Category Archives: Isis Magic

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

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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

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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.

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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!

 

 

 

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Filed under: Goddess Isis Tagged: Goddess Isis, Isis Magic, Isis Magic book, New Temple of Isis Discovered, Temple of Isis

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,

Isidora


Filed under: Goddess Isis Tagged: Egyptian magic, Goddess, Goddess Isis, Goddess worship, Isiopolis, Isis Magic

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