Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts: The Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt

Excerpts & Samples

By Jeremy Naydler

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT Jeremy Naydler

Jeremy Naydler
Jeremy Naydler, is a philosopher and cultural historian. He is author of Temple of the Cosmos and Goethe on Science. He lives in Oxford, England.



A radical reinterpretation of the Pyramid Texts as shamanic mystical wisdom rather than funerary rituals

• Reveals the mystical nature of Egyptian civilization denied by orthodox Egyptologists

• Examines the similarity between the pharaoh’s afterlife voyage and shamanic journeying

• Shows shamanism to be the foundation of the Egyptian mystical tradition

To the Greek philosophers and other peoples of the ancient world, Egypt was regarded as the home of a profound mystical wisdom. While there are many today who still share that view, the consensus of most Egyptologists is that no evidence exists that Egypt possessed any mystical tradition whatsoever. Jeremy Naydler’s radical reinterpretation of the Pyramid Texts--the earliest body of religious literature to have survived from ancient Egypt--places these documents into the ritual context in which they belong.

Until now, the Pyramid Texts have been viewed primarily as royal funerary texts that were used in the liturgy of the dead pharaoh or to aid him in his afterlife journey. This emphasis on funerary interpretation has served only to externalize what were actually experiences of the living, not the dead, king. In order to understand the character and significance of the extreme psychological states the pharaoh experienced--states often involving perilous encounters with alternate realities--we need to approach them as spiritual and religious phenomena that reveal the extraordinary possibilities of human consciousness. It is the shamanic spiritual tradition, argues Naydler, that is the undercurrent of the Pyramid Texts and that holds the key to understanding both the true nature of these experiences and the basis of ancient Egyptian mysticism.
“Erudite, rigorously developed, impeccably supported, observing all scholarly ground rules, yet revolutionary in its implications. This book should engage serious readers the world over.”
John Anthony West, author of The Serpent in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt

“A splendid melding of fine scholarship and passionate engagement with themes that are vitally important to us today. It is must reading not only for lovers of Egypt, students of shamanism and religion, and modern practitioners of soul travel, but for all of us who hunger for the real history of humanity’s encounters with the more-than-human.”
Robert Moss, author of Dreamgates: An Explorer’s Guide to the Worlds of Soul, Imagination, and Life Beyond Death

“A fabulously convincing piece of work.”
Normandi Ellis, author of Awakening Osiris

“This is an important book for it places our focus for understanding these ancient texts where it should be, upon profound human experience.”
Michael Baigent, Caduceus, Issue #66

". . . the Pyramid texts are revealed as initiatory texts that give voice to a potent shamanic wisdom, which provides the key to understanding both the true nature of these experiences and the basis of ancient Egyptan mysticism."
The Journal of Esoterica, July 2006

"This exciting study serves as a mirror to our own consciousness, reflecting back to us objective spiritual realities which have fallen out of contemporary discourse, and waking us up to deeper layers of our own humanity."
Jules Cashford, Temenos Academy Review, Sept 2006