"Writing is no answer but when you feel deeply there is little else to do." -- James Baker Hall

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Night of the Mothers

Annual Night of the Mothers Journal Retrospective

Saturday Jan 14th

Versailles Montessori School
480 Pinckard Pike
Versailles KY 40383

9am - 5pm

Why is it called the Night of the Mothers? Because in nearly all sacred traditions, the great goddess births her holy child at winter solstice on the darkest night of the year, bringing forth the new light to a new season.

The Great Sky Mother wraps her arms around us, embraces us, and holds us and our dreams within her belly until we are reborn in the new year. All cultures are drawn to this inspiring vision of the night sky with its promised return of the light that celebrates the birth of the divine child.  As we leave 2016 and herald in the changes of 2017, we usher in the light within us.

 Through journal practice we can focus in and bring this divine light into expression through us. Gather your 2016 journals, datebooks, checkbooks, calendars & spend a few of the dark hours of winter looking backward through the past year, gleaning its lessons and gifts, then carrying your intentions into 2016.  This is a great way to share, write, learn and gain new inspiration and wisdom.

 Bring a sack lunch and drink. Water, tea, and coffee and light snacks provided.

 $75 by January 7th. Send checks to Normandi Ellis 318 Eastern Drive Chesterfield IN 46017

Please let me know you are attending and sending the check. Questions? Call 765-606-7119


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Women of Wisdom Feb 2017

Friday, June 10, 2016

Upcoming Egyptian Workshops June-July

I'm sort of turning into a moveable feast this summer.  I have events all over the map, which means that I may be coming to a city or state near you. I hope you will seek out the workshops in Kentucky, New York and Michigan, or online.  When not on the road, I work in Chesterfield Indiana and am teaching some fabulous metaphysical classes in Astrology, Numerology, Egyptian Book of the Dead, Metaphysical Ethics, Full Moon Meditation, Basic Unity of Religion and even Spiritual Autobiography (The Hero's Quest). Here are a few of the on-the-road offerings for the deep summer months. Check out my webpage: www.normandiellis.com for my info and for information about Camp Chesterfield's seminary offerings go to www.campchesterfield.net.


15     Festivals of the Egyptian Goddesses – The Festival of Mut Online class          http://mysteryschoolofthegoddess.net

Because there are only 3 seasons to an ancient Egyptian year, this festival honors the harvest goddess, the vulture goddess Mut. In the harsh climate of Egypt, the vulture combines the energies of devouring the dead and laying the egg of future life.


6   Medju Neter - Full Circle Massage & Education Center     465 East High St.  Ste 110
Lexington, KY                 6-10 p.m.         Call
859-229-6679 or email rbogale@gmail.com

Not only is it possible to walk like an Egyptian in the spirit world, but we must think like an Egyptian. Medju neter meant “hieroglyph” to the ancient Egyptian, and translated in our language it mean the Word of God.  Think like an ancient Egyptian as you discover how the priests and priestesses used their words of power to create sacred texts, prayers, and oracles.

7   The Lady and Her Beasts – 6-10pm   Full Circle Massage & Education Center   
465 East High St.  Ste 110,  Lexington, KY    Call
859-229-6679 or email rbogale@gmail.com

Egypt, the ancients said, was made in the image of heaven, and the earth was a mirror of the Great Mother, who had many aspects. In this class we celebrate the sacred feminine and look at aspects of the feminine divine and the divergent energies of the ancient goddesses of sky, water, snake, star, vulture, feline, and cow. This is primarily steeped in Egyptian myth, but includes those cultures who influenced or were influenced by the Egyptian priestesses. 

15       Festivals of the Egyptian Goddesses – Opening of the New Year & The Rise of the Goddess Isis as Sothis    http://mysteryschoolofthegoddess.net

The Egyptian new year falls in midsummer celebrating the rise of the star Sirius (Sothis or Isis) in Leo which marked the coming of the Nile’s annual inundation. At this time all time and all life began anew through the rebirth of the 5 sacred children: Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis and Nephthys.

17-22    The Soul and the Phoenix                 3:45-5:45 pm
The Great Lakes Retreat Center       Olivet MI       
The ancient Egyptian mystery religion supported the soul’s journey through lifetimes to help bring to consciousness the wisdom of the ancestors and the God force. The highest spiritual bodies were the ba soul and the akh, equated with The Phoenix.  Lecture, discussion, and experiential activities help the student see how these spiritual bodies function in life on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual planes.   Active meditations will bring us into direct contact with these spiritual states and with the karma of our personal histories. The class concludes with a fire ritual of The Phoenix on its pyre.
19       The Hero’s Quest: Leaving the Known World Behind               9 am
Lecture          The Great Lakes Retreat Center               Olivet MI  

24       Egyptian Mystical Symbology & Oracular Readings              1-6 pm
Universal Unity of Spirit      89 N. Main St. (Rt. 60 )   Cassadaga NY     
Think like an ancient Egyptian as you discover how the priests and priestesses used their words of power to create sacred texts, prayers, and oracles.  Learn the myths of gods speaking the world into being.  Explore hieroglyphs as symbol and sound ‘magic’. Practice thinking hieroglyphically (on multiple levels). Learn coded hieroglyphs used in sacred texts. Discover what the Egyptian symbols of your dreams mean. Create an oracle deck and a text of hieroglyphic symbols; then, practice reading with your classmates.
25       Symbols of The Sacred Feminine                                           7-9 pm
Universal Unity of Spirit 89 N. Main St. (Rt. 60 ) Cassadaga NY
              Egypt, the ancients said, was made in the image of heaven, and the earth was a mirror of the Great Mother, who had many aspects. We will look at aspects of the feminine divine and the divergent energies of the ancient goddesses of sky, water, snake, star, vulture, feline, and cow.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What's a Hieros Gamos?

The late Philip Coppens said the sacred marriage, or hieros gamos, was often considered the holy Grail of sexual union. This might be understood as the marriage of the king and queen, or the high priest and priestess in the temple, or the union of the king and the land, and even the sexual exchange between Pharaoh and concubines in some cases. A kind of sexual ecstasy was often attributed to this sacred union, in which one’s consciousness became the penultimate God consciousness during ecstasy.
The Greeks said that this kind of sacred marriage was only possible between a God and goddess, but Gnostic and Celtic legends attributed it to an enlightened sexual union between two spiritual beings – often soaring spiritual heights could be attained as a magical practice. Some say the union between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, which created the holy child of Cathar legend, might also be seen as a hieros gamos.
Whatever its exact description, its intention was always a moment of rebirth and renewal. It is a marriage that is blessed by the divine. When God attends this union each one is infused with the energy of the other; like Yin and Yang wherein a part of one takes residence within the other. From this union a sacred child comes forth.

This excerpt comes from the Hierosgamos of Hathor and Horus, an ancient Egyptian celebration in honor of the May Queen, beloved of the pharaoh.  If you would like to know more about this celebration or any of the celebations of the ancient Egptins, sign up for a month or a whole year of Feasts of Light: Celebrations of the Egyptian Goddesses, hosted by Mystery School of the Goddess.  http://mysteryschoolofthegoddess.net/

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Unas Synchronicities

In 1980, as I mentioned before, I fell in love with the hieroglyphs and began to translate the interlinear text from Wallis Budge's book The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Papyrus of Ani. It took me 10 years, and it taught me how to think like a poet.

More than 20 year ago I decided I wanted to translate the hieroglyphs in the Pyramid of Unas. I began eagerly but worked very slowly as I didn't want to make any mistakes. I made a mistake. It was 20 years of tedious work with excessive tracing of my footsteps so I and others could see where I was going and how the work was to be seen.  In the meantime Jeremy Naydler published his beautiful work Shamanic Initiations in the Pyramid Text, re-translating the same text and getting sot much of what I was working on that at times I felt he was looking over my shoulder!

But there is still more work to do here, I thought. So after childbirth, and divorce and following job after job into new city after city, I still hadn't finished the translation of Unas' hieroglyphs. Susan Brind Morrow came out with her translation Dawning Moon of the Mind, for which she got a Guggenheim and I was/am still working with my hieroglyphs.  I guess it's not about winning the race, it's about being in love with the language for me. Tonight, I am still as my translations, preparing for a talk at the Global Pyramid Conference in Chicago in May. (Check out the line up of speakers here:  https://globalpyramidconference.com/speakers-and-topics/ )

(In the meantime I will be returning to see my Pyramid of Unas in Egypt in just a few days.)

So here is the story...

I traveled recently to Las Vegas to tape a segment on the New Thinking Allowed with Jeffrey Mishlove. We talked about what I was learning from the work I've done and the classes I teach in Hieroglyphic Thinking.  (And as of this week you can find that interview on Youtube's New Thinking Allowed links.)
Magic and Initiatory Practices of Ancient Egypt with Normandi Ellis
Hieroglyphic Thinking with Normandi Ellis

On the airplane I was reading the Susan Brind Morrow book and making notes in my journal. I found a Christopher Frye quote about poetry that if I substituted the word hieroglyph for poetry, it said pretty much what I felt...

 "Hieroglyphs have the virtue of being able to say twice as much as prose in half the time, and the drawback, if you do not give it your full attention of seeming to say half as much in twice the time."
Yes, I thought that is why it has taken me soooo looooong to complete the translations of these 3 rooms.
Note to self: SBM suggests one can read the hieroglyphs jumping across the lines next to each other as well as up and down the line. Oh my Goddes, that is just crazy good.

It made me want to finish my trip and hurry home and back to Unas.  But first I had to do the Las Vegas gig.  (Turns out it was a fantastic gig, and we taught and did spring equinox ceremonies, and had a blast. New note to self: Let's not rush through life.)

So I get in the Uber taxi and off I went to Sheila Z's house. The driver was wonderful and chatty. Turns out he was Ethiopian and had grown up along the Blue Nile. He was an Ethiopian Christian--
I could tell by the Coptic cross hanging from his rear view mirror.
"What's your name?" I asked.
"Unas," he said.
What!?  Did you say Unas?
"No Unis," he said "like in the Bible."

I asked him to tell me the story of Unis in the Bible. He said Unis was the man God told to go here but he wouldn't go. He said "No God, not there, "so he stayed home. And God said, "Unis I told you to go. Why don't you go?"  He said "I'll go anywhere but there," so he stayed home. So Unis went fishing in his boat and the wind died down and he couldn't leave. A big shark came out of the water and ate him.

I was starting to catch a glimmer.  "You mean a whale?" I asked.
It was in the sea, my driver insisted, and then he was stuck inside the shark for three days. It was so dark, until the shark spat him out on the ground....
"In exactly the same place that god told him to go--Ninevah."
Anyway that is who I am named for.
"Your name is Jonah?" I asked, thinking I had heard wrong.
"No," he said, and spelled it for me. Y-U-N-I-S.

After he left me and my luggage at the curb--and believe me for a story like that I tipped him well--I was still thinking about the hieroglyphs my friend Emil was fond of showing us in Karnak. It was the hieroglyph of Jacob's name, spelled in glyphs Y-Ka-B. Yakob/Jacob.  Yunis/Jonas/Unis.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How I Came to Translate the Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Over the last few months I found myself telling this story several different times. A radio interviewer or two or three, asked me "So how did you become interested in the Egyptian hieroglyphs?" And I found myself telling the same story. Then during a workshop in Knoxville Tennessee a writing prompt pulled me back to tell the story again.

I have to say that although the story still deeply lives in me, I really don’t need to tell it anymore. So here it is one last time on my blog.

The year was 1980.  “Now,” said Prof. Goldfarb, “for the second part of your translation workshop, switch to your third language.”

“Sidney, I don’t have a third language.” I distinctly remember that moment, standing at a faculty party with my back up against a wall, literally. I waited all week to make my confession. I thought okay I’m an imposter and I’ll just have to leave Colorado now.

“Well,” he said. “Pick a language you like and then teach yourself. Get a good grammar dictionary. Get some variant translations.”

So I picked hieroglyphs. Why? Maybe because when I was younger I thought I had to choose between painting and writing. Hieroglyphs combined the best of these worlds.

But really there was another reason. A friend from the neighborhood in which I grown up, Robert Weiler, suggested one day – after a long metaphysical conversation sitting on a stone wall at the Old State Capital in Frankfort Kentucky – that I read the Egyptian Book of the Dead. He was so convinced that I should read it that he walked to me to Poor Richard’s Bookstore across the street, pulled The Papyrus of Ani by Budge from the shelf and said, “Buy this.” So I did.

He later came to my house with a cardboard box filled with other metaphysical books that he had been studying through the years. He said he had to move out of his apartment; the Old Y building was being condemned, and anyway he was leaving town. He had no way to keep these books, so he asked that I keep them until he returned. I said fine. He said you can read them; you might find them interesting. And he left.

And I never saw him again. He died. In fact he was murdered. Of course that’s a whole other story, but he gave such intensity to these books which he left me and to the Egyptian Book of the Dead which he insisted that I buy, Robert Weiler was the reason I began a nearly 10 year study of the history, mythology, and language of ancient Egypt. I was just trying, in my own way, to make some sense of his death. Surely there must have been a reason that this book was given to me right before he died.

These metaphysical books of his and that Egyptian Book of the Dead with its hieroglyphs I kept in mycloset on the top shelf for another two years. The books almost seemed to vibrate on the shelf. Sometimes I wake in the night and think I’d left the closet light on. I get up to turn it off and it would be off. I could feel Robert’s energy in the closet as if he were saying “I gave this to you for a reason.”

Until that moment when Sidney Goldfarb suggested that I choose another text to translate, other than Spanish, I really had no idea what that reason was.

Thus, began my process of translating hieroglyphs and steeping myself in other symbolic language systems: Mayan glyphs, Mandarin Chinese, Ogham, Sanskrit, Sumerian Phoenician, and linear A and B. All of these symbolic languages seemed to point to better poetry, stronger short stories, more dream interpretation, and now clairvoyant messages and pattern thinking. The ideal that carried through the symbolic and real languages was this: All words are magic. All words are words of power. All languages are thought forms and the world itself that springs from divine thoughts. Yes, and so does silence and the blank page.

Perhaps this is the true meaning of my blog title The Goddess IS an open book test. I carry with me a lexicon of symbols, phonetic and symbolic. I carry with me the stories told to me by my father, a storyteller and gossip par excellence. The stories he told of the people of his family and community wove a rich tapestry that it became a mythology and grew larger than life. He told story after story around his mother’s dining room table. And as a child I lay under that table enthralled with story.

Now I carry the stories myself; it’s our personal myth. That’s how we come to understand the recurring patterns of our lives – as if they were story. You have to lose the idea in life or in fiction that you are making it up.

There is a long part of the story that I want to tell without any blame. It simply goes like this: I spent 10 years translating those hieroglyphs over and over from beginning to end of the book, focusing on the imagery, then the sound, then the mythology, trying to put it all together so that it did not appear like the gobbledygook most early Egyptian translations seemed to be. I was long past that translation workshop with Sidney Goldfarb. I was married, I had a baby, I have a full-time job, and I was having myself hypnotized in order to wake up at 4 a.m.every morning so that I could write and work on these hieroglyphs. It seemed to any outsider (and that included friends and family) that I had lost my mind.

Whatever happened I was not going to give up on this book. I promised myself that I would write this book for the rest of my life if I had to because I could not do otherwise. I told myself that perhaps I am no writer, but the writing matters. The pattern I was discovering in my life mattered. And if I never published a single word in my lifetime, I thought at least I will have lived my life as a writer. And maybe I had lost my mind, or at least I lost myself in these glyphs so deeply that they became my reason/my purpose for being.

There were many arguments over family responsibilities with my husband, who one night convinced me that I should throw the work away and just get on with my life. Driving to the dump with my manuscript in the backseat of my car that night, I saw the spirit of my friend Robert in the rearview mirror sitting next to my manuscript. I thought to myself  that this was just my imagination; until he touched me. The act of touching me sent a current of electricity through my body that it shattered me totally. I stopped the car and I shook for another five minutes. When I said “Don’t you ever do that again to me, Robert. You scared the hell out of me,” he vanished. I got out and hid my manuscript in my car trunk in the wheel well of the spare tire.

And I keep working on the manuscript over my lunch breaks for a couple more months. Finally, someone asked me if that manuscript I’d been working on all this time was finished. And he said, “If it is, I would like to publish it.”

In 1989 my first book, Awakening Osiris, was published. I was 35. Everything that happened since then was because of that magical appearance of Robert Weiler in 1978. Magical things do happen. To my mind, this is beyond synchronicity.  On the first $500 royalty check from my book I was able to make a side trip from my mother-in-law’s house in Greece to Egypt. I had spent nearly 10 years steeped in that landscape and time, but I was only able to see it for the first time in 1989. I felt completely at home in Egypt, as if I had lived there thousands of times. My soul seemed to know this place.

Two years later, Jean Houston became my mentor after becoming the voice of my book on tape. When I met her in a workshop it felt as if she had pulled me up from under a rock, and she welcomed me into the light. She asked me to accompany her and Peggy Rubin on a life-changing trip with 90 people to Egypt. I worked with her some years after as well.

I could see in all this the glimmer of my future life as a writer. I have published 11 books now. More than discovering my writing though, I discovered a sense of my spiritual home—a place to which I would return again and again. I live inside the magic of Egypt.

I tell my writing students to keep writing until their stories have finally found them. It’s a beautiful, rich adventure, this life. This dream of being a writer is not something you have; it’s something you get to live into.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Gratitude & New Beginnnings

I have just returned from another trip to my spiritual homeland, Egypt. As always, no sooner do I leave than I look forward to a return.  This latest trip was a particularly beautiful one, and its beauty came as a surprise.

The fear generated by militants elsewhere, but fanned by the xenophobia of media everywhere actually created a kind of opening and a blessing for those of us who followed a spiritual calling and traveled to Egypt this winter. There were few other sojourners in Egypt at this time, which made my most recent journey through the temples with Deborah Jones and Nine Gates, both poignant and leisurely. It was as if we had been given private visits and more than ample time to explore the tombs, the plateaus, the towns and to sail upon the beautiful waters of the Nile.

What did I do while I was there?  I grabbed a lion by the tail and held on, in pursuit of the mysteries!

Before our group arrived Deborah and I toured the Coptic churches of Old Cairo, where we witnessed portraits of saints crying tears of sacred oils in the churches dedicated to Saint Barbara, Saint George, Mary of the Iron,  and Saints Sergius and Bacchus. We toured the Ben Ezra Synagogue, now closed, but reputed to house the well from which Moses was drawn by the pharaoh's daughter.  

Later, we went to see one of the most enigmatic sites -- Zabbaleen, also known as Trash City, which is a Coptic community on the outskirts of Cairo. While the streets were lined with mounds of garbage that 70,000 strong community has now become a hub of recycling plastics, metals and other waste. What was most amazing was the Church of St. Simon the Tanner, where the church itself and its Christian icons are carved into the side of a mountain cavern, the cavern having been created during an earthquake in the 12th century. Known as a site of miraculous healings, the church has a large room containing the crutches, wheelchairs and canes of cripples who received their healing there.

Once our group arrived, the beautiful and enigmatic Sphinx awaited our sunrise visit and listened eagerly to our whispered intentions and prayers. At Saqqara, we had an extended day of visitations to tombs, pyramids, courtyards, sounding chapels, and the serdab of Djoser. At Philae, the star Sirius and the constellation Orion (Isis and Osiris to the ancients) watched us from their places in the night sky as our boat glided silently under a quarter moon toward the Temple of Isis,. There we prayed for peace, made our petitions in her sanctuary, then awaited Ra dawning over the waters.

What more can I say? Everywhere our feet touched sacred ground. Deborah Jones, the Nine Gates Mystery School participants and I were blessed to travel in style on our dahabeya, the Afandina, which allowed us beautiful, languid sailing time on the Nile, the most delicious food every cooked by an Egyptian chef, vistas of sand hills, temples, water buffalo drinking at the water’s edge, and egrets lifting off the crown of trees to wing their way above the waters while families of fisherman sliced through the fog and cast their nets into the water.

By the final day of our trip, when we emerged from the initiation inside the Great Pyramid, we were buzzing. Every cell in my body was thrumming and I was left shivering and speechless from the energy. And thrilled beyond all reckoning. It was one of the best trips ever.

Come with me to Egypt! April 21-May 5, 2016

I take this opportunity to say that I am returning to Egypt in April 2016. I look forward to another great trip with our guide Emil Shaker. I could ask for no better friend and guide through this sacred land. He knows the ins and out of stealth shamanism in the temples better than anyone could imagine. You will, through his magical means of working, gain access to some of the mysteries others can only imagine. 

Indigo Ronlov and I will be leading this trip ASTRAL EGYPT: Living and Dreaming Together. We will combine our sacred practices of art, journaling, hieroglyphic thinking, dreaming and meditation through this amazing temple work.

On this tour, you will have ample opportunity to explore your personal and collective transpersonal piece of the puzzle through dreams, visioning, writing, and rituals and initiations that are designed to give you direct access to the Egyptian pantheon and the knowledge they wish to impart at each of the monuments you will visit.

Egypt is endowed with sacred symbolic language and art carved on the ancient temples and monuments throughout the land. It has an amazing ability to invoke something deep within, bringing forth our own symbolic language and along with it our transformation and renewal.
Normandi and Indigo will guide you in the cultivation of your own sacred symbols that come from the temples, your dreams (both in the night and the visions of the daylight), and the living architecture of this beautiful land. We will use our initiatory rituals to explore the astral realities between worlds, building relationships with the neteru (the deities of Egypt) and the sacred symbols that will move us, inform us, and ground us into the humanity that we are to become.

In order to keep the dream alive, most days will hold a time to create together. Whether a stroke of a brush or a pen, a word or a picture, you can record the essence of your experience to carry with you to remember. We will laugh heartily and hold and support each other as we dream this alchemical dream together during our nine nights on the Nile on the Dahabeya Afandina, and during the rest of the time as we luxuriate at the Mena House Garden hotel, directly across from the Great Pyramid.

This tour includes private time during sunrise at the Sphinx, inside the Great Pyramid, and most amazing, sunrise at the Temple of Isis at Philae, where we will be free to experience initiations and rites of passage not available to the public.

It will be one of the best tours yet.  And there is still room. Please contact us today if you are interested.