Order of the White Moon Presents

Isis, Healing Queen

© Moonwater Ashwood

All original material in this site is under copyright protection and is the intellectual property of the author
. This website created as a level one final project for Sisters in Celebration.

 

Isis from Karen's Whimsy.jpg

http://karenswhimsy.com

 

"Blessings of Isis"

 

A child's laughter,

A mother's smile,

Blossoming heather

Or roses so wild,

A healer's touch,

A musician's muse,

An artisan's crafts or

The tools that he'll use,

The faith of a priest,

The success of a fisherman,

The joys and the sorrows

Of every single woman,

From the deep blue sea

To the ever fertile ground

The blessings of Isis

Around us abound.

 

© Jennifer Runham-Stark, September 2008

 

 

Isis is arguably the most renowned Goddess of all time amongst the pagan deities.  Worshipped throughout Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire1 over a period of millennia, Her worship continues to this day amongst neo-pagans and within the cult of the Black Virgin2.  As such a revered figure, the myths of Isis are taught extensively, and are the focus of numerous books, academic articles, and websites.  This page is dedicated to Her healing and fertility aspects. 

The healing attributes of Isis were so revered that Plato, one of histories most celebrated scholars, referred to Her as “the gentle nurse.”3  As a Goddess of Healing, She is associated with coral4, lapis lazuli5, myrrh6, onions7, roses8, vervain9, the ankh (Egyptian symbol of eternal life), the sistrum (an Egyptian rattle)10, the element of water11, the caduceus12 (later associated with the Greek God Hermes, and still associated with the modern medical profession), snakes13 and scorpions14.  She is hailed as both the healer and protector of all poisonous stings and bites, having cured both Her father, Ra, and a mortal child of such ailments15.  Scorpions were seen as symbols of protection when associated with Isis, yet they were also viewed as harbingers of chaos16 to be kept at bay.  Snakes appear frequently in Egyptian art, jewellery and mythology as symbols of healing, wisdom, creativity, magic and rebirth.  They are even referred to as “the sacred eye of Ra”17, tying them further to Isis, the Daughter of Ra.  The snake is also the primary symbol of the uraeus, the Egyptian circlet worn by all royalty and deities, and the caduceus, a staff with intertwining serpents.  As the teachers of civilization to Egypt, Isis and Osiris, her brother-husband, taught humanity all the skills they would need, including how to cure illnesses and care for the sick18.  Teaching by example, several key stories of Isis revolve around Her healing prowess, including the restoration of the wedjat eye of Horus, the “lunar left eye”19, and the reassembly and resurrection of Osiris, demonstrating the ultimate healing power of Egypt.  It is through this act that Isis became eternally associated with life, as well as new life and fertility since She conceived Horus after the resurrection of her husband.

Isis and Horus_British Museum.jpg

© Trustees of the British Museum

As a Goddess of Fertility, Isis is associated with coral20, pearls21, figs22, the date palm23, the sistrum (which were not only symbols of life themselves but were occasionally decorated with fertility symbols)24, cows25, the Nile River26, the rosette27, and the tiet28 or Knot of Isis.  The fertility aspects of Isis can not only be seen within the context of human fertility and procreation, but also in that of plants and animals, creativity, and general prosperity.  In our modern language, we tend to solely associate fertility with biological reproduction, yet remnants of the creative and artistic connotations remain.  For instance, when discussing abundantly creative writers or artists, we describe them as having fertile imaginations.  Within the worship of Isis, this creative aspect of fertility is most often represented by images of dancers and musicians playing sistrums.  The magical association between music and the element of water29, combined with Isis’ extensive associations with the Nile River, further connect Her to this area of fertility.  In terms of general prosperity and fertility of the land itself, both aspects are also tied to Isis through the Nile River.  The cyclical flooding of the Nile was, and still is, the source of the self-renewing fertility of Egypt’s farmland.  Without this cycle, the land in the Nile basin would quickly be claimed by the desert sands.  Images of Isis lounging on boats30, on the banks of the Nile, or beside Nilometers31, posts that were used to mark the height of the river water, have been found all over Egypt.  She is also associated with the fertility of the land through Her depiction with bountiful vegetation32, such as the date palm with its plenitude of fruit33, or the fig tree whose fruit is associated with the womb34 by modern artists, feminists and neo-pagans.  The rosette, shown with Isis in the image below, can easily be viewed as being representative of the Wheel of the Year, illustrating a further connection between Isis and the cycle of the seasons as well as that of life, death and rebirth.  The symbols of the ankh, sistrum, and tiet are all representative of life as well.  In fact, it can be argued that the sistrum and tiet are variations of the ankh, both having the same upright loop but with the sides folded down instead of horizontal like a cross.  The tiet is also connected to life and fertility by virtue of being reminiscent of “a cloth used during menstruation”35, which may explain why Spell 156 in the Book of the Dead invokes Isis’ “blood, power, and magic.”36

Isis amulet_British Museum.jpg

© Trustees of the British Museum

Images of Isis as a Mother Goddess abound, making Her role as a Fertility Goddess in terms of human fertility an obvious one.  She is so frequently shown with Her child, Horus, that She has become globally recognized as a Divine Mother.  For the Romans, this role coupled with Her associations to the fertility of the land made it easy for them to see Isis as an Egyptian version of Demeter.  In their eyes, Isis was a Corn Mother, and was frequently depicted wearing a crown of corn or holding sheaves of wheat.37  Both Isis and Demeter go through a period of mourning for the death of the one they loved the most, the difference being that in Isis’ case this is Her husband, not Her child as is the case with Demeter.  The cycle of life, death and rebirth, however, remains constant throughout the worship of both Goddesses, making this connection inevitable upon Rome’s conquest of Egypt.  The other Divine Mother with whom Isis is readily compared is the Virgin Mary of Christianity.  In fact, it has been stated that Her cult, practises, and numerous images38 were reused by Egyptian Christians, including sacred sites and temples that were converted into Coptic Churches, such as the sacred isle of Philae.39  Even Mary’s title of Stella Maris, Star of the Sea, was first attributed to Isis.  Gadon contends in The Once and Future Goddess that images of Isis suckling Horus “were the model for Christian icons of the Madonna and Child.”  Isis, like Mary, is prayed to for guidance, healing and fertility.  They even share the concept of the Immaculate Conception, since Isis conceived Horus after the death of Osiris and His rebirth as the King of the Dead.  Though Isis has never been viewed as a mortal woman to my knowledge, She was impregnated by a God, just as Mary was.  It should come as little surprise then that the cult of Isis survived throughout the centuries within the cult of the Black Virgin in France.40  Such a prevalent icon of the Divine Mother is difficult to silence or ignore, even when covered by the sands of time.  May She continue to guide and bless us always.  Blessed Be.

 

 

Isis Healing Ritual

 

Items needed:

-          Crystals: lapis lazuli, coral, moonstone (3 of whichever ones you have on hand)

-          Rose incense (in honour of Isis)

-          Green altar cloth

-          Photo of person who has requested healing, if possible, or piece of paper

-          Rattle or drum

-          Candles: white/silver for Isis, green for healing, and one to represent the person being healed (their favourite colour, or pink for female/blue for male)

-          Large seashell full of salt water

Timing:  Waxing Moon for increasing health

Optimal Timing (if possible): Sunday while Waxing Moon is in Virgo

Ritual:

Place the photo of the person who requested healing in the centre of the altar; if one is not available, write their name (and location, if known) on a piece of white or green paper, placing it in the centre.  If this ritual is being done for multiple people, write a list of everyone involved.  Place your crystals around the photo/paper, forming a triangle with the stones.  Arrange the rest of your items on the altar as you wish.  Purify yourself and your ritual space in whatever way you feel comfortable.  Ground and centre.  Cast the circle, sprinkling salt water from the shell along the circle’s edge.  Call the directions, emphasizing their healing attributes:

“Powers of the North, I ask that you join me within this sacred space.  Guardian of the Earth, may you bring blessings of physical health with you.”

“Powers of the East, I ask that you join me within this sacred space.  Guardian of the Air, may you bring blessings of mental health with you.”

“Powers of the South, I ask that you join me within this sacred space.  Guardian of the Fire, may you bring blessings of behavioural health with you.”

“Powers of the West, I ask that you join me within this sacred space.  Guardian of the Water, may you bring blessings of emotional health with you.”

“Powers of the Centre, I ask that you join me within this sacred space.  Guardian of the Spirit, may you bring blessings of spiritual health with you.”

Light the candles and incense.

“Blessed Mother, hear my plea,

Within this circle, come to me.

In this place and at this hour,

I ask for your healing power.

Queen of Heavens, Earth and Sea,

Blessed Isis, come to me.”

Pause until you feel the Goddess’ energy enter your space.  Concentrate on the photo/paper, saying:

“Blessed Mother, Glorious Queen, this child of yours has asked for your healing to enter his/her life.  If it no longer serves his/her Highest Good, may this illness be healed by your gentle touch.  Should it serve a purpose still, may your healing drift down to the Earth, aiding Her in this time of imbalance.”

Pick up the rattle or drum, starting with a slow beat and gradually building, while chanting:

“Blessed Isis of the skies

See all ills with your eyes,

Blessed Isis of the lands

Heal all ills with your hands,

Blessed Isis of the sea,

This is my will, so mote it be.”

Once you feel the energy peak, release it towards your intended target.

Thank the Goddess.

Thank the directions.

Open the circle.

If the candles are not burned down completely, snuff them out. Ground and centre in your preferred manner.

© Jennifer Runham-Stark, September 2008

 

 

 

Footnotes

1)        Bronze Sistrum.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/gr/b/bronze_rattle_sistrum.aspx

2)       Elinor W. Gadon.  The Once and Future Goddess.  San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1989. p 196.

3)       Plutarch, Isis and Osiris, 53. *Plutarch quotes Plato’s remark.

4)       Scott Cunningham.  Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic.  2nd ed.  St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2002.  p 98.

5)       Ibid.  p 127.

6)       Scott Cunningham.  Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs.  2nd ed.  St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2001.  p 181.

7)       Ibid.  p 188.

8)       Ibid.  p 217.

9)       Ibid.  p 251.

10)    Bronze Sistrum.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/b/bronze_arched_sistrum.aspx

11)    Scott Cunningham.  Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2006.  p 42.

12)    Silver Ravenwolf.  The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the Solitary Witch.  St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2003.       p 377.

13)    James George Frazer.  The Golden Bough: Abridged Edition.  New York: The MacMillan Company, 1922.  p 260-261.

14)    Ibid.  p 364.

15)    Ibid.  p 260-261, 364.

16)    Black Steatite Cippus.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/b/black_steatite_cippus.aspx

17)    Ted Andrews.  Animal Speak.  St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2005.  p 361.

18)    Arthur Cotterell and Rachel Storm.  The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology.  Hermes House, 1999.  p 290.

19)    Faience Wedjat Eye Amulet.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/f/faience_wedjat_eye_amulet.aspx

20)    Scott Cunningham.  Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic.  2nd ed.  St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2002,  p 98-101.

21)    Ibid.  p 145-146.

22)    Scott Cunningham.  Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs.  2nd ed.  St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2001.  p 116.

23)    Ibid.  p 192.

24)    Bronze Sistrum.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/gr/b/bronze_rattle_sistrum.aspx

25)    Statue of Isis Protecting Osiris.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/s/statue_of_isis_protecting_osiris.aspx

26)    Glass Cup.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/gr/g/glass_cup_or_bowl.aspx  

27)    Isis Amulet.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_details.aspx?objectid=129407

28)    Red Jasper Tiet.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/r/red_jasper_tit_amulet.aspx

29)    Scott Cunningham.  Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.  Woodbury: Llewellyn Publications, 2006.  p 42.

30)    Blue-green Glazed Finger Ring.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_details.aspx?objectid=134162

31)    Glass Cup.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/gr/g/glass_cup_or_bowl.aspx

32)    Bronze Finger Ring.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_details.aspx?objectid=134167

33)    Scott Cunningham.  Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs.  2nd ed.  St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2001.  p 192.

34)    Elinor W. Gadon.  The Once and Future Goddess.  San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1989.  Colour Plate 45.

35)    Red Jasper Tiet.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/r/red_jasper_tit_amulet.aspx

36)    Ibid. 

37)    James George Frazer.  The Golden Bough: Abridged Edition.  New York: The MacMillan Company, 1922.  p 382-383.

38)    Arthur Cotterell and Rachel Storm.  The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology.  Hermes House, 1999.  p 290.

39)    Granite naos of Ptolemy VIII.  British Museum.  Egyptian Collection.  www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/g/granite_naos_of_ptolemy_viii.aspx

40)    Elinor W. Gadon.  The Once and Future Goddess.  San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1989.  p 196.

 

 

 

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