Customer Reviews: Awakening Osiris: The Egyptian Book of the Dead
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on February 15, 2003
This is one of the most incredible books I've ever read. In this "translation" of the Book of Going Forth By Day (the original Egyptian name for the Book of the Dead) Ellis sings the world into existence and exposes the very depths of my soul like no other writer ever has. It is not a literal translation, but more of a contemporary reflection of what the various chapters mean, a very poetic, smoothly flowing meditation on "Becoming Osiris" and living life like the gods we are. If you've ever been interested in Egyptian thought or mythology, you will love this book!
I am Osiris. I walk between the two worlds. I am the maker of myths. I remember all that was and what will be. I am eternal, existing for the millions of years. When you see the sun, remember me, remember your Self.
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on July 23, 2000
This is definitely the most beautiful book I have ever read. Although written in prose, the text reads like poetry... the book truly does read like a spiritual text. This may sound a little fanatical, but I keep it with me most of the time, and read bits of it whenever I have a spare moment... It gives me a sense of communion with the ancient gods, and a feeling of wonder at the world and at the ancient egyptian civilisation. I highly recommend this book for anyone who needs to be inspired.
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on April 27, 2013
Translators who simply translate from language to language often produce rather jarring versions that do no honor to the original author; one senses the off-key notes, the apparently missed nuances of meaning, the grating word choices that do not feel right. Better translators are highly in touch with the original's language and are capable of immersing themselves accurately in the culture, the milieu, the feelings and thoughts of the author. But the best translators are also gifted writers in their own right with the capacity to breathe life into a translation, to convey its heart, its original power, and its literary beauty. Normandi Ellis is one of those rare, gifted translators, and it seems she has given this Egyptian masterwork the translation it has so long deserved.

She has channeled through her own heart the original texts' emotion, its sensitivity, its ability to take us deep into the heart of being alive and shake from us for a time our habituated thought processes. Her translation conveys so well the original writers' insight and concision - their ability to express their lives with the delicate accuracy of the scalpel and the power of the sledgehammer. I find myself deeply affected by the focused beauty of their poetry... its tactile sense of the physical, its phrasing, its fire, its awareness... the thoughts, images, and metaphors are at times so profound I cannot shake them from my mind. Nor would I want to.

Finally readers of English can feel the beating heart of Egypt, embrace and cherish the Egyptians' uniquely beautiful rendering of what we also know our lives to be. The Egyptian soul is the soul of us all - and Awakening Osiris is a gift because this writer has been able to convey those sensory images chosen from lives lived fully... the profound understandings and metaphors derived from lives considered deeply... joys, griefs, beauties, reactions, realizations, all expressed so simply and symbolically... This book has gripped my heart, lifted me into a surprisingly deep sense of unity with the Egyptian heart, and even carried me up onto new pinnacles of insight. This is rare; it is golden.

Awakening Osiris is so deep, so wise, so beautiful and moving, I already keep it by and hold it dear. It is one of two books I would now grab (the other being Fool's Crow: Wisdom and Power) were fire to approach. I find it uniquely profound and all the more powerful for its memorable symbolic phrasing. The words and images are so beautiful and so deep they can arrest my habitual thinking and rivet me uncharacteristically for long moments of appreciation and remembrances of my own. How rare! And how amazing, to find so much of my own heart expressed by writers living perhaps 3000 years ago.

Not knowing your nature or where you are in your life journey, I do not presume to know how you yourself will perceive the book. I can only share my experience. So as with all things involving opinion I add that perpetual caveat: Your mileage may vary.
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on August 23, 1998
There is much talk about channeling these days, and many people who claim to be receiving words from otherworldly sources. Normandi does not claim this privilege, but I suspect nevetheless that she was in receipt of divine inspiration when whe worked on this book. The usual translations of the Book of the Dead are hard to relate to and seem alien. This one is full of the most beautiful and poetic imagery you can imagine, with descriptions of Osiris's experience of life and love and death which touch the heart. The concepts and inspirations in this book are thoroughly modern and speak to our lives and times. And so it should be, for the story of Isis and Osiris and Horus and Set and Nephthys is as old as time immemorial and is still being acted out today in our world. If you love words and want to understand more about why we are here, read this book.
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on October 18, 2015
After attempting to read my copy of Budge's Book of the Dead and running into too many "thees" and "thous," I decided that I needed a newer translation, and downloaded Ellis' translation to my Kindle. It's stunning in its beauty.

For comparison, here are the first two lines of Budge's Chapter XV: "Behold Osiris Ani the scribe who recordeth the holy offerings of all the gods, who saith: `Homage to thee, O thou who hast come as Khepera, Khepera, the creator of the gods. Thou risest, thou shinest, making bright thy mother [Nut], crowned king of the gods.'"

Ellis' Chapter XV (which she calls The Return), first paragraph: "Stars fade like memory the instant before dawn. Low in the east, the sun appears golden as an opening eye. That which can be named must exist. That which is named can be written. That which is written shall be remembered. That which is remembered lives. In the land of Egypt Osiris breathes. The sun rises and mists disperse. As I am, I was, and I shall be a thing of matter and heaven."

In my mind, there is no comparison.
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on July 31, 2016
This is a truly wonderful, spiritual, engaging, and creative interpretation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. It's a poetic prose narrative that never feels dry or outdated; the author succeeded in making something fresh and new of a very ancient, supremely wise text. The first time I read it, a few years ago, I was amazed that something called "The Book of the Dead" could be understood in such a vital, artistic, and mystical way, not just a set of funerary spells but as hymns and prayers to the Divine. It's the first and only book to make me choke up and cry on very many occasions because the words and ideals are so deeply moving, wise, and spiritual. I can say that even as an adult man. Now that I read it for a second time, I feel the same way, and it gives a new light and energy to my outlook on life, which has often suffered from despair and negativity on more than one occasion. I've expressed my opinion to a few friends before that if there was only one book that could be called the word of God(s), it must be "Awakening Osiris" (though this could be said of other Egyptian hymns and prayers as well). Recommended for anyone who has a spiritual interest in ancient Egyptian religious thought or Kemeticism, or general mysticism. The book is filled with proverb-like insights into metaphysics, human nature, ethics, nature of reality, theology, mythology, and love.
It should be noted that the book is not a literal translation of the Book of the Dead and the reader may wish to examine Faulkner's translation for a more literal reading.
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on December 29, 1997
While not a literal translation of the BoD, Ellis manages to get across the beauty and emotion of the texts. I would use it as a supplement to the Faulkner translation.
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on May 29, 2016
Wow, what an amazing collection of poetic work. Said to be the most sensitive translation of the ancient Heiroglypics, this book takes a surprising look at grief, the passing of loved ones, and how we continue on in the land of the living. I cannot recommend a more appropriate book for healing grief. The Egyptians were experts on the topic, why re-invent the wheel? This might be a really nice gift for someone who has lost a loved one.
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on November 5, 2013
I read this book several years ago and loved it. As an adaption from the initial Book of the Dead, it is much easier to read and actually take in. Being a Wiccan whose principal god is Osiris, it made him even more real to me. However, I recommend it to anyone who is interested in Egyptian Culture.
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on March 18, 2016
This is not fiction - it is a new interpretation and translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Inspiring, beautifully written, an absolute standard for going to Egypt, or just reading about it - the poetry is superb. Read one chapter a day, and your life will improve.
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