The Goddess: Isis

She who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

 January 1, 2016

Isis

I have chosen Isis for this month’s column because I do believe it is time for us and Her to reclaim Her name from those who use it to bring terror, evil, murder and injustice into our world. She is a Goddess from the beginning and She is still worshipped today. Let Her name be heard and live beyond those who dishonor her.

There, in the beginning was Isis, Oldest of the Old, She

was the Goddess from whom all Becoming arose.

She was the Great Lady, Mistress of the Two Lands,

Mistress of Shelter, Mistress of Heaven, Mistress of

the House of Life. She was the Unique. In all Her

great and wonderful works, She was a wiser magician

and more excellent than any other.”

~ ~ R. E. Witt

(Photo credit: nasrinsafai.com)

Our beloved Isis was the first daughter of Nut, the Sky Goddess and Geb, the Earth God. Her twin sister-Goddess was Nepthys.

Isis was kind to her people, spending time with them, teaching the women how to grind corn and make bread. She taught the people agriculture and reading.

One of the stories surrounding Her is the anger she felt at Ra’s uncaring and cruelty to the people. She fashioned a snake out of mud and Ra’s saliva, which she had stolen. When Ra was subsequently bitten by this snake, becoming very ill, he ironically called for Isis to cure him due to her powerful healing magic. She refused to do this unless he gave to Her his secret name of power. Continuing to feel ill, Ra agreed and whispered his secret name to Her, realizing that from that point on, Isis would then have power over him.

While Isis loved Her people, She most loved her beloved brother/ lover/consort/husband Osiris. Overcome with jealously, their brother Set, who wanted Isis for his own, killed Osiris. Isis went into mourning, deeply grieving for him. She set out to search for his body.

In her travels, She came upon the Phoenician Queen, Astarte, who did not recognize her and hired her as a nursemaid for her child. Isis attempted to gift this child with immortality, laying him within a fire. The Queen saw this and became angered, pulling the child from the fireplace. As she turned to face the nursemaid, She revealed Herself as Isis. In atonement for her anger against the Goddess, Astarte revealed that Osiris’s body was hidden in a nearby tamarisk tree.

As Isis is returning to Egypt, Set comes upon Her and steals the body of Osiris, dismembering it and hiding each part separately. Once again, Isis searches for Her beloved. She finds each piece but one. She fashions Osiris a new penis out of gold, anoints him with oils and brings him back from the land of the dead. He impregnates Her and their son, Horus, is born.

(Photo Credit: ancienttreasures.com)

Isis was also known as Au Set, Auzit, Eset and Isis, the All Goddess.

These are but a few of her names. As Her own powers grew and as She took on the powers of lesser Goddesses, her names also grew.

Her name is similar to Ishtar, Astarte, Ashtoreth and it has been suggested that they have a common distant origin. She was associated with the Goddess Hathor, with whom she has sometimes been mistaken and had a close relationship with the Goddess Bast, who’s name is “Ba-Ast”, or “Soul of Isis”. There were always cats in the temples of Isis.

She was known as “Isis Myrionymos” or Goddess of Ten Thousand, which we know Her as still today.

(Photo Credit: ahanaenterprises.com)

She is the Mother of the Sun, She is the Moon. She is the Goddess of the Earth and Stars; the Goddess of Healing and Magic, as we have seen from the two previous stories; She is the Goddess of Love and Motherhood. She is the Goddess of Medicine and Wisdom. She is the Giver of Life and Guide to the Underworld, protecting all with Her outstretched wings.

She was also known as the Goddess of the Sea, known as “Isis Euploia” or “Isis of Good Sailing”. One of Her festivals is the “Isidis Navigium”, held on March 5. There was joy, music and dancing as boats were dedicated to Her, as She held the power of the seas and the tides.

Other of Her festivals are the “Going Forth of Isis”, held on October 7, when Her image was decorated and proceeded to “visit” the temples of other deities.

June 14 is the “Night of the Tear Drop”, to commemorate and remember Her mourning of Osiris. It is said that when She wept, the Nile flooded.

Of course, one must not forget Her birthday celebrations on July 30.

Some of Isis’ many symbols are the full moon, the stars, Her diadem headdress (moon with horns), the ankh and the sistrum, used in Her many celebrations.

Of the many temples that were dedicated to Her, the one in Abydos was said to pre-date the pyramids. Of course, there were temples to Her in Alexandria, Petra, which was used for healing, Coptos and at least one in Roman London.

(Photo credit: dreamstime.com)

Some of these temples have been removed from Egypt. The Temple of Tafla is now located at the Museum of Antiquities in Leiden in the Netherlands. The Temple of Debad is in Municipal Park in Madrid, Spain. The one closest to my heart, as I have been there several times, is the Temple of Dendur which now resides at the Metropolitan Museum of in New York City, New York, USA. Please see this month’s “Sacred Place/Sacred Space” column for more on the Dendur Temple.

(Photo Credit: Susan Morgaine)

I wish you peace and the blessings of Isis.

**Personal Note: In my quest to reclaim Isis’ name, I currently have her on my Yule altar. After the new year, I will be putting together a ritual to continue this. If anyone is interested in joining me, please email me at MysticalShores.wordpress.com and I will be happy to send you the ritual when it is finished.**

Resources:

The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines by Patricia Monaghan

The Mysteries of Isis by DeTraci Regula

Isis Magic by M. Isadora Forrest

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