Friday, 13 April 2012

An appeal for eternal life

Courtesy : lisasolonynko
I want to return to the idea of Jesus being a sort of Osiris for the Western world. There are clear and evident parallels in the return of the vibrant young man to the world of the dead and back again to a celestial paradise. Not an exact Osiris because Jesus as a man was born into the Jewish context and in a specific historical epoch. Osiris was born into an entirely  Egyptian epoch. There can be no exact meeting of accounts and I am not in any way saying that Jesus is Osiris or a sort of pale shadow of the Egyptian. Instead, I’m saying that there is an elective affinity between Jesus and Osiris that will not go away and the more we study the parallels then the more similarities are there and  the more they stand out. The panoply of demi Gods are all there; represented by Anubis and the Gods of the underworld. Anubis is there in the same manner that Christians have the idea of hell and the creatures that wait in judgement along with Saint Peter guarding the gates.

I am most convinced that there is a sort of relationship between the two when we come to the idea of Resurrection and a clear afterlife. Without this metaphor there could have been no Egyptian need for the embalming and entombment of the dead and the Christian would not bury the dead with such care close to Churches and chapels. Both cultures seem to have had a clear and passionate belief in the afterlife based on the inescapable idea of  re-birth and life after death. I can hear Christian theologians explaining the distinct differences between Osiris and Jesus, however, we have to approach this matter in the round rather than becoming tied up on specifics.

Courtesy : Columbia114
Both people were the subject of injustice and both died a violent death. Osiris was cut into pieces and spread around Egypt and Jesus faced a ritual death with bodily fluids flowing from his wounds into the world and into the atmosphere thereby being scattered in a mystical and real way. There is something here about inhumanity and tragedy perpetrated on the Royal individual who becomes King in another place whilst also being a Creator and the guarantor of eternal life. There is something here also about public engagement with the atrocity. It is as if the world is turned upside down in the cruelty and the killing. We are all culpable in the death and share in the sacrifice because we did not collectively take part in trying to stop the injustice. Osiris and Jesus are a real sacrifice and led like a sheep to the slaughter. There is in both deaths the idea that the devil or the forces of evil took part in the death although there is also the idea that there be no other way for both individuals. Both needed to die to have the Resurrection of their bodies although each in their unique manner. Osiris becomes the reformed body held together by bandages and the art of the embalmer and Jesus walks freely amongst his followers although Jesus seems to have had some sort of ‘haze’ around him that protected his identity for a time. We’ll say little about the women involved in the story whether they are mortal or the divine Goddesses of Egypt.

Lazarus from the dead
© Godric Godricson
Jesus and Osiris died or were torn apart at the full moon and this takes us back to an earlier form of calendar when the moon was the main measure of time rather than the sun. The moon is usually an older form of measuring time and cycles and we could  become a little mystical ourselves in this area although I merely wish to lay out some sort of parallel for the involvement of a lunar calendar. Jesus and Osiris are bound in a way by the involvement of the lunar calendar and the way that the calendar is significant in the events of the Resurrection. Modern Christians  still follow the lunar calendar in the celebration of Easter and we often have to consult tables to plan the next years services and readings. Such is the abiding power of the lunar system in the celebration of  death and Resurrection

Courtesy : Kevan
Osiris and Jesus had the power to raise the dead to life. In the parish Churches of the UK we find that the dead are stacked and layered away to await the eternal afterlife that is promised in scripture. Under the floors of the Church and even in the walls our ancestors wait for the promised Resurrection in a manner similar to the ancient Egyptians; who similarly yearned for their own Resurrection to eternal life.

No comments:

Post a Comment