I’m one day late on this post.
Yesterday, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta space probe passed Earth for the second and last time and is now on it’s way to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko where it will land and take samples that—it is hoped—will help scientists learn more about how life may have begun. It may well be that comets impacting with our planet carried the catalytic seeds of life to Earth.
I tell you all this because of the Egyptian-connected names of the mission. The mission itself is called Rosetta, which was the multilingual key that enabled us to decipher the hieroglyphs. The camera on board is Osiris, the husband of Isis. And the name of the lander, Philae, is the island on which the important upper-Egyptian Temple of Isis stood.
With key aspects of the mission named for the Beloved of Isis and the Temple of Isis, humankind is going into the universe to learn about the origins of life. But where is Isis?
Perhaps She is the Cosmos Itself. Certainly, Isis has been perceived as both ancient and everlasting by her many devotees down through the ages. On the Great Pylon of Her Philae temple, a Ptolemaic passage states that Isis “is the one who was in the beginning; the one who first came into existence on earth.” Paraphrasing Egyptian texts, scholar R.E. Witt says of Her:
In the beginning was Isis. Oldest of the old, the goddess from whom all Becoming arose. Great Lady, Mistress of the Two Lands, Mistress of Shelter, Mistress of Heaven, Mistress of the House of Life, Mistress of the Word of God, the Only One. In all her great and wonderful works she is a wiser magician and more excellent than any other god.
In the Coffin Texts, Isis is invoked with a group of Deities considered to be the most ancient: “O Re, Atum, Nu, Old One, Isis the Divine…” A second century CE dedication to Isis at the Alexandrian Sarapium calls Her Tyche Protogeneia, First-Born Fortune. Other epithets that attest to Her primordial nature include Great Goddess Existing from the Beginning, Great One Who Initiated Existence, and Great One Who Is From the Beginning. Her Greek-speaking worshippers addressed Her as Cosmocrator, the Ruler of the Cosmos.
I envision this Cosmic Isis now. She is invoking Her Beloved to come to Her, to explore, to learn, and to uncover the secrets of life, which have always, always been held in the hand of the magical Goddess.
European Space Agency… ESA… hmm, …EEE SAY?