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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in isis

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_22573479132_3700a80e9f_k.jpgAlready in Salt Lake City we could see that the sun was moving away towards a darker time of the year, even against the dazzling sunset backdrop of mountain peaks in the distance. I had dreamed since 1993 of attending the Parliament of the World’s Religions, not realizing that I would have taken on a whole new religious identity by the time I got to attend my first one this October. So immersed had I become in that path that I was invited to play the role of Isis in a ceremony honoring many of the traditional goddesses who have been worshiped around the world, from Amaterasu to Kali to Oshun and Brigid. Read more about Goddesses Alive here. For each of us costumed as a goddess, including a fabulous mask by noted artist Lauren Raine, there was no script. Our task was to be the goddess while narrators and music set the ambience for an audience sitting in the round.

In the weeks leading up to this performance I was focused on logistics: my first wig (think Donna Summer); jewelry, robe, choreography. I will not in this lifetime ever again resemble the willowy figure of Egyptian paintings, and I had no intention of wearing a tight, transparent sheath, so I opted for a shimmering loose caftan. Then two days before our flight I fell, twisting and breaking my ankle. Choreography would be limited to arm gestures and it was anyone’s guess whether I would be able to perform sans wheelchair.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

What does Egyptian religious practice look like in the 21st century?  Maybe more to the point, why do we turn for inspiration to a culture which disappeared nearly 1800 years ago?b2ap3_thumbnail_Pached1.jpg 

The second question makes me think of my friend Marion who just loves to travel.  He’s been in more countries, more times, than I can count.  He and I have mused together about how deeply one is changed by stepping outside of everyday life and being immersed in something completely new and different.  For some of us, religious travel is just the tonic needed for a weary soul. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Nebamun-2.jpgMore than 50 ancient hieroglyphs depict birds: ibis, quail chick, hawk, vulture, duck, plover, goose, swallow, sparrow, cormorant, egret, ostrich, heron, flamingo, lapwing, hoopoe, guinea hen and falcon, plus variations on each of these.  It’s a veritable feast for modern bird lovers; tomb paintings like Nebamun hunting are still more delightful, showing the teeming color of life in the Nile marshes. 

Egyptian cosmology is closely tied to birds, too.  During Sep Tepi (sacred time), a bird of light flies out of the dark waters of Nun and lands on the primordial mound called the benben. This bird was thought to be an early form of Ra, and Herodotus thought the bennu was the phoenix of later Greek myth, the firebird which rises reborn from its own ashes. 

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[I was asked recently to develop a talk which could be delivered as a sermon, using ancient Egyptian sacred texts and ideas.  Here is Part 2 of that talk. Read Part 1 here]

b2ap3_thumbnail_Osiris-2.JPGSo, what is all this about Osiris?  I don’t know about you, but there are some times when I have felt very beat up by life, even broken in pieces the way Set did Osiris.  I have felt lost, scattered all over like Osiris’ body parts all over Egypt.  I have felt swept by the flood downstream and out to sea, completely overwhelmed.  Like Isis, I have wandered from place to place and through the desert, trying to find all the missing pieces of myself and trying to figure out how to put them back together again.  Anyone else felt that too?  It feels dark, doesn’t it?  Everything out there begins to look like a crocodile, or a singing snake, maybe.  We wish we had a handbook for getting through the dark. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Love this post. At the Christian seminary where I am campus pastor, one of our Pagan students was very helpful in their Christian

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_isis_horus_20141129-225317_1.jpgWhen I was about nine, my grandfather took a welding torch and created for my church a tall stand on which to set the Advent wreath in the sanctuary.  We had magnificent holly bushes in our yard, so my mother and I each year cut piles of dark, prickly leaves and red berries, then built the wreath ourselves.  None of my friends seemed to have ever heard of Advent, so I thought it was just for Lutherans.  The sermon each of the four weeks before Christmas kept our minds trained on the spiritual significance of the season, and a paper Advent calendar at home with little doors to open each day made me think maybe I should pay attention to it all. 

Nowadays I ponder the iconic maternal images of Mary and Isis, seasonally superimposed one on the other.  Each of them experienced difficult transitions to motherhood. Each struggled to hide her son away from those who would snuff out his life.  Each had enough protective magic to earn them the titles Queen of Heaven and Mother of God. 

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