Post 23135 – Pgs. 204-213
Chapter 8: The Sebait Curriculum – Education For the Clergy in Ancient Egypt
To become a priest or a priestess in Ancient Kemet was not an easy feat but it was merit based and there were parameters in the form of the Sebait Curriculum, a proper learning environment in the form of The Temple schools and societal alignment in the form of ethics (Maat Philosophy) that led to a comprehensive clerical educational program. .
Education For the Clergy in Ancient Egypt: A Well – Planned and Long Proven System
The curriculum drawn from the biography of High Priest Bekenchons who served and died under Ramses II (New Kingdom) gives us some insight into the highly organized and well-planned educational curriculum for the clergy in Ancient Kemet. For the first four years of his life Bekenchons attended primary school where children in Kemet learned reading, writing, mathematics, music, speaking, the medu neter and ethics (Maat Philosophy). It is important to note that both spiritual education and education of worldly endeavors, are necessary as one need a skill or profession to survive in time and space as well as to support the Higher Mysteries. In Ancient Kemet both were necessary for the efficient running of the society (which were mainly ran by the clergy) and therefore integral to the Sebait Curriculum.
Bekenchons from his fifth to his fifteenth year received a military education in the stables, learning discipline, management & trade of stables. The priestly rank of Amun that Priest Bekenchons entered were five degrees where one enters as Uab, then move to Devine Father, followed by Third, Second and First Prophet respectively. At the age of sixteen he entered the service of Amun as an Ab Priest, where he served for four years until the age of twenty. He then officiated as Devine Father for twelve years and when he was thirty – two he entered the order of Prophets (Hem Neter) and for fifteen years he serve as third Prophet, for twelve years as Second Prophet and finally in his fifty-ninth year he was raised to be “First Prophet of Amun and Chief of the Prophets of All the Gods”, this is indeed impressive and humbling to think of what it took for him to reach a level where he received the highest teachings vs. in modern times how this level of intensity and service is not supported by western culture and thus explain failures and struggles on the path. It also reinforces that intensifying one’s spiritual practice is important regardless of the times we are living in.
The Higher and The Lower Mysteries
In Ancient Kemet, students were first educated in the lower mysteries, such as reading and writing as preparation for higher philosophical classes, reading and writing are foundational to the transfer and assimilation of knowledge and allow the higher teachings to be grasp more firmly. However, its important to note that writings in and of themselves are not knowledge and the higher philosophical teachings are not found in books, by reading the temple inscriptions, or in the papyri. These are instead important tools, to be used as part of the spiritual process that help us to understand as they point the way to true knowledge. The
As Sebai added, the story contained in “The Book Of Djehuty” shared in this chapter is among other things, a cautionary tale about the readiness and the qualification for pursuing spiritual knowledge and for those who are qualified to understand where spiritual knowledge is to be found and for the Clergy in particular, to necessitate knowing how to vet who to share this knowledge with. In the story when the priest was laughing, it was because no matter how wonderful and great the scripture is on a papyrus or a Temple wall, the real book that is to be read and understand is the book that has the 7 chapters ( Sefek Ba Ra), the psycho-spritual energy centers which the scriptures are pointing to. Each chapter (center) is the experience of each level of one’s conscious awareness that is supporting one’s ego existence and thus the underlying essence that support the ego existence and All is Spirit, So the Book of Djehuty (Intellect) is the book of The Serpent power that leads to the discovery of that which transcends words, philosophy writings etc. and therefore, the highest knowledge itself, the higher mystery is only found within oneself.
The second teaching that the story provides that is important for the Clergy, is the idea of worthiness and one’s capacity of readiness. The obstacles that Naneferkaptah faced, the negative serpents , scorpions hanging around the box where the book was located in etc., all these obstacles he had to endure to get to the box – all these represent egoism, the Apep nature, forces of delusion which he ploughed through without the readiness, without the proper training, without self purification but most importantly without preceptorship, never once in the story did he ask the priest for guidance, instead, he followed his own heart “Shems Ab”. This lead to lots of pain an suffering and eventually death/reincarnation.
Levels of Initiation of the Neterian Priests and Priestesses
There are different levels of the Neterian Clergy
Level 1 – Unut – Part Time Priests and Priestesses , they have limited training and assist the fulltime priests and priestesses.
Level 2 – Uab or Uabt – Priests or Priestess of purification – Entry/ Apprentice position for full priests and priestesses. They take care of the purifications and basic duties of taking care of the Temple
Level 3- Hm Neter or Hmt Neter – Full time priests or priestess. After years of service, Uab are eligible to become Hm or Hmt Neter. They help mentor apprentices and prepare younger initiates to accept the duties of the Temple, help them to purify themselves to become more proficient in order to be leaders and examples for others in the community.
Level 4 – Hm Neter Tepy/ Hemut Neter Tpy- Head or supervisor of Ab, Basu’s and Unut’s in their area of expertise.
Level 5 – Sbait Kheria – Assistant teacher instructor of Neterian Philosophy. Preceptors – Those on track to become Sebaiu. They work closely with the Sebaiu and assist in the dissemination of the teachings and administer various programs of the Temple.
Level 6 Sbaiu – Sage – Spiritual preceptor or teacher of the High Mysteries who is well versed in the mystical traditions
Sba- Infinity – The Sbaiu teaches the wisdom of the Sba which is the concept of illumination. it is the manifestation of spiritual existence that itself illumines the mind in such a way that the mind can intuitionally understand the existence of the identity beyond the thoughts and feelings that are present in the mind, so the illumination shines on the mind’s thoughts and the feelings and the memories- and that shining is what illumines the personality in such a way that it can intuit that what the light is shining on is illusory and the only reality is the light which is a manifestation of Spirit.
Dua Sebai Maa
Dua Seba Dja