the Tamil Siddhas, the Bauls etc. Sometimes called courtly love, where the frisson created between two lovers, who are often separated, either by societal rules or physical distance and then their inner fantasies, their emotional energy is sublimated and channelled into poetry and storytelling. So one way or another we did a lot of writing, we still do. We do our magic, as described in the book, and we dream and write, and write and dream. We just hope our readers will enjoy the things we say, be entertained. As they say, first entertain, then educate.
Is the journey in your book, the kind of rituals you describe, would that be for everyone, a beginner or is it only for the expert?
The journey is for anyone that resonates with our story, and the way we practice and dream.
Aleister Crowley, who turned up in our narrative, wrote or channelled “The Law is for All.” So yes, it’s for all. His magick was quite complex but also simple. Some like to talk about elites and special secrets they have, but it’s all out there already really. If it was all so secret we wouldn’t be writing a book about it, and in the tradition, there are thousands of old tantric texts in libraries, why did they write them if not to be read? I suppose the only qualification is the ability to read, understand, dream, do, and become.
What do you think other explorers of this genre would make your work? There are a lot of books already out there, what is it you think you bring to the table that is new?
As I said earlier, the book is about very personal and intimate work. Some might like it and some won’t. Some might say that we lifted the veil of Isis too far … for those, I’ll say “perhaps, but there again, she gives us life”.
Well, we’re not too sure about that. We hope they are entertained. I hope, if there is any shock, it will be of recognition. Some will perhaps question that what we have written, whether we are entitled to say it and whether what we experienced is appropriate. Almost every book these days seems to have to dismiss the connection between western sexual magick and the obscure secrets of real tantra, to dismiss other magicians’ ideas as new age. But then, in the end, these same people will carry on writing about tantra much as we do. So I think we are on the safe ground really, we can argue our corner. And in the end, does it matter? We are part of the same international community of magic that existed in India and Egypt in the past and is with us now. Mystical traditions cannot really be judged, or if they can, it is only by the results, ie pragmatically. Success is becoming.
Ps: I have to say that in the work, Miryamdevi really has, in my opinion, revealed some amazing insights into Jewish magick, something I’ve not seen anywhere before. Or put it this way, although Miryamdevi always denies any formal knowledge of Kabbalah, it just seems to be in her blood, to flow from her naturally. Which is what she says in the book at one moment – women just naturally receive and know these things. I don’t know if this is all women but definitely her.
That’s a lot of questions – can you try and summarise, in a nutshell, the enduring message of this book?
Follow your dreams.
Magic is complex but also simple. It is sometimes said that the gods created the world as a game, remembering how to play, that’s the thing.
Naked Tantra ends on a bit of a cliff-edge – without giving too much away, can you say what happened next in terms of what you are working on now?
Well, it seemed like the right place to stop, although the narrative obviously continues somehow and there are obviously some difficult moments ahead. The story comes to a natural climax, in more ways than one, when we break through our self imposed purdah and come together at a place of obvious power. What happens on the other side of the cliff-edge, that’s in part down to the readers.
What are we doing now? More experiments in the hyperreal – a ritual year and surprise surprise, some angelic conversations, though something very common although at the same time, ignored. It’s the old old story, people look for complexity when what they really need is staring them in the face.
Was “Unusual votive offerings of Medinet Habu/Luxor”
The Sugar Lady of Luxor and the Lady of Spring. Now she dissolves into the earth, many years after she was brought from Luxor
The Story of the Sugar Lady The 19th century excavation at Medinet Habu in its obsession with the monumental, stone architecture of the Ramesside period destroyed a great deal of the archaeology of later periods.(1) Libyan, Roman, Coptic and Islamic material was removed from the site and dumped, largely unrecorded. What we have lost in terms of knowledge of these later periods is incalculable. I am particularly interested in some of the inexpensive, votive offerings from all periods, as they reflect the personal piety of non elite local people. Medinet Habu continues to be a focus for local folk practices, especially connected with fertility. It’s interesting that locals continue to offer some of the same objects, including the votive beds, in connection with the birthday of the Muslim saint – Abu al-Hajjaj. It is a good example of “archaeological memory”, ultimately of the ancient Egyptian cult of Amun-Min, his consort Mut and their offspring, Khonsu.
Many of Amun-Min’s ithyphallic images escaped the chisels of later prudish iconoclasts. In ancient times, the god’s wife Mut came to visit Amun from her temple a few miles north of here at Karnak. This was the famous festival of Opet, a “hierosgamos” or “mystical marriage”. The tradition is very much alive amongst the Sufi and Ismailis of this part of Egypt. Every year the shops are full of little sugar statues, dyed pink or red with rose water, showing either the prophet or a local saint and his wife, although these days far less “rampant”. A friend explains: “‘Mawlid’ (moulid, مولد) means birthday, ‘al-nabi’ means the prophet, i.e. Muhammad. However, in many places there will also be mawlids celebrating the birthdays of various local Sufi saints such as the mawlid for Sidi Abu al-Hajjaj . Mawlid traditions go back more than a millenia, but a lot of Salafis regard them as a heretical innovation, so they’re controversial these days in some places. Nonetheless, throughout much of the Muslim world mawlids define the local ritual calendar, much as saints’ days do in strongly-Catholic parts of Europe.
[Further reading: Elizabeth Wickert, (2009) “Archaeological Memory the Leitmotifs of Ancient Egyptian Festival Tradition and Cultural Legacy in the Festival Tradition of Luxor: the mulid of Sidi Abu’l Hajjaj al-Uqsori and the Ancient ‘Feast of Opet’” JARCE 45]
“Such objects consists of small boxes of baked clay, usually about 22cm long, 12-14 cm wide ad 18-20 cm hight, but sometimes smaller. They are closed at the top and open at the bottom. Occasionally a latticework pattern is scratched or painted on the top, an indication that such objects are bed models. The front has short legs, and its lower edge is scalloped, obviously to represent fabric hanging down. It is ornamented with low relief, which was pressed in a mold and occasionally colored. Usually a bes figure is represented at either end and between them a nude woman in a boat. The representation on most of the specimens found in our excavations are of to different types. On type (fig 13 and Pl 6 G 1-2 [Cairo J 59845 and Chicago 14779]) show the nude woman seated on a cushion and playing a stringed instrument. In the bow, which is ornamented with a goose head and neck with necklace, stands a girl rowing with her arms stretched forward; the in the stern stands another girl, pushing with a pole which she holds pressed against her armpit. Between the figures are superimposed papyrus umbels. The other type :figure 14 and Pl 6G 3 [Chicago 14780} and 4) shows a simpler scene. The nude woman stands in the centre of the boat facing forward and holding a papyrus stalk at either side. Smaller fragments with similar scenes are shown in Plat 6 G 5 [Chicago 14827 & 6)” p12
Votive figures These are nude female figures, usually lying on a bed, often with a pillow under the wigged head, occasionally with a child at the breast (eg Pl 6H ] Chicago 14603]). Obviously they were in some way associated with the marital relationship. As a rule the figure itself was pressed out of clay in a mold, and the rest was modelled by hand. These objects are from 12 – 22cm long and often decorated with red and white lines. Two limestone specimens are shown in Figure 12. That at the right, with a child alongside, is 25cm long; the fragments at the right, with a child at the breast, is 16.5cm wide. These figures were all found in debris of poor dwellings of the period 11th-8th centuries bc.
For more erotic magic from Egypt see Mogg Morgan, Seth and the Two Ways
Note (1) Uvo Holscher, The Excavation of Medinet Habu Vol V Post-Ramesside Remains Chicago 1954