Isis The Mother Goddess
I would like to begin by saying welcome to Global Queer Magic with Alexaner. This will be a monthly column where we take a look into LGBTQ+ spirituality from around the globe. We’ll be looking at the power of the queer spirit through tales of heroes, deities, and spiritual practices from different parts of the world. I hope you all continue to join me while we travel the world together and pick up some new meditations, rituals, and spells to mix into our own daily magic.
For our first post we’re going to be taking a look at the Egyptian Goddess Isis. In many stories we can see Isis depicted as homeless, elderly, a wife searching for her lost husband, a mother mourning a missing child, a woman fighting for her family; all of which help create a connection to the people of Egypt. These stories solidified her as the goddess of all the people of Egypt; male and female, royal and common, she became the “Mother Goddess”. Unlike the other gods of Egypt, Isis’ tales and worship were beyond borders. The Greeks and the Romans believed she was the Supreme Goddess who created the entire world. Her worship in Rome was one of the biggest rivals to the newly emerging Christian religions. The image of Isis and her son Horus was actually the inspiration for the paintings of the Madonna with the Christ child adding to her title of “Mother Goddess”.
While Isis herself may not be a queer deity, she has a connection to the queer people because of her love and protection of all people regardless of gender, financial status, and race. In the poem Metamorphoses by Ovid, Iphis is the daughter of a man who wanted to have a son. The family was poor and they knew that they could never afford the dowry to marry her off if the mother gave birth to a girl. Her father even proclaimed that if the baby was a girl, he would kill it as means to “solve the problem”. Iphis’ mother, while pregnant, dreamt that the goddess Isis appeared to her and insisted that the baby be accepted regardless of the gender. After giving birth to a girl, Iphis’ mother disguised the baby in boys’ clothes and gave the child a gender-neutral name; having fallen for the saving deception, the father raises her as his son. Some time passes and everything appears to be going well until the father decides it’s time for his “son” to be married so they can receive a dowry that can increase their means of living. The father chooses the beautiful Ianthe to be his daughter in law, which Ianthe is happy with because she is interested in Iphis. Iphis is also interested in Ianthe and eventually falls in love with her, but she knows that their marriage would be forbidden if anyone knew of her true gender. Iphis turned to her mother for advice, her mother seeing how upset her daughter was decided to take her to the temple of Isis to pray for a solution. Their prayers were ultimately answered by Isis when she transformed Iphis into a biological male allowing her to freely marry Ianthe.
While this tale does have a heteronormative ending it does show us a tale of female-to-male transgender love. Isis changed Iphis’ gender to male as an ancient gender affirmation granted by divine means. Isis taught Iphis’ mother to love her child regardless of their gender identity. This is something that would benefit today’s society for us all to learn. As a queer community we need to embrace our community as a whole. We need to remember that if it wasn’t for an African-American, bisexual, trans-woman we would not have the rights that we have today. Let’s continue to remember and celebrate our uniqueness and everything that makes us individuals.
As your first magical activity, take some time to create a safe and welcoming space for yourself. Whether this be in a bath, a quiet corner of your home, or out in nature; allow yourself to clear your mind of all the clutter that may be around you. Once you have cleared and calmed your mind, begin to focus on yourself. Ask yourself who you are as a queer person, focus on how your queerness gives you a unique insight and way of looking at your own magical traditions. Take some time to reflect on these things and embrace not being able to fully fit in. Look at what uniqueness you can add to your tribe thanks to your divine differences. After you’ve spent some time with yourself, write down any knowledge or insight you gained from the meditation as a reminder of the things you can bring to the table due to your queerness.
Alexaner is a hereditary witch who grew up in New Jersey and now resides in California. He practices Brujería from Puerto Rico and has been practicing in some form since childhood. In his practice he regularly uses energy work, crystal healing, various forms of divination, and spell casting to best assist his clients with their needs.