THE STELE OF REVEALING
“Stele 666” is a wooden tablet, overlain with stucco and painted, with hieroglyphic inscriptions on both sides. It dates back to 725 BC, a period of rapid decline of Egyptian culture, early in the 25th Dynasty. The title “Stele 666” is from the catalogue of the Boulaq Museum in Cairo where the tablet is on display.
The stele measures 51.5 by 31 centimeters. It is a funerary monument for Ankh - f - n - khonsu, a priest of Thebes. The obverse side depicts the priest in his characteristic role of prophet, conversing with the hawk-headed solar deity, Horus, who appears in the form of Ra - heru - khuti or Ra - hoor - khuit. Above them stretches Nut or Nuit, the goddess of the night sky, whose hands and feet touch the ground. The winged disk, identified as “Hadit, the great god, lord of the sky,” floats between the goddess and the two figures below. These illustrations are followed by five lines of hieroglyphs, which are continued with an additional eleven lines on the reverse side.
The tablet comprises the essence of the cosmogony of the Egyptian priesthood and it is also a magical talisman designed to facilitate the success of the prophet Ankh - f - n - khonsu in the after - death state.
Egyptian religion was intricately interwoven with magical beliefs and practices. This combination of magic and theology is technically called “theurgy,” from the Greek theos, god, and ergon, work.l Theurgy comprises rituals, incantations, and other activities by which humans can cause or influence change in the world of the gods, or bring supernatural forces to bear upon material reality. The Western mystical initiate tradition (which traces its origins to Egyptian sources through the Pythagoreans, the Essenes, the Freemasons, and similar secret societies) distinguishes “theurgy” (divine magic) from “thaumaturgy” (wonder - working or mundane magic).