In previous articles, we wrote how we came to the decision to do a semiotic translation of the ancient Book of Thoth. Below is the first part of the new translation of the text, offering fresh insight into the esoteric teachings of the Egyptian priests in the House of Life.
With this new interpretation, we hope to shed light on the deeper meaning behind the text and provide a deeper understanding of ancient Egyptian mysticism. Join us as we delve into the new translation of the Book of Thoth and discover the secrets it holds.
These are the words that instruct a pupil to take counsel with a son of Thoth.
We begin by asking for the protection of the pure and great goddess of Creation, Nebet-hetepet, in every form. May this room be sanctified by her, where we offer to the goddess of Fate, Shai, in all her names, before the goddess of Wisdom, Seshat, the protector and mother of the Sea of Non-duality.
“Masters, while they lack a son, give birth in the shape of wisdom by means of their utterance.
This room will be protected by four sides, while its foundation knows no evil.
The divine utterances will serve as doors, as servants of the opening of the divine word.
Hear! They will lift us exceedingly high, but not understanding them makes them a burden.
Who is Nebet-hetepet, the pure and great goddess of Creation? Do you wish to hear her? Place your ears to hear her!
O, one still dark in thoughts, listen so that you may experience the taste of wisdom. Grasp what I will tell you firmly in your mind. May it be a substitute for the instruction in writing.
Compare it to baby birds, while they hurry to their sacred mothers, and swallow what she offers with their open mouths. When they have a stable foundation they are able to ingest the wisdom she offers them according to their ranks.
O great prophets of Thoth, the master belongs to him, the Lord of Joy!”
“Yes, may I awaken in the Sea of Non-duality, and Thoth leading me.
I am the one who wants to enter the Sea of Non-duality, by passing the shrines of the Spirits.
I wish to pray among the followers of Shai, the great one.
The wish of my heart is that which brought me here.
May I be one of the pupils!”
“Who are you? What is that which you seek? Who is the one who pulled you here?”
“I am The-one-who-loves-knowledge, the one who seeks to become a spiritual guide. The speech of Thoth is what bound me to this place so that I may learn and comprehend it.
One should not knock at the door if he does not know its manner. Do not draw near to the nearness of a master.
The ones allowed are strong as dolerite stone, with throats of iron. The one who is accepted has a windpipe of bronze.
Let me make a prayer to you!
Now, while the excellent spirits guide my heart. I have abandoned childish things.”
“Are you still attached to worldly possessions and sensual pleasures? Then do not seek the Sea of Unity. Those who stink of the sensual are the ones who are not let in.
Do you have worldly attachments, like a wife or a daughter, then you do not then have a place here!
Listen well! Have you come here on your own, or is it the father who has sent you here?
Or is it a teacher whose false knowledge will cause you to fail?”
“I know what are the taboos to enter in the Sea of Non-duality.
I come free of them.
My loathing is wine.
I reject sensual pleasures.
My clothes are worn.
I am eager to learn.”
“The wise masters who are here, their teachings are difficult and their way of life is painful.
They do not sate themselves with bread.
They do not become drunk with wine.
They do not anoint with unguent.
They loathe what happens in the bedroom.
Some demons remain near their mouths.
Some snakes are upon their two lips.
Their offering is obedience.
Their food is knowledge.
Their fruit is divine authority.
Will you be able to live with the ones who choose this way of life? How do you serve them?”
“I will wash the scribal jars.
I will wipe clean the scribal tablets.
I will clean the dust from the papyrus containers.
I will fill the remainder.
I will light the torches,
l will provide charcoal for the temple houses.
I will crush the stones.
I will carry the chests.
I will make food
I will receive the boxes.
I will make the beds.
I will carry the sacred rolls to them.”
“Do you have a dream? Behold, it is the Sea of Non-duality you seek.”
“Help me! Allow me to sleep in the place of dreaming.”
“The servant who serves the sleeping area is allowed to enter.
O disciple of the majesty of the sacred signs, of Nebet-hetepet, the pure and great goddess of Creation!
I will help you so that you can say: ‘I will be a priest among them.’
I will bring you before the sacred books.
I want you to be standing in line with those who are the best pupils.
The writings are difficult. But to experience their sweetness is easy, as they cause rejuvenation upon hearts.
Listen to my voice!
Be now silent!
Act docile as a woman!
Contemplate, like me, the fulfillment of your life.
Make haste to go to the wise ones who maintain the books. These masters sit, as in a royal court before them. They will proclaim the royal titulary, and they will recount the ones who were kings, reign by reign. And the best of the pharaohs are the ones who will cause their names will be recited first in the land.
And I will cause to enliven the statues of the gods, they being the caretakers of the two great Enneads. They will give the rites to the houses of the gods, while their followers and their priests stand before them, saying short prayers.
These great masters are the only ones who may hold the rank of a scholar, apart from the chief office of the King of Lower Egypt.
They have served the temple after many years have gone by. Educating many pupils, while scores of them were initiated.
The children of the teaching are the good guides of their communities.
They ensure that the new disciples are qualified. And enter the temple according to their nature.
I was among these guides. Building their character, taking their measurements, and strengthening their spirits, so that I know each of them.
Opening my heart, I come to you as a noble friend.”
“I will bow down.
I will worship.
Let them entrust me with that which Thoth would teach.
Hu, Divine Utterance, Sia, Divine Insight, give seeing and hearing to this servant of the place of the sacred teachings. Who goes to the place of the spirits. Giving his full attention to the priests. Reveal to him what dangers there are! Let his eyes see what is unseen!
I want to enter the Sea of Non-duality at the Pure Mountain. I have gone out for a full circle of Nut.”
“I give to you, out of the Sea of Unity, the light. As a guide to the middle path, so you will be led by the master to the secrets.
He will lead you to the area of the priests to be introduced to Khnum. He will protect you from dangers and nurture you to become an excellent pupil. Worthy of entering the Sea of Non-duality.
Your tongue and your mouth will be your weapons in this struggle. It will be from evening to morning while imploring the dead ones for assistance.
If you spend the night and the day in the temple, you will find the divine inspirations to enter the Sea of Non-duality.
But beware! Distinguish between them!
Do not be weary with regard to them!
Be strong of heart.
Do not fail with regard to this which you have learned about the custom of praising God.
Loathe what he loathes!
Love that which he loves!
Praise his nature with regard to your learning.
Who is the one who will raise you up in knowledge among the assembly of your people?
Be grateful for the food which your father has given you. But more important is that which he has taught you. This is more important than the milk of your nurse and your mother’s care.
The knowledge coming from Khnum’s mouth is poured from his tongue. His inner reality is a storehouse of secrets. Do not be separated from his outpourings. They are all full of wisdom. Do not be weary of listening to his sayings. They are like grains of gold.”
“Thoth is the Lord of Hermopolis. Divine inspirations are possessors of wings. They fly to the wise ones. Thoth is their guide who provides for them. They are quiet so as to be near him. His temple is like a nest. His pupils are its nestlings. Thus, they are protected by Thoth.”
“I desire to be a receiver of the divine inspirations of Thoth. I want to catch his wisdom.”
“Your net has caught with what comes out of your mouth, and your station is based upon your knowledge. Your mind has received divine inspirations, your task now is to act upon them.
The different inspirations who pour into you, protect them by sharing them.
Call them to you. Do not grow weary of receiving them. They do not cost you anything. They will not harm you in bad times And they will not go away when times are tough. When you have problems, they will not leave you, thus making them less difficult.
Inspirations received are stored in your mind. Will you not act upon them? They will not even abandon you then. Every guide takes sustenance from receiving them, as these inspirations are what makes him happy.”
“The net is my mind. Let me make one with which to catch them. I want to receive them. Let me be the one who attracts them.
Let the masters test me. I am ready. Let me go to the place of learning. I will spend tomorrow there in contemplation, and I will wait for what comes. Let the doors be shut. Let me be alone.
Let inspiration flow in my heart.
Let exaltations to Seshat flow from my tongue.
Let my mind be a fertile field for her.
Praise the ones who cause the seeds of divine wisdom to grow.
Let me fish for divine wisdom in Seshat’s warm springs to catch them in my mind.
Let me be brought before the masters so that I can reveal what I have caught.
If I did not catch anything, let me be released from here.
I ask that they place me before Khnum.
“First bow down to greet her humbly.”
“Are you the mind which receives divine wisdom from Seshat, capturing them as thoughts?
Are you the one who searches for her divine wisdom which inspires?
Does Thoth speak his wisdom through you, to the ones who listen to you?
The respectful one bows to you, as befitting your station.
When these sacred inspirations are received by your mind, we can discover their treasures.
Let me find the great sacred masters, these guides who teach those who are not sated with material life, those who are not drunk on possessions, and those who are emotionally calm.
Let me see the Lake of Life which is before Seshat as it overflows with thoughts. But these are wild thoughts, these are restless thoughts, these are false thoughts if you do not control them. Are you the one who can control them? They will increase when one seeks divine inspirations. Every mind can receive divine inspiration if the search is for truth.”
“The good mind is dependent on receiving good judgment.
Are you the one who seeks worthy souls? Judge me!
Are you the guide of the disciples? Let me be guided!
Are you the one who binds hearts to him? Bind my heart!
I am the son of a respectable man. I am worthy like him.
“Do you say “leader” to the one who knows how to act, or is a wise one the one who will instruct a person about what one should do? Is a father the one who instructs his son by hitting him with a stick? Or is the learned teacher the one who instructs?
The suffering of the heart and tongue is that which causes someone to become a prophet.
It is a school where he instructs his pupils! Praise his pupils!
Can not a single seed corn give life to the cornfield? A hungry man is the one who is nourished by a little piece of what remains of the harvest.
Who are they, the trees who give spiritual fruit, the sellers of true riches?
Is a father the one who teaches, or is a learned one the one who instructs?
The beasts and the birds also learn, but what is the book they learn from?
The beasts who live in the mountains, do they not have teachers?”
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The Secret Wisdom of Thoth offers a unique semiotic approach to The Ancient Egyptian Book of Thoth. This ancient book of sacred wisdom is a dialogue between a spiritual master, perhaps the god Thoth himself, and a student.
Image header: Offering Table of Tjaenhesret, priest of Thoth. Link Wikimedia. This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.