Shape shifting, until very recently, was a topic completely outside my jurisdiction, until an intense Subjective Mystical Experience and Encounter (SMEE) changed that.
The academic term for shape shifting is zoomorphism, and is the capacity for a human being to transform into an animal. Incidentally, lycanthropy is also the term given to a human being who transforms into a wolf-like creature, better known as a werewolf (see the 1989 article, Lycanthropy: A review by T. A. Fahy). There are many examples of werewolves found in the mythologies of cultures around the globe, but what connection does shape shifting have to Kemeticism?
While shape shifting is not abundantly represented in ancient Egyptian literature, The Book of the Dead reveals at least three instances of shape shifting in chapters (or spells) 86-88 with spells to transform into a swallow, a snake and a crocodile, respectively (see the 1990 version of The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead by Raymond O. Faulkner — this is the copy I own — it’s fantastic). The subtle evidence contained in The Book of the Dead tends to support the position of Jeremy Naydler, who reinterprets The Pyramid Texts as an initiation of the living into shamanism and mysticism — not merely a journey of the dead to the afterlife (see the 2004 book, Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts: The Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt by Jeremy Naydler). This book was originally brought to my attention by author, Paul Harrison. My review of Harrison’s work starts here.
Because Kemetic practice is so strongly influenced by the field of Egyptology, and rightly so, I would still encourage all Kemetics to think for themselves when it comes to their relationships with the gods. Look at the available historical evidence to inform your practice, yes, but also be open to your own intuitive guidance and spiritual common sense on matters that pertain to your spiritual life. I say this because there is an apparent, prevailing paradigm in Egyptology that pigeonholes ancient Egyptian religion into its political and funerary functions only, as if that’s all it ever was. That ideology leaves today’s Kemetic neo-pagans out in the cold — not to mention our living gods, the netjeru.
If priests shared their mystical and shamanic knowledge with dead kings to help them cross over, as seen in The Pyramid Texts, then it strongly supports the argument for mystical traditions having existed in ancient Egypt among the living first. If we consider the discovery of intact tombs by archaeologists and Egyptologists, which have contained objects enjoyed by the deceased in life, why would the magical knowledge contained in The Book of the Dead (less sensationally known as, The Book of Going Forth by Day) be applicable only to the afterlife? You don’t have to be dead to perform heka or magic. You certainly don’t have to be dead in order to experience shape shifting, which I promise to get to shortly!
Before I share my own shape shifting experience, it’s also essential to mention anthropomorphism in ancient Egypt. There are innumerable anthropomorphic gods and goddesses represented in the ancient Egyptian pantheon, who continue to be loved by modern Kemetics today. Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human qualities and characteristics to non-human forms (see the 2008 article, Anthropomorphic Deities by Richard H. Wilkinson). The merging of human and animal was certainly not an alien concept to the ancient Egyptians. The ability for ordinary human beings therefore, to undergo such a metamorphosis as shape shifting, which is decidedly shamanic in nature, should not be entirely dismissed in Kemetic thought. To do so would be nothing short of rejecting our adopted birthright.
My Shape Shifting Experience
Gosh, how do I relay this?! First of all, I should make it clear that in no way am I claiming to have physically transformed into an animal. Although metaphysically that’s exactly what happened. The experience was unlike any I’ve ever had. Physically I was just me and yet on every other level, I became something else. It was a conscious, energetic, and spiritual transformation that startled me so much at the time, I wanted to sleep in my housemate’s bed that night! (For the record, I didn’t and eventually fell asleep.) This happened a few months ago, before my recent move.
As I was getting ready for bed, a sudden image flashed before me from the Amityville Horror case that was taken during an investigation in the 1970’s, after the Lutz family fled their home. I lived with my own family in a house with paranormal disturbances in Connecticut during the 1980’s and as such, I have an ongoing interest in the paranormal and was reading Ed and Lorraine Warren’s books way before the Conjuring film franchise and long before paranormal investigations were cool. In those days, you were considered to be disturbed if you claimed to have had a paranormal encounter. Anyone who attempted to address such issues really put their credibility on the line. Today, the prevailing attitudes are much different. The paranormal is almost mainstream compared to what it used to be.
I wasn’t thinking about any of the stuff mentioned above. If anything, I was thinking about the mundane aspects of life, such as ‘okay, the laundry is done, the leftovers are put away, all the pets have been fed, I think I can go to bed’. I did notice the energy around my Kemetic altar and shrine was building up, but this was not unusual. It did feel a bit heavy, like a tension was there, but it certainly wasn’t negative. My altar and shrine are very active energetically by default.
The image that flashed before me from the Amityville Horror case was a spectral image of what appears to be a little boy in an upstairs doorway. What I saw however, was the subject’s point of view in front of the camera. It wasn’t a little boy. It was an evil entity. Obviously. I don’t know if the photographer used a flash or what, I’ve read it was infrared shots taken, but I saw a flash go off in my vision as if it were in front of my face. In the instant of the flash, time froze around me but I wasn’t frozen. I could move around freely at will. I was no longer seeing from the point of view of the ‘little boy’. At some point, in physical reality, I fell asleep and the vision continued in a dream.
In this dream, which was very lucid, I was me but not the everyday me. I had become something else. There was just enough left of the everyday me to observe what was happening, but I had little to no control over anything. There was a growing sense of agitation, and the agitation was brought about by the presence of evil. It was like I was having a chemical reaction to the evil, and it was causing me to transform into something that could kill it. I started growling. I could actually feel my physical, human face contort into a snarl and I had no control of my own facial muscles. To feel parts of your own physical body moving around when you are not controlling them is the freakiest experience ever.
This other thing, a beast, I was shape shifting into, was also me. There was a merging of identities and I could consciously feel the beast I was transforming into as Self. I had no fear of the evil ‘little boy’ presence in the smallest measure, but the everyday me was very afraid of the shape shifting, because the experience was pushing the boundaries of what I could handle psychologically.
I could see my teeth had become fangs as my lips pulled back. I had gleaming white teeth, white fur and a pink nose that wrinkled up in a snarl. The only words I can use to describe myself is that I had shape shifted into a white werewolf. The preternatural impulse to attack and kill the evil entity was unstoppable. I charged forward and grabbed the entity by the throat with my jaws and shook it violently, with complete intent to destroy it.
The evil entity was a black mass at this point — which was its true form — and it slowly began melting and dissolving in my jaws, until there was nothing left but an inert puddle of black gunk on the floor. It was dead; devoid of energy, consciousness and any ability to cause harm. I was looking for more evil to kill, my head moving from side to side. Again, in physical reality, I could feel my human head moving from side to side, which was no longer under my conscious direction. The sensations were frightening, I won’t lie. I remember clearly knowing that what was happening to me was real, undeniably so. I needed to stay calm if I wanted to stay sane; and I needed to stay sane if I wanted to stay alive. The white werewolf itself was not a danger to me. But the experience still scared the hell out of me.
We / I / the beast only killed one entity that I’m aware of that night. Did we travel back in time to the Amityville Horror house? I honestly don’t know. The normal lines between time and space, form and function were completely thrown out the window. I can’t really pin anything down more than I already have. Shape shifting is a shamanic phenomena and follows its own rules. I was just along for the ride. Yet, I wonder: Can it be directed or submit to some sense of control or order? I sense that it can. Was it my ability, a gift I could learn to develop, or was I simply possessed? I’m still working on getting answers, but I had to shelf this experience for a few months because I needed to process it. That’s how powerful it was.
Eventually, I was fully awake and in control of my body again. Like I said, I was shaken by the experience so badly, I didn’t want to sleep alone. I wasn’t afraid of the white werewolf per se, it was simply the whole experience of the transformation and losing control of my own body that I found confronting. Time travel, freezing time, shape shifting, killing demons — apparently. This shamanic sh*t is not for the faint of heart, certainly.
After My Shape Shifting Experience
The beast, in the form of a white wolf — not a werewolf this time — reappeared to me sometime afterward and enquired if I was okay. He gently placed a paw on my head and told me he was a friend. This time, our identities were separate. “I protect.” He said. Then, I saw him mark his territory before he left and no, I did not lose control of my bladder when he did.
I’m glad he confirmed his canine nature and his goodness, as man’s best friend. Afterward, I simply needed to chill, and I asked the netjeru for a normal night, then went to work and focused on being a normal person for a while, to integrate the experience. It was all very fresh and I needed to gain perspective. It was one hell of a way to go ghost busting. Would I work with the white werewolf again? Absolutely. For me, it’s just getting used to all the bodily sensations involved. It was very freaky, to say the least. But yes, I’d love to work with the white werewolf again! Shamanic contributions, such as shape shifting, could have future implications for paranormal investigation and defending against demonic infestation.
Thank you so much for reading Kemetic Blog. Please stay safe and well. If you have any insight or experiences of your own with shape shifting, or any of the other phenomena written about in today’s post, I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.
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