The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook by Tamara Siuda

The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook
Tamara L. Siuda
Stargazer Design, 2009
168 pages

Reviewed by Devo

Before I get into the bulk of this, I’d like to state 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.

The setup of the book is pretty straightforward. Siuda discusses the basics of prayer – its uses, how you do it, etc. She then discusses some of the basics of Kemetic Orthodoxy practice and then goes into a listing of prayers for gods, goddesses, akhu (blessed dead), family uses, and children. The book also contains prayers for blessings, protection, and some heka (magic) basics as well as prayers for holidays and daily usage. The deity listings contain various epithets and stats on each deity- which is rounded out with a few prayers for each. Lastly, there is a basic calendar that you can utilize in your daily practice and the bibliography and index. The book is easy to read and quite short.

Due to the age of this book, I would be careful to place a lot of stock into the Kemetic Orthodoxy sections. This book was written with Kemetic Orthodoxy in mind – it is geared for members of that faith. However, because it is an older book, some things seem irrelevant now (in regards to Kemetic Orthodoxy) and it seems to me that the book could use an update for this particular section.
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 the Kemetic Orthodoxy website, 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 a bit where Kemetic Orthodoxy started. I personally don’t like that the book is insufficient as both 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 feel that the book could have benefitted if the author would have explained some of the symbolism behind the litanies and hymns because if you don’t understand that, then the whole point gets lost. Because of a lack of this added information, I really didn’t feel the book was of any use to me personally.

I would recommend reading the book if you want to get a better basis for Kemetic Orthodoxy or want a list of pre-made prayers that you can use, but otherwise, I don’t feel the book has much to offer a recon/independent Kemetic, unless you’re interested in the gods section.

Three pawprints out of five

Want to buy this book?

Advertisements

6 Comments

  1. March 4, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    […] See a revised version of this book review over at Pagan Book Reviews. […]

  2. Arieni said,

    March 4, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    You said: “Due to the age of this book, I would be careful to place a lot of stock into the Kemetic Orthodoxy sections. This book was written with Kemetic Orthodoxy in mind – it is geared for members of that faith. However, because it is an older book, some things seem irrelevant now (in regards to Kemetic Orthodoxy) and it seems to me that the book could use an update for this particular section.”

    How does publication in 2009 make this an “older book”? In what way(s) do you think it is irrelevant, and, assuming you identify as Kemetic Orthodox, what experiences have you had that lead you to believe this? If you do not identify as Kemetic Orthodox, then how do you believe you know what’s relevant to someone who does identify as such?

    I’m also curious why you felt the need to judge it a poor Kemeticism 101 book when it does not claim to be one, and how you came to the conclusion that the prayers are excerpts. Did you investigate the originals? Or is this an assumption based on prayer length?

    Regardless of your opinion of the book, the vague and dismissive tone of this review makes it seem like you are not familiar enough with the material to comment usefully on it. You don’t need to make up reasons to not like it if you just don’t like it.

    • von186 said,

      March 6, 2013 at 7:18 am

      Because the 2009 version is merely a revision off of a book written in 2005. I’ve watched Kemetic Orthodoxy shift and grow in the few years that I’ve been there, and I feel that in some regards- the texts that are in the book could stand to be revised again. A thriving religious group is bound to change as it continues to grow 🙂

      I do not identify as Kemetic Orthodoxy. I am a Remetj within the House of Netjer- which means I can participate in most aspects of the faith if I choose to. My opinions are formed based off of the experiences I have had and watched over on the House of Netjer forums. I feel I have some basis for my opinion because I have gone through the Beginners Course and have spent a fair amount of time reading and researching the various aspects of the Kemetic Orthodoxy faith. I personally believe that if anyone truly wants to know more about Kemetic Orthodoxy and how it is practiced, they would be better served to go through the Beginners Course the Kemetic Orthodoxy offers (for free). The Prayerbook serves as a decent primer- but the Beginners Course offers a lot more in-depth information and is regularly updated- as opposed to a book that was written a few years ago.

      I bring up the Kemeticism 101 aspect because many Shemsu and Remetj seem to believe that the Prayerbook makes a sufficient 101 book. It may be so for those who are Kemetic Orthodox, but for those who are not- I feel the book will leave them disappointed. This book is hyped up to an immense degree by some people within the Kemetic community.

      Most of the prayers come from various sources in antiquity including Pyramid Texts, ostraca, and various papyri. Thereis one which is a modern creation by the author. Due to the fact that many of these texts (Pyramid Texts, papyri, Book of the Dead, etc) are much longer- I know that most of these prayers or litanies are mere snippets from a larger text. While they can be enjoyed in a smaller form, I would prefer to have seen more context given. I understand that the scope of this book might not allow for that- but it was still a thought/impression I had in regards to the book.

      The tone was not meant to be dismissive. As I stated- I think the book could have its own purposes, yes. There are many people who find great use in this book. I did not happen to be one of them.

  3. Ser said,

    March 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Devo – did you happen to read the 2005 version? I had been thinking about picking up the 2009 version, and I’m curious how many differences there are between the original and “second revised” editions.

    • von186 said,

      March 6, 2013 at 7:08 am

      Unfortunately, I have not read the 2005 version. There is a small paragraph in the 2009 version that mentions some revisions- but I don’t think that the revisions were that major, honestly. I could potentially email the author and ask here what all was revised if you have any concerns.

      • ServalHeart said,

        March 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm

        No concerns, more of a curiosity. 🙂 Thanks for the review and the response!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: