Isis is a name of the Goddess

I’ve been taken by the sensitivity of the Obama administration in using the term “ISIL” to refer to the gang that currently calls themselves the Islamic State. ISIL is an older name for them, back when they were the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. On the other hand, I’m horrified by the use of ISIS, which for many one of the names of the Goddess, as an acronym for these thugs. What if they had called themselves the Just Enemies of the Satanic United States? I bet somebody would have come up with an acronym other than the obvious.

If Margot Adler were alive today, perhaps she could have brought the press (including NPR) to their senses. Isis is the name of the Goddess from Egyptian myth, brother of Osiris. It was she who found the scattered parts of his murdered body and brought him to life again. Isis was the mother goddess and queen of goddesses in Egypt, ruling over nature and magic. Isis was also honored in Greek mythology and beyond. In modern Wicca, Isis is one of the names of the Goddess (along with Astarte, Hecate, and Diana) invoked in canonical ritual.

I’ve just spent three days at the Isis Oasis in Geyserville, California founded by an amazing artist, priestess and visionary Loreon Vigné. Lady Loreon recently passed, but the staff and community keep up the tradition and the beauty of the place. Earlier in her life Lady Loreon brought two oscelots to the Oasis, also populating it with peacocks, emus, and crowned cranes as well as many parrots and other tropical birds. Our stay was just outside the temple to Isis that has been built there (the stained glass above is from the inside of the temple). I had not been familiar with all but the barest mythical bones of Isis until my stay. I took great joy in the place and the people, and it dawned on me that my negative reaction to the term “ISIS” on the news was just about this: the name of the Goddess.

Isis represents the divine feminine. It would do us all some good to think about that and beam some of it in the direction of the so-called Islamic State. In the meantime, let’s hold the press to account.

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