Thursday, 4 February 2010


"Day upon day the sun is risen. Day upon day the sun rises"
Awakening Osiris, Normandi Ellis

When is something really over? Is 'really over' what completion means? I'm not sure how much the Oxford dictionary definition helps: "the action or state of completing or being completed." What's an 'action', if not movement? 'State', as it's suggested here is a "condition of something or someone." Does this 'state/condition' imply fixity? If so, would this not contradict 'action/movement'? "Completing" certainly corresponds with action; as does "being completed."

The perplexity lies in the apparent permanence or finality of something being completed. The following illustrates some of the times when we're supposed to watch the curtain embrace after the fat lady's song, signalling the end of the show...

The end of our school years: need I stress the obvious? If school is about learning then how can this end? School, life and learning are variables of an interminable quest.

Completing Further and Higher Education: where we end up after the painstaking trials of academia depends on our character. Some of us end up right where we dreamed we would; landing ourselves that pre-planned job without submitting to distractions. The whimsical among us float into a job that will simply do (bills must get paid). Yet when the course/degree is over, do the books leave our heads? Do we throw back, feet up and forget that long, painstaking journey to the fussing and family photo at graduation? Perhaps for some this signals the end of that journey, but surely the experience needs savouring; a degree is only a stage towards something, it's not the sum of it.

Relationships 1: whether painful or pleasant (both?) our relationships (parenthood, friendships/partnerships) mark us for life. We may never see that mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, friend or lover after a heart breaking bust-up but their 'absence' lives (has life force/energy), like some benign tumour, in part of us. The end of a relationship doesn't have to be heart breaking, of course, but those tend to be the ones that loiter. You dream of old school friends, whom you've not seen or spoken to since school; ex-husbands/wives/lovers slip, surreptitiously into your thoughts when least expected (when would/do you most expect it?); parents keep instructing you or dominating you after kicking you out - claiming that 'there's only room for one mother/father (pair of lovers!) in this house.' Your home is where your children's heart remains. They leave, having responsibly observed that it was time, but are comforted to know that you'll always be there for them (this is for those Shirley Temples- you know who you are - who didn't feel the boot).

Relationships 2: here, the fat lady's song would come when you've met a significant other who allegedly 'completes' you. Ah, how sweet. Some people do find their 'soul mate' and that's marvellous (I say this without sarcasm). But I wonder how reciprocal this is? There's something deific about calling someone your soul mate or 'the one'. The one what? God? What a burden! How can they live up to this? Worse, perhaps, is the belief that your 'one' should regard you as theirs! I once had the same dream as a lover (at the same time), and this may be the closest I ever come to truly believing in a soul mate; it was there, somewhere at a psychic level we met in dream space. Pedestalising someone as a soul mate - 'the one' puts pressure on them to be that perfect other half of you. They can never live up to your expectations; you will be disappointed and blame them for this. It's not their fault; they did not elect to be deified. Rethink this idea that you need to find a soul mate to feel 'completed'. Instead work on understanding the urges of your own soul and how you can best satisfy these.

Death: the end of ends? True, the physical body perishes. But we have soul. And like the ever rising setting sun, the soul is undying. It sets and rises. The Eyptians referred to this as 'becoming' and hence the Set/Horus contention in the mythology. One, Set attributes destruction; the other, Horus ressurects (gathers the scattered parts of Osiris, recreating him). This dualism of dark and light is between Cain and Abel in Genesis. In the Bible Seth (the way the Greeks spelt Set) is Adam and Eve's third child after Cain killed Abel; but it's a mirage. Cain is banished and somehow returns in the story having met other people. What if Cain has been substituted for the Egyptian Set, an attribute of Ra (the Sun)? Then his banishment could not be permanent because the Sun both Sets and rises. The Egyptians saw death as preparation, not the end. Here's an impression of what I mean from an interpretation of The Book of Coming Forth By Day (the Greeks renamed/interpreted (?) it The Egyptian Book of the Dead):

"I am Ra, from whom time began, rising, a red feather in the wind, turning,turning. I am the hub of a wheel, a day star hovering over an endless sea. I am not the harvest; I am the seed. I am not the lyre; I am the song. I will not pass away. I will not pass away. I will not enter the cavern. The lion's coat turns black in the cavern. I will change myself into a lotus dancing on water. I will not stumble in the cavern. I will follow the sun over the mountain and move on to a land of endless sun. I live for the light. I am that light, a form in the flame when one has gazed long at the fire" (Normandi Ellis's interpretation of one of the sections in the book, 1988, p.123).

Eternity seems daunting when we dance against its rhythm. Hell is a mode of consciousness. It's what we fear most about death. Some of us battle with ourselves, like Set and Horus but there is a bigger picture, a brighter light. Heaven too is a mode of consciousness, perceived by the fearless embrace of that light, the basking in the sun's rays. Nothing ends. Perhaps they become what we are, we absorb them into our being like the last words of an inspirational novel. Completion is an idea, something we're tending toward, part of our becoming and with that, I'm afraid we must try, however troubling to live. After all, have you, has anyone ever heard the fat lady's song?

Shout out