The Way of Ma’at and the Calling of Thoth
“Sweet is Truth.” In old Hermopolis, the votaries of Thoth would greet one another with this benediction at convocations honoring the holiest of their festivals. How did they come to find themselves there? Family and geography were factors. Being of the scribal profession could be a considerable one. Today, those drawn to closer contact with students and clients of Lord Thoth are typically adherents of allied dharmas and understand what it is they seek. Yet, when describing how our caravan serves the larger community, it is often good to compare its salient features with those of other approaches, but not laboriously. Few people ever took long to decide when confronted with the option of attending a concert by Led Zeppelin or a performance by Lawrence Welk. The factor of taste quickly helps sort alternatives. Participation in some rare accommodation can often be an elusive proposition. We often sense our most hoped-for avenues well before they present themselves.
In the mid-Seventies, like a reanimated mummy cautiously raising its dusty eyelids, this writer heard a quiet invitation. Was it as a misty sight of beautiful, intriguing symbols, a distant ringing of melodious sacred rattles, or the smell of exotic, blended perfumes? He somehow became enrolled in a challenging, joyous, and long-developed school of religion that blends time honored procedure at a collective level with evolution on a personal one. This choice reinforced another one: to restrain devised or “revealed” ideas from involving themselves with his human organism at harmful levels. Harry Potter could only take so much or crack… Understanding House of Life disciplines to be more about healing than herding helped him to discard some of the insidious sentimentalism and under-examined social imperatives that can choke spirituality in the modern era. The word miqshah occurs once in the Bible, in the first chapter of Isaiah. It refers to the cucumber vines that would grow in the garden of a neglected lodge. In the same chapter we read, “Thy princes (officials) are rebellious, and the companions of thieves.” So many options nowadays, as even then, have been left to the discretion of the consumer, but this does not mean that we could not elect to make more considerate ones, if we came to better understand the possibilities.
The faith discussed here is that of Hermopolis Magna, or Akhmunu. To those in whose heart it dwells, it is a path deserving careful investigation and a system worthy of fitting application. In the modern age, our tradition stands largely outside the material sphere. In time, terrestrial sanctuaries to the Lord of Wisdom will function once more. As we explore our ancient knowledge, we come to better understand the complexities of life on Earth and the value of inner teachings through the arts of the Temple that bridge the two worlds. At a later date, more of this discussion will appear. When it runs over 300 pages of material that is sufficiently interesting, specialized, and useful, it will become a privately published book. In the mean time, these websites point to hints I have found helpful, and there are many books in print that deal with Native Egyptian Religion from a general standpoint. The new said volume will examine primary sources, scholarly insights, and experiences of some who allow the old ways to thrive again through their investigations, experiments, and realizations.
Obscurity and depth may qualify Hermopolitanism as a “mystery religion”, but this does not suggest that we are less than Glindas and Gandalfs, ethically. The scientific use for proprietary alchemy is not identical with an emotional need for arbitrary secrecy. Yet, a love of dark trappings is stronger in some personality types. If one is enlisted in research toward complex or technical subjects, one usually needs access to the knowledge and support of folks involved in similar projects in order to succeed. So, it is only natural that votaries of the “Egyptian Hermes” are inclined to seek association with those with whom they have interests or inquiries in common. There is also, however, the consideration of disposition with regard to essential desire and psychic and psychological sensitivity. A senator once remarked that politics was “show business for homely people”. Likewise, we might metaphorically declare that magick is “show business for empathic people”. But, there are two tendencies that should be recognized: the love of communication and the love of manipulation. Both of these traits exist side by side in most folks. In those on an Egyptian course, those who love communication will eventually gravitate toward another and better understanding of the role of the occult in beneficial ritual. The ones who are more drawn to habits based upon manipulation will find their way into the patterns appropriate to their inclinations, as well, who will “hack” ours if we are careless. Discretion and modesty befit any lunar-powered endeavor.
Though their practices may be complex and arcane, the Followers of Thoth (whether young, strong, or mature) build personal knowledge with observable fact and sound method. Then, why do we embrace a tradition rather than utilizing free eclecticism? The answer could be an emotional or aesthetic one arising from admiration of our Patron or inspiration by His closer associates. Though many of the principles serving Hermetic lodges can be found in the structures of the older entities that grandfathered them, preservers of the original modes so often find the archaic forms charged with more than adequate worth. Once properly recovered, they make many of the Hellenic and Hebraic innovations less relevant to those with Egyptophilic tastes and convictions, conducting what amounts to a tribal magick. Personally, I am more favorably impressed with the innovations of Coptic monasticism, which seem to have precedent in the esoteric cult of the dynastic god of the dry, open desert sky, Lord Shu. At any rate, anthropological poverty results in all kinds of powerlessness, and I am grateful that Lord Thoth’s servants beckoned me to study with them, once more.
What qualities should we look for as we scan the horizon for Thoth’s messengers? In western legend, the personality of Merlin surfaces in our minds, for he transmutes ideal into virtue with enchanted imagination and will. In contemporary literature, one of the most resonant echoes of our Lord is in the character of Mr. Spock: his core of passion (usually but not solely for knowledge) protected by a mighty container of patience, served by a powerful intelligence. Should we not yet find all these qualities in a single individual, we may still find them within ourselves, and be trustworthy and courageous enough to network with others who have already heard the call of the old fraternity to help rebuild its infrastructure and institutions. Some members are found alive, some among the dead. With our penchant for intellectualism and occultism, we certainly have advantages that we may actualize if we resourcefully apply ourselves.