There is no single preferred way to prepare for Egypt. Many like to read everything
they can that’s relevant in advance; others prefer to read little or nothing, or just
never get around to their homework before the plane leaves.
Actually, it is a matter of personal preference. A familiarity with the principles and terminology of the ‘Symbolist’ interpretation obviously provides a head start toward understanding.
But it is no substitute for the experience and a solid reading background in general can lead to preconceptions and expectations that have to be dispelled over the course of the trip. On the other hand, going in ‘cold’ with little or no homework done leaves you open, and the temples perform their stone magic with little or no internal or intellectual opposition. Many prefer it that way after the fact. After two weeks of Egypt, you have acquired both the experience and the explanation in tandem and you come back to your homework (usually exhausted but exhilarated).
What you read now makes visceral sense and you have the context of experience. In other words, if you haven’t time to do your homework in advance, don’t fret about it. Following is a selected list of the books that I consider most useful as advance reading. More complete bibliographies can be found in both Serpent in the Sky and The Traveler’s Key.(Note: When I first compiled this list back in the ‘80s, I tried to list only books in print or that you stood a fair chance of finding in a bookstore or library. Asterisks
single out those I consider most important for advance reading.
Over the years,I’ve also integrated newly published titles and others that only have come to my attention since the original bibliographies were compiled.
But the internet has of course revolutionized availability.
Now, a few clicks of the button accesses a vast trove of material that earlier could have taken a team of research assistants weeks just to find, much less obtain. So my upgraded advice is to start with what appeals in the Recommended Reading List and then surf the web for related books within the field.
The latest recommended material has not been integrated into the body of the list. But I have added it at the beginning of the list, rather than at the end, where it
is likely to get overlooked.
New, Relatively New and Noteworthy Books and DVDs.
Go on line for further info/reviews on these and other titles. I have no time just
now for appropriate reviews of my own. Blurbs will have to suffice. But the Internet provides a unique service to humanity by making reviews, other vital information and reading samples of any given title available at the click of a button.
ALL DONE WITH MIRRORS by John Neal
John Neal is a good friend of my good friend and colleague John Michell. He’s written a study of ancient measures that may just have solved a long-standing and deeply intractable mystery that that has baffled metrologists at least since Newton’s time (metrology is the science/study of measures.) It’s long been known that all ancient measures are internally related to each other; measures in Greece, Rome, Persia, India, wherever are precise fractions of each other, a fact that has led metrologists to look for the ur-measure that spawned them all. I think John Neal may have found it. See his website for an introduction to his work. Serious researchers will want his book. Details on the website.
Recommended before, but a reminder: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO CONSTRUCTING THE UNIVERSE by Michael Schneider. I’ve been re-reading this lately and cannot recommend it too highly. Many years ago, I had the idea, (in fact even a contract that I never fulfilled ) to write just a book. When Michael’s came out, I had to acknowledge that mine would not have been as good; different, certainly, but probably nowhere near as accessible or as practical. False modesty has never been one of my vices nor (as a good friend once said:) real modesty one of my virtues, but this is a truly important book. If you’re on this email hotlist you should have it!
SHOWING UP: An Action Plan for Metaphysical Growth and Following Your Bliss, Stratton Horres, Michala Perrault
Though this title may ring New Agey, it is in fact a practical book; a step-by-step guide to putting yourself into the receptive state necessary to experience Egyptian temples and other sacred sites as they were meant to be experienced. Comes with an Introduction by Zahi Hawass. Check Amazon or email the authors (Michala Perreault).
Worthwhile Books (some of them not all that new but under-publicized):
Beyond the Big Bang: Ancient Cosmology and the Science of Continuous Creation, Paul LaViolette, Inner Traditions.
A systems theorist, astronomer and mathematician, Laviolette does a very good job exposing another reigning scientific superstition, The Big Bang, and then goes on to show how cutting edge contemporary cosmology finds its reflected image in the symbolism of ancient mythology, in particular that of the tarot and astrology.
Also by Paul LaViolette, Earth Under Fire, Starlane Publications.
Laviolette provides still another explanation for the ancient cataclysm scenario; (one that did not find it’s way into Schoch’s book.) Intriguing, solidly researched and presented, but perhaps even more difficult to ‘prove’ than the competing scenarios.
Shattering the Myths of Darwinism Richard Milton, Inner Traditions.
Science writer Milton adroitly hammers still more nails into the coffin of the superstition that refuses to die: Darwinian evolution, The Cargo Cult of the West (that is to say, Evolution as an accidental process). Because this theory, (the only one in the world less scientific than the Immaculate Conception), is absolutely central and essential to the catechism of the Church of Progress, the overwhelming evidence already accumulated against it cannot be accepted by the academic/scientific Vatican. But it is important for people with their rational and emotional faculties functioning more or less normally to understand that evidence. Milton’s book both summarizes the evidence and adds many new angles and pieces along the line. Again, the level of scientific/academic vituperation greeting Milton’s book comes close to proof that something about it must be right.
Voices of the Rocks: A Scientist Looks at Catastrophes & Ancient Civilizations, Robert Schoch, Harmony Books
Schoch’s state-of-the art statement on contemporary ‘catastrophe’ theories. See above.
The Death Ship, The Story of an American Sailor, B. Traven, Lawrence Hill and Co. $14.99
This extraordinary novel by the author of The Treasure of The Sierra Madre, was first published in 1933. It is one of the most powerful novels of the 20th Century, a scathing denunciation of the Church of Progress and all it stands for. The current edition has a forward by me which first appeared as an essay in The New York Times Book Review.
Feasts of Light: Celebrations for the Seasons of Life based on the Egyptian Goddess Mysteries, Normandi Ellis, Quest Books, $22.99
With her unique, characteristic blend of scholarship, passion and poetry Normandi Ellis brings the sacred ancient festivals and ceremonies to light and to life, and provides instructions for modern-day participation in them. Also, see Normandi’s earlier books, Awakening Osiris, her magickal translation/evocation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and her autobiographical/Egyptological Dreams of Isis: A Woman’s Spiritual Journey
Hathor Rising: The Serpent Power of Ancient Egypt, Alison Roberts, Northgate, $19.95
An orthodox Egyptologist treads on ‘symbolist’ ground in this extremely interesting and illuminating discussion of the Divine Feminine in ancient Egypt.
The Secret of the Incas: Myth, Astronomy and the War Against Time, William Sullivan, Crown, $18
A compelling case for the commanding role played by astrological interpretation of astronomical events in the formulation of Inca mythology. The virulence of the attack launched against this book by classical archaeologists is a good indication of both its validity and its importance. Again, we see that myth is not a consequence of the maundering ‘primitive’ mind, but rather profound cosmology couched in literary terminology
The Complete Pyramids: Solving the Ancient Mysteries, Mark Lehner, Thames & Hudson, $39.95
Mark Lehner’s ‘solution’ for the geological questions surrounding the age of the Sphinx is to fail to mention them at all; other thorny questions (building techniques, astronomical considerations, Frank Domingo’s forensic work) are handled with commensurate aplomb and meticulousness. There is, nevertheless, enough useful information along with excellent diagrams and photos to make this otherwise woefully incomplete Complete book worth owning.
The Secrets of the Sphinx: Restoration Past and Present, Zahi Hawass, American University of Cairo Press, $9.95 at AMAZON
Zahi’s little book is a good summary of classical Sphinx information and includes an extensive, careful and refreshingly uninflammatory rebuttal of our geological work. This is a useful summary. By setting out the orthodox game plan as it were, we are able to better plan our own campaign of rebuttal.
TRENDS 2000 by Gerald Celente, Warner Books, $14.99.
The Origin Map: Discovery of a Prehistoric Megalithic Astrophysical Map and Sculpture of the Universe by Thomas Brophy, Foreword by Robert M. Schoch, Afterword by John Anthony West.
A physicist/archeoastronomer drastically re-evaluates and upgrades the interpretation of the megalithic stone circle at Nabta Playa in the Southern Sahara, tentatively dated ca 5000 BC. If Brophy is even partly correct, this will stand as a major contribution to our new understanding of the very ancient past. See for transcript of a recent radio interview with Thomas Brophy and Linda Moulton Howe for Coast-to-Coast.
The Matrix of Creation: Techonology of the Gods by Richard Heath, Bluestone Press, St Dogmaels, Wales
See their website for a description, ordering information — and comments by others as impressed by this remarkable book as I am. Many authors have pondered and wondered how the ‘Music of the Spheres’ is actually scored; many have written knowledgeably about this subject. It clear that the ancients had a very elaborate and precise understanding of this celestial music which they encoded in myth, art and architecture and number symbolism.
My Heart My Mother: Death and Rebirth in Ancient Egypt, by Alison Roberts.
Alison Roberts is one of the few credentialed Egyptologists sympathetic to the Symbolist view, and she brings to her work a rare combination of erudition and sensitivity. Her previous book was the excellent study Hathor Rising. This new work extends and explores the dual aspects of Hathor/Sekhmet divine femininity, or ‘heart wisdom’ as it pertains to Egyptian life, religion, ritual and architecture. No American edition as yet. Order through Amazon in the UK.
Homer’s Secret Iliad by Florence & Kenneth Wood
This book is a Greek version of William Sullivan’s fine book Secret of the Incas, which shows, I think conclusively, that much ancient mythology must be interpreted as an extended mnemonic conveying extremely precise astronomical information. In this case, the Iliad drama encodes astronomical data going back thousands of years prior to the rise of Greece as a civilization. The ‘heroes’ are stars, planets and constellations and the Trojan War itself becomes a kind of time released planetarium in story form. The authors have little or no interest in, or sympathy with the astrological aspect of the drama, but I’m convinced that this represents the deeper dimension of that ancient preoccupation with astronomy. Also not available in the U.S. Order through Amazon in the UK.
Sacred Sexuality in Ancient Egypt: The Erotic Secrets of the Forbidden Papyri by Ruth Schumann-Antelme, Stephane Rossini, Jon Graham (Illustrator),
Inner Traditions International. Given the sophistication of ancient Egypt, it was always hard to believe that its metaphysical doctrine did not have a tradition of sexual, divine magic within it somewhere. It did, but buried in archives our priggish scholars have chosen to ignore all this time. Dr. Antelme, an Egyptologist at the Sorbonne, had access to those archives and here reveals the erotic, esoteric and cosmological aspects of Egyptian sexual teachings.
VOYAGES OF THE PYRAMID BUILDERS by Robert M. Schoch
My colleague Robert Schoch’s previous book VOICES OF THE ROCKS was a state-of-the-art statement on ‘catastrophe theory’, the idea that in the not so distant past (ca. 12000 BC) the earth was rocked by a tremendous catastrophe (possibly a strike by an asteroid, bolide or comet) that almost instantly annihilated a large proportion of the larger land mammals then roaming the globe — mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses, saber-toothed tigers and many others. The extinction of those mammals is of course a matter of record as are the accompanying radical and permanent climatic changes; the North American ice sheet melted, temperate Siberia became tundra, sea levels rose over three hundred feet. There is no argument about the event itself. The bolide/ asteroid/ comet theory is, in scientific circles, controversial to a certain extent, but generally ‘respectable’. That is to say, there is no doubt whatever that something disastrous happened; there is debate over the exact nature of its cause. The real controversy swirls about the state of human civilization at that time and prior to it. The accepted academic view is that mankind was in a state of global hunter-gatherer development. I.e., no civilization to speak of in our currently held definition of that word.