Dynastic Egypt and Its Mystery Schools-8

According to the Memphite Theology, the universe began and continued to exist as the manifestation of Ptah’s will. The events occurring at the time of creation were brought about in the same manner as is every change in nature. The Ka’s and the Fates are the source of growth and reproduction, for life proceeds according to God’s word. The author(s) of this theology built it using an analogy built upon the interface between the mind and movement of the body, a theory arising from observations of nature. These authors specifically recognized that the problem of the origin of the world is intimately intertwined with the problem of how life is sustained in the NOW. Moreover, these texts go on to declare that Ptah’s word is not only concerned with the physical order, but also with the moral order of humanity.

An excerpt goes,

“Just as all the gods were made and the whole Divine Company created, so happens every word of God from what the heart thought out and the tongue commands. So was the Ka’s made and the Fates determined–which produces all food and nourishment through that same Word which also declares what is to be loved and what is to be hated. And so life is given to the peaceful and death to the criminal.”

“And so the making of everything and the creation of the gods should be assigned to Ptah. He is Tatenen who produced the gods, from whom everything has come, whether food, divine sustenance or any other good thing. So it has been found and understood that his power is greater than that of the other gods. And then Ptah rested after he had created every thing and every Divine Word.”
The identification of an ethical code within God’s purpose forms a basis for the underlying theme of the mystery school sages of the mystery schools of the old kingdom. Ptah-hotep says,

“Great is Maat, lasting and penetrating, it has not been disturbed since the time of him who made it. He who transgresses its laws is to be punished . . . That it should be lasting in the nature of Maat . . . What is truly effective is the command of God, hence it follows that life is to be lived in gentleness . . . Let not frivolities be repeated, for as the common saying goes: ‘A great man of little matter is an abomination to the Ka . . . The great-hearted is one of God’s chosen, but he who listens to his instincts is his own enemy.’”
Finally, the working of the mind and senses and its relation to God’s action in creation is well described within the Memphite Theology,

“The seeing of the eyes and the breathing of the nose bring messages to the heart. The seeing of the eyes, the hearing of the ears and the breathing of the nose bring messages to the heart. It is the latter which cause all decisions to be made, but it is the tongue which reports what the heart has thought out. Thus is all action, whether simple or complex, carried out, the manipulation of the hands, the movement of the legs and the functioning of every limb. All is in accord with the command which the heart has devised and which appeared upon the tongue. Thus, is determined the peculiar nature of things.”

For the careful listener, it is clear that the Memphite Theology is closely related to the creation concepts carried over into the Semitic religions and within Kabbalah, though a specific comparison will be reserved for a later lesson. In time, we will come to see how many of the most important concepts discovered by the Egyptian mystery schools resurface with other ancient philosophies and other mesoteric schools.

This brings us to the close of another chapter in our brief introduction to the early teachings of the major Egyptian mystery schools. Unfortunately, much of the information which can be presented is limited to philosophical theories found within the archeological evidence. The actual exercises and inner techniques required for expanding into the spiritual realm were generally transmitted by word of mouth only.

I hope all of you are making time to review each lesson several times–with a notebook at hand. For a personal notebook is a mandatory study tool for the serious student. Notebooks require the student to make additional efforts so to record his or her thoughts, feelings, impressions, speculations and questions arising from reading these lessons. Not only so to condense and summarize the information read, but to include questions and speculations harvested from consciously setting aside additional quiet periods for contemplation upon material which appears most important. Written entries recorded within the notebook can be seen as historical evidence of one’s birth and maturation into esoteric study. Even the ancients recognized the great benefit of the invention of writing, full well realizing, that oftentimes, thoughts and feelings have a tendency in most people of remaining “naught but ephemeral musings, entertaining and rewarding in the moment but soon lost into the chaotic mists of Time’s onward march.” Moreover, modern research has demonstrated that translating your thoughts and impressions into a written record are useful for memory and mental organizations.

Notebooks are critically important for recording your personal observations upon how you respond to situations arising within the mundane world. Remember the old admonishment, “Know thyself first.” How do you interact with others? How often do you justify your actions? Do, you ever stop being lost in identification and imagination? Who is in charge at the moment?

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