Friday, September 6, 2013
Mythic trouble on the Boat of Ra
En route to Sao Paulo
"Please close your window shade, sir. The sun will be too bright."
"But I want to see the rising of the sun. It's glorious."
"We can't let the sun rise yet."
I feel a shiver of recognition. This is what happens, again and again, to Ra on his long journey through the Netherworld. Again and again, doors are closed against the rising of the sun, and monsters gather to oppose the renewal of spirit.
I glance at the dozing and drooling passengers around me in the darkened cabin of the airplane, and decide to comply with the flight attendant's request. But when he has gone down the aisle, I reopen my shade just a chink, so as not to miss altogether the return of the sun's light.
And I murmur under my breath the syllables from an old life, in another land, that evoke the unmanifest power of creation and its manifestation in the disk of the sun.
This vignette is from my long journey to Brazil last week. It took me 48 hours to get to Florianopolis from my local airport. This trip involved three complete changes of flight itineraries, multiple security screenings, an unexpected night in an airport motel worthy of "American Psycho" and three days - after my arrival - without my suitcase.
I felt I had gone through many of the passages and ordeals of the Egyptian journey through the Netherworld depicted in funerary texts like the Book of Gates and the Amduat (Book of the Hidden Chamber).
I recognized that I may have asked for mythic trouble in this realm, since at the start of last week, I returned to close study of those ancient Egyptian travelogues. This inspired me to add a few pages to my new book on my "far memories" of Egyptian lives and group shamanic journeys I have led on an Egyptian time road to the stars. I completed and delivered the book a few hours before boarding my first plane.
My life has a mythic edge, which means I am always prone to getting into some mythic trouble. This is an old, old pattern. Surface events move in tandem with the deep undercurrents of the mythic realm. Maybe all of us will come more awake and alive in the multiverse if we pay attention to what myth is playing out, or seeking to irrupt, into our current lives.
The night my suitcase finally caught up with me at a hotel on a wild Atlantic beach on Santa Catarina island, I noticed, for the first time, the image above the door to the hotel reception.
I discussed all of this with a charming Brazilian couple at an Azorean fish restaurant in Ribeirão da Ilha on a night of driving rain. I had not met the husband before. I was struck by his T-shirt, which had the image of the frame of a wooden horse and the words: "Troia: An Anatolian City." He told me his mother had brought it back from a visit to the ancient site of Troy last year. I will be in Anatolia, near the ancient site of Troy, at the end of this month. Sometimes the mythic forces at play behind the curtain of our ordinary perception reach through and hold up a storyboard.