Egypt, for the most part, is where all magical traditions began. Most magical practices have their roots in the traditions practiced in ancient Egypt. Even Christian practices have roots in the magical practices in Egypt.
One way to attain transfiguration from humanity to divinity was through the Otherworld. One could attain this by flying to the celestial abodes as in the Pyramid texts, but mainly this was done by going through the Rastau, the door to the Otherworld (Amentet, the hidden world of Amun). Rather than ascension, the adept experiences going deep within until arriving in the astral visionary world that the gods also inhabit. The Egyptian Book of Coming Forth by Day, known erroneously as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, is filled with the visions and trials an Adept must endure when going through the Rastau to Osiris’ and Isis’ heavenly palaces and pleasure fields. The pharaoh and priests would visit these realms while dreaming in order to seek guidance or instruction from the gods themselves. This form of transcendence has much more to do with the psychology and predispositions of the adept, as the Egyptians clearly show, in that there were different Books of Coming Forth by Day for different seekers depending on what their particular life experience was.
This is a very spiritual means of attainment, comparable only to Revelations and similar apocalyptic literature in Western religion and the Tibetan Book of the Dead in the Eastern traditions. Whereas it is difficult to tell whether the Egyptian Stargates and Merkaba ships of Celestial Ascension are spiritual or literal, it is obvious that attaining inner divinity through the Rastau into the Otherworld is completely astral and spiritual. Here the transformations and magic of dreams pervades the instructions given, such as in this passage in which all types of the gods are mentioned in their Earth dwelling, star dwelling, and otherworld dwelling aspects E.A. Wallis Budge comment in their translation of Egyptian Book of the Dead (1967); “Homage to you, lords of eternity, who hide your forms, the place you dwell isn’t known. Homage to you gods of the inundated lands and you gods in the Otherworld (Amentet) and those gods among you who dwell in the heavens. Grant that I can come before you, for I know you. I am pure, I am divine, I am mighty, I have become powerful and glorious, bringing to you gods’ perfume and incense.” Here we can see clearly that the Egyptian spiritual realm is a realm of gods and spiritual beings living in the heavens, on Earth, and in the Otherworld of the astral ba (soul).
The Egyptians saw these divine realms as inhabited by myriads of different beings. There are star-people and sprits in the heavens. Celestial monsters and angelic beings were said to guard the heavenly divisions of the zodiac while terrible guardian demons ruled the trials and pylons the ba (soul) had to encounter in the Otherworld. The terrible serpent monster Apophis was a dragon that lived underground, only tamed and controlled by Set, which was one of the few reasons Set was still considered a god after his defeat by Horus. It seems that there were also saurian creatures similar to dinosaurs and large mammals that are extinct nowadays. The type of creature that is Set’s head is unknown today. Archeologists speculate that it must be some extinct lizard or mammal.
These views that saw the spiritual and actual as one and the same gave rise to most other cosmologies and configurations of all later religions. For example, the wars in the heavens of Christianity and Islam were largely based on the war between Set and Horus. Christian concepts of heaven and hell come from Egyptian cosmology. Mutabaruka, a radio airing on mutabaruka.com, once heald a talk entitled “The Cutting Edge” where this topic was discussed. Any punishment thieves and traitors received from Pharaoh “was to be put at a certain section of the Nile Delta in which a swamp had formed. There were saurian creatures abiding in the said swamp area, some of which being giant crocodiles (the earthly form of the celestial crocodile-god Sobek) and Set monsters. The swamp stank of sulfur and shimmered in the midday sun appearing to be aflame from far off. From this appearance of a very real, literal and seemingly fiery place full of demonic monsters are derived the genetic memories that became the notion of hell in Christianity.” criminal who was placed in the swamp would be killed very quickly by a crocodile, the Set monster, or any of many poisonous serpents in the area. The existence of such a place with its stink of sulfur and howls of wild life enough to deter any Egyptian youth from a life of crime.