Do you have to learn hieroglyphics?


The amazing highly symbolic and truly beautiful hieroglyphics you can’t escape from when exploring Kemetic tradition. But is it important to learn? What about the transliterated forms too? Or even Demotic and Hieratic?


I personally don’t feel you need to. Sure it really helps in trying to do research and in some cases when creating ritual work. I learnt some many years ago, it didn’t stick, tried again in recent years and again its not sticking.

Its damn hard work and I stick to a few that I can remember.

Likewise using transliterated forms is often not helpful. Many do like to use them in written and spoken forms, and I do sometimes, however there hasn’t been a native speaker for a long time, and I think the sounds we have mapped are from Coptic sounds near-as we can get. Its not 100%.

Personally I try to avoid using them in ritual, the problem being that in magic and as far as AE goes, words, heka is power, mispronunciation is a bad thing. If we don’t 100% understand I don’t think we should risk the misinterpretation.

I do however prefer to use the translitterated deitiy names in ritual as apposhed to the English forms as they should be more likely uncorupted.


You don’t have to learn hieroglyphs - in fact it’s damn hard work to do so! At a base level I think it is powerful to have recorded somewhere your deities names in their hieroglyphs, and at the very least the offering prayer in transliteration so you could read it. This is very old magic.
But there’s no need to unless the Gods make it clear that it’s a calling you have.

I had the good fortune of studying Middle Egyptian when at university, and I felt a big pull to learn them (I don’t know them as well as I’d like though!). I therefore try to use reconstructed language when I can and I read the offering formula from the hieroglyphs. Then pronounciation won’t be accurate to how it really was, but reading from the hieros themselves is a magical act.

Collier and Manley’s blue book is very simple and is helpful for basic reading of formulas. Anything else is a huge undertaking.


Yeah I have a couple of books which were recommend for the EES/Bloomsbury courses and I find them really useful. I just don’t have a head for language so getting it to stick is pretty difficult for me. Of course I have the various forms of my goddess (as you said), as well as a few of her supporting family in hieroglyphs and transliterated form for vocalization. A few phrases for greetings and departure is all I tend to have found able to deal with.

Sure, if its something that you find useful I would say do it, for me its a mixed bag and I would always like to know more. I would say though that its helpful to know some basics so when flicking through artwork I can identify some of the key points of interest such as, for example, the few hieroglyphs that denote that someone is about to say something. Can be handy to know so as to identify something important like a name or start of a passage of interest.

We do certainly have a lot of book stuff for us to deal with! :slight_smile:


I find many Kemeticists just really like books! :wink:

I think learning the Gods names is super useful when looking at ancient representations and telling what deity is meant. Such as is it Isis or Hathor? Or Sekhmet or Pakhet? Really handy!


Yeah books are wonderful. Was in Glastonbury last week for a few days and bought so many!

Its quite a fun challenge sometimes working if its isis or hathor. :slight_smile: