I am writing this post in protest over the use of the name ISIS for a terrorist organization that is only bent on death and destruction. This is another example of how patriarchal thinking takes a positive, life-affirming symbol and turns it into its opposite, just as the Nazi did with the symbol of the swastika, an ancient symbol of life and fertility, which we now consider a symbol of horrific death and totalitarian control.
These symbols arise out of the feminine spirit of life, which connects to us through the symbolic language of the collective unconscious.
not think that this abuse of symbolism is important, but you're wrong. Symbols are the living dictionary of life and
when people and corporations misuse these symbols, they have the power to trick
and twist our consciousness. Calling
this terrorist organization ISIS continues this utter disregard for psychic
wholeness and wisdom. And it is another
slap at women and our feminine power.
So I want to
set the story straight. Isis is a
Goddess of Life, Death and Rebirth. Isis
is not a terrorist organization.
Isis is perhaps the best known of the Egyptian goddesses. She was worshiped in Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire from around 3000 BCE to around 200 CE, when many of her titles and attributes were taken over by the Virgin Mary. Isis is another goddess who can represent the constellation of Virgo, the Virgin, the Divine Mother whose Child is the savior of Life. Her mysteries taught people the truth of the cycle of life, death and rebirth. She is a goddess of natural law as well as magic and healing.
Isis is known by her 1000 names, which reflect her many gifts, attributes and powers. She is the milk-giving cow goddess; goddess of serpents of the primeval waters; the star goddess Sirius, whose rising signaled the inundation of the Nile; the bird goddess; goddess of the underworld, whose breath gave life to the dead; goddess of the Tree of Life, offering the food and water of immortality; goddess of the words of power; the caring mother of her son, Horus; goddess of the throne, upon whose sovereign lap the king sat as her infant child in the image of all humanity.1 Isis is the Mage, the Enchantress, Lady Isis, She whose Words have Power.2
One of the interesting things about Isis is that her story contains the pain and suffering of human life. Perhaps Isis was so loved because her story is a very human story of love and death and ultimate rebirth. Or perhaps it is because Isis, like the Virgin Mary, is the Mediatrix of Grace, the Intercessor and Mother who listens to her human children and helps us because she understands us.
Many of Isis' statues are of her as the Mother, holding her child Horus in her lap. These statues symbolize the realization of the potential of the Virgin.
The Virgin Mother is not complete unless she manifests a new form, a new order. The Child is that new form, a form which completes her. On an inner level, this image speaks to the power of women who can become virginal again and find our own form of wholeness and completion--our child-- taking our unique consciousness and creating something in the world.
Isis, along with her husband Osiris, brought culture to her people, spending time among them, teaching women how to grind corn and make bread, spin flax and weave cloth, and how to tame men enough to live with them (an art form on which many of us would welcome a refresher course!) Isis taught her people the skills of reading and agriculture and was worshiped as the goddess of medicine and wisdom. In the myth of Isis and Osiris, we see that Isis is indeed a healer, even bringing her husband back from the dead.
This is the story of Isis and Osiris and their child Horus.
Out of the primal waters, Atum arises and gives birth to the male Shu (Air, Life, Space, Light) and female Tefnut (Moisture and Order), who gives birth to Nut, the sky goddess, and Geb, the god of Earth. (Right here you can see that the Egyptians had a different consciousness then we do. For us, we see the masculine Deity in the heavens, while we see the Earth as feminine.)
Shu lifts his daughter Nut away from his son Geb, supporting her so she can give birth to the stars and heavens. And Nut also gave birth to two sets of twins, Isis and Nephthys and Osiris and Set. They were born during the sacred five days between the years that Thoth, the Moon god, had to win from Ra, the Sun god. Isis and Osiris loved each other in the womb, and Nephthys married Set.
Osiris, who was given the dark, rich earth around the Nile to rule, and his sister, Isis, taught the Egyptians the arts and crafts of civilization: how to plant and harvest, how to gather fruit and cultivate wine, how to create art and build cities. Osiris often traveled to other countries to teach these matters, and Isis stayed in Egypt to rule and keep the peace.