Originally posted on LJ on Jan 3, 2011
Today I’m reviewing “The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook” by Tamara Siuda.
See a revised version of this book review over at Pagan Book Reviews.
So I finally read it- the book to end all books when it comes to KO. I finally read the Prayerbook. And I must say that I don’t see what the big deal is. The book is easy to read (took me less than a day), and covers a decent amount, but I don’t really get what makes it so exciting. Before I get into the bulk of this, I’d like to add that I have a bias- I don’t like reading prayers and hymns. They are alright if you’re using them to learn about a god, or a ritual, but on a whole, I don’t really get a lot out of reading prayers/hymns- esp. when they are translated from another language. I personally feel that if I want something from a god, I’m going to ask in my own words, not take a prayer/hymn written thousands of years ago. So that is my bias. Keep that in mind while reading.
The thing I liked most about the Prayerbook was the listing of gods- and some of their basic attributes. There are some things that she mentions in the Prayerbook that helps me to understand various references while on KO, and there are a couple of interesting facts/tidbits that I was unaware about that were nice to learn. In fact, I wish this section were longer, and more inclusive, so that I could learn more. This was the most helpful section for me.
What I don’t care for in the gods section is the hymns/litanies/etc. that followed each entry. It felt to me that these excerpts were exactly that- excerpts, and that there was a bigger something that was missing. I would have rather read the whole hymn/litany/etc or not at all. Not just three or four lines out of it. So for me, there was a disconnect.
On a whole, the book is okay. I personally don’t care for it, but it is interesting to see what everyone is referencing. I personally don’t like that the book is insufficient as a Kemeticism 101 book, and as a prayerbook. I wanted something closer to Eternal Egypt where things are cited more thoroughly and explained better. I hate that about reading most hymns/inscriptions from AE- no one takes the time to explain the symbolism. And if you don’t understand that, then the whole point gets lost, IMO. Because of a lack of this added information, I really didn’t feel the book was of any use to me personally. And sadly for me, reading this book made me disconnect a bit more from KO, because it shows that at it’s core- me and KO don’t line up. Her view of the gods doesn’t sit well with me. To see this was disappointing, but it was worth reading just to learn how she more or less intended things to be set up- not to hear it five different ways from five different shemsu.
I would recommend reading the book if you want to get a better basis for KO, but otherwise, I don’t feel the book has much to offer a recon/private Kemetic, unless you’re interested in the gods section.