Monday, November 29, 2010

New Work. New Blog.

One third of our lives 
are spent sleeping—
and dreams are laced 
through all our nights.
John Ransom Phillips, through the persona of civil war photographer Mathew Brady, invades the dreams of Illustrious Americans and brings along acquaintances such as Andy Warhol and Dick Cheney to pique, amuse, and disturb his readers.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

View from the Luxor Studio

John Phillips went to Luxor to work on his Contemporary Book of the Dead project.

Part of the process was the purchase of a villa with spectacular year round views.

The project is over, the villa is now up of sale. A perfect vacation villa for artists and ancient Egypt enthusiasts alike.

For more information:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The World Seen From A Perspective Of A Mummy - Ay Part II

You know about Akhenaten, Nefertiti and even about Tutankhamun, but did you know that I helped make them who they are? And yet you never heard of me. Good reason, I was the perfect civil servant⎯you might say that I was the Dick Cheney of the 18th dynasty ( 1300 B.C.) and my name was Kheperkheperura, doer of right, battalion commander, king’s scribe and father of the god. I was born reluctantly and had no early sense of happiness. You can call me Ay

I knew and served all the key players: I was brother-in-law to Pharaoh, father-in-law to Pharaoh and finally in 1327 B.C., I made Pharaoh. Early in life, I learned this lesson from my mother and sister: attach yourself to someone of power and rise with them.

The need to serve and the ability to remain in the shadows, while using my strength to implement another’s vision, were ingrained in me (I was beneficial because of my closed mouth).

I became a practical man entrusted with carrying out public policy for Pharaoh. This meant preserving the Maat, the path of divine order and balance in the world. In the case of Akhenaten, I was required to manifest publicly his personal revelations, which aimed to overturn the entire religious structure of Egypt by substituting a direct path from the human to the divine. To Pharaoh, the revelation of God is light. Egypt’s light is overwhelming, with a brightness that multiplies detail and enhances objects with extraordinary clarity. It is the presence of God “ in our faces.” Akhenaten himself wore the sun as a garment.

But in disseminating another man’s vision, I found that I also imbibed his energy. My left eye opened and expanded; I saw heaven in small prisms of light that grew in beauty and intensity over time. I envisioned Akhenaten worshiping in a lush color-filled garden landscape that was free of gravity and ordinariness. When the sun emanates through you, the eye reverses the image and what you see appears to be upside down, but such terms are relative because there is no gravity in heaven. Stars were blue and moved sideways and dipped into orange water; the grass surrounding me was blood stained and flowed as from an open womb of life’s possibilities. Each color marked a spiritual vapor of energy: the presence of spirit in matter.

Breathe into your body and each part, whether kneecap or elbow, back or face, fills with its own intoxication, The color achieved knows no shape, but is amplified with an intensity of love.

For a time I let the sun-shine on me, but my old ingrained reservations eventually re-asserted themselves and I became frightened and closed down. Better to second guess what people are thinking so you can be there before them. There was no place to put this new vision in my own life. Instead, I befriended animals and enjoyed their colors and shapes and their capacity for a loyalty that I missed in human beings. They were my friends and I was determined to take them with me to the afterlife.

To be continued .
. .

Pictures shown:
Ay - In Countless Guises, Watercolor, 2006
Ay - My Friends . . . , Watercolor, 2006

To See Part I go to:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Contributor Hawass on the Go

Zahi Hawass is a contributing authors to A Contemporary Book of the Dead.

His life as an Egyptian archaeologist, an Egyptologist and the current Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities takes to him to many exciting places.

Here is an update he sent to John.

Zahi Hawass—going down!

The head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities [SCA] for Egypt, Dr. Hawass goes down past the false door of Shendwa to check out the burial chamber at a depth of 20 meters [65 feet] —seven stories!

The burial chamber itself is about 30 square meters [1000 square feet] And Zahi—not bad form—for a man of 63, although he doesn’t look overly thrilled or comfortable with the task!

What Zahi Passed:

This is the false door from the newly discovered 4200 year-old tomb of Shendwa, showing his name, titles and a standard prayer.

Shendwa is shown above the door lintel. False doors—solid stone but looking like a doorway—were believed to be the way the deceased’s ‘spirit’ went between the worlds of the living and the dead.

he inscription to the right has a cartouche—a pill-shaped ring—with three hieroglyphs inside.

Those three symbols read Nefer-ka-ra—the throne name of pharaoh Pepi II, so archaeologists deduce from this that Shendwa lived during Pepi’s reign—over 4200 years ago!

More than food for thought

Royal scribe Khonsu, son of Shendwa, sits by an offering table above the false door in his tomb in Saqqara.

While priests and relatives were to bring him food, should they not, the food on the offering table would magically ‘come to life’ to sustain him.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The World Seen From A Perspective Of A Mummy

Ay - Part I

I have not been dead for very long. At this moment I am stretched out on a table naked, face down. I seem to be alone. My hair keeps growing. Also my fingernails, but I can’t tell about my toenails: I can’t see them.

My heart was the last to give up after most of my other organs turned over to expire. Breathing had been difficult during my last week and I sense my lungs did not want to continue. Nor did my liver, weighted down by cirrhosis despite remedies of pomegranate and wormwood. My stomach, however, had still great quantities of half- digested fruits (some nuts as well) within its perimeters and was not quiescent. It is spring and I still contemplate melons and dates just waiting to be consumed. My belly knows this, I am sure. Having trained tongue and teeth to pulverize these morsels to an acceptable pulp to aid its own digestive juices, there was residual frustration in addiction to shock.

But no anger could match what my intestines expressed. Foul mumblings continued long after my eyes closed forever (was this a death rattle?) . It was only later that I perceived that of all my interior organs apparently only my intestines knew intimately what would follow death: dismemberment, mummification, entombment and enlightenment.

Am I getting ahead of myself? I need you to know who I am so that I can live in memory. Maybe even yours.

To be continued . . .

I Am Followed By The Spirit Of Sustenace

Watercolor on paper - 2006

Thursday, June 10, 2010

John's Egyptian Home For Sale

New Life - John is selling his house in Egypt.

He has finished with his "lives"
in Egypt and will pursue other "lives" in China.

Artist's Villa for Sale - Luxor, Egypt

The villa is on the western bank of Luxor beautifully located directly across the Nile from Luxor Temple&Winter Palace Hotel ( 5 minute ride by motorboat )& 3 minute walk to the villa , and 20 min taxi ride to all the important monuments on West bank ( Villa of Kings , etc).

He plans to
visit China next fall

Monday, May 17, 2010

Former Pharaoh Has Yet To Comment

King Tut, former Pharaoh Tutankhamun, is enjoying an extended visit of New York City,

He is staying in midtown Manhattan, New York until February of 2011.

But he has yet to comment on John Phillips' two books based on the Egyptian Book of the Dead, even though Zahi Hawass Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities has not only commented he has contributed an essay to one of the books.