IF YOU HAD the choice between living forever and dying, what would you choose? This is the choice that WSR (also known as Osiris) faced, and he chose death. Death could not be the end of WSR because he is a God, an immortal being. How can he die and still be immortal? WSR’s immortality comes in the form of reincarnation. WSR may die, but he always comes back. He is always reborn through his children. In this way, WSR is able to transcend death.
WSR is our original ancestor. He is the root of the ancestral spirit, but we are different from him because we are not Divine Beings. We are simply human beings, where WSR is a Divine being with certain human conditions. Unlike WSR, we have no choice about our death. We are not pure or perfect, but we do share a part of the spirit of WSR because we are his children.
As the children of WSR, we must face death. We can’t run away from that fact. It is part of what makes us what we are. If being a human being means that we are born and we die, then it makes a thinking person wonder what being human really means. Death is a part of it and yet not the end of it. Everything that we seem to hold on to in life gets left behind when we die.
What is left of us when everything else is taken away?
There are many people who may say they know what spirituality is, but if we are really honest with ourselves, what really matters is answering that question. Maybe searching for the answer is what spirituality is really all about. The honest and humble pursuit of the answer to this question is what The Earth Center supports in the M’TAM initiation. The knowledge of WSR and the story of his life, death and rebirth is what M’TAM calls the Holy Drama. The Holy Drama provides a model that we can use as a starting point for the investigation of ourselves and how we fit within the rest of existence. WSR’s death connects each human being and provides us all with a basis for understanding ourselves and each other. We are all brothers and sisters, companions on a journey of discovery to find ourselves.
The Holy Drama according to Uast (Thebes) teaches us that WSR is one of four Divine Beings with human conditions. These four divine beings were created by the God Ptah. Ptah also created Seth (Set), Aishat (Isis) and Nebfest (Nephthys). Aishat is the wife of WSR and Nebfest is the wife of Seth. Because of WSR’s decision, he supports the preservation of life. He is also capable of producing offspring and is the father of the God Heru (Horus). WSR has many titles, but he is also known as “the one who is continuously good”.
Seth, chose to live forever without death. Because of his decision, he is very dynamic and may choose to support life or destroy life. He is always working to expand his territory and has no reason to preserve life, though he may do so from time to time if it suits his purpose. Seth does not produce children and is sterile because of his choice.
The Holy Drama of Uast teaches us that everything that we can see was created by Ptah. Ptah gave equal dominion over this existence to the four Divine Beings with human conditions that he created. Seth, who always seeks to expand his domain, is never satisfied with his part. We recognize this as the reason why he wants to destroy his brother WSR. The first death that WSR experienced was at the hands of his brother Seth. It was Aishat and her sisters who resurrected WSR long enough for him to conceive his son Heru. Heru always fights to restore the Kingdom of his Father. The Holy Drama contains many stories of the battle between Heru and Seth.
Every year on the 17th day of the month of Ateeri of the traditional Kemetic Calendar, we recognize the Death of WSR. This is a true Holy Day according to the M’TAM tradition. It is not a day of celebration. It is a day of reflection. It is the day that we remember that death waits for every human being and that even a God may choose to die. M’TAM initiates fast on this day. No food may be eaten and no liquid may be drank from sunup to sundown. The M’TAM temples that have been established through The Earth Center have a special ZemZem at sundown (or 6:00PM) on this day where we meet and perform our spiritual activities together. Afterward we share our reflection of the day and solemnly break our fast. There is no celebration at this time, because we realize that WSR’s death has been recognized throughout the world in times past and present as a great tragedy for all of humanity.
No human being can fully comprehend the Divine World. Our brains are too limited and our existence is too corrupt to come close to the Divine. We are taught that the Divine World recognizes that trying to comprehend the Divine World and come closer to it is a spiritual act in itself and is favored by the Gods. It is therefore in our best interest to try to understand WSR’s choice and the events that followed. This act is one of the first steps that each of us may take on the long journey to come closer to the Divine.
The Holy Drama is our guide to understanding our relationship to the Divine. It provides us with a model of the human condition and an example of what goodness is. Every M’TAM student studies the Holy Drama. Every M’TAM student also acknowledges that there is always some new insight that we can gain every time we study and contemplate it. Understanding the Holy Drama is a life long process that brings each of us closer to the
The recognition of the death of WSR is an ideal time to reflect upon the Holy Drama. It is a time to look deep within ourselves and try to find a way to understand his death and what part it plays in our lives. It is an opportunity for us to face our own mortality and the mortality of those who are closest to us. We can take this day as a sign of the connectedness of humanity and our connection to WSR himself, because we will eventually experience what he has experienced. We will walk the same path that he has walked. We will face the same challenge that he has faced. The Holy Drama teaches us how to face that challenge and be good, like WSR, the one who is continuously good.
Death is not the end. For WSR it was not the end. When you see images of WSR you will see that he is usually shown in the form of a human that is ready to be buried (a mummy). WSR is a God, and so it was the God Inipu (Anubis) who prepared him for his burial. After his burial, WSR made a journey through the underworld and after ten days was re-born. This journey is the journey that we all must take, though it will take us much longer than ten days to return, if we are allowed.
The details of WSR’s journey is very sacred knowledge. In order to come closer to this knowledge, the M’TAM students recognize WSR’s journey starting from the 27th of the month of Kairika to the 7th of the month of Tepia of the Traditional Kemetic Calendar. In the Gregorian Calendar,
these dates fall on the 5th to the 14th of January in 2011. During these ten days, M’TAM students will fast during the daylight hours and spend the day in contemplation of WSR’s journey. Many students will not speak during the daylight hours for at least one of these days. Students concentrate on increasing their purity during the fast in order to come even closer to the Divine world and to the journey that each of us must one day take. The day after the fast is complete, a celebration is held with feasting and fellowship among the students and teachers of every temple.
People have been recognizing the journey of WSR through the underworld for over 50,000 years. It is no coincidence that many similar celebrations are held in every culture. The fasting of Ramadan is nearly an exact replica of the fasting we see from the Kemetic culture. Many elders and priests fast starting with the Death of WSR and all the way through to his Journey through the Underworld. This fifty day period covers even more time than Ramadan. Though the dates of the fasts are different, they are performed in very similar ways.
Even modern cultures celebrate during similar times. Thanksgiving is around the same time as the Death of WSR and Christmas and New Years are around the same time as WSR’s Journey through the Underworld. The meaning is very different though. Modern culture has turned these sacred and Holy observances into an excuse for human excess on a massive scale. The modern holidays are inescapable for those of us living in modern cultures, but we still have the opportunity to learn a different meaning for our actions. We can re-direct our energy toward coming closer to the Divine World and toward understanding our place in the existence. We can become better than what we are instead of becoming worse. Trying to become more than what we are is the legacy of every human being. Perhaps it is time for us to return to it.