Traditionally, ancient Egypt is associated with “the darkest and strongest magic…” St. Augustine, in De Civitate Dei, wrote that when Moses was born, Atlas, brother of Prometheus, was alive. Atlas was grandfather of Mercury, who was grandfather of Hermes Trismegistus. 
St. Augustine, in De Civitate Dei, condemned Hermes Trismegistus and how the ancient Egyptians caused spirits to come down into statues and animate them. These spirits, wrote St. Augustine, were wicked and devils. The Egyptians, by Hermetic magic, caused demons to possess the statues. The statues were reverenced as gods. 
In 1462, Marsilio Ficino was suddenly ordered by his patron, Cosimo de’Medici, to drop everything and immediately begin translations of writings by Hermes Trismegistus. The Corpus Hermeticum and the Asclepius were published in many editions and read widely throughout Europe. The animated statues are spoken of in Asclepius:
“Are you talking about statues, Trismegistus?” asks Asclepius.
“Statues, Asclepius, yes,” responds Hermes. “See how little trust you have! I mean statues ensouled and conscious, filled with spirit and doing great deeds; statues that foreknow the future and predict it by lots, by prophecy, by dreams and by many other means; statues that make people ill and cure them, bringing them pain and pleasure as each deserves.” 
Later, Hermes further informs Asclepius, “Our ancestors once erred gravely on the theory of divinity; they were unbelieving and inattentive to worship and reverence for god. But then they discovered the art of making gods. To their discovery they added a conformable power arising from the nature of matter. Because they could not make souls, they mixed this power in and called up the souls of demons or angels and implanted them in likenesses through holy and divine mysteries, whence the idols could have the power to do good and evil.” 
These idols prophesied, including about the coming of Christianity which would seek to crush idolatry.  Isaiah, a true prophet, also foretold, “The burden of Egypt. Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.” (Isaiah 19: 1)
In the Oedipus legend, Oedipus wanders and reaches the city of Thebes. There he was blocked by a Sphinx, which spoke to him and tested Oedipus with a riddle. Oedipus is supposed to be a Greek myth, but one thing especially incongruous in the legend is the Sphinx. What is a Sphinx doing in a presumably Greek myth? It is not a familiar Greek figure. The land most associated with the Sphinx is Egypt. Notice also the city: Thebes. This city, also known as Luxor and Karnak (Karn-Ak), once was the capital of all Egypt. It is known there was a Sphinx at Thebes (in Egypt) to which human sacrifices were made during the 18th Dynasty. Thebes, ancient capital of Boetia in Greece, may not be the source of the Oedipus legend. 
A person kneeling in devout prayer before a statue of, for example Mary, mother of Jesus, is not exactly the same thing as Egyptian magicians ensouling statues with demons. The Koran warns of idolatry. As to whether this includes devout prayer assisted by statues of saints, I take no stance. In the Koran, warnings about idolatry include…
- “Lo! Abraham said to his father Azar: ‘Takest thou idols for gods? For I see thee and thy people in manifest error.'” (Sura 6, Verse 74)
- “We took the Children of Israel across the sea. They came upon a people devoted entirely to some idols they had. They said: ‘O Moses! fashion for us a god like unto the gods they have.’ He said: ‘Surely ye are a people without knowledge.'” (Sura 7, Verse 138)
- “And they set up (idols) as equal to Allah, to mislead (men) from the Path! Say: ‘Enjoy (your brief power)! But verily ye are making straightway for Hell!” (Sura 14, Verse 30)
It had been prophesied by Isaiah and by the ensouled idols of Egypt that Christianity spelled doom for idolatry. Yet we hear of Knights Templar worshipping a skull to which they talked and which prophesied for them. The use of a severed head or skull for divination was a common practice throughout the ancient East and even, though secretly, in Judah and Israel during Old Testament times. Such devices were called “teraphim,” and their use was recorded in the Bible. “It seems possible that the Templars could have made similar use of John the Baptist’s head or skull.” 
——- Sources ——-
 Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, by Frances A. Yates. University of Chicago Press, 1991.
 Hermetica. Cambridge University Press, 1992. Edited by Brian P. Copenhaver.
 Melchizedek Communique, by Brian Redman. Published in e-book format by Lulu.com.
 “Baphomet: The Secret of the Templar Fortune: Part 2”, by Tracy R. Twyman. http://quintessentialpublications.com/twyman/?page_id=167