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The History Of Witchcraft 

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7

History of Witchcraft (part 3)

From here, let us move on to Egypt where we will look at other 
mystical symbols and more history of magic and the craft.

The Sphinx was a mythological creature with lion's body and human 
head, an important image in Egyptian and Greek art and legend. 
The word sphinx was derived by Greek grammarians from the verb 
sphingein (to bind or squeeze), but the etymology is not related 
to the legend and is dubious.

The winged sphinx of Boeotian Thebes, the most famous in legend, 
was said to have terrorized the people by demanding the answer to 
a riddle. If the person answered incorrectly, he or she was eaten 
by the sphinx. It is said that Oedipus answered properly where 
upon the sphinx killed herself. 

The earliest and most famous example in art is the colossal 
Sphinx at Giza, Egypt. It dates from the reign of King Khafre 
(4th king of 4th dynasty; c. 2550 b.c.)

The Sphinx did not occur in Mesopotamia until around 1500 b.c. 
when it was imported from the Levant. In appearance, the Asian 
sphinx differed from its Egyptian model mostly in the addition of 
wings to the leonine body. This feature continued through its 
history in Asia and the Greek world. 

Another version of the sphinx was that of the female. This 
appeared in the 15th century b.c. on seals, ivories and 
metalworkings. They were portrayed in the sitting position 
usually with one paw raised. Frequently, they were seen with a 
lion, griffin or another sphinx.

The appearance of the sphinx on temples and the like eventually 
lead to a possible interpretation of the sphinx as a protective 
symbol as well as a philosophical one.

The Sphinx rests at the foot of the 3 pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, 
and Menkure. It talons stretch over the city of the dead as it 
guards its secrets.

The myth goes that a prince who later became Thutmose IV, took a 
nap in the shadow of the half-submerged Sphinx. As he slept, the 
Sun-god (whom the Sphinx represents, appeared to him in a dream. 
Speaking to him as a son, he told the prince that he would 
succeed to the throne and enjoy a long and happy reign. He urged 
the prince to have the Sphinx cleared of the sand.

In his book on Isis and Osiris, Plutarch (A.D. 45-126) says that 
the Sphinx symbolizes the secret of occult wisdom, though 
Plutarch never unveiled the mysteries of the Sphinx. It is said 
that the magic of the Sphinx lies within the thousands of hands 
that chiseled at the rock. The thoughts of countless generations 
dwell in it; numberless conjurations and rites have built up in 
it a mighty protective spirit, a soul that still inhabits this 
time-scarred giant. 

Another well know superstition of the peoples of Ancient Egypt 
was that regarding their dead.

They believed that in the West lies the World of the Dead, where 
the Sun-god disappears every evening. The departed were referred 
to as "Westerners." It was believed that, disguised as birds, the 
dead soar into the sky where in his heavenly barge Ra, the Sun-
god, awaits them and transforms them into stars to travel with 
him through the vault of the heavens.

The occult of the dead reached it's height when it incorporated 
the Osiris myth. Osiris was born to save mankind. At his 
nativity, a voice was heard proclaiming that the Lord had come 
into the world (sound familiar?). But his brother/father Seth 
shut him up in a chest which he carried to the sea by the 
Tanaitic mouth of the Nile. Isis brought him back to life. Seth 
then scattered his body all over the place. It is said that Isis 
fastened the limbs together with the help of the gods Nephtis, 
Thoth, and Horus, her son. Fanning the body with her wings, and 
through her magic, Osiris rose again to reign as king over the 

The Egyptian believed that a person had two souls. The sould 
known as Ba is the one that progressed into the afterlife while 
the Ka remains with the mummy. The Ka is believed to live a 
magical life within the grave. Thus the Egyptians placed 
miniture belongings of the deceased into the tomb. Such items as 
images, statuettes, imitation utensils, and miniture houses take 
the place of the real thing. They believed that the Ka would use 
these as the real item because the mortuary priests possesed 
magic that would make them real for the dead. 

The priests believed that the gods could be deceived, menaced and 
forced into obedience. They had such trust in the power of 
magic, the virtue of the spoken word, the irresistibility of 
magic gestures and other ritual, that they hoped to bend even the 
good gods to their will. They would bring retribution to the 
deities who failed to deal leniently with the dead. They 
threatened to shoot lightning into the are of Shu, god of the 
air, who would then no longer be able to support the sky-goddess, 
and her star-sown body would collapse, disrupting the order of 
all things. 

When Ikhnaton overthrew the Egyptian gods and demons, making the 
cult of the One God Aton, a state religion, he also suppressed 
mortuary magic. Ikhnaton did not believe in life after death.

As Christianity became a part of this nation, there is much 
evidence to show where the Christians of the time, and the pagans 
lived peacefully together.


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