Saturday, April 03, 2010
Books are powerful. In their origins, they were considered to be inspired writings, something magical proceeding from the mouths of the gods. Ordinary people, who could not read, relied on priests and scribes to interpret the meanings of these divine utterances.
Books thus became an avenue by which humans and the gods could communicate. The gods spoke, humanity listened. Were instructed. Given wisdom. Told how to behave, how to proceed in their lives, in ritual and ceremony.
The words were precious. They were inscribed on walls, on stone, papyrus, cloth scrolls--things that were beautiful and enduring.
And even today, words carry great power, even when they are captured through techniques of mass printing, even when they are disseminated through secular, not sacred, channels.
If you find the right book, if you approach it with the proper attitude, if you open yourself to its power, you can sense in your body its sacred nature. You can feel its energies awakening in your own system. You can, in fact, respond through Kundalini sensation, a bliss akin to that aroused most often in other ways.
Normandi Ellis' "Awakening Osiris" is such a book for me. It is, I feel, divinely inspired, and hence carries the potential to awaken in us profound connection with those realms which are unseen but often sensed in our own lives. You do not have to be a scholar to grasp the essence of this text. You do not have to know the history or background of what is before you. You must simply allow the power of the words to wash over and through you, as if you were in a church or temple, as if you were in the presence of a sacred being, the god descended.
Osiris was an ancient Egyptian god who was slain and dismembered by his brother. Isis, his wife, collected his scattered parts, and reassembled them so that Osiris might live on in heaven. Thus, to be "Osirified" after death, was in effect, to be reborn, to join the gods and to become one with Osiris in the celestial realm.
This book is based on what is known as "The Egyptian Book of the Dead." But in fact, this "book" is not a book at all, but rather a compilation of writings from many sources created over many, many years by priests and their scribes.
Normandi Ellis went back to the source, the hieroglyphs that remain on pyramid walls and the writings on the tombs of the Pharaohs. She took these many diverse segments and wove them into a beautiful work of art, a text studded with brilliant imagery, a lengthy poem dedicated not to death but to the resurgence of life, the reaffirmation of the unbreakable bond between mortal and divine source.
Here are some of the brilliant passages from her text:
Stars fade like memory the instant before dawn. Low in the east, the sun appears golden
as an opening eye. That which can be named must exist. That which is named can be written.
That which is written shall be remembered. That which is remembered lives. In the land of
Egypt Osiris breathes. The sun rises and mists disperse. As I am, I was, and I shall be a thing
of matter and heaven.
In bright corners children are singing because their mother has given birth. The world is made
new with laughter. The strings of the lyre hum. The sun floods the country and cities with light.
Boats sail on emerald waters. Fish have returned to spawn. In the field a stubborn donkey
sleeps, though his master thrashes him with a stick. I laugh because I have come home. I am
content with the movement of hours.
The truth of what we call our knowing is both light and dark. Men are always dying and
waking. The rhythm between we call life....Some miracle is about to happen. Some new man
unseen wishes to rise and speak....The shape of truth is coming.
Death matters, as does life. As it ends, it begins again....the ribbon of life winds back on itself.
At dawn the threads of time unfurl, sunlight streams across the sands. Time reaches in both
directions, knotted in the golden orb of the moment. The eye opens, the heart opens, the navel
yawns and takes the world in its belly....This moment is eternity.
This light I call genius, noble being conversant with gods. He goes out, hears the hum of the
world, beings of light muttering in every stream. In every rock and tree he hears god songs.
Then he returns and tells me what god said. I flow like blood from the god's wounds. I am
the god's life made visible. I am how god comes to know himself, his ears, his hands, his eyes. ...
Bless this body where the world is gathered. Bless the light in his forehead in his heart and
hands. Bless the sun that shines on every limb.
A creature of light am I.
We are gods in the body of god. Go then and make of the world something beautiful, set
up a light in the darkness.
Normandi Ellis has done just this--she has made of the world something beautiful. I consider this
book a masterpiece, for it indeed sets up light in darkness.
(image from internet source)