In Apuleius’ tale that culminates with his protagonist’s initiation into the Mysteries of Isis, we learn that Lucius must remain in the temple of the Goddess—just waiting patiently—until he receives a call from Isis Herself. Only then, when he knew for certain that Isis had invited him, could he undergo the ceremony of his initiation and further cultivate his relationship with the Goddess.
Of course, Lucius finally does dream. As he sleeps, the Goddess comes to him, explaining to him through “Her radiant commands in the dark night” as he puts it, that the time for his initiation has finally arrived. She explains how he should prepare and that Her principal priest, Mithras, would aid him in the rites because Mithras was linked to Lucius “by a certain divine association of constellations.” Upon arising, Lucius goes to speak to the priest who, of course, already knows that Isis has called the new initiate.
The ancient Greek travel writer, Pausanias, in his Description of Greece, mentions two instances of people entering Isis sanctuaries in Greece and in Egypt without a specific invitation from the Goddess; it did not go well for them:
They say that once a profane man, who was not one of those descending into the shrine, when the pyre began to burn, entered the shrine to satisfy his rash inquisitiveness. It is said that everywhere he saw ghosts, and on returning to Tithorea [Greece] and telling what he had seen he departed this life. I have heard a similar story from a man of Phoenicia that the Egyptians hold the feast for Isis at a time when they say she is mourning for Osiris. At this time the Nile begins to rise, and it is a saying among many of the natives that what makes the river rise and water their fields is the tears of Isis. At that time then, so said my Phoenician, the Roman governor of Egypt bribed a man to go down into the shrine of Isis in Coptos [Egypt]. The man dispatched into the shrine returned indeed out of it, but after relating what he had seen, he too, so I was told, died immediately. So it appears that Homer’s verse speaks the truth when it says that it bodes no good to man to see godhead face to face. (Pausanias, Book X, Phocus, Ozolian Locri, 32, 10-17.)
I’ve never known the Goddess to be quite so harsh as Pausanias’ anecdotes indicate. However, She does tend to call Her own. And yes, She often calls in dream…or in vision, which we may think of as waking dream. But the point is that She will call. If She wants you; if She knows you want Her; if She has something to teach you; if She knows you need Her at this point in your life (and maybe forever), then She will call.
Just be sure you’re listening. And watching. And expecting.
Once Isis has made Herself known to you—in any one of a million ways—open yourself to hope, to mystery, to magic…and to Her. If this is your path, for now or forever, She will let you know.