So, why am I drawn to the mothers of the goddesses? Persephone, Athena and now Isis.
Many of the goddesses Jessica and I have met together feel like daughters to me. I find that really interesting.
Is she drawn to daughter goddesses? Or do I resonate more with the mother goddesses because I am a mother of adults, and in my Crone years?
Artemis is a goddess with whom my daughter fiercely resonates. Our tiff over the Artemis blog nearly derailed this project. It’s ironic that in my rant against Artemis, I didn’t check out her mother.
Her name is Leto, by the way. Leto conceives twins, Artemis and Apollo, after her hidden beauty accidentally catches the eye of Zeus. Leto’s only myth story is her pregnancy and journey to find a place to give birth, because the goddess Hera was jealous and caused all lands to shun her. Finally, Leto finds a floating island, so it is not considered land, and she can give birth. This is her only one active mythic role. After Apollo and Artemis are grown, Leto withdraws, to remain a dim and benevolent matronly figure upon Olympus, her part already played. How sad is that? Yet I identify with her.
Each new goddess blog post begins (for me) with days of reading and studying books and online sites. I usually go down several goddess rabbit holes as I find things that interest me.
This time is no different. Once again, I’m drawn to Isis’ mother.
Perhaps the problem is my goal, the purpose for my role in this project. I’m looking for my Mother God. I’m looking for her activity in the world before She was cut down and desecrated by the sin of patriarchy.
I’m looking for the strength and wisdom of The Great Mother with whom I can relate intellectually and emotionally, but also find rest in her arms as a daughter.
As a daughter, Isis was beloved from birth. As goddesses go, she is tenacious. From as early as 2600 BCE until today her reign, which began simply and humbly, has grown to usurp most of the high-ranking goddesses in the Egyptian pantheon. For nearly 3000 years her power, majesty, wisdom and responsibilities grew exponentially, to seat her on the throne of kings, mother of kings, even mother of Ra, where, by the time of Christ, she reigned not only in Egypt, but the whole of Mesopotamia and even Rome. Not only that, but she was so popular, her image as the Mother of God, suckling her god/son was usurped by the Church in their images of Mary and the child Jesus.
Unlike other Egyptian goddesses, she spends her time with her people teaching corn grinding, bread making, spinning and weaving. Isis is also passionate that her people are literate and she is worshiped as a goddess of medicine and wisdom. Not only, back in the day, was she “the assistant” to the pharaohs at their funerals, and attributed with the resurrection of Osiris, but she now is also considered the protector of children and goddess of childbirth!
Go Isis! I wonder what your mother is like?
Her name is Nut. (okay, don’t laugh). She’s one of the oldest Egyptian deities. The Sky Goddess. Her headdress is a pot (part of her name), which alludes to a uterus. She receives the dead into her arms, and her image is found on the inside cover of many Egyptian coffins. The image is strikingly similar to that of Isis with her wings and seating position.
Beautiful, isn’t she?
The most prevalent images of Nut are of her duty as Sky Goddess. Her brother/husband, Geb, is the Earth God. Which is fascinating because most other cultures associate goddesses with the earth and their male counterparts with the sky. Nut is beautifully adorned with stars covering her nude body, hovering over Geb, her feet and hands touching the four corners of the earth.
Each morning she births the Sun and Moon. They travel across her body and are swallowed up in the evening. The stars drift down her body throughout the night. If I drew a mandala, her yoga pose would be Downward Dog.
She is one of a handful of the most ancient Egyptian deities.
Her titles include: Coverer of the Sky, She Who Protects, Mistress of All, She Who Bore the Gods, She Who Holds a Thousand Souls.
Here is the birth story of her daughter, Isis, and Isis’ siblings:
Some myths interpret the image of Nut and Geb, as Sky Goddess and Earth god, in continual intercourse before she births her own children. Ra, the Sun god fears another will take his throne when he discovers Nut is with child. He forbids her to give birth any day of the year. In those days, one year was 360 days. Nut, being wise, consults with the god of Wisdom (Thoth) who devises a plan to gamble with the Moon god, Khonsu, whose light rivals that of Ra. The bet is: If the Moon god loses, he gives up some moonlight to Thoth. The Moon god loses so many times, that Thoth now has enough moonlight to add five extra days to the year. Since these days are not part of the regular year, Nut now has extra days to birth five children! After their births, Ra, in his rage separates Nut and Geb for eternity.
Nut also protects the ordered world below from the chaos above. She is friend and protector to the dead, who find rest in her. It is believed she draws the dead into the starry sky and refreshes them with food and wine.
“I am Nut, and I have come so that I may enfold and protect you from all things evil.”1