Praise Be To Auset

Praise Be To Auset October 5, 2014

Isis starburst 2Praise be to Auset, O Great Goddess!

Divine Mother, Mighty Healer, Mistress of Magic.
You who learned the True Name of Ra,
You who restored Ausar to life,
You who protected Heru and enabled Him to claim the throne of Egypt.
May you be praised in the Old Lands and in this New Land,
And may those who do evil in your Holy Name be struck down.

Auset is better known as Isis. She is the sister and wife of Ausar, better known as Osiris, and the mother of Heru, better known as Horus. She is also the sister of Nephthys and of Set.

The common names of the Egyptian deities come to us from the Greeks, who ruled Egypt from the time of Alexander the Great until they in turn were conquered by the Romans. The modern writing and pronunciation of Their Egyptian names are approximations – no one knows exactly how they were pronounced.

In our Egyptian Temple Rituals we use both sets of names: the Egyptian names to honor the deities and the Greek names to make it easier for participants to follow.

In recent months the holy name of Isis has become associated with some of the most vile terrorists known to humanity. Some call them Daʻish (an Arabic acronym), some call them the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and some just call them the Islamic State (IS). Unfortunately, some call them the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and use the English acronym ISIS.

Call them what you will. I call them evil… and I don’t use that word lightly. I know of no other word that accurately describes the intentional, unnecessary, and gleeful infliction of pain and suffering on other beings.

As with so many terrorist groups, ISIL arose from a legitimate complaint: the corruption and brutality of political regimes in the region, most notably in Syria. Whether the West will make things better or worse by engaging ISIL militarily is another topic for another time. Whether ISIL is more or less evil than our allies in Saudi Arabia – who beheaded eight people in August for “crimes” that include adultery, apostasy, and sorcery – is another topic for another time. This is not a political essay.

Isaac Bonewits said “our Gods are perfectly capable of defending Themselves.” His intention was to differentiate Pagans from monotheists like ISIL whose faith in their God is so weak they feel the need to punish blasphemy and impose orthodoxy by force. I am angered by the association of these evildoers with a loving and compassionate Goddess, but that alone is no justification for the use of force.

Gates to the Temple of Isis - Pompeii
Gates to the Temple of Isis – Pompeii

While I am a Druid who primarily worships and works with Celtic deities, I have a long relationship with Isis. I knew Her from history and popular culture even before we performed our first Egyptian Temple Ritual in 2004. I have experienced Her presence on numerous occasions. That experience and my very different experience with other Egyptian deities set me on the path toward polytheism. I am as saddened by the desecration of Her name as I am when friends or great people have their names trashed in personal attacks and crude attempts at humor.

I cannot stop ISIL from torture and murder and I cannot stop the media from calling them ISIS. But I can remind everyone that this name properly belongs to a divine being who is the antithesis of this gang of terrorists.

And I can praise Her by Her older name, a name that is yet unprofaned.

Praise be to Auset, O Great Goddess!
Divine Mother, Mighty Healer, Mistress of Magic.
May your power and beneficence be known and honored
across this land and across the world.

Isis gives her magic to Horus - Egyptian Summer Solstice 2009
Isis gives her magic to Horus as Thoth looks on – Egyptian Summer Solstice 2009

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