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Lesson 2 Reading Assignment African Religions pp.46-64
In this assignment I would like to first highlight certain passages from the book African Religion, Chapter 2 that, I feel, resonates with me the most. Secondly, I would like to relate some of these passages to some of the things discussed in the Special Lecture recently presented by Seba Maa the central focus of which was the purpose and function of the Kemetic temples.
“Enlightenment is a term used to describe the highest level of spiritual awakening. It means attaining such a level of spiritual awareness that one discovers the entire unity of the entire universe as well as the fact that the source of all creation is the same source from which the innermost self within every human heart arises.”
“All forms of spiritual practice are directed toward the goal of assisting every individual to discover the true essence of the universe, both externally in physical creation, and internally, within the human heart, as the very root of human consciousness.”
The above passages brings to mind a moment of reflection that I experienced recently as I looked into the night sky which, on that particular night, had a full moon embedded in an ocean of blackness and encircled by stars one of which was particularly bright. I would like to preface my reflection with the hermetic principle of correspondence, “As Above so Below.” While somewhat structured this reflection was spontaneous which is contained in the following: “The cosmic reality we see outside of ourselves is a projection of that which resides within us emanating ultimately from the mind of God. Imagine us traveling through this cosmic ocean moving from one galaxy to the next. Imagine that this journey takes us to the innermost and deepest dimensions of our existence. As we move forward we transcend time and space, moving beyond the physical plane into the transcendental reality of the spirit. Here we come to know our inner essence and realize that all that exist, both outside and within ourselves, are of a divine nature. Our journey takes us through eternity….to the heavens from which we came.”
This reflection speaks to the divine essence that resides in all dimensions of existence including the cosmic reality outside of ourselves as well as the inner dimensions of the human heart. This substratum of energy that connects the micro to the macro comes to be perceived as a unified whole encompassing all things known and unknown, existent and non-existent, manifest and unmanifest. Even though experientially real, intellectually I am aware that since this experience of reflection occurred in time and space and is non-enduring, it is thus illusory and a delusion of the mind. My question however, is “when one thinks that one has had an experience of unification with the divine or transcendent experience how is one able to determine the validity of such an experience since such experiences occurs beyond cognition?” How does one know that such an experience was truly transcendent versus ego based?
“Mystical mythology is much like a metaphor in that it is designed to provide a reference towards something other than the story itself. This means that there is an exoteric meaning which refers to events and circumstances in the story which may or may not have a basis in fact and also an esoteric and mystical meaning which refers to a deeper teaching or message that transcends the boundaries of events in the story. Through the myth many ideas that are not easily explained in rational, logical terms can be freely explored and elucidated in imaginative and colorful ways.”
Since reading this passage I have become increasingly aware that all things in creation have both an exoteric (surface) and esoteric dimension; a manifest and unmanifest dimension. This, I think, is a basic precept of the spiritual path of Shetaut Neter. It was this realization that made Aset persist in her quest in knowing the true name of Ra. As described in the above reflection that I had about the cosmic reality, I would like to believe that I had some semblance of seeing beyond the manifest reality of the moon and stars and penetrated the esoteric unmanifest dimension seeing it’s connectedness to the source within the inner dimensions of self as well as it’s interrelatedness with all of creation.
In addition, after my recent visit to Egypt with Seba Dja and after listening to and reflecting on Seba Maa’ recent “special lecture” on the temples and its relationship to the human personally, I have attained a deeper level of understanding and perception of the mythical and mystical meanings that exist on the unmanifest level of the temples and on our personalities. As I move further into the teachings—philosophy and practice of Neterianism—I hope that I will be able to train my mind to see the unmanifest, esoteric dimensions of human existence.
In my view, the above passages represents the heart and very foundation of kemetic mystical science and philosophy. I would like to continue to highlight some of the points made in these passages while making reference to the 1st installment of the Special Lectures that was recently presented by Seba Maa.
“All forms of spiritual practice are directed toward the goal of assisting every individual to discover the true essence of the universe, both externally in physical creation, and internally, within the human heart, as the very root of human consciousness.” When applied to the temples, this passage gets at the idea that visiting the temples as a pilgrimage constitutes a spiritual practice that may allow one to gain greater insight into one’s spiritual nature thus enhancing one’s spiritual development. Having recently visited the temples with Seba Dja, listening to her teachings, and hearing the first “Special lecture” gave me a much deeper understanding and appreciation for the temples and the teachings contained within them. Through this understanding I was able to go beyond the silver dimension (exoteric) of what one sees on the surface of the temples, to the gold or deeper mystical or (esoteric) meanings that lies beneath the surface.
Through this lecture I came to understand that Egyptian Temples serve to facilitate the spiritual transformation of the initiate i.e., to discover one’s higher self. These temples represent microcosms of the human personality and as such correspond to and connect with the physical, mental and spiritual dimensions of the personality. Thus by discovering the true essence of what the temples represent one is then able to gain insight into one’s own inner essence. The more one knows about these various aspects of the temple i.e., the structure, iconography, philosophy being communicated, the more one is able to connect with the temple and be transformed by it. A prerequisite for such transformation to occur is that one is purified physically, mentally and spiritually. This purification process usually begins on the outside of the temple. In terms of the temple design, this is usually depicted as a causeway or channel in which a procession leads to the temple—during this stage the person becomes aware of their worldly orientation and the need to embrace a redemptive path.