When I was in grade school I attended a private Catholic school where every Friday we were required to attend chapel and say Mass. We were expected to kneel and recite the Lord’s Prayer, and sing the appropriate hymns in observance of various Saint’s feast days. I was utterly offended at being required to kneel to a god I regarded as foreign, and recite a prayer that rang hollow in my heart.
At ten years of age I was already secretly consecrated to Auset, Mother Isis, so it was to Her I fervently prayed when the time came to kneel and parrot the words of the Lord’s Prayer after Father Treat. I remember a gilt icon of the Madonna shining above a rack of glittering candles, and silently, deep down in my heart of hearts, I said to Isis: “When it looks like I am praying to her, I am really praying to YOU!”
One morning after Mass was concluded, Father Treat saw me lighting a candle in front of the Madonna, and he said, “Oh, you are praying to our Lady?” “No”, I replied, “I am praying to Isis”. Father Treat called my mother that very morning and told her what I had said, expressing his outrage and concern, and when my mother came to pick me up at school I was confronted by her and Father Treat regarding my religious beliefs.
What could I say? I told both of them that the worship of Isis was far older than the religion of Jesus the Jew, that the magic and power of Isis was far more profound than the miracles performed by Christ, and, finally, that the Goddess had called me personally and answered my prayers directly. How had She called me?
The nectar of the ancient Faith of Isis (Whom the ancient Egyptians called Auset) is the one virtue that I have always found greatly lacking in many of the world’s current religions, and that is unconditional love; what every mother would recognize as the unfailing trait shared by most mothers. Mothers have a capacity that most fathers, and men in general, find wanting. They are able to love their children, simply love them, for all their imperfections and regardless of shortcomings.
Conditional grace is central to the major monotheistic religions. Belief in one doctrine. Absolute obedience to the core professions of the faith. Salvation is granted only to the worthy, those who accept the one deity and belief as expressed in authoritative scripture. Eternal punishment after death for those who do not.
The religion of Isis is very different in these regards. My personal experience of Mother Auset is that She, like all mothers, loves where others fall quite short. She does not condemn those who do not recognize Her divinity. She does not chastise souls for following their conscience in the place of doctrine or religious dogma. She requires no vows for those who call upon Her in need. She professes no wrath for those who follow other beliefs and yet wish to feel Her mercy.
Even those who challenge Her, those who hate Her, those who attack Her can in the same instant be embraced or saved by Her if they but cry out for Her help. She asks for nothing in return.
Those who serve Mother Isis recall the story of Her trials and sufferings as a single mother hiding in the marshes of Egypt from Her enemies. The Goddess, in Her most dire time of need, was persecuted by a haughty rich woman, who slammed her door in the Goddess’ face when Isis was begging for a place to hide Her infant son. It was a poor woman who invited Isis into her home to partake of what little she had to give.
The guardian scorpions of the Goddess were outraged at the behavior of the wealthy woman, and decided to punish her by stinging her baby son to death. When Isis heard of this retribution, She cried out, “I cannot allow the innocent to die because of me”, and the Goddess used Her magic to cure the afflicted child.
This ancient story reveals the heart of the Isian Mysteries, which are quite less mysterious than they may outwardly appear. The truth of the Divine Mother is that Her grace, Her salvation, Her love is entirely unconditional. What She expresses to those who choose to follow Her is the necessity of altruistic love and the example of a mother’s unblemished mercy for all Her children.
The Goddess does not subtract, She adds. The Goddess does not turn away, She embraces. The Goddess does not govern through fate or doctrine, She and She alone alters fate and cuts through the delusion of power that is the leash of dogma. Isis rises above the conditions set by other deities, receiving all souls into Her care regardless of creed, gender, race or belief.
What Isis inspires is not religious fervor, fanaticism or control, but the freedom that only limitless love, true love…a mother’s love can give. This is the message that Mother Isis gave to me when I was six-years-old and first came to know Her.
It is often a difficult message to live or embody, because I, like all children, am rash, egoistic, imperfect and brimming with conflicting emotions. However, what Isis has in abundance is patience. She sees through our faults and cherishes us for the Soul we all possess.
I am Auset Great of Enchantments,
Within whose body the immortal Gods dwell,
Within whose womb the seed of the universe
There is nothing that exists that I have not
Touched with the grace of my fingertips,
Nor a heart that beats without having felt
My divine breath.
My image is that of Eternity,
My body the thread of the Everlasting.
The gods of all nations know me,
The Threefold Creator invokes me,
I am higher than the governors of the Earth,
And over the starry firmament from which
I have descended.
I am Auset Great of Enchantments,
Whose feet are planted in the Stars,
Whose never ending grace existed before
Time and creation existed.
I endure, and I am before the beginning,
And after the end.
All text copyright © 2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa