Awakening Osiris

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{{#if: Awakening Osiris |
{{#if: Normandi Ellis |
Author }}

{{#if: 0-933999-74-7 |


{{#if: 1988 |

Published }}

{{#if: 222 |

Pages }}

{{#if: 2006.09.01 |

Date read }}

{{#if: 2 |

Rating /10|}}|}}


I'm going to really rip into this one.

I finally finished Awakening Osiris a few weeks ago... it was bad... really bad

This review on Amazon expresses my thoughts exactly....

The book is well-written, I'll give it that. While it is certainly more poetic than any other version of the Book of the Dead, it comes at the cost of all of the specifics and crucial information needed for success in the afterlife-- which is why the Book was written in the first place! The true poetry of the Chapters of Comming Forth by Day lies in the information contained within the hieroglyphs. Interpreting the BoD in this manner is like rewriting the New Testament or the Dead Sea Scrolls and inserting one's own personal orinion into the text. A book like this is no less blasphemous.

So, first the good. It is very poetic. The use of language grabs you from the first Spell (chapter).

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. p 43

I am learning to master thought, to do as I say I do, to say I feel what I feel. I am not angry when I speak gentle words. I do not beat the donkey and call myself beloved of gods. Truly I strive to carry the load without noticing the burden, to be on this hot earth a cool jug of water, to stand in the wind like sturdy sycamore branches, a place where birds rest, where cattle gather, where sap rises, wherein earth and sky are home. p 58

But then the going gets rough. If you were expecting this to be a reflection of Egyptian culture, it's not. She throws in modern concepts, such as 'atoms' (p 61), etc. You see interesting concepts, but you can never be sure if it's really an Egyptian concept or a modern one.

Then she has the hubris to completely fabricate her own chapters. Chapters that, IMO, do not contribute to the book at all. (Not to mention her fascination with the scatalogical references in them.)

But she so clearly has a Christian bias it's not funny... She never mentions the name Amun, but uses "God". She states that Egypt really only had one God, and that the other 'gods' weren't really Gods... um.. ok. (I'll give her the Amun one since Amun went through stages of popularity, so the text doesn't necessarily contain him.) Even as early as the introduction, it's clear she's coming from a certain viewpoint. She refers to "the 4th gospel", which has no meaning outside of a blatantly Christian context. People from other cultures possibly wouldn't even be able to find the "4th gospel". Egyptians themselves wouldn't know about it as it hadn't been written yet. She says that like the 4th gospel, the Book of the Dead starts with The Word, seeming to indicate that Egyptian Mythology was really just pointing to Christianity. 1) Egyptian came before Gospel. 2) Egyptian mythology was all about language and naming things to make them real, so of course it begins with The Word.

This book is like a really tough assignment. You dread doing it, but you don't feel like you can justify doing anything else until you've finished it. So you slug along slowly, getting nothing else done at all. Then you finally finish it and you have a manic spree of getting other things done. This book took me over 6 months to read. Once I finally read it however, I've gotten quite a few books read since then.

Finally, I think the most damage this book does to the Egyptian Book of the Dead is that there are no illustrations whatsoever. The Book of the Dead relies on the illustrative quality of the words themselves, as well as depicting various scenes to emphasize parts. Without that emphasis, you can completely overlook very important parts of the mythology that are only briefly mentioned in the text.

The author's credentials on the cover are that she "teaches writing at the university level and has studied the Egyptian language for many years". So she's a remedial ed english teacher who likes to look at travel books?

--Tometheus 12:45, 13 October 2006 (EDT)