by Baba Mecka, Initiate, Sisters in The Goddess Tree
Isis’s cult began over 5000 years ago in the Nile Delta in Egypt. Worship of her has crossed into many different cultures and is still alive today. According to author R.E. Witt, in ancient times, Isis’s temples opened before dawn and four services were held during the day. Today, her followers still perform daily offering rites. This is detailed in M. Isidora Forrest’s book, “Offering to Isis.”
The goddess Isis was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, the goddess of the Overarching Sky. Isis married her brother Osiris. She was a benevolent monarch and ruled when Osiris was absent. The goddess Isis spent her time in positive activities among her people. She taught women how to grind corn, make bread, spin flax, and weave cloth. Isis also showed women how to tame men enough to live with them. Isis taught her people the skills of reading and agriculture and was worshipped as the goddess of medicine and wisdom. She also taught midwifery skills to her people. Isis saw the value of marriage and the importance of a committed male and female relationship. Isis became the most well known of the gods and goddesses in the ancient world. She is known as the Lady with Ten Thousand Names.
Ra, the God of the Sun, originally had the
greatest power. But Ra was uncaring, and the people of the world suffered
during his rule. The goddess Isis tricked him by mixing some of his saliva with
mud to create a poisonous snake that bit him.
This caused him great suffering, which she then offered to cure. He
eventually agreed. Isis informed Ra
that, for the cure to work, she would have to speak his secret name (which was
the source of his power over life and death). Reluctantly, he whispered it to
Isis uttered his secret name while performing her magic and Ra was healed. Now the goddess Isis possessed Ra’s powers of life and death. She quickly became the most powerful of the Egyptian gods and goddesses, using her great powers to the benefit of the people. Isis was called the Mother of Life, but she was also known as the Crone of Death. She earned other titles, such as, "The Giver of Life" and "Goddess of Magic". She is simultaneously known as a creation goddess and a goddess of destruction.
One of the best known stories is her search for her husband Osiris. Isis was the Goddess of the Earth in ancient Egypt and loved her brother Osiris. When they married, Osiris became the first King of Earth. Their brother Set was immensely jealous of their powers, murdered Osiris so he could take over the throne.
Set did this by tricking Osiris into stepping into a beautiful box made of cedar, ebony and ivory that he had ordered built to fit only Osiris. Set then sealed it. This made the box his coffin and threw it into the river. The river carried the box out to sea. The box washed up in another country, resting in the boughs of a tamarisk tree. As time passed, the branches covered the box, surrounding the god in his coffin within the trunk of the tree.
In a state of utter grief, Isis tore her robes into pieces and cut off her beautiful black hair. When she finally regained her emotional balance, Isis set out to search for the body of her beloved Osiris, so that she could bury him. The search took Isis to Phoenicia where she met Queen Astarte. Astarte didn't recognize the goddess and hired her as a nursemaid to the infant prince. Isis decided to bestow immortality on him. As she was holding the royal infant over the fire as part of the ritual, the Queen Astarte entered the room. Seeing her son smoldering in the middle of the fire, Astarte grabbed the child out of the flames, undoing the magic of Isis that would have made her son a god.
When the Queen demanded an explanation, Isis revealed her identity and told Astarte of her quest to recover her husband's body. As she listened to the story, Astarte realized that the body was hidden in the tree in the center of the palace and she told Isis where to find it. Sheltering his broken body in her arms, the goddess Isis carried the body of Osiris back to Egypt for proper burial. She hid the body in the swamps on the delta of the Nile River.
came across the box one night when he was hunting. Angered by this turn of events and determined
not to be outdone, Set murdered Osiris once again, cutting his body into 14
pieces. Set then threw the pieces in
different directions, hoping that crocodiles would eat them.
The goddess Isis searched unceasingly for Osiris accompanied by seven scorpions that assisted and protected her. Each time she found a new piece she rejoined them to re-form his body. But Isis could only recover thirteen of the pieces. The fourteenth, his penis, had been swallowed by a crab, so she fashioned one from gold and wax. Then inventing the rites of embalming, and speaking some words of magic, Isis brought her husband back to life.
Magically, Isis then conceived a child with Osiris, and gave birth to Horus, who later became the Sun God. Assured that having the infant would now relieve Isis' grief, Osiris felt free to descend and become King of the Underworld. He now ruled over the dead and the sleeping. His spirit, however, frequently returned to be with Isis and the young Horus who both remained under his watchful and loving eye.
There are many other variations of this myth redone through time. In one of the most powerful renditions, Isis turns into a sparrow hawk and hovers over the body of Osiris, fanning life back into him with her long wings. Regardless of the differences, each version speaks of the power over life and death that the goddess Isis symbolizes. There are many fascinating stories on Isis and at the end of this web page there is a list of books that I found of interest in learning more about this goddess.
Symbols Sacred for the Goddess Isis
Full Moon, Moon in all phases, mother and child images, ocean, rivers (Nile Primary), the ankh, knots, thrones, headdress with circular disk with horns, cow, wings, perfume, milk, rudder, star.
Silver, gold, black, red, cobalt blue, sea colors, and green
Gems and Minerals
Silver, gold, ebony, bronze, obsidian, ivory, scarabs, bloodstone, amethyst and lapis lazuli
Sparrow hawk, hawks, swallows, scorpion, snake (Cobra is favorite), crab, gazelles, cattle, cats and geese
Corn, tamarisk, cedar, wheat, flax, barley, lotus, rose, grapes, balsam, sycamore tree, papyrus, all flowers, trees and green plants
Lotus, tamarisk, balsam, amber oil, cedar wood, cinnamon, sandalwood, sweet orange, cardamom, myrrh, myrtle
Isis: Her Direction is Center.
Call on her to manage Spirituality, Women’s Issues, Children, Faithfulness, Destiny, Divination, Dreams, Harvest, Healing, Love, Magic, Moon, Perspective and Protection.
Isis has many more areas she can help you in. The Goddess Guide, by Priestess Brandt Auset, published by Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul. MN 64383 has a more complete list.
Candle, Silver or white
Incense: Lotus, cedar or others listed above
Scents: See Above list
Strengths and influence: Emotions, magic, harvest, dreams, divination, health and mental issues, perspective, protection, love, spirituality, destiny
Weakness: likes scorpions, can play with poisons
Festival: March 20
Ritual to Isis
Purpose: In thanks for our life and breath
Items needed: Silver or White Candle, Lotus or Cedar incense, Roses on altar or any fragrant flower, a picture of a sailboat and one container of water.
Clear and center your mind; concentrate on your breath. See in your mind a loving light surrounding you.
Picture your lungs as sails, filling with air/wind.
Light the candle and incense. And say:
As my breath opens my lungs, the passage of air goes in and out
Bringing my boat toward life’s possibilities
So I may be inspired and grow in spirit
Let me use my breath to speak only truth and give only love
Give me determination to uphold the right
And knowledge of the true magic
So Mote it Be.
Center in thanks of life’s gifts and then picture the circle open
Photograph taken 7/15/10 in Sedona, Arizona by Baba Mecka
by Baba Mecka
The dawn awakens life
And the desert
Becomes your garden
A cleft in the rocks
Is now a green oasis
And a hummingbird’s wings
Beat the air in praise of you.
1. Forrest, M. Isidora, Offering to Isis, Knowing the Goddess through Her Scared Symbols, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul. MN 64383, First Edition, 2005, (Page 211, To Isis, Magic), ISBN: 0-7387-0705-8.
2. Regula, DeTraci, The Mysteries of Isis, Her Worship and Magick, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul. MN 64383,First Edition, 1995, ISBN: 1-56718-560-6
3. Skye, Michele, Goddess Aloud, Transforming Your World through Rituals and Mantras, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul. MN 64383, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-7787-1442-4
4. Witt, Reginald E., Isis in the Ancient World, The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD,21218,First published, 1971, ISBN:0-8018-5642-6
5. Welcome to the Isis Magic Website, http://www.hermeticfellowship.org/Iseum/index.html
This page is the creative property of Baba Mecka
Initiate, Sisters in The Goddess Tree
This page is the creative property of Baba Mecka