Queen of Heaven

We are in store for a beautiful weekend in Colorado. I hope you have a wonderful one wherever you are! On Sundays Rosemary and I host “Sundays at The Center“, a celebration of spirit. During our celebration this Sunday I plan to talk about Isis and some of what I’ve been reading which connects her to alchemy. It is also clear to me that she is connected to Inanna, Sumerian “Queen of Heaven” of whom I’ve written earlier in this blog.

The origin of the Egyptian Goddess, Isis, is unknown. But at some point in her history and associated stories it becomes clear that there is some linkage to the Sumerian Inanna and the Semitic Ishtar. First, along with Mari, Diana, Hecate, Pasiphae, Selene, Brigit, Cybele, the Shekinah, Lilith, and Persephone, they are Moon Goddesses (ref: Diane Wolkstein in Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth). And the three were also known as “Queen of Heaven.” How much cross-cultural exchange took place across the middle east from the Mediterranean area to Mesopotamia is unknown. But the parallels of myths, stories and religious rites and observances is highly synchronistic.

What are we dealing with here historically? Was there significant exchange across these civilizations or are we seeing an archetype at play? And does this archetype continue to play out in our lives today? One of the dominant religions of today, Christianity, has at its core a story which resembles the Isis/Osiris/Horus story with uncanny parallels. Yes, until recently, the patriarchy has driven much of the Isis story out of Christianity. But Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene are coming back into their own. Is this archetypal or cultural mixing of stories?

I did not realize before my deeper readings into the stories of Isis that her significance and recognition as the Queen of Heaven extended throughout the Mediterranean area, even reaching Britain, and lasted well into the first millennium AD! The last temple of Isis and Osiris continued in operation on the island of Philae in the Upper Nile into the 6th century. How much influence did the parallel worship of Isis have on the Christian mythos? We know that Christian churches and holy sites are built over more ancient spiritually significant sites throughout the world. The Church adopted calendars, saints and sites to fit as an overlay and displace what came before. How much of the story of Jesus, the whole basis of a dominant world religion, is nothing more than an overlay on stories which came before?

What did change in translating the stories of Inanna and Isis to Christianity was the loss of the Feminine as the Masculine worked to dominate and control. The various cults of Isis rose in the Egyptian Delta area; they varied from city to city; they rose in power above the cults of Ra, the masculine; but I find no evidence of a purge of all worship of Ra in order for the Feminine Isis to dominate. This displacement was a gradual shift from masculine to feminine influence. The Christian story is different: The Theodosian decree (in about 380 AD) required the destruction of all pagan temples. Control. The masculine approach to imposing rules on the population.

Marie-Louise von Franz describes the masculine this way: “With this development and increase in the sun cult came a development in law, science, geometry, the planning of fields, of buildings, and so on. There was an enormous progress in rational civilization and in organization and war, etc. That was a development of the masculine world, of the mind world and the world of order”. Sound familiar? It was after this “increase in the sun cult” (by a couple thousand years) that the “men became tired” and the cult of Isis rose – enantiodromia.

We are due for another episode of enantiodromia. We are watching the failing and fading of the current age of masculine dominance. We are in the middle of a swing away from rationalism and war. At least I hope we are! It is time for us to pay attention to the Queen of Heaven. She is due!

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