Author Archives: Isidora

Isis Magic classes are FULL

Hello, all…Isis Magic classes are now full and the magic begins…thank you so much for your interest and love.

You are invited to join me for Isis Magic classes starting this March, 2018.

Please read the information below, and if this seems like something for you, I’d be thrilled to have you with me on this journey with the Great Goddess Isis.

(And if you know someone who might be interested in these classes, would you please do me the favor of sharing this with them? Thank you so much!)


Nefertari makes offering to Isis

  • 1 class per month
  • Spring to Fall, 2018
  • 1st class is March 25, 1 pm (As a group, we’ll figure out the rest of the class dates/times at this first class.)
  • Open to women and men 18+
  • Classes held in private temple in Portland, OR

ISIS—Mistress of Magic, Divine Mother, Goddess of the Green Earth, Queen of the Mysteries, Goddess of Women and Sacred Sexuality, Lady of Hermetic Wisdom. Isis is one of the most well-known, well-loved,  mysterious, and powerful Goddesses of all time. Come learn more about this Great Goddess and explore Her Living Magic with others during this series of 6 intensive classes.

  • Develop and deepen a relationship with the Great Goddess Isis
  • Participate in meditations, exercises, and rituals
  • Learn powerful techniques for connecting with Goddess
  • Discover new methods of personal growth and transformation
  • Increase your magical and priest/esscraft skills


Before signing up for these classes, please have:

  • An interest in Isis
  • Done a bit of reading on Goddess in general and/or Isis in specific
  • Participated in at least a little bit of ritual, solitary or group

For the classes, you will need:

For questions:

To register: please complete this form.

Classes are with M. Isidora Forrest, author of Isis Magic, Cultivating a Relationship with the Goddess of 10,000 Names, and Offering to Isis, Knowing the Goddess through Her Sacred Symbols. Classes are sponsored by the Hermetic Fellowship.




The dancing woman now really dances


This is just one of 24 prehistoric Goddess gifs created by Nina Paley that are free for all to use. You can find them here

This figure has been called a Dancing Woman, a Nile Goddess, a Bird Goddess, and probably some other things that I’m not thinking of right now. Well, she’s certainly dancing now, thanks to artist Nina Paley.

If you know Isis Magic, you might also recognize her posture as the “Wings of Isis.” It is a posture that can be used to invoke, thank, and commune with Isis. So, I like to think of this ancient figurine as a priestess invoking her Goddess, imitating the protective and powerful wings of Isis.

Here’s a brief excerpt from Offering to Isis about this posture:

The open wings of Isis can also be related to a posture seen in images of the ancient Egyptian Bird Goddess. This is the posture of the famous Neolithic statuette of a so-called dancing woman with her arms raised in an open curve above her head, and which has become a popular amulet among modern Goddess worshippers. The same posture can be seen in the Goddess figures that ride in the curved boats that were a favorite motif of pre-dynastic Egyptian pottery and petroglyphs. According to Egyptologist Louis Breasted, the posture is typical of Egypt. And although these ancient figures do not have obvious wings, their unwinged but upraised arms foreshadow the winged, upraised arms of Goddesses seen in later Egyptian art. Nevertheless, the beak-faced figures are identified as Bird Goddesses, so perhaps the wings are implied—or they may indicate that the figures represent human priestesses who are imitating their Bird Goddess. Whatever the case, the “wing” stance is a posture of great antiquity and numinosity and many researchers consider it to be characteristic of the Divine Feminine.

May Isis spread Her wings for you today and enclose you in Her feathered embrace.

Isis Thanksgiving leftovers

As you might expect, I have alerts set up for all kinds of Isis-related topics. Every now and then, something interesting comes up. On this day after Thanksgiving, I’d like to share a couple of them with you.

Isis Magic is FAST


That’s Isis Magic out in front.

The other day, an alert came across for “Isis Magic” that amused me. Turns out there’s an Isis Magic that isn’t a book, but rather, an Australian racehorse. She’s a five-year-old mare with a 57% “win percentage” and a 64% “place percentage.” So she’s a winning horse, too, and is supposed to be able to run very fast for a very long time. Isis has endurance! I have no idea how Isis Magic got her name, but I sure would like to know. Anybody have an inside information on that?

New Isis temple uncovered in Egypt


Workers building a housing project found an Isis temple. Scary seeing that shovel scooping up pillars with hieroglyphs.

Earlier this month, workers who were building a residential project in the area of Tell Atrib near Egypt’s Banha City unearthed the remains of a pharaonic Temple of Isis. Tell Atrib is in the southern delta, about 30 miles north of Cairo. In Greek, it was known as Athribis. In ancient Egyptian it was Hwt-ta-ḥry-ib, “the place over the heart”.  The heart of Osiris was supposed to be located there.

The city may have been established as long ago as the Old Kingdom, but our physical evidence so far only comes from the 12th dynasty. It was once capital of the 10th nome, Kem Wer, the “Great Black One,” named for the sacred black bull that was kept there and associated with Osiris, the black-faced Lord of the Dead. The city was most prominent in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods.


The Temple of Isis in the Place over the Heart

However, the earliest Deities of the Heart City were Khentikhety, a crocodile God, Who was said to have found the heart of Osiris and watched over it, concealing it beneath His own heart. Khentikhety is paired with Khuyet, a winged Goddess Whose name means “Protector.” Eventually, Khentykhety was assimilated to Horus. I haven’t found out for sure yet, but it would seem reasonable that Khuyet would have been assimilated to Isis, though we also have at least one reference to Khuyet protecting Isis Herself.

And that’s what I’ve got for now!

Except for this PS from my publisher, who has asked me to remind you that Isis Magic (the book, not the horse) is available from Abiegnus House…and makes a great gift for any Isis-interested folks on your list. Just click on the book on the right. Thank you so much!




Isis Magic Not Available on Amazon. But it IS Available from the Publisher

If you’ve been trying to purchase Isis Magic from Amazon and run up against the message that the book is unavailable, please purchase it from the publisher, Abiegnus House. We are currently having some issues with Amazon that may not be resolvable. (Amazon is engaging in some practices that seem to be designed to push out small publishers. Sigh.)

However, the book IS available from the publisher—and at the same price as it was on Amazon.

Just click on the book on the right and the link will take you to the publisher’s site where you can purchase the book.

Thank you and so sorry for the inconvenience.

Oh…and if you wouldn’t mind, would you please let your friends and folks in your social circles know that the book is still available from the publisher? Thank you so much!

By the way…if you’re in the Portland, Oregon area. I plan to do some Isis classes starting in March that will go until Fall Equinox. To be made available soon. So be thinking on that. I’ll let you all know when I’ve got the details worked out. This will be the first classes in quite a few years. I’m a bit nervous. And excited!

A priestess making offering; photo by Victor Keppler

Under Her Wings,


Do you hear what I hear? The Call of Dionysos…

Hello, lovelies!

This is for those of you in the Portland, Oregon area who are in on the secret that…just as Isis is my Goddess, so Dionysos is my God. This is a call for Bacchants to take part in a Fall Equinox Festival, Sept. 14-17 at Ffynnon this year. Here’s the official spiel:

Have you heard the call of Dionysos?

Thiasos (group) forming now for ritual parts in 2017 Fall Equinox Festival (Sept 14-17, 2017). If He has called you, if He has claimed you, then come explore that call and claim with us. Learn more about Dionysos, trance dance in His ecstasy with your sisters and brothers of the thiasos. Your commitment? Meet once a month, likely on a Sunday afternoon, at The Hallows (private home with a grapevine in the backyard—yes!) in NE Portland; be open to learning and gaining new experience; then serve at the Festival in September. Thiasos size is strictly limited, so think about it now. Then if you’re still interested and if you can make the commitment of time (we cannot emphasize this enough; we need your physical presence), then contact Isidora Forrest (aka Klea) at: Put “Bacchant” in the subject line.

I am looking for Bacchants of all ages and genders (sorry, you will need to be 18+ as there will be wine). As it says above, you must commit to a physical presence monthly at my house. You will come to know Him, His Mysteries, and you will practice your part in the Festival.

Group is limited in size, so email me ASAP if you want to/can/desire/are inflamed to be a part of our mad group.

I love you.

Now enjoy some Bakchic eye candy that should inspire you:

Okay? So email me. Right away…group starts meeting in April.




Goddess 2.0 book now available

Hello, all!

I am pleased to let you know that one of my Isis articles in included in a new anthology entitled Goddess 2.0, edited by Karen Tate. And wow, am I in some good company, indeed. Here’s the list of contributing authors:

Anne Baring, Starhawk, Carol P. Christ, Riane Eisler, Barbara G. Walker, Cristina Biaggi, Elizabeth and Robert Fisher, Shirley Ann Ranck, Bob Gratrix, Patricia ‘Iolana, Nancy Vedder-Shults, M. Isidora Forrest, Karen Tate, Amy “Amalya” Peck, Linda Iles, Andrew Gurevich, Charlotte L. Cressey, Delphine DeMore, Tabby Biddle, Trista Hendren, and Harita Meenee.

I am humbled that my work will appear alongside the work of these outstanding women and men.

The collected essays in Goddess 2.0 are intended to show us a way forward from where we find ourselves now, guided by the Divine Feminine by whatever name you know Her. In my case, of course—and perhaps yours, too—She is Isis, and my essay is about “Isis and the Path of Sacred Magic.”

Yes, you can get it on Amazon. You can also get it at editor Karen Tate’s site…actually for less than on Amazon. (By the way, none of the contributors are making any money. Costs mainly go to cover publication.) Here’s what the cover looks like:


I invite you to check it out in the hope that it will offer some end-of-the-year inspiration. Many blessings and may you remain, Under Her Wings.



Beautiful Mourner, Weep with Me

This is a gift the priest/ess brings before the Beautiful Mourner, Isis the Weeper Who Transforms: an invocation offering of mourning.

I offer You, Isis, my mourning for there is nothing else I can do with it. How is it that something so empty can be called pain-full? I am abandoned in an ocean of pain so deep that there is nothing else. My tears are nothing but more salt for that bitter sea. My grief is nothing but a hole in my belly. I cannot breathe. I have no breath. There is no air. My mind is blank, unable to receive the words that are pushed at me. My heart? I have no heart.

Mourning is what we do when the loss is so great that we can do nothing else. Each of us who mourns has her or his own share of this hollow pain. But it is the pain of one human being at one time, in one place. You, Isis, You hear the cries of the world. You feel each heart breaking, You know every human cruelty.

The sorrows of a Goddess are deep. What then is my mourning compared to Yours?

Listen, O Isis, to the words of Mourning: “I am offered unto Isis for She is the Well of Mourning. She absorbs me and takes me into Her vastness. I am dissolved in infinity. I am mixed with all things. I am reborn as a child. I am the mystery of suffering. I am Mourning.”

Unto You, Isis, I offer my mourning and all things beautiful and pure. M’den, Iset. Accept it, Isis.

Talia Took's new image of Isis mourning. You can get prints of this work here.

Thalia Took’s newest image of Isis mourning. You can get prints of this work here.

Right now, like so many of us, I mourn.

Right now, like so many, I am angry. I fear.

And right now, our Goddess hears us. She knows our hearts. She, too, has mourned. She, too, has raged. She, too, has feared. She understands us when we bring our hollow hearts and roiling bellies to Her.

She will hear us, hold us, advise us. In time, She may even heal us.

But before that healing, we must feel what we feel. The God has died and He must be mourned. We can share the burden of our feelings with others who mourn with us. We can share them with our Deities, with Her. Yet at some point, the mourning time will pass. And what will we do then?

If we would follow Her, then what we must do is rear the fatherless Child. We must take action. We must continue our Work. And perhaps we will find that we need to take up new work. There are rights that we thought we had won that will have to be defended—or even won back. If we join together we can do this. Let us not despair.

Instead, let us renew our dedication to our Deities and our spiritual work for this will strengthen our souls. Let us support progressive institutions with our dollars. Let us join with others in progressive organizations to work for the change we want to see.

Our Goddess is strong and practical; let us follow Her in this wisdom.

And on a final and yes, practical, note, here are some suggestions from Slate for some very specific things we can do once our mourning period has passed.

New article in a new book is out!

I’m popping my head out of my cave because one of the things I’ve been working on in Isiopolis’ downtime has finally come to fruition.

Those of you who know me may know that in addition to my Isiac and Dionysian devotions, I am also a Hermetic Adept. I was asked to write an article about that Work for a new book from Azoth Press called LIBER SPIRITUUM: A Compendium of Writings on Angels and Other Spirits in Modern Magick. The publisher’s info on the book is below, but I wanted to give you a more personal intro to my article.

This was a hard article for me to write because it was to be about my personal Adept Work and I tend to be very private about that. It’s more self-revelatory than I generally am in this blog. You see, many years ago, the Archangel Raphael asked me to be His priestess. Yeah. Weird, I know. So I spent 40 days exploring that possible relationship as part of my Adept spiritual Work. This article is about what happened during that 40 day exploration.

Yes, I’m still working on the next Isis and Egyptian magic book, too. (It will be a while, but I think you will like it.) For now, I wanted to let those of you who may be Hermetically inclined as well know that this new project is now available.

Below is info on the book from the publisher:



The book is available for order through the online bookstore, Miskatonic Books ( The 500-copy hardbound edition retails at the excellent price of $59.00, and the 32-copy deluxe leather-bound edition at $379.00.

About Liber Spirituum:

For Liber Spirituum: A Compendium of Writings on Angels and Other Spirits in Modern Magick, Azoth Press has assembled a group of nine of the foremost writers in the field of ceremonial magick, representing a depth of devoted study and practical expertise spanning the Western Magical Tradition from the Greek Magical Papyri to the Solomonic grimoires, from the Golden Dawn to Thelema, from Theurgia to Goetia, from Qabbalah to Rosicrucianism. In this beautiful volume, obviously designed for the practicing magician, these teaching adepts share their insights, experiences, tools, techniques, and even new rituals, all focused on a central concern of magical praxis, communication with those Spiritual Beings from Gods to Angels to Demons with whom the magus must become truly and transformatively familiar.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Opening a Book of Spirits
by Adam P. Forrest

The Place of Mingled Powers: Spiritual Beings in the Magical Lodge
by John Michael Greer

Patrons and House Gods: Building Lifelong Relationships with Your Spiritual Guardians
by Aaron Leitch

The Evocation of Metatron: A Golden Dawn Z-2 Ritual
by Charles Chic Cicero & Sandra Tabatha Cicero

The Prayer for Success
by Jake Stratton-Kent

Lay Thy Tongue Upon My Heart: Forty Days of Ritual Communion Between a Pagan Adept and the Archangel Raphael Tipherethel
by M. Isidora Forrest

Substance Through Spirit: A Reflection on Magical Evocation and Talisman Construction
by Bryan Garner (Frater Ashen Chassan)

Kalein tous Theous: Divine Invocation in the Late Neoplatonic Tradition
by Jeffrey S. Kupperman

Evoking Zodiacal Angels
by Scott Michael Stenwick

The hardbound edition is limited to 500 copies. Printed in two colors throughout, with 2-color illustrations, bound in faux leather silk-touch cloth. Foil stamp on both the front and back boards, with a full color frontispiece by acclaimed artist Caniglia.

The deluxe leatherbound edition is limited to 32 copies, with satin ribbon sewn-in marker, custom endpapers, and housed in a handmade tray case.

6×9 inches

256 pages

More about the Liber Spirituum can be found at


Putting Isiopolis Under Her Wings…at least for now

A Portrait of Isis, by Feather Collector. See it here.

A Portrait of Isis, by Feather Collector. See it here. This reminds me of a vision I had of Her long ago.

My fellow lovers of Isis,

I have been writing this blog since May of 2009 and it seems that the time has now come to put it on hiatus. I don’t know for how long. A while.

As some of you may know, I work full time at a rather demanding job. This leaves me only weekends to write. Since 2009, I have been spending pretty much all of that writing time on this blog, leaving me none for other projects.

The good news is that I find I have a significant new writing project to which I wish to devote that time. Yes, a book, but I won’t say what it is right now. It, too, will be a while. There’s much research and much meditation still to be done. But you can be sure it will grow from our work together with the Great Lady of Sacred Magic.

Of course, you can still reach me here at Isiopolis for comments and questions as usual. I’ll stay in touch.

And remember, there are 325 posts that still live here at Isiopolis, so I hope that you just might find something of interest to read while I’m out.

Thank you all so much for reading Isiopolis…and I’ll see you again on the other side of my project.

Under Her Wings,


Isis & the Re-enchantment of the World

Golden Isis by Jane Marin. You can buy a copy here.

Golden Isis by Jane Marin. You can buy a copy here.

As those of you who have been reading along know, I rarely comment on the ongoing discussions in the Pagan blogosphere. But this week, I am inspired by some current posts and commentary about the “re-enchantment of the world” over on Patheos Pagan and Witches and Pagans. I believe the discussion was started by John Beckett, whose work I often admire and who has written on this topic previously. Others added their own thoughts: Galina Krasskova: Re-Enchanting the WorldSara Amis: The World Isn’t Disenchanted. It’s YouIvo Dominguez Jr.: Already Enchanted.

Yet the heart-cry for re-enchantment is not new. We human beings have long complained about the world’s disenchantment. German sociologist Max Weber famously decried it in the early 1900s and before him Freidrich Schiller in the early 1800s. No doubt the discussion goes back much farther than that, too.

The disenchanted Max Weber

The disenchanted Max Weber

I first read the term in the work of Thomas Moore, a psychotherapist, former monk, and spiritual writer. His books, Care of the Soul and The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, were best sellers, which tells us that there are many of us longing to bring the enchantment back. As steps toward re-enchantment, Moore calls us to get away from our self-centeredness and experience the Other, to relinquish some of our literalism to become more poetic, to get out in nature, and to seek out Mystery.

The God Heka,

The God Heka, “Magic”

The enchantment of everything—the magic in everything, the magic OF everything—is one of the things I most admire about [probably my personal fantasy of] ancient Egypt, as least as far as we understand it. I love Jeremy Nadler’s interpretation in his book, Temple of the Cosmos, when he writes about the “interpenetrating worlds” of the ancient Egyptians. Spiritual realities are immediate and present because the spiritual world interpenetrates the earthly: “for the ancient Egyptian, a metaphysical world poured into the physical, saturating it with meaning.” Yes. Yes. YES!

My own quest for enchantment is one reason why I describe my spiritual path as Sacred Magic. In practice, this encompasses everything from simply chanting for Isis to a wide range of the expressions of modern Hermeticism (which indeed has its oldest roots in ancient Egypt), including the theurgic rites of magic that are intended to grow our souls and spirits. Of course, it also explains, at least in part, my attraction to Isis, Great of Magic.

You have probably also seen Isis described by the lovely title, “the Great Enchantress.” Who else would be the Goddess of Re-Enchanting the World but the Great Enchantress Herself? Yet when we see the title in older English translations, “Isis the Great Enchantress” usually translates Iset Werethekau, which we have discussed here. It seems to have been preferred by some of the Old Gentlemen of Egyptology who were perhaps a bit uncomfortable with the squirmy idea of magic and wanted a kinder and gentler epithet for the admirable Goddess Isis.

A badass magic-wielding Isis inspired by the game Smite; this piece is by KalaSketch

A badass magic-wielding Isis inspired by the game Smite; this piece is by KalaSketch

But enchantment has a long magical history. It comes from the idea that acts of magic are often sung or chanted or at least accompanied by singing or chanting. To be enchanted is to be affected by the magic carried in the chant or song. About 1300 CE, the word enchantment came into English from Old French, which got it from Latin incantare, “to sing into.”

Isis often activates Her magic by voice. The “Hymn to Osiris” in the Book of Coming Forth by Day says of Isis:

She recited formulæ with the magical power of her mouth, being skilled of tongue and never halting for a word, being perfect in command and word, Isis the Magician avenged her brother.

A papyrus in the Louvre says:

Isis. . .who repels the deeds of the enchanters by the spells of her mouth.

And a healing formula in the collection of the magical papyri says the spell will be successful

…according to the voice of Isis, the magician, the lady of magic, who bewitches everything, who is never bewitched in her name of Isis, the magician.”

The Goddess Merit

The Goddess Merit

In the second example above, Professor Robert Ritner, who has studied Egyptian magic and its vocabulary extensively, translated the Egyptian word shed-kheru as “enchanters.” “Shed” means “to enchant” and “kheru” is “coming/going forth” as in peret kheru, an invocation offering, the “going forth of the voice.” Shed-kheru then is something like “those who send forth enchantments by voice.” Shed seems to have been a specialized form of “to recite” and was used both in magical formulae and in temple ritual texts. When the Creatrix Goddess Neith spoke the cosmos into existence, She shed, “recited,” Her akhu, “spells.”

Especially on His healing cippi, Horus is sometimes called Horus-Shed, “Horus the Enchanter.” And yes, you are way ahead of me again. Of course, Isis, too, is called The Enchanter. In Her case (feminized), it is Iset ta Shetyet. In fact, we have a handful of instances of that name being applied to Isis. And so it seems that Isis is indeed The Enchantress and I shall have to retract my previous snark at the Old Gentlemen.

Chanting, singing, and music were a vital part of the worship of the ancient Egyptian Deities. By the time of the New Kingdom, the most common sacred title for women was Chantress or Singer of the Deity. These priestesses served both Goddesses and Gods, providing the songs and music that raised and channeled the energy of the sacred rites.

The Mereti, a dual form of Merit, one for upper and one for lower Egypt

The Mereti, a dual form of Merit, one for upper and one for lower Egypt

The Divine archetype behind this ritual role was the Goddess Merit or Meret, Whose name means “The Beloved.” With Her song, music, and magical gestures, Merit took part in the Creation. Daily, Her song greets the dawn and in kingship rites Merit encourages the king to bring good things to his kingdom, commanding him to, “Come, bring!” In this role of speaker and singer, Merit and the priestesses who represented Her—and in some cases, bore Her name as a title—were called “Great of Praise.” This was not meant to indicate that the priestess herself was praiseworthy (though she may have been). Instead, it meant that her praise—that is, the hymns she sang and the words she spoke—were words that had effect in the Divine realms. Just as the words of Isis, the Lady of Words of Power, are ritually efficacious, so the words of Merit are ritually efficacious.

Much of the magic of the ancient Egyptians was focused on the idea of renewal, rebirth, and reconnecting to the perfection of the First Time. For ourselves today, perhaps we should add to those three “r”s, a fourth: re-enchantment. As we work to renew and restore the world around us, it may be that our inner work is to renew our own magical perception of the world, re-enchanting ourselves from the inside out. And I’m quite sure that a chanted incantation to Isis the Enchantress wouldn’t hurt either.

Our Bacchanal


I’m taking this weekend off from the blog, for this weekend there is a festival at our house: the Hallows Grape Stomp & Bacchanalia. And so I offer these thoughts on the harvest, early this year, as we have had a very hot summer.

Today I serve not Isis, but Dionysos. For He is my other Divine love. And today we celebrate His harvest…

It is sweet, sad September. Amber and scarlet just beginning on the leaves of trees. The decayed-honey scent of fallen foliage. Sugar-dusted grape clusters dangling from the vines in our grape arbor. In this golden month, at the time when day equals night and the world enters its slow roll toward the darkness, the empurpled grapes are finally ready for harvest.

All of our Pagan beloved ones—Bacchants for a day—ply their sweet labor among our vines. Oh yes, we shall make wine.

Our Virgo Wine Mistress, Priestess of the Hydrometer, fusses. The children giggle as they rip grapes from the stem, toss them into the barrel (and at each other), and run screaming around the yard in a fine, Bacchic frenzy. The adults drink last year’s vintage as they work. They joke and gossip with each other. Then, we begin The Crush. As the grapes are stomped into juice beneath our purified, bare feet, we sing. We invoke Dionysos, the God of the Vine, the Bull-Horned One, the Mad, Honey-Sweet God of Divine Intoxication.

As we crush His purple flesh, our song is as sad and sweet as September itself. Once all have danced upon the grapes, we strain the fresh juice into the “must bucket.” There, the God’s holy blood will ferment into His own Divine wine, making our kitchen smell like grape-y bread for two delicious, heady weeks.

But tonight…tonight, the grapes have just been picked and crushed and the juice secreted away in the must bucket; and so, we dance. We dance, entranced—drums thundering—in the sweet thrall of the God, breathing the breath of the Wine Muses and loving, loving, loving the mad, human beauty of every single one of our friends.

Invocation Offerings to Isis

A king offering incense and pouring a libation

A king offering incense and pouring a libation

It seems we have always made offering to our Deities. Many have also honored their dead with offerings, as the ancient Egyptians did. Our ancestors offered the choicest cut of meat to the Great Hunter Who had helped them in their hunt. They gave the first handful of ripe berries to the Wild Mother Who had guided them to the mouth-watering cache. They shared their holy days and good fortune by offering feasts to their dead. They filled temples with sumptuous meals and beautiful scents for the Goddesses and Gods. They created art in enduring stone and precious metals and offered it to the Divine Houses.

From Christian tithing to Hindu puja to the stargazer lilies I grow and place upon Isis’ altar, we humans continue to make offering. Perhaps there is something of an inborn impulse to do so.

The Seattle Troll; that's a real VW Beetle in his left hand and a real bridge over his head

The Seattle Troll; that’s a real VW Beetle in his left hand and a real bridge over his head

I came across what I take as an example of that innate impulse one day when visiting the Seattle Troll. Large enough to hold a VW Beetle in one hand and staring out of a single, glassy eye, the Seattle Troll lives beneath the Aurora Bridge in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. He was originally a work of art funded by the city, but he has become something more. He has become a Work of Art and now receives offerings from passersby and neighborhood residents.

The day I visited—not a special day, just a weekday like any other—the Troll was supplied with an amazing array of offerings. There were fresh flowers, smoked almonds, jewelry, coins, jams, a bag of fresh cherries, a whole watermelon, a bright pink-orange slab of raw salmon, a whole Dungeness crab, a bar of soap, a pack of cigarettes, two coffee mugs, and two t-shirts. These offerings were fresh, too, the flowers and food as yet unwilted. At first, it looked like someone had temporarily left their picnic. But no. The votives were carefully arranged upon the enormous hands of the Troll. They were clearly presented, and no picnickers were to be found. The items were offerings and nothing less.

Two of the six Devas making continual offering in Hong Kong

Two of the six Devas making continual offering to the Buddha in Hong Kong

I doubt that any of those who offer to the Troll see him as a Deity—at most, he’s a quirky neighborhood spirit. Yet people leave offerings just the same.

Perhaps it’s because when we make offering we are seeking relationship. In the case of the Troll, perhaps we seek connection with the progressive spirit of the neighborhood. Maybe the Troll’s mere existence gave us a chuckle and we offer a gift of thanks, connecting with those who share our amusement or with the Troll’s artist-creators. Perhaps the offerings were intended to be discovered by someone in need.

In a divine context, making offering can be a joyful sharing of blessings with the Deity or spirits with whom we have or seek a relationship. As an act of gift giving, offering is a universal way to create the sweet bonds of interconnection and ongoing reciprocity between giver and receiver. Offering encourages generosity in the giver. Some Tibetan Buddhists say that it is this growing generosity in ourselves that pleases the Deities, rather than the actual offerings. Offering can be a meditation, a prayer, a way to honor tradition, an act of devotion, a method of giving thanks, a path to greater openness of spirit.

A Mongolian shaman making offering

A Mongolian shaman making offering

Making offering was essential to the Egyptian relationship with the Divine while the relationship itself was essential to the proper functioning of the universe. The Egyptians knew that the universal order hinged upon the ongoing, interwoven relationship between Divine and human, natural and supernatural. If human beings failed to provide right worship to the Deities—a significant part of which was the act of making offering—the world would dissolve into chaos and the Goddesses and Gods would not have the energy required to maintain and renew the physical universe. The exchange of energy, the building of relationship made the act of offering an ongoing renewal of the world in partnership with the Deities.

In fact, offering was considered such a key part of the functioning of the universe that there are numerous representations of Deities making offering to each other. From Isis’ temple at Philae, we learn that the Goddess made libation offerings to Her beloved Osiris every 10 days. The temple calendar from Esna notes that She also made offering to Osiris (and to another Deity Whose name is lost) on the 10th day of the first month of the season of Inundation.

Roman girl making offering

Roman girl making offering

In ancient Egyptian temples, the offerings were often food and drink, flowers, incense, perfume, and even special items associated with the particular Deity: jewelry for Hathor, hawk feathers for Horus. Symbolic offerings were given too. The Eye of Horus, for example, could represent many different types of offerings and statuettes of Ma’at were given to represent the offerant’s dedication to upholding the Right and the Just and the True, which is the Being and Nature of the Goddess Ma’at.

But today, I’d like to talk about a particular type of offering, one that may be especially appropriate to Isis as Lady of Words of Power and, as She was called in Busiris, Djedet Weret, the Great Word. Egyptologists today call it an “invocation offering.” Egyptians called it peret kheru, the “going forth of the voice.”

We’ve talked many times about the power of the word in Egyptian practice. Isis conceives something in Her heart, then speaks it into existence. Words can establish, they can move magic, they can nourish and renew the spirit. A Hermetic text from the early centuries of the Common Era expressed the genuinely ancient Egyptian tradition that the quality of the speech and the very sound of the Egyptian words contain the energy of the objects of which they speak and are “sounds full of action.” This is precisely why words are powerful: they contain the energy of the objects they name, which is the energy of original Creation.

Hebrew priest making offering

Hebrew priest making offering

Because of their power, many of the most important words were preserved in Egypt’s great temple complexes in structures known as the Per Ankh, the House of Life. Primarily, the House of Life was a library containing information about all the things that sustained life and nourished the soul and spirit—from magic to medicine to religious mysteries.

The sacred words contained in the Houses of Life were sometimes understood as the food of the deceased as well as of the Deities, particularly of Osiris as the Divine prototype of all the dead. One of the funerary books instructs the deceased that his spiritual “hw-food” is to be found in the library and that his provisions “come into being” in the House of Life. A papyrus known as the Papyrus SALT says that the books in the House of Life at Abydos are “the emanations of Re” that keep Osiris alive. An official who claimed to have restored the House of Life at Abydos said that he “renewed the sustenance of Osiris.”

An offering formula from a tomb

An offering formula from a tomb

Because of the nourishing and sustaining power of the word, tomb inscriptions not only asked visitors to speak the name of the deceased, but might also ask them to recite an offering formula so that the offerings would be “renewed.” Egyptologists know this as the “appeal to the living.” The deceased assures the living that he or she need only speak the formula with the “breath of the mouth” and that doing so benefits the one who does it even more than the one who receives it.

By speaking the words and naming the offerings, the spiritual essence and magic of those offerings was re-activated and reconnected with its non-physical source so that it could once again feed the spirit of the deceased. It was as if the tomb visitor had given the offerings anew. Since both the human giver and the spirit receiver gained during this process, the act of making offering in this way reinforced and promoted the reciprocal blessings between the material and spiritual worlds.

Thus the peret kheru is an offering where no material object was given, but magically potent words were spoken. Because of the essential spiritual unity of an object, its representation, and the words that describe and name it, the Egyptians considered invocation offerings to be fully as effective and fully as valuable as physical offerings. Invocation offering is a genuine, traditional Egyptian form of offering.

That’s it for now. Next time we’ll look at some ways to use invocation offering in a relationship with Isis.

Filed under: Goddess Isis Tagged: Ancient Egypt, Aspects of Isis, Deities, Deity, Egypt, Egyptian magic, Egyptian worldview, Goddess, Goddess Isis, Invocation of Isis, Invocation offering, Isis Magic, Isis Rituals, Offering, Offering rituals, offering to Isis, Peret Kheru, priestess of Isis, Ritual

Isis & the Kore Kosmou, Part 3

Isis Fortuna, Roman, 2nd century CE

Isis Fortuna, Roman, 2nd century CE

We ended last time wondering whether Horus, the son and student of Isis, might be the “Pupil of the Eye of the World” rather than Isis. So let’s have a look at that.

As you already know, the Kore Kosmou is one of the Hermetica, spiritual teaching texts meant to illuminate the student. Like a number of other Hermetica, it appears to end with a significant hymn. I say “appears” because our fragmentary text ends just as Isis is about to reveal the hymn to Horus.

“Ay, mother, Horus said. On me as well bestow the knowledge of this hymn, that I may not remain in ignorance.

And Isis said: Give ear, O son! [. . . ]”

And that’s where it breaks off.

The hymn that we don’t have is the culmination of the entire text and must have had great magical/spiritual power for it is the hymn Isis and Osiris recited before They re-ascended to the heavens after having completed Their civilizing Work on earth.

Close up on an Isis knot, 1st century CE

Close up on an Isis knot, 1st century CE

I’ve been reading a paper by Jorgen Sorensen about the Egyptian background of the Kore Kosmou. He suggests that the missing hymn, combined with a secret that Isis refuses to reveal to Horus earlier in the text could be the text’s main point.

The secret comes up in Isis’ narrative when the embodied souls, not remembering their divine origins, are really messing up the world and the Elements complain to God. They ask that an “Efflux” of God be sent to earth. God consents and as God speaks, it is so. The One the Elements have asked for is already on earth serving as judge and ruler so that all human beings receive the fate they deserve.

Winds Of Horus by Pierre-Alain D; you can purchase a copy here.

Winds Of Horus by Pierre-Alain D; you can purchase a copy here.

Horus interrupts to ask how this efflux or emanation came to earth. Isis replies,

“I may not tell the story of [this] birth; for it is not permitted to describe the origin of thy descent, O Horus, [son] of mighty power, lest afterwards the way-of-birth of the immortal Gods should be known unto men—except so far that God the Monarch, the universal Orderer and Architect, sent for a little while thy mighty sire Osiris, and the mightiest Goddess Isis, that they might help the world, for all things needed them.” (Mead, Kore Kosmou, 36)

Thus the coming into being of the efflux of the Divine is intimately connected with the coming into being of Horus Himself. It is a secret that Horus, a Hermetic student but not yet an adept, isn’t ready to know.

Sorensen suggests that had Isis revealed the secret, it would have been that Horus Himself is the emanation of the Divine that dwells on earth. He notes that the Kore Kosmou is not alone in this and that a number of other Hermetica teach that the student, when fully adept, may indeed be a source of divinity in the world.

A Roman-era Harpokrates, apparently wanting Mom to pick Him up

A Roman-era Harpokrates, reaching for His mother

Sorensen thinks that the ancient Egyptian idea of the pharaoh as a living God is behind the concept of the Hermetic adept as a point of Divine light in the world. It is, of course, significant that the pharaoh is “the Living Horus,” the very embodiment of Horus, son of Isis, in the text.

What’s more, since kore can sometimes be translated as just “eye” rather than pupil, the “Eye of the World” can be considered the Eye of Horus, the Eye that, when healed and complete, becomes a great blessing for the world for it is the very essence of offerings and the greatest talisman of ancient Egypt.

I think I like this idea.

It would be consistent with the so-called “democratizing” of Egyptian funerary/spiritual literature. At first such texts were only for the king, then they became available to nobles, and eventually anyone, at least anyone who was able to purchase their own copy of the book of the dead. And we should remember that the hoped-for culmination of the post mortum process described in the texts was in essence to become a deity, living among the Deities.

Isis Pelagia, Roman, photo by Ann Raia

Isis Pelagia, Roman, now in the Capitoline Museum, photo by Ann Raia,

By the time of the Hermetica, the idea developed so that living human beings can find the divine potential within themselves. What’s more, their Hermetic studies and practices can help them work toward that potential. Like the healed and complete Eye of Horus, the fully initiated, “completed” adept can bring blessings.

During the first centuries of the Common Era, the period of the Kore Kosmou, the religions of the Mediterranean world were in turmoil. This is the period of the rise of Christianity, the development of Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, as well as other new and changing religious and philosophical movements. People were dealing with the concept of monotheism, discovering its benefits—and paying its price, as Egyptologist Jan Assman puts it in the title of his book The Price of Monotheism.

Sorenson sees a society in which many people felt that the Divine had created the world then simply left it on its own, much like the complaints of the Elements in Kore Kosmou. This may be simply part of the human condition or it may have been something particular to that time.

Hermes Trismegistos as a rather pale pharaoh as pictured in Manly P. Halls Secret Teachings of All Ages

Hermes Trismegistos as a rather pale pharaoh as pictured in Manly P. Hall’s Secret Teachings of All Ages

And yet many people today have that same feeling. That may be why we are seeing the rise of fundamentalist religions that insist that only certain beliefs and behaviors will put the world to right and bring whatever their particular conception of God is back into the world, while at the same time, fewer people identify as religious and more as atheist. Here in the first century of the second millennium, perhaps we too are in a period of spiritual upheaval.

During those first centuries of the first millennium, it may be that the sense of abandonment was even more acutely felt in Egypt where the Goddesses and Gods had always extended Themselves intimately into the manifest world. The solution of the Hermetic schools (which more and more scholars are now coming to accept derive from genuine Egyptian tradition) was to bring the ancient ideal of the Divine pharaoh forward so that now the individual adept—no longer just the pharaoh—could be a light of the Divine on earth, helping to turn the world to right (Ma’at) through her or his own being and actions.

There is much more that we could talk about in relation to the Kore Kosmou. For instance, we could trace the powers and blessings in the Isis & Osiris aretalogy of our text to concepts in Egyptian tradition. But this is work I haven’t yet done. So for now, we’ll leave the Kore Kosmou and next week’s post will be on another topic. (For aretalogy in relation to Isis, see here and here and even some here.)

Filed under: Goddess Isis Tagged: Aretalogy, Aretalogy of Isis, Deity, Egyptian elements in Kore Kosmou, Experiencing Isis, Goddess, Goddess Isis, Hermeticism, Horus, Isis, Isis and Horus, Isis Magic, Kore Kosmou, Osiris, Thoth