This literary gem is much, much more than a "new and improved" translation of the Coffin Texts, or The Going Forth By Day (Egyptian Book of the Dead). It is a mystic and poetic interpretation of great personal depth and collective application.
Even the Author's brief introduction to the book reveals a wealth of historical and spiritual understanding:
the god of the dead, is a green god, an image of the seed waiting
in the dark to burst forth into renewal. His symbol was the growing corn.
His death and rebirth illuminated the path from darkness
to light, from unconsciousness to enlightenment. In that light, I called this book
AWAKENING OSIRIS for I thought of it as a call to consciousness and spiritual awakening.
We are all Osirises.
The hieroglyphic source and meaning of the original text continues to create controversy among scholars, anthropologists, and New Age believers. Theories include suggestions that the texts are examples of primitive animism and superstition; were inspired by extraterrestrial intelligences; or reflect corrupted gleanings from a "higher" civilization, possibly Atlantean.
The Gnostic Pagan Tradition views the intriguing, often bizarre images of the texts, to be transmissions of direct knowledge (gnosis) and communication with daemonic, or allegorical reality--the interconnected flip side of
AWAKENING OSIRIS is a description of the soul's journey through the land of the dead (collective unconscious astral strata) to reach the Realm of Ra, the Land of Light and Rebirth.
More than a series of sugarcoated, contemporary religious platitudes when faced by reality or death, Normandi Ellis' text is often graphically brutal in its unflinching view:
Darkness gives way to light, dumbness to speech,
confusion to understanding.
Devourers of the dead are given their own dry bones to eat. The worm that would suck the eye of Ra has been pitched into the fire; it sizzles
like rotten meat.
Chapter 7," The Duel", depicts the conflict between Set and Osiris, the Great Mother Isis' intervention, and the subsequent birth of Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child, and his triumphant vanquishing of Set (Satan, exploitation):
In heaven the gods wept and looked away, all but
watched the bloody onslaught for he was unafraid of truth. They might have
killed each other, but for the flashing hand of truth which sometimes parted
them. They rested. They rose and fought. Years passed. Oh, hideous face
of the beast! Looking into his uncle's eyes, Horus saw only himself.
The knives thrust into Set came away with Horus' blood. The eye he tore out
was the eye
Indeed, the deification of Truth (Thoth) is central to AWAKENING OSIRIS and to our Tradition as well, uniting heaven and earth--while at the same time distinguishing between them too.
am a lover of truth. I cut away lies, these rags of mortality.
I am incense on the altar, seven grains of moly smoldering in flame,
seven sparks dancing in the air. Seven heron fly in the light of Osiris.
Seven fish leap from the river into the bird's mouths. Seven stars dream in the
northern sky nestled in the lap of a bear. There is a serpent writhing
through heaven, unbound by the weight of earth. His tonque flicks flames.
He licks the fingers of gods, but the snake left to earth licks
only dark and dust.
The Serpent of Knowledge (Gnosis) girdles the Constellations, the heavens or higher aethers; the (ego-mind) serpent of mortality must be transfigured from its lower elements during the process of The Great Work--or it will drag all material existence into the hell, or dark hole, of mortal ego self-absorption. This concept is further illustrated in "Triumph Over Darkness" in a passage, which indicates the source of evil to be biological and personal, rather than an expression of an infinite (dualistic) spiritual reality:
I have seen the face of evil--
with a hundred coils in its tail that would claim for itself
whatever it touched: the perfume hibiscus, the heart of a lover, the lights of its days,
the thoughts and passions of others. It would clutch these things
squeeze them and suck out their vitality. Then the snake
would rise up with a shake of its tail and name itself god, knower of all,
possessed of all wisdom. "I am alone," it cries, "know the truth and I shall
keep it." He is the serpent that separates men from gods.
I have seen the face of evil--
a face full of burns and scars, tortures inflicted upon the self.
He would scald his own chest and blame it on others.
He would slash his own wrists and blame it on the gods.
Blind is he even to the motion of his own hand
that rises up and plucks out his
This book should definitely be read aloud.
AWAKENING OSIRIS is a hymn and a challenge -- a Gnostic document of both the Old and the New Aeon. It is a statement so personal as to be universal:
I am one of the great ones sitting in a field of
I eat and I am nourished. In turn I offer myself,
the bread of air, the white spirit of fire.
I am a falcon of gold. I burn with a passion and lie still.
I flare and smolder, live and die in a breath. I sail on gold wings that fan the blaze.
I am consumed by fire. This is what I was born to:
to live, to love, to know, to change and embrace the infinite.
I shall not forget my becoming.
This beautiful book is not meant to be a literal interpretation, but is closer to the truth of the ancient Egyptian spiritual culture than any purely literal translation.
See also, HYMN TO OSIRIS & HYMN to HATHOR
by Normandi Ellis