"No land can lay claim to such a chronicle of mystical and occult thought as Egypt, the mother of magic," wrote Lewis Spence in his outstanding study of that ancient civilization's mysterious rituals and customs. His extraordinary work reveals to today's readers the significance of these rites and traditions, many of which have lived on long after the decline of ancient Egyptian culture. Spence's superb work covers a vast amount of scholarship—from the early origins of mystical observances and beliefs in immortality, to ideas about the transmigration of the soul, the rites of rebirth, and related philosophies in ancient Greek, Hindu, and Roman rituals. Instructions for mortals on how to reach the "Otherworld" and prepare for a more exalted life after death are described, as are the mysterious rites practiced within Egyptian temples, the initiation ceremonies of the priesthood, the transplantation of these sacred beliefs to other cultures, and their surviving vestiges. Scholars, students, and interested readers of ancient Egyptian literature, language, or culture will welcome this classic compilation.
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