The Purpose Journey (22)©

After, breakfast the group again retired to the library to continue the discussion of the night before. All agreed that magick lessons could be postponed.

Rav began, “I think it prudent to briefly summarize what we have discovered.

First, the social belief impressed upon us since early childhood, i.e., that each possesses a single, unified, homogeneous, and isotropic Ego, or Self, is inconsistent with conscious observation of our mental function, awake or dreaming. Such inconsistency remaining, regardless of where one’s theological position lies between extreme materialism and monotheism.

Second, as the ontogenetic consequence of normal childhood development, we all birthed and manifest several very distinct ‘selves.’ Though, I used ‘self and selves’ in talks, in truth, these words are inherently confusing when used in the vernacular. The concept of ‘self’ in folk psychology innately presumes the existence, in addition to the physical body, of a unified, homogeneous aphysical entity psychological or mental entity, a Self or a Soul.

As I have chosen to eschew common concepts of folk psychology, I need to provide a word lacking any vernacular connection to self or selves. Previously, I introduced the metaphor of the mathematical ‘operator–operand pair’ in my explanation of the imago operators. I said that the imago operators act upon the appropriate operand (incoming somatic and visceral data) so to create defined virtual images, or imagines. Moreover, I showed that we all operate in our manufactured virtual worlds and not directly in the physical. Subsequently, all of the more complicated psychological entities we experience, our folk selves are no more than our integrated body imago in our local space.

Therefore, I opine that we can replace the vernacular ‘self and selves’ with ‘imago and imagines.’

For example,

Proto-Imago: Humans, primates, monkeys, cats, dogs, and likely all higher mammals and birds manifest a primitive imago, the proto-imago. As previously discussed, based upon ethological observation, these organisms appear to possess inward and outward imago operators (finer grained in species possessing more complex nervous systems). Such operators functioning together so to assure that the virtual imago created by CNS accurately mirrors the spatial position and movements made by the creature’s physical body. The proto-imago is experienced solely ‘in the here and now.’

Previously, I identified the proto-imago with the somataffective imago. I used the latter term as it accurately describes the nature of the proto-imago. As we learned, the inward imago operator manufactures a real-time model of the physical body using the actual spatial distribution of the creature’s somatic and visceral nervous systems, their local electrochemical tissue activity.

Furthermore, by continuous monitoring of the biophysical state of the interior body, the CNS responds via the motor systems, overt and covert, in a meaningful way to changes in the creature’s immediate environment.

Cognitive Presence: Earlier, we discussed the cognitive self which manifests around 18 months after birth. For your convenience, I discussed this concept using a psychological term favored by psychologists, ‘cognitive self.’ Later, I replaced the term ‘self’ with the term ‘presence.’ The reason being that the child is not experiencing his or her third imago as an independent entity; rather, the child is experiencing simple existence or presence in his or her mind.

This experience is atemporal and aspatial. As the child continues to attend to the episodic reappearances of the ‘experience the unchanging feeling of just being present’ over long time intervals, he or she automatically develops an unshakeable confidence in the timelessness of formless presence. Eventually, this timeless feeling of formless presence develops into a feeling of continuity in time. It is as if, each moment of new existence is simply another point on a continuous number line.

Deep introspection upon the ‘experience of just being present’ is part of your Path of Work at the Institute. For without a full understanding of the source and meaning of “being present’ no progress will be make towards the goal of awakening into full consciousness, type III reality.

Autobiographical Imago: The combined functioning of the proto-imago, the cognitive presence, and autobiographical memory gradually come together so to merge in what folk psychology calls the personal Self or Ego. Though, superficially, it appears united to our normal attention and awareness, in truth, ‘tis naught but a dream figment or indigestion late at night.”

Again, Rav had spoken without interruption. After drowning a goblet of honey mead, he said, “No questions, please. I would like all of you to return to your rooms and contemplate what I have taught yesterday evening and this morning. It is important that you arrive at your very only conclusions as to what this all means and whether it even makes sense. I will ring a bell in ninety minutes and then the topic is washed from your minds and you are back to practicing some magick spells with Merlin or Morgana.”

Everyone did as he or she had been instructed. No one said a word, not even Morgana.

The Purpose Journey (21)©

After breakfast, Merlin announced that today was a holiday and everyone was going to visit Camelot. The students had almost forgotten because of the recent excitement. All were most curious about Camelot and its population.

The visit to Camelot was a grand success and everyone returned tired and hungry. Following dinner, all retired to the library so to discover the answer to Celestine’s last question, “. . . but it is only a part of something bigger, right?”

As usual, everyone sat in his or her familiar chair with goblets of honey mead before them. Rav began, “I will do my best to answer Celestine’s question, but I am afraid you may find the answer deficient in one way or the other. And this is how it will likely remain for eternity?”

Rav said, “First I want to review the basic information as to the importance of conscious creatures for the esoteric evolution of the universe. Then, I am hoping one or more of you shall be able to respond to Celestine’s question.”

“As you all know, I am not fond of how the word ‘ego’ is utilized in either folk or academic psychology. For most lay persons, ‘ego’ is portrayed, as a unified, homogeneous, isotropic entity residing within, but, superior to and alien to the corporeal body, i.e., Ego is considered a proper noun. Ego equating with a God given soul.

Furthermore, the presumption of a unified ego, or a conscious center for authoring actions, is known in academic psychology, including, psychoanalysis. The exception being the ego state theorists denying the reality of a single unified ego. Rather, the psyche consists of several distinct ego states introjects, or responses thereto (dissociations), born during childhood, personas. Normally, our personas share equal access to our store of autobiographical memories (though differentially) such that our working ego state appears single. However, experiencing severe, early psychological trauma calls forth the most primitive defense mechanism, dissociation, resulting in the birth of separate ego states generally isolated from the normal working ego, or multiple personalities.

The theoretical model I utilize in therapy resides close to the ego state theorists, but, is significantly different.

First, we noted that the psychocerebrum possesses an outward-directed imago-operator which functions so to create and overlay a virtual image corresponding to a person’s physical surroundings. Furthermore, during normal waking mental functioning the developing child learns to trust this world-imago as being accurate and useful for interacting with such world and its creatures, i.e., it Is real?

Simultaneously, a second imago-operator, the inward-directed one using the peripheral nervous system, creates a three-dimensional, spatial replicate of the tissue compartments of the corporeal physical body. Embedded within such spatial replicate is information concerning the biochemical locality for each and every tissue compartment. As the peripheral nervous, both autonomic and sensory, and the circulatory systems are closely connected with the central nervous system, the CNS, in real time and space; the CNS formulates and overlays a somatic imago onto the physical body maintained by bidirectional information flow.

As we develop, the psychocerebrum joins the two virtual images so to provide a third virtual image. This ‘working imago’ is experienced somataffectively as situated within the physical world allowing us to function successfully over life. As the child progresses in neurological development, it consciously becomes aware of the working imago situated in the physical and being the author and receiver of physical actions. Such time frames encompassing the time period after the birth of the cognitive self and crystallization of the autobiographical self, mistakenly believing itself to be an independent, unified Ego or Soul.

In order to better appreciate the real nature of our working imagines, we need to return to our discussion of the cognitive self, or more accurately, the cognitive presence. Around 18 months of age, the child suddenly appreciates a growing feeling of being present in his or her life. That he or she can act upon the external world with intentionality. He or she can initiate motor actions and receive motor actions. When this feeling first arises, it is nothing more than the feeling of being present; a feeling of simple, essential existence not defined by time, space, or form; a feeling of formless, atemporal beingness. At this early age, the child lacks the cognitive capacity to integrate this cognitive feeling of presence with the concept of existing as a physical body or a disembodied entity.

Though, I am unable to trace the full neurocircuitry, I have denoted the operational apparatus necessary for experiencing cognitive presence, the simple feeling of beingness, and formless and atemporal existence, as the ergoegotic apparatus, or working egoism apparatus. The operation of this apparatus generating the feeling of cognitive presence, or the action noun, ergoegoism.

Later, as the autobiographical self solidifies, this original feeling of ‘simple presence’ is merged with the somataffective state of the physical-emotional body resulting in our normal feeling of being an Ego, a Self, and Individual. Most important, the strength and usefulness of the ongoing interactions between the CNS and the body’s physiological-emotive states increase over time, eclipsing the earlier cognitive presence by solidifying the prime importance of the somataffective data for maintaining a functional self.

The continuing existence of the cognitive presence can be validated and appreciated by consciously attentive persons beginning in late adolescence during transient episodes of depersonalization. During an experience of depersonalization, ones psychocerebrum fails to activate sufficiently the neural circuitry required for generating the somataffective feeling of existing as a self in the world. The lost cathexis normally routed to the somataffective generator being replaced by increased cathexis to the ergoegotic apparatus and the feeling of ergoegoism.

During a state of depersonalization, a person is fully functional, cognitively realizing that he or she is present in life, but, lacks his or her normally present somataffective input and so feels ‘selfless’ in a very strange way. Conscious awareness is present, but the body feels dead. One might call this formless feeling of presence, psychic consciousness.

Naturally, severe and extended states of depersonalization are dealt within psychiatry.

As we complete today’s lesson, I need to stress, the unappreciated, esoteric fact that the foundation stones (for awakening and enlightenment) reside with psychic consciousness, cognitive presence, and ergoegoism and NOT in the autobiographical and somataffective self. For the form of the virtual self arises solely from the physical world by conditioning ergoegoism. Limited ergoegoism leads to death, enhanced ergoegoism towards permanence and immortality.”

Rav finally finished his impromptu lecture for the evening. Everyone was quite amazed as he had not stopped for even one sip of honey mead. Even old Merlin and Morgana had been riveted to their chairs during the fireside talk.

Morgana asked, “Honey, are we much different than humans and other corporeal creatures as far as our psychological functioning?”

“Actually, my darling, dream world creatures are much the same, as you all arise from the dreams, desires, and cognitions of corporeal creatures. And remember the corporeal world exists only to form physical creatures capable of imagining and bringing to life and consciousness the dream world itself. Eventually, the physical world becomes redundant and unnecessary after enough dream worlds are crystallized or actualized.”

Merlin nodded saying, “Let me ask a question.”

“Go, ahead, old friend, ask away.” replied Rav.

“What happens to the physical after it is not directly required?”

“I don’t know, Merlin. I imagine it serves some purpose until it chills to absolute zero and all that is left towards the end is Original Soul. Perhaps, you and I will stay around to see, eh?” answered Rav with a hearty laugh.

Morgana piped up, “OK, children, off to bed. See you for breakfast. And do not forget to do your magic meditation.”

And off everyone went to bed, tired from their day.

The Purpose Journey (20)©

The first to the breakfast table the next morning were the students. They had so many questions, not to mention that Rav and Morgana were going to procreate a human elf. Soon Merlin entered and took his seat at the head table. Shortly thereafter, Rav and Morgana arrived. Rav helped her sit at the bench and then kissed her on the cheek and took his seat. Everyone noticed that Morgana’s face radiated a peculiar kind of subtle light causing an aura around her whole head. Rav started laughing, “Traditional Elf fertility lore teaches that after an Elf lady has conceived a child she will show a subtle aura around her head. Based upon Morgana’s glow, I would say it is the elf baby which causes the glow and not the mother herself.”

Morgana replied, “Of course our baby makes me glow for she is a Royal Elf. Darling, I am so happy with you and our Eleanor.”

“Eleanor? Where did this name come from?” asked Rav.

Morgana replied, “It is the middle name of Marduk’s sister. She told me in a dream.”

Breakfast was on the table and everyone stopped chatting and paid full attention to eating the meal. When eating one was to observe the color and texture of the food on the plate, its smell, how it felt upon the tongue and when it was chewed, which taste buds were stimulated, how it felt to swallow, and so on. One was to be present when eating as practice for more trying times during the day.

After everyone finished breakfast, Justin asked a question, “Rav, I have experienced a most curious feeling since we began this journey. I have felt a feeling that every place we visited not only exists by itself, but may even be more real than our physical world. I realize that we are in suspended meditation on Earth and our group awareness has been present in several dream worlds, astral planes, or fantasy realms. I experience myself here with a functioning physical body. I am learning about magick that actually works. You are here, married to Morgana, and going to have an Elf baby with a lady born from an ancient tale. And Merlin is more real to me than most people I know well in the physical. I am rather sure that if I were killed in Camelot, my body on Earth would die. What’s going on?”

Justin’s friends piped up, “What is going on? We feel the same as Justin.”

Rav replied, “Good observation, Justin. First, the feeling which has plagued you since we began our ‘astral travels’ is legitimate, as this feeling of actually being present in each of these aphysical worlds, and a good landmark of inner progress. If you remember back to my evening lesson on Original Soul, I offered a simple explanation of how physical universes arise and cease to exist after an imaginably long time period. Moreover, I explained that the underlying purpose for each new physical universe was to act as an apparatus for the emergence of awareness.

The first type of awareness being cellular, secondary to electrical, chemical, and mechanical forces transduced across the cell membrane. Later came creatures possessing the first inkling of neurons, the multicellular genus Hydras, with some thirty separate species; allowing one cell layer to communicate with another, local or more distant. Eventually, there arose phylum Platyhelminthes, a common genus being Planaria, or nonparasitic flatworms. These simple creatures posses sensory and motor nerves working through a very simple brain, or neural net. Such neural net being little more than a set on connecting neurons. As evolution proceeded the neural net arrangement was maintained in the majority of animal phylum (the invertebrates).

Much later in evolutionary time, vertebrate species began appearing, the Chordata. With the appearance of the vertebrates, a central nervous system comprised of an increasingly more complicated brain came to exist. The higher mammals likely possessing an awareness somewhat akin to human beings, but without any sense of past or future, no autobiographical memory, or abstract thinking. They undoubtedly form images of their particular physical worlds.

With the appearance of potentially self-aware creatures, human beings, the universe became filled with aphysical dream worlds, many of which were linked by individual human minds. Once these virtual worlds came into being, true consciousness was able to reemerge from oblivion so to reorganize itself in preparation for reconstructing a richer, fuller, and more aware Original Soul or Mind.

As Original Mind is the true experiential actuality, as far as your mind is concerned, being closer in resonance with the reforming Original Soul provides the feeling you and the others are experiencing, Justin. The physical world is only the vehicle, the psychic world is the existential actuality which we want to become part of. Any more questions?”

Celestine asked, “Rav, you taught us that at the end of a physical universe that Original Soul fragments itself into its original entities, erases such patterns, and places its intentions into said new universe. This is a good purpose for sure, but it must only be a part of something bigger, right?”

“Correct.

 

The God Conundrum (12)©

                                     THE ETERNAL SEARCH FOR GOD (6)

He sleeps. A new dream begins.

I am an old man, an ancient one, and I have been many things, lived and died many times, and loved as often as possible. And I tell you the gods exist within the limits of every thing–stone or vegetable, woman or man. Even the red clay the potter molds hides their essence. That a creature or thing exists makes it one with god. Blessed are we all. Because we exist we live for eternity as women or men, birds or fish, stones or wheat, dust in the wind. We shall be what we imagine though we know not yet what that may be. Blessed are we in eternal changing. We live among gods because we are gods. Blessed are the creatures and gods of earth, things of the air and water, flame from the fire.

I have lived in the midst of gods who knew not who they were. You and I are pure as dream, lasting as words, opulent as women. We were given the gift of becoming and the ways of it. After a time of forgetting, I come back to myself. I am as tied to my destiny as an ass is tied to its plow. Because the gods will it, the work is done, and our labor to become what we must is like the perfume of lotus and red oleanders.

I have taken pains to empty myself of the illusions of flesh, to accept failure, even success when it comes, but not to crave it as some men crave wine. I have looked into my heart and seen jealousy, pride and greed. I’ve seen fear and resistance to change. Even as I cast these off as a snake sheds skins, I’ve been tempted to congratulate myself. I have regretted the past and longed for the future, forgetting to notice the mountain of the present. But today, for this moment, I am here with you unburdened by thought and filled with joy. In this moment I regret nothing for the paths I chose led me here. I offer you my life. In this moment as the veil opens and before it closes, I see us as we are–that we are gods, that all that exists and can be named is god coming from the body of god. If I but touch the present, I shall know what lies before and behind for these, too, are holy members of his body. I am, therefore, a god among you, born in the company of men. I tell you in truth, here, in my field behind this sometimes slow and stubborn donkey, I am standing before god. It is good to be here.

********

Friends, let us add some additional life to our own Sacred Images, I want to tell you a wonderful story that will help you commune with the God of Compassion. This story is called the Giving Tree, written by Shel Silverstein.

Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy. Every day the boy would come and he would gather her leaves and make them into crowns and play king of the forest. He would climb up her trunk and swing from her branches and eat apples. They would play hide-and-go-seek. And when he was tired, he would sleep in her shade. The boy loved the tree very much and the tree was happy.

But time went by and the boy grew older and the tree was often alone. Then one day the boy came to the tree and the tree said, ‘Come, boy, and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be happy’.
‘I am to big to climb and play,’ said the boy. ‘I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money. Can you give me some money?’

‘I’m sorry, boy, but I have no money. I have only apples and leaves. Take my apples, boy, and sell them in the city and you will have some money and you will be happy.’ And the boy climbed up the tree and gathered her apples and carried them away. And the tree was happy.

But the boy stayed away for a long time and the tree was sad. One day the boy came back and the tree shook with joy, ‘Come, boy, climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and play and be happy.’

‘I’m to busy to climb trees’, said the boy. ‘I want a house to keep warm. I want a wife and I want children and so I need a house. Can you give me a house?’

‘I have no house’, said the tree. ‘The forest is my home, but you can cut off my branches and take my trunk and build a house and then you will be happy.’ And so the boy cut off all her branches and took her trunk and carried them away to build his house. And the tree was happy…but not really.

And after a very long time the boy, who was a very old man, came back again. ‘I’m sorry, boy,’ said the tree, ‘but I have nothing left to give you. My apples are gone.’

‘My teeth are too weak for apples,’ said the boy.

‘My branches are gone so you can’t swing on them anymore.’

‘I am too old to swing on branches,’ said the boy. ‘I am too tired to even climb.’

‘I’m sorry,’ sighed the tree. ‘I wish I could give you something…but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump. I’m so sorry, boy.’

‘I don’t need very much now,’ said the boy, ‘just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am so very tired.’

‘Well,’ said the tree straightening herself up as best she could, ‘well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.’

And the boy did. And the tree was very happy. [my addition to the end]

And the boy remembered how much he loved the tree.  The boy said, “Tree, I love you with all my heart and all my mind.  You are the most important creature in all of my life.  And I am happy at last, dear Tree.  For you have taught me how God must love this world–even me with my selfishness..  Thank you, Tree. Soon I shall lie down in the ground next to you and we both shall remember our good times–forever.”

To summarize, dear friends, the eternal search for God is the path we each have chosen, hopefully each is making progress. This search represents the ultimate chore which must be accomplished for each man and woman desiring to be Present beyond the Inbreathes  and Outbreathes  of Brahma. This is attaining to Dharma. To find your particular path of attainment, practice the techniques given to you today. Do not settle for the complacency of cursory knowledge, but find truth and understanding for yourself. Realize that only knowledge you have personally earned can lead to God.

I am going to say goodbye now, realizing that our shared experience has become a part of my own Sacred Image, and for that, I love each of you. God bless.

The God Conundrum (11)©

THE ETERNAL SEARCH FOR GOD (6)

In order to prepare yourselves for this experience, I am going to ask each of you to take a minute or two and simply pay attention to your cycle of breathing. Noting silently to yourself whenever an in-breath is present, whenever an out-breath is present, nothing more. If your mind wanders, simply bring it back to the breath, without mental comment. Be present without judgement nor expectation. You are in the Now with your current mind. No right way, no wrong way, just the Way (NB: allow about 3 minutes and continue with presentation).

Now I would like each of you to imagine that you are going to enter in a Sacred Place and call forth your current understanding of the “God of your heart, the God of your realization”. Say to yourself as you mentally enter into this Sacred Place, ‘May I enter into Communion with the Sacred Hosts and cleanse myself of all impurities of body and mind’. After entering, call up your Sacred Image and prepare to infuse it with light, life and love (allow three minutes or so).

Friends, let us begin refining our own Sacred Images, intellectually and emotionally, by considering two Sacred Images taken from the Egyptian Book of the Dead; first the hymn called, “Greeting Ra”, second the hymn called “Becoming One of the Ancients”.

“This day I am with you. Stabbed by the light of the great mind I wake. The sun crests the hill and the hawk, according to a higher will, whirls and circumscribes day. I am called from my house. I shuffle sand underfoot, but my heart leaps. I open, am pierced by light. A cry escapes my lips. I know not what I say; it is the language of soul beneath skin, the song of birds in acacia trees.

Beautiful is the golden seed from which the corn arises; beautiful the sun on the hill from which springs god’s day. My body nourishes some unfolding time and purpose. I shine bronze as Hathor’s mirror. My heart lifts like the sun. Passion and power quiver on the land, casting long shadows.

Now the people in their houses stir, yawning, shouting, stretching. Shot through with light, they glow and quiver. Stones of sunlight pile up in heaven. Emerald is truth when god draws near. Blessed are we by sun.

Ra is the child, a golden knot of flesh dropped from open air, bright star in the dark house of Osiris, heir to the ages, word edged into world. He grows a long beard and sits on the mountain, knowing its secrets. He rises from the flood. Drawing up water, he quenches the thirst of his people. They drink and enter the river. He sucks the breast of heaven, golden-haired, flesh on fire. Always burning, returning, always constant and new.
It is his breath we breathe, his love that endures, his power that moves the world. We are the quivering of his arrows, the stirring of his hands. We are his spirit moving in matter. May the eye of god pierce us and give us the grace of his will. We are held in god’s hands. Like the ocean, we whirl and remain the same. We are bound by law and held by the truth of change, that all seasons return, and that which was once and is no more shall come again.

Sing then, rejoice and bind yourself to god’s will. See how the seed falls from the tree and is buried. Die at once and live again. You shall grow like that sycamore, rooted in matter, bound for boundless sky. You shall be blown by wind. You shall see the storm and sing its praises. You shall lie in the fields and kiss the earth. Raise your arms. You shall see the fury and power of god and change forever.

Drink the cup of heaven. Let grace roll down your head like water. Drink in earth; take in the things of the world. The barley grows straight in rows; the young shoots unfurl according to a higher purpose. Truth rides visibly through the world. Have you not seen it? The sun shimmers with the power of gold. We are breathless in golden air. Drink in the light and praise the cup of forever that spills out the threads of eternity.
Ra is an old man walking the world, as much with the earth as the skin of a snake. He is with us, the spirit, the gold, the god, the ebb of life, watcher over the world. We rise like swallows and fly up the ladder of heaven. We sit in his hand. He buries us in the blue egg of the world. We are pressed into the soil and rise. We grow in him. The world changes, and god and men. We spin and sing in the house of sun. The earth is glad. Cows chew the cud of light. We breathe the perfume of a golden flower. Old men and women rise, burst from their houses, arms lifted, dancing, crying, singing. Dawn is a lyre playing the song of day.

Ra rises. He goes out into the world, a passion, a fire burning up night, making day. His light ennobles the face of heaven. He warms the belly of sky. He gladdens Nut, his mother. He walks the upper regions, his heart inflamed with love. The waters in the pool of the farthest oasis are calmed. He gathers the sand serpents to his breast. He fears no living thing. He made them, what is known and not known. He speaks their names and takes their venom. The snake who gobbles the world enters Ra. Burned in fire, he vomits the evil he has spoken. His words are smelted into gold. With a kiss, Ra turns poison into magic. He twines the snake about him. Now death lives on his forehead, side by side, with light. Let breath come and go. Let the great world change. Let men see that serpents entwine the god as the light of god entwines each man. It brushes his lips with sunlight, with kisses of life, kisses of death, kisses of joy, kisses of poison and magic.

The evening boat draws near. Ra comes to meet it at the edge of sky, the edge of river, the thin blade of time. It arrives and he steps from the shore of knowing. He enters. Small waves rock the boat and the stems of reeds are bowing. He sails off: north, south, east or west. He travels lightly toward the other shore of time. Infinity is his. Behold! a star has entered sky. The geese take flight across a waxing moon. Oh substance, understanding of earth, creature of becoming making himself understood. Flames of fire lick his body like golden serpent tongues, like the mouths of women in love. The wind uplifts him. He sings a dark song gliding toward dusk in the boat of evening. We show him our hands, the magic he placed in them. His boat slices water. He passes towering papyrus. Three godlike ducks wade in and follow. They glide, turn and spiral. Three godlike sparrows swoop and spin above the banks. Even the frogs are dancing and singing.

Ra rules the air and the gods invisible. The book of law lies in his hands. The speech of his lips falls lightly into being. His word enters the world. “Creation,” says he. “Destruction. Power invisible. Glory. The house of heaven is the house of man. No walls stand between heaven and earth. You are no farther from me than from your own hot breath.” At any moment you enter heaven by saying, “I am a temple of Ra.” Love is his light; compassion the light of the world. Ra is fire. Joy is the sky. His heart beats with forever. The white clouds of his thought pass over the sky and water.

Like a fish in water, like a lapwing among stars I breathe among the gods. I have lived among gods countless years. I am an old soul, a great man, one of the ancients. Many nights I have looked into the fire, felt the heat of their tongues, seen their faces, heard them speaking. Many days I have stopped behind my plow to gaze up, blind with the sun and the gods’ power. In my times, and there have been many times, I have come to know the gods. By their silence I understand their presence. I have quivered beneath the power of their hands on my head and trembled in the powerlessness of their absence when they turned and left me to my destiny.

At dawn beyond the ring of trees, the great one comes like the golden eye of a hawk opening, like the wind that moves the boats, his breath caught in a tattered white sail. With invisible hands he tugs on the green shoots causing corn and wheat to rise. The first among us, he willed himself to be, then in his loneliness dreamed the company of others. Because he willed it ripples formed on the water and clouds billowed in the sky. Because he willed it stars spewed from his lips and the sun and moon sprang from his eyes. Because he willed it he gave power to lesser gods the way a mother gives bread to her children. They, in turn to please him, made fish in the sea, birds in the air and wheat in the fields. Because he willed it men and women leapt forth and made children, tamed cattle, harvested barley. Because it pleased him he made these things and lay destiny upon them. What passes, what is and what will be are the stuff of the old man’s dreams. One day he’ll wake and all he has made to flourish will wither. He will coil round himself, a snake devouring his children, then slither away with us all in his belly. And we shall go away with him knowing what a good dream it was.

Normandi Ellis, AWAKING OSIRIS