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"Sleep came to Wagadu for the first time through vanity, for the second time through falsehood, for the third time through greed, and for the fourth time through dissension. Should Wagadu ever be found again, She shall live so forcefully that vanity, falsehood, greed and dissension will never be able to harm Her."

From a Soninke myth of the goddess Wagadu,
retold by Clyde Ford in The Hero with an African Face

This book you hold in your hands is very special. It is not just a collection of words in translation, of vowels and consonants strung together to sing an ancient song left silent far too long.

It is not just the work of a person who is fascinated by the history of a people thousands of miles - and years - away from her, nor just the labor of love of the founder of one particular modern re-manifestation of their religion, the Kemetic Orthodox Faith.

It is a gift to God, specifically God in Its many forms as known to the people of northeast Africa now called Egyptians, long before the Religions of the Book. The religion of the Egyptians, as in the tale told by their southeastern neighbors the Soninke, was also lost through vanity, falsehood, greed and dissension: through Roman Pagans and Byzantine Christians, Asiatic and African Muslims and "enlightened" Europeans, through a Renaissance in thinking that brought atheism to many places where previously people had walked hand in hand with the Divine. This Egyptian religion, either in parts or the whole, has been found again, despite and perhaps even through these barriers, by many people the whole earth 'round, and not only the physical descendants of its original devotees.

Some of the ancient Egyptian religion was never lost, and survives today both inside its beloved country of origin and outside it as part of continuing practice and influence in other religious traditions. Other parts went into stasis, like a caterpillar in a cocoon, waiting for those who could unlock its mysteries through reading its texts, using the ancient heka, the magic of words, to bring it back to life. Those people have arrived and, as the ancient litanies state, "the bolts have been thrown back and the doors of Heaven are opened."

This book was designed to be used. Don't read it once and put it away -- read it again and again, share it, modify it. Make it yours. Whether you seek simply to understand something of ancient Egyptian spirituality, or you practice the service of the Netjeru, the ancient Egyptian religion's gods and goddesses, and wish to bring authenticity and the voice of tradition into your spiritual life, this book is for you.

Carry lightly in your heart what you find within. Use it, either as a worshipper or as a respectful observer, and let this faith live again, as it once did for thousands of years beside a river in a land not so far away after all.

Excerpted from The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook by Tamara L. Siuda. Copyright © 2005-9, all rights reserved.

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Copyright © 2005, Tamara Siuda. All rights reserved.