Recently, I read an ancient Egyptian Tale and a biography of a visionary genius that share the common thread of “a feather” both offering a sacred truth to living an integrous life. You can learn so much from mythological tales that contain hidden messages to life’s purpose. Real-life example of people who parallel the moral of the story can help orient and regulate your choices to live a life of meaning. Below is the tale of Se-Osiris, a brief biography of Nikola Tesla, and the symbol of the Feather.
An Egyptian Tale: The Judgement of the dead by Osiris
This tale is found in an ancient text written in The Book of the Dead found in Ancient Egyptian papyrus, usually designated for kings, royalty and people of high status. A very involved story where the setting takes place in Ancient Egypt BCE, here’s my condensed summary:
A young boy name Se-Osiris, known to the kingdom as a wise magician and counselor to the Pharaoh, is standing with his father Setna by the window watching two funeral processions go by. The first funeral honors a rich man whose body is encased in a golden tomb as his troops of servants carry him. The second funeral is a poor laborer enclosed in a wooden case with only his two sons carrying the body followed by his grieving wife and two daughters-in-law.
The father tells his son, “I hope my fate would be that of the noble rich man rather than the laborer”. The young wise Se-Osiris replies, “I pray, father, that the poor man’s fate be yours not that of the rich!” Seeing his father’s hurt feelings, the young boy decides to take him to Duat, the land of the dead, to clear his confusion.
Father and son meditate and pray and are given permission to witness several trials which Ancient Egyptians believed souls must undertake to enter paradise. The critical trial is the scale of the White Feather of Truth. Se-Osiris explains to his father, the deceased’s heart is placed on a golden scale and is weighed against the white Feather of Truth. Each soul’s heart must honestly and truthfully admit negative confession which means sins one has never committed. The scale will know if you tell the truth.
Setna and Se-Osiris once again see the two souls they had just witnessed at the funeral procession. The Rich man’s heart is brought to the scale. The scale tips heavily upon the heart revealing his evil deeds on earth. His soul is then discarded to the demons to be consumed as if he never existed. Then the soul of the poor laborer is placed on the golden scale. All wait patiently but the scale does not move. The Egyptian God determines the soul of the poor laborer shows balance with the feather revealing his life had been filled with goodness and integrity. The poor laborer’s soul is then escorted to enter the Field of Paradise.
This tale has you examine your values and how you conduct yourself. Do you value earthly treasures and aim to achieve them at all cost wieghing down your heart with sin or do you devote your life to important matters such as kindness, mercy, forgiveness, and integrity? God, like the feather of truth, weighs in your intentions.
Pioneer Legend who lit the world: Nikola Tesla
“Most persons are so absorbed in the contemplation of the outside world that they are wholly oblivious to what is passing on within themselves.
The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.” ~Nikola Tesla
Currently, people associate the name Tesla to a car and very little is known about the visionary genius whose inventions and over 300 patents influenced the technological advancement people take for granted. X-rays, remote control, the AC-electrical system that powers the 20th century world-wide are just some examples Nikola Tesla’s work. Did you know in 1900 he conceptualized the idea of the internet? In fact, 80 percent of the technology we use can be credited to this visionary inventor.
At the peak of Tesla’s career, he achieved fame, wealth, and was recognized as a genius of his time. But he was also met with envy. A famous public feud with Thomas Edison led to the “Current Wars”. Edison is highly celebrated today for inventing the lightbulb. However, science historians try to correct this misconception. The idea of the lightbulb had been conceptualized by others. Thomas Edison was a genius in buying the patent, hiring 50 interns to make it work, and marketing the lightbulb that instaneously people assume he invented it. You can read this link for the History of the lightbulb.
Both Nikola and Edison had great admiration for each other before their falling out. Tesla being promised $50,000 (that’s $2 million today) to improve Edison’s DC (electrical generator) which he completed, was denied payment by Edison stating, “It was just an American Humor”. Edison refused to pay, and he bolstered his new electrical generator for profits giving no credit to Tesla.
Tesla quit and he found himself digging ditches for work to earn money. During this time, Tesla developed the “Alternative Current (AC)” which is used in present time. Westinghouse Company was impressed and hired him to implement his invention. This led to the clash of the Titans that came to be known as the “War of the Currents”. The feud was in full public display in the 1880’s and it lasted for years.
Historians say Edison did all he could to stop the use of the AC and engaged in a negative cruel campaign instilling fear in the public such as electrifying animals that included a majestic elephant. Various reports conclude Tesla won the war but because the battle lasted for years, Westinghouse was brought to near bankruptcy.
George Westinghouse reported that he went to Tesla to ask if he can terminate his yearly royalty from Westinghouse Electricity and Manufacturing to save the company. To Westinghouse’s amazement, Tesla tore up the original contract on the spot. Tesla was grateful to Westinghouse for believing in him when no one else would. By tearing up the contract and relinquishing his royalties, Tesla single-handedly saved the Westinghouse Electric company. [i]
Not only did he save the company, but his work led to technological advances that will last for future generations. Tesla’s family and friends described him working over 80 hours a week for the purpose of trying to advance mankind for a better future.
Like the ancient Egyptian tale, a feather played a vital role in his life. More precisely, a particular white feathered bird was the love of his life. Tesla was known to have many oddities which psychologist may have labeled him to be on the Autism Spectrum. He had sensory issues with vibration, sounds, and lights. He hated to be touched. But one of his greatest oddities was his love for birds. More precisely being “in-love” equaling to a life-long partner. Tesla wrote about one particular bird, “I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life.”[ii]
Tesla wrote one evening as he was laying in his bed deep in thought, his white bird flew in through a window and landed on a desk in front of him. When he moved in closer to her, she told him, “I am dying”. As he gazed into her piercing eyes, white light came out of her and it grew bigger and bigger and suddenly the light vanished. His white feathered bird was dead. He knew right then his life’s work was complete. Tesla died of heart failure on January 8, 1943 at the age of 86 years old, poor and alone in his hotel room. Other than mathematicians and engineers, the public know little of his work. Click here to read more of Nikola Tesla’s greatest achievements.
Symbolism of the Feather
Both the poor laborer and Nikola Tesla died poor and in obscurity. But nonetheless during their lifetime both aimed at the highest good and regulated their being to serve others. Ancient Egyptian Tales see the feather as the God of truth, morality, order and justice. Nikola’s feather symbolized love. The significance of the feather in both stories seem to offer this hidden treasure: We are not judged by successes or failures but the intention of our hearts.
The Seat of your heart is your soul which carries the weight of your intentions. To achieve your hearts desires, do you aim only for your highest good while disregarding other’s? Do you work to lighten the burden of others, live honestly, and treat others with respect? Do you live your life where your heart/soul is lighter than the feather, like the poor Egyptian laborer or Nikola Tesla?
Humanity’s desire for earthly treasures have been part of mankind for over 6,000 years. Be aware of your intentions as you work towards achieving what you value. What was true back then is true today.
i. “How Nikola Tesla Threw Away A Billion Dollar Fortune Then Died Penniless…..” Dailyoddsandends, 10 Nov. 2015, dailyoddsandends.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/how-nikola-tesla-threw-away-a-billion-dollar-fortune-then-died-penniless/.
ii. Huffpost.com. (2019). HuffPost is now a part of Oath. [online] Available at: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/nicola-tesla-love-pigeon-facts-inventor_n_4320773 [Accessed 5 Jun. 2019].