Ancient Egyptians were fond of magical spells that could assist both in daily life as well as during emergencies. Here is a collection of spells that are related primarily to eating and cuisine:
Grace before a Meal…(excerpts)
The dining table is identified with the creator Atum, and Pharaoh with his eldest son Shu, created from saliva.
Atum produces food-stuffs; the king offers them back on the altar, and ultimately consumes them (temple procedure in miniature, known as reversion of offerings).
To be spoken by His Majesty when partaking of a meal:
O table god, you have spat forth Shu from your mouth …
O table god, may he give to you all that he will have dedicated , since he has become a god who is an emanation, alert, worshipful and powerful.
May he dedicate to you every good thing which you will give him, since he has become Heka.
May he dedicate to you every good thing, food-offerings in abundance.
May he set them before you and
may you be content with them,
may your spirit be content with them and may your heart be content with them forever….
Protection against Food Poisoning
O Sakhmet of yesterday, Wadjet of today,
You have come and replenished this table of –Your name here-
Just as you did for your father Re, when you came forth from the cult city of Pe.
Protect –Your name here– with that papyrus wand of life which is in your
hand, in that name of yours of Wadjet.
Shoot your arrow against all the food of him who shall speak against –Your
name here– by means of any evil matters. Let a slaughter be made of them
like that time when you overpowered the enemies of Re in the primordial age
in that name of yours of Sakhmet.
Your offerings belong to –Your name here–
He is Re from whom you came forth.
So long as he exists, you will exist, and vice versa!
Spell for swallowing a fish bone caught in the throat
The Unique One (= creator) belongs to me as my servant! The Unique One belongs to me! My bread is in town, my portion of meals is in the field – bone get right! A man should say this spell over a cake, to be swallowed by the man in whose throat is the fish bone.
Spell for drinking Beer (prophylaxis for Hangover)
Hail to you Lady of Hetepet (Hathor, goddess of drunkenness)!
There is no restraining Seth when he has set his heart on conquering a heart in that name of his of “Beer,” to confuse a heart, to conquer the heart of an enemy, a fiend, a male ghost, a female ghost, etc.
This spell is said during the drinking of beer; to be spat up.
Truly effective, (proved) millions of times!*
* This ending is commonly found at the end of medical remedies.
Remedy for Headache (Patient as Horus; theme of reversal)
“My head, my head,” said Horus. “The half of my head (= migraine), the half of my head,” said Thoth. “Act for me, mother Isis and aunt Nephthys! Give me your head in exchange for my head, the half of my head!”
(Isis speaks): “Just as I have seen these people (= human sufferers), so = I have heard these gods (Horus and Thoth) saying to me on behalf of my son Horus: ‘Let there be brough to me your head in exchange for my head.’
Let threads be brought from the edge of a garment, having been made into seven knots, placed on the left foot of -Your name here– born of –Mother’s name here –. What is placed below will cure what is above, for I have elevated what the gods seek.
This spell is to be said over seven threads of a garment, made into seven knots, placed on the left foot of a man.
For the full edition and sources, see: Robert K. Ritner-Practical Egyptian Magical Spells. Presented at the 1998 Oriental Institute Annual Dinner
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