Reclaiming the name of ISIS, a goddess


Reclaiming Isis- the name of a Goddess

Reclaiming Isis- the name of a Goddess



I remember when I first heard that the terrorists in Syria were called ISIS, it felt as if the name of the Goddess was “stolen”, “co-opted” and I diligently used one of the other names like IS, ISIL or Daesh. But the deeper I felt into it as a story teller and lover of Goddess mythology, I came to view it from another perspective.

I became intrigued by how the Goddess Isis has placed her holy name right into the heart of the dark forces playing themselves out on our planet today, and thus has ended up on everybody’s lips chanted like a mantra hundreds of thousands, maybe a million times a day. 

The Goddess Isis is an Egyptian Goddess who also was influential in the Greek/ Roman culture, and even in early Christianity. She is a Mother Goddess, who was the source of many minor Goddesses, and thus she became associated as the Goddess embodying a wide spectrum of qualities. She is known as the Goddess of the healing arts, and of magic, of relationship and sexuality, as a bridge between the worlds, and of fertility and much more.

Perhaps particularly interesting for us meeting Isis at this time in history, she is also standing before us as a mirror of the feminine that protects and nurtures the healthy luminous masculine in our world and in us all. She fiercely searched for and saved her lover, Osiris, when he was kidnapped and tortured by his destructive and jealous brother. And through her patient love and compassion she raised her son, Horus, who was born very weak and fragile, into a splendorous embodiment of the masculine divine. She held in her power the very Breath of Life. The myth points us towards a power within ourselves, a power the saves and heals, the power of the Divine Mother.

When Osiris was kidnapped and lost for the world, the Goddess let herself fall into deep grief. Her abundant tears filled the rivers and reservoirs, and brought deep rejuvenation to the land and to the people.

In our incapacity to be with the paradoxical intensity of Being, we so quickly move away from feeling the intensity of grief, reaching for more convenient and orderly mental concepts. Whether that is to “think positive”, “get over it”, or on the spiritual side “everything is perfect” or “I will not let myself be dragged down into lower frequencies”, the consequence is that we numb down not only the pain but also the medicine of compassion. We end up in a fragmented sense of our world and of ourselves in it. This fragmentation is causing tremendous suffering.

Isis shows us that grief is not to “feed the negative”; it will not take away our happiness. Grief is love. It is an essential medicine…it heals and rejuvenates us.

Facing Isis and bringing her into our sadhana, our embodying spirit practice, we rediscover our capacity to feel the depths of grief alongside the heights of ecstasy. We stretch our hearts and being so that we can embody the healing medicine of the Mother Goddess.

So what is it with the name? One story tells us about a time when the most powerful God of them all, Ra, started to act destructively and became a source of great suffering for the people. It did not take long before the Great Goddess came and took over his power and restored peace and balance in the world. The way she kicked him off his seat of power was by tricking him into revealing his secret name to her.

If we draw parallels from this myth to the world situation we live in today, we find the inflated, distorted masculine with way too much power, we find destructive acts causing great suffering, and yes, we also find the name. Not the secret name of the ruling power, but the name of the Goddess herself.

Did she place her name this way to show us that we have to look deeper than the surface? Is she pointing us to look for the “secret name” of this situation?

As the myth shows us, when we can name the dark forces for real, with its true name, when they are seen for who and what they are, then the power balance changes. Energy is liberated and can come back to harmony. Until this happens, we are only scrambling around in the dark, latching onto one surface solution after the other.

And by the way did I mention that every part of the myth is you?



We will practice with Isis and the Divine Mother Shakti in our upcoming online sadhana. We start April 6th, and will practice for 21 Days.  We will donate $10 for each registration to organizations supporting the refugees from Syria, and working for peace.
If you have not registered yet you can do it :