The Book of the Dead is a must for anyone interested in the « mysteries » of death.
Its chapter 125 is entitled: « To enter the truth room and separate man from his sins so that he may see the face of the gods. » There is an invocation addressed to the forty-two « assessors » of Osiris, who represent so many names of God.
It is important to memorize them, and to assimilate their meaning. The soul of the deceased, of any deceased, whether pharaoh, scribe or slave, rich or poor, virtuous or sinner, young or old, is presented after death to the assembly of the gods. To be saved, she must declare before them that she wants to « take possession » of her names, including this one: « I am the Osiris N., growing under the flowers of the fig tree.»
There are many other names that the « Osiris N. » must know in order to be admitted to the divine dwelling.
The late N. adopts the divine name, Osiris, and proudly claims it before all the gods of the Egyptian Pantheon.
Osiris N. is not an alias, acquired once and for all, affixing a face closed by death. It is the new name of a soul, now placed before the Gods, under the flowers of the fig tree, to continue to grow forever.
This religion does not believe in the end, but in the restarting of growth.
Osiris N. has many names, and the God Osiris himself has many more, myriads of them. In chapter 17 of the Soutimès funeral papyrus we find several of the names given to him such as: « Amen-ran-f », « Mysterious is his person », or even « Nef-u-f-m-set », « His breath is of fire ».
Great is the ancient Egyptian civilization. It would take a long anabasis to go back to its original sources, to relive the vision that made it possible and kept it alive for over 5000 years.
But a katabasis can be just as successful. Close to us, Pierre Reverdy, in his book Le chant des morts (The Song of the Dead), has written a few verses, which are neither Vedic, nor Egyptian, nor avestic, nor Chaldean, nor Jewish, nor Christian. But which could bring these traditions into a sort of harmony, it seems to me.
I only remember one, – I wish it could be a sign of a possible common source of inspiration:
« Of those naked faces sunk by the sweetness. »