Isis and the current situation

I created this blog in 2008 to be a place in which I could discuss my thoughts regarding issues ofblack-madonna4 religion and spirituality. At that time I saw it as being primarily a place in which two discussions could be initiated by my posts. One of these was to be a discussion of the relationship between the Roman Catholic and Neopagan understandings of the Virgin Mary. Along with this blog I also established a decent sized yahoo e-group in hope of developing a Christian Pagan dialogue on Mary while simultaneously searching out the internet to see if any convergence between Pagans and Catholics on Mary was occurring. The contrary in fact was the reality. Within the post-Vatican II era Roman Catholic Church, Marian devotionalism has been downgraded as being offensive to Protestants and as being biblically unsound. Within liberal Catholic circles Marian devotionalism is increasingly unfashionable because traditional stories of Mary are believed to portray unhealthy and sexually repressive role modals for young Catholic girls.. Within the circles of traditionalist Catholicism Mary was still revered. However it soon became obvious to me that the last thing that people in that cultural milieu wanted was for any association to be seen between Mary and Paganism.Thus it soon became clear that the discussion which I wanted to initiate within this blog would never happen. . As the years have passed and my last flicker of interest in Christianity burned out in 2011 so has much of my interest in Mary.Even though; I still love many of the beautiful icons and statues of Mary and I still see her as the closest thing that Christianity will ever have to a goddess.

209px-Isis_-_ViennaThe other aspiration I had for this blog was for it to be a place in which discussions on development of a religion devoted to Isis could be developed. I had hoped that a religion based on Isis devotionalism centered on the worship and devotion to Isis as the Goddess / God / creatrix of the universe might develop. After all a widespread at least superficial interest in Isis exists throughout much of the culture of Neopaganism. She is mentioned on many websites and many e-groups seem to be dedicated to her. I saw Isis at the time and still see her as essentially a monotheistic Goddess in which all other goddesses and gods are aspects. I saw her as the supreme deity and not just as one aspect of the Great Goddess of modern Neopaganism. This vision of Isis as supreme and universal Goddess for me is inspired by the theological vision of Isis as universal Goddess which for at least five centuries, 300 BCE to about 200 CE, inspired educated followers such as Apuleius and Isidorus within the Graeco-Roman world.

That goal was also doomed to failure for several reasons. First in spite of the fact that a belief in a functionally monotheistic Great Mother / Goddess may exist within modern Paganism, it increasingly seems to me that the real energy in Paganism is focused on its polytheistic features. Most pagans with whom I have had contact over the years seem much more fascinated by the many various particular gods and goddesses of the Pagan pantheons than they are in the Source or Ultimate from which these come.

Two. To the degree that modern Paganism does have an interest in the Great Goddess, she has in general been conceptualized primarily by the modern ideas of the theologians of modern Neopaganism. Thus she is often is connected to Jungian archetypes, the celebration of modern female sexuality or woman’s empowerment concerns which are quite modern in character. She is not tied particularly closely to the conceptions of the universal Goddess which might have been held by an Apuleius, a Plutarch, or an Isidorus. To the extent that moderns are interested in the real ancient Isis they seem to be drawn more to the Kemetic vision of the particular Goddess of the Isis / Osirus / Horus mythos. Within this mythos however Isis is simply one of the several significant goddesses of Ancient Egpyt and hardly the supreme deity of the Graeco-Roman period.

Three. Modern alternative religions such as the New Age Movement and Neopaganism seem to have an aversion to any religion which is focused primarily on the worship, praise and devotion of a single Deity. The ideal of an ongoing obedience or submission to the divine will of a particular Deity no matter how compassionate or just that will is smacks of the monotheisms of the Abrahamic faiths and no doubt is seen as a violation of the freedom of free spirits.

Certainly this suspicion of anything that smacks of monotheism and its many forms of moralism is understandable. All of the Abrahamic faiths to greater and lessor extent though out their histories have embraced systems of oppression in the name of submission to the will of God. They have all impeded legitimate aspects of human freedom.

However the concepts of divine law and obedience to practices that bring one closer to the Divine or which bring greater justice and love into the world is legitimate and to be desired. Concepts of divine law not only exist within the Abrahamic faiths, they also exist within Hinduism, Buddhism and even within faiths such as Taoism. It is a traditional teaching of vital importance. Without the concepts of Divine Law, Dharma, Torah, Ma’at, or the Way human beings are left subject only to their immediate passions, impulses and habits by which to live. Without divine law and strong vital religious traditions the human person is left alone without the knowledge of the body of wisdom which has developed though out the history of human existence.

A corollary to this is the emphasis on magic within neopaganism which seems in general to cause any emphases on the worship or adoration of the Deity to be deemphasised. I have of course run into persons who clearly do have a strong love of Isis or some other goddess or god of one of the ancient pagan religions. However these seem to me to be the exception to the rule. Look at any bookstore under the Pagan / Wicca / New Age sections. How many books will one find on how to do magic? How many in which hymns or psalms to a deity play a part? The answer to these questions in general enables one to see the trend.

Four. A final reason for the failure for a new and vital Isian faith to develop in the modern world seems based on the simple lack of theological resources on which to develop a mature Isian devotional theology. The fact is that there is a paucity of ancient theological literature regarding Isis from the ancient world which can usefully serve that purpose. For example within most of the ancient Kemetic literature Isis plays an important role as the mother of Horus the representative God of the Egyptian monarchy and as the wife of Osirus who would ultimately have the role of the King over the realm of the Dead. She basically played the role of the Queen Mother of the important terrestial Gods. However she did not play the most significant role within Kemetic religion the most important position of which was held by Amen Ra the God of the sun and the Creator. Further more both Osirus and Horus have much greater roles within the most of the sacred literature of ancient Egypt. Examples of this are found within the Pyramid texts and the various Books of the Dead. This literature does not provide much support for a modern religion of Isis

Isis only came into her own during the Graeco-Roman period when she fired the vision of the influx of new Greek worshipers who could see in her character that which was lacking within the mythologies of the goddesses of their own pantheons. They saw characteristics which enabled them to see her as the supreme deity from which the other deities precede. Unfortunately in spite of the fact that writers such as Apuleius, Isidorus, and the writer of the Kyme aretalogy may have provided the seeds of a strong devotional theology of Isis, the amount of literature dedicated to Isis is still quite small. Admittedly while much more literature is committed to Isis than is committed for instance to Hera the Queen of the Olympian gods or to Athena the supreme goddess of Athens, it is still extremely limited. We for example have the beautiful hymns dedicated to Isis by Apuleius, and the three hymns committed to her by Isidorus. We have the Kyme and Maronea aretalogies and the hymns from her temple at Philae. This is the bulk of what we have and no consistent theology exists within this literature. Though it is possible that this literature can be used as the initial core for the development of an Isian theology, this has not happened.

In the early part of 2012 I converted to a religion called Filianism based on the theology articulated on a website called the Chapel of Our Mother God. Perhaps converted is too strong a word to use. I did not convert to all of the aspects of that faith. However from that time on, I came decisively under the sway of that faith and increasingly became strongly committed to my own understanding of that faith. I become a member participant in what I call the Independent Filianic community and developed strong working relationships and friendships with some of its most important actors.

One of the consequence of this is that I developed a another blog initially named the Sodality of Thea now named In the Way to Thea. It has become over time my primary theological blog in which issues of Filianism / De’anism are most frequently discussed.One result of this is I no longer have much time to dedicate to this blog and It is not useful for me to divide my writing efforts between these two blogs. On the other hand I do not want to close this blog down or to simply let it hang in the wind in neglect. It has been too important for me for that.

Therefore I plan to begin to regularly reblog most of my writings from In the Way to Thea here. Hopefully readers of this blog will find those articles to be of interest. I also want to say that I in no way believe that such a use of this blog is contrary to the spirit of its original purpose. Isis is still at the center of my spiritual universe. She to me is Thea / God. The De’anic religion to me is most of what I had hoped for from a mature Isianic theology and religion. I also want to say that at some point in time I may continue to post articles here specifically on an Isian theology. Time will tell.

Finding Holy Spirit Mother

Most of  the persons, of whom I am aware, who advocate the restoration of the Divine Feminine to Christianity believe that Jesus was a worshiper of the Feminine Divine either in the form of Asherah, Sophia or even Isis the Egyptian goddess. I do believe that it is possible that Jesus may have had a relationship to the divine feminine in the form of Wisdom / Hokhma. However regarding the other two?  The worship of Asherah had been suppressed about 500 years earlier when the Jewish people became monotheistic. Isis? It is hardly worth discussing. Suffice it to say that no temples to pagan gods existed in First century Judea / Palestine.

The Holy Spirit has also been suggested as another possibility. After all the word for “spirit”  in Hebrew is “ruah” which because of its ending is grammatically feminine. Since verbs and adjectives in Hebrew also have grammatical gender these are also feminine when used in relation to the spirit / ruah. Note. Aramaic a language closely linked to Hebrew was the daily language of Jews in biblical Palestine and Syria. However in spite of these facts, I have always had some reservations regarding  the possibility that Jesus may have envisioned the Holy Spirit as both Feminine and Mother. One problem for me  has always been based on my lack of knowledge regarding the significance of grammatically  gender in language. In English most nouns words have  no gender and  verbs and adjectives certainly do not. So I tend to not understand the feeling / meaning of words in a language in which grammatical gender is important.

The other problem I have had with the idea that the Holy Spirit is a female divine being is that most of the ways the “spirit” as used in our Bibles seem to be impersonal in nature and often seems in fact to be just another way of verbalizing God’s force or power. That for instance is how the Holy Spirit is expressed in the bibles of the Jehovah’s Witness church and their interpretation has always seemed fairly credible to me.

Well some days ago I started rereading a little booklet called Finding Holy Spirit Mother by Ally Kateusz, a graduate student at the University of Missouri, and the primary writer for the Divine Balance blog. I initially read it when it was shared  here several months ago  by an occasional poster Mary Ann Beavis. I read it then and was  impressed. On rereading it, I am even more impressed. I think that Ally Kateusz makes the best argument of which I am aware that Jesus may in fact have regarded the Holy Spirit as being both female and  as his Divine Mother. To do this she cites from several sources. Among these are those often cited from the Gnostic gospels of Philip and Thomas.

What is unusual, however, is that in addition to these sources, she adds evidence from the writings of the early Syriac Church, the church of Syria in which Judea was a part. The language of the Syriac Church was  Aramaic the language that Jesus actually spoke and the language of the earliest church churches. Kateusz cites scholars of the early Syrian church such as Sebastian Brock, who basing their findings on their studies of the ancient  baptism liturgy and of the other ch literature of Syriac church during its first four centuries, believe that in this time period the Holy Spirit was almost always envisioned as feminine.

That began to change only in the fourth and fifth centuries after a converted Roman Empire began to suppress the so called Christian “heresies.” At that time the femaleness of the Holy Spirit began to be edited out of the texts. This finding is particularly important because the Syriac Church may have contained traditions that predate even Paul’s letters. The fact that the Syriac Church envisioned the Holy Spirit as both female and mother and believed that Jesus did as well is powerful evidence that perhaps he did.

The same process that occurred in the Syrian church occurred in some of the most important apocryphal  Christian texts as well. For example in the earliest version of the Acts of Thomas that  the Holy Spirits was viewed both as feminine and mother. As an example within it, Thomas ends a prayer with ” We glorify and praise thee and thine invisible Father and thine Holy Spirit the Mother of all creation.” During the 4th and 5th centuries these references are all edited out of the book.

The same process seems to have occurred in the Acts of Philip in which the earliest protagonists were apparently Philip and Mary Magdalene. Within the book Mary preached “You are guilty of having forgotten your origins your Father in heaven and your spiritual Mother. If you wake up, however you will receive illumination.” In the latter orthodox version of the book Mary and the offensive passages are edited out. Mary is replaced by the safely conventional Peter.

Ally Kateusz ends her book with a discussion of the Biblical gospels. She examines each of the four gospels and notes the number of times Jesus uses the language of the Father as opposed to the times he uses the language of the Holy Spirit. Thus in the Gospel of Mark both the Holy Spirit and the Father are each mentioned  four times. In Luke a strong balance between Spirit language and Father language also occurs. There are 11 verses each containing references to the Holy Spirit and to the Father. However in Matthew the situation changes. Here the references to the Father occur 44 times and to the Holy Spirit only 12 times. In John the change is even more radical. Within this book Jesus refers to his Father 110 times and to the Holy Spirit only four times.

Thus it is clear that each of the gospel writers had very clear differences regarding Jesus’ use of language in referring to God. Both Mark and Luke seem to suggest that the Holy Spirit was as important to Jesus as was the Father. In both Matthew and John in contrast Jesus relates primarily to the Father and only quite secondarily to the Holy Spirit. This perhaps explains why we tend to think that Jesus’ primary spiritual relationship was with his intimate Father and that he was only secondarily connected to an  impersonal ( and to us abstract) Holy Spirit.

These are just a few of the intriguing things that I found in Ally Kateusz’ book. There are more that may be just as significant. Finding Holy Spirit Mother is only of 31 pages long and I would strongly suggest that those interested in these issues to read it. The link to the booklet is http://divinebalance.org/ebooks/Finding%20Holy%20Spirit%20Mother.pdf

Glenn King

early medieval fresco of Trinity

early medieval fresco of Trinity

On Isiopolis

It has been several months since I have paid attention to this blog. One of the things that I did a few days ago was to  check the links. One that I checked was the link to Isiopolis the only ongoing blog on the internet, of which I am aware, which is dedicated solely to Isis. The blog is owned by Isidora Forrest who is the author of “Isis Magic” a book which combines an excellent historical survay of the devotion and interest shown to Isis over the ages with her own spiritual how to book of modern Isian spirituality.  As usual in viewing her blog, I found a degree of historical and spiritual insight which greatly exceeds what I normally find on the internet.

In my own prayers and worship I still often think of the Goddess that I worship as Isis, though more often I simply address her as Lady, Holy Queen, etc. However I no longer think of myself as Isian in religion. The simply fact is that I no longer believe that an Isian religion really exists or that one will be emerging in my life time. I do wish one did exist but that is a hopeless dream I think. However in spite of this, it is good that there are a few persons such as Isidora Forrest who do honor Isis by both their intelligence and devotion.

Glenn

some Isian hymns

Enclosed are two prayers / hymns I have written which I use regularly in my daily devotions. They are directly inspired by both the hymns to Isis by Isidorus and by my own experience.  Perhaps some may find them of interest. What I attempt to do is to memorize them and chant them as they might be chanted for example within the divine liturgy of an Eastern Orthodox Church. While I have not musical gifts this is something I can do and it is more helpful then simply reciting them as secular poetry.

Glenn

All Praises to Isis

All praises to Isis, Queen of the angels, the Pure One, the Holy One, the Almighty,

the Lady who gives all good things, the food to sustain us and the wealth that we enjoy.

All praises to her whose beautiful face is joy and glory,

the Great One who establishes the security of nations and peoples.

Honor to the Goddess who brings justice; the Lady who breaks the bond of oppression.

All praise her glorious Name.

Praise Isis

Praise Isis who gives a good fate to those who love her

and is merciful to those who do not.

To Demeter, the creatress of the grains of the fields, the fruit of the trees,

and the food by which we live. All praises to your Holy Name!

Isis, assist us in our affairs and bring success to them.

Protect those in the chains of death and suffering. Redeem them. Save their souls

Our Goddess and Queen, grant me happiness during the rest of the days of my life.

Meeting Isis

 
  
Now for something different. Normally I have posted my own thoughts here on matters of Isis, Mary, religion, and what not. I have made some exceptions however when I have posted poetry or some other writings that I have thought to be interesting or beautiful. That is what I am doing now. This is a message regarding Isis posted by a woman who is a member of the “Temple of Isis yahoo group.”  The link is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Temple_ofisis/
It is sort of a testimonial of her spiritual past, how she met Isis and of her ongoing relationship with her. I thought that it was well worth reading and want to share it.
 
Glenn
 
 
 
Hello all!  For myself, here are several reasons I do not post. The first being I am relatively new to working with Isis so I don’t really feel qualified to post anything. I did post on one list about my spiritual history and how amazing it has been since I discovered Isis and got dead air and in fact, the owner wrote about a month later and was extremely critical of anyone writing about how great their life has been with Isis! I joined so many Isis lists when I became connected to Her I forget which one it was, but lets say that sort of dampened any future desires to share on any list. 

 
Secondly, I’m not sure where I fit in on the Isis spectrum.  I have been Asatru-Norse Pagan for 20 years.  I was a hard polytheist and extremely devoted to that pantheon. I practiced Seidhr-Nordic type shamanism for about 5 years.  About a year ago I got into Plant Spirit Shamanism which led me-for the first time- to work outside of the Northern European pantheon, but Gran Bwa’s presence was undeniable.  So, being the ‘green man’ to me anyway I started incorporating him into my work (I am an aromatherapist and have a physical shop that sells natural things-so it fits).  I had disconnected form all the Asatru lists many years ago because I found them to be combative and more concerned with minutae than actual spiritual connections. 
 
Anyway, about 9 months ago in a meditation/shamanic journey whatever you want to call it, I found myself in a completely different area of the other realms and saw “God’ who said she was Isis-the first mother, the creator of all, all beings are Her and She is all things.  (Of course, this is my perception and not one other person has to agree with it so I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything.)  Needless to say, this completely rocked my hard polytheistic, Asatru soul!! But, it was undeniable and the incredibly deep peace I felt in Her presence was proof enough for me.  So, instead of clinging to a spiritual system I was very versed in scholastically and spiritually I let it go and followed this new path. It was difficult at first trying to understand all the information I was getting but I feel I have assimilated it into a cohesive system for myself.  I read deTraci Regula’s book and Isidora Forrest’s books and I have some more Egyptian religion books. But, my connection with Her is so powerful, I’m not feeling the need to do a lot of bookwork and am enjoying my connection to Her and where it leads me.  I have recently begun working with Osiris as Green MAn, god of vegetation and of all things that live and die. 
 
I don’t post because I assume I will probably be picked apart as on previous lists for not doing things the way other humans (in any age) have decided I should do them. I don’t really fit inot any ‘camp’ with Isis either it seems like. I am not Kemetic and although I see Isis as The Goddess, I also believe she is everything and so all the other deities-gods and goddesses- are parts of Her and absolutely exist as those forms and do not need to be disrespected. So, you got a post-but probably a little more rambling and long than wanted 😉   I do read my Isis lists every day and do always hope for interesting discussion that is respectful and thought provoking or devotional. I would love love to find an Isis group near me but there are none.  I have been a part of the Pagan community in my area for 10 years, but it is very small and even though we now have a Universal Pagan Ritual format, people don’t really come to group activities. OK. Now, you know more about one of the list subscribers than you ever wanted to know 😉
 

Best thoughts,
Heather D.

 

Hymn to the Seven Hathor

I have often wondered about what the  musics of ancient Egypt, Greece and other nations were like. Well a few years ago a friend of mine as a gift bought me an CD called “Music in the Time of the Pyramids” which was “composed” by Spanish musicologist Rafael Perez Arroya. I have been listoning to it recently and have decided to share at least a little of it. Mr Perez’s CD produced by his Hathor Ensemble is probably the most acurate  recontruction of the music of Ancient Egypt that has been developed yet. Mr Perez’ reconstruction of Egyptian hymns and music is based on  over ten years his study of simply everything that is known of ancient Egyptian music, the instruments, how they were played, Egyptian musical texts, etc. The result of this work of scholarship was the CD and a book of the same title of over 400 pages which explains Rafael Perez understanding of ancient Egyptian music. As a consequence of his work Mr Perez won  the First Prize from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport for best Scientific book.

Enough of this  introduction. Enclosed is the link to the “Hymn to the Seven Hathor” a beautiful New Kingdom hymn dedicated to the goddess Hathor http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=503kvqmWjUM
I hope people enjoy it.

Glenn King