Monday, May 28, 2012

Pagan Blog Project-I is for Isis

Pagan Blog Project- I is for Isis

Isis is probably the most loved and known of all the Egyptian Gods. Over time she has absorbed just about every female god in the Egyptian pantheon as well as others abroad such as Demeter and Aphrodite. She shares many of the same attributes as the other goddesses.

She is usually depicted as a woman wearing a long sheath dress with a throne symbol on her crown. Isis has also been depicted wearing the cow horns and solar disk of Hathor. She may also be holding the ankh or lotus flower and is also shown in other statues as nursing her son Osiris (or sometimes interpreted as the current pharaoh). In animal form, she may be shown as a bird, a kite in particular, due to the myth of Osiris in which she is said to hover above his dead body as a kite.

The people loved her so because she took the time to get to know them and live among them. She taught them agriculture: how to grind and grow corn, make bread, grow other crops, spin and weave cloth as well as how to read and write. It is also said she taught them medicine. Because of the love and attention she gave her worshipers, she was greatly loved throughout Egypt as well as other countries.

Her many titles include: Queen of Heaven, Mother of the Gods, One Who is All, Lady of the Green Crops, Brilliant One in the Sky, Star of the Sea, Great Lady of Magic, Mistress of the House of Life, Lady of Words and Power and She of Ten
Thousand Names. These are just a few of her titles.

Isis is probably most known for her archetypes of Mother and Witch/Magician. As mother, she is the nurturer of her children as depicted in her statue. She offers unconditional love to her children and teaches them life lessons. Although she is a loving mother, she can also be overbearing and controlling in her ways. She only wants the best for her family and sometimes goes to extremes to get it (for example, as in the Legend of Ra, where she curses an illness on Ra then tricks him into giving her his power so she can heal him). This legend also gives credence as to her archetype of Magician (Witch). Ra was the most powerful god of all, but by using her intelligence and wit, Isis was able to defeat him and thereby gain the title of All Powerful Magician for herself. She understood the power of words and using your brain instead of brawn to make things happen.

Isis is the child of Geb (the earth) and Nut (the sky). She has four siblings: Osiris (who is also her husband/consort), Set, Horus the elder and Neptune. She is the mother of Horus and the stepmother of Annubis. This goddess was born on the 4th enterclary day.

Her name means "of the throne" and a throne is the symbol used as her hieroglyph. The head dress or crown she wears is also a throne which lends credence to her association as mother of the king or pharaoh. It is said that the pharaoh sits on the throne of Isis, making an association that the goddess is the rulers "parent" and that the ruler is of divine origins. It is a representation of power and legitimacy to the divine and the throne.

Isis is a great goddess of magic and is often seen in the funerary texts. She is a protector of the dead and guards the canopic jar that holds the liver and is representative of Imsety.

It is said that the tears she shed over the death of Osiris are the waters that flood the Nile each year. There is still a yearly event to celebrate this time called the Night of the Drop.

There is the Knot of Isis which is symbolic of the goddess. Knots are considered magical things. It is also called tiet or tyet, buckle of Isis or blood of Isis. The knot resembles the ankh except that the arms are pointed down and not across or side to side. This symbol is often used as a funerary amulet and it is usually made from red wood, stone or glass.

The star Sopdet or Sirius is also associated with Isis. Its appearance in the Egyptian sky signals the new year and the induation of the Nile River. Without the flooding if the Nile every year, the people would not survive; there would be no water for crops or for watering the animals. This time of year is a time of rebirth and so the goddess is seen as a goddess of death (funerals ) and reincarnation . Other evidence to support these attributes or titles is the myth of how she searched and found the dismembered body of Osiris and brought him back to life in order to concieve her son Horus.

As a goddess, she has many attributes including those of strength
in femininity, strong relationships, creation, source of sustenance and nurturing, protection, magician, teacher, mother and healer to name a few. She also has attributes of humans that may not seem very nice. Such as her ability to trick and manipulate to get what she wants (again seen in the Legend of Ra).

She can be seen in the four elements of life. She is the fertile earth (the crops she taught her people to farm in order to survive), the air (she is associated with the north wind), fire (in her defeat of Ra, she became an important solar deity, maker of sunrise, brilliant one in the sky) and water (as in her associations with the flooding of the Nile).

Isis was worshiped all over the globe, including Egypt, Rome, Greece, Gaul, Spain, Germany, Arabia, Asia Minor, Portugal and Britain. She was worshiped as a mother goddess and matron of magic and nature. All peoples worshiped her, both rich and poor.

She is often confused with Hathor or Mut and most of the Egyptian Goddess (she has absorbed most of their attributes as her own). She is also associated with Demeter (Greek), Astarte (Middle Eastern/Babylonian) , Aphrodite (Greek), and the Arabian goddess Al-Ozza.

The main cult center of Isis was in Philae, Abydos, with temples also in Behbeit El-Hagar in the Nile Delta. The temple at Philae was the last of the ancient temples to be closed due to the rise of Christianity. The first temples were erected in the early pre dynastic times, prior to 3100BC at Sebennyton in the North Delta. The cult of Isis consisted of both male priests and female priestesses. Both sexes conducted rites at temples. The priests were known to be healers, dream interpreters and magicians of weather magic. Today, we can still see evidence of Isis worship in groups such as the Golden Dawn and Kemetic Wiccan Groups.

Cult Center – Philae and throughout Egypt
Birthday – Dec 30 or July 17 (depends on which calendar you use), July 17th is also called Night of the Cradle
Chief Festival – December 30
Main festivals –
Feast of Lights of Isis – January 25;
Feasts – June 4, June 21 and 22; Festivals – September 4,
Festival of Lamentations- October 3 (Mourning of Isis over Osiris)
Mysteries of Isis- November 12th- Isis searches for Osiris
November 13th- Isis grieves for her lost
November 14th- Isis finds Osiris
Night of the Drop/Rising of the Nile- July 18th or there abouts
Isidis Navigatum-March 3- Blessing of the Fleets
Statue – a woman crowned with the representation of her name, a throne. Sometimes she is pictured with wings.
Symbol – the star Sirius (Sothis)
Family – Daughter of Nut and Geb, Sister/Wife of Osiris, Sister of Set and Nephthys, Mother of Horus.
Cardinal Point – North
Element - Earth
Herbs – Apple, Bean, Cypress, Dandelion, Dock, Gardenia, Garlic, Heather, Iris, Jasmine, Juniper, Lily, Mandrake, Mint, Myrrh, Oak, Onion, Orris, Pennyroyal, Pine, Rose, Spearmint, Thyme, Willow
Crystals – Ammonite, Apache Tears, Aventurine, Azurite
, Bloodstone, Blue Lace Agate, Calcite, Carnelian, Citrine, Elestials, Emerald, Flint, Galena, Garnet, Geodes, Gypsum, Herkimer Diamond, Infinite, Kunzite, Labradorite, Lepidolite, Moldavite, Moonstone, Obsidian, Quartz, Pearl, Peridot, Petrified Wood, Pyrite, Rose Quartz, Sapphire, Sodalite, Tanzanite, Tektite, Tourmaline,
Metal – Copper. Silver
Wood – Cherry, Ebony, Willow
Color – White, Blue
Incense – Apple, Bay, Cedar, Cinnamon, Jasmine, Rose
Day(s) – Monday
Time(s) – All
Season - All


Notes from Temple Ankh studies yahoo group, website at

The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard Wilkerson

Gods and Goddesses edited by Elizabeth Hallan, 1996

Circle of Isis by Ellen Cannon Reed

New Book of Goddesses and Heroines by Patricia Monaghan

How to bring Isis into your life:

Isis is a mother goddess, funerary goddess, creator goddess and goddess of magic. There are many times in life that one can connect with her.

If you are in need of mothering yourself or you need help in nurturing others, pray to her for guidance, she will hear you. If you are grieving, she is there for you. Grief has many forms, not just the death of a loved one. It can be the loss of a home, job material objects, pets, people, health, wealth, friendships etc.

If you need a little oomph added to your magic, Isis can help you there too.

Make an altar to Isis, burn lotus or jasmine incense, light blue candles to her. Offer libations of wine or grapes. Or choose any other correspondences listed above. Tell Isis your needs. She will help you.

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