THE WINGED PHARAOH
This book stands out beyond all others, for there is as much wisdom and light in it as in any sacred book of the East or West; yet it is also a human document of one person’s pain and joy, love, sorrow and courage.
Much nonsense has been written about reincarnation but this book by Joan Grant of her life as a Pharaoh in ancient Egypt has such a ring of truth in it from beginning to end that it is impossible to believe that it is not true memory divinely granted.
Those who do not believe in reincarnation should think again. It was the basis of every great religion before the coming of the Jewish faith and is still so for nearly half the people in the world who practise a religion.
Jesus Christ also believed in reincarnation, as is shown by many of His recorded sayings. For example, ‘The sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the children, even unto the third and fourth generation.’ Is it conceivable that so gentle and sweet-natured a man could possibly have meant that an unborn child should suffer because his grandfather had been a brutal rogue? His meaning was that everyone is the father of his next incarnation and in future lives would have to pay for the ill they had done in their present one.
The greatest tragedy that has befallen the world is that the true teachings of Christ were terribly perverted; partly to conform to the Old Testament beliefs of the Hebrews, even more by cruel, ignorant fanatics like Paul, who was brought up as a Pharisee, and many blindly ignorant early Fathers of the Church who believed it their mission to destroy beliefs in all other religions. It was their successors who later caused the suppression for many hundred years of all scientific investigation in the West and the burning at the stake of thousands of people who would not conform to their dogmas – a barbarity that would have utterly horrified Our Lord.
What, too, could be more absurd than their doctrine that on a person’s doings in the span of a single life on Earth they should be judged, and for all eternity enjoy bliss in heaven or suffer amending torment in the fires of hell? Should that apply to children brought up by criminal parents, the half-witted and the people driven desperate by poverty which is no fault of their own?
Surely the only sane belief whereby true justice can be administered is by a succession of lives in which each individual is given the opportunity to make amends for the wrongs he has done to others in previous incarnations, and in each learn to become more tolerant, generous, kindly and compassionate until he achieves a purity of heart equal to that of the great Masters.
All this Joan Grant brings out in her magnificent account of her incarnation as a Pharaoh. The picture she gives of her childhood, with her loving parents and her young brother who later becomes co-ruler with her, is enchanting. What sympathy we feel for her during the five years she spent living a spartan life while training to become a priestess, and the terrifying ordeals that she had to overcome in order that her spirit should become ‘winged’.
The book abounds in examples of wise administration of justice. It tells, too, her own weaknesses and temptations to succumb to anger or selfish impulses. There are lion hunts and battles to defend the peaceful Two Lands against barbarian hordes. She and her brother make a Royal visit to Minos, King of Crete; a lovely flowerdecked island where gaiety and pleasure were the only concern of the people.
But ancient Egypt stands out above all other civilizations for, as we know from the papyri in our museums, there were no dark gods worshipped there, no bloody sacrifices, no obscenities are recorded on its many monuments; of all the Gods, Min alone displays his phallus, and does so only because he symbolized reproduction in all nature’s forms. In the delta and valley of the Nile the whole population enjoyed protection, ample food, sexual equality, lives of reasonable comfort and just laws. Cruelty to either man or beast was accounted a crime.
Joan Grant did not write her books. She lay in a trance on a sofa, her spirit away from her body while she spoke slowly of her experiences in the distant past, and what she said was taken down. After I had become her close friend I saw her do this many times.
I shall always count it an honour that I was able, in a small way, to contribute to the promotion of this, her first book. I happened to meet her at a party shortly before The Winged Pharaoh was due to be published and she sent me an advance copy.
For four years before the war I wrote the only signed reviews in a monthly magazine, Current Literature. It was never on public sale but solely for the trade. It listed all new publications and copies were sent to the managers of every sizable bookshop and bookstall in Britain. Naturally, after having read Joan’s book, I gave it the highest possible praise.
But I was able to do more than that. I sent my copy on to that great author and critic, my friend, Howard Spring. The following week he devoted the whole of his two-page spread in the Evening Standard to its splendid message, and ended his review: ‘ . . . worthy to be a handbook of a new order of chivalry.’