Continuing with the Egyptian theme from yesterday’s post, the story of Isis searching the land of Egypt for the dismembered parts of her slain husband, Osiris, gives form to some thoughts that I’ve been having about my experience since I began my Sunrise Sadhana.
Through the experiences that I’ve written about, and other encounters that I haven’t, I have often felt that I was in the process of re-collecting parts of myself that I had for various reasons left behind or neglected or forgotten. My experience yesterday with the sun and moon and the resulting re-animation of my past experiences with Horus brought that sensation into exceptionally high relief, again, appropriate relative to the myth of Osiris.
My experience also brings to mind the short story by Margret Atwood, “Isis in Darkness”, in which an aging poetry professor who has lost his way makes it his life’s purpose to search out and assemble the life and works of one of his former students, Selena, whose poetry he admired. Selena lived her life as a poet but became disillusioned, succumbs to alcoholism, and dies before her time.
While the story movingly reverses the male-female roles of the myth, it is also clear that in reconstructing Selena’s life, he is also redeeming, and reconnecting with, his own soul. This student’s paper puts it very well:
By undertaking this project, he accomplishes two things: First, he takes on the role of Isis, transforming Selena into an immortal author by bringing together the pieces of her life, and second, he transforms himself into an author in his own right. Just as Isis reconstructs herself while she reconstructs Osiris, Richard builds himself into the author he has always wanted to be as he pieces together the note cards that contain the facts he has learned about Selena.
Both the original myth and Atwood’s story hint at this profound process that we are all capable of doing for ourselves. While the process is always poignant, whether one’s story ends in tragedy or beatitude depends upon the undertaking.