Many mages believe that what made Egypt unique was the closeness between the inhabiants and the gods; this explains the sometimes confusing mixtures between different gods and myths, since most umbrood have a very tenuous individuality and change appearance and properties depending on the viewer and his beliefs. In Egypt, human mages interacted freely with the gods, blurring the line between man and god.
In these mythical times, time, space and individuality were still undefined and liquid, a state not unlike the Australian concept of the Dreamtime. There was no contradiction between seeing the sun as the eye of Horus, a sphere of gold rolled by a scarab or twelve gods ruling over each hour of day - all were equally true. Everyone consisted of an agglomerate of souls that could move apart and meld together. To bring order and structure to the world the humans developed ritual and eventually magick.
According to the old myths the sun god Ra ruled both gods and men in the beginning. But the humans rose up against the gods, destroying their statues and upsetting the Law of Maat. Angered, Ra first intended to destroy the cosmos, but relented and led the gods to a voluntary exile in the worlds beyond the heavens. This may correspond to the first severing between the worlds of spirit and matter, and the creation of the Gauntlet. Needless to say, neither the gods or the humans could survive without each other and soon the temples were yet again inhabited by the manifestations of the gods and prayers rose to the sky, but gods and men no longer lived in the same world.
Much of Egyptian dynastic history is influenced by the complex politics between the various priesthoods. These mage-priests had significant political power, and politics, religion and magick was intimately interwoven. Usually the priests of one city would work together against the priests of other cities, but sometimes political marriages between their respective divinities were arranged. Sometimes the Pharao would be weak enough to be influenced by the priests, sometimes the rulers were strong enough to make the priests obey and support him.
The priests of Hermopolis, whose chief divinity was Thoth (by the Greeks identified with Hermes), would latter influence the Order of Hermes, although the Order drew on knowledge from many other priesthoods too. They envisoned the creation of the universe as he interplay between the eight gods of the Ogdoad (representing unformed reality) initiated by the divine word of Thoth. The solar priesthoods of Heliopolis and especially the priests of Amun influenced the Celestial Chorus, although to a much lesser extent. And the priestesses of Isis would secretly influence Egyptian history for millennia. The other priesthoods would play various roles in history, but in the end they died out or were assimilated into later magickal/religious traditions.
During the fourth dynasty, Egypt had become a powerful and unified empire. The art of pyramid building had developed, and through temple complex and arcades the lifegiving quintessence of the Nile was channeled into the afterlives of the kings. But an unnamed priest-mage, possibly Imhotep himself, had seen further. He had a vision: an immense plan to create a great hieroglyph across the land, invoking the great god Horus, the god of the kings, to protect and empower for all eternity. Each pyramid, housing one of the decendants and incarnations of the God would be a part of this pattern, a kind of huge figurine for the god to inhabit. When he described his great vision to king Khufu (Cheops), the king listened. He ordered the construction of his own great pyramid to act as the center for the Pattern.
The successor of Khufu, Redjedef, was not as enthusiastic and built only a minor pyramid at Abu Roasch in the north, accepting but not encouraging the Great Plan. The next king, Khafre (Chefren) was more loyal to the priests of Horus, and built his own sizeable pyramid alongside Khufu.
But the Plan had also set dark powers in motion. Set, the ancient enemy of Horus, had awakened to this new threat. If the pattern was completed, the warrior-god would be invincible. But the god of the desert silently reached out with his unseen power and touched the land. He made people see the waste of building the huge monuments and the cruelty of their masters. He undermined the harvests with storms and drought. And he subtly corrupted the priests of Ra with ambition, forcing a subtle conflict between the priesthoods and a greedy amassing of wealth in the temples, undermining the power of the kings.
Khufu was warned by the mighty mage Djedi of Djed-Sneferu. The mage prophecied that in three generations time the chest holding the number of the secret apartments in the sanctuary of Thoth would be brought from Heliopolis to the palace by a wife of the priest of the sun god, who would bear three children of extraordinary power - which will inherit the throne of Egypt. But the king accepted this destiny and did not challenge it, thus making it real.
The successor of Khafre, Menkaure (Mycerinus), could not afford to create a pyramid as great as his predecessors, it was not finished at his death and instead of granite it was covered with bricks. After him strife and internal struggles followed, until the priests of Ra finally won and put the fifth dynasty onto the throne. Horus was no longer the god of the pharao, and Ra took his place. The great plan was forgotten, and while the next dynasties built pyramids none were as great or sacred as the old, and none were part of the Plan which was forgotten. Most of them crumbled after a few centuries, and the once great empire gradually desintegrated as Set spread dissent.
Under her leadership Egypt prospered, although she let the army gather dust while she and her architect-mage Senenmut built a series of temples and monuments of uncertain use. It appears as the Priestesses of Isis were cooperating with the remaining architect-mages to develop a new occult pattern across Egypt, especially focussed in her famous temple complex in the Valley of Kings. This complex represents one of the major brekthroughs of sacred architecture, and links through a powerful ley-line to the nodes at Karnak. It appears likely that this temple was intended as a sanctuary and stronghold for the priestesses of Isis and Hathor (in later eras a coptic monastry was built in the vicinity, probably to exploit the powerful node).
But the cooperation eventually turned into distrust, and other fractions began to support Tuthmosis III. Senenmut fell out of favor, and in 1482 Hatshepsut died. Her son systematically tried to erase her name from all monuments and inscriptions to obliterate her entire existence, possibly as a part of an occult purge against the priestesses. Little is known of the real conflicicts at this time, but it appears that while the kings grew in power and glory (the rulesrship of Amenhotep III is often regarded as the zenith of the new kingdom) other forces were upsetting the magickal balance of the Empire. The nephandic Servants of Nun grew in power, Set was once again worshipped and several magickal traditions were weakened due to vicious infighting.
In 1379 the son of Amenhotep III, Amenhotep IV, took the name Akhenaten and retired to his city Akhetaten (ēThe Horizon of the Atenē). He denounced the worship of Amun and the priesthood of Thebes, and tried to replace it with the monotheistic worship of Aten, the disk of the sun. This was one of the major junctions in the history of magick; the conflict was not only about political power, but also about the paradigm itself as the priests of Amun sought to retain the old system and the priests of Aten to unify all gods, all existence within Aten (it is uncertain how much these ideas influenced the later Celestial Chorus, although many chorist scholars claim it proves that their tradition existed in this era or were founded here by Mentu-hetep the blind priest-seer). The king and his priests isolated themselves to invoke the powers of the new unitary god, but at the same time other groups opposed him and the disturbances in the law of Maat caused instability, invasion and plagues. Eventually the chaos rose to crush the king, and he died of plague.
... the temples of the gods and goddesses... were in ruins. Their shrines were deserted and overgrown. Their sanctuaries were as non-existent and their courts were used as roads ... the gods turned their backs upon this land ... If anyone made a prayer to a god for advice he would never respond - and the same applied to a goddess. Their hearts ached inside them and they inflicted damage left right and centre. Stela from the temple of KarnakThe priests of Amun siezed the opportunity and began to influence the young son of Amenhotep III, Tutankhaton (who now took the name Tutankhamun), using him to restore the kingdom. Slowly the strength of Egypt was restored, but the magickal power of the priesthood had been broken, possibly as a result of Sleepers witnessing the conflict. While the 19th dynasty rose to great power, the kings lacked the mystical leadership of earlier ages. The priesthood of Amun became a power equal to the king (during the 21st dynasty the priest-kings ruled Upper Egypt), but seems to have become corrupt and just another mundane power. Gradually the Empire began to decline, and foreign powers conquered the land - the libyans, the etiopians, the assyrians and the persians.
During the second Persian invasion in 343 BC the Cult of Nun took the opportunity of the unrest and vandalized the temple of Hermopolis and managed to steal some of the shards of the world- egg that were hidden in an enclosure of the temple. What happened to them nobody knows; it appears likely that the cultists didn't manage to exploit the powerful relics, but their current wherabouts are completely unknown.
As his empire was split between his underlings, the Prolemies ascended to the egyptian throne, ushering in the new era of magickal cross-fertilization initiated by Alexander. Ptolemy I Soter began the building of the Library of Alexandria, and his successors continued the work. Hellenic Alexandria became world capital of magick and philosophy, a meeting place for different traditions and the home for some of the most famous mages of all time. This was a golden age for Egypt, both magickally and mundanely.
But Rome grew in power, and it was clear that sooner or later Egypt would succumb to the new political and military power of the mediterranean. At the same time there was a resurgence of the Cult of Nun, and the rulers became weaker. The Alexandrian Mob (a mixture between a lynch mob and a political protection racket) became a very real power, and even deposed some rulers; various groups did their best to influence it. The Ptoleies became more and more puppets of Rome and the Mob.
Cleopatra used the situation for her bid to the throne, seeking to both protect her land and to achieve her personal goals. She was an initiate of the Priestesses of Isis, but far too ambitious for their taste - while they wanted to spread the cult across the empire, she wanted it to rule the empire. One fraction tried to depose her and force her into exile, but she began to rally an army in Syria to re- take the land from her brother, who was their puppet. Then Ceasar arrived, and she quickly made sure he became her lover and deposed her brother.
"As surely as I shall yet dispence justice on the Roman Capital" CleopatraSeveral fractions of mages used the unrest to further their ends, including the Cult of Nun who in 47 BC used the Mob to burn part of the Library of Alexandria during Caesar's war.
For a while it looked like Egypt and Rome would be united as equals. Cleopatra was preparing to start a new dynasty with Caesar, a dynasty that would rule the entire world. But in Rome she had fewer allies, her grandiose plans were anathema to many of the roman customs and ideals. A counter-conspiracy emerged, and Caesar was murdered to prevent the dictator from officially marrying the New Isis, a marriage that would have had profound political and magickal consequences. She had to flee back to Egypt, politically weakened just as the land was suffering from plagues and famines.
She did a second attempt with Mark Antony but after his defeat at Actium in 31 BC the dream shattered. Cleopatra comitted suicide in 30 BC, and Egypt became a Roman province. The Priestesses and many other mages retreated to the shadows, and spread away from their enemies among the mystery cults of the empire.
In time the kaliphate weakened, and the administrator of Egypt, Ahmad Ibn Tulun, became de facto ruler of the land. Although he was eventually murdered, the system he instituted went on and Egypt remained one of the major kingdoms of the arab world.
The very night after General Gawhar had conquered the old capital, he founded the new capital. The reason for the speed was astrology: the Brethren had great plans for the new city and planned to use a powerful conjunction together with sacred architecture to make it the most powerful city in the world. The general placed workmen along the poles and ropes marking the planned walls, waiting for a bell signal at the exact moment of conjunction. Suddenly the bells started ringing without anybody giving the signal - a raven had landed on the ropes connected to the bells, and the diggers started digging. Instead of being founded at the supreme conjunction they had intended, the city was founded when Mars was ascendant. Since Mars in arabic is El Kahira, the new city was named El Kahira, "the victorious".
Although the founding of the city had been a partial fiasco, the Architects continued their long work of re-channeling the quintessence of the Nile valley. They built the Al-Azar mosque for the Brethren, one of the most powerful nodes ever constructed. The coptic choristers allied with them, and for a time the Batini of Egypt were united and in harmony with the dynamic spread of Shi' i. When contact was made with the Library of Alexandria in 970 it seemed that even the Highest was supporting their plans.
But gradually corruption set in, possibly due to influence from the Cult of Nun or opposing batini groups that exploited a series of incompetent or insane rulers (Kaliph al-Hakim was so bizarre that many mages believe he was not human). The Brethren finally lost their grip on power 1074 when the commander of Acre, Badr al- Jamali moved in to restore order, and eventually he and his descendants became viziers. His son al-Afdal destroyed the spiritual leadership of the Shi'i by choosing the younger son of the kaliph as successor instead of the elder son, thus making the spiritual succession of the movement go to Hasan-i Sabbah of Alamut. The purists among the Brethren followed the leadership into the east (where they eventually became the power behind the Aga Khans of India), while the more pragmatic Brethren stayed behind or joined up with the Library.
The Ayyubids fought off several christian invasions, but grew more and more dependent on their mamluk slaves (slaves mainly from Turkey) as they weakened. In 1249 al-Salih Ayyub died, but his favorite wife Shajar al-Durr kept this secret, and ruled in his name. It appears likely she was yet another of the Priestesses of Isis who got too ambitious; although she had showed her competence and had the support of the mamuluks who proclaimed her sultan, the kaliph and the ortodox were angered by this and forced her to re- marry. When her attempt to re-gain power failed, she was arrested and was thrown under mysterious circumstances from the red tower of the citadel.
When the Ottoman empire invaded in 1517, little changed. During this time some of the mages had become aware of the changes in Europe, and decided to deliberately ignore them. They instituted a policy of closedness, stopped the spread of the printing press and planned to let the european mages fight their own battle; Egypt seemed safe from the Order of Reason.
When Napoleon arrived in Cairo, he brought with him a wide array of disorders and also Europe.The Technocracy used Napoleon as a tool. They knew he had no real chance of holding on to Egypt and they needed him elsewhere, but they used him to crush all the local magickal groups and introduce technomancy into the Egyptian paradigm.
On one hand, they used the struggle between the french and the local resistance against them as a cover to crush the tradition mages they could find. They executed batini mages as revolutionaries, forced their way into Al-Azhar killing several leading choristers supporting the rebellion but also instated a swift and largely successful eradication program against the Cult of Nun.
On the other hand, they did their best to demonstrate western ideas and technology to the Egyptians, in order to change the paradigm. The presence of several thousand french soldiers was a first step, the second step was founding Institut de l'Egypte to educate people. The Institut was quite successful; french scholars taught western industry, science, mathematics, health, art and literature, and they demonstrated balloon flight.
In the end Napoleon was forced to leave, but the seeds planted by the technomancers began to grow. They had broken the back of the traditions, and now began the lengthy process of bringing Egypt into the estern world.
The Napoleonic invasion of Egypt had profound repercussions for the Arab and Muslim world which continue to influence the region's political and social development. This was the first European conquest of a major Arab country in the history of Islam and it signalled the rapid decline of Islam as a world political power. Although it could be said that the Ottoman Empire was by this time already a spent force, the humiliation of Napoleon's entry into Egypt was a devastating blow to pan-Islamic pride. It has been said that contemporary Muslim fundamentalism traces its psychological origins to this initial shattering defeat. http://www.arab.net/egypt/history/et_euroconquest.html
As Egypt opened up to the West, there was a rush between the european Order of Hermes and the Technocracy for the magickal treasures of ancient Egypt. Explorers and archeologists (many little more than grave robbers) hurried to find talismans, nodes and papyri to ensure that they did not disturb the paradigm or to put them in safety. The remaining Egyptian mages had a hard time resisting the invasion, and were forced to work together with the western traditionalists despite the plundering.
The Suez channel was a masterstroke of the Syndicate; not only did it sever Africa from Eurasia, disrupting magick across the entire continent and making it easier to colonize, it bankrupted the khedive Ismail and put Egypt in European debt, and it greatly simplified trade.
Unfortunately the local Technocracy was relatively weak and dependent on the support of the whole Union. After the failure of the khedives Britain occupied Egypt in 1882, corresponding to an external coordinator taking control over the egyptian Technocracy. This continued the westernization process, and the technomancers worked hard at remaking egyptian society so that it would become more standard. One unusual aspect was that they supported nationalism and demands of independence, a way of ensuring that no god-ruler would ever get the chance to rule unchallenged in Egypt again.
The Technocracy decided it was time to set up a modern society, and supported the coup d'etat in 1952: now they had the chance to re-make society and start anew, with the old washed away. After some serious discussion inside the Technocracy they settled on Gamal Abd Al-Nasser as the precident of the republic. His arab-socialism fit the Technocracy perfectly, and he implemented their policies: repressing the Muslim Brotherhood, social programs, building the Assuan Dam and NWO experiments in international politics. But Nasser and the local technomancers also had problems, and after the Six Day War they were forced to change approach, and they replaced Nasser with Sadat.
Sadat and the new board of directors began to rule in their own way, becoming increasingly independent of the rest of the Symposium and often employing policies on their own that complicated the local Timetable. Eventually the higher echelons of the Technocracy stepped in and ended the Sadat experiment, replaced the coordinators and tried to put Egypt back on track.
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