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The Llewellyn Journal
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Where Egypt and Divination Meet

This article was written by Barbara Moore
posted under Tarot

Mysterious, beckoning, filled with shadows and whispers of ancient magic, Egypt plays an unusual role in the Western psyche. It is both a real place with a historical penchant for magic and mysticism as well as a symbolic place upon which we impose fantastical histories. Egypt gives us knowledge and inspiration. Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that many divination tools and tarot decks utilize Egyptian themes, styles, and mythology.

Although I want to tell you about several items, one in particular continues to intrigue me. In the Egyptian Scarab Oracle, creator deTraci Regula gives us not only a marvelous divination tool, but an opportunity to share the dream that lead to the creation of the oracle.

Her story is so enchanting:

The Egyptian Scarab Oracle emerged in a very Egyptian way—through a magical dream. One night, after studying ancient Egyptian writings while I was writing The Mysteries of Isis (Llewellyn, 1995), I dreamed I was a young priestess at a huge temple complex dedicated to Isis. It was the night of a festival, so many people from the nearby town and the merchants traveling on the Nile were visiting the temple. Torches and lamps illuminated the pylon gates and cast flickering shadows on the sandy ground surrounding the temple. Inside, hundreds of people were milling around, enjoying the music and dances and other entertainment. My eye was caught by a handsome young foreigner, a trader from far away. He was returning my attention, but I was very shy and I also didn’t want to incur the wrath of the priestess in charge of training the young women. She was a striking but stern older woman, disdaining the wigs of the other women and priestesses, choosing to keep her own gray hair and outlining her eyes strongly with kohl. Rumor had it that she had a warm heart, but all the young priestesses were terrified of her. Still, I couldn’t help flirting just a little and feeling the strange flush of energy, not unlike what I experienced in temple rites, flood through me when he would return my shy looks with bolder ones of his own.

Then, to my luck, the high priestess herself announced that there would be a sacred game: a divination by scarab. Everyone hushed as she explained the diversion. Scarabs would be scattered into the room, and we each were to grab whichever scarab touched us and then take it to her to be interpreted. So saying, she showed us a chest containing several hundred carved scarabs of every color, material, and description. Some had the heads of animals or humans, a few were carved out of stone, many were faience clay in different colors. She placed these scarabs into the center of a sparkling, finely woven net. Picking it up carefully so the scarabs wouldn’t spill, she gathered the corners of the net into one hand, and then began to swing it rapidly above her head.

Suddenly, she let loose of one corner and the scarabs took flight, pelting us all. With laughter, everyone grabbed for a scarab. One hit the trader I admired and, bouncing off of him, landed on me, scooting down into the folds of my dress and catching at the base of my spine. I wiggled, trying to free the scarab, and he tried to retrieve it without creating embarrassment for both of us, but the resulting tangle caught the attention of the high priestess. She came over to us, demanded to know what we were doing, and we sheepishly explained. Only one scarab had touched the two of us; it was meant for us both. With a frown, because she neither liked foreigners nor her priestess-students marrying too young, she told us that the scarab indicated a wedding. We were delighted with this interpretation and decided to make it a truthful prophecy (probably to the relief of the high priestess, as I sensed that in this life I was not the most serious of her students, being more devoted to romantic dreams than to temple studies).

When I awoke from this dream, I thought it was a gift from the gods, especially Isis, granddaughter of Khepera by one sacred genealogy. My attentiveness to the magic of scarabs seemed to allow them to manifest everywhere, and since that night’s dreaming I’ve had many magical experiences with scarabs. While The Egyptian Scarab Oracle was being written they were out in great force, and the local, living species, a bright metallic-green variety, were abundant. A festival I attended chose the scarab as its symbol; scarabs flew in to join rituals; everywhere I looked they were being employed as decorations, or in jewelry, or as forehead bindis. It was definitely time to share this bright energy with everyone. May the sacred scarabs bring you enlightenment, insight, and joy.

The Egyptian Scarab Oracle comes with thirty scarabs, each one carved with different Egyptian symbols, such as the Sphinx, Bast, and The Starry Sky of Nut. In addition, a satin pouch is included for storing your scarabs. And, of course, there is the marvelously informative book that discusses divination in ancient Egypt, methods of divining with the scarabs (including three original spreads), and in-depth meanings for each scarab. Although inspired by a dream, the book is also very practical and user-friendly. For each card, you get a general discussion and then specific interpretations for the following areas: love, money, career, family, health, spiritual path, personality type, timing, and location.

For those looking for a blend of Egyptian culture and a traditional Tarot deck, Lo Scarabeo’s The Egyptian Tarot kit is just the thing. The book is pretty amazing because it is written by two authors, each taking a different approach. Giordano Berti explores the historical angle of Egypt, divination, and Tarot while Tiberio Gonard presents the esoteric connections. Berti’s contribution to this book is based on his recent research on Jean Baptiste Pitois, the French occultist who first postulated the Tarot/Egyptian Magic connection. Meanwhile, Gonard examines the symbolism of Silvana Alasia’s paintings, bringing all the fascinating subtleties to light.


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