Pagan Paths

Out of the deeps rises the mysterious lotus. Stop in for refreshment, heka, and reflections from the sacred waters of ancient Egypt.

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Doors and Perception

b2ap3_thumbnail_false-door.jpgMost ancient Egyptian tombs have something commonly called a “false door.” Inscriptions around the doorway speak of the tomb owner’s life, of her or his good deeds, and the legacy they left behind. Family members would place food and gifts on an offering slab or table in front of the false door, where they also stood to recite prayers. If this seems a little odd, imagine yourself visiting your mother’s grave with a vase of roses on Mother’s Day.  

“What is remembered lives,” claims the well-known Pagan chant, but the ancients were confident that the life essence of their offerings truly reached their loved one on the other side of the false door. (It was fine for the necropolis workers or priests to eat them after the family left.) Holidays such as the Beautiful Feast of the Valley were occasions for the entire family to picnic together at the family tomb and remember their lives together when all were on this side of the door.

b2ap3_thumbnail_offerings.jpgThe false door is normally found on the west side of a tomb, the direction in which the sun sets and the land to which the dead travel. Of course, any sane Egyptian would know that there was only more rock on the back side of the false door. As a spiritual symbol, however, one could hardly imagine a more apt psychic aid. Every false door was seen as a kind of magical portal, a threshold between worlds, the edge between daily routine and divine encounter.

The idea that there are many realities in the universe is no longer solely the domain of Victorian metaphysics or science fiction. While physicists eagerly pursue the Higgs-Boson particle and dark matter, others of us explore our interior landscapes, using meditation, dreamwork and the arts to access the other side of the door. Perhaps the most powerful practice we can cultivate for such purposes is a daily time of quiet reflection and mediation.

Take time to put an offering in front of your own false door and call on your ka, your so-called higher self, to visit with you and share with you a different perspective on life.

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Holli Emore is Executive Director of Cherry Hill Seminary, the premiere educational resource for Pagan and other nature-based religions (, founder of Osireion (, editor/writer for Wild Garden: Pagans in the Growing Interfaith Landscape at, and serves on the board of directors for Interfaith Partners of S.C. (  She is co-founder of the original Pagan Round Table,, and author of "Pool of Lotus," available in print, or for Kindle or Nook, at


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