Thursday, 15 August 2019

Lucid Dreaming | The Ancient Egyptian Ba

Ancient Egypt is an advanced North African civilization, from circa 3100 BC. The peak of Ancient Egyptian power was the New Kingdom, with Egypt ruling Nubia and large parts of the Middle East. Egypt has left behind an extraordinary legacy of mathematical and scientific accomplishments as well as arts and architecture. The culture, monuments and antiquities of Ancient Egypt have mysterified and intrigued the rest of the world, and captured the imagination. You can read more about Ancient Egypt by clicking here.

Ancient Egyptians believed that the person was made up of a number of separate elements, including the Shat (the corpse body), the Ka (the physical living body) and Ba (the soul or personality) as well as the heart, the 'double', shadow, form and name.

Ba represents everything that makes an individual unique, which is why it is interpreted as being linked to personality. It was believed that the Ba continued to exist after death. In hieroglyphs and other Ancient Egyptian artefacts, Ba  is depicted as a human-headed bird. Unlike in other religions, such as the late Judaism, Christianity or Islam, the soul was not merely one part of the person, but was what constituted the person. The name Ba is interpreted as meaning 'impressive', 'powerful' or relating to 'reputation'. 

In some hieroglyphs, Ba is shown hovering over a sleeping body or corpse, which appears to represent the personality or 'self' in an out-of-body state. It is the person in another form.

In his book Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, Robert Waggoner suggests that this depiction of Ba might indicate that Ancient Egyptians were illustrating a state where the self is able to fly free from the physical body. He states: 

'I was struck by the concept of the Ba being the part of one that flies during sleep, trance and after-death states...Many of us have had that experience, whether we call it an OOBE, or a lucid dream, of flying around our sleeping body.
For lucid dreamers, trance journeyers or OOBE-ers, the Ba may represent in a historic sense, the first depiction of a 'mobile awareness' separated from the physical host. Interestingly, this mobile awareness, this Ba, seems naturally connected to flying - a common and seemingly universal part of lucid dreaming.'

So, according to Waggoner, the Ba might represent the dreaming consciousness of the sleeper, with the bird being symbolic of the mobility of the consciousness or 'soul' What do you think about this interpretation of the Ba? Could these hieroglyphs be the first documented account of a lucid dreaming or altered-consciousness experience?

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