One of the joys of having a well-stocked bookshelf is that one does not have to be bored. It is a delicious moment when you dive into a book and the world and all it's trappings melt away. Reading also provides the opportunity for me to indulge in a favourite pastime, free associating. I enjoy making links and references, bouncing one idea off another one, see how they fit. So it was, whiling away one typical rainy day in London, that I had a realisation that Tarot could be offering insights into the progression of Osiris.
Osiris the great hunter
Imagine a very predatory world. War and wild beasts, humans needed to make some sense of the chaos that they had been born into. Osiris was a great hunter, Orion in Greek mythology and also known to the Nordic people as Herne. We find this hunter in the stars, with his Dog/Lion and his belt.
Isis was the wife of Osiris. There is a wonderful story of how Seth tried to kill Osiris, who was immortal. Seth put him in a chest and floated it down the Nile, to be saved by a Tamarisk tree. Isis, with her magic powers found Osiris, but Seth had other ideas; he hacked Osiris into 14 different pieces and flung them to different corners of the land. Long story short, Isis 're-membered' Osiris, she even gave him a gold penis which issued Horus.
We now see Osiris emerge as a fertility god
The myth of Osiris has many layers, essentially it is a story about consciousness. It engages us with the idea that all things must die, in order to be reborn. In the Book of the Dead he proclaims; ''I shall not decay, I shall not rot, I shall not putrefy, I shall not turn into worms. I shall have my being, I shall live.''
The story of Osiris ties up the idea of how the forces of sex and death wrap together to make human consciousness
The Death card speaks of this, it is a card of cycles, fertility, rebirth and transition, through death in its myriad forms we are also 're-membered'. Sex is a part of the cycles of life. The ancients knew that when they reflected upon their own will, they were observing something that was there before they were. When they coupled with another human being in sex, many constellations were involved and how they expressed sex to each other would have an effect on the cosmos in the times to come. Will and desire go hand in hand, not always sexual but sacred and spiritual.
There is possibly one more link to Osiris and that is through the Hermit.
The name of Osiris is connected to insemination, Ourien meaning Semen. The kabbalistic reference for the Hermit is Sperm. In the ancient world sperm was understood to be an expression of the cosmic will, the ordering principle of life. The Prima Materia out of which everything was made was contained in a single drop.
The most significant link, for me, is the lantern.
It is the lantern that is central to the theme in the Hermit. In the RWS deck we see in the lamp a 6 pointed star, the chariot to God. The Merkaba.
Osiris' Lantern is referring to the Pineal gland or third eye. This gland was seen as an organ of perception of the higher worlds, a window to the spiritual hierarchies.
All those years ago the third eye was much more active than it is today. Perceptions of the spiritual world were as vivid as the material one. it was through this eye that man had access to the spirit realms. The inner world was also made real by the Pineal gland, which, oddly has a reference to the phallus, which became enclosed in the forehead after men developed the organ. (Sex and sperm again!!) It is also indicated that the third eye was closed down in order for mankind to have room to think.
'The beginning of death was thought.'
Perhaps Hermit is advising that reflection is a better ally than analysis. Contemplation is more conducive to our condition than neurosis.
Through meditation and looking within we can see the essence of our own soul, wrought from the experience of our cycles.
Look to the realms, see the spirit world that exists within our own. Be aware of your own spirit and light up your path with your own sense of wisdom and wonder.