Here is a Goddess article that I had published in Pagan Pulse magazine. Enjoy!
Musings on the Goddess
Two halves of a whole or two separate deities and does it matter?
I can think of no more worthy a Goddess to write about, at the inception of our newsletter, than Isis. This Goddess of Ten Thousand Names who is so multi-faceted that it will take me an eternity to scratch the surface of all that She is. When we know just some of Her names we begin to realize how all-encompassing the Goddess Isis really is. Here are a few of those names: All-bounteous, All-seeing, Amenti – The Hidden One, Ankhet – Producer and Giver of Life, Daughter of Nut and of Geb, Daughter of Ra, Divine Mother, Great Goddess of the Underworld, Green Goddess, Great Sorceress who Heals, Isis-Fortuna, Lady of Beauty, Lady of Bees, Meri-Isis as Sea-Goddess, Mistress of All the Elements, Mistress of Eternity, Mistress of the Earth, Name of the Sun, Panthea-The All Goddess, Power That Heals the World, Salvatrix of Sailors, Savior, Selene-The Moon, etc. The list goes on and on.
Isis was born of Nut and Geb, earth god and sky goddess, Her brothers were Osiris and Seth, Her sister was Nephthys. It is said that Isis and Osiris fell in love while still in Nut’s womb and were later married, happily so. On the other hand, Nephthys and Seth were also married but not so happily. Seth out of jealousy murdered Osiris and so begins the story of Isis’ journey to restore life to Her beloved.
Why was Seth jealous? Was it because while Isis and Osiris marriage was a happy one, His marriage to Nephthys was filled with misery? Did his unhappiness have anything to do with Nephthys tricking Osiris into bed by pretending to be and disguising herself as Isis? Or, was it the shame of Nephthys bearing a child (Anubis or Anpu) of Osiris? Any one of these would be reason enough for some to kill over.
As I ponder the stories of Isis and Osiris and Nephthys and Seth, I naturally draw the conclusion that these divine couples are total opposites. In their lives we see Isis and Osiris as in love, happy, full of light and goodness, caring for those who worship them. On the other hand, we see Seth and Nephthys as not in love, extremely unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives and with each other. Seth’s murdering Osiris proves that!
My thoughts journey a bit more and I ask the question: Are Isis and Osiris, Seth and Nepthys literally separate deities? Or, do Osiris and Seth represent the light and dark sides of the same God? Are Isis and Nephthys two halves of a whole? You see in thinking on these divine couples and reflecting on their stories I come to see that in their opposite natures they show the light and shadow sides of those natures, much like we as people display a light and dark (shadow) side of ourselves.
As a priestess of Isis I have experienced Her loving, nurturing and guiding sides. I have also known Her harsher side. She can certainly be tough when She needs to be. She doesn’t hold back if a lesson needs to be learned or something needs to get done. She can give a swift kick with the best of them and better than most! Is this so because of the duality of being Isis-Nepthys? As the Goddess Isis is said to be all Goddesses or to contain all Goddesses within Herself this certainly seems possible.
Consider this, Nephthys it is said helped Isis to gather the different parts of Osiris after Seth murdered Him. She also helped to put Him back together and to resurrect Him. Nephthys allies Herself with Isis against Seth in protecting Horus after He is born. Is Isis so forgiving of Her sister that She is able to put it all aside and accept Nephthys’ help? Isis is definitely a forgiving Goddess! Or, is it that Isis in Her sorrows and hardships grows to be at one with Her darker or shadow side? Thinking further; Nepthys is said to have abandoned Her son, by Osiris, Anubis, in the wilderness. Who found him and raised him? Isis! Anubis is also credited with helping Isis to find Osiris’ body parts and put him back together. Is this because Isis was actually His mother, not just His aunt? Is the story of Anubis being left in the wilderness more a story of an emotional detachment on the part of Isis for this son of Hers, just after the birth?
Do the Gods not grow and evolve? Is Isis coming more into Herself by accepting Her shadow self (Nephthys)? Prior to this, I stated that many consider Isis to contain all Goddesses within Herself or to be all Goddesses. Her names certainly point to that belief. It is certainly possible, then, that Isis and Nephthys can be two halves of a whole or at least that Nephthys is a part of Isis.
Does this Matter to Us? I believe it does. In our musings and reflections we begin to get to know this magnificent Goddess. Simple though this theory may be it is necessary so that we might move on to the greater complexities of the Goddess Isis. In the years of being Her priestess, I have reflected on and seen many of Her sides. As I said earlier, it will take me a lifetime just to scratch the surface of this Goddess of Ten Thousand Names. It is through our questions and our seeking that we learn. I look forward to many years ahead of learning about my patroness and of honoring Her in all Her aspects.
Tu a atu
Tu a atu