If you want to be spiritual, ask uncomfortable questions,’ Goddess News, Spiritual Blog, Divine Feminine,
Dr Joanna Kujawa
This blog is a small excerpt from my book-in-progress and a continuation of my earlier blog on the Magic of Isis and Sexual Alchemy of Mary Magdalene https://www.joannakujawa.com/what-was-the-great-magic-of-isis-and-the-sexual-alchemy-of-mary-magdalene/
In my previous blog, I discussed Tom Kenyon and Judi Sion’s work The Magdalen Manuscript: The Alchemies of Horus and The Sex Magic of Isis (2006), which refers to the working on the energetic body or ka, thus allowing the survival of the essence of the person (Yeshua/Jesus in this case) and for it to transcend death. In short, the practice (like Tantra) uses sexual energy to move spiritual energy upward and eventually to a more subtle level of existence. In my experience of sexual Tantra, the movement of energy was palpable (no imagination was required) and distinctly different from that of orgasm, but perhaps this was due to the spontaneous nature of the experience. I had some unanswered questions about Kenyon and Sion’s work and wanted to explore wherever there was any evidence at all that Sex Magic existed in ancient Egypt and whether it could have been transmitted through the lineage of priestesses to the times of Mary Magdalene. We also already know from my blog on Inanna and her priestess Enhueduanna that sexual rituals were conducted in Sumer and later in Babylon https://www.joannakujawa.com/inanna-ishtar-isis-mary-magdalene-recovering-the-lineage-of-the-lost-goddess-and-other-stolen-stories/. But did Sex Magic exist In Egypt and was it used as a means of spiritual evolution to reach more subtle levels of existence?
I have found another book, which from my perspective is a little more convincing – perhaps because its authors are associated with the Western Mystery Tradition of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Although this particular branch did not come to existence until the 19th century, it is indirectly connected to much older hermeneutic traditions of Egypt – dating back at least to 200 BC and which are probably much older. This tradition, too, is steeped in myth but to my eyes it has the credence of a lineage that survived the ravages of time in addition to their own personal experience. Wendy Berg and Mike Harris in Polarity Magic: The Secret History of Western Religion (2003) at least make an effort to rely on not only their own insights and the knowledge transferred through their own tradition, but also use scholarly sources with credible references to Kabbalah, Gnostic sources (which I will discuss later) and both the Old and New Testaments – although with their own interpretations. Interestingly, they come to similar conclusions as Tom Kenyon and Judi Sion do in their work The Magdalen Manuscript: The Alchemies of Horus and The Sex Magic of Isis – a book written just three years later.
Berg and Harris make the interesting claim that Polarity Magic (Sex Magic at the highest level used for the purpose of spiritual evolution) was practised in the temples of Ancient Egypt. This means they believe it was not only a Sumerian or Babylonian phenomenon but also an Egyptian one.
The most well-known example of that practice was established during the 18th dynasty in Egypt by Pharaoh Akhenaten and his royal wife Queen Nefertiti. Akhenaten is commonly known as an heretical pharaoh who discarded the corrupt religion of the Egyptian priesthood and established the new religion of Aten or Tjehen, also referred to as the ‘Dazzling Sun Disk’. All of this is acknowledged by conventional Egyptologists, but what makes the authors of Polarity Magic unique is their claim that the royal couple (Akhenaten and Nefertiti) did not just practise some primitive worship the Sun – but rather that they had a higher understanding of the Sun as the Highest Self, or what I would call our highest human potential. Aten the Sun God thus represented the possibility of the union between the ‘upper and lower self’, as it does in Kabbalist tradition.
Akhenaten and Nefertiti were not only the king and queen but also the priest and priestess of the Temple of the Sun, a place where they performed polarity magic. Their Polarity Magic was not completely disconnected from other religious-mythical traditions. On the contrary, the representations of Pharaoh Akhenaten almost always show him in the pose of Osiris – the husband of no one else but Isis – who was killed by his brother Set and temporarily resurrected by Isis. This is now a familiar story as we journey down the avenues of the stories of resurrection, the role of goddesses in them and, the need for the polarity of the masculine and feminine for this to occur. This polarity is experienced most intensely (unlocked?) through a conscious sexual union. Another interesting point of the story, as Berg and Harris note, is that when Akhenaten built his new capital Amarna he outlined it with 14 markers. This is significant in the story of Isis and Osiris because the number 14 was symbolic ‘of the dismembered body of Osiris’ before his resurrection.
Akhenaten and Nefertiti are a rare example of the embodiment of male-female polarity in complete equality – especially given the general mood of the times. However, for many other reasons Akhenaten and Nefertiti are a source of fascination not only to Egyptologists but also for many conspiracy theorists. The focus on Akhenaten from the historical and academic point of view is understandable, as he was the heretic Pharaoh who attempted to completely reform Egypt against the dominant power of the ruling priestly sects. That’s something to behold in itself.
The conspiracy theorists focus on the strange, ‘alien’ appearance of Akhenaten: his elongated head, his lanky body, his protruding belly and slightly slanted eyes. Whether this not very complimentary representation of the Pharaoh was another intended revolt by Akhenaten, or his actual appearance, is impossible to know. His royal wife and priestess, Nefertiti is not depicted in the same way. In fact, for millennia now, people have been fascinated by her looks. The two existing statues of Nefertiti – one in Berlin and one in Cairo – show her as a woman of exceptional beauty. Berg and Harris analyse both statues and claim that the Berlin sculpture shows Nefertiti’s right eye as perfectly finished (symbolising the male polarity and the physical world) but her left eye was sculpted blind – without a stone inserted in the place of the pupil – on purpose. The ‘blind’ left eye is supposed to symbolise the feminine polarity gazing inwards. It is also interesting that the name Nefertiti means ‘the beautiful one’ or ‘the beautiful one comes’, which brings to mind the Tantric goddess Sundari – also known as the ‘beautiful one’. Although we know the parentage of Akhenaten (he was the son of a Pharaoh), nothing is known of Nefertiti’s background. According to the legends she was not of royal descent but at her birth she was ‘recognised as having particular qualities and was quickly taken to the royal family’. One can only wonder what those qualities were. My guess is that they must have been some physically recognisable qualities to be seen immediately after birth. Berg and Harris do not elaborate.
All strangeness aside – was the rule of Akhenaten and Nefertiti the only example of Polarity Magic in Egypt?
Not really. A less-known example of Polarity Magic was the sixth Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty Queen Hatshepsut, who lived over 200 years earlier than Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Hatshepsut is honoured in history as a female Pharaoh who ruled Egypt for 20 years. Her other claim to history is that she managed to keep her title and power because she announced that she was a human-divine hybrid, the result of her mother’s mating with the God Amun (‘The Invisible’ god). It was during Hatshepsut’s rule that the first evidence of a magical ritual was recorded. This ritual took place during the Opet Festival in the ‘innermost’ part of the temple, when ‘the act of union took place between (the god) Amun and the mother of the pharaoh’. Once the union was consummated (in what form one wonders: metaphorically or literally?), the pharaoh would be united with his ka (his light body). This ritual was designed to create a union between a human (male or female) and a god. The ka is defined by Berg and Harris as the ‘light body’ or a ‘perfect template’ for our body and, I would think, very similar to Plato’s Ideas, which were also templates for the physical world. The ka of the 18th dynasty was associated with the sun.
The question in everyone’s mind, of course, is whether it is still possible to practise the Sexual Magic of Egypt nowadays. Berg and Harris not only believe it is possible but also confirm that it is being practised by different fraternities (including their own) as well as by different Wicca fraternities (although apparently more liberally) as well. I do not think this is an empty claim, as they provide in the final chapter of their book precise if convoluted instructions on how to practise Sex Magic. I do not believe they are seeking much attention, as their introductions emphasise that the practice of Sex Magic requires lots of patience and well … practice certainly is not just a matter of a simple ‘big bang’. They also stress the importance of intention and integrity, of not using the Magic for the wrong reasons, including self-indulgence. In their experience, couples most suitable for the practice are either mature-minded people in their 30s, or older couples. As with Tantra, the thing to remember when engaging in Sex Magic is to channel the existing sexual desire to transcend the physical and move to more subtle levels of the energic body (or the ka in Egypt).
The Sex Magic described by them includes Ancient Egyptian prayers, the ‘maximum use of jewelry [sic] and minimum use of clothing’, crystal pyramids, etc. The lovers need to follow the strict sequence of the worship of the divine parts in each other (again, the same is done in Tantra) until they visualise two pyramids of light merging together above their bodies and then descending into to them through their bodies. In some ways, this is not that different to the requirements of traditional Tantra (the worship of the divine feminine and masculine in each other), meditation, breathing exercises, awakening heightened states of consciousness and final transformation (the temporary move to a higher plane of consciousness), etc. But in Egyptian Sex Magic (as presented in the book and as I understand it), the lovers are asked to relive the mythical mating of Isis and Osiris and the entire myth of Egyptian Creation. To put it briefly, you must be very familiar with the narratives of Egyptian mythology/theology for this to work seamlessly.
As I am much more familiar with the Hindu tradition, the references to Shiva-Shakti of Tantra are much easier for me to understand. It is possible that those who are steeped in the Egyptian tradition would have no difficulties following the ritual. There is a good reason many people are interested in this but few can actually follow the tradition due to the spiritual and mythological/theological prerequisites, so to speak. Which is perhaps why any form of responsible Sex Magic is often only undertaken by couples already belonging to some ancient ‘fraternity’ or modern ‘fraternity’ (such as Wicca) which have revived this old, forgotten tradition and rediscovered the ways of practising it. In the case of either Egyptian Sex Magic or Tantra, there are no shortcuts, as far as I know. The best way to approach this is as a form of art. And to achieve the highest level of anything (including High Magic) one must be fully committed to the art, give it love and time and practice. If this is your art of choice, you will overcome all the logistical obstacles and reap the spiritual fruits it promises.
As always, I would love to know your thoughts and dialogue with you through comments.
Dr Joanna Kujawa