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Egyptian Magic * E.A. Wallis Budge (1899/1988 arkana * isbn 0140190198)

I was so lucky to run into a second hand copy of this 1899 book (1988 Arkana) and also at a time that I could appreciate it properly. If you read my articles, you know that I have recently explored the subject of magic. Links can be made to Egyptian magic, but I didn’t have all that much information. Not that this book of the former “Keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in the British Museum” answered all my questions and presumptions, but at least a couple of them.

Budge starts by explaining how and why we got our ideas of the Egyptian superstitious religion. After Budges time this got better, but there are still people who believe that the Egyptians worshipped animals and were very superstitious. Budge will prove you otherwise.

He gives stories implying that the Jews, but more in particular Moses, got their magic from the Egyptians who already splitted seas and turned snakes into staffs. Legends, tales and stories are quoted at length. Then he follows explaining some of the more common and simple (?) Egyptian talismans, amulets and magical figures. It becomes particularly interesting when Budge speaks about spells (kerau or ‘words of power’) and magical names, similarities with Jewish and Gnostic magic can already be made here. But when around the end ceremonies are treated, Budge postulates a very interesting theory about the origin of Abraxas/Abrasax and speaks about the seven halls in the kingdom of Oisiris of which the gates had watchers, doorkeepers and heralds which could only be passed with the correct talisman, prayer and especially by knowing his name, we are already on the Kabbalistic fields. Some formulae are given and explained, images are given and explained and the last chapter speaks about black and white magic, good and bad days, etc., all very recognisable! Not the ultimate reference book for Egyptian magic maybe, but the best one that I have seen so far and not too bad either.

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