Sunday, 6 March 2011

O Cyrus, Osiris and Sirius - The Path of Souls - UPDATED

The indie comedy/drama movie entitled ‘Cyrus’ features comedian Jonah Hill and John C. Reilly.  It’s a battle of wills between Hill’s character Cyrus and likeably burnt-out everyman John, played by Reilly.  The prize in this battle is the affections, attention and love of Cyrus’ mother, Molly, played by Marisa Tomei. Cyrus is a scarily intense, spoilt man-child who is doted on by his mother and with whom he shares a somewhat unconventional and perhaps overly-intimate relationship.  They are best friends, and Cyrus doesn’t appreciate Molly’s new lover John coming between them – and he’ll do anything to scare John away. The hilarious consequences ensue.

Ok, so bare with me. Here’s quote from Wikipedia on the origins of the name ‘Cyrus’:

The name's meaning is far-sighted; throne; sun. Kurus (Old Persian), Kurush (Old Persian), and Kyros (Old Greek) are older forms of Cyrus.  The name was borne by Cyrus the Great (-529 BC) who founded the Persian Empire; his mention in the Old Testament of the Bible as the king who freed the Jews has popularized the name among the Puritans.

The name is also suggested elsewhere to have originated from Old Greek, meaning ‘of the lord’. It can be interpreted as being derived from the element 'kyrios' which means lord. Kyros (Old Greek) is supposedly an old form of Cyrus. The name was associated with the Greek 'kyrios' by early Christians.

Ok, so then we have Cyrus’ mother, Molly.  It turns out that Molly is a diminutive of Mary.
From Wikipedia, about the name Mary:

The usual meaning given by various sources for the name is the Hebrew מרר m-r-r meaning "bitterness". Other meanings suggested include "rebelliousness" (מרי m-r-y), or "wished for child" or "Our Lady" (ש"ע מריה Sha Mrih) or "beloved lady", referring to the Christian reverence for the Virgin Mary. The website Behind the Name notes that the name could also be a name of Egyptian origin, perhaps from the word elements mry, meaning "beloved" or mr, meaning "love".  The name was also considered in the Middle Ages to be connected to the sea and the word mare, as in the term Stella Maris, or "star of the sea," an epithet for the Virgin Mary

In the movie Reilly’s John is an editor; he deals with language, shaping and manipulating the reality of texts.  In this sense we could argue he is a gatekeeper figure – or an Archon of the fictional narratives he maintains - resonant with the Book of Revelations supposedly written by John the Apostle.  And with regards to another famous John, of the Baptist variety, the Gospels depict him as proclaiming Christ's arrival.  In the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke), Jesus is baptized by John.

There seems to be a theme I can just about sense here, but the question is, ‘Is it meaningful?’  Let’s explore this by taking a look at the Greatest Cyrus of them all.  Here’s a quote from Wikipedia about Cyrus the Great:
The ancient Greek historians Ctesias and Plutarch noted that Cyrus was named from Kuros, the Sun, a concept which has been interpreted as meaning "like the Sun" by noting its relation to the Persian noun for sun, khor, while using -vash as a suffix of likeness.  […]Rüdiger Schmitt of the Encyclopædia Iranica have suggested a translation based on the meaning of an Indo-European-root "to humiliate" and accordingly "Cyrus" means "humiliator of the enemy in verbal contest.”  The Elamite form of the name, "Kurash", is interpreted as one who "bestows care".  In the Bible, he is known as Koresh (Hebrew: כורש‎).

Koresh?  Shades of Waco and another culturally-symbolic figure unwilling to surrender.  Is there meaning to be teased or intuited here?  What are we sensing beneath the surface?
Another Wiki quote on Cyrus’ exploits:
After taking Babylon, Cyrus the Great proclaimed himself "king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four corners of the world" in the famous Cyrus cylinder, an inscription deposited in the foundations of the Esagila temple dedicated to the chief Babylonian god, Marduk. The text of the cylinder denounces Nabonidus as impious and portrays the victorious Cyrus pleasing the god Marduk.
Marduk – God of Light.
O Cyrus, O Cyrus! The God of Light favors thee! (for example)

So...this might be a good time to mention Sirius, a bright star and the subject of numerous posts over on Chris Knowles’ Secret Sun blog.  Here’s a quote that mentions O Cyrus and Sirius and their connection:

The most commonly used proper name of this star comes from the Latin Sīrius, from the Ancient Greek Σείριος (Seirios, "glowing" or "scorcher"),although the Greek word itself may have been imported from elsewhere before the Archaic period, one authority suggesting a link with the Egyptian god Osiris.

Now, that’s interesting considering that earlier we saw that the name Cyrus means ‘Lord’, or ‘far-sighted, throne, sun’.  Strange connections we’re seeing here.

Backing this resonance up, in Arabic Sirius is known as: الشِّعْرَى (transliteration: aš-ši‘rā or ash-shira; the leader), from which the alternate name Aschere derives. In Sanskrit it's called Mrgavyadha "deer hunter", or Lubdhaka "hunter".  Many cultures have attached significance to Sirius, particularly in its connection to dogs. It’s often called the "Dog Star" as the brightest star of Canis Major, the "Great Dog" constellation.  Visit Chris Knowles' blog for stunning explorations of the Sirius question.

From Wikipedia, on Sirius’ dog-like qualities:
In Chinese astronomy the star is known as the star of the "celestial wolf" […] The Cherokee paired Sirius with Antares as a dog-star guardian of either end of the "Path of Souls". The Pawnee of Nebraska had several associations; the Wolf (Skidi) tribe knew it as the "Wolf Star", while other branches knew it as the "Coyote Star". Further north, the Alaskan Inuit of the Bering Strait called it "Moon Dog".”
Is Sirius a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and if so – what kind of wolf?  What interconnected meanings are hidden in all this?  What can we learn about ourselves?  Is something guarding the promised land of consciousness, are we all Israelites awaiting deliverance from some sinister, unfathomable corruption?  A Path of SoulsIs the Star of the Sea being compromised by things that remain just beyond our perception – much like the subtext of this post?

Osiris, who are you?

Update: Making Waves commented on the synchronicity between Molly being a diminutive of Mary, Star of the Sea (Stella Maris), and the actress who plays her being called Marisa - meaning 'of the sea'. 

I'm certain that the character names and the actors real names are often factored in to the huge magical working that is movie-making.  Also pointed out by Making Waves; the resonance between the most famous J.C. - Jesus Christ, and the actor J.C. Reilly.  Interesting in light of the fact that there are those who believe that Jesus took Mary Magdalene as a lover/wife.

Also in light of the fact that that the ancient dying/reborn sun gods often had a consort/queen who was both their mother (or sister) and their lover simultaneously.  With regards to Osiris, he is often depticted as being both the son and brother/husband of Isis.  An interesting circularity in light of the Mother Mary/Lover Mary resonance we find with Christ.

Connections abound. 


  1. Excellent post Raj. Right up my street.Here is my 2 cents worth.

    The actors real names and their character’s names are not chosen lightly are they? Yes it does appear that this story of Cyrus, seems to resonate with shades of the biblical JC and his mother/wife Mary. Not that I am saying a real JC existed, but the created one. I noticed that Marissa, her real name and Molly the character she plays have exactly the same meaning, as you stated…Mary of the Sea. So they message is reinforced as to the hidden or not so hidden to us with eyes to see, what the story tellers of this tale are really saying. And somehow there are also the initials or part thereof of (not surprising really) one of the characters JC Riley.

  2. Wow. I was wondering/google searched if the name Cyrus might come from the Egyptian God Osiris, you basically pulled the thoughts out of my head and related them to a synopsis of an overall subliminal message in a motion picture using biblical, historical and astrological context.