THE DEATH OF FOREVER
Darryl Reanney 1991


 Page103

"...No single feature of life's environment has impressed itself more strongly on the basic character of biological systems than this repetitive process, which has synchronised outer and inner time. Indeed, as I indicated in the previous chapter, our very sense of time is, I believe, a part-product of this profound imprinting.
Environmental cycles of day and month and year have become internaliscd in the workings of the human brain. The environmental clocks have become neural clocks. It is hardly surprising, then, that primitive man, in his quest to find order in the world around him, has reversed this process, externalising these cycles, basing his religions on the rhythms of the earth because they resonated so comfortingly with the rhythmns of his mind.
At the risk of overkill, let me repeat that the human experience was, (and is), dark (night) is always followed by light (day). Long periods of darkness (winter months) are always followed by long periods of light (summer months). The very chemical and electrical patterns of our brains reflect and reinforce this oscillatory character of nature. Hence, inevitably, death has become identified with sleep, to be followed (as our most basic experience 'proves'), by awakening.
I could cite thousands of examples from the traditions of many cultures, but a few familiar quotes show how profoundly this link between death and sleep influences us:

I gaze on him and say: he is not dead
but sleeps; and soon he will arise and take
me by the hand, I know he will awake
and smile on me as he did yesterday
Jerome Bell
To sleep, perchance to dream, aye there's the rub
for in that sleep of death what dreams may come
when we have shuffled off this mortal coil
William Shakespeare in Hamlet
resurrection to come is the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep
I Corinthians 15:20


Are these ideas mere speculation or can they, in any meaningful way, be tested? I believe a test is possible. If the deep structure of

/ Page104 /

these religious beliefs reflects innate patterns which are universally encoded in the human brain, then, according to my thesis, myths embodying these basic motifs should have appeared independently over and over again during the course of human evolution, in cultures that developed in isolation. ( Isolated, independent develop- ment means that a myth originating in one culture is unlikely to cross-contaminate others).
The death and resurrection motif is a case in point. Myths built around the idea of rebirth permeate religious traditions in cultures as far apart in space and time as the Aborigines of Australia, the Hindus of India, the peoples of ancient Egypt and the Jews of Palestine. From a global perspective, perhaps the two most 'successful' rebirth myths are those of Osiris in Egypt and Jesus in Israel.
Osiris was the son of Nut, the sky God, and Geb, the earth God. He married his sister Isis and reigned over earth in a Paradisic time of peace and justice. Osiris was killed by his jealous brother Set. He was eventually found by Isis but Set rediscovered the body, dismembered it, and scattered it throughout Egypt. Isis successfully reassembled the fragments, with the exception of the penis. At this point, the sun God Re sent Anubis, the jackal-headed God, to supervise the putting together of Osiris' body, which was wrapped in its own skin. Hence images of Osiris show him clothed in a shroud which covers his legs and his hands crossed on his chest. Isis and another sister, Nephthys, brought Osiris back to life by waving their arms to fan life back into the 'mummy'. Thus Osiris was born again, but as Lord of the Dead.

When an ancient Egyptian died, he or she became Osiris. When members of Howard Carter's famous expedition broke into the tomb of Tutankhamun, they found gold plaques, carrying speeches of welcome from the Gods to the young King as he entered the Underworld. These clearly show the identification of the dead King with the God of the Dead. Thus Nut, the Divine Mother, says:
thy members are firm, thou smellest the air and goest out as a God, going out as Atum, O Osiris Tutankhamun.


In the living Egyptian religion, people saw the resurrection of Osiris as a pledge that they would live forever, provided their survivors did for them what the Gods had done for the body of Osiris. Thus the ceremonies performed over the dead human body were exact copies of those performed by Anubis and other Gods over the dead body of Osiris.

/ Page 105 /

The intimate relationship between the basic day / night brain cycle and the saga of death and rebirth in ancient Egypt is powerfully shown in the 'union' of Osiris, Lord of the Dead, with Re, the sun God. One can see the link clearly in the reconstructed burial ritual of Tutankhamun. After the young King's body had been mummified and encased in its golden shell, ceremony focused on resurrection-the rebirth of the dead God.
Rather than recount this ceremony, which was exceedingly complex, I will quote passages from the elegant description by Egyptologist Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt which clearly show how deeply the day/night cycle shaped the Egyptian concept of rebirth after death. Thus:

at the end of his arduous search for survival, the dead Osiris
would appear in the aspect of the rising sun, Re
the graves of the masters of Thebes repeated the dramatic story
of the sun's gestation and its rebirth
at the fifth hour
emulating the sun
, the king was to draw from the world of the
dead renewed strength for his morning rebirth
there remained the last act of the drama: rebirth. The room the
excavators called the annex was entirely dedicated to this, and
its door, which faces East, suggests that it was deliberately
orientated in this direction to favour the pharaoh's rising
after his transformations Osiris the King was to spring from the
horizon as Re, star of day


What could be clearer?
Experts on religion may object that the Pharaohs were 'God-Kings' hence the mode of their burial is not representative of the common faith of ancient Egypt. This may be true as regards the grandeur of the burial ceremonies, but the indestructible link between Egyptian belief in an afterlife and the image of the sun goes back to the roots of Egyptian life. Listen to this hymn to the sun God Re by an unknown Egyptian simply code-named N:
O all you gods of the Soul-mansion who judge sky and earth in the balance, who give food and provisions; 0 Tatenen, Unique One, creator of mankind; 0 Southern, Northern, Western and Eastern Enneads, give praise to Re, Lord of the Sky, the Sover-

/ Page 106 /

eign who made the Gods. Worship him in his goodly shape when he appears in the Day-bark.
Echoes of this ancient belief persist into the modern age. During the First World War, soldiers spoke of their dead cornrades as having 'gone West', i.e. followed the setting sun. Similarly, some of our most popular hymns retain day/night symbolism:

and with the dawn those angel faces smile
that I have loved long since and lost awhile
Cardinal Newman (Lead Kindly Light)


Is this, one wonders, one reason why they are so well-beloved? The antiquity of the idea of rebirth and its deep association with the day / night cycle is shown in the idea of reincarnation. Whereas the religions of the Middle East show rebirth as a once-only affair, the older faiths of India show it in its repetitive form, which corresponds more closely with the underlying biological reality. In Indian tradition, the soul is repeatedly reborn: each death is followed by new life, just as each night is followed by new day, each winter by new spring.
Thus in the Gita of the Ayran Indians, the lord Shri Krishna says:

At the dawning of that day all objects in manifestation stream
forth from the Unmanifest , and, when evening falls, they are
dissolved into It again
The same multitude of beings, which have lived on earth so often,
all are dissolved as the night of the universe approaches, to issue
forth anew when morning breaks. Thus it is ordained. "
 
The Alizzed transcribes the Magikalalphabet
 
SHRI KRISHNA
 
S
H
R
I










K
R
I
S
H
N
A












9












9















1+8




























18


























1




























1+0




























10




























1+9




























19
8


9


+
=


36

3+6
=
9





9
19
8
14



+
=


50


5+0

=
5


S
H
R
I










K
R
I
S
H
N
A









19
8
18
9


+
=
54


5+4

=
9
NINE



11


18

9
19
8
14
1


+
=
80
8+0
=
8


EIGHT


1+0



1+8


























1
8
9
9



+

=
27


2+7

=
9



















G
O
D










S
U
N
































7
15
4


+
=
26
2+6
=
8



19
21
14


+
=
54
5+4
=
9


G
O
D










S
U
N









7
6
4


+
=
17
1+7
=
8
EIGHT


1
3
5


+
=
9



9
NINE

G
O
D










S
U
N
































7


4


+
=


11

1+1
=
2














G
O
D










S
U
N









7
15
4


+
=
26
2+6
=
8



19
21
14


+
=
54
5+4
=
9



1+5












1+9

2+1


1+4










6








6



1+0
3
5


+
=
9





7
6
4


+
=
17
1+7
=
8
EIGHT


1
3
5


+
=
9



9
NINE

























 
O
S
NINE
R
NINE
S


+
=
EIGHT







THAT




9


9



+
=
18


1+8

=


9




NINE


O
S
I
R
I
S













15
19
9
18
9
19


+
=
89
8+9
=


17


1+ 7

=
8
TIMES



1+5


1+9



1+8



1+9













6
10


9


10


+
=
35
3+5
=
8




THAT




1+0





1+0











EIGHT


6
1
9
9
9
1


+
=
35
3+5
=
8




72



K
A









DEDUCE


11
1


+
=
3




THAT


1+1











2
1


+
=
3



3
THREE
3












K
A'
S









11
1


19

+


=


31

3+1
=
4
FOUR
4

Now do you understand, almost whispered Zed Aliz Zed gently


 

 

 

 

THE DEATH OF FOREVER
Darryl Reaney 1991


Page 106

"Perhaps the most telling trace of the age-old association between God and the sun survives in language. Our word divine stems from the Latin word for 'God' deus. But this in turn evolved from the Latin word dies, meaning day (daylight). English and Latin are both branches of the Indo-European root language in which dei meant to shine or be luminous. Thus the symbolism of sun worship has remained encoded in speech long after men have ceased to deify the sun in practice (of course the word 'deify' comes from the same, ancient source). Likewise, the holy day of the Christian week is still referred to as sunday. The head of Jesus on church frescoes and stained glass windows is often shown surrounded by a luminous 'halo', showing how a symbol of the sun has become identified with

/ Page107 /

the central figure of Christian belief. And the date of Christmas, December 25, coincides closely with the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere.
Itis small wonder that the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung described rebirth as 'an affirmation that must be counted on among the primordial affirmations of mankind'.

Page 101 /

The latin prefix 're' usually has the sense

/ Page 102 /

of 'again'. Can it be coincidence that the words we use to describe our fundamental myths and activities are not things we do but things we do again?
reproduction redemption
representation reincarnation
recognition rebirth
resurrection
Even the word re-ligion may fit this pattern: one of its possible meanings is 'bind (join) again'. In the Christian tradition, we are told that Christ 'rose again from the dead', despite the fact that the resurrection of his body was supposedly an unique, once-off affair.
Taken together, these facts tell us something quite fundamen- tal-that there is a natural and inevitable association between the concept of an afterlife and the enduring legacy of cyclic time. Far from being an innovation or an invention, the religious idea of rebirth, of life (light) after death (dark), is an expression of one of the oldest aspects of life on earth. Most 'higher' creatures exhibit daily circadian rhythmns (from Latin circa meaning about, die meaning day). It is possible to isolate mutants of the common fruit fly in which the clock governing these innate cycles no longer runs in twenty-four hour intervals. The gene governing this clock has now been identified and shown to be virtually the same in chickens, mice and humans. As the definitive text The Molecular Biology of the Gene notes significantly:
the inescapable conclusion is that we human beings. proud possessors of sophisticated intelligence. willfind that our behav- iour is governed to some extent by elementary biochemical reactions.
Thus resurrection and reincarnation have been successful in gaining adherents because they correspond deeply with the way our brains work. In an important sense, the rebirth of the self is a memory not a prediction-by the time we die, our mind clocks will have recorded, on average, about 27 000 successive 'rebirths'. This kind of calculation becomes more compelling if we extend it to cover not just the course of a human life but the course of life on earth. The mind clock carries a memory of approximately 1400 000 000 day/night cycles-the number of times the earth has turned on its

/ Page 103 /

axis since life began. No single feature of life's environment has impressed itself more strongly on the basic character of biological systems than this repetitive process, which has synchronised outer and inner time. Indeed, as I indicated in the previous chapter, our very sense of time is, I believe, a part-product of this profound imprinting.
Environmental cycles of day and month and year have become internaliscd in the workings of the human brain. The environmental clocks have become neural clocks. It is hardly surprising, then, that primitive man, in his quest to find order in the world around him, has reversed this process, externalising these cycles, basing his religions on the rhythms of the earth because they resonated so comfortingly with the rhythmns of his mind.
At the risk of overkill, let me repeat that the human experience was, (and is), dark (night) is always followed by light (day). Long periods of darkness (winter months) are always followed by long periods of light (summer months). The very chemical and electrical patterns of our brains reflect and reinforce this oscillatory character of nature. Hence, inevitably, death has become identified with sleep, to be followed (as our most basic experience 'proves'), by awakening.
I could cite thousands of examples from the traditions of many cultures, but a few familiar quotes show how profoundly this link between death and sleep influences us:"

The scribe counts the numbers
LIGHT . . . DARK
 
 
JOSEPH AND HIS BROTHERS
Thomas Mann 1933


Page 914 /

"At On, Amenhotep entered his palace in the temple district and slept there dreamlessly the first night, exhausted from the journey. The following day he began by sacrificing to Re Horakhte with bread and beer, wine, birds, and incense. After that he listened to the Vizier of the North, who spoke before him at length, and then, regardless of the headache that had brought on, devoted the rest of the day to the much-desired talks with the priests of the God. These conferences, which at the moment greatly occupied Amenhotep's mind, had been taken up with the subject of the bird Bennu, also

/ Page 915 /

9 x 1 x 5 = 45 4 + 5 = 9 /

called Offspring of Fire, because it was said that he was motherless, and moreover his own father, since dying and beginning were the same for him. For he burned himself up in his nest made of myrrh and came forth from the ashes again as young Bennu. This happened, some authorities said, every five hundred years; happened in fact in the temple of the sun at On, whither the bird, a heron-like eagle, purple and gold, came for the purpose from Arabia or even India. Other authorities asserted that it brought with it an egg made of myrrh as big as it could carry, wherein it had put its deceased father, that is to say actually itself, and laid it down on the sun-alter. These two assertions might subsist side by side - after all, there sub-sists so much side by side, differing things may both be true and only different expressions of the same truth. But what Pharaoh first wanted to know, what he wanted to discuss, was how much time had passed out of the five hundred years which lay between the bird and the egg; how far they were on the one hand from the last appearance and on the other from the next one; in short, at what point of the phoenix-year they stood. The majority opinion of the priests was that it must be somewhere about the middle of the period. They reasoned that if it was still near its beginning, then some memory of the last appear-ance of Bennu must still exist and that was not the case. But suppose they were near the end of one period and the beginning of the next; then they must reckon on the impending or immediate return of the time-bird. But none of them counted on having the experience in his lifetime so the only remaining possibility was that they were about the middle of the period. Some of the shiny pates went so far as to suspect that they would always remain in the middle, the mystery of the Bennu bird being precisely this: that the distance between the last appearance of the Phoenix and his next one was always the same, always a middle point. But the mystery was not in itself the important thing to Pharaoh. The burning question to be discussed, which was the object of his visit, and which then he did discuss for a whole half-day with the shiny-pates, was the doctrine that the fire-bird's myrrh egg in which he had shut up the body of his father did not thereby become heavier. For he had made it anyhow as large and heavy as he could possibly carry, and if he was still able to carry it after he had put his father's body in it, then it must follow that the egg had not thereby increased in weight.
That was an exiting and enchanting fact of world-wide impor-tance. In young Pharaoh's eyes it was worthy of the most circum-stantial exposition. If one added to a body another body and it did not become heavier thereby, that must mean there were immaterial bodies - or differently and better put, incorporeal realities, immaterial as sunlight; or, again differently and still better put, there was the spir-itual; and this spiritual was etherally embodied in the Bennu-father,

Page 916

9 x 1 x 6 = 54 5 + 4 = 9 /

whom the myrrh egg received while altering its character thereby in the most exciting and significant way. For the egg was altogether a definitely female kind of thing; only the female among birds laid eggs and nothing could be more mother-female than the great egg out of which once the world came forth. But Bennu the sun-bird, motherless and his own father, made his own egg himself, an egg against the natural order, a masculine egg, a father-egg, and laid it as a manifestation of fatherhood, spirit, and light upon the alabaster table of the sun-divinity.
Pharaoh could not talk enough with the sun calendar men of the temple of Re about this event and its significance for the developing nature of Aton. He discussed deep into the night, he discussed to excess, he wallowed in golden immateriality and father spirit, and when the priests were worn out and their shiny pates nodded, he was still not tired and could not summon resolution to dismiss them - almost as though he were afraid to stay alone. But at last he did dismiss them, nodding and stumbling to their rest, and himself sought his bedchamber. His dressing and undressing slave was an elderly man assigned to him as a boy, who called him Meni although not otherwise informal or lacking in respect. He had been awaiting his master for hours by the light of the hanging lamp and now quickly made him ready for the night. Then he flung himself on his face and withdrew to sleep on the threshold. Pharaoh for his part nestled into the cushions of his exquisitely ornate bed, which stood on a dais in the middle of the room, its headboard decorated with the finest ivory-work displaying figures of jackals, goats, and Bes. He fell almost at once into an exhausted sleep. But only for a short time. After a few hours of profound oblivion he began to dream: such com-plicated, impressive, absurd, and vivid dreaming as he had not done since he was a child with tonsillitis."