Today is the first epagomenal day, and because I felt the urge, let’s talk about Osirian change as it relates to one of his epithets: The Inert One.
I have been thinking about the Osirian cycles of rebirth a lot this year — specifically the second hour. The second hour is where the deceased, now being inert, has to choose to move forward or to stay in their inertness. I’ve mentioned several times these past two years about how the inert ones have seemingly captured my attention (because I’ve felt inert for years now), and they are still pretty centered and focused in my mind.
In this specific instance (at least), I do believe I know why my brain is so heavily focused on the inert ones, and that is because everywhere I look, I feel like I am constantly seeing people stuck in inertia. They may not entirely be inert, but they are inert enough that they aren’t moving forward in the ways they want to, and every time I see it in action, a part of me gets really upset/sad.
Just like in my last post where I mentioned that while I understand that these Osirian rebirth texts are supposed to be for the dead and not the living, I can’t help but draw parallels between them. As someone who has spent a fair amount of time being inert, I know what its like to have a blind spot, to not realize that despite all of the ground you think you’re making, you’re actually not making ground at all. A house built on sand will not last long, and I have made plenty of houses on malformed foundations in the hopes that it’ll work.
I find it interesting how often my work with both Set and Osiris brings me back to foundations. Set was always very big into telling me to build solid foundations. While most of you know that it was in relation to building our community — that only strong foundations would allow a community like ours to last — I have also had to sit through plenty of pontificating and lecturing from him (and others) about how my own life needs to be built on a solid foundation in order for other parts to function properly. To use the metaphor above: the doors in your house won’t work very well if everything is cockeyed due to uneven foundations. If the foundation is made poorly, everything else above it suffers.
On the flip side, I have always talked about Osiris being the tree outside that secretly grows its roots into your foundation — that by the time you realize what has happened, its too late to do anything, and now you need to call a repair person to fix your house. Even though Set is known for his chaos and destruction of bad habits to lay way for better habits, I think Osiris and his methods of rebirth are an under-sung variation of what Set does.
The key difference being that Set is like the Kool Aide Man, and doesn’t care if you want him there or not, where as Osiris mandates that you have to want to be there. Roberts talks about it in her book:
“Osirian renewal requires a conscious and voluntary entry into the underworld realm, and active desire to fulfill the unification of the living and the dead.”
So one of the key components to overcoming the inertia of hour two is to actually want to overcome it enough to actually move forward. Osiris has this in his own mythology, where he is being kept safe inside of a space enclosed by a snake, and Osiris has to gather enough gumption to force the snake to let him go because all the snake wanted to do was keep him there safe forever (sounds like a coming-of-age trope).
We have to want it. And sometimes it seems like we really do want it, and still can’t seem to make it happen. What is it that stops us from moving forward when we believe we do actually want to?
It’s been my experience that a lot of people stay stuck because of avoidance. You avoid doing the work that needs to be done in order to move forward, so you stay put. Turns out, psychology has a lot to say about what causes people to avoid things. In short, its because your body doesn’t feel like it can handle whatever the doing will bring forth for you to deal with. Sometimes that’s something like a fear of failure, other times it might be a worry that you’ll lose something important, or perhaps that you can’t handle the idea of losing your cool in front of someone over it (notice the common themes of fear and loss of control in all of these.)
It also turns out that we typically behave based off of what we expect, regardless of whether we’re conscious of that expectation or not. So if you expect it to be a shitshow that you can’t really handle, you will essentially avoid it as long as possible. If you’re living with three spoons and you expect it to be a five-spoon task, you may never actually get around to doing it.
For example, I avoided going to the doctor for months while my health degraded because I was worried that it would be way more work than I could handle. I expected that most of the doctors would be useless (they were,) and I worried it would be more emotionally draining and taxing than beneficial. I expected not to receive help, so I avoided even trying because of how daunting the whole ordeal felt it would be.
Avoidance tactics are largely used by people who are completely overwhelmed and burned out. When your body is on its last legs and feels like everything is just Too Much, you will start to avoid things almost reflexively because your body is trying to protect you from taking on more than it can handle. Likely because you are already taking on more than you can handle. This is further entrenched because we often will side with whatever is familiar over whatever is unfamiliar — especially if we’re burned out. So even if its uncomfortable and Awful, you may still stay right where you’re at because at least its familiar.
My grandmother used to have a little quip for these sorts of situations: a dog is laying on a nail poking out of a step, a guy yells at the owner for not making the dog get up off of it, and the owner replies, “I’m not making him lay there! When the nail hurts enough, the dog will get up on his own.” She used to sum it up as “the nail doesn’t hurt bad enough yet, does it?”
And its pretty true. Most of us move because we’ve been forced to move (hello Setian change) or it got bad enough that we are finally motivated to make the choice to move (hello Osirian change.) It’s difficult to enact large-scale change when you’re living in a constant state of near burn out (which is why you should start out with small-scale change,) and so it often takes outside forces to push us to do whatever needs to be done. It’s a shame that so many of us are stuck in these cycles.
As we move into the new year, I think it behooves us to ask ourselves about our state of inertness:
- In what areas of your life are you currently inert? What are you avoiding working on or addressing?
- When you think of these things you are avoiding, what comes up? How does it make you feel? What is holding you back?
- What can you do to address these feelings or things that hold you back?
- What are you giving up in order to stay
comfortablywhere you are?
- Where would you rather be instead? What can you do to get there?
Maybe by becoming more intimate and aware about the things that keep us inert, and why we let them keep us inert, we’ll be able to overcome our inertia and actualize all of the rebirths that we’re aiming to experience.
How often do you examine your inertness? If you took the time to try to answer the questions above, what did you find?