At this interesting place, the papyrus is again torn;
and the reader left once more in ignorance of what resulted from
the denunciation, and how the three boy-pretenders avoided
the persecution of the paramount ruler.9
Another magical feat is given by Mariette Bey (Mon.
Dir. pl. 9, Persian epoch) from a tablet
in the Bulak Museum, concerning the Ethiopian kingdom founded
by the descendants of the High-priests of Ammon, wherein
flourished absolute theocracy. It was the god himself,
it appears, who selected the kings at his fancy,
and "the stele 114 which is an official statement
about the election of Aspalout, shows how such events took
place." (Gebel-Barkal.) The army gathered near
the Holy Mountain at Napata, choosing six officers who
had to join other delegates of state, proposed to proceed
to the election of a king.
"Come," reads the inscribed legend, "come,
let us choose a master who would be like an irresistible young
bull." And the army began lamenting, saying--"Our
master is with us, and we know him not!" And others
remarked, "Aye, but we can know him,
though till now no one save Râ (the god) does so:
may the great God protect him from harm wherever he be" .
. . . Forthwith the whole army cried out--"But there
is that god Ammon-Râ, in the Holy Mountain,
and he is the god of Ethiopia! Let us to him; do not speak
in ignorance of him, for the word spoken in ignorance of
him is not good. Let him choose, that god,
who is the god of the kingdom of Ethiopia, since the days
of Râ . . . . He will guide us, as the Ethiopian
kings are all his handiwork, and he gives the kingdom to
the son whom he loves." "This is what the entire
army saith: 'It is an excellent speech, in truth
. . . a million of times'."
Then the narrative shows the delegates duly purified, proceeding
to the temple and prostrating themselves before the huge statue
of Ammon-Râ, while framing their request.
"The Ethiopic priests are mighty ones. They know how
to fabricate miraculous images and statues, capable
of motion and speech, to serve as vehicles for the gods;
it is an art they hold from their Egyptian ancestors."
All the members of the Royal family pass in procession before
the statue of Ammon-Râ--still it moveth not. But
as soon as Aspalout approaches it, the huge statue seizes
him with both arms, and loudly exclaims--"This is
your king! This is your Master who will make you live!":
and the army chiefs greet the new Pharaoh. He enters into
the sanctuary and is crowned by the god, personally,
and with his own hands; then joins his army. The
festival ends with the distribution of bread and beer."
There is a number of papyri and old inscriptions proving beyond
the slightest doubt that for thousands of years High-priests,
magicians and Pharaohs believed--as well as the masses--in
magic, besides practising it; the latter being liable
to be referred to clever jugglery. The statues had to
be fabricated; for, unless they were made
of certain elements and stones, and were prepared under
certain constellations, in accordance with the conditions
prescribed by magic art, the divine (or infernal,
if some will so have it) powers, or FORCES,
that were expected to animate such statues and images,
could not be made to act therein. A galvanic-battery has
to be prepared of specific metals and materials, not made
at random, if one would have it produce its magical
effects. A photograph has to be obtained under specific
conditions of darkness and certain chemicals, before it
can result in a given purpose.
Some twenty years ago, archæology was enriched with
a very curious Egyptian document giving the views of that ancient
religion upon the subject of ghosts (manes) and magic in
general. It is called the "Harris papyrus on Magic"
(Papyrus Magique). It is extremely curious in its bearing
upon the esoteric teachings of Occult Theosophy, and is
very suggestive. It is left for our next article--on Magic.
OSTENDE, July, 1886
Theosophist, October, 1886
1ESSAY. PREFACE by Colebrooke.