Note: The link between the Egyptian concept of immortality as an Eternal Child and the Daoist cultivation of the Immortal Child is made very clear in the following passage. The notion that the “gods” are a collective within this Immortal Child is also strikingly similar. The Egyptian Book of the Dead is obviously not a funerary text at all, but about spiritual passage between heaven and earth. The adept in both ancient Egypt and in ancient China becomes the immortal child to make that passage WHILE STILL ALIVE. Are you willing to re-imagine yourself?
– Michael Winn
BECOMING THE CHILD
(from Awakening Osiris: The Egyptian Book of The Dead translated by
Normandi Ellis, complied from egyptian funerary texts and religious hymns
from 3000 B.C-300 A.D)
In seafoam, in swirlings and imaginings I am fish, tadpole, crocodile. I am
an urge, an idea, a portent of impossible dreams. I lie between heaven and
earth, between goodness and evil, patience and explosion. I am innocent and
rosy as dawn. I sleep with my finger in my mouth, the cord of life curled
beside my ear. Like a child in its mother’s belly, I am with you but not
among you. I know no ending for I have no beginning. I have always been
here, a child in the silence of things, ready to wake at any moment.
I am possibility.
What I hate is ignorance, smallness of imagination, the eye that sees no
farther than its own lashes. All things are possible. When we speak in
anger, anger will be our truth. When we speak in love and live by love,
truth in love will be our comfort. Who you are is limited only by who you
think you are. I am the word before its utterance. I am thought and
desire. I am a child in the throat of god. Things are possible-joy and
sorrow, men and women, children. Someday I’ll imagine myself a different
man, build bone and make flesh around him. I am with you but a moment for
an eternity. I am the name of everything.
I’ve dreamed the nightmare a hundred times, that old revulsion of bone and
flesh, waking in sweat, in a headlong rush toward the world, into the cool
certainty of fires that burn in sudden stars, the heat in the body. That I
am precludes my never having been.
What I know was given to me to say. There is more.
There are words that exist only in the mind of heaven, a bright knowing, a
clear moment of being. When you know it, you know yourself well enough.
You will not speak. I am a child resting in love, in the pleasure of
clouds. I read the book of the river. I hold the magic of stones and
trees. I find god in my fingers and in the wings of birds. I am my
delight, creator of my destiny. It is not vanity.
There are those who live in the boundaries of guilt and fear, the limits of
imagination. They believe limitation is the world. You can not change
them. There is work of your own to do. You will never reach the end of
your own becoming, the madness of creation, the joy of existence.
Dance in the moment. Reach down and pull up song. Spin and chant and
forget the sorrow that we are flesh on bone. I return to the rhythm of
water, to the dark song I was in my mother’s belly. We were gods then and
we knew it. We are gods now dancing in whirling darkness, spitting flame
like stars in the night.
In the womb before the world began, I was a child among other gods and
children who were, or may be, or might have been. There in the dark when we
could not see each other’s faces, we agreed with one mind to be born, to
separate, to forget the pact we made that we might learn the secrets of our
fraternity. We agreed to know sorrow in exchange for joy, to know death in
exchange for life. We were dark seeds of possibility whispering. Then one
by one we entered alone. We walked on our legs, and as we had said, we
passed in well-lit streets without recognizing each other; yet we were gods
sheathed in flesh, the multitude of a single spirit. Gods live even in
darkness, in the world above your heads, in the crevices of rocks, in the
open palms of strangers.
I am a child, the seed in everything, the rhythm of flowers, the old story
that lingers. Among cattle and fruit sellers, I am air. I am love hidden
in a shy maiden’s gown. I am the name of things. I am the dream changing
before your eyes. I am my body, a house for blood and breath. I am a man
on earth and a god in heaven. While I travel the deserts in frail form,
while i grow old and weep and die, I live always as a child inside the body
of truth, a blue egg that rocks in the storm but never breaks. I sleep in
peace in my mother’s lap, a child mesmerized by sunlight on the river. My
soul is swallowed up by god.
Out of chaos came the light.
Out of the will came life.