The ancient Egyptians were fully aware of the chakras. Most of their scriptures were destroyed; one of the few remaining manuscripts is called the Divine Pymander of Hermes Trismegistus. It contains the teachings of Hermes, the great mystic of Egypt. The sahasrara is referred to as the eighth sphere -the source. From this, in descending order, come the seven rings upon which sit seven governors. These are the chakras with their corresponding residing deities. They represent progressively lower levels of consciousness from the eighth sphere downwards. Each of the rings is associated with a planet of the zodiac which has a specific attribute corresponding to that level of consciousness. The book makes it clear that the path to highest consciousness, called the 'white light', lies in climbing or ascending through these spheres.
The book tells the story of how Hermes meets the great dragon Poimandres, the lord of the word, who gives him spiritual instructions. Afterwards, Hermes is so inspired that he declares: "O people of the earth, men born and made of the elements, but with the essence of the divine within you, rise from your sleep, rise from your ignorance. Be thoughtful and understanding. Know that your home is not the earth but the light. . . prepare yourself to climb through the seven rings (chakras) and blend with the eternal light." It is an interesting manuscript, well worth reading.
Basilides, a great Egyptian Gnostic, is said to have coined the word abraxas. This seven lettered word signifies the creative power and the seven corresponding planetary angels. That is, the word represents the chakras and their presiding deities.
There is much more relevant symbolism in ancient Egyptian mysticism, even in the little that is known about it.
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