BOOK REVIEW - Traveller's Guide to the Duat
- From: Mike <gleason.mike@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2012 10:07:25 CST
Traveller's Guide to the Duat (Amenti on Two Deben a Week) by Kiya
Nicoll © 2012 Megalithica Books ISBN: 978-1-905713-73-8
160 pages Paperback $19.99 (U.S.) http://www.immanion-press.com
This book is, in the words of the author (an Egyptian
reconstructionist pagan living in New England) ?...an exploration of
the concepts of the Book, (The Book of Going Forth by Day aka The
Egyptian Book of the Dead ? reviewer's explanation) a placement of
those ideas within some historical context, and a presentation of a
selection of its material in a lighthearted and, I hope, accessible
When most people think about the Book (if they think about it), they
perceive it as a collection of magical spells. This author sees it
as ...a sort of a cross between a hymnal, a grimoire, and The
Traveller's Guide to the Underworld.?
Ms Nicoll has, in my opinion, succeeded in her goal of being
lighthearted and accessible. The lighthearted part was easy. This
book is presented in the format of a travel guide written by an
individual who is familiar not only with the destination, but with the
primary forms of transportation and the diplomatic requirements based
on length of stay and other considerations.
Her poetry is, so far as I can judge, based on Egyptian originals
without being a slave to literal translation, thus it is more
comprehensible to the average reader.
The illustrations are similarly based on commonly available images
although some of them are presented in an extremely unusual and
humorous format (the illustration of Anubis sitting at the checkout
counter of a Customs check point [page 83] is an excellent example of
that). The use of humor makes the images a little less frightening,
and downright entertaining in some cases.
As the book nears its end Ms Nicoll provides a list of some
correspondences (a very short list, considering the possibilities) as
well as a glossary of names and terms. This latter item, in my
opinion could benefit from a bit of re-editing ? an empty line between
entries would break up the ?solid block of text? look which it
The bibliography deserves special mention, simply because it is short
yet comprehensive, and authoritative without being intimidating. Add
to that the fact that most of the material appeared within the last
quarter of the 20th Century or the current century (thus making it
more likely you will be able to find copies in your local college
library). She also mentions the Sacred Text archive at http://www.sacred-text.com
as a source of material which has passed into public domain.
Many years ago I did some studying in an effort to relate to the
Egyptian deities. I found it hard to make the connections I wanted
partly, I now know, because of my own lack of background and
experience but also because the material was presented in a manner
which was extremely difficult for me to relate to and assimilate. Ms
Nicoll's presentation would have helped to solve at least part of
those difficulties for me. Her writing in crisp and understandable.
Her approach balances the information one needs to know with just the
right amount of lightheartedness so that you are not trying to absorb
the details as much as you are simply absorbing them without trying.
It is an approach which is eminently suited to teaching students of
varying levels of experience.
This is not the ultimate source book, but it is an excellent source.
If Egyptian religion appeals to you, add this book to your library.