I adore invocation.
I remember the first time I invoked and really—really—felt Her presence, knew She was with me. Or with us, I should say because this particular invocation was with a small group here in town. I was pretty new at public invocation and I was pretty nervous.
I had memorized the invocation (highly recommended!) and when it came time, I spoke the words. The nervous energy became strength. The memorized words truly expressed my desire for Her. With each breath I drew in to begin each sentence of the invocation, I also drew in more of Her. And I could tell I wasn’t the only one feeling it. The entire circle began to psychically “buzz” as everyone awakened to Her growing presence.
That particular invocation stuck with me as you might imagine. I even included it in Isis Magic. It’s this one:
O Isis, Beautiful in All Thy Names,
I call Thee with the breath of my body,
I call Thee with the beat of my heart,
I call Thee with the pulse of my life,
I call Thee with the words of my mouth,
I call Thee with the thoughts of my mind.
I call Thee Power and Life and Creation.
I call Thee, Isis, Isis, Isis!
Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? It is. A good invocation doesn’t have to be complicated or long. On the other hand, sometimes long and complicated invocations are completely wonderful, providing us with the luxury of enough time to reach the right state of mind/soul.
The word invocation means “to call upon”. It’s originally from the Latin word invocare, but comes to us by way of late 15th century French envoquer. You’ll sometimes see the word used exclusively to mean calling a Deity or spirit into yourself (because of the “in” part of the word). While invocation can be used for that purpose, it doesn’t have to be.
Invocation is a way to focus our intention and attention upon Isis. It offers a method for awakening and re-awakening in ourselves the knowledge of Her eternal presence. It opens a channel of communication and communion between us and Her. If we have done it well, invocation of Isis will evoke a corresponding emotion from us. When our defenses are down, our emotions are up, and we fully open our hearts and selves to Her, that’s when our invocations are effective and we find that She is fully present with us. And that is how the magic happens.
Invocation is a wonderful way to explore the many aspects of Isis. By invoking Her by Her various epithets (epithets are names or descriptive phrases that express various aspects or powers of the Goddess), we can experience and better understand the many facets of Isis’ nature.
To this end, I thought I’d share some of Isis’ many epithets, both well and lesser known, which you may wish to try out in your own invocations.
Nutjeret Weret (Egy.); Thea Megiste (Gk.); Iset Weret (Egy.; “Isis the Great”). This is Isis in Her all-encompassing form as Goddess of All Things, and indeed, She is specifically called Lady of All. Other related epithets are Isis in All Her Names, Isis of Many Names and Many Forms, both of which refer to the ability of Her devotees to see Isis in all other Goddesses and all other Goddesses in Isis. At Denderah, She is called Lady of the Sky, the Earth, the Underworld, the Water, the Mountains, and the Nun (the Primordial Watery Abyss) for She is the Goddess of all manifest as well as all un-manifest things.
Isis the Noble
Iset Shepshyt (Egy.). This is a very interesting one for me. Before I knew of this name, I had often described Her to myself as “noble.” Several other priestesses I know described Her that way as well. And then I learned that She was actually called “Noble” anciently as well. To me, She is somewhat aloof, yet entirely awe-inspiring, in this aspect. A related epithet is Isis, Lady of Dignity or Great of Dignity. At Isiopolis, there is an inscription that says that the Deities bow down before Isis’ dignity.
Isis the Queen
I just thought you’d like to have this word in Egyptian: Nesutet (“Queen”). This, of course, refers to Isis’ sovereignty over ancient Egypt. Yet as the Throne, Isis is Sovereignty Itself; She is the ruler and She confers rulership.
Khabhuet (Egy.; “Libationess”) is related to concepts like the Great Celestial Deep and the Watery Abyss. Thus this is Isis as the one Who makes effective—surely magical—libations and as a Goddess of the Primordial Depths.
Lady of the Journey on the Abaton
In an Egyption temple, the abaton is the sacred place where no one may walk, the Holy of Holies. As Isis is the Lady of the Journey on the Abaton, we may understand that She is so inherently holy that She may indeed walk there, or perhaps may even serve as our guide for such a journey; the shrine of Osiris on Biggeh, the island of Osiris’ tomb near Philae, was called the Abaton.
Isis the Uraeus
Iset Uraiet (Egy.; “She Who Rears/Rises Up”). Uraeus is a Latinized version of the Greek word ouriaos, which is itself a version of the Egyptian word uraiet, which indicates the rearing, coiled cobra. The root word has to do with rising up or ascending, so that uraiet, a feminine word, can be interpreted as She Who Rears/Rises Up. The root word is also used to refer to the upward licking of flames. And indeed, the uraeus is often depicted spitting fire. This serpent fire represents both magical fire and the burning pain of the serpent’s venom.
In this form, Isis is the Cobra Goddess upon the brow of Re and His “Eye.” She is the Iret Eye (“the Doer”), the active power of Re. The idea is similar to Shakti, the active, feminine power related to the God Shiva in some Hindu sects.
Isis the Good North Wind
In different texts, Isis can be identified with various directions, but She has a strong identification with the north and the north wind. To understand, you have to know that to the ancient Egyptians, the north wind was the cooling, beneficial wind. It was thought that the north wind “dammed up” the Inundation, which flowed from the south, enabling the water to flood and nourish Egyptian fields. So Isis is not only the one Who heralds the Inundation and even causes it to flow (as Sopdet/Sirius), but also keeps it in place where it will fertilize the fields. She is called the Good North Wind and the Living North Wind.
Isis the Savior
Even in Egyptian texts, we find Isis as a saving Goddess. She is the one Who dispels evils, storms, and “rescues the weak from the fierce.” When Isis moves into the wider Mediterranean world, we find Her called The Savior (Sotera, Gk.), All Savior or Savior of All (Pansotera, Gk.), and the Great Hope. She is both literal savior, helping and protecting people in their every day lives and She is the spiritual Savior, Who offers those who are Hers “a life given by grace” (Apuleius, Metamorphoses). The funerary inscription of a priest of Isis declares that because of the secret rites he performed during his life, he has traveled not to dark Acheron, but to the “harbor of the blessed.” The Goddess and Her Mysteries are a spiritual harbor in storm-tossed seas—an image that is still used today by devotees of the Christian Savior God.
Enough to chew on for now, I think. May your invocations of Isis in All Her Names be blessed.