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Wall at EdfuEdfu Kyphi
The Temple of Horus at Edfu was built between 237 BCE and 57 BCE on the location of a legendary battle between Horus and Set, where temples have stood since 2660 BCE. It is the best preserved ancient temple in Egypt. It was built by the Ptolemeic dynasty, which originated in Macedonia and built temples for the native Egyptian priesthood as a way of currying their favor. By this time, the priesthood was aware that the oral tradition and papyrus records they had depended upon might not, in times of upheaval, be sufficient for preserving crucial information about ritual, so they inscribed this information on the sandstone of the Temple. The recipes at the Temple are thus the most detailed that have come down to the present day. This recipe comes from the walls of the so-called Laboratory Room located in the Temple's Great Hall.

Hieroglyphs in Laboratory at EdfuHaving worked out the ancient recipe's proportions, I grind mastic, amber, sweet flag, aspalathos, camel grass, mint, and cinammon, adding them one at a time in a specific order. This forms what is called the base, which is moistened with oasis wine and steeped overnight in a copper bowl, as described in the Temple. Separately, the raisins are soaked in oasis wine and then ground; they are mixed with the base and left to steep for another five days. The excess wine is gently boiled off. Then the frankincense and honey are mixed together, boiled to reduce their volume by 1/5, and quickly mixed with the base. The boiling removes water and causes the honey to crystallize upon cooling. The material is left to rest overnight. Finally the myrrh is ground and added, and the kyphi dried gently, which takes several days. As you can see, this recipe not only calls for a number of ingredients but is quite involved. I use all natural ingredients; no fragrance oils or synthetics even come near it. They are mixed together in a high-fired ceramic bowl and a copper bowl with a wooden spatula to preserve their potency. This kyphi is thus completely different from the stuff commonly sold as such. It is not some dead agglomeration of sawdust and fragrance oils. It is the real deal, as close to the ancient reality as we moderns can get.

Carvings in the Laboratory at EdfuThe scent of this kyphi is sweet, with a honey undertone throughout. The smell is extremely pleasant and makes you want to take big breaths of it. The frankincense quickly rises to the fore, which distinguishes this from the other two kyphi versions I have made, and then the lemon-drop scent of the camel grass announces itself.  The Edfu kyphi is much smokier than the other kyphis because the honey is boiled instead of just being added. The smoke makes it especially good for consecrating objects or a room. The smell is somehow narcotic and brings to mind forgotten days of the past, creating a comforting space. I believe this is the frankincense working.  Especially notable about this kyphi is the importance of sound. You can hear it cooking or simmering as it volatilizes. Breathing it in, one becomes aware of one's breath. The sleepiness that all the versions of kyphi cause is here joined by hearing voices talking quietly instead of seeing visions. As the frankincense recedes and the myrrh takes over, you can feel the shift from day to night that is associated with kyphi. This would make this kyphi especially good for works focusing on transition, especially gradual ones. The myrrh here gives one the sensation of being comfortably walled in. The cinnamon at the close is purifying, and one awakens refreshed. This kyphi makes a wonderful contrast to Galen's and Dioscorides' kyphi. To my mind, this is the most sound-centered of the three and the one that best focuses on the transition from day to night. I am very proud of the way this kyphi has come out. Please note that it requires charcoal to burn, since it is composed of pure ingredients and has no charcoal filler.

Edfu Kyphi
1 oz. in tin $20.00



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Other hand-compounded incense: Galen's Kyphi, Dioscorides' Kyphi, Abramelin, Festival, Planetary

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Honoring Horus
Trancework
Divination
Consecration
Purification

2004, 2016 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission