Posts Tagged ‘Isis’


September 2, 2013 2 comments

Red Lion

Some days the beast requires a leash,
Some ways the body must seek release.
There’s no chance of change in full control,
Transformation comes through Red Lion’s role.

Remember this warning, keep to the path.
Control the creature or suffer his wrath.
Don’t bind him too tightly, there’s energy need.
Give him his head, he wants to be freed.

There’s a delicate balance of domestic and wild:
Too much domestic, the mix is too mild:
Too much wild, the mix goes astray;
Isis knew the secret of this precious way!

©2013 Richard W. Bredeson. All rights reserved.

Queen of Heaven

April 9, 2010 Leave a comment

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!

Enantiodromia; are we in it? We can hope so!

April 8, 2010 1 comment

It was a lovely day in Colorado after our snow on Tuesday which was enough to cancel one of our scheduled meetings. The snow is all gone, soaking into my grass to green it. Perhaps we can say in Colorado at this time of year we are in a period of enantiodromia: the warm spring 60 and 70 degree temperatures bring about the spring snow, and then we bounce back to the warm spring…

Wikipedia says this:  “enantiodromia is a principle introduced by psychiatrist Carl Jung that the superabundance of any force inevitably produces its opposite. It is equivalent to the principle of equilibrium in the natural world, in that any extreme is opposed by the system in order to restore balance.” I encountered this word in my current book on alchemy by Marie-Louise von Franz which I’ve mentioned before in these posts. And what in particular caught my attention was her reference to the rise of Isis in Egypt as a central Goddess, even the most powerful of all the gods/goddesses.

She first tells the story of the rise of the cult of the sun god, Ra, around 3,000 to 2,800 BC; sun worship gradually exceeded that of the moon and bull worship (end of the Age of Taurus), an enantiodromia. This gave rise to a patriarchal social and political order. As Ra became old and senile, Isis, using a poisonous serpent or worm and then healing him, tricked him into giving her his secret name, and thereby all his power. “…at the end of the Egyptian civilization there was a similar enantiodromia. Suddenly Isis got everything into her hands and the male gods faded – and it is interesting that that was at the end of the Aries age and that now we are at the end of the Pisces, the astrological fish age, and again a woman is gathering the harvest and the men are a bit tired.” Wow! Von Franz said this in 1959!

Is the patriarchal political and social order under which we have lived our whole lives truly at an end? Are the men “a bit tired”? And where is our Isis, our Inanna, when we need them?

The Isis story is certainly a parallel with the Inanna story to which I’ve referred before. Her descent into the underworld gave her king and husband, Dumuzi, just the opportunity he needed to take charge; and of course he did! This was an enantiodromia. But Inanna was able to come back from the underworld to rule again; poor Dumuzi had to spend half of each year in the underworld in exchange for Inanna’s rise. (And his poor sister spent the other half of the year “down there” representing a nice balance).

Do these myths and archetypal examples of enantiodromia condemn us to forever shift from one extreme to another as we struggle as a humanity for power and control? I say in my title “we can hope so” that we are in a period of enantiodromia; that we are experiencing tired men and the rise of the Goddess, the power of The Feminine.  I say this not because I think a feminist, goddess dominated matriarchal society would be better but because I have lived with what the patriarchal, masculine, “god the father” dominated society has generated. I am looking for balance; and maybe, just maybe as we swing back from the extreme through this enantiodromia principle, we can somehow arrest the pendulum’s swing more toward the center.

Can the “new human” figure out a way to share power and control without regard to gender? Is there a balance between masculine and feminine principles we can apply to our social and political struggles so they become less struggle and more cooperation?

As we move toward a new astrological age, the Age of Aquarius, let’s hope we are in a new period of enantiodromia but that the opposites move to balance!