This book is one of the treasures of the Nile—a woman's reflection on the meaning of her lives, a lucid exposition of ancient Egyptian metaphysics and an Isis poem to die for.
"My quest for the miraculous," the author writes, "has become a daily quest. I try to remember in every moment that I am a creature of Light, shot through with radiance, energy, transformative power. I am an ordinary miracle, an ape transformed, a child become woman, water and dust walking. 1 am a divine thought moving through matter in a world filled with splendor. As the ancient Egyptian scriptures say: I am the fruit of every god" (p 33).
Author of Awakening Osiris, a translation of The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Ellis learned to read hieroglyphics during solitary all-night study vigils at her kitchen table. Following her passion to write (even if she never had any readers), she struggled to find a time of her own. First she gave up housework, then cooking. She struggled with her day job. She tried to be a good mother to her young daughter and faced her husband's growing anger and jealousy. Still aching to write, she sought the help of hypnosis to awaken at 4 a.m. As her marriage ended, she moved to a basement room in her parents' home and traveled to Egypt three times (the first time alone).
The book is more than the author's personal story, however poignant that may be; Ellis' scholarship shines in her discussions of the esoteric meanings of the ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses and of the ancient Egyptian conception of body, soul and spirit. There are, she writes, ten spiritual states, which she calls "bodies of form and light in manifestation," from the most purely spiritual (Klui) to the most purely physical (Aufu). In between are bodies of the mental and emotional realm, including Ab (the heart or seat of conscience, weighted after death against Maat's feather) and Sekhent (magical power or will), and bodies of the etheric realm, including Saint (the "body of gold"). Aufu is "the flesh inhabited by all (nine] of the above" (p 144).
Although the wings of Isis caress the writing on every page, this is not your typical "Goddess book." With its New Thought vocabulary and references to the Light and thoughts of God, it may, in fact, sound a bit too New Agey for many Wiccan readers. Read the book anyway. Learn what Normandi Ellis learns in both the geographical and historical Egypt and the Egypt of the heart and mind. Walk through the night with her to the "room of gold" in the Great Pyramid and learn with her that "the real jewels of the pharaoh's tombs and the pyramids cannot be stolen. [The sarcophagus in the King's Chamber] holds the riches of all our lives, all our past and present and future selves. It is what is most endurably your own. The sarcophagus remains as the symbol of initiation into the Great Mystery. What is contained within the chest is what is contained within the human heart..."(p. 385).
~review by Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D.
Author: Normandi Ellis
Quest Books 1995
pp. 417, $22.