In my own work with Isis over the years, I have come to settle on four qualities that seem to me to capture much of Her “flavor” for me. They are power, wisdom, love, and magic.
When we first come to Isis, we often immediately perceive Her love, flowing out to us, enfolding us in Her sheltering wings. We are warmed in Her love. We rest in Her wings.
Her power reveals itself later.
First, there is Her metaphysical power. This is the power that blows my hair back, makes we want to “kiss the ground before Your beautiful face,” as the ancient texts put it. This power makes me gasp, thrills my body and makes me shiver. Before this power, I can say only, “yes, Goddess.” And rejoice. Sometimes there’s a stupid grin on my face in Her powerful Presence. Sometimes Her power kicks open all my doors, both physical and spiritual and I have no idea what sort of expression might be on my face. Isis often hides this metaphysical power behind Her famous veil, for without the shielding of the veil, Her full Presence could overwhelm us.
But there is another, more earthly, kind of power that She shows us as well. And this is the power of persistence. Plutarch, in his essay On Isis and Osiris, says that Isis serves as an example to those enduring suffering in life. And so She does. As Her myths instruct, each time the Goddess suffers a tragedy, She uses Her power to pick Herself up and go on; and ultimately, to succeed.
Perhaps this seems a boring power? I don’t think so. For human beings, I believe this power of the Goddess is one of the keys to living. We will all experience pain, failure, death; indeed, some will suffer more than others. But we can all look to the stories of our Goddess passing through these things Herself to find our own power. What’s more, in our times of trouble, we can borrow some of Her strength. She will lend it to us in abundance. She is the fount of power, both mystical and persistent, and She never, ever runs dry. When we are in pain, She will take our hands and She will make us stronger, filling us with Her holy power.
Next time, wisdom.