This time I’d like to share two things: a thought on how Isis and Nephthys may relate to each other in light of what we talked about last time and a meditation/vision I had with Her.
The vision has particularly struck me and hasn’t quite left since. It may or may not strike you; we’ll see. Even better, perhaps you will have your own vision with the Lady of the Limit.
First, you may remember the idea of Isis, the Goddess “Throne,” as the first Something that came into Being:
In the Coffin Texts, the Creator God Atum says He was “alone in lassitude” in the Nu, the Primordial Chaos, and describes it as a time “when my throne had not yet been put together that I might sit on it.” Here, the throne is a symbol of everything. With the coming together of the throne is the coming into being of all things. Thus, I believe we can say that the Goddess Throne is the Goddess of Existence. She is the seat not only of the king, but of all things. Without the Throne, nothing exists but the Primordial Chaos and the Divine consciousness.
The Goddess Throne is the Seat, the Abode, the Place; but importantly, She is The First Place, the First Holy Point of Being, the Sacred Something that First Came Into Existence from Nothing. The Goddess Throne is the One Who First Came Into Being and She is also the Divine Creatrix, the One Who Brings Into Being.
If Isis is the point in the center of the circle, so to speak, perhaps Nephthys is the holy wall that surrounds and encloses the point. Isis is the Beginning, Nephthys is the End or Limit. And because the space that Nephthys encloses is not just any space, but sacred space—temple space—it is specially set-aside and protected and may serve as a place of contact with the perfection of First Creation as well as with the Goddesses and Gods. And indeed, that is, in many ways, how the ancient Egyptians envisioned their temples.
A Visit to the Temple of Nephthys
The doors are nearly half-a-story tall, of dark wood, and plainer that I would have expected. As I stand before them, they swing outwards, pivoting smoothly on their hinges. I enter Her temple.
In contrast to the sandstone-red desert outside, inside is a living jungle. Palm trees, lush wetlands, lotus flowers blooming everywhere; they open their inner hearts to me as I pass by. The Great Above is a beautiful shade of twilight in the Temple of Nephthys. The temple ceiling—or is it the sky?—is deep indigo blue, as deep as the most precious lapis lazuli and flecked with diamond stars.
I am immediately aware of all the living creatures around me. An enormous crocodile wanders by, yawning, showing its teeth. A huge serpent moves, seeming to flow past, yet taking no notice of my presence. I am a bit disconcerted by all this dangerous life. But the voice of the Goddess says, “They are satisfied.” At the time, these words of the Goddess did not penetrate home to me. Later, they did. A little. They were hotep, “satisfied;” they felt no need to snack on me; I need not be afraid. And yet, I think that I have not yet quite unpacked that whole interaction. There is a mystery in the hotep-ness of the beasts that will come.
They live within Her temple. They exist in Her primordial perfection—for indeed, that is what Her temple encloses, encircles, surrounds: Primordial Perfection, Paradise—the Garden, the First Place, the Mound That First Arose from the Nun, the Ancient Chaos. It it still muddy and moist. And it is beautiful; as beautiful as you could ever want, as beautiful as you could ever imagine. It exists in dark warmth and deep blue twilight. Life burgeons within. Satisfied.
I know I should go to Her, find Her within Her temple. So I walk on and, of course, soon come to Her throne room, for She is indeed seated upon a throne.
I approach, kiss the ground before Her beautiful face. I can’t quite “see” Her fully. She seems to exist in an indigo cloud as well. I sense dark blue and black with glimmers of red and gold. She does not leave Her throne as we talk.
I ask Her about Her relationship with Isis and how it came to be. She tells me that, first of all, the Goddesses are all sisters and so, of course, She is the sister of Isis. She also tells me something that, as far as I know, has not been suggested by any scholar to date, so I won’t share it for now. More research is required. (I can sense Her laughing a little in my head as I type this.)
Now for this next bit, you have to know that I’ve been working on shapeshifting and having a certain amount of difficulty with it. And that by “shapeshifting” I mean taking on the astral or imaginal form of a sacred animal, in this case, the sacred kite of Isis and Nephthys, and then employing that form to explore.
Nephthys, in a very sisterly way I may add, says that She is a better shapeshifter than Isis. She shows me a particular, somewhat uncomfortable, posture. And almost instantly I am shapeshifted (all but my feet, which wouldn’t quite go there). I am Kite. Glossy brown feathers, sharp beak, weird side-of-the-head vision, light avian bones. Not wanting to leave the Goddess, I don’t fly away, but She invites me to come back for more lessons. And I will. I let my form, my kheper, melt back to my own.
That’s most of my visit to Her temple. I’ve been back several times since. I have been trying to sense the differences between Her and Isis. Overall, She feels a bit wilder, more shamanic, if I may use that term. But even in Her wildness, She does not seem erratic; it’s not that kind of wildness. She is wild in the way that Her overgrown temple is wild, She is close to the Primordial, but it’s a paradisiacal, encircled, and surrounded Primordial that She has created or delimited in order to interact with us.
Ha! Here’s a footnote to this…I just ran across a little piece of paper on which I had scribbled a note a while ago. It is another name for the Two Sisters. They are also called the Herti, the Two Pacified, Peaceful, or…wait for it…Satisfied Ones.