An artistic representation of Kheperu by Steffi Grant
An artistic representation of Kheperu by Steffi Grant; note the human inside the figure of Horus

After last week’s excursion into some Isis hymnlets from the priest Hor, let’s get back to Kheperu, “Forms” or “Transformations.”

This time, I’d like to give you one exercise to try it out for yourself. When properly done,  Kheperu puts the priestess or priest in touch with a deeper wisdom that should serve as guide in any act of magic, mundane or spiritual. It means no more—and no less—than placing the Divine part of yourself in contact with a greater Divine power, in this case, Isis. The potential that this offers for spiritual development as well as for practical magic is immense.

Kheperu has been around for a VERY long time; this is the famous cave painting believed to be a shaman in the Kheper of a stag
Kheperu has been around for a VERY long time; this is the famous cave painting believed to be a shaman in the Kheper of a stag. The human hands, feet, and face are the clue.

People differ in what they believe a Kheperu or—as it is usually known in modern ceremonial magic—a God/dessform is. Some consider a Kheper to be a purely human psychological construct. Some consider the imaginal form to reflect an archetype, which in turn, reflects a Divine Being or reality. Most will consider the Kheper to be a little of both—a sacred and enlivened image to which both humanity and Divinity contribute.

To me, a true Kheper is an image that interprets the Divine energy of a particular Being or aspect of the Divine to the human being. Normally, it would be an image that has some history behind it, an image that has been invested with human spiritual, mental, and emotional energy for hundreds or even thousands of years. To use Jungian terms, it is an image recorded in the Collective Unconscious. By assuming the Form, we make it conscious rather than unconscious. These images are alive by virtue of the energy, Divine and human, invested in them.

Traveling as Isis

“I am Isis. I have gone forth from my house and my boat is at the mooring rope … O you who travel in the sky, I will row him with you, I will travel as Isis.” (Coffin Texts)

Like the ancient Egyptian who “travel as Isis” and so became Isis, we, as modern priestesses and priests, can also put on the image of the Goddess and become Isis. The invocation of Isis by Kheperu becomes a great, sacred cycle of inflowing and outflowing energy, from human to Divine, Divine to human. If we succeed in doing this, we will certainly know it—for the feeling is very unlike any normal state of consciousness. We may feel as if our body, soul, mind, and spirit are tapped into a stream of energy coming from outside herself, a stream which extends beyond the physical and touches invisible realms. We may perceive the self as enormous, towering over the earth or suspended in space.

Actors do a form of the technique when they "become" their character. Masks help, too.
Actors do a form of the technique when they “become” their character. Masks help, too.

We may have a feeling of expansion in the heart or little rushes or spasms of energy throughout the body. We will feel the presence of Isis and may participate in the creative and magical energy that is a part of Her nature. Through the image of Isis—perhaps seen as the image of our own Higher Self wearing the wings and throne headdress of the Goddess—we will be able to use some of the power of the Goddess Herself to initiate, empower a rite, charge a talisman, or commune with the Goddess.

We will also discover that true Divine contact, though very powerful, is humbling and does not idly flatter the ego. We may come to believe, as did the theurgists and Hermeticists of old, that the Divine Ones participate in our assumption of Their Forms not merely because of Their harmony with the images, symbols, and names employed, but because of Their Goodness and Divine Love for us. We will see that when we expend our effort to reach out the Them, They will in turn stretch out Their hands to us, guiding us, assisting us in our magic, and most importantly, helping us grow spiritually.

This small rite of Becoming Isis is from Isis Magic and visualizes Isis in Her role as Lady of Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld.

Becoming Isis

Enter the temple and face east. Still yourself by breathing the sequence of the Breath of Isis until  you are calm and focused. Perform the Four Pillars of the Earth, the Star of Isis, or the Opening of the Ways to open the temple. At the midpoint, begin your invocation:

Priest/ess: I invoke Isis, the Giver of Life, Who pours out the Inundation, She Who makes green plants grow and all people live. I call upon Isis the Ever-Living, Who offers Her abundance to all the souls of earth. I ask Thee, Isis, Lady of Heaven, Lady of Earth, Lady of the Otherworld, to come. O Lady of All Who brought all things into existence through what Her heart conceived and what Her hands created, come to Thy child. Come, Thou Who art the Living Soul of Everything, come to this, Thy temple, and to this, Thy Priest/ess. Let me take on Thy Kheper, Thy Form, Thou Goddess, Isis the Great. Let me be Thy garment.

(Vibrating) ISIS! ISIS! ISIS!

Be seated in a comfortable, meditative posture and close your eyes. Visualize the form of Isis as described in the speech that follows this explanation. Imagine the Goddess as very large, with Her feet in the Underworld and Her head in the Heavens. Next, visualize yourself growing larger and larger. Notice how your perceptions of the world change as you grow. When you are almost, but not quite, the same size as Isis, turn to face Isis and look into Her eyes—if you can. Bow in respect, then turn so that the image of the Goddess is once again behind you.

Now, imagine stepping backward into the ethereal Kheper of Isis. The face of Isis is before your face. The wings of Isis are upon your arms. The heart of Isis surrounds your heart. The body of Isis envelops your body. The feet of Isis uphold your feet. Through an act of will, now let yourself expand to completely fill the Kheper of Isis.

Priest/ess: (Speaking in the Kheper of Isis, as Isis) As Isis, my form is that of a beautiful woman with shining Wings. I am crowned with the Crescent of the Moon and the Disk of the Sun, and above them rises a Star that rests upon the image of My Throne, for I am Queen of Heaven. In my right hand I bear the Lotus Wand with which I enliven all of nature. In my left, I bear the Ankh, for I am the Mother of Life and the Lady of Re-birth. Light pours forth from My form.

I am the Great Goddess. I am called Isis the Divine and Lady of Words of Power. I am Isis the Magician. I am the Movement Around the Still Point. I am the Form and I am the Ritual. I am the Shaper of the Forces. I am the Goddess Throne, Maker of Kings and the Seat of All Being. Through knowledge of Me my priestesses and priests learn to guide themselves with Wisdom.

I am the Light-giver of All. I am Isis.

Allow as much time as you desire to experience the energy of Isis. You may receive a greater understanding of the nature of Isis. You may see visions from the point of view of the Goddess. You may hear the words of the Goddess in your mind. All these things are experiences of the energy of Isis. When the experience is complete, end the vision by thanking Isis.

When you are ready, take off the Kheper of Isis by reversing the procedure for taking on the Form. Visualize yourself growing smaller so that you no longer fill the image of Isis. Step forward out of the Form, feeling your separation from the image of the Goddess. When you have separated, turn to face the Goddess and bow in respect. Then allow yourself to continue becoming smaller until you return to your human size. Become aware of your human size, shape, and the feeling of your own human energy. Open your eyes and come back to yourself.

Priest/ess: I thank Thee, Isis, the Giver of Life, Who pours out the Inundation. Isis, Who is the Living Soul of Everything. I thank Thee for allowing me to take on Thy Kheper, Lady. I thank Thee for letting me be Thy garment and for receiving this glimpse of Thy Divinity. Guide me ever by Thy hand.

Be in Peace, Goddess. Amma, Iset.

Close the rite in the manner appropriate for the opening, then quit the temple.

I hope you will share with me your experiences with Isis. Be blessed beneath Her wings.